Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All At Once

So this weekend I'm seeing myself onstage.  I'm sure I'll give you a glowing review after the weekend.

I'll be performing with Mordine and Company at Stage 773 Feb. 28-March 3.  You can even get $5 off tickets for Thursday and Sunday HERE.  We've got guest artists, an oldie and a newie that I took part in creating.  Those of you who know my moves will see my signature style in there.  :-)

I'm all a twitter about it because it'll be my first big performance in Chicago and I collect performances in different cities like Girl Scout badges.  It's a little like collecting states you've driven through, or countries you've vacationed in, but with career benefits.  You get bragging rights, but you also get a little more clout in the dance world because if you've danced in one more city, it means that someone wanted you to dance there.  It's a little ego stroke for you and a little reputation builder for your resume.

Now, I'm not touring with Petronio or anything 'cause that's not in the cards for me... but I do the best with what I've got and dammit, I'm proud of it.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Last night I saw Zoe/Juniper at The Dance Center of Columbia College.  65 minutes of dark, strange and intriguing visuals.  My husband didn't care for it, but he's no dancer, so I pulled rank on him and told him although he's normally free to have his own opinion, he'll have to agree with me on this one.

Were there lulls in the action? Yes.  Especially during the quiet moments when we could all hear percussion practice going on in the Sherwood Music School next door.  Someone should really make sure that on performance nights, no one practices the drums after 8pm.  Seriously.

There were also some Greek-chorus/baroque court dancing sections that went on a bit long with unending repetition.  This is where I would have cut at least 2 minutes off the end of each "chorus" section.

Some other comments I got from fellow patrons were that the scenes seemed disjointed and the piece was not cohesive.  I didn't mind the separate "scenes".  It felt like wandering through a gallery and looking at the individual pieces in a visual art show.  My only beef was that I wanted more of the fantastic video that appeared in the first third of the show.  Ghostly mirrored video images haunted each of the dancers as they appeared and disappeared from the stage.  The human-sized images danced as much as the real dancers and I wanted more.  I rarely feel such a connection from video in dance.

The vocabulary of the piece was low, feral, and glitchy.  You felt like you were watching a grainy video feed that intermittently skipped frames.  It was technically very difficult and quite unique.   Yes, legs went up to the ceiling and toes pointed (you should know that these things are loath to me), but all for the sake of attaining the praying-mantis/scorpion/gollum feel of the movement.  The dancers all embodied this so well, and then Zoe entered the scene and blew them all away.  Insect-dancing is clearly her specialty.  Entirely made of long limbs that are evidently able to rotate at least 270 degrees (yes, I had to look up the rotation of an owl's neck to get an accurate figure), Zoe is able to go anywhere and stop momentum to change direction at breakneck speed.

Did I mention the shiny floor that made each dancer look like they were avatars because of the light that seemingly shone up on them from the floor?  It's hard to describe, but it looked like a very specific follow-spot on each dancer... coming from underneath the floor.  Cool.  Cool, cool, cool.  Besides that, it made their footsteps sound completely different from any regular dance floor.

To wrap it all up, despite some quibbles on the editing, a desire for more of Juniper, and the drummers next door, I thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration of Zoe/Juniper.

I'd see them again.  For sure.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People

Last weekend I saw Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People at the MCA.  They performed And Lose the Name of Action to a bemused, stunned and sage crowd.  As I sat there with my old Milwaukee friend that just moved to something like 30 different states and then to Chicago within a year, I pointed out no less than 10 Chicago dance makers that I could name.  There were more dancers that I recognized from classes, but you get it.  Sage crowd.

Then I read this review by Laura Molzahn for See Chicago Dance... that was less than enthusiastic.  I was instantly reminded of the kerfuffle over Macaulay's review of Tere O'Connor.  Why do things have to "develop", have to elicit emotion?

I thought the piece was brilliant and that the performers were so amazing I kept staring at each of them in turn and re-reading their bios because their performances were so unaffected.  And for this reason alone I could call the performance brilliant, but there was much more.

Yes, it was 10 minutes too long, but that could've been because I was on a completely unforgiving metal chair.  The rest of the experience was a breath of fresh air in a town full of high legs and pointed toes.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I'm moonlighting on the blog of the company I dance for.  Read my latest entry, all about what it's like to be a newbie in a new company:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Thank Goodness for Company Class

I'm back in the land of the frigid north.

My 33-year-old dancing body doesn't warm up as well in Chicago as it did in Miami.  There's no way around that.  Yes, I know that's still young in human years, but dance-years are like dog-years: not as kind.  You try pirouetting into a jump that lands on top of your feet/shins in a cross-legged position and hops into side lunge after walking 5 blocks in -13 degree windchill.  It's a bit shocking.

Whatever.  My point is that once the actual winter hit (not this global-warming-induced bathwater we were calling December) it suddenly became a huge chore to get myself to any class outside of the one I teach twice a week and company class.  I am thoroughly convinced that all studio classes must suffer immensely when the cold hits, because I do.  If it weren't for company class, I'd be losing ankle-strength faster than I lose my willpower in the Warm Ups section on

If you're a dancer, you've been there.  You get a couple of weeks off for Christmas and before you know it, you can't releve on one foot any more (not to mention that putting on a leotard and tights is a little harrowing after all that eggnog).

So here's to company class!  You and I will always be best friends.  You have saved me from myself many a Christmas season, and may you continue to do so for many a year to come.  And I pledge, if I ever start my own company, I will arrange company class before every rehearsal.  Amen.