"Triptych: 3 Dance Voices" is the perfect name for a collaboration between Winifred Haun, Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Jacqueline Stewart; each is a multi-talented artist focused in Choreography, but all three are perhaps most recognized for the originality of their artistic expression. Winifred Haun is the founder of Winifred Haun & Dancers, a Company that has produced over a hundred and twenty-five original works since 1991. As impressive as longevity and originality are as separate qualities, very few Companies have combined them as successfully as Winifred Haun & Dancers. Jessica Miller Tomlinson is noted both for her consistently unique choreographic vision, and for her ability to successfully express her remarkable range of inspiration. Jacqueline Stewart, whose early works were Chicago based and who now lives and works in New York, is both choreographer and visual artist, and her multi-faceted view of the world is always somehow woven into the fabric of her choregraphic work.
"Triptych: 3 Dance Voices", which will be presented at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 PM, features six works, two by each Choreographer. Haun's works include "Bemused", an aerial duet inspired by "the tortured relationship between a man and his slowly developing idea", and her acclaimed "Bento". Jessica Miller Tomlinson presents two world premieres, "Run 1, Run 2, Run 3" is a duet for Tomlinson and Joshua Manculich, and "Transient Interactions", an abstract group work for five couples. Jacqueline Stewart will also premiere two works, "Coffee and Alcohol", a quintet inspired "by the sensations of dehydration", and "Manos: FRAME 1", "the story of a woman lost in her own images and movements". (The piece was inspired by the photograph, taken by Stewart, pictured with this article.)
This is a really unique opportunity to see six works by three compelling choreographers; tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets. After Friday's performance, there will be a discussion with the choreographers, and Stewart will teach a Master Class from 5:00 to 6:00 P.M. For more information about each of these remarkable choreographers, check out each of their sites at Winifred Haun, Jacqueline Stewart and Jessica Miller Tomlinson.
Jacqueline Stewart describes Jaxon Movement Arts as "a project-based company that creates dance art inspired by current events and active collaborations with adjacent artistic mediums". The full-length work Dance Gallery 2011 is an especially successful expression of this philosophy. Presented in collaboration with JMT/JLS choreographer Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Dance Gallery 2011 is an embracing journey through the myriad landscapes of artistic collaboration. Naturally, like the JMT/JLS 2010 production that was the first coproduction by the award winning choregraphers, Dance Gallery 2011 moves through the series of unique choreographic visions that Stewart and Tomlinson always manage to conjure. Unique to this project though was the presentation of Concert as Gallery, with each individual work set in a different section of the art gallery-style space. The inevitable interaction between a constantly-moving audience perspective and the inspired performances highlighted ever more vividly the richness of collaborations --- dance, production, design and performance --- woven into the work.
The Joyce Theater "was created by dancers for dance". That's the simple introduction that the Joyce Theater Foundation begins with in the section on the Joyce's history at their site's Mission & History page. The description of what the Joyce Theater Foundation does is especially interesting in light of The A.W.A.R.D. show program that they sponsor now in five cities around the country, including on Wednesday July 28 at 8PM at The Dance Center of Columbia College. Here's what they say: "The mission of The Joyce Theater Foundation is to serve and support the art of dance and choreography [and] promote the richness and variety of the art form in its fullest expression ...". Especially interesting to me was to learn that the Joyce Theater itself, which I've often heard about but haven't yet been to, is a 427-seat theater, exactly the right size for the support of small and medium-sized dance companies.
Thodos Dance Chicago’s NEW DANCES 2010 will be presented July 16 and 17 at 8PM and on Sunday July 18 at 5PM at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60605. (312) 369-8330. For ten years, New Dances has been a uniquely successful showcase of new choreography; it's innovative approach to supporting the development of new works has created a whole artistic scene around the rehearsals and studio work, costuming, sound and lighting design that go on each spring and early summer, leading to the July performances. It's a once-a-year opportunity to see a bright and broad spectrum of innovative dance creation, but at major-company levels of performance and production. You can find out more about each of the choreographers and the works they will be premiering here:
Sharon Joyce Kung and "Just Before Now"
Brian Hare and "Temporary Proof"
Wade Schaaf and "Dancer, Net"
Jacqueline Stewart and "Jiffy Pop"
Joshua Manculich and "____versus____"
Danielle Scanlon and "Heart Strings"
Francisco Avina & Stephanie Martinez Bennitt and "Quieting the Clock"
Jeremy Blair and "2:00 AM, Delancy St."
Jessica Miller Tomlinson and "Big Technique"
Jessica Miller Tomlinson was working with Melissa Thodos once when Thodos, while rehearsing a section in one of her works, said "Jess, give me your big technique." If that's a unique way to find the title (and inspiration) for a choreographic work, even more unique is the adventure that Jessica Miller Tomlinson is able to conjure from it. Imagine what can happen when Miller Tomlinson (whose recent independent production with Jacqueline Stewart JMT/JLS featured one inspiring display of artistic confidence after another) does a study dedicated to confidence in art. A remarkable subject for most choreographers to undertake, but Jessica Miller Tomlinson always seems to address subjects that only her uniquely inspired view of the world could imagine, and in "Big Technique" she imagines an inspired tour of the World of Artistic Confidence.
JMT/JLS, the evening of choreography by Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Jacqueline Stewart, is one of those shows that’s really too good to miss. It runs one more night (Saturday, June 5 at 8PM) at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, and if there’s any way you can get to it, do. There aren’t too many other places where you could see such a wide-ranging selection of really imaginative work. It includes compelling ensemble pieces like Jaqueline Stewart’s “Re-directing Fear” and Jessica Miller Tomlinson’s “Let Me In”, a pair of mesmerizing duets (Tomlinson’s “Crimes D’Amour in the first act, Stewart’s “It’s Not Enough To Close Your Eyes" in the second), and five other intricately imagined and superbly executed works: “Aurora”, a solo danced by Cara Sabin, Stewart’s “Nice Women Don’t Crave Disaster”, Tomlinson’s “Forget What You Came For?”, Stewart’s “E-ffect”, and Tomlinson’s “Die Lieder Tanzen”.
Nathan Tomlinson is one of the most prolific performers in Chicago dance, but he’s only on stage before and after the shows. This Friday and Saturday, he’ll be on stage for the JMT/JLS programs at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts --- not in person during the performances, but in his multidimensional roles of lighting designer, technical director, and just-make-sure-everything-goes-right manager.
Tomlinson is especially respected for his dynamically innovative lighting designs. He is the Resident Lighting Designer and Technical Director for Thodos Dance Chicago and he also works extensively with independent choreographers (including Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Jacqueline Stewart at JMT/JLS). He can also be found in technical fields far from Dance, like lighting the City of Chicago’s annual Michigan Avenue Christmas Display. It’s not surprising that someone with the technical expertise to light dozens of the most high-priced city blocks in the world finds it easy to invent, innovate and explore new ideas in production lighting.
Jessica Miller Tomlinson’s choreography has attracted an increasingly dedicated following over the past few years; her 2006 work “Forget What You Came For?”and last year’s “Architecture: Splintered and Cracked” were both commissioned for the Thodos Dance Chicago New Dances series, and both were subsequently added to the Company’s repertoire. This June, Jessica and Jaqueline Stewart will present a special two-night production of their own works at JMT/JLS (June 4-5 at the Ruth Page Center For the Arts, Chicago), where Jessica will premiere a new work entitled “Let Me In”.