When Shirley Mordine arrived in Chicago in 1969, nobody really realized how much dance she was bringing with her, if only because she hadn't made most of it yet. She hadn't founded the Dance Center of Columbia College, which she went on to direct for thirty years as it became the nationally respected institution it is today. She hadn't started Mordine & Company Dance Theater, which has been inventing successful new kinds of dance presentation for forty-three very active seasons, and she hadn't really begun the incredible series of ingenious collaborations that are a hallmark of her creativity.
On Thursday, February 28, Mordine & Company begin a series of performances at Chicago's Stage 773 (through Sunday, March 3) in a program entitled All At Once. The program is characteristically imaginative; it includes two works by Mordine, both of which feature original compositions by composer Shawn Decker, as well as guest performances from two other talented companies. On Thursday and Friday, Clinard Dance Theatre will perform, while the Saturday and Sunday shows feature performances by Deeply Rooted Dance Theater.
Clinard Dance Theatre is a contemporary dance company rooted in flamenco; Artistic Director Wendy Clinard studied the art in an apprenticeship with flamenco dancer Edo Sie, and she combines her expertise in flamenco's distinctly dramatic rhythms with a creative focus on making threatrically compelling works. The Company will be performing Clinard's From the Arctic to the Middle East (Broken Narratives by an American Flamenco Dancer), with music by Steve Gibons, using story and song, music and dance, "to create an odyssey between the ancient and the modern".
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presented a duet at Duets for My Valentine earlier this month, and the performance by Jessica Walker and Kevin Dirkson in Gary Abbott's Somewhere was riveting in its technical and emotional precision. For their All At Once performances on Saturday and Sunday, they're presenting a work by Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff entitled Naeemah's Room, an intimate work for five dancers that looks at the difficult experience of depression.
All At Once will include two works by Shirley Mordine, including the World Premiere of All at Once/Acts of Renewal, a new work for eight dancers, which the Company describes as being inspired by "the ability – and need – to process a deluge of information in the digital age". They will also reprise Mordine’s 2011 work LifeSpeak, "a work about stories, in particular life stories that illuminate one’s individual past and our collective history".
The whole idea of All at Once sounds so promising in its diverse imaginativeness, and Shirley Mordine has put this kind of audience-inclusive dance concert together so many times, and with such consistent success, that getting some tickets could be an unusually easy decision. Tickets by phone are at the Stage773 Box Office, 773-327-5252, or online at Stage 773.