Thodos Dance Chicago’s 2009 Fall Concert is being presented at two venues, and the first performance, at The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts was a don’t-miss performance. The Centre East main theatre was packed for an exceptionally well-presented show, and the second installment, at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, is Saturday, November 28 at 8:00 PM. For tickets, phone the Harris Theater at 312 334-777 or go to www.harristheaterchicago.org.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you can expect:
The first act of the 2009 Fall Concert features four works by Chicago Choreographers: NINE, by Brock Clawson, DEPARTUREPOINT by Ron De Jesus, ARCHITECTURE: SPLINTERED AND CRACKED, by Jessica Miller Tomlinson, and REFLECT, by Jeremy Blair and Mollie Mock.
AOTPR asked choreographer Brock Clawson to help us describe the performance. Clawson’s own work NINE opens the program; it’s a work commissioned by Thodos Dance Chicago in 2007, and it’s strength and popularity continue to make it a favorite. Rarely can choreography be both serene and dynamic, but NINE expresses a high-speed dreamscape in pastel colors that mesmerizes an audience.
DEPARTUREPOINT is a work for five men by Ron De Jesus. Brock Clawson: “This is definitely a work that is meant to showcase the men in the company. Dark and driving and intense are the words I would use to describe it. I really enjoy the technicality and the athleticism that his work demands.”
ARCHITECTURE: SPLINTERED AND CRACKED by Jessica Miller Tomlinson. Brock Clawson: “This is an abstract work, but one that has a very apparent and well-thought-out through-line, which is what makes it really shine. It’s a very intelligent work, by an astonishingly creative new choreographer.”
REFLECT is a double collaboration. Choreographers Jeremy Blair and Mollie Mock together did what few choreographers can do: create together a bright and breathtaking nine minutes of movement that speaks with a single, clear voice. The two choreographers also collaborated with Chicago group ‘ohana, who composed the original score “Hidden” for the work (http://aotpr.com/track/hidden), and the mutual inspiration of music and movement shine throughout the piece. This performance features choreographer Mock dancing the lead role, and it’s a rare opportunity to see a really gifted performer interpret her own choreography. Brock Clawson: “One of the things that impressed me is that it’s really difficult for two choreographers to have a single artistic vision that, once it gets to stage, feels very cohesive, and like a single idea. Mollie and Jeremy obviously worked amazingly well together in conceiving a piece that looks like one person’s complete idea.”
The Second Act of the show opens with a superb short documentary by Chris Olsen of Emmy Award Winning Kai Harding, Inc. (http://blog.kaiharding.com/). The documentary features Ann Reinking describing the context of the three Bob Fosse works presented in the Fosse Trology.
FOSSE TRILOGY. Choreography by Bob Fosse, Reconstruction, Transitional Choreography and Direction by Ann Reinking. Here’s what Brock has to say: “These works show a side of Bob Fosse that most people aren’t generally aware of. I like the fact that these were works done for network television in the sixties, including for the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. While the first of the the three, “Cool Hand Luke” is very much Bob Fosse, the other two present a lighter side of the great choreographer’s work than is usually seen.”
AWAKENING by Wade Schaaf. Brock Clawson: “What stands out to me about the piece is that it does a great job of showcasing the company’s ability to work well as an ensemble. There is some really beautiful structure happening in the work that’s supported by an equally beautiful score.”
DRIVEN is Melissa Thodos’ newest work, which Sid Smith described in the Chicago Tribune as “feverish, whirling speed and endurance”. The title if anything is understatement; it’s a demanding composition that showcases both the extraordinary technical standards of the company and the complex and edgy vision of Thodos’ choreography. Brock Clawson: “This is very high-energy, very driving. Melissa’s taken a lot of risks in the work, while still being true to who she is as a choreographer. It has the Thodos trademarks of being athletic, well-shaped, and high-energy.”