The Thodos Dance Chicago Winter Concert: Melissa Thodos and Getting There

"Getting There" at the Thodos Dance Chicago Winter Concert

In 1988, Melissa Thodos presented her first major professional work, a solo she also performed, at the Internationale Dance de Paris competition. "Reaching There" was innovative and elegant; it featured a brilliant original electronic score and a large (almost as big as her) wood cylinder, the Wheel, that she danced through, around, and with in what turned out to be an award-winning work. "Reaching There" also defined the beginning of an important career; it brought the talented dancer recognition as a choreographer, and began a trajectory that led not long afterwards to the founding of the Company that is now Thodos Dance Chicago. In the twenty years that followed, Thodos' career expanded; while it always included successful and award-winning choreographic work, it began to be even more defined by the development of a very different concept in what a Dance Company can be. Her idea of emphasizing equally performance, choreography and education led to a Company of artists who now include several award-winning choreographers in their own right.

"Getting There" is the irresistible sequel to her first signature work, created this time as a trio and with a driving new score, but with the same famous Wheel as its focus. Performed at its World Premiere by Brian Hare, Sharon Joyce Kung and Danielle Scanlon, the piece opens with a striking lighting design by Nathan Tomlinson, the Company's Resident Lighting Designer, and features intricately athletic movement performed with deceptively casual grace. Barely more than five minutes, it's entertaining, compelling, and understated. In fact, as a retrospective of such a complex career, it seems almost deliberately omissive, and it probably is. In its dynamic clarity, it seems intended not so much to catalog Thodos' accomplishments as to showcase her well-chosen priorities.



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