The Thodos Dance Chicago Winter Concert: Ron De Jesús and Shift

Shift at the The Thodos Dance Chicago Winter Concert

Accomplishment and serenity are not always traveling companions. The continuous effort that an unending series of challenges and successes demands often occupies most of the space in life that might have been reflection or relaxation. Ron de Jesús knows something about that, because nobody accomplishes what he has without working hard and working a lot. Every line in a long list of credits and awards --- dancing from Hubbard Street to Broadway, work in film, work in theater, choreographing for many of the world's great dance companies --- every credit and every award is its own list of meetings, cab rides, rehearsals, and airports, of meals missed and sleep forgone. On the other hand, you can't create original choreography that is as thoughtful (and thought-provoking) as his unless you can somehow find a way to stop. To look. Or as De Jesús says, "to respect all that this grand, delicate world has to offer".

Ron De Jesús' "Shift" is both demonstration and documentation of the process of just such discovery. In the first of the work's three movements, De Jesús develops a frantic, urban energy, with the drive and push of a frenetic metropolis portrayed in almost digital terms, like copies of copies of some shared passion. All of this changes in the second movement, a beautifully lyrical study of three interrelated duets to a dream-like score. De Jesús describes this as "a translation in time and space", like a bridge across a canyon, to the third and final movement, with its energetic depiction of the complete Shift -- from the hectic, urban world to a world more delicate and more at peace.

In talking about "Shift", De Jesús describes a trip he took a few years ago with Lou Conte, the former Artistic Director of Hubbard Street. "We had driven through the desert until we reached the Grand Canyon. Once we arrived and I was standing there, I felt so small, and at peace; all of my personal issues, all of the noise of my mind seemed to fade. It was an experience that was life changing, hence the title --- Shift."

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