by Hedy Weiss
The Auditorium Theatre has announced a major new initiative, "The Music + Dance Festival," a project designed to pair 11 of Chicago's finest dance troupes with some of Chicago's best live music makers. The festival, which will unspool over a five-month period (beginning this month and running through June), is being underwritten with $145,000 in grants from the Chicago Community Trust, The Boeing Company and The Joyce Foundation.
The festival will begin with 10 performances taking place in the Auditorium's Katten/Landau Studio, 425 S. Wabash (4th floor), and will continue on the Auditorium Theatre stage, 50 E. Congress, with the highly anticipated April 13 collaboration between River North Dance Chicago and Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic's in "Havana Blue," an exploration of Afro-Cuban music and dance.
The Auditorium also will host a May 15 showcase featuring five selected performances from the festival as well as Giordano Dance Chicago and Luna Negra Dance Theater.
The dance companies commissioned by the Auditorium Theatre are: Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center's Bryant Ballet, DanceWorks Chicago, Full Effect Entertainment Theatrical Dance Company, Joel Hall Dancers, Kalapriya Dance Company, Kuumba Lynx, Mexican Dance Ensemble and Thodos Dance Chicago. They have been paired with musicians ranging from students honing their skills to esteemed international musicians. Each pairing creates a unique, original performance to premiere in the Auditorium's versatile Katten/Landau studio. All performances are reviewed by a panel of distinguished dance professionals who will select five stand-out pieces to culminate in the May 15 showcase.
While some of the dance companies will be using original scores, others will be using existing music, but many of the companies and musicians are still in creative discussions. The score for the River North piece will be original. Paul Wertico and DanceWorks Chicago, and Charles Heath and the Joel Hall Dancers also plan to use original music as of now.
Tickets are on sale now. Call (800) 982-2787 or visit www.AuditoriumTheatre.org/musicandmovement. The festival will continue with various community performances through June in select locations around Chicago.