Dance company offers some pre-Valentine’s romance
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media January 20, 2011 4:02PM
RIVER NORTH DANCE CHICAGO
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Dance aficionados will get a pre-Valentine’s Day treat when River North Dance Chicago previews a romantic program in Naperville.
The program includes seven pieces, including several romantic and sensual duets, artistic director Frank Chaves said. River North Dance Chicago performs Jan. 29 at North Central College in Naperville.
The program will open with “Love Will Follow,” a piece by Chaves set to the music of Kenny Loggins.
“That’s kind of a ballroom-flavored, very elegant, ladies in long flowing dresses, men dressed in tuxedos” number, he said. “It’s very romantic. The piece ends with a kiss.”
Next, they “bring the house down” with a piece called “Beat.”
“It’s a very percussive score. There are a few landmarks throughout the number — three or four places where the choreographer gave (the dancer) something to do — but the rest of it is improvised on the spot, so he makes it up as he goes along.
“Then I’ll have another duet … an older one of mine I’m reviving. It’s called ‘Fixe’ and the music is by Cirque du Soleil,” he said. “It’s very ethereal, very haunting, almost a bit animalistic … the girl’s feet hardly touch the ground, the guy’s lifting her so much. It’s probably a little bit more on the balletic side of all my duets. It’s very, very haunting and very beautiful.”
The first half will close with a piece called “Evolution of a Dream,” a 2009 full-company re-envisioning of the company’s classic 1992 signature work, “Reality of a Dreamer” by co-artistic director emeritus Sherry Zunker. It is set to a new version of the original song, “Sweet Dreams,” by Eurythmics co-composers David Stewart and His Rock Fabulous Orchestra and Annie Lennox.
The dancing is technically more demanding than it was originally.
“Stylistically, it has a strong jazz flavor to it. At the same time, she upped the ante on the technique of the dancers. The dancers these days are much more technical,” he said. “She’s made it a bit more intense, a bit more difficult, and added a good bit of technique to show the dancers off, all her within signature flavor, which is very stylized.”
The second half of the program includes two more pieces of Chaves’ in it, as well as a piece called “Sky” by Kevin Iega Jeff.
This is the third time the company will be at North Central. The group was scheduled to premier a new tango piece; however, it won’t be finished in time, Chaves said. Nonetheless, he is very excited about the work in progress.
Also this year, the company will debut a piece commissioned by the Warton Center in East Lansing, Mich., and Chicago’s Auditorium Theater. The piece will be set to the music of Miles Davis, as this year would have been his 85th birthday.
A tribute to Miles Davis is well keeping with the ideals of River North.
“The one thing I always wanted to maintain is the jazz background and that jazz history,” Chaves said. “Jazz is accessible and entertaining.”