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The Four Biggest Dance Performances in Chicago This Spring

More than a dozen local dance companies are back in action this month. Here are some of the most anticipated shows to see—starting tonight.

Photography: (Haley) Marc Hauser; (Calmels) Sean Williams; (Rosenthal) William Frederking; (Seldoms) Maria Pinto

(From left) Monique Haley of RNDC, Fabrice Calmels of Joffrey Ballet, Joanna Rosenthal of SPDW, and Amanda McAlister and Marc Macaranas of the Seldoms

Classical

Othello
Joffrey Ballet

What it is: A remount of the popular Lar Lubovitch–designed ballet, danced by the city’s premier ballet company

The scene-stealer: Fabrice Calmels as Othello. “The way he manipulates his partner, April Daly—takes her over his shoulder, under his knee, turns her upside down—is just spectacular,” says Ashley Wheater, the Joffrey’s artistic director.

Don’t miss: The second act opener. “The women become a storm,” Wheater says. “All the female dancers are involved.”

April 24 to May 5 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, joffrey.com; $31 to $152

 

Contemporary

Mix with Six
The Seldoms

What it is: Three nights of dancers performing work by other dancers—a rare opportunity to see Chicago’s brainiest troupe let loose and have fun

The distinction: “[It’s] a really different-looking group of people,” says artistic director Carrie Hanson. “Their bodies, their ways of moving, are different. We’re going to see their individuality.”

Don’t miss: Dancer Damon Green’s piece, which brings back vogueing with a twist. “It’s flamboyant, in-your-face, somewhat combative, kind of effeminate,” Hanson says.

April 12 to 14 at Links Hall in Wrigleyville, theseldoms.org; $15

 

Cuban

Havana Blue
River North Dance Chicago

What it is: A steamy night of dance set to an original Orbert Davis score played live by the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic

The genesis: “Orbert had this desire to create a new composition based on the origins of Afro-Caribbean and Cuban music,” says Frank Chaves, the company’s artistic director. “Being Cuban, that perked my ears up.”

Don’t miss: The fourth section, featuring an all-male performance inspired by a “raw” Cuban dance troupe. “It’s a big, percussive street scene, very athletic,” Chaves says.

April 13 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, rivernorthchicago.com; $32 to $76

 

Eclectic

Flyspace
Various Companies

What it is: Four boundary-pushing groups on one ticket: the Dance COLEctive, Hedwig Dances, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, and Zephyr Dance

The back story: The company founders wanted to expand their respective audiences. “We thought it would behoove us to pool our resources,” says SPDW’s Joanna Rosenthal.

Don’t miss: Hedwig dancer Victor Alexander, one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” “His ability to deliver sensitive, emotional phrasing to his work makes his dancing stand out,” says Hedwig’s artistic director Jan Bartoszek.

April 5 to 14 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, brownpapertickets.com; $15

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