“Chicago Inspired”, Thodos Dance Chicago’s 23rd Anniversary Winter Concert, was an exhilarating smorgasbord of contemporary dance. The company, all incredibly athletic and uber talented, must also be masters of endurance, since most participated in every piece. Get your tickets for the Harris Theatre performance of “Chicago Inspired” on March 7th , they’re sure to sell quickly. “Chicago Inspired” gets 4 BIG Spotlights.
The program consisted of eight major pieces. Some, like “Near Light” and “Memoirs”, were brand new; some, like the mysterious “Night Windows” and “Flawed”, have been added to the Thodos repertory. Thodos also offered salutes to old friends, Walter Terry and Agnes de Mille and my favorite, a fabulous Fosse Trilogy.
I have always loved Fosse’s sophisticated choreography; the unique way his dancers use their entire bodies. The Fosse Trilogy features three stand-alone works Fosse created for TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show. Fosse chose pop songs, “Cool Hand Luke”, Tijuana Shuffle” and “Mexican Breakfast”. Each work featuring three dancers wearing sixties fashion favorite, hip-huggers and midriff baring halters. Kudos to Ann Reinking, a former Fosse dancer, for reconstructing these rarely performed works.
The Salute to Agnes de Mille was another of my favorites. The work was originally choreographed by Sybil Shearer using Dave Brubeck’s “Stompin’ for Mili”. Toby Nicholson’s restaging featured a video of Agnes de Mille – dancing the same flirty steps as the company.
The final work, “Memoirs”, was my friend’s least favorite work, probably because the entire company wore red dresses and trunks, which was kind of odd. As for me, I thought the ‘dresses’ were reminiscent of Cossack coats, and I loved the strong, athletic, cutting-edge choreography.
The company: John Cartwright, Tenley Dorrill, Abby Ellison, Kyle Hadenfeldt, Brandon Harneck, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Taylor Mitchell, Brennen Renteria, Briana Robinson, Alissa Tollefson, Diana Winfree and Lauren Zimmerer.
As I read the program, I discovered that Briana Robinson is from Gary. Her name seemed so familiar, I thought I must have written something about her. Sure enough, when I checked, I found this paragraph about Briana in my NWI Times column, TheatreScene, right after her high school graduation, in 2009.
“After I saw a recent performance by some of the students from South Shore Dance Alliance, I learned that one of the dancers, Briana Robinson, an Emerson School graduate, has been accepted into the Julliard School. Out of the thousands of dance students auditioning for 24 spots, Briana is one of just twelve girls accepted into the freshman class. Maybe we’ll see her up on the Broadway stage someday!”
Since her graduation from Julliard, Briana danced in a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Brooklyn, New York, and performed in the Emerging Choreographers Showcase here in Chicago before joining Thodos. Kudos Briana!
The next performance of “Chicago Inspired” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7th at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Tickets range from $15-$65; 40% off for students and seniors. FYI (312) 334-7777 or www.harristheaterchicago.org.