Talk about moving
Performing-arts critic and dance lover Lucia Mauro is the perfect person to connect choreographers with curious audiences in stimulating discussion. Her gracious, gentle style, genuine enthusiasm, and knowledge of the art form have enriched the local dance discourse via post-performance Fireside Chats at the Auditorium Theatre and the informal sessions at the Cultural Center called About Dance.
Time Out Chicago: In the photograph accompanying this article, you're pictured with Russian choreographer Boris Eifman, his translator and audience members in a Fireside Chat at the Auditorium Theatre back in June when his company performed Anna Karenina here. What do you recall from that conversation?
Lucia Mauro: I was most struck by [Eifman's] drive and persistence. He was breaking the rules of Russian classical dance in the 1970s and '80s, when the Soviet government of the time tried to prevent his more experimental works from being seen. He said he was driven by the need to create. Nothing could stop him. And he believed that dance could express the most profound emotions.
TOC: What are you looking forward to in this season's Fireside Chats?
LM: The variety of artists being interviewed—from Gerald Arpino talking about the Joffrey Ballet's classical-contemporary repertoire to Matthew Bourne discussing his all-male Swan Lake, as well as dancers from the Ailey company sharing their personal experiences and Twyla Tharp [or some of her dancers] taking audiences through the process of creating a Broadway "dansical."
TOC: How do you see your function as a moderator of these kinds of conversations? What have you learned?
LM: My role is to carry a casual, public conversation with artists and, in the process, help reveal what inspires their need to express themselves through choreography and dance. But beyond the featured guests sharing details about their artistry, I hope the audience leaves feeling as if they've learned more about the artist as a person. I've learned that there's a large contingent of arts lovers who crave these kinds of insightful dialogues, and they're one of the main reasons the Fireside Chats and About Dance programs have been such fulfilling experiences.—AC
Mauro moderates a Fireside Chat on Joffrey's A Midsummer Night's Dream on Friday 21. See Listings. Upcoming Chats include: February 24, Bourne's Swan Lake; May 19, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; July 7, Twyla Tharp's Movin' Out.