OTHER Dance Festival
Think of the OTHER as a more focused, Pitchfork-style event in relation to the Lollapalooza-like Dance Chicago.
Think of the OTHER Dance Festival as a more focused Pitchfork-style event in relation to the comprehensive, Lollapalooza-like Dance Chicago Festival taking place at the Athenaeum throughout November. ODF participants represent a swath of indie choreographers and small-to-midsize modern-dance companies that focus on original choreography and have strong ties to long-established entities such as the Chicago Moving Company (also the ODF host organization), the Dance Center of Columbia College and Links Hall. Due to the fest’s popularity, nabbing a ticket at the door is iffy, but since ODF started using brownpapertickets.com, advance purchase is fast and simple. Shows are on Thursdays and Fridays, start at 7:30pm and take place in the homey Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater. Unlike the ’Fork or ’Looza, you don’t have to stay for hours to see all the acts—the shows run efficiently, and park officials clear everyone out by 9:30pm. Below, we’ve given you a little background on each of the festival artists.
Week one (Thu 18, Fri 19)
Chicago Moving Company
Holding steady in Chicago since 1972, CMC is led by founder Nana Shineflug, a remarkably energetic septuagenarian. The premiere she choreographed for this year’s ODF is called Hati-Hati.
The Dance COLEctive
Artistic director Margi Cole turns over the reins to choreographer Colleen Halloran for this year’s ODF premiere. Halloran’s solid, thoughtful work is always something to look forward to.
Riding high on the success of his full-length Let’s Go Love!, which premiered to rave reviews last month, Hollis’s queer-positive pieces seamlessly blend dance, confessional storytelling, affirmations and cheerleading. Yes! You will like it!
Rachel Bunting/The Humans
A member of CMC, Bunting is a lithe little animal who usually performs in her own dances. Her pieces—with names like Let’s Kill Our Sadness (her offering at last year’s ODF)—invite you into a world saturated with emotion and surreal imagery.
A strong intellectual bent shapes artistic director Carrie Hanson’s physically rigorous work. If you missed Convergence, the Seldoms’s recent collaboration with an architect in a big warehouse, you can see excerpts of it here.
Week two (Sept 25, 26)
We’re guessing the full company got maxed out during its recent run of DE-evolution of Mudwoman at the Viaduct, so for this show artistic director Atalee Judy is performing in a fast-paced triptych of one humorous duet and two punky, provocative solos.
TOC’s Dance editor offers the solo she’s been refining all summer, Seven Stillnesses.
Cindy Brandle Dance Company
Former coartistic director of CMC, Brandle formed her own group just four years ago. She’ll show the first section of hew new piece, Looking for Supergirl.
If there’s one reason to check out this show, Jones is it. A new addition to the ODF lineup this year, Jones, whose last opus brought voguing front-to-front with postmodern dance, is on fire with his latest project inspired by the energetics of rioting crowds.
Mordine & Company
Choreographing for more than 40 years, Shirley Mordine stands with Shineflug as one of the pillars of our modern-dance scene. For this show, she has reduced and refined her three-section, evening-length work Quest (completed last year) into a succinct short.
Same Planet Different World
In the past year, this ten-year-old troupe has undergone a renaissance, commissioning hot ’n’ fresh choreography by chopsy New York and Chicago artists. SPDW main dancer Joanna Rosenthal, a sparky, spunky, petite-but-powerful performer, is taking the ODF opportunity to show a duet of her own devising.
Week three (Oct 2, 3)
Possibly the city’s premier dancer-scholar, Carpenter’s known for making dance-theater works with heady political themes. He’s using ODF to premiere an excerpt of his new project, based on research about ex-Prez Ronald Reagan.
It’s not a new dance, but Jan Bartoszek’s May 2007 Night Blooming Jasmine is so lovely and so worth seeing again. The sensual, gorgeously crafted ensemble piece is set to original music by vocalist Carol Genetti.
Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape
Very philosophical, Kato seeks the spiritual through her deeply felt dance performances. Her new solo, Crystal Episodes, is inspired by the sudden, energetic shift that results from life-changing experiences.
Lucky Plush Productions
This year, Plush looks back at a decade of existence. To that end, artistic director and choreographer Julia Rhoads is remixing and sampling from previous repertory to make new work. Longtime fans of the company might find themselves in flashback mode, with a twist.
Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak
Shanahan has collected a handful of the city’s finest dancers to explore a new process based on the deep solo material she unearthed with last year’s My Name is a Blackbird.
Natya Dance Theater
Natya (arguably the city’s top Indian-classical-dance troupe), appears in a collaboration with Mordine and Company (see “Week two,” above). Natya’s Hema Rajagopalan and Mordine have co-choreographed in the past, and the results of their cross-cultural juxtaposition are fascinating.
Admission is $15; a festival pass that lets you into one show each week is $35 (buy tickets at brownpapertickets.com). All shows begin at 7:30pm at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater (3035 N Hoyne Ave, 773-880-5402, chicagomovingcompany.org).