The Thodos Dance Chicago Winter Concert, featuring major new works by Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos ("The White City: Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893") and by multi-talented choreographer Ron De Jesús ("Shift"), has received a very impressive crictical response. The show begins with Reinking and Thodos's work, and in the second act, which closes with "Shift", audiences also get to see the return of two audience and critical favorites from 2010 New Dances series: "Quieting the Clock" by Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martin-Bennet, and "Dancer, Net (Solo 1)" by Wade Schaaf, as well as a second world premiere by Thodos, "Getting There", a sequel to the signature work that began her choreographic career. Here are some excerpts from a few of the reviews:
Hedy Weiss, The Chicago Sun-Times: "The program, whose second act contained four other works of exceptional quality ... is a must-see for anyone intrigued by Chicago history, by the power of dance to spin a story, and by the sight of a dance troupe clearly in the throes of a major breakthrough.
... “The White City” is a sophisticated, utterly involving blend of ingeniously imagined, superbly executed movement (with echoes of everything from “The Green Table” ballet to Broadway’s “Ragtime”); ravishing music (Bruce Wolosoff’s seductive “Songs Without Words,” played thrillingly by the Carpe Diem Quartet, perched in a balcony box); film (clever use of archival material by Christopher Kai Olsen, with deft narration by Chris Multhauf); haunting lighting (by Nathan Tomlinson, whose artistry was on display throughout the evening), and period-perfect costumes (by Nathan Rohrer)."
Sid Smith, The Chicago Tribune: "zippy ensemble evocations of fairway delight, made rich by Chris Olsen's ingenious film re-creations of the real White City and Nathan Rohrer's smart period costumes ... Hare, Schaaf, Tomlinson and especially Manculich are all excellent, and so is the finish... "White City," unveiled Saturday in Skokie, is flush with warm colors, pleasing and swift choral whirls and lifts, and brisk, straightforward episodes, all shrewdly bathed in Nathan Tomlinson's nostalgic golden lighting."
Deanna Isaacs, The Chicago Reader: "The White City gets off to a glorious start as a cadre of tailcoated, top-hatted architects gather to debate ideas for Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. ... The choreography by Melissa Thodos and Broadway veteran Ann Reinking captures the creative charge that must've been present in the room when the White City architects actually met. And there's more to like ... I can't say enough about what it adds to have Bruce Wolosoff's evocative Songs Without Words played live throughout by the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Sharply drawn historical characters, graceful period costumes, and Nathan Tomlinson's atmospheric sepia lighting complement fine performances by a dozen dancers.
For more on each of the works presented, check out these stories from aotpr.com:
Ann Reinking, Melissa Thodos and "The White City"
Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martinez-Bennit and "Quieting the Clock"
Melissa Thodos and "Getting There"
Wade Schaaf and "Dancer, Net (Solo 1)"
Ron De Jesús and "Shift"