Columbia’s Dance Center Announces Season and Appointment of Ellen Chenoweth as Director of Presenting Series

Columbia’s Dance Center Announces Season and Appointment of Ellen Chenoweth as Director of Presenting Series

Pictured: Ephrat Asherie Dance, who will make their Chicago debut.

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago has announced its 2018–19 season. It’s the 45th year of presenting contemporary dance at Columbia, and on March 16, 2019, the Center will present an anniversary celebration hosted by alumnus Matthew Hollis (aka Mattrick Swayze), showcasing work by Dance Center alumni, current students and other special guests.

The season will present works by Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance, Ephrat Asherie Dance and Ananya Dance Theatre for the first time, as well as returning companies Urban Bush Women, and Tere O’Connor Dance, and Chicago artists Hedwig Dances and Red Clay Dance Company. The full season listing is below.

The Dance Center also announced the appointment of Ellen Chenoweth as the permanent Director of the Dance Presenting Series and a new faculty member of the Dance department. Chenoweth has been serving as Interim Director of the series since 2017. Department chair Peter Carpenter said “Ellen had a spectacular year as interim director. She surpassed our expectations with regard to programming, development, marketing and integration with the academic department, and I feel confident that she’s just getting started. The entire team is extremely enthusiastic about her continuing to lead the Dance Presenting Series.” “It’s been a true joy to work with the faculty and staff of the Dance Department and see the creative work that is happening here in the studios and on the stage” Chenoweth said. “Our 45th anniversary season is an exciting milestone as we celebrate our legacy and move forward into a new chapter.”

More info about the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is available at The full season is listed below.

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago 2018-2019 Season (from the press release):

Ephrat Asherie Dance
October 11–13, 2018
Making their Chicago debut, Ephrat Asherie Dance is dedicated to exploring the inherent complexities of street and social dance. “Odeon,” an original work for seven dancers and four musicians, is the second collaboration between sister-and-brother team Ephrat and Ehud Asherie (choreographer and musical director, respectively). Set to the music of Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth, known for mixing early 20th century romantic music with samba and other popular Afro-Brazilian rhythms, this work takes a hybrid approach to movement. “Odeon” delves into what happens when you bring together the extended family of street and club dances—including breaking, hip hop, house and vogue—remix them, pick them apart and challenge them to inhabit unfamiliar spatial and choreographic contexts.

Tere O’Connor Dance
October 18–20, 2018
“Long Run” is a major new work from Tere O’Connor, one of today’s foremost choreographers, whose abstractions engage the tension between the geometries of the rectangular stage, the organic forms of nature and the vast terrain of human behavior. “Long Run” pushes the emotional content of O’Connor’s movement to new physical extremes, allowing time-based elements like polyrhythms, velocity and duration to overtake the performers as they struggle to bring their bodies into a state of calm. O’Connor has a great love of movement and a deep commitment to choreographic craft and design, while more philosophical urges animate his work.

Hedwig Dances
November 1–3, 2018
“Futura,” a collaborative multidisciplinary dance choreographed and directed by Hedwig Founder and Artistic Director Jan Bartoszek, applies principles of the Bauhaus modernist art movement to dance, while also challenging notions of what constitutes choreography. “Futura” explores the role of social design in dance and how dance shapes, and is shaped by, society, art, architecture and design in the 21st century. In a parallel vein, “Futura” focuses on space, particularly the idea of confinement and freedom, as well as analogies between the Weimar era and our own time. Through playful experimentation between dancers and collaborators, Chicago’s Hedwig Dances builds a novel, richly theatrical movement playground threaded with a rousing musical score and a vibrant visual design.

Red Clay Dance Company
November 8–10, 2018
“EKILI MUNDA|What Lies Within” was inspired by a 2007 meeting of choreographers Vershawn Sanders-Ward (Chicago—a Dance Center alumna) and Jonas Byaruhanga (Kamapla, Uganda) at L’Ecole De Sables in Toubab Dialao, Senegal. The work seeks to unearth the cultural history and knowledge around identity that is archived in the body and the unapologetic liberation of this knowledge. “EKILI MUNDA|What Lies Within” was created as part of the TransAtlantic Project, a yearlong cultural exchange between Red Clay Dance Company and Keiga Dance Company. Chicago’s Red Clay lives to awaken “glocal” change through creating, performing and teaching dances of the African Diaspora—change that transforms cultural and socioeconomic imbalances in our local and global community.

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
January 17–19, 2019
The Dance Center partners with this 12-day festival, founded by Blair Thomas & Co. More information will be available this spring.

Spectrum Dance Theater
January 31–February 2, 2019
Bessie Award-winning and Tony-nominated choreographer Donald Byrd returns to Chicago for the first time since his Dance Center appearance with Donald Byrd/The Group during the 1994–95 season. Spectrum’s artistic director since 2002, Byrd brings his “Rambunctious Iteration #3 – The Immigrants,” which looks to the works of American composers from countries that America has historically been at odds with or are part of the current debate on immigration: Mexico, Iran, Cuba, Russia and China. Comprising five works featuring the music of American composers who are immigrants from non-European countries, “Rambunctious Iteration #3 – The Immigrants” seeks to expose the rich artistic and cultural contributions to the American landscape of this particular group of immigrant artists.

Ananya Dance Theatre
February 14–16, 2019
“Shyamali” explores how dissent against oppression fuels life force. Inspired by the courage of women around the world to refuse silence and sustain communities against injustice, “Shyamali” means “dark green” in Bengali and invokes the resilience of grass, which springs up when trod upon. Artistic Director Ananya Chatterjea’s choreography combines metaphor and poetry in contemporary Indian dance.

Urban Bush Women
February 28–March 2, 2019
Chicago favorites Urban Bush Women return with a refreshed version of a company classic, “Hair & Other Stories,” updated by Associate Artistic Directors Samantha Speis and Chanon Judson. Crafted from personal narratives from our communities, kitchens and living rooms, social media and YouTube, the work debates the center of perceived American “values” and celebrates the persevering narrative of the African Diaspora. “Hair & Other Stories” explores disquieting perceptions of body image, race, gender identity, economic inequities and what constitutes freedom, liberation and release in our everyday struggles to rise to our “Extra-ordinary Selves” in extraordinary times.

Fall: October 13, 2018
Spring: April 5 and 6, 2019
Each semester, a free mini-festival celebrates the cultures, histories and aesthetics of hip-hop and street-dance forms, such as breaking, popping and Chicago footwork. With a jam as the focal point, blurring the lines between spectator and participant and spotlighting some of the most talented street dancers in the region going head to head in dance battles, the B-Series is a gathering space where all can learn through and connect to the rich culture of hip hop.

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