Windy City Rhythms 2012

FootworKINGz dancers Prince Jron and King Charles. Photo by Baramesi.

As usual, Lane Alexander has a lot on his plate.  The artistic director of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) is overseeing the company’s long-awaited move out of the Athenauem Theatre building into a shared artistic space in the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Ave (a previous plan for a new construction building ultimately fell through).  The Collaborative Space for Sustainable Development (CSSD) will also house local companies Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Kalapriya, Ping Pong Productions, River North Dance Chicago and the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institution and will have three studio spaces for classes and rehearsals as well as administrative offices.  “It’s a good ending of a long journey,” said a giddy Alexander.  The lease has been signed and the company will do a partial move in July and expect to be fully functional by this fall.  In associate with the China Performing Arts Agency, CHRP is presenting The Nanning Art Theatre in Legend of the Sun at the Auditorium Theatre on June 12 and 13.  Then CHRP will perform its first-ever full-length evening at the Kennedy Center this December.  Alexander boasts, “We’re a 25-year, overnight success!”

But first, in celebration of National Tap Dance Day (May 25th), which coincides with tap legend Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s birthday, CHRP presents the annual Windy City Rhythms concert at the DuSable Museum of African American History.  The morning show on Thursday, May 10th at 10:30 a.m. is already sold out, but tickets are still available for the Friday, May 11th performance at 7:30 p.m.  (Ticket information below.)  This year’s show sponsored by The Chicago Community Trust features some new faces including Boom Crack Dance Company, a hip hop troupe, and FootworKINGz, a local footworking group credited with starting the dance style that has been featured on America’s Got Talent and America’s Best Dance Crew.  So, what’s the difference between tapping and footworking?  Alexander said, “Footworking was done in the street, because of hip hop.  The music came first and at up to 160 beats per minute, the movement is very fast and precise with the upper body doing more of a hip hop or breakdancing style.  We embrace all of our rhythmic brothers and sisters and always have our eyes and ears open to expand and bring in artists that are new to the audiences.”  Also performing in the show, footdrummer Tre Dumas (“one of the finest composers anywhere”), Mr. Taps (Ayrie King III), M.A.D.D. Rhythms, BAM! and youth groups from Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School and Paul Revere Elementary.  “This is a community-based event,” Alexander said.  “We hope to inspire the kids.  This is a great way for them to see what the end point might be if they stick with it.”

Chicago Human Rhythm Project presents Windy City Rhythms, Thursday, May 10 at 10:30 am and Friday, May 11th at 7:30 pm at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Tickets are $15-$25. Call 773.281.1825 or visit chicagotap.org.

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