Happy Anniversary to RB!

Last week – September 24th to be exact – Rogue Ballerina turned 3! While there are ups and downs to having a one-person-pony-show dance blog (up: getting to see tons of kick-ass dance, down: burn out, making very little $ – read 0.00), and while I honestly consider scrapping the whole thing about once a week (sometimes daily), I’m still having a helluva good time doing it. I get to meet amazing artists one-on-one (even if it’s via phone) and discuss what they love passionately. I’ve been exposed to genres and styles I never would have come across in my normal “post-dancer/civilian” life and my knowledge base and tastes have evolved exponentially (I am now a full-fledged Forsythe fan!).

Going over some of the posts from the last year, my belief that Chicago is a world-class city for dance has only grown. From the big dogs like Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Joffrey Ballet, to small start-ups like Leopold Group and Elements Contemporary Ballet and everything in between, the Windy City has myriad opportunities to see great dance and a ceaseless artistic creativity that is unmatched.

Someone recently told me they appreciated my enthusiasm. While I’m certain some find it annoying, it was greatly appreciated. I see myself more as a cheerleader for all dance in Chicago as opposed to a critic (although I sure do have my opinions).

On the writing front in the past year, I took over the monthly dance column at Windy City Times, covered the sixth annual Chicago Dancing Festival as one of the official bloggers for the second year in a row and had the pleasure of writing Hubbard Street’s Robyn Mineko Williams’ transition notice for Dance Magazine, as well as my usual gigs as a culture writer for Front Desk Chicago and CS Magazine. Other noteworthy events – and there are way too many to list here – include interviewing Twyla Tharp (terrifying!), singing “Happy Birthday” to Ann Reinking and seeing Batsheva Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company on the final leg of The Legacy Tour and the American Ballet Theatre (live) and the Paris Opera Ballet perform Giselle live (via simulcast).

Goals for the upcoming year include officially meeting fellow dance lover Mayor Rahm Emanuel (instead of just smiling and nodding in passing at events – an interview would be stellar!) and moving forward with a book project (or two) near and dear to my heart and possibly throwing some advertising up on this mug.

Thanks to everyone who reads RB!

Feeling the love,






Take Five

Elements Contemporary Ballet dancers Yu Suzuki & Joseph Caruana. Photo by John Sisson.

Tomorrow night (Saturday, May 12) in a one-night-only performance, Elements Contemporary Ballet (ECB) celebrates turning five.  There was some confusion in the anniversary, since founder/artistic director Mike Gosney actually started the company in 2005, but he explains that the first two pivotal years which produced experimental material were not incorporated.  Once incorporated, the clock really started ticking and now ECB is hitting the five year anniversary.  Congrats!  Gosney and his company are known for solid technique and stylized movement with an unique approach to teaching and choreographing.  By incorporating the natural elements (fire, earth, air, water) to represent major points of dance (expression, physicality, focus, freedom) his  work takes on an organic quality that allows the dancers to take risks and really shine.

For the Five Year Anniversary Spring Engagement at the Atheneum Theatre this weekend, ECB presents five works – three world premieres, a company premiere and an audience favorite.  Gosney revamps a previous work-in-progress set to Mendelssohn titles Songs without words.  “I’ve asked the cast to sing as if they were standing in line or waiting for the bus on a summer’s day,” he said.  His newer work, Pathos, to Mozart’s Requiem follows a journey through purgatory where a man is guided by the characters “Love”, “Hope” and “Mercy”.  ECB dancer Joseph Caruana also has two pieces on the program.  His premiere The River deals with two women who are battling cancer and his older work Angel was pickes to compete in 2011’s Dancing Under the Stars festival.  Rounding out the show is choreographer and former Hubbard Street dancer Brian Enos’ Dark and Lovely, Mmm, originally set on Houston Ballet.  ECB’s core group of eight dancers will be joined with guest artists, which Facebook suggests will include some local favorites including Lizzie MacKenzie and Ricky Ruiz.

Elements Contemporary Ballet at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Saturday, May 12 at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $25-$30.  Call 773.935.6860 or visit web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe/9584725