The River North Chicago Dance Company, the eclectic, 13-member ensemble known for packing concerts with short, engaging works by contemporary choreographers, will return to Edison Theatre for a trio of performances Jan. 21-23.
Shows — sponsored by Dance St. Louis and the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series — will begin at 8 p.m. Jan. 21-22 and at 2 p.m. Jan. 23.
Founded in 1989 by Mark Dow, Karen Frankel Jones, Ronna Kaye and Julie Burman, River North Chicago began as a homespun, no-budget grass-roots dance troupe whose repertoire consisted mainly of works by local choreographers. Pieces tended to be short because the dancers could practice for only a few hours each week.
Yet what was born of necessity soon evolved into a company trademark, with programs typically featuring eight or 10 works, rather than the more traditional three or four.
Over the last 15 years, River North — under artistic director Frank Chaves and artistic director emeritus Sherry Zunker — has evolved into one of the Midwest’s finest professional touring companies.
The 1995 season was a particular turning point: bookings almost tripled over the year before and the troupe was the subject of a half-hour documentary, Reality of a Dreamer (1993), which garnered two local Emmy Awards for Chicago’s WTTW/Channel 11 before national broadcast on PBS. A second, hour-long documentary, River North Rising, premiered in 1999.
At the same time, River North has developed a core repertoire that today ranges from jazz dance to modern, and includes works by Zunker and Chaves as well as pieces by Paul Christiano, Randy Duncan, Daniel Ezralow, Ginger Farley, Kevin Iega Jeff, Harrison McEldowney, Ashley Roland, Margo Sappington and Sam Watson.
At Edison Theatre (which previously hosted River North in 2002) the program will include Zunker’s A Mi Manera (2001); Chaves’ Grusin Suite (1996) and The Mourning (2003); and their collaborative The Sweetest Sounds A Tribute to Richard Rodgers (2003).
Other works will include McEldowney’s The Box (2002) and 5 Easy Lessons (2003); Duncan’s Lean on Me (1994); and Roland’s structured improvisation Beat (2001)
For more information about River North Chicago, go online to rivernorthchicago.com.
Tickets are $28; $24 for seniors and WUSTL faculty and staff; and $18 for students and children.
Tickets are available at the Edison Theatre box office (935-6543); the Dance St. Louis box office (634 N. Grand Ave.; 534-6622); the Dance St. Louis Web site (dancestlouis.org); and through MetroTix, (534-1111).
For more information, call 935-6543.