As a way to capture some of these behind-the-scenes moments, and record a response to the performance, the Dance Presenting Series is engaging five Chicago dance writers this season.
Critic Lauren Warnecke of The Chicago Tribune highlights the changes afoot at the Dance Center in her conversation with our director, Ellen Chenoweth.
During our spring semester at the Dance Center, there is a small cohort of dance writers viewing, discussing, and writing about each performance in the Dance Presenting Series, guided by Director Ellen Chenoweth. Comprised of Columbia College students and recent alums, cohort members were nominated by faculty members and applied for a position in the group. We collected a few excerpts here from their writings about the recent Dance Center presentation of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan…
In 2015 the BBC produced a short documentary on Tracey Emin as part of their “What Do Artists Do All Day” series. In it, the painter/drawer/fibers/conceptual artist — one of the breakout Young British Artists of the 90s and a personal hero of mine as a young woman studying painting in undergrad — talks about how she gets grounded before approaching a large blank canvas. Throughout the episode, she makes references to needing to feel “confident” or “bold” or “strong in [her] head” in order to step into such a wide open space successfully…
Earlier this year I got to read this piece by St. Louis dance educator and writer Betsy Brandt, and it resonated with me on numerous levels. St. Louis, our Midwestern neighbor, may offer lessons for our own organizing, educating, or reflecting in Chicago, within the concert dance communities or in other circles. In the movement for black lives, around gender equity, or gun control, Betsy’s call to “apply pressure to the cracks in a breaking system” seems not just appropriate, but imperative.
— Ellen Chenoweth, Interim Director, Dance Presenting Series
Most of the work of making a dance or performance is going to the studio and the ritual of getting to the studio. This sounds ridiculous, but I find it true. There’s a method to being in a process. Which, what does that mean? It’s permission to give yourself authority. Because no one will ever tell you or give you permission to make. You have to convince yourself it’s a good idea to be making anything at all. Or, maybe it’s more reverse psychology – you have to convince yourself that it’s not a bad idea.