Dance and poetry happily collide
Chicago Dance Crash pays homage to beloved childrens’ author Shel Silverstein in their inspiring original work, “And Now for the Dancing Pants!” This thoughtfully crafted performance weaves together thirteen vignettes, many choreographed by Artistic Director Jessica Deahr. Each piece stands on its own, and yet together it is one seamless, serious, profound work.
Emotional depth and breadth
Silverstein’s poems turn out to be an emotional goldmine for Crash; they find not only the humor and whimsy in his work, but the anxious, the lonely, and the sarcastic as well. They also have a knack for finding (or making) music that perfectly fits the tone and theme of the poem that precedes it, often artfully mixing Al Tamper’s vocal narration into the music itself. One example of this is “Us,” choreographed by Deahr and danced by the unstoppable KC Bevis and Kelsey Reiter. The duet explores the companionship and competition of sisterhood, to a soundtrack of poetry, a 1954 pop song and a 2016 DJ remix.
An impressive style
Crash’s hip hop-contemporary fusion style is unique in the concert dance world, and the dancers are truly masters at their game. “Ourchestra” (choreography by Stephanie Paul) mixes body percussion with fun, fast, furious footwork. In “Headphone Harold,” the ensemble transforms into a speeding train that runs over poor, careless Harold (Brian Humphreys). In almost every piece, your mouth hangs open slightly at the leaps, gymnastic flips, and hard-hitting speed. This work is physically demanding, but if it weren’t for the rivers of sweat propelled into the air by a dozen continuous pirhouettes, illuminated the spotlights, the dancers would never let you know it. They make it look easy. Veteran company member Kaitlin Webster contributes stirring moments in “Hand Holding” and Zak McMahon shines (literally) as the freestyling, blacklight-illuminated Dancing Pants. David Ingram and Porscha Spells excel as improvisers. All are a force to be reckoned with.
A little something extra
I don’t want to give too much away, but the fun introductory activity, hosted by irreverent emcee Mattrick Swayze, will have you hollering in your seat.
Silverstein already said it best:
“They’ll whirl, and twirl, and jiggle and prance,
So just start the music
And give them a chance—
Let’s have a big hand for the wonderful, marvelous
Super sensational, utterly fabulous,
Talented Dancing Pants!”
Recommended for: Everyone with a pulse
Not recommended for: Anyone opposed to awesomeness
Dec 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 8pm
Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 North Dearborn, Chicago
$15 Children 12 and under
For more information on Chicago Dance Crash: http://chicagodancecrash.com/
Susanna Hostetter is a dancer and teaching artist, exposing hundreds of Chicago Public School students a year to dance through renowned dance education organizations. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Dance from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and is an avid attendee of Chicago theater, music, and cultural events.