To conclude the 2017–18 season of its Dance Presenting Series, the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago conducts a two-week festival focusing on ways in which concert dance presentation can be a document of process rather than dance as a consumable product: Process v. Product.
Process v. Product—which features performances, workshops, artist discussions, panels and commissioned blog posts from local artists—invites choreographers, dancers, presenters, students of dance and audiences to consider and reflect on ideas around how and why the creation, practice and witness of dancing can be more than a product for spectators. Participating companies include Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and Bebe Miller Company.
Shanahan’s world premiere ensemble work Of Whales, Time, and Your Last Attempt to Reach Me grapples with emotional ambivalence in a world of perception-altering technology and digitally dependent relationships. Through Shanahan’s intricately crafted movement, the Mad Shak ensemble investigates and expresses the tension between the rigid materiality of the self, as reflected by the devices and media surrounding our lives, and the body’s invisible fluidity in response to those same influences. This work is set at the intersection of conflict, where constantly shifting input confirms identity in one moment and then throws it off-kilter the next. Performances are March 29–31.
Miller’s In a Rhythm is a suite of new dance works based on the dynamics of adaptation and translation. Inspired by the writings of Gertrude Stein, Toni Morrison and David Foster Wallace, whose voices capture diverse cultural relevancies through their structure of language, In a Rhythm looks at the syntax of movement—how we apprehend meaning through the juxtaposed dynamics of action and context in time and space. Miller is creating this work within an overarching collaborative project, The Making Room, an investigation into innovative ways of sharing the creative process. Performances are April 5–7.
Additional festival activities
In addition to the performances, Process v. Product features a number of events, including:
- Thursday, March 29: post-performance discussion with Molly Shanahan, led by Allen & Lynn Turner Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Peter Carpenter; free to ticket holders
- Friday, March 30, 6 p.m. Sherwood Community Music School’s recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. (next door to the Dance Center): Process Prism Panel, moderated by Chicago Dancemakers Forum Executive Director Ginger Farley and featuring Meida McNeal, artistic and managing director of Honey Pot Performance; Sabina Ott, artist and founder of the exhibition space Terrain; Tony Trigilio, poet and Professor of Creative Writing/Poetry at Columbia; and Sara Zalek, artist, choreographer and curator rooted in Butoh; free
- Saturday, March 31, 3–4:30 p.m., the Dance Center: “Swimming Inside: Diving in the Whales Process with Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak,” a workshop with Shanahan and her collaborators exploring the process to create the piece in performance during the festival, $10
- Sunday, April 1, 3–5 p.m., Links Hall at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave.: Sunday Snack Choreo-Chat, an informal discussion with Molly Shanahan and Bebe Miller about their latest works, their joys and frustrations in the choreographic process, how they deal with post-premiere blues and more—primarily for artists who make dances and anyone who might like to make a dance in the future, but all are welcome; free
- Thursday, April 5: post-performance discussion with Bebe Miller, led by the Dance Center’s Interim Dance Presenting Series Director Ellen Chenoweth; free to ticket holders
- Friday, April 6, 6 p.m., Sherwood Community Music School’s recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. (next door to the Dance Center): Process Prism Panel, moderated by Columbia Associate Professor of Dance Lisa Gonzales and featuring Christy Bolingbroke, executive/artistic director of the National Center for Choreography in Akron, Ohio; CM Burroughs, poet and Columbia assistant professor of poetry; Mark Jeffery, co-founder and choreographer of ATOM-r (Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality); and Onye Ozuzu, choreographer; free
- Saturday, April 7, 2–5 p.m., the Dance Center and the lakefront: “iLANDing Field Trip,” a workshop with Jennifer Monson researching urban ecologies with movement-based scores; participants will dance, draw and map based on their observations of the human and non-human forces that shape the lakefront; the workshop is modeled on iLANDing, a method of interdisciplinary collaboration that evolved out of iLAND’s programs; $15
Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak: March 29–31
Bebe Miller Company: April 5–7
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
1306 S. Michigan Avenue