Deeply Rooted Dance 20th Anniversary Showcase Review – Diving Deep into Our Souls

Editor's Note - This is part of Picture this Post's series - CHOREOGRAPHERS' EYES - DANCERS EXPLAIN DANCE. Find more here.

Deeply Rooted Dance Goes Deep

How deep can you go inside the soul? Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff and Associate Artistic Director Gary Abbott try to answer this in Deeply Rooted’s 20th Anniversary Showcase. Through carefully selected bodies of work, Deeply Rooted sucks everyone into their narrative; a carefully weaved production spanning of 20 years of work. It captivates from start to finish.

A child is cradled in her mother’s arm, lifeless and limp. “The March”, choreographed by Jeff and Abbott, breaks you into the emotion and history of the Civil Rights era.

Emerging midway, “When men...” enlists three men moving ferociously to Charlie Chaplin’s text over music by Paolo Nutini, juxtaposed by peaceful Ananda Giri’s Hindu chants. Joshua Ishmon’s sharp choreography is made explicit through the fury of the dancers, who were able to physically convey the timeless texts.

“Femme”, choreographed by Nicole Clarke-Springer, is the feminine counterpart of “When Men...”. Equally strong, high in energy, and physically demanding--Femme produces the strength within and exuded by feminine grace and allure.

Break from Intensity and then Moving Duo

The intensity of the show is lightened by “Bach’ed”, reflecting Associate Artistic Director Gary Abbott’s fun personality. One can’t help but laugh as the dancers play off one another’s energy. Bodies relax into the seats of the Reva and David Logan Center, Hyde Park’s primary performance art center for the past four years.

“Wild is the Wind” follows, a duet performaed by Joshua L. Ishmon and Jennifer Florentino. This performance is so compelling that all were left hoping the pair would never let each other go.


HIV/AIDS Awareness in “Jagged Ledges”

The highlight, however, is a revival of “Jagged Ledges” (2004). This piece on people “living on the edge” and the soul’s quest for freedom was created to foster awareness of people living with HIV/AIDs. Featuring spoken word by special guest artists from “Rebirth”, Jagged Ledges leaves you clammy and hyperventilating with a sense of purpose and pride. The outstanding feature of Jagged is Tracy Franklin, who defies all limitations of age and sex


Joyful Finale

The finale, “Heaven”, reflects the joy, humanity, clarity and resolve that Deeply Rooted Dance Theater stands for. The colorful costumes and flamboyant movements makes everyone want to be a part of the Deeply Rooted family and history.

Good leadership resounds in this production. Deeply Rooted has invested time and trust in their emerging artists--and it pays. We can look forward to the growth of this company, and a consistent effort to love the audience. You will feel like a member of this incredible company, of the Deeply Rooted family.


Next performance - Saturday, February 4, 7:30 PM


North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, 9501 Skokie Boulevard



For tickets call 847-673-6300 or  or visit this webpage

Photos: Top photo - Sandro; All others -Ken Carl

Editor's Note:  One of the co-authors of this review, Preeti Veerlapati has previously worked with Deeply Rooted Dance in collaborative project called Satyagraha

Preeti Veerlapati of Ishti
Preeti Veerlapati of Ishti
Kinnari Vora of Ishti
Kinnari Vora of Ishti

About the writers: Kinnari Vora and Preeti Veerlapati are dancers and choreographers working on “Ishti”, a dance movement based project on the art of accepting and embracing failure through resilience. You can follow their work on



Editor's Note - This is part of Picture this Post's series - CHOREOGRAPHERS' EYES - DANCERS EXPLAIN DANCE. Find more here.

Learn more about dance by seeing dance through dancers eyes in the Picture This Post series, “Choreographers’ Eyes - Dancers Explain Dance”.  Watch this video preview of the story here— 

Find more Picture This Post dance reviews in the latest roundup — CHOREOGRAPHERS WE LOVE. Also, watch a short preview video here —

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2 thoughts on “Deeply Rooted Dance 20th Anniversary Showcase Review – Diving Deep into Our Souls

    1. Yes, Gary, we think Preeti and Kinnari give that added perspective that comes from being dancers (Ishti). We would love to include profiles of your choreographers in CHOREOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHTS in 2017 and also include them in tours PIcture this Post is co-sponsoring with the MCA of their upcoming Merce Cunningham exhibit. Please write to for more information.

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