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Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Features · A River of Dance from Chicago...
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A River of Dance from Chicago 3/28/11

Kristi Kates - March 28th, 2011
A River of Dance from Chicago
By Kristi Kates
The famed River North Chicago Dance Company celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, with no sign of those dancing shoes slowing down any time soon.
Performing in Northern Michigan for the first time ever at the City Opera House in TC, the group will bring their nationally-acclaimed, critically-lauded skills to the region, led by artistic director Frank Chaves, who feels that one of the group’s biggest appeals is in its ability to mix and translate a wide variety of musical genres into expansive, emotional dance numbers that are performed by dancers at the top of their game.

JAZZ BOX
“We’ve expanded the box of what a jazz company is,” he explains, pointing out that the current program, which is 7 to 10 dance pieces showcases the group’s diverse and eclectic repertoire.
“We’re actually premiering a brand new piece on this tour,” he says, “choreographed to the music of Miles Davis, and celebrating what would have been Davis’ 85th birthday, were he still alive. His music is just quintessential jazz - it’s been quite a challenge to dance to it, as it is dense music, but it has turned out to be a highlight of the program.”
Other featured numbers include “Evolution of a Dream,” a piece scored by the music of the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, whose own band, the Rock Fabulous Orchestra, re-recorded one of Eurythmics’ own hit songs, “Sweet Dreams,” plus a suite of complex dance duets choreographed by Chaves himself, who blended an Etta James song, music from Cirque du Soleil, and a Russian song into one cohesive piece, even though the music seems wildly diverse.
“It’s a mixed repertoire,” he agrees, “but I like to have it feel like a seamless evening - each piece stands on its own, but overall they take the audience through the entire realm of human experience.”

HEART OF JAZZ
Chaves’ own experiences as a performer (“I’m a jazz dancer at heart,” he says) led him to travel the world, finally settling down to some degree when a friend of his, Sherry Zunker, took over River North and invited him to work with her.
“We like a lot of the same things, and we like to see a lot of the same things on stage,” Chaves explains, “I’ve actually been with the company since very early on - not ‘day one,’ necessarily, but we’ll say from day two. In 1994, I became the company’s co-artistic director, and since 2001, I’ve been the sole artistic director. When I learned about River North, I felt that they really were 100 percent jazz, and I wanted to get back into that.”
Chaves also attributes the group’s success to their ability to draw new audiences; they’ve been funded by various grants and, he says, became “the perfect company” to introduce the masses to dance.

JAZZ ELEMENTS
“I have to say that I think it’s our product that is responsible for our success,” he says, “we have a wonderfully accessible and entertaining product that people like, and that’s the bottom line - people want to come and see us, and they come back to see us. We’ve never been to Traverse City, so it’s all going to be new to that audience.”
Chaves experiences as a choreographer were also expanded by his work with River North.
“I had a lot I wanted to experiment with as a choreographer,” he explains.
“We do add modern dance in with the jazz elements - but what I like is that we’ve never lost sight of what we, as a company, were born with. The two things I love about jazz dance are maintaining both the accessibility and entertainment factors.”

River North Chicago Dance Company will be performing at the City Opera House, 106 Front Street in Traverse City on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m., tickets $35/$20. For more information, visit www.cityoperahouse.org or telephone them at (231) 941-8082.
 
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