REVIEW: River North Dance Chicago

On its first tour to Israel, the regional company River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) showcased a large selection of its repertoire, mostly by the company’s artistic director Frank Chaves.

By ORA BRAFMAN
October 29, 2014 20:34
1 minute read.
Theater

Theater. (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)

On its first tour to Israel, the regional company River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) showcased a large selection of its repertoire, mostly by the company’s artistic director Frank Chaves.

The result was a long evening of short pieces (some as short as three to four minutes) which served as lightweight, eclectic introduction to some in-depth work to be done in the future.

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The entire repertoire is rather conservative and dated, with an over-used, breezy lexicon and an inclination toward the flat side of entertainment dance, with few exceptions.

The dancers seemed well trained, with rather decent performing skills, but somehow the first half of the evening didn’t supply any singular impressions. Even the dancer who performed the solo Beat – a structured improvisational work by Ashley Roland danced to the sound of drums – didn’t rise above his impressive physical traits and dramatic lighting.

The first moment in which this troupe looked like contemporary dancers rather than some frivolous group executing mundane dance moves came in the second part of the evening with I Close My Eyes Until The End, a fresh choreography by Adam Barruch.

Finally, they really looked good and more alive both as a group and on individual level, doing intelligent work, with detailed, more sophisticated compositions and structure, that pulled them from the Seventies into the 21st century, even though the piece remained within mainstream boundaries.

Chaves’s piece Forbidden Boundaries, which closed the evening, must be one of his most inspired works. Many scenes in that piece came about as a result of the unusual outfits, made of strong, stretchy material, which served as supporting harnesses held by the dancers’ partners, enabling a great variety of positions, jumps, somersaults and more – moves that cannot be achieved without such support. That brought some fun to the stage, some spiced moments,


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