River North Chicago Dance Company will feature seven Philadelphia premieres!


River North Chicago Dance Company will feature seven Philadelphia premieres January 14-16 when they perform on the Dance Celebration Series, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Known for its jazzy, sizzling, theatrical and accessible style, River North Chicago Dance Company (RNCDC) brings “energetic, marvelously trained performers and a gutsy, entertaining repertoire.”

(Chicago Sun Times) The program, performed by 13 high-powered dancers, features choreography by Frank Chaves (Artistic Director),  Sherry Zunker (Co-Artistic Director Emerita), Robert Battle (Artistic Director/Founder of Battleworks) and Monique Haley (Company member who trained in Philadelphia at The University of the Arts and Philadanco).  Highlights include Forbidden Boundaries (2009), a full company work, choreographed by Chaves set to music by Evan Solot (a Philadelphia composer and University of the Arts faculty member), Michael Cusson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Gustave Santoalalla.

Under the artistic direction of Randy Swartz, Dance Celebration presented by Dance Affiliates and Penn Presents, maintains the tradition of bringing to Philadelphia the world’s best contemporary touring dance companies.  This season’s The Magic of Movement pays tribute to American dance and showcases its diversity of styles: tap, Broadway, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, multimedia, and dance theater.

Performances will take place on Thursday, January 14 at 7:30 pm, Friday, January 15 at 8:00 pm and Saturday, January 16 at  2:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Ticket prices are $48, $42, $38, $28 (evening) and $42, $36, $32, $24 (matinee). Tickets may be purchased by calling the Annenberg Center Box Office at 215-898-3900 or by visiting www.AnnenbergCenter.org

The program opens with Evolution of a Dream (2009), a full ensemble work, choreographed by Sherry Zunker to music by David Stewart and His Rock Fabulous Orchestra. This work celebrates the company’s 20th Anniversary and is a re-imagining of the Company’s classic signature piece “Reality of a Dreamer” which was produced and aired on public television. It garnered two Chicago Emmys prior to being picked up by PBS, launching the company’s national presence.

Frank Chaves’ riveting, colorful and richly-seductive Habaneras, The Music of Cuba (2005) closes the program. Set to the 1950 orchestral music of Cuba’s popular composers, Ernesto Lecuona, Carlos Puebla and Silvio Rodriguez, this six-part full-company work captures the aesthetics and spirit of Chaves’ early Cuban roots. Chaves’  other works include Sentir Em Nos (Even For Us) (2009), an evocative duet, performed by Michael Gross and Melanie Manale-Hortin, and Tuscan Rift (2009), a small ensemble work,  to music by Rene Aubry and Andrew Bird. The program also includes an excerpt from Battles’ innovative Train (2008) featuring a solo danced by Hanna Brictson to Les Tambours du Bronx and Haley’s rousing Uhuru (2009) (Swahili for freedom), another full-company work, to Akoya Afrobeat.

RNCDC was founded in 1989 by four choreographers –Mark Dow, Karen Frankel Jones, Ronna Kaye and Julie Burman Kaplan. In 1990, Sherry Zunker was named Artistic Director. In 1992, Chaves joined her as Associate Artistic Director after producing his first RNCDC work, In the Still of the Night (1991).  In 2001, Chaves assumed sole artistic directorship. The repertory features a core of works by Chaves and Zunker and dances choreographed by Daniel Ezralow, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Ashley Roland, Randy Duncan, Harrison McEldowney, Kevin Iega Jeff, Sam Watson, Ginger Farley, and Paul Christiano.

In addition to performances, RNCDC will offer outreach activities including a master class as part of The Artist to Artist Series and a special school performances for The Student Discovery Series.  For more information call 215-636-9000 ext.110 or visit www.danceaffiliates.org.


This tour of River North Chicago Dance Company is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program.

Significant funding for the 2009-10 Dance Celebration season is provided by the William Penn Foundation and also in part by Business Friends of Dance (Affiliates), The Connelly Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Samuel S. Fels Fund, Friends of Dance (Affiliates), Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Presenters, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Virginia C. Mulconroy Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation.