Music + Movement Festival to bow at city's stages

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Orbert Davis

Orbert Davis performs at the Chicago Jazz Festival in Grant Park in 2011. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune / February 5, 2013)

A new festival celebrating music and dance will launch Feb. 28 under the auspices of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and run into June in venues downtown and across the city.

The Music + Movement Festival will present 11 Chicago dance companies performing newly commissioned work with live music, some of it created for the occasion.

Two key events – by River North Dance Chicago with Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (April 13) and a Music + Movement Showcase with Giordano Dance Chicago and Luna Negra Dance Theater (May 15) – will unfold on the stage of the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. The other performances will take place at the Auditorium’s Katten/Landau Studio (425 S. Wabash Ave., 4th floor) and in Chicago community centers to be named.

“This really came about because of a desire on the Auditorium’s part to work with a lot of great artists in Chicago that we normally wouldn’t be able to work with because of the costs,” said Auditorium Theatre executive director Brett Batterson.

“We thought: There are all these terrific musicians, all these terrific dance companies – could we raise enough money to put them together and see what happens?”

The Auditorium found support from the Chicago Community Trust, the Boeing Company and the Joyce Foundation for a festival budgeted at approximately $150,000, said Batterson. The River North/Chicago Jazz Philharmonic event, already announced as part of the Auditorium’s 2012-2013 season, is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank.

Though the River North/CJP concert will present an extended new work, “Havana Blue,” most of the other programs will feature shorter world premieres.

“Each company is coming up with a five- to 10-minute new work,” said Batterson. “Each program in our (Katten/Landau) Studio will be an hour long. The other 50 to 55 minutes will be other works in their repertoire, or other works in the musicians’ repertoire.”

The May 15 program at the Auditorium Theatre will be a Music + Movement Showcase in which five pieces from the festival selected by a panel of experts will be staged on a bill that also will include Giordano Dance Chicago and Luna Negra Dance Theater. Five additional pieces from the fest, also selected by the panel, will be presented in free community performances through June at venues to be announced.

“For us, as a Chicago cultural institution that’s trying to be somewhat Chicago-centric, I think it’s important that we commission works from local artists,” said Batterson.

“It’s them getting opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Following is the schedule for the Music + Movement Festival. A festival pass is $99 and includes one ticket to all 10 Katten/Landau performances; one ticket to the Music + Movemetn Showcase; and one ticket to “Havana Blue.”

For tickets, phone 800-982-2787 or visit auditoriumtheatre.org/musicandmovement or visit the Auditorium Theatre box office at 50 E. Congress Pkwy.

Katten/Landau Studio performances
Feb. 28:
Thodos Dance Chicago with violinist Amanda Batterson; 6 p.m.
March 2:
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre with jazz violinist James Sanders, musical director Stu Greenspan and vocalist Joe Cerqua; 7:30 p.m.
March 24:
Kalapriya Dance Company with musicians Lyon Leifer, Sara Ranagathan and Ravi Iyer; 3 p.m. Full Effect Entertainment Theatrical Dance Company with guitarist Michael Green and percussionist Rodney Bakerr; 4:30 p.m. Kuumba Lynx with music group Urban Aspirations; 6 p.m.
April 4:
Chicago Human Rhythm Project with pianist Greg Spero; 6 p.m. Joel Hall Dancers with drummer Charles Heath; 7:30 p.m.
April 7:
Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center’s Bryant Ballet with violinist Sylvia de la Cerna and pianist Miguel de la Cerna; 3 p.m. Mexican Dance Ensemble with Mexican folk musicians; 4:30 p.m. DanceWorks Chicago with drummer Paul Wertico; 6 p.m.

Katten/Landau performances are $5-$10.

Auditorium Theatre performances
April 13:
"Havana Blue," featuring River North Dance Chicago with Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic; 8 p.m. $32-$76.
May 15:
Music + Movement Showcase featuring five festival performances plus Giordano Dance Chicago and Luna Negra Dance Theater; 7:30 p.m.; $15-$20.

Community Engagement
Free performances through June in venues across Chicago to be announced.

hreich@tribune.com
Twitter @howardreich

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