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Back and Forth

Revisiting iconic CMC performance works during the pandemic

BACK AND FORTH  |  stories, videos, photos, conversations that recollect/reconnect to a CMC work

"Coming Forth by Day" - 1st featured work (#'s 1-3)

Nana Shineflug's evening-length master work premiered in 1996 at the Harold Washington Theater, Chicago.  Inspired by Normandi Ellis' poetic translation of the "Egyptian Book of the Dead" (actually a guide for how to live life), the work was hailed as "multi-faceted and burnished with atmospheric invention" (Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune). 

.   Read Sid Smith's  full review in the Chicago Tribune: 

    "Shineflug Creates Images of Life from Death" here

.   Watch an excerpt of the 2013 performance here

.   Talk about the work here--with the original cast, CMC alumni, & fans






"Rhythm Around the World" - 2nd featured work (#'s 4-6)

A rite of passage, training ground, bread and butter (income earner), awesome-sauce in-school assembly performance (K-3) that the company, and many, many CMC dancers presented at hundreds of CPS schools for decades through Urban Gateways. 45 minutes of slapstick comedy, movement theater, dance, authentic dance forms, and content--(rhythm is all around you); and a message--"if we all work together, we can succeed"; with vignettes of dance forms--West African, Balinese, Jazz, Polish folk dance, and Ballet. A great training ground for live and on-the-fly performance--and learning how to teach and engage hundreds of youth.

See other Rhythm photos and learn about the work from decades of casts




"Approaching 9" - 3rd Featured Work (#'s 7 -9)


In 2000 as the 21st century loomed, Nana Shineflug explored a new form/way of working. She used task-like, simple (but not so simple) movement, pared down phrase material devised by 3 stellar dancers--then layered, repeated, intersected, and directed the material masterfully, creating a work startling in its authenticity, simplicity, and beauty. This original cast owned and embodied the work:  Peter Sciscioli's sideways looks, smooth lunges, and purposeful and mysterious walking; Elizabeth Lentz-Hill's emboite's reinvented for a 21st century amurican grrl, sprightly energy, technical prowess; and Cindy Brandle's fire, grace, spirit, and quirkology. The piece premiered at the Harold Washington Theater; Jeff Abell consulted on the music, helping select the pure, and at once celestial and elemental work of Pauline Oliveros, a lesbian/latinax composer and pioneer in electronic music. wow. it was rad.  Little wonder, then when CMC was looking for a rep work to build out it's multi-year Echo Project, we chose "Approaching 9"

See other "Approaching 9" photos and learn about the work from the 

    original cast


Read the Critic's Choice featuring "Approaching 9" and other works

. watch video of "Approaching 9" (re-imagined as a solo) as part of CMC's

   current Echo Project.  Performance:  Chih-Hsien Lin.

"Crash and Burn" - 4th Featured Work (#10, 11)

Ah, here we are in a new year, a new place. Much has been torn down, but much is/will be rebuilt--in, we hope, a better way. Yet sometimes, maybe, it's time/right to tear things down. This brings to mind the company's iconic "Crash and Burn" (1996)--a group work created in the 90's. While Wall Street and the country glutted/gluttoned out--many struggled and battled to survive, to be seen, heard, recognized. In "Crash and Burn", bodies battled and battered--against brick walls, each other, the unseen puppeteer(s), with literal bricks in hand. Ferocious. Sad. Admirable. Awe, inspiring. Critic's Choice (Chicago Reader) "a metaphor for all the harsh conditions of contemporary life . . . 4 dancers hurl themselves at each other, at the walls, at the security gate. "Crash and Burn" is as plain, rough, and dirty as a brick. A welcome change from some of Shineflug's more cerebral work"

(Laura Molzahn).  Timely and timeless. yes. The first performance was at the Blue Rider Theatre, a small, rough, brick-walled avant-garde performance space in Pilsen  Embodying this frenzy were dancers Cindy Brandle, Julie Schiller Daly, Holly Rothschild, Krenly Guzman.  a later performance expanded and included: Robbie Cook, Eric Paul Otto Swanson, Wendy Taylor Appling.

.  Read the Critic's Choice featuring "Crash and Burn" (Blue Rider Theater)

Read the Critic's Choice featuring Atalee Judy's version of "Crash and Burn" in CMC's concert of "covers", "Cover Band"



"Ashen Wing" - 5th Featured Work (#12-13)

In 2011 Nana put forth "Ashen Wing"--performed in dappled light, in filmy/dreamy costumes (by Collin Bunting); embodied by kick-a** dancers: Karla Beltchenko, Precious Jennings, Mindy Meyers, and Matthew Kessler-McMunn, with Jeff Abell in front and foreground, looking like everyone's favorite nerd/hunk professor reciting Wallace Steven's elegiac poem--"Angel Surrounded by Paysans". Nana was grappling with the ephemerality of life, its gauzy nature--opaque and oblique, its changeability and beauty. All that jazz. The dancers whirled and spun, and tableau-ed. Then, they seemed/and did float and spring from the wings (due to "secret" mini trampolines hidden there). Stevens knew what he was about: "Am I not, Myself, only half a figure of a sort, A figure half seen, or seen for a moment, a man of the mind, an apparition appareled in Apparels of such lightness (Collin got this) look that a turn of my shoulder and quickly, too quickly I am gone?" And, too quickly--4 years later-- Nana was gone. The dance was wistful, and you could feel the air move as those unseen and seen angels moved about.

.Watch video of "Ashen Wing" (excerpt) at The Other Dance Festival (10th Anniversary) 

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Robbie Cook, Holly Rothschild in "Coming Forth by Day"

Rhythm, 1991 Eileen, Derric, Kriota photo J. Dreyfus.jpeg

"Approaching 9" original cast-member Cindy Brandle (right, laying back).

Also pictured:  Mindy Meyers, Jessie Young.  Photo:  Erika DuFour

Atalee Judy's version of "Crash and Burn" in CMC's Cover Band concert;

photo:  D. Guidara

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