Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Cynthia Oliver's COCo. DANCE THEATRE Makes Chicago Debut at THE DANCE CENTER November 2–4

CHICAGO—The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago presents the Chicago debut of COCo. Dance Theatre, founded and directed by choreographer Cynthia Oliver, November 2–4 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Virago-Man Dem, Oliver’s newest evening-length, experimental dance-theatre work, is a nuanced study in masculinities and their multiplicities within cultures of Caribbean and African-American communities. The work captures various masculinities through movement, spoken language and visual design and explores the expressions particular to Caribbean and African-American black masculinities as they are performed and expressed by men, staged on male bodies, but designed and interpreted by a woman. Virago-Man Dem is based on the lives of the men performing it—Duane Cyrus, Jonathan Gonzalez, Niall Noel Jones and NI’Ja Whitson—and asks, “How can a woman choreograph masculinity without resorting to stereotypes, but instead locate its nuances, challenges and ambiguities? Those very elements that black communities know so well and yet see rarely reflected in the culture at large?”

COCo. Dance Theatre and Cynthia Oliver
The mission of COCo. Dance Theatre is “to create dance theatre works that capture imaginations and engage audiences’ aesthetic, intellectual and experiential sensibilities; to excavate our social, political and deeply personal selves and make folks laugh, cry, curse, shout and consider and reconsider what we each do everyday to negotiate the complex lives we live; to engage in conversation at its most rewarding levels; to touch souls.” Cynthia Oliver has danced with Theatre Dance Inc. and the Caribbean Dance Company of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and with numerous independent choreographers and companies, including the David Gordon Pick Up Co., Ronald Kevin Brown/Evidence, Bebe Miller Company (appearing at the Dance Center later this season) and Tere O’Connor Dance (which performed at the Dance Center in 2016). She creates performance collages that move from dance to word to sound and back again toward an eclectic and provocative dance theatre, incorporating textures of Caribbean performance with African and American aesthetic sensibilities. She is Professor of Dance at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Residency activities
There is a post-performance conversation with the artists Thursday, November 2 and a pre-performance talk with Cynthia Oliver Friday, November 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Sherwood Community Music School’s recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave. (next door to the Dance Center), both free to ticket holders. Additional residency activities with community partners and Columbia College Chicago students take place throughout the week leading up to the performance weekend.
The Dance Center presents COCo. Dance Theatre November 2–4 at the Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Single tickets are $30; subscribers to three or more performances during the season and groups of 10 or more receive a 25 percent discount.
Tickets are available at 312-369-8330 and
All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities.

No comments: