Now in its third year, the bountiful Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival is showcasing 28 artists at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts this weekend, many of them newcomers and out-of-towners. Last fall this potent mix of sure things and incipient next-big-things included Kristina Isabelle, who'd just moved here from Ohio. She presented Fool for Love—a "trio" for a man, a woman, and a boxing dummy. This time around she'll perform The Floating City: Solo (2011), a draft for a longer work that will premiere in 2013, supported by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum. Isabelle says she's aiming for "spontaneity and nerves" in the piece, a shadowy contemplation of reality inspired by novelist Haruki Murakami. She's sure to encounter some of both since she hasn't given herself much time to rehearse and won't get to see how the video component of The Floating City looks at Ruth Page until Thursday, the night before she performs.
The rosters for this weekend's three HCCDF concerts, produced by Nicole Gifford and Melissa Mallinson, are each completely different. But they all feature a mix of unknown quantities and household names (at least in certain households). Chicago Dance Crash, RE|Dance Group, and Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre are some of the names you may know. Even if you don't—especially if you don't—take a chance, take a look. Uncertainty can be good for the soul.