Thodos Dance Chicago | Dance | Chicago Reader
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The White City

The White City

Cheryl Mann

When: Fri., March 4 2011
Price: $25-$60
The White City gets off to a glorious start as a cadre of tailcoated, top-hatted architects gather to debate ideas for Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. If you can [image-1]imagine The Fountainhead crossed with A Chorus Line, you're only partway there: The choreography by Melissa Thodos and Broadway veteran Ann Reinking captures the creative charge that must've been present in the room when the White City architects actually met. And there's more to like--including a couple of unforgettably staged murders--in this new, 13-part, one-act, multimedia story ballet, which has drunk deeply from Erik Larson's book The Devil in the White City. Video by Chris Olsen is alternately brilliant and distracting, but I can't say enough about what it adds to have Bruce Wolosoff's evocative Songs Without Words played live throughout by the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Sharply drawn historical characters, graceful period costumes, and Nathan Tomlinson's atmospheric sepia lighting complement fine performances by a dozen dancers. The program features two other world premieres--Ron De Jesús's Shift and Thodos's Getting There--as well as Wade Schaaf's Dancer, Net (Solo 1) and Quieting the Clock by Francisco Avina and Stephanie Martinez Bennitt. --Deanna Isaacs


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