There is a local gem that more people are discovering, and not just locally.
My husband, Tim, and I were first invited to a November dance program at the University of Illinois in the early 1990s by Patricia Knowles, then head of Dance at Illinois.
She sent me complimentary tickets as a thank-you for a presentation I did for the department on HIV/AIDS. They were expecting a visiting professor who was HIV-positive and wanted to ensure that everyone involved had knowledge about the disease. The HIV/AIDS pandemic was about 10 years old at the time, and fears were still abundant.
So, with free tickets, off we went. We were thrilled with that first performance and have been attending Dance at Illinois programs ever since as paying customers. We are always delighted with the works, choreographed by either our local dance professors, students or nationally known talent.
With it being a modern-dance program, we don’t always totally understand the performances, but they all make us contemplate and think — an important thing for a university environment. With the advent of COVID-19, the students and faculty have come up with some truly unique ways to rehearse, and to integrate performance with film techniques.
Dance at Illinois is now headed by Professor Jan Erkert. Tim and I both serve as members of the Dance Partners Advancement Committee. So you could say we became believers and are now fully integrated as community volunteers.
Today through Saturday is dedicated to the work of third-year master’s candidates. Performances are live-streamed and also performed live for a small audience at Krannert Center as part of the Dance at Illinois curriculum following university-approved COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Four exciting artists — Danzel Thompson-Stout, Roxane D’Orleans Juste, Rachel Rizzuto and Jaylen De’Angelo Clay — will present thesis works engaging ideas and social phenomena ranging from transformational hip-hop choreography to future visions of ephemera, feminist critiques of television and movement and multimedia expressions of Black identity and disability.
Interested? Check this link for details: krannertcenter.com/events/march-dance-2021.