Monday, February 24, 2014

Review of Winter Concert 2014 at Thodos Dance Chicago

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Winter Concert 2014. It was dancing. There were a bunch of different pieces. The dance was by Thodos Dance. I thought this was a really great show; I think it is a very good dance show, especially, and I think that everybody should go and see it.

There was one dance called Panem Nostrum Quoditianum, which means "our daily bread." The choreographer was Ahmad Simmons. I think it was about The Lord's Prayer and how they say they need enough to eat everyday. It could have just been about God in general. It was like a wanting dance. They wanted something and needed something. They were like begging a pleading by putting their hands like they were praying. At the end of the dance they put their hands like they were praying again and I think that the choreographer wanted you to think up what happened. The question was, did the dancers get what they wanted?

Tsuru was choreographed by Lucas Crandall. I thought that there was a guy that pretended to be in love with a girl but then it turned out he didn't actually like her and was being mean to her. I felt very uncomfortable seeing those women being treated like that. They were showing the women getting thrown to the ground and getting their heads moved around. I saw them trying to fight back but the men were always a little stronger. I think it was supposed to show us how women are sometimes unfairly treated by men and that we should try to help. I liked some of the moves in the dance; like I really liked how the two women were kind of helping each other to fight back. They showed that by waking each other up and after one of them had been thrown, helping the other one to get up. I think that it was a cool dance, but some of the moves bothered me like the one where they rolled her head around like she was a puppet.

There was this one piece about Helen Keller (Jessica Miller Tomlinson) and Annie Sullivan (Alissa Tollefson) called A Light in the Dark. It was choreographed by Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos. It wasn't like any other dance that I've seen. I've never seen a dance where someone was pretending to be blind, and I've never seen people using sign language in dance. I like how it really showed Annie and Helen's relationship as teacher and student. I really liked how you could understand what was going on; it showed you what each of the phases of learning was. The dancing really explained the story. It made me think about what it would be like to be deaf, or hearing-impaired, or blind. It was a good way to tell the story because you wouldn't really think about Helen and Annie dancing, but you have to feel the dancing just like how Helen had to feel everyone to know who they were. Their relationship was based in feeling each other. Annie had to teach Helen how to control her body, and if you are doing dance you have to learn how to control your body. They still communicated with each other, but not in the way most people communicate; they felt each other literally and figuratively.

They did this one dance called Changes of Phase and this was probably my favorite dance. It was choreographed by Melissa Thodos and the set was by Studio Gang Architects. The set looked like bubble wrap. It was in different shapes, and people could arrange it into different shapes, so then they could make them into doorways, skirts, whatever they wanted. I liked it when the boys were carrying the girls and the girls were holding on to the bubble wrap shape that someone else was holding. I was thinking about architecture and how architecture is made by someone getting an idea and then that idea getting bigger and bigger. It turns into a sculpture or a house by that person getting other people to build on that idea. Architecture and dance are good to think about together because they both make artsy shapes.

People who would like this show are people who like Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, seeing dance in a way you've never seen before, and awesome bubble wrap sculptures. I think this is a really awesome dance show and you can really understand everything. I think this show would be good for kids and adults who want to learn about Helen Keller and see architecture and dance put together.

Photos: Cheryl Mann

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