River North Dance Chicago premieres ‘Eva’

 

Singer Eva Cassidy inspired the new River North Dance Chicago show.  Credit: Cheryl Mann
Singer Eva Cassidy inspired the new River North Dance Chicago show.
Credit: Cheryl Mann

Like many listeners, Frank Chaves didn’t discover the music of Eva Cassidy until after her death in 1996. The singer, whose repertoire ranged from jazz standards to blues, pop, folk and country tunes, passed away at the age of 33 of melanoma. Since her untimely death, her stunning voice and tragic story have led to much wider recognition.

This weekend at the Annenberg Center, River North Dance Chicago will premiere Chaves’ new piece, “Eva,” which was commissioned by Dance Celebration for its 30th anniversary season. Chaves, River North’s artistic director, was first exposed to Cassidy’s music through Randy Swartz, artistic director of Dance Celebration.

“I fell in love with her voice,” Chaves says. “She has the voice of an angel and a gift for making you really hear and understand lyrics in a new way, a very clear and intense way.”

“Eva” features four of Cassidy’s covers: Sting’s “Fields of Gold,” the blues classic “Stormy Monday,” the jazz standard “Autumn Leaves” and the gospel favorite “Wade in the Water.” While Chaves was more interested in responding to her voice than to her story with his choreography, her loss is felt through his use of vocal snippets as transitions between the songs. “It was challenging because Eva wasn’t known for talking,” Chaves says, “but I wanted to create the sense that you were attending a live concert. It’s a little haunting, but I think it’s also tender and warming to the soul to hear her voice as if she were there.”

The remainder of the program comprises three Philadelphia premieres and a pair of return performances. “The Good Goodbyes,” set to an original solo piano suite by Chicago Children’s Choir director Josephine Lee, is about relationships within the dance community, while “Renatus” is a striking solo for a female dancer wearing a scarlet evening gown with a 30-foot train. “Three” is a male trio dance with an Asian-inflected score, created by Robert Battle shortly before he was named artistic director of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Finally, Chaves’ “Forbidden Boundaries” features the entire company playing tug-of-war with a stretchy, ripped shirt.

The full program, Chaves says, represents the diversity of River North Dance Chicago. “I don’t want people to just come see River North; I want people to feel River North,” he says. “Our mission is to create and present a highly artistic program that is also accessible and entertaining, even for an audience who might be afraid of dance.”

River North Dance Chicago
April 4-6
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
3680 Walnut St.
$20-$55, 215-898-3900
www.annenbergcenter.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Local

On-duty NYPD detective arrested for DWI in Queens

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

City Council committee moves Williamsburg's Domino refinery deal…

The deal to turn the old Domino Sugar refinery along the Williamsburg waterfront into a new housing complex is one Council vote away from approval.

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

'A Brony Tale' documents men who are into…

Ashleigh Ball, a voice actress on "My Little Pony," speaks to us.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Going Out

Pop-up cat cafe opens to long lines in…

The country's first pop-up cat cafe opened in New York on Thursday.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

MLB

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda ejected for using pine…

Pineda was thrown out of the game against the Red Sox Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck -- for all the world to see.

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.