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Dance ’til you drop

What: River North Chicago Dance Company’s Spring Engagement

Where: Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr., in Millennium Park

How to get there: Red Line (Lake)

When: Friday April 16 at 8 p.m., Saturday April 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday April 18 at 3 p.m.

How much: $25 – $45

Plot: This contemporary jazz dance company performs its spring engagement and first downtown performance in its 14 seasons on the Chicago arts circuit. Ten pieces will be presented at the 1,500-seat underground, dance-specific auditorium that is a mere four months old. Key pieces to watch include the world premiere of “Unveiling the Curve,” a piece that explores the many facets of the modern woman, and the company premiere of the romantic “The Mourning,” that includes some vocal performance.

Who: Artistic Director Frank Chaves and renowned choreographer Margo Sappington as well as several works from outstanding Chicago choreographers including Sherry Zunker, Randy Duncan, and Paul Christiano.

Notable: Sappington was invited to the River North studio this fall to choreograph “Unveiling.” She is a world-renowned choreographer whose work has been danced on Broadway and by internationally known companies such as The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

More info: Call 312-334-7777 or see http://www.madtchi.com. 

— Emily Goligoski

Eclectic steps

What: Graffiti Outbreak

Where: McCormick Auditorium

When: Thursday April 15 at 8 p.m., Friday April 16 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., Saturday April 17 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

How much: Students/Faculty $5, General $10, available at the Norris Box Office

Plot: The Graffiti Dancers present an “outbreak” of many dancing styles — everything from hip-hop to ballet. “Everyone really pulled together to stretch the bounds of Graffiti. We’ve encouraged new ideas and different styles and both the choreographers and dancers have taken this opportunity to ‘break out’ from the norm,” said the show’s director Bri Treece, a Communication junior.

Who: Seventeen female Northwestern undergrads with strong backgrounds in every dance style imaginable.

Notable: “Outbreak” features all new works choreographed by the dancers themselves. 

— Emily Goligoski

Family ties

What: The Fall to Earth

Where: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.

How to get there: Red Line (North/Clybourn)

When: Through May 2; Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m

How much: $20-$35

Plot: A mother and daughter avoid each other for several years, but when a family member suddenly dies, they are forced to remember their pasts and confront their funny and frustrating relationship. The play attempts to show that family relationships can change, yet stay the same.

Who: Written by Joel Drake Johnson, whose previous works include “The End of the Tour” and “A Blue Moon,” and directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Rick Snyder.

Notable: Leading lady Rondi Reed grew up with Johnson in Dixon, Ill.The two theater junkies used to dance around Reed’s living room, transforming it into their very own Broadway venue.

More info: http://www.steppenwolf.org or call 312-335-1650 

— Ryan Wenzel

In the shadow of a dictator

What: Finished from the Start

Where: Mussetter-Struble Theatre, 1949 Campus Dr.

When: Friday April 16 at 8 p.m., Saturday April 17 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

How much: Free, reservations required, call 847-491-7282

Plot: The show is set in Chile during the early-1980s reign of dictator Augusto Pinochet. The play looks in on two homeless Chilean laborers with two very different outlooks on life squatting in an empty lot. One is a survivor with a love of life and a determination to live at all costs. The other character is tired of being pushed around and struggles to maintain his principles. The characters are haunted by a silent chorus of the many missing Chilean citizens who were captured by the regime for political reasons.

Who: Directed by Martin Balmaceda, artistic director and co-founder of the New York City- and Chicago-based LaMicro Theater. Written by Chilean playwright Juan Radrigan and translated with the assistance of Northwestern Theater and Interpretation Assistant Professor, Ana Puga. “Finished” features three actors from LaMicro in New York and seven Northwestern students.

Notable: Radrigan will be flying in from Santiago for opening night and will attend a 6 p.m. pre-show reception featuring an exhibition on the Chilean resistance to Pinochet. He will also conduct a post-show discussion. 

— Rachel Wolff

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