Top ’25 to watch’ dance company to perform in Evanston with Chicago Philharmonic

Rachel Holtzman, Reporter


The Chicago Philharmonic, together with dance company Visceral Dance Chicago, will perform a contemporary-ballet mix on Sunday.

The performance will take place at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. To go along with the show’s theme and title, “Taste the Music,” the dance company will be featured in a short comedic ballet called “La revue de cuisine,” by Bohuslav Martinu. In the piece, kitchen utensils are the characters in a romantic soap opera.

The one-act ballet will follow an opening orchestral piece, “Le boeuf sur le toit (The Ox on the Roof)” by Darius Milhaud. Afterward, the Philharmonic will play Strauss’ Champagne Polka and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat Major, featuring violinist David Perry and violist Carol Cook as soloists.

Visceral Dance Chicago was named one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in January. The company was formed in 2013 after six years of being open as a studio.

Nick Pupillo, founder of Visceral Dance, created original choreography for the show.  

“I am a contemporary choreographer … It was definitely a stretch to try to make these stories work within the edge of our company,” Pupillo said. “This was interesting, to bring in a story ballet but still bring in a contemporary edge.”

This is not the first time that Visceral Dance has performed in Nichols Concert Hall, said Fiona Queen, director of performance activities at Nichols Concert Hall.

“We curated a program with Dance Chicago a number of years ago for ‘The Nutcracker,’” Queen said. “We’re (also) accustomed to having dance groups in the space for rehearsals … They’re a wonderful group and they’re not strangers to us.”

Pupillo said although he’s been very busy with last-minute costume and choreography changes, he has liked the process.

“(The Chicago Philharmonic was) never really telling me what to do,” he said. “All the choreography is original and new. This piece is pretty rare … You’re taking this work (La revue de cuisine) from 1927 and mixing it with a company that started in 2013.”

Communication freshman Chloe Heo said she liked the idea of contemporary dance being more infused into dance performances.

“In these days, more people are trying to combine contemporary dance with things,” she said. “People can get bored with just plain ballet. If I can see and feel how they’re bringing the theme out, it makes me want to go see it.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @racheldholtzman