The critically acclaimed River North Dance Chicago (RNDC) leaps into fall with their November 16 – 17 Engagement at the Harris Theater (205 E. Randolph Dr.). Introducing new work by Adam Barruch and Nejla Yatkin, the company, including four new members, performs a program filled with stunning athleticism and theatrical choreography. In conjunction with the Fall Engagement, RNDC celebrates Artistic Director Frank Chaves’ 20th Anniversary with their “Momentum: 2012 Gala” featuring a performance at the Harris followed by a festive evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing at the Fairmont Chicago (200 N. Columbus) on November 15. Tickets ($30 – $75) for the Fall Engagement (Nov. 16 and 17 at 8pm) are on sale now at www.harristheaterchicago.org or by calling 312.334.7777.

“I am thrilled to begin the 2012 – 2013 season with two world premiere pieces by exciting, fresh choreographers that challenge our dancers while offering RNDC audiences a completely new and stimulating experience,” said Artistic Director Frank Chaves. “By committing to new choreographers we continue to fuel our dance community and create innovative, gutsy and unique pieces that allow dancers to grow and test themselves in so many ways.”

RNDC continues to add to their athletic, sensual and dynamic repertoire while pursuing their mission to nurture young choreographers and bring them to the international stage as they introduce new work by innovative, emerging choreographers Adam Barruch and Nejla Yatkin. Barruch, whose work will be performed by a professional company for the first time, thrilled audiences at the 2011 Chicago Dancing festival with his solo piece “The Worst Pies in London” and at the Gotham Arts Exchange’s Emerging Artists Showcase in New York City, his piece was described as “the standout [work] of the night.” His new creation for RNDC, “I Close My Eyes Until the End”—a group piece for 11 dancers set to Olafur Arnalds’ “Lokaou Augunim” and “Til Enda”—shows his bold yet thoughtful technique, offering a clear yet nuanced and subtle message.

Nejla Yatkin, a 2011 National Performance Network Creation Fund recipient and a 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Fellow brings her piece, “Renatus,” to RNDC for its world premiere. “Renatus” or “rebirth” is a solo work for longtime RNDC dancer Jessica Wolfrum set to the aria “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s “Tosca.” Through Yatkin’s choreography, she explores the beauty as well as complexity of memory, migration, transformation, identity and multiculturalism and chieves this by drawing upon extensive diverse traditions of dance and culture Yatkin is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Notre Dame.

Other pieces will include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle’s “Three,” selected excerpts “Ma y Pa” and “A La Sombra del Fueve” from Sabrina & Ruben Veliz’s “Al Sur del Sur,” Ashley Roland’s “Beat” and Chaves’s own “Forbidden Boundaries” and “The Good Goodbyes”. Tickets are on-sale now at www.harristheaterchicago.org or by calling 312.334.7777. Co-Sponsor of RNDC’s Fall Engagement is ReedSmith LLP.

Momentum: 2012 Gala

RNDC’s “Momentum: 2012 Gala” held on Thursday, November 15 celebrates Artistic Director Frank Chaves’ 20 inspiring years with the company. The festive evening begins with a 6pm performance featuring the company’s two world premieres by Adam Barruch and Nejla Yatkin as well as Chaves’ own “Forbidden Boundaries.” Guests will then join the RNDC dancers at the Fairmont Chicago (200 N. Columbus Dr.) for cocktails, a silent auction, dinner and dancing to the Michael Lerich Orchestra. Platinum Sponsors for the evening include Peter and Cheryl Karahalios, BMC Software and Northern Trust; additional sponsors include VSA Partners, Design Sponsor; Quantum Group, Print Sponsor; and Kehoe Designs, Décor Sponsor. Co-chairs of “Momentum: 2012 Gala” are Marcus Boggs (Merrill Lynch & Co., Loop), Philip Lumpkin (BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, Loop) and Joseph Seigle (JFS Realty Capital, Lincoln Park); Corporate Co-Chairs are Peter K. Korst (IBM, Wheaton); and Bernadette Rasmussen (BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, Palatine). Table seating for 10 begins at $3,500; individual tickets begin at $350. For tickets and more information contact Paula Petrini Lynch at 312.944.2888.

“To see the development of Frank as not only a choreographer but as an artistic leader over the years has been a true pleasure and inspiration to me and the many dancers of this company,” said Executive Director Gail Kalver. “He has given so much to the dance community on a local, national and international level and I am so proud to be standing by his side as he celebrates his 20th anniversary with River North Dance Chicago.”

About Frank Chaves

An internationally recognized choreographer, teacher, mentor and industry leader, Frank Chaves has dedicated his life to the creation and advancement of contemporary jazz dance. Chaves’ body of work and artistic vision has buoyed a local performance troupe into one the country’s most popular dance companies, thrilling audiences with its technical precision, emotive dancers, commanding choreography and versatile repertoire. His fluid and evocative choreography invites the viewer to experience the spectrum of human emotions, bringing a high standard of excellence to the cultural landscape. In his 20 years, Chaves has created 25 works for the company, ranging from intimate, sensual duets to rousing, bold group works; curated a diverse repertoire of the world’s most well-known and respected dance makers; and mentored generations of new dancers.

About River North Dance Chicago

Critically acclaimed for their athletic, sensual and dynamic repertoire River North Dance Chicago presents dynamic works that combine athletic prowess and artistic perspective with bold, theatrical flair. Founded in 1989, RNDC is now under the leadership of Artistic Director Frank Chaves and Executive Director Gail Kalver who strive to demonstrate depth and sophistication with a commitment to creating an accessible, enriching experience for audiences. The company continues to make a name for themselves on the world stage travelling throughout the country and internationally. RNDC participated in the IV International Ballet Festival in Cali, Columbia in 2010, the Busan International Dance Festival in Korea in June 2011, toured to Germany and Switzerland on an 11-city tour in Fall 2011 and recently returned from a 5-week, 17-city tour of Russia. Core works by Chaves are augmented with an array of pieces by nationally and internationally renowned choreographers including Robert Battle, Sidra Bell, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Daniel Ezralow, Harrison McEldowney, Julia Rhodes, Ashley Roland, and former Co-Artistic Director Sherry Zunker, among others. RNDC has been the subject of three Emmy Award-winning WTTW Chicago Television specials. They have been heralded by the Chicago Sun Times stating “this company has been dancing brilliantly for many seasons, but it rarely has looked better” and they continue to be a vital member of the Chicago community through their ongoing commitment to educational and artistic programming through dance.