A Harris Theater Commission for Jessica Lang and architect Steven Holl; Miami City Ballet Returns to Chicago with New Work by Justin Peck; Mark Morris Dance Group Brings Internationally Acclaimed Dido and Aeneas; John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet with Othello and Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler; Harris Initiative Supports the Artistic Development of Lucky Plush Productions; AXIS Dance Company Returns for Celebration of Americans with Disabilities Act 25; 12 Performances and 6 Companies Bring Dance to the Harris Theater in 2015-16

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A Harris Theater Commission for Jessica Lang and architect Steven Holl

Miami City Ballet Returns to Chicago with New Work by Justin Peck

Mark Morris Dance Group Brings Internationally Acclaimed Dido and Aeneas

John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet with Othello and Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler

Harris Initiative Supports the Artistic Development of Lucky Plush Productions

AXIS Dance Company Returns for Celebration of Americans with Disabilities Act 25

12 Performances and 6 Companies Bring Dance to the Harris Theater in 2015-16


CHICAGO – President and Managing Director of The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Michael Tiknis, announced today the dance performances for the 2015–16 Harris Theater Presents season. High wattage stars and accomplished masters comprise one of the most highly anticipated dance seasons to date.  The Harris Theater is proud to have the support of The Northern Trust Company as its 2015–2016 season sponsor.


“For the 2015-16 season, the Harris continues to set a high level of artistic excellence with performances by some of the leading companies in the world. Through our commissioning program which is part of the ongoing Imagine campaign, the Harris nurtures and celebrates local and national creativity. We are so pleased to be able to host an outstanding group of dance artists during a season which will also highlight the extensive renovations that have occurred to the Harris Theater building,” said Tiknis.


The 2015–2016 season at the Harris will begin with the Harris debut of AXIS Dance Company. Founded in 1987, AXIS emerged at a time when the Disabilities Rights and Independent Living Movement were gaining stride and the dance community was just beginning to open its doors to people with disabilities. In partnership with ADA 25 Chicago, the Harris is proud to present one of the world’s leading and most innovative ensembles of dancers with and without disabilities in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Chicago debut of Jessica Lang Dance in the world premiere of a new work commissioned in partnership by the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Harris Theater. Lang will create this work in collaboration with 2014 International Architecture Award recipient Steven Holl.


Hamburg Ballet makes its long-awaited return to the Harris with two iconic performances: Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy and betrayal, Othello, as well as John Neumeier’s masterwork Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler.


The Harris is proud to present the world premiere of the Harris Theater co-commissioned work Trip The Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip by Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions.


Mark Morris Dance Group performs their exquisite interpretation of Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas.


Making their Harris Theater debut, Miami City Ballet performs two distinct programs over two evenings that brightly shine the spotlight on works by George Balanchine and “the most eminent choreographer of ballet in the United States” (The New York Times), Justin Peck.


Tickets are on sale now for the dance performances of the 2015-2016 Harris Theater Presents season. Patrons can save 40% off the cost of single tickets by building their own subscription package of three performances through the See The Dance Flex Pass. More details can be found on our website HarrisTheaterChicago.org or by calling the Box Office at 312.334.7777.


A full listing of the Harris Theater Presents 2015–16 dance performances are below.


Axis Dance Company                                                            

Thursday, October 8, 2015, 6PM and Saturday, October 10, 2015, 2PM


AXIS Dance Company has become one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities. Since their founding in 1987, they have won seven Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, acknowledging exceptional creative achievements in the performance and presentation of dance. The Company has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, including two appearances on the nationally broadcast FOX television show So You Think You Can Dance. AXIS collaborates with world-class choreographers and composers to create completely new and innovative performances.


In partnership with ADA 25 Chicago, the Harris is proud to present the physically integrated dance company. ADA 25 Chicago will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2015 and leverage this historic milestone to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through building public awareness, as well as partner commitments in four key areas: education, employment, community inclusion, and technology.


Jessica Lang Dance                                                                 World Premiere and Chicago Debut

Wednesday, November 6, 2015, 7:30PM


Commissioned by the Harris Theater and the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, a major international architectural event, American choreographer Jessica Lang will create a new dance for her company, Jessica Lang Dance, in collaboration with celebrated architect Steven Holl. Steven Holl Architects has won critical acclaim for their innovative designs including the 2014 International Architecture Award for their design of the Campbell Sports Center in New York City and the 2014 AJ100 Building of the Year award for the Reid Building at The Glasgow School of Art. Steven Holl has also designed the expansion project currently in process at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.


“Steven Holl is recognized internationally for his thoughtful and ambitious designs for museums, art schools and performing art centers across the world. As one of the most important voices in contemporary architecture, his unwavering commitment to experimentation in the form, material and the experience of architecture and his longstanding commitment to arts and cultural programming make this collaboration with Jessica Lang especially thrilling,” says Sarah Herda, Artistic Director of Chicago Architecture Biennial.


Lang will take a sculptural approach to this new work, utilizing visually arresting sets and costumes, enabling three-dimensional interactions with bodies and objects that evoke emotions and tangible sensation.


Set to music by composer Arvo Pärt, the work draws inspiration from author Jorge Luis Borges’ short story The Garden of Forking Paths. Borges’ 1941 text precludes a global consciousness beginning with a statement by the stories’ protagonist, a Chinese scholar named Dr. Yu Tsun: The forking took place in time, not in space. This statement is also the conceptual basis of a work of architecture under construction today—the Institute for Contemporary Art at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia by Steven Holl Architects.


Hamburg Ballet Othello

Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 7:30PM and Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 7:30PM


Hamburg Ballet returns to the Harris Theater with their interpretation of Shakespeare’s seminal tragedy, Othello, created by company Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer John Neumeier. Performed with live accompaniment from the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra with music by Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke, and Naná Vasconcelos et al., the enduring story of love, jealousy, betrayal, and revenge will draw the audience in to its tangled web of deceit and manipulation.


Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, wins the heart of Desdemona, a Senator’s daughter and they are married in secret. Driven by his own jealousy, Othello’s captain Iago seeks revenge by stirring Othello into a manufactured rage. The destructive course of action is set and the unfortunate fate of all is sealed.


This performance of Othello is in conjunction with Shakespeare400, celebrating the life’s work and legacy of The Bard during 2016, marking the 400th anniversary of his death.


Hamburg Ballet Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler

Friday, February 26, 2016, 7:30PM and Saturday, February 27, 2016, 7:30PM

Since its premiere in June 1975, Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler has become one of John Neumeier’s most important and defining works. Inspired by his great love of Mahler’s music, Neumeier created a timeless ballet to express all the emotions and feelings that the Third Symphony’s score evokes in its listeners.


“I have translated the feelings experienced and images suggested while hearing his Third Symphony into movement, into pure dance situations, and into human relationships,” says Neumeier who also designed the costumes and lighting concept for the ballet.


This masterpiece of classical ballet is guaranteed to leave audiences visually, musically, and emotionally fulfilled. These performances are rescheduled from February 2014 due to the electrical fire at the Harris which made Hamburg Ballet’s performances impossible.


Lucky Plush Productions Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip       World Premiere

Thursday, March, 3, 2016, 7:30PM

Chicago’s Lucky Plush Productions celebrates its 15th anniversary with the creation of a new dance-theater work, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip.


Loosely inspired by the sensational stories and larger-than-life characters in classic pulp magazines, SuperStrip follows a group of washed up superheroes attempting to reinvent themselves by starting a non-profit think tank for do-gooders. Comic book-style graphics, Foley effects and real-time video will create an experience like none other – contemporary dance meets an animated graphic novel, part comic-strip, part silent film.


Commissioned by the Harris Theater and the Pamela Crutchfield Dance Fund of the Imagine campaign, this collaboration balances dance, music, video, and visual design in a graphic novel-inspired style. Created by Lucky Plush Productions founder, director and choreographer Julia Rhoads, composer Michael Caskey, and visual designer John Boesche, SuperStrip showcases complex choreography, content, and surprising humor.


Mark Morris Dance Group Dido and Aeneas

Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 7:30PM and Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 7:30PM


The internationally renowned Mark Morris Dance Group defines artistic perfection with Morris’s masterwork Dido and Aeneas. Based on Henry Purcell’s opera, the ballet is performed with a live orchestra and chorus, with Morris as conductor.The more closely you follow it, the more packed its movement is with meanings; even though I have seen the work a number of times over the years, it keeps surprising me.” – New York Times


Dido, Queen of Carthage, is in love with Trojan Prince Aeneas. A sorceress who desires the destruction of Carthage and its queen crafts an evil plan. The sorceress sends a messenger in the form of Mercury to tell Aeneas he must leave Carthage and sail for Italy where he is to found a new Troy. Reeling from the abandoning by her lover, Dido kills herself, her death lamented by mourning cupids.


Mark Morris is hailed as one of the most prodigiously gifted choreographers of his time. A story centered on the nexus of love, sex, destruction, and death is prime material for dance. Mark Morris Dance Group embodies these sentiments and packs their movement with meaning.


Miami City Ballet                                                                                                                            

Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:30PM and Saturday, April 30, 2016, 7:30PM


Miami City Ballet makes their Harris Theater debut during their 30th anniversary season. This presentation is made possible by The Harris Family Foundation, Caryn and King Harris Dance Residency Fund through the Imagine campaign. Performing two distinct programs over two evening engagements, ballet’s current choreographic sensation Justin Peck is featured prominently in both programs. The company will be accompanied by the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra.


Hailed by The New York Times as “one of America’s most beloved dance companies,” Miami City Ballet is led by Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez. The dancers of MCB are known for their distinct musicality, interpretive artistry, great speed and attack, technical clarity, and ability to move seamlessly between diverse dance genres including classical, contemporary, and modern.


Choreographer Justin Peck, recently called “the most eminent choreographer of ballet in the United States” by The New York Times, collaborated with iconic street artist Shepard Fairey, best known for his 2008 “Hope” poster for Obama’s presidential campaign, for his latest work, Heatscape. Premiered in March 2015, Fairey’s set designs play a pivotal part in Heatscape which is heavily influenced by the vibrant streets of Miami.


April 29th Program:

Allergro Brilliante          Balanchine/Tchaikovsky

Chutes and Ladder        Peck/Britten

Viscera                             Scarlett/Liebermann

Symphonic Dance          Ratmansky/Rachmaninoff


April 30th Program:

Ballo della Regina          Balanchine/Verdi

Heatscape                       Peck/Martinu

Serenade                         Balanchine/Tchaikovsky


  • •• All programs, prices, and dates are subject to change. •••



The Northern Trust Company is the Harris Theater’s 2015–2016 season sponsor. United Airlines is the official airline of the Harris Theater. The Theater gratefully acknowledges the Irving Harris Foundation for its leadership support of the Presenting Fund. The Theater is supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency. All performances take place on The Elizabeth Morse Genius Stage at the Harris Theater.


Harris Theater for Music and Dance

The Harris Theater’s mission is to partner with a wide array of Chicago’s performing arts organizations supporting their initiatives for artistic growth and development. Its continuing efforts help build infrastructure and long-term sustainability for many of its resident companies.


Opened on November 8, 2003, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance was the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the Chicago downtown area since 1929. Today the Theater continues to host the most diverse offerings of any venue in Chicago, featuring the city’s world-renowned music and dance institutions and the Harris Theater Presents series of acclaimed national and international artists and ensembles.


Imagine: The Campaign for Harris Theater, is a $38.8M comprehensive fundraising effort supporting the Theater’s multifaceted mission. The campaign ensures the continued growth and artistic development of the Harris Theater over the next 10 years.


The Imagine campaign is led by four transformational gifts: from The Irving Harris Foundation, Joan W. Harris; Alexandra and John Nichols; Chauncey and Marion D. McCormick Family Foundation, Abby McCormick O’Neil and D. Carroll Joynes; Caryn and King Harris, The Harris Family Foundation. Additional leadership gifts supporting programmatic, operating and capital projects have been generously funded by Jack and Sandra Guthman, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Neisser Family Foundation, The Northern Trust Company, Christine and Glenn Kelly, Laura and Ricardo Rosenkranz, Marilyn and David J. Vitale and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The Imagine campaign operational support has been generously underwritten by The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust and Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust.


To learn more about the Harris Theater, please visit HarrisTheaterChicago.org. Call the Box Office at 312.334.7777 to request a brochure or additional information.


The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago’s state-of-the art 1,525-seat performance venue, can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.


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