The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 21, 2010

River North dancers have give-and-take with audience



Frank Chaves, artistic director and choreographer for River North Chicago Dance, wants his audiences to experience all the defining elements of the dance company.

“The audience will not only see River North, it will feel River North,” Chaves said.

Nothing thrills Chaves more than sending out that energy into the audience and have the audience send it right back to the stage.

“It brings all the emotion to the forefront and tears down that fourth wall between the audience and the dancers on a stage,” Chaves said.

The company will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road in Richland Township.

Every Chaves performance blends skilled and emotional dancers, stimulating music and bold choreography.

“People have come up to me and told me they have felt things during the performance that touches their lives in ways that they never have expected,” Chaves said.

He said his Cuban ancestry has had a major influence on how he stages a show.

“I was a musician before I became a dancer,” he said. “My Cuban roots instilled in me a romance and passion that translates into syncopated rhythms.”

River North Chicago Dance Company is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a 12-city national tour.

The jazz-based contemporary company boasts that it embodies a true flavor of “Americana,” specializing in showcasing the work of established and emerging American choreographers.

Founded in 1989, River North Chicago has established itself as one of Chicago’s leading dance companies, and one of the most popular national repertoire companies.

“This is a versatile group that is hot, sassy and daring in presenting new artistic works from Broadway to ballroom, jazz to contemporary and everything in between,” said Michael Bodolosky, arts center executive director. “We will have a jitterbug master call at 11 a.m. Feb. 6, which is free and open to the public.”

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