Melissa Thodos, founder and artistic director of Thodos Dance Chicago (TDC), has a lot to look forward to. This year marks a milestone 25 years for her dance company, which will celebrate with a performance on March 11 at the Auditorium Theatre.
“Some of the world’s most renowned artists and companies have graced the Auditorium Theatre’s beautiful stage,” says Thodos. “The theater is truly one of the best venues for dance in all of Chicago, and we can’t wait to commemorate our amazing Silver Anniversary season and our last performance as an ensemble-based company on the historic stage.”
“Twenty-five years ago, Melissa Thodos created a contemporary dance company that has helped elevate the Chicago dance scene to international acclaim,” says Auditorium Theatre CEO Tania Castroverde Moskalenko. “We look forward to celebrating this Chicago institution on March 11.”
The program fittingly features “The Wheel Trilogy” choreographed by Thodos that incorporates three segments created throughout the company’s course: “Reaching There” from 1986, “Getting There” from 2011, and the world premiere of the final piece “There” from this year.
“I did not have a time frame in mind when I began the company,” says Thodos. “I just hit the ground running (dancing). At the time, I knew that I loved to dance, choreograph and teach, and I wanted to continue to do all three of those creative activities in an environment that supported creative thought.
“From a director’s perspective, I have seen a shift in the training focus for dancers. More dancers are coming out of a competition environment, as opposed to an artistic environment such as a conservatory, which is more dedicated to the exploration of creativity,” she says. “Today’s dancer often puts more emphasis on the performance aspect rather than the creative process. I continue to be inspired working with dancers who have backgrounds in dance composition, who provide creative input under direction, and who understand the mind of a choreographer.”
As such, the March 11 performance also includes the Chicago premiere of choreographer Bella Lewitzky’s “Nos Duraturi” as well as Briana Robinson’s “Uncovering” and “Changing Strangers” choreographed by Thodos.
Following the evening, Thodos will begin restructuring the organization to focus on project-based work that engages artists, collaborators and dancers. “The evolution of the company to move into a creatively more fluid structure was one I had been contemplating for a very long time,” says Thodos.
“The 25th anniversary is the completion of one of many chapters in the organization’s continued journey. With Thodos Dance Chicago’s significant growth, more of my time was spent on day-to-day operations and artistic administration with less and less time in the studio,” she says. “With 25 years of achievements, it felt like the right time for a change and the right time for me to seek more creative freedom as a choreographer and as an educator.”
For tickets to the March 11 performance at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, 50 E Congress Pkwy, visit AuditoriumTheatre.org.
Photo credit: “Full Circle” by TDC; photo by Cheryl Mann