Visceral Dance October 1, 2016 Preview and Nick Pupillo Interview Review- A Great Choreographer and a Great Company



                                                 VISCERAL DANCE CHICAGO

Presents World Premieres by Nick Pupillo and Erica Sobol

with audience favorites "Vital "by Pupillo and "Ruff Celts" by Marguerite Donlon

Fall 2016 Harris Theater Engagement

Visceral Dance: The Company; photo courtesy of Cheryl Mann

Visceral Dance Chicago will begin its fourth season offerings with a Fall engagement at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph, which will include world premieres “Atlas" by Artistic Director Nick Pupillo, and a new commission by LA-based choreographer Erica Sobol.

Pupillo’s “Atlas” revolves around “the weight of the heavens upon one’s shoulders,” inspired by humanity’s passionate needs. Set to music by The Turin String Quartet, the premiere explores the responsibility and expectation placed upon each and every individual, and the beauty inherent in striving for what is important to us.

Lauded as a "fearless choreographer" whose work combines contemporary, modern and pedestrian vocabulary, Erica Sobol brings her energy to Chicago to set a work for Visceral Dance Chicago. Her "animalistic movement with a touch of fluidity and vulnerability" will make its way into Visceral's repertory this season.

 Marguerite Donlon’s dynamic, dark-humored "Ruff Celts" returns to the Harris stage for the second time. Inspired by the personalities of the dancers, Donlon uses a mixed score of contemporary Irish and German composers. A fusion of contemporary and deconstructed technical vocabularies defines this sharp-witted, quirky, full-company work that has become a crowd favorite.

From "Ruff Celts" by Marguerite Donlon; photo courtesy of Cheryl Mann

Concluding the program, Pupillo takes his ten dancers through movements both raw and refined in "Vital". This full-company work features live music performed by percussionist Peter Ferry and composed by David Lang and Ferry. Through this collaboration, the dancers and Ferry have perfectly synchronized their actions, causing a reactive, electric energy, tangible to the audience.

Using this range of approaches, the company’s Fall Engagement will be a stirring evening of dance. Visceral Dance Chicago is dedicated to presenting intriguing, innovative contemporary dance from diverse choreographic voices.

Visceral is proud to return to the Harris Theater for its Fall Engagement:

Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL     October 1, 2016        7:30pm

Rehearsal shot: choreographer Nick Pupillo and Visceral Dance; photo courtesy of Nick Pupillo


                                           ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP BY NICK PUPILLO

Nick Pupillo, Founder and Artistic Director of Visceral Dance Chicago, graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet. In 2001, Pupillo joined the acclaimed Giordano Dance Chicago where he toured nationally and internationally for three years. Pupillo decided in 2006 to train and mentor young talent by developing the prestigious Visceral Studio Company. In 2007, he founded Visceral Dance Center to provide the Chicago community with a new venue for artistic and technical growth. This facility continues to be a Chicago dance landmark. TimeOut Chicago lists Visceral Dance Center as "A bustling, well-appointed facility...with instructors from top companies and in-demand guest teachers." Utilized by a number of Chicago-based companies, Visceral Dance Center is home to its resident company, Visceral Dance Chicago.

 Pupillo founded Visceral Dance Chicago in the fall of 2013. This repertory company presents his daring vision to explore the infinite possibilities of contemporary movement. The dancers of Visceral demonstrate this choreographic invention and are recognized for their technique, passion, and athleticism. In less than three years, Pupillo has led the company in a forthright direction, establishing a repertoire described as "expertly devised and stylish as they come." (Laura Molzahn, Chicago Tribune) He created six signature works for the company, "Impetere", "Senza di te", "My Realm", "Sum Noir", "She Three" and "Vital". He has also commissioned world premieres by Sidra Bell, Banning Bouldin, Monica Cervantes, Marguerite Donlon, Brian Enos, and Robyn Mineko Williams as well as company premieres by Ohad Naharin and Fernando Melo. Pupillo continues the company's bold vision this season, commissioning works by Marguerite Donlon, heightening the"distinct flavor to this fledgling company that differentiates it from the other high kick, high flair, contemporary dance companies." (Lauren Warnecke, Art Intercepts) 

Visceral Dance Artistic Director Nick Pupillo; photo courtesy of Katie Miller

 Pupillo has received various awards for his choreography, including "The Dance Chicago Outstanding Choreography Award" in 2005 and 2012 and "The Cliff Dwellers 2013 Choreographer of the Year. His work has been described as "a stroke of choreographic genius...complex, tumbling this portrait of perpetual motion." (Laura Molzahn, Chicago Tribune) "Nick Pupillo’s world premiere piece, "She Three", was by far one of the most visually stunning performances I have encountered thus far." (Rebecca Curl, Chicago Stage Standard) Pupillo is frequently invited to conduct master classes in the U.S. and around the world and has taught for the Jazz Dance World Congress, Chicago Dance Connection and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Pupillo is currently an artist in residence at Culver Academies.

                                            INTERVIEW WITH NICK PUPILLO

 On the eve of the October 1st opening, this reviewer had the opportunity to interview Nick Pupillo about the conception and creation of his new work “Atlas”. His inspiring description of the choreographic process is paraphrased below.

 “Atlas” was going to be a single duet about the journey of one relationship, about “having the weight of the world on your shoulders”. With a love relationship, said Pupillo, “we spend so much time and energy invested in it and catering to it”. Then the love relationship “takes a turn”.  “It can be the same with our involvement with religion”, he commented.  As a child, raised Catholic, an altar boy, he was imbued with “the expectation of getting to heaven and the responsibility of life”. These feelings, too, “take a turn” as we grow. The third aspect of life he considered in this piece was his involvement with Visceral, how massively important it is to him, the weight of responsibility he feels with respect to the troupe, the entity. “All these things are so important”, he exclaimed, “and the weight of them can be overwhelming until you reach a point where you forget to enjoy them”.

From "Vital" by Nick Pupillo; photo courtesy of Lewis Kopp

The dance grew into two duets and then three- “we each have so many stories”- and each duet represents "a different relationship with different projects”. He explains that he started by creating “phrase work and movements”. He “full out demonstrated these” to the dancers. Once everybody in the company “knew the language”, they gave back to him the remainder of the piece. “Visceral”, he reflected, “is about action and reaction”. He is always interested in “what does an action cause the body to do”. He puts the initial action to the dancers, “they respond to him”, and then he “pairs them”.

As for the music from The Turin String Quartet, he first chose “a bunch” of music, and watched the dancers move to it. By the 3rd day of rehearsal, “they could not put this piece of music down. It dug deep. There is a certain cycle to the events of our lives and there is a momentum of circular energy in music. This piece of music connected in such a way- it caused a natural reaction."

Pupillo mused aloud how  “the end of the piece reveals a beautiful  moment- there is a cleansing”.

Percussionist Peter Ferry and Company in "Vital" by Nick Pupillo; photo courtesy of Cheryl Mann


 For more information about this  remarkable and fast growing company, and to purchase tickets for this sure to thrill performance, go to the Visceral Dance website.











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