My son was able to witness the late Mr. McClellan Jr, MFAS during rehersal for this piece. The dance world certainly will grieve this loss for some time. The void will be hard to fill

“The hometown favorite naturally seemed to be Chicago native William B. McClellan, Jr. and his “Rise/Rebuild to the Occasion.” It seems typical of young choreographers to put everything but the kitchen sink in a list of their inspirations, but there was focus to McClellan’s core idea of “rebuilding a community” after recent disruptive world events (he cites a Chicago shooting, the Japanese tsunami, Haiti’s earthquake and the Sandy Hook school shooting).”

His cast fiercely cobbled together a multitude of stylistic influences – ones I discerned were modern, African, hip-hop, classical ballet, locking and popping, martial arts, and gymnastics – set to propulsive music by Steve Reich and The Detroit Experience. My husband remarked (to my amazement at his acuity) how much this piece reminded him of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and DCDC2 (with which McClellan danced and choreographed for ten years) which he’d seen with me a number of times.


William B. McClellan, Jr. Photo: Joffrey Ballet William B. McClellan, Jr. Photo: Joffrey Ballet

Two weekends ago, from March 7 – 10, 2013, I was in Chicago, Illinois, with Jon, who was covering Axpona (Audio Expo North America) for his magazine, “The Absolute Sound.” Maybe the best part of the trip for me was seeing a great dance show Sunday—an impressive performance by Joffrey Academy students at the Harris Theater–something I always try for wherever we travel and had specially scheduled into the mix.

[Read the previous two posts on valinkat for more details on the program.]

The one thing I never expected to happen in plunging in amongst all those millions of Chicagoans was what I file as a genuine celebrity sighting. To me that’s actual proximity, however brief. In this case, as we left our theater seats and walked into the lobby, we ran smack dab into Rahm Emmanuel, the esteemed mayor of…

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