During a recent trip to New York I had a pair of experiences that brought my two loves, architecture and performance, together. Upon my first visit to the city's New Museum, I exited a stairwell and nearly tripped over 'Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things,' a site-specific dance solo choreographed by Tino Sehgal in 2000 and revived for the museum's current show, After Nature. A young woman slowly and methodically spun in broken shapes on the polished concrete floor, her body in such deep submission to gravity that it seemed she was a mannequin made of molten lead, writhing in an endless mechanized loop. I also stopped by David Byrne's Playing the Building, in which a dilapidated ferry terminal was connected by cables and pneumatics to a thrift-store organ in a way that allowed visitors to sit down at the keyboard and summon knocking pipes and creaky columns into an improvised racket.
As it turns out, these two installations were the perfect appetizer for The Seldoms' latest salvo against the necessity of genre divisions, 'Convergence' ( pictured ) . As director and choreographer Carrie Hanson put it, 'The 15,000 square-foot garage that will house the work is a principal player in the project': She enlisted Joel Huffman to transform it by constructing four subspaces to host her dance scenes. Large-scale, essentially minimal archisculptures in the vein of Zaha Hadid and Richard Serra, they instigate new methods of dancemaking by removing the formal stage frame from the equation. The audience will also depart from their typical role of sitting quietly in the dark: The cycle of dances will repeat three times during a five-hour window, allowing ample time to wander the vast space and test out multiple points of view ( all while enjoying an adult beverage or two ) . It's not just a dance-and-architecture duet, however; media designer Peter Gogarty ( who, with Huffman, created West Loop hotspot Lumen ) adds texture to the dancers and their surroundings by bathing them in manipulated video, while longtime Chicago dance costumer Lara Miller's asymmetrical avant-garments complement the progressive atmosphere. With all the film, fashion, dance, theater and art exploding all over town this month, it's lovely of the Seldoms to come up with a single event that covers all the bases.
The Seldoms present Convergence, Sept. 12-13, 2300 S. Archer; $20 includes drinks. Further information online at www.theseldoms.org or at 312-328-0303.
This weekend marks the beginning of an enormous fall dance season, which I'll be covering in detail next week. However, a few things to mention right away are:
—On the off chance you've missed it, The Joffrey Ballet has a gorgeous new home at 10 E. Randolph. The grand opening weekend starts Thursday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m. with a free concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion: An Evening of Remembrances, A Salute to the Victims and Families of 9/11. The Joffrey Tower opens Friday, Sept. 12, with a private black-tie gala, and on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 13, is an open house with four free tours of the facility ( casual attire ) , and on Monday, Sept. 15, there is a flashy fashion mega-party, 'Couture & Cocktails.' Joffrey Tower, 10 E. Randolph; more information at www.joffrey.com
—The excellent About Dance series continues with an antojito ( sampling ) of Luna Negra Dance Theater's upcoming program at the Harris Theater, Ciclos, featuring work by the legendary José Limón as well as company founder and director Eduardo Vilaro and Hubbard Street alum Francisco Aviña. This year marks Luna Negra's 10th birthday, as well as Limón's 100th, and with talented new dancers and two premieres, they have a lot to show off as the company heads into its second decade. A discussion with Vilaro, the dancers and dance critic Lucia Mauro will follow the excerpts. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, Sept. 11, 6 p.m., free.Read more story below....
—Matter Dance Company premieres their second evening-length piece, With A Twist, at the Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, Sept. 11-14, 8 p.m.; 773-296-6024 or at www.viaducttheatre.com ; $20/$15 students.
—Celia Weiss Bambara and Archana Kumar recently landed here from the West Coast and are joining forces in a shared concert to make your acquaintance. Their dances are polycultural and inquisitive, a fitting inauguration of the season of introspection. 'Memoirs of Time Continuing,' Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield, Sept. 12-13 at 8 p.m. $12/$10 students. www.linkshall.org
—Kudos are due to Tommy Sutton and his daughter, Peggy, whose tap mecca, Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts, was selected as this year's recipient of the Ruth Page Award. The Award will be presented by Venetia Stifler prior to River North Chicago Dance Company's performance at Ravinia. 847-266-5100 or at www.ravinia.org . The Pavilion at Ravinia, Highland Park, Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m., $10-30. For more about the academy, see www.mayfairacademy.net .