In dance, “best” can mean a lot of things; it can mean technical excellence and versatility, it can mean critical and/or national acclaim, it can mean popularity with audiences and community engagement, it can mean stylistic innovation or masterful preservation, pristine formalism or courageous vulnerability. Chicago is home to growing ranks of companies that fit all these descriptions; we are a city of “bests” in dance, making the selection of just one company exceedingly tough. The 2012 choice is based both on timeliness of subject and singularity of vision. This year, The Seldoms presented “Exit Disclaimer,” third in a series of intelligent, engaging dance theater pieces around the most pressing subjects of our age: consumption, economic recession and climate change. In these meticulously researched and thoughtfully crafted pieces, Artistic Director Carrie Hanson does not hold forth a political agenda, but looks instead at how these towering issues reflect back upon our humanity. Touches of humor—physical and verbal—leaven weighty subject matters, as does deeply felt, beautifully crafted dancing that draws heavily from the familiar periphery of the psyche. The Seldoms have brought us touching and thought-provoking reflections on we human creatures, capable of great destruction, great foolishness and great beauty.
The Seldoms, theseldoms.org
Audience choice: Joffrey Ballet, joffrey.com
Best of Chicago 2012