River North Dance performs lush 'Havana Blue'

2013-04-12T00:00:00Z River North Dance performs lush 'Havana Blue'Eloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

River North Dance Chicago's artistic director Frank Chaves is thrilled to present the group's latest work to audiences this weekend.

The troupe, along with Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, will present the world premiere of "Havana Blue" at 8 p.m. Saturday at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre.

"This is a heartbeat for me," said Chaves. "I was born in Havana and left when I was six years old." The artistic director said he and Orbert Davis along with a group of 25, traveled to Cuba in preparation for collaborating on "Havana Blue."

"My spirit was overflowing. We went to Cuba for inspiration," Chaves said. "And we came home with all sorts of ideas."

Chaves said "Orbert did a fantastic job at creating the composition."

The production blends Afro-Caribbean and Cuban rhythms/music with colorful choreography and art elements.

The artistic director said "Havana" has been in the works for the past year with the company also having a six-week intensive rehearsal period.

Various musicians from the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic will play the music live on stage as the dancers perform. Chaves' work is comprised of various dance segments or movements including sensual, romantic, lively, and soulful choreography.

He said "Havana Blue" has a type of traditional Cuban feel but is more about the Cuba of today.

"It's the Cuba that is now," Chaves said, adding the work also talks about the human experience.

In addition to "Havana Blue," the program roster will include the work "Eva,"honoring and based on the music of late singer Eva Cassidy.

"Her voice was absolutely exquisite. She could flip from one genre to another," Chaves said.

River North Dance Chicago will perform the production "Havana Blue" at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Tickets are $32 to $76. Call  (800) 982-ARTS or visit AuditoriumTheatre.com.

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