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Graphic Novel Comes Alive In Gotham City

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 12, 2012 6:20PM

Dancer Chantelle Mrowka in Gotham City.

Gotham City is Chicago Dance Crash’s most ambitious production we’ve seen, and the company’s longest run yet. A fitting challenge given that CDC celebrates their 10th anniversary this year, and one that they meet with panache.

If you’re looking for a typical ensemble dance performance, this ain’t it. In fact, the bulk of any large scale synchronized dancing is only when the characters are under the influence of “The Jester;” dancer Brian Humprerys is so coercing in this role that even we could even find ourselves falling under his spell. Gotham City is a storytelling of what transpires after the sun sets in one of the most dangerous, notorious cities. Though made famous through the Batman graphic novels, the Dark Knight never actually appears. This story isn’t about him. It’s about what happens on a typical Gotham night, in a section that even the caped crusader might not even deem worth saving. There are familiar personas, though, in the impressive cast of 30 that follows eight main characters—some battling for control of the streets, but all fighting for survival.

Written by company director Mark Hackman and choreographed by Jessica Deahr, Gotham City blends different styles of dance—and music—from hip hop to ballet to break dance to capoeira (Brazilian martial arts) and acrobatics (plus the most fitting use of dubstep if there ever was one), all giving the real feel of a diverse city after dark. The audience is seated on a round, never more than three rows away, making you feel like part of the action, just steps away from danger.

Gotham City runs for five more weekends at the DCA Storefront Theater (66 E. Randolph). Tickets are $25 ($18 for students and seniors). Check for showtimes.

Tonight DCA Theater and Chicago Dance Crash also present a free screening of Comic Book Independents at the Chicago Cultural Center. The documentary films will be followed by a panel discussion which includes choreographer Jessica Deahar. 6:30 p.m.