Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oh What a Millennium Park Night!

Weeks ago we had purchased tickets for the world premiere of an evening long work, One Thousand Pieces, inspired by Marc Chagall's America Windows, choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo, and performed by the dancers of both Hubbard Street Dance Chicago companies. Our niece, Kristen, is the General Manager of Hubbard Street and I had followed her excitement about this work through her posts.

This evening was also a celebration of Marianne's birthday. As we neared the city, the slanting afternoon light of autumn provided yet another glorious view of the city so I'm going to begin with those photos. I haven't forgotten that I posted city shots recently but I never tire of them, do you?

Approaching the city, dark clouds provided great contrast highlighting the antennae on the tops of the Hancock Building and the Sears/Willis Tower. There is a very brief opportunity, a mere second or two, for shooting the skyline while driving in on I-55 without getting lots of foreground clutter and I caught it perfectly last evening.

Lake Shore Drive with Soldier Field on the right. The clouds were moving on toward the lake resulting in this lovely sky.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago was performing in its home theater, the Harris, which is in Millennium Park. Exiting the underground parking there, we were greeted with this view. After we moved to Chicago, for a couple of years Rich worked in the building on the left with the straight vertical lines. It is the Aon Building but like the Sears/Willis Tower is often known by its original name, the Amoco Building.

On the way to the restaurant we walked over to Cloud Gate, one of my favorite works of art in the city. The diamond shaped building behind Marianne and Rich is the Stone Container Building, now named the London Guarantee Building....geesh, who can keep track of all these name changes?

The scenes reflected on Cloud Gate, commonly referred to as The Bean, change constantly with the seasons, the light and the weather...magnificent on any day.

Our dinner reservation was at Park Grill, also located in Millennium Park. As we walked from Cloud Gate to the restaurant, this was the view looking west down Madison Street. At the end of this urban canyon the clouds were tinged with shades of orange and gray but I could only capture those colors with a tight zoom so I decided to remove all the color from this street scene...what do you think?

Here is a slice of the setting sun coloring the clouds that we could see at the far end of Madison St.

Dinner was delicious at Park Grill but the Red Wine Risotto, with mushrooms, cheese and their own handmade sausage, did not photograph well at all. Rich and I both had that, Marianne had salmon, and we all shared the Bacon & Cheese Mashed Potatoes. They ordered Raspberry Creme Brulee for dessert.

By the time we finished dinner, night had fallen. Pritzker Pavilion is featured in the background of this next photo, taken as we walked back to the Harris Theater.

And then...the most amazing contemporary dance three parts!

Part 1
Muted reflections of the dancers in movable blue glass panels reminiscent of America Windows.

Part 2
Water on the floor sparkled like broken glass and droplets flew through the air following the movements of the dancers. Yes, they were performing on water! The dancers entering and exiting the stage through the three fog screens was absolutely breathtaking.

Kristen found us before the performance and again during the intermission.

Part 3
Since we had not seen any signs about cameras & no one had confiscated my camera during the first two parts, I boldly took more photos during the final one. Unfortunately, there were heads in my line of sight but you can clearly see the floating panels of blue glass that sent reflected light dancing throughout the theater. All the sets were so simple yet so perfect.

I love how the movement of the dancers was captured in this shot!

The dancers glided almost invisibly onto and off the stage throughout the performance. There were a number of duets, there were times when all the dancers were on stage, and there were various numbers of dancers performing at other times...but it was all a part of one performance. If only I had the words...

In this photo you can see the reflection of the dancers in the glassy shine of the floor. I was mesmerized by the connection between the dancers and their reflections throughout Part 3. I don't have the phrasing to adequately express the beauty of this work and the incredible strength, poise, control, flexibility, and grace of the dancers. I am so happy to have seen this.

Driving out of the city on Lake Shore Drive, I took this shot of the Field Museum as we approached it.

Lovin' Life ~~ The Art and the Beauty of the City

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