TAKE Preview – Visceral Dance Chicago’s Fall Engagement 2018

Visceral Dance Chicago in "Take"
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Visceral Dance Chicago is a contemporary company dedicated to providing a comprehensive environment designed to cultivate dance education, creation and performance for choreographers, dancers and audiences. Visceral distinguishes itself by its commitment to the progression of diverse artists, programs and collaborations for our community. In it’s 2018-19 season, Visceral continues to push the boundaries of dance engagement.

Meredith Harrill in “Take”

Every year since it’s inception in 2013, Visceral Dance has presented certain programs that have become iconic to its concept and image. At the beginning of each season, they present “Within”, an in-house demonstration of all facets of the Visceral world: choreography, work-study, studio company and Company. At the end of the season, they present “Solus”, most recently at Chop Shop in Wicker Park, a specially conceived program of 10 premieres, crafted by 10 local choreographers and demonstrated by each of the Visceral Dance company members as a solo performance.

Mickey Erickson in “Take”

This year’s “Within”, October 12-13, 2018, filled with engaging performances, was the most recent program at the Visceral Dance Center, 2820 N. Elston, Chicago. Their newest works will be shown to the public on November 1-3 and again on November 8-10 at The Space, a warehouse/performance venue located at 3031 N. Rockwell (Rockwell and the River).

Visceral Dance 2018 Fall Engagement: TAKE, a double world premiere including the duet KEEP, is an interconnection with Visceral that suggests you can’t take without giving and can’t give without taking.  While focused on a sense of community, Visceral offers a shared experience connecting to humans, not just as an audience. Through intimacy and bold movements, Visceral provides a connective yet reactive energy that is selfless and unwavering.

Prince Lyons in “Take”

In Take, set to music by Forest Swords, Christian Löffler, Jon Hopkins, Desiree Miller, Moderat, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Sigur Rós, through choreography by Artistic Director Nick Pupillo, Visceral will “take” you on a journey and at the same time asks you what you will “take” from that voyage. While the dancers and audience will experience TAKE together, Pupillo challenges the individual’s perception of the performance.


This reviewer recently had the opportunity to interview Noelle Kayser, principal dancer, Visceral Dance, herself a dance instructor and accomplished choreographer, about the unique history of Visceral, her own career and the upcoming premiere of Take.

Noelle Kayser in “Take”

Debra Davy:  “Visceral Dance has accomplished so much since being founded six years ago. Why has it risen so far so quickly?”

Noelle Kayser: “A primary reason why Visceral has risen so far so quickly is Nick’s uncompromising ambition. For him, the end goal never changes, and he adjusts the path until it takes us where he wants to go. It’s always: ‘It is going to happen, let’s figure out how.’

Visceral is so alluring because it’s like watching someone grow up. Nick and the founding dancers often talk about a question that was posed on season one, day one: ‘So… what are we?’ We still constantly ask that question, so Visceral’s identity is always shifting. The creative process is very collaborative, so the movement and energy of performances is completely different depending on the then makeup of the company.”

Riccardo Battaglia in “Take”

Debra: “You have already had such a fabulous career, dancing, teaching, choreographing. What does the trajectory of your career arc look like? In the next 5 years? In the next 35?”

Noelle: “I don’t have a bucket list. My primary focus is to stay ready and available for opportunity. I’m particularly excited about my recent choreographic opportunities. This year I’ve already set work on Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Moonwater Dance Project, and Atlanta’s Kit Modus. I believe that if I give all of my quality to every opportunity, then the opportunities meant for me will keep presenting themselves.”

Debra: “What can you tell us about Nick’s full length creation Take premiering in November? Can you give us a window into the process?”

Noelle: “I feel that my role in Take is non linear. Take explores the offering of oneself in the context of a relationship versus the offering of oneself in the context of community. The genesis of the work is Keep, a duet Nick created this past summer on Meredith Harrill and Prince Lyons. Throughout  Keep, Meredith and Prince rarely broke physical contact; they were one moving body rather than two people moving in agreement.

Take further explores the symbiotic nature of human relationships. The process has focused on connotations of the word ‘take.’ For many of us, our first thought was, ‘not freely given.’ Now, however, I’m dancing the piece as more of an offering to the viewer, rather than with a feeling of wanting to keep something I’m in danger of losing.

It was interesting to watch the duet that would influence the piece and not having been a part of that process. It gave me a chance to draw my own conclusions with no outside influence.”

Paige Frazer is “Take”

Debra:  “How does the dance art form transform the lives of its audiences? What do you want to tell people about dance that would make them want to become consumers?”

Noelle: “Dance has been a part of humankind since we all stood up. It’s deeply embedded in our cultures and memories. Eye contact, proximity, and gesture form a language we all understand. Dance is a bridge to connection because it’s something that we all have in common. When you attend a performance, you will probably sit next to people whom you have never met. You will also watch people you may never have seen before, and those same people will show you something to which they’ve dedicated their lives. Going to see dance is an investment in relationship and community.”

Caitlin Cucchiara in “Take”

TAKEAn evening length immersive work by Artistic Director, Nick Pupillo

At: The Space, 3031 North Rockwell St, Chicago, IL   

November 1, 2, 3 | 8PM

November 8, 9 | 8PM

November 10 | 8PM & 10PM 

For information and tickets about all the great programs and performances of Visceral Dance Chicago, go to www.visceraldance.com


Image for “Take”, Visceral Dance Chicago

All photos by Michelle Reid


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