Mordine & Company Dance Theater is the Midwest's longest-running contemporary dance company, celebrating its 50th season beginning in the spring of 2019. Under the direction of Shirley Mordine, the Company has produced works whose coalition of choreography and theatre has won critical acclaim. Praised for original choreography combining wit and sheer movement with technical sophistication, the Company's work has been described as "a two-edged sword of comedy and drama" and "adventurous, audacious, gutsy, and energetic."
Over the years, Mordine & Company has had the honor to work with a number of illustrious collaborators from diverse artistic disciplines, including choreographers Miguel Mancillas and Ishmael Houston-Jones; composers Tatsu Aoki, Henry Threadgill, Shawn Decker, Richard Woodbury, and David Pavkovic; visual designers John Boesche and Ken Bowen; puppeteer Michael Montenegro; and video artist Miroslaw Rogala. This collaborative spirit is part of an ongoing effort by Mordine & Company to infuse the field of dance with new modes of performance and expression.
Mordine & Company is a renowned Chicago institution; as the Chicago Tribune said about the Dances for The Open Spaces project: “the larger achievement is Mordine's ability to create new audiences for dance in a found space surrounded by the familiar pulse of the city." In the 1970s, the Company produced the first experimental dance pieces in Chicago, including Journey, set in a three-story building in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood; RSVP, performed in the original location of the Museum of Contemporary Art; and Sky Tale, which took place in an abandoned theatre space in Chicago’s Uptown. Later site-specific works include the creation and performance of the prelude work Subject to Change for the Dubuffet sculpture, the landmark "Dancin' in the State" event at the State of Illinois Building in 1993, the first site-specific dance work Weather Watch presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s current location, and the site-specific work Animare which was designed for the Lake Street Church in Evanston, Illinois. The Company has performed throughout the United States as well as internationally at numerous festivals and has toured to Australia, Israel, Mexico, and Yugoslavia.
The Company has consistently performed in the Chicago area, often producing two major seasons a year and has received numerous accolades for its choreography. As Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times states, “Shirley Mordine's artfully crafted dances convey wit, sensitivity and a flair for the theatrical. They speak with choreographic authority, and her company interprets them with articulate technique” Profiled by Dance magazine in 2009, Mordine was recognized as “a choreographer clearly capable of remarkable freshness and originality.” Mordine is renowned for her craftsmanship, as the Chicago Reader states, “Her canny manipulation of the raw material of dance - sheer movement of space and time - knows no peer."
Mordine & Company’s most recent works continue to receive praise and acclaim. Pushed to the Edge, the 2012 collaboration with Natya Dance Theatre, was described in the following manner by Chicago Dance Digest: “They work together, intermingle very distinctive choreography, but there’s no fusion here, no attempt to imitate each other’s dance discipline…Yet, the production remains cohesive; the beauty of the work is forged through the differences.” Critic Sid Smith had the following to say about Lifespeak, a work centered on stories and storytelling that premiered in 2011: “Played live, Shawn Decker’s score underlines the intimate conversations in this exquisitely performed piece.” Audience members also have strong reactions to the choreography; Teresa Pankratz, a viewer of 2009’s I Haven’t Gone There, recounted it as “a magical performance experience... a vivid and captivating journey... Fellini-esque, with a touch of Dick Van Dyke.”
SHIRLEY MORDINE — Founder and Artistic/Executive Director
PHILIP MARTINI — Board Treasurer/Acting Manager
Board of Directors' Officers
SHIRLEY MORDINE — President
KRISTIN KLINGER — Secretary
PHILIP MARTINI — Treasurer/Acting Manager
BERNADETTE BERSCHE -- Director