Smile Politely

Five things in arts this month: December 2021

No matter what you celebrate (or don’t) this time of year, the arts calendar is full of gifts for everyone. With the return to live performances and the re-opening of gallery space, these five opportunities to enjoy dance, theatre, and visual art will end your year on a high-note, and leave you excited for more to come in the new year. Enjoy!

Living Hosts: Culturing Collaboration

Photo courtesy of Sarah Marijanovic.  

Living Hosts: Culturing Collaboration is a joint exhibit by Sarah Marjanovic and Heather Sandy which juxtaposes each artist’s native landscape (rural and urban respectively) along their unique methods and approaches. Marjanovic “[choreographs] aggregations of color and texture,” while creating “dynamic landscapes that reflect both degradation and adaptation and that represent the delicate and vulnerable as well as the strong and resilient.” In contrast, Sandy studies color, shape, and form while also “[studying] the how the human hand has shaped the natural.” Living Hosts promises a compelling visual dialogue about our complex  relationship to the natural world.

Living Hosts: Culturing Collaboration
December 2nd-January 31st
Illini Union Art Gallery
104 E Green St, Urbana
Artist reception: December 2nd, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
See Illini Union’s hours here

Dante Solo Inferno

Photo from the Artemis Danza website.

The arrival of Italian modern dance company Artemis Danza illustrates the kind of unique international opportunities that only happen in college towns. Hosted by the Illinois European Culture Center,  and Chicago’s Italian Cultural Institute, Dante Solo Inferno offers a reinterpretation of select passages from the Divine Comedy, in commemoration of the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri. In this performance, “the dancers are the protagonists of several choreographic scenes dedicated to the lost souls met by Dante on his infernal journey. Charon, Minos, Francesca da Rimini, Pier Della Vigna, Ulysses, are some of the characters chosen by Monica Casadei to investigate the human soul and compose a poetic and, at the same time, visually impacting image, in which every archetype of the collective unconscious finds its own carnal and earthly manifestation.” Check out this video for a preview. Casadei and the entire company are excited for their first C-U performance. Learn more about Artemis Danza here.

Dante Solo Inferno
December 2nd, 7 p.m.
Lincoln Hall Theatre
702 S Wright St, Urbana
Free, but RSVP preferred

Feeding the Dragon

Photo from the Station Theatre Facebook page.

Performed by Latrelle Bright and directed by Jacklyn Lowenstein, Feeding the Dragon tells Sharon Washington’s autiobiographical tale of “the unorthodox childhood of a little girl who grew up in an apartment on the top floor of the New York Public Library branch where her father served as the building’s custodian” in a one-woman play format. Broadway World has written that Feeding the Dragon “does what every good story should—it captures the mind, inspires imagination and transports the audience to a place that seems too magical to be real (yet it was!)”

Feeding the Dragon
December 3rd+4th, 7:30-9 p.m.
December 5th, 2:30-4 p.m.
The Station Theatre
223 N Broadway, Urbana
Get ticket information here
Livestream option available on December 4th, $5/device

The Nutcracker

Photo by Darell Hoemann.

C-U Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is a beloved tradition for dance fans of all ages. This week, it makes a much anticipated return to the Krannert Center stage. The fanatstical set and costumes along with the skill and joy of the dancers yields a truly magical experience. And joy is what we need right now. So, whether you are a Nutcracker regular or newbie, go and give C-U Ballet the love and support they deserve. Though the production will not include a live musical performance, I expect the audience’s enthusiastic clapping to provide it’s own rousing soundtrack. Be sure to check out the COVID-protocols here.

The Nutracker
December 3rd, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
December 4th, 2-4 p.m., 7:30-9:30 p.m.
December 5th, 2-4 p.m., 6-8 p.m.
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S. Goodwin, Urbana
Get ticket information here.


Photo courtesy of Marc-Anthony Macon.

Eggsploitation hosts Prism Studios and Marc-Anthony Macon call it “a night of art, community, and eggs.” For those familiar with Macon’s work, the egg is a familar presence. Creating one of the best event taglines ever “Eggs. Clean, white spheres. So simple we just had to see what we could fry up,” Eggsploitation features egg-inspired work by Outlaw Artistry, Michael Darin, Josh Doniak, Fabrikate, KT Kannibal Acrylics, Marc-Anthony Macon, Shannon Percoco, Ralph Roether, Cindy Sampson, Phil Strang, and Matt Wiley. 

December 10th, 6-8 p.m.
Independent Media Center
202 S Broadway #1, Urbana
See IMC hours here.

Top photo by Darrell Hoemann.  

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