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Press

REVIEWS

Huffington Post, Johnny Nevin "Her ability to evade stylistic boundaries is certainly a case of finding coherence where others would expect disconnection...While many artists see an uncomfortable contradiction between artistic expression and audience approval, Deahr sees both parts of that apparent conflict with more clarity and in a more complete context."


Chicago Tribune, Laura Molzahn
"Nonstop, entertainingly varied, high-powered dance in the hip-hop idiom...features her brand of Hip-hop Lite, an agreeably airborne, smoothed-out style influenced by contemporary dance."

Time Out Chicago, Review by Matthew de la Pena "Act one opens with Jessica Deahr and Mark Hackman’s I Didn’t Realize I Wasn’t Minding My Own, a nice snapshot of tricks in the battleground of a desolate scene. Six dancers take their solos in a quiet display of skill, each with his or her own signature trick: a windmill kick, some back inversions, flips and handstands. Deahr and Hackman design an appreciation of hip-hop’s sometimes singular, reverent act of confrontation."

Chicago Tribune, Arts and Entertainment Preview by Sid Smith "Chicago Dance Crash choreographer Jessica Deahr proved her mettle and then some with last year's "Gotham City," a rich assembly of styles, shrewdly managed by her smart design.  In January, she took over as Dance Crash artistic director, and now she and the company are about to unveil another full-length production, "The Cotton Mouth Club."

Gapers Block, Preview by LaShawn Williams  "Chicago Dance Crash, whose Gotham City was hailed by the Chicago Tribune as one of the city's best in 2012, returns with The Cotton Mouth Club, its summer performance, choreographed by artistic director Jessica Deahr and Robert McKee, in a show that combines the "prohibition-era" with the 80s, taking the audience on a journey through swing, jazz, ballet, breakdance and more."

AOTPR.com, Interview by Johnny Nevin  "Chicago Dance Crash is so accustomed to doing something new that even when they do something for the first time, it's like they've done it a lot already. It's a unique talent for an entire Dance Company to have, but the performers and staff who make up Dance Crash all seem to have a set of abilities --- audacity, imagination, and multi-disciplinary performance skills --- that make it possible for them to keep doing new things well." 

Chicago Tribune, Review by Sid Smith  "You expect high-octane performing in a Chicago Dance Crash endeavor, and, in their latest, "The Cotton Mouth Club," you get it.  (Deahr and McKee) bombard you with movement, relentlessly -- and enjoyably -- showcasing the speedy, athletic prowess of the company's large, talented troupe."

Chicago Reader, Review by Laura Molzahn  "Edging closer to musical theater with The Cotton Mouth Club, Chicago Dance Crash nevertheless remains edgy. The barroom setting and lack of dialogue bring to mind Twyla Tharp's Broadway hit Come Fly Away. But instead of Sinatra, OutKast and Michael Jackson provide the tracks, as 17 dancers storm the stage in an avalanche of hip-hop, breaking, popping, contemporary dance, and a bit of swing."

Chicagoist, Review by Michelle Meywes  "The Cotton Mouth Club" is Artistic Director Jessica Deahr's second turn on the story-based full-length program.  Last year the troupe wowed audiences with her vision of "Gotham City" which earned them a spot on Chicago Tribune's "Best Dance For 2012."  This time around, Deahr shares choreographing duties with former Giordano Jazz Dance Company member Robert McKee...Their collaboration remains true to CDC's reputation: challenging works that fuse contemporary street and classic dance."

Chicago Dance Digest, Review "For something really fun and flashy this month, check out Chicago Dance Crash's "The Cotton Mouth Club", choreography by Jessica Deahr and Robert McKee.  The overall concept is inventive, taking the viewer on a journey through time, where a similar situation plays out twice, with two very different endings.  And with CDC's impressive athleticism on disply, it's an exhilarating evening."

Chicago Now, Review By Natalie Cammarata  "Chicago Dance Crash kills it in Cotton Mouth Club: Crash is known for it's mashup of styles, and Cotton Mouth's smooth transitions from jazz to hip hop to modern did not disappoint.  The show is choreographed by young mastermind/artistic director Jessica Deahr and Robert McKee." 

Chicago Reader, Review By Laura Molzahn  Dance Critic's Choice.   "A jaw-dropping cast of about 30 actualizes choreographer Jessica Deahr's virtuosic mix of hip-hop, capoeira, acrobatic, and contemporary dance moves in this exercise in perpetual motion performed up close and personal in the round."  

The Chicagoist, Review by Michelle Meywes "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"

Centerstage, Review by Lisa Findley “Gotham City” is a comic book come alive in an explosion of dance so dynamic you can see the “POW!” and “BAM!” jumping off the page."  "it’s a wordless show, but there’s no loss of intricacy, as the dancers’ movements tell each detail perfectly."

Chicago Tribune, Review by Sid Smith "Choreographer Jessica Deahr does a terrific job throughout, blending styles from hip hop to ballet seamlessly while making bold use of the dancers' proximity to the viewers and building in dazzling little tricks all the way through. Coming up with some two hours of non-stop dance is a challenge, but her imagination rarely fades."  "Her large ensemble pieces are both artfully designed and visually seductive, especially in Act Two."


Chicago Theater Beat, Review by Scotty Zacher "The choreography is beautifully reminiscent of Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp. The movements are fluid as silk, segueing into spasmodic synchronicity. Choreographer Jessica Deahr blends contemporary dance with music from the masters of trip hop, brilliant rockers such as Jack White, and cinema composer Hans Zimmer.  Deahr paints a canvas of violent beauty and redemption. Brilliant."

Chicago Now, Review by Katy Walsh  "Choreographer Jessica Deahr takes Mark Hackman’s clever plot and gives it legs.  The thirty dancers tell the story in an amazing mingling of visceral and whimsical.  Anger dominates the stage as the ensemble attacks each other in stylized athleticism." 

See Chicago Dance, Review by Sid Smith  "I've written that works are too long, that they overstay their welcome, so many times that it's pleasing, for once, to argue the reverse: Jessica Deahr's flowing, sometimes geometric-tinged "At the moment, I knew" cries out for expansion. Its inviting moves for five women would probably benefit from another short movement or two, and it cagily employs the most melodic strains from "Slumdog" as part of its score."   

See Chicago Dance, Review by Sid Smith  "But there's an intelligence behind the good times of the Crash, and today's top Broadway choreographers could learn a thing or two about crafty pop and jazz dance making from this more economically humble outfit.  RadioStars" starts especially strong with Jessica Deahr's "Busy Signal," to Lady Gaga's "Telephone," an outing for six women in tight, silver lame pants and boasting exactly the kind of sly design that buoys this concert, which plays again at 5 p.m. Sunday. Deahr has a nice eye for manipulating this modestly sized ensemble to maximize its appeal. Two dancers, for instance, initiate cartwheels in unison at one point, but it's the way Deahr selects and places them that make the bit such a grace note. Blink and you miss it."