Posted on: January 27, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Koresh Dance Company will present “La Danse” at the FPAC on Saturday.

By Emma Gomez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Fine and Performing Arts Center is back this spring with another diverse lineup that includes comedy, jazz dance, and multicultural offerings.

One thing that won’t be back, though, is the FPAC’s managing director, Tommy Hensel.

After being at Moraine Valley for 14 years, Hensel is leaving the college as of this week to take a position as the director of the arts center at Elgin Community College. Hensel is proud of the legacy he’s leaving at Moraine.

“I have definitely put my personal stamp on the programming at the Fine and Performing Arts Center,” he said. “One of the initiatives I created is the Sunday Salon series, which highlights local cabaret performers in the small, intimate space of the John and Angeline Oremus Theater.”

Hensel hopes what he has started at the FPAC will continue once he has gone. One of his priorities has been booking global music and dance performers representing diverse cultures from all around the world.

Tommy Hensel, FPAC’s managing director.

Though he is leaving, he is especially excited about two of the upcoming spring performances: “Small Island Big Song,” and “Niyaz with the Fourth Light Project.”

“Small Island Big Song” features indigenous performers from around the globe conveying a passion regarding the issue of climate change.

“Niyaz with the Fourth Light Project” is not only a spectacular light and sound show, but it also spreads knowledge to the audience about the music of Southwest Asia and Sufism.

“I feel strongly that anyone who attends the Niyaz show will walk away stunned – in a good way!” Hensel said.

Last year, Hensel won the college’s “Embracing Diversity” award in recognition of his efforts to expand the demographics of the audiences for shows at Moraine.

The process of finding Hensel’s replacement began in December with a job posting. Applications are still being accepted, with interviews likely to begin in February. The hope is for the new person to start by the end of the semester, Hensel said.

Meanwhile, the spring season at the FPAC will include several performances in the professional series and the salon series.

With the new season come new COVID vaccine protocols. Audience members must provide proof of full vaccination. According to the FPAC website, “This change is occurring in response to increasingly strict contractual requirements of visiting artists, evolving performing arts industry standards, legal mandates, and audience expectations.” Masking is also required to attend performances.

Hensel said that initially, the new procedures caused some difficulties. The FPAC had to contact everyone who had purchased tickets to let them know about the new vaccine mandates, and some had to be refunded due to not having the vaccine.

“Anyone who purchases a ticket moving forward will know about these new protocols so it won’t be a surprise,” Hensel said.

Spring season includes dance, multimedia

A preview for “La Danse” presented by Koresh Dance Company.

Shows in the performance series will take place in the Dorothy Menker Theater.

Coming up this Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Koresh Dance Company will present “La Danse.” According to the FPAC website, this performance will dwell in “tender, joyful, passionate and humorous interpretations of Matisse’s three permutations” of La Danse, Matisse’s famous painting. The show will begin with Le bonheur de Vivre, followed by two versions of La Danse – danced to an original musical composition by John Levis and poetry written by Karl Mullen. Koresh Dance Company was founded in 1991 by Israeli-born choreographer and artistic director, Ronen (Roni) Koresh.

On March 19 at 7:30 p.m., Giordano Dance Chicago, an American jazz dance company, will take the stage. Their shows have “captivated generations of audiences around the world with dynamic performances and the diversity and wide appeal of its powerful repertoire. For more than 55 seasons, Giordano Dance Chicago has created innovative choreography, often redefining and expanding the very definition of jazz dance,” according to the website.

On April 1 at 7:30 p.m., Small Island, Big Song will be embracing a live project where performers sing for the seas. The crew features hundreds of musicians from across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in order to create “a contemporary and relevant musical statement of a region in the frontline of cultural and environmental challenges.”

A preview for “The Fourth Light Project” presented by Niyaz.

On April 9 at 7:30 p.m., Niyaz will present “The Fourth Light Project.” This show is both a musical performance as well a vivid light show accompanied by sacred dance performances. According to their website, the performance also works to incorporate “interactive technologies and advanced projection/body-mapping techniques that respond to sound and movement in real-time.”

The salon series takes place in the John and Angeline Oremus Theater.

On May 15, with showtimes at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., an engaging performance will feature Jodi Beach and the Jodi Beach Trio taking the audience on a journey through the Great American Songbook. “Her performances invite the audience on a sentimental journey of melodies and lyrics that will leave them smiling and bring a tear to their eyes,” according to the Jodi Beach website.

If you’re interested in attending any of these shows, general admission is $35 per person or $31.50 for FPAC members. Active military and veterans are offered a discount, with admission being $28. Shows will be free for students with a valid student ID.

To purchase military, student, or MVCC staff tickets, please contact the box office. You may also call (708) 974-5500 to speak with a representative or purchase tickets online.