Finding Love with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater

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In celebration of February’s Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater presents an exploration of love during its debut at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie Saturday.

“Deeply Rooted Dance Theater: Aspects of Love” depicts six pieces, each reflecting love in a different form. Throughout the performance, concepts of brotherly love, sisterly love, romantic love, familial and communal love, spiritual love, and love of beauty and movement are portrayed through examination of civil rights, HIV/AIDS, feminism, music and more.

“The evening really represents different degrees, different dimensions of love,” said Kevin Iega Jeff, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Co-Founder and Artistic Director. “What I’m clear about is there are different degrees of love [and each] points to some innate human value, some innate human connection we have with each other.”

When selecting love as the theme of the show, Jeff was inspired by this concept of love as a commonality between all people, noting that it is one we often forget. He said that as people get caught up in the issues of their lives—both day-to-day and on a larger scale—they overlook that inside all of the ideas and tensions that pull them apart is a common thread of love.

“Ultimately, people are in need of recognition, affirmation, to be acknowledged in some way,” Jeff said. “Love is always a common bond that we tend to forget.”

Now in its 20th Anniversary season, the 15-member Deeply Rooted Dance Theater focuses on building community and supporting relationships and shared values through dance. The company blends African dance, ballet and modern dance for a unique and entrancing style.

I visited an “Aspects of Love” rehearsal during a run-through of Bach’d, choreographed by Gary Abbott, Deeply Rooted Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director. The piece displays love of movement and dance. The choreography was beautiful and playful and the dancers elegant and strong. Pure joy radiated from the performers.

If the rehearsal of Bach’d is any indication, the evening should be filled with skillful and heartfelt dancing and choreography that elevates the energy of all in attendance. Jeff said this show celebrates being present within the human condition and encourages viewers to feel the catharsis of finding something reflective of their own lives onstage.

“I want [the audience] to be a bit transformed and directed inward to reflect upon the value of who they are in creation, who they are in humanity, and who they are on the planet,” Jeff said. “At our best as artists, we are people who can speak to the heart and get past the intellect, which sometimes pollutes the heart. I think that our greatest challenge is to evolve into a heightened understanding of who we are, and on the road to doing that, love it critical.”

“Aspects of Love” takes place Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Tickets are $22-$38. For tickets, call 847-673-6300 or visit

Miriam Finder Annenberg
Miriam Finder Annenberg