Dance troupe returns from Europe

The River North Chicago Dance Company is just back from a European tour under the direction of artistic director Frank Chaves. The jazz-based, contemporary company has been touring and receiving critical acclaim nationally and internationally.

Chaves says dance is in his heart and soul and is his passion.

"When I create, I very much keep in mind two things - that it would be something that I would love to see myself if I were going to a dance concert and make sure it is as engaging for the dancers as it is for the audience," he said.

"He's always been very supportive and always has been there for us," said Monique Haley, River North dancer.

River North includes highly skilled dancers, stimulating music and bold choreography. A signature piece is Havaneras, a tribute to Chaves' Cuban roots.

"What's unique to River North and this has to do with my being Hispanic is there's a real sensuality involved in the training and the way I like to see the dancers move," he said.

Chaves, with River North since 1992, has developed the core of the varied, eclectic and powerful repertoire the company possesses.

"Be able to move is what I call this very rhythmic bottom half with a really beautiful lyrical upper body. And that I feel is somewhat the signature of the company, in terms of a style with which we move," said Chaves.

Chaves says he still has much to accomplish.

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