Organizers of this festival, now in its fifth year, have planned an upbeat program for opening night. Xsight! Performance Group, which usually trades in satirical cultural commentary and sexual provocation, offers an “intimate and elegant” duet to Chopin, Nocturne, choreographed by artistic director Brian Jeffery; he performs with Julia Rhoads, a dream of a dancer. Another new work will be presented by choreographer Harrison McEldowney, he of “the Milly” fame: Dance Sport is a “tongue-in-cheek look” (McEldowney can’t seem to get his tongue out of there) at a dance competition, created for the Hubbard Street Trainee Ensemble, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s newest–and youngest–venture. Most of the remaining companies on the program are jazzy (Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, the Joel Hall Dancers, the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project), jazzy modern (the Cerqua/Rivera Art Experience, Melissa Thodos & Dancers), or downright chirpy (the Happiness Club, youngsters who perform “a hip-hop musical extravaganza”). Thrown in for good measure, I guess, are the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and the World Champion Trinity Irish Dancers. The opening-night lineup won’t repeat later in the festival, which runs through December 5, but most of the companies will appear in one or more of the nine subsequent programs, which do repeat. For the ones that begin this week, see the listings for “Breaking Boundaries,” “Choreography Project,” and “Leaps and Bounds.” The opening-night performance is Saturday at 8 at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; $18 (subscription rates are available at up to 40 percent off single-ticket prices). Call 312-902-1500 for tickets, 773-935-6860 for information, including subscription info.

–Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Marc Hauser.