If determination and energy can make a dance company, Kevin Iega Jeff will make one. Last year the Joseph Holmes troupe–founded by Holmes in 1974 and directed after he died in 1986 by company member Randy Duncan–went outside the family fold, even outside Chicago, for its new artistic director, a New Yorker. Yet it seems that in some ways Iega, as he’s called, marks a return to the company’s roots: watching a rehearsal of his newest piece, I saw the highly colored emotional and physical emphasis characteristic of Holmes. In a Child’s Eye tells the story of a young girl who falls asleep and takes a dream journey to a garden where she discovers good and evil: it’s a strange mix of traditional story ballets, African tales of children threatened or stolen by evil spirits, and urban street smarts–knowing who to trust, how to fight. The score, by Stevie Wonder, George Winston, and Holtzs, mixes sweet pop strains with the fervid spirituality of gospel singing. And Iega swung his arms and ran around and yelled and sang to his dancers (all new to JHCDT except for Torya Beard and Rodni Williams) to give them the gospel spirit, the deep surge under the wave and the froth on top. Also on the programs (see listing) are three other Iega works new to Chicago and pieces by Gary Abbott, Anthony Marshall, and Holmes. Wednesday through next Saturday, May 17-20, at 7:30 and next Sunday, May 21, at 3 at the Shubert Theatre, 22 W. Monroe; $10-$30. Call 902-1500 for tickets, 977-1710 for group sales.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Dan Rest.