Alex Gordon's Residue, from last year's New Dances Credit: Alex Gordon

Thodos Dance Chicago has never been about one person alone. Over the last 25 years, the company has hired dancers, yes, but more importantly, it hires dance makers. During auditions for the company, founder Melissa Thodos has consistently looked for people who bring creative intangibles to the studio other than technique—a cornerstone that has made Thodos a local standout. That feeling is never more evident than during the company’s annual New Dances series, one of the city’s longest running in-house choreography incubators and an annual summer showcase that gives current and rising dancers an opportunity to hone new material, almost always different in style and tone. Where one piece might stick strictly to the fluidity of contemporary ballet, another might rumble with the gruffness of hip-hop, or evince the much more grounded, meditative balance of postmodernism in the vein of Merce Cunningham or Trisha Brown.

This summer marks the last of New Dances, however. The company announced earlier this year that it plans to modify its mission while on financially solid ground, freeing up Thodos and others to pursue other creative projects. It’s yet another loss for the Chicago dance community, which has seen a slew of companies either hit the reset button or go on hiatus recently (Margi Cole’s Dance COLEctive and River North Dance Chicago are two examples). But at the least, it’s one more opportunity go out with a bang. The final program features eight premieres from eight different choreographers. Fittingly, Thodos herself acts as this year’s guest choreographer.

New Dances Sat 7/15, 7:30 PM; Sun 7/16, 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 773-935-6860,, $14-$40.