After 23 years as Artistic Director of River North Dance Chicago, Mr. Chaves retired in December 2015. Having produced more than 20 original works for the company, he now concentrates on choreography, creating new works and finding new homes for his existing body of work.
As a performer, he has danced with Ballet Concerto of Miami, New York’s Ballet Hispanico, Giordano Dance Chicago, and six years with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago where he worked with choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Margo Sappington, Daniel Ezralow, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, David Parsons and Lou Conte. In 2000, he received a Ruth Page Dance Achievement Award for Mission, co-created with Sherry Zunker, Co-Artistic Director Emerita of River North, in honor of the Company’s 10th anniversary. He was also recognized with a 2008 Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography from the Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation for Tuscan Rift.
For more than 10 years, Mr. Chaves has been dealing with a degenerative spinal cord disease, syringomyelia, which (in his case) has no known cause and no known cure. After 2010, things deteriorated quickly, and now he is in a wheelchair indefinitely.
Collaborating with dancers and a significantly reconfigured creative process, he continues to produce the highly musical, emotionally gripping dances that are his passion and hallmark. This is reflected in Havana Blue and Eva created in 2013 as well as his men’s piece, In the End, his first piece fully created from a wheelchair in 2014.