Chicago Dancing Festival Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Where else can you see 22 companies and nine independent dancers for FREE? Chicago Dancing Festival spreads out in various venues, with six performances over five days, from August 23 to 27.
The brainchild of Lar Lubovitch and Jay Franke, over the last ten years this festival has commissioned eight new works, presented more than 100 dance companies and attracted more than 90,000 audience members.
To mark the 10th year, they will open with a “movable dance parade” along the Navy Pier’s outdoor stages. Companies performing throughout the festival include Chicago favorites like the Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Human Rhythm Project and Muntu Dance Theatre. There will be works by William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexander Ekman and Aszure Barton + Artists. And one of my personal faves—Hubbard Street in Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo.
The Joffrey's Fabrice Calmels and April Daly in Lar Lubovitch's Othello, photo by Cheryl Mann
Randy Duncan’s new Depth of Light brings together dancers from Giordano Dance Chicago, Chicago Repertory Ballet, DanceWorks Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago and other companies.
Last year, the festival presented a night of “Modern Women,” and this year, the “Modern Men” night includes Joshua Beamish, Rennie Harris, Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Riener, and Brian Brooks.
Rennie Harris Puremovement in Students of the Asphalt Jungle, photo courtesy CDF
Inclusion, in genre and in numbers, is the name of the game. Forward Momentum Chicago has taught more than 80 students from the city’s schools and studios to perform traditional South African Gumboot dance. Tap dance, capoeira, Caribbean dance and Bharata Natyam are also on the schedule.
I think it would be hard for any dance lover in the Chicago area—or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter—to resist this cornucopia of dancing. Click here for tickets.
Alicia has died. I walked around my apartment feeling her spirit, but knowing something had changed utterly.
My father, the late conductor Benjamin Steinberg, was the first music director of the Ballet de Cuba, as it was called then. I grew up in Vedado on la Calle 1ra y doce in a building called Vista al Mar. My family lived there from 1959 to 1963. My days were filled with watching Alicia teach class, rehearse and dance. She was everything: hilarious, serious, dramatic, passionate and elegiac. You lost yourself and found yourself when you loved her.
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.
It's Nutcracker time again: the season of sweet delights and a sparkling good time—if we're able to ignore the sour taste left behind by the outdated racial stereotypes so often portrayed in the second act.
In 2017, as a result of a growing list of letters from audience members, to New York City Ballet's ballet master in chief Peter Martins reached out to us asking for assistance on how to modify the elements of Chinese caricature in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Following that conversation, we founded the Final Bow for Yellowface pledge that states, "I love ballet as an art form, and acknowledge that to achieve a diversity amongst our artists, audiences, donors, students, volunteers, and staff, I am committed to eliminating outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians (Yellowface) on our stages."
An audience member once emailed Dallas choreographer Joshua L. Peugh, claiming his work was vulgar. It complained that he shouldn't be pushing his agenda. As the artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Peugh's recent choreography largely deals with LGBTQ issues.
"I got angry when I saw that email, wrote my angry response, deleted it, and then went back and explained to him that that's exactly why I should be making those works," says Peugh.
With the current political climate as polarized as it is, many artists today feel compelled to use their work to speak out on issues they care deeply about. But touring with a message is not for the faint of heart. From considerations about how to market the work to concerns about safety, touring to cities where, in general, that message may not be so welcome, requires companies to figure out how they'll respond to opposition.