Chicago Dancing Festival Kicks Off 6th Season of Free Dance Events, Now thru 8/25


The final program line-up is set for the annual Chicago Dancing Festival, taking place at venues across downtown Chicago today, August 20 through August 25. The Festival, co-produced by renowned choreographer/Chicago native Lar Lubovitch and esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, enters its sixth season, expanded this year to six consecutive days of dance events that are all completely free.

“The Chicago Dancing Festival continues to grow as one of the country’s most amazing dance showcases, bringing the best dancers and choreography from around the world to our stages,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Festival enriches life throughout the city and in our neighborhoods, and shines a global spotlight on the wonderful culture that Chicago has to offer.”

Highlights of the 2012 Chicago Dancing Festival (CDF) include the premiere of Bolero Chicago, choreographed by New York-based innovator Larry Keigwin and starring 80 non-dancer members of the Chicago public. Created over a two-week residency and set to Maurice Ravel’s iconic “Bolero,” Bolero Chicago uses movement generated by the cast members themselves to exemplify Chicago’s unique culture and style. Another highlight is the Festival debut of After School Matters’ Hip Hop Culture Dance Ensemble performing Touch of Soul, a new work by contemporary choreographer Nicholas Leichter, commissioned by the Festival to honor the memory and legacy of beloved arts champion and former Chicago First Lady, Maggie Daley. Additionally, local troupe Giordano Dance Chicagomakes its Festival debut with Two Become Three, a humorous duet about the arc of romance by contemporary Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman, also a Festival commission.

Three different performance showcases featuring top ballet and modern dance professionals from Chicago and across the country, a look at Chicago’s ever-evolving dance community in an informative lecture-demonstration, a day-long screening of dance films that feature collaborations between dance artists, filmmakers and musicians, and an interactive social dancing lesson all complete the week’s offerings. The Festival culminates with it signature Grand Finale on the stunning outdoor stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.


Tonight, August 20, 7:00 pm – “Chicago Dancing”
Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive

After School Matters Hip Hop Culture Dance Ensemble, "Touch of Soul," a new work by Nicholas Leichter (CDF commission)
"Bolero Chicago" by Larry Keigwin (Chicago Premiere)
Giordano Dance Chicago, "Two Become Three" by Alexander Ekman (CDF commission) Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, "Scarlatti" by Twyla Tharp
The Joffrey Ballet, "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" by William Forsythe

Tuesday, August 21 – “Dancing Movies”
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
Curated by Sarah Best

12 – 8 pm (concurrent in the MCA lobby) – "All is Not Lost" (2012), a dance-film collaboration between Grammy® Award-winning pop band OK Go, Pilobolus Dance Theatre and director Trish Sie, places band members and Pilobulus dancers in a playful and surreal human kaleidoscope.
12 pm and 5:45 pm – "Fanfare for Marching Band" (2012), directed by Daniele Wilmouth with choreography by Chicago’s own Peter Carpenter and starring circus punk marching band Mucca Pazza, this fantasy short follows the adventures of a ragtag musical militia.
12:15 pm and 4 pm – Feature-length documentary "First Position" (2011), directed by Bess Kargman, follows six talented ballet hopefuls through preparation and competition in one of the most prestigious youth ballet competitions in the world, the Youth America Grand Prix.
2 pm and 6 pm – Academy Award®-nominated documentary "PINA" (2011), made by Wim Wenders in collaboration with the dancers of the Tanztheater Wuppertal, captures the emotional intensity and unique aesthetic of German post-modern dance pioneer Pina Bausch.


Wednesday, August 22, 7:30 pm – “Dancing East & West of Chicago”
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway

Ballet Arizona, "Rubies" by George Balanchine
Brian Brooks Moving Company, "Descent" by Brian Brooks (Chicago Premiere)
Martha Graham Dance Company, "Chronicle" by Martha Graham
Pacific Northwest Ballet guest artists Lesley Bausch and Seth Orza, "Afternoon of a Faun" by Jerome Robbins
Stars of San Francisco Ballet Sofiane Sylve and Vito Mazzeo, "The Sleeping Beauty" (pas de deux) by Marius Petipa

Thursday, August 23, 6 pm – “Dancing Under the Stars”
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S. Michigan Avenue

Chicago Dancing Festival partners with SummerDance Chicago for an evening of participatory dancing as people of all ages and skill levels come together on a 4,900 square-foot, open-air dance floor for an introductory one-hour dance lesson, followed by music and dancing. This evening begins with a Polka Dance lesson by Paul Collins followed by dancing to the beats of Joe Walega and the Happy Hearts Orchestra with instruction from Ethnic Dance Chicago.