DANCE FOR LIFE 2017 Companies Announced
The 26th annual Dance for Life Chicago will exemplify Chicago's versatile and virtuoso dance community with the eight companies that are performing August 19 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which mobilizes Chicago's dance community by raising funds through dance, presents this annual benefit performance, which is preceded by a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago.
The Partner Dance Companies that perform each year are Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet. Joining these annual participants this year are a collaboration between Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Trinity Irish Dance Company; Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography; and Visceral Dance Chicago. The concert concludes with a celebratory grand finale work choreographed by Randy Duncan.
Dance for Life Chicago is the annual benefit dance concert presenting and showcasing the city's unique diversity of talent, dance traditions and styles by bringing together talented, world-renowned professional dancers from Chicago for one night on the same stage. The dance community unites artistically to support those affected by critical health and other life issues by generously donating their time, energy and artistry to the cause. During the past 25 years, Dance for Life Chicago has presented 33 Chicago-based, professional dance companies and numerous choreographers. Proceeds from Dance for Life Chicago support The Dancers' Fund, which provides assistance to members of the dance community coping with critical health and life issues, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
To kick off Dance for Life Chicago, Chicago Dancers United presents the return of Dance Divas, a performance by professional dancers in drag directed by choreographers Harrison McEldowney and Jeremy Plummer. Dance Divas takes place Tuesday, June 20 at The Baton Show Lounge. The program
Giordano Dance Chicago performs Randy Duncan's Can't Take This Away, which the company first performed at the funeral of its founding director, Gus Giordano, out of respect for his desire to add the work to the company's repertoire. Featuring 15 dancers and set to music performed live by The Bournés Family, the piece, according to Lynn Shapiro of SeeChicagoDance, features "buoyant leaps and spirals [that] well could usher any soul to heaven, and in fact, gave a great preview of the hereafter for the living fortunate enough to experience their performance."
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs two works by Nacho Duato. Jardi Tancat is choreographed for three couples and set to Catalan music recorded by vocalist María del Mar Bonet. Catalonian for "Closed Garden," the piece reveals this appeal in the movements of sowing, planting and threshing of the barren Catalonian land. "ViolinCello," a duet from Duato's evening-length work Multiplicity. Forms of Silence and Emptiness, is a tribute to composer Johann Sebastian Bach, performed to Bach's Suite No. 1 in G Major.
The Joffrey Ballet performs Joy choreographed by Alexander Ekman to music by Django Django. Commissioned by The Joffrey in association with Cal Performances, University of California, Berkeley, the piece received its world premiere in April 2017 during The Joffrey's spring program at the Auditorium Theatre. "To observe dancers feeling joy on stage is contagious," Ekman said. "Joy is my 47th piece, created in only two weeks in Chicago. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to just arrive in the studio without preparing too much. I wanted to see what the dancers would bring to the piece. The turnout is something completely different than I expected-that is, the pure joy of creating in the moment. To be open to dancers' talents and unique expressions can bring personality and depth to the work. Through playing we have come up with this quirky universe."
Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Trinity Irish Dance Company together perform In the Meantime, choreographed by Lane Alexander, Maggie Eileen Doyle and Claudia Pizarro. According to the collaborators, rhythm and percussive dance are sophisticated, elastic and ancient languages with many distinct dialects. Even as these dialects have multiplied and evolved over millennia, the root is so strong that we are still able to understand each other and freely admire the sound and feel of the "other." In the Meantime is a celebration of our distinct cultures and a recognition of our common impulses and the universal desire to make rhythm. Jessica Miller Tomlinson Choreography performs In Tongues, an abstract work loosely based on the quirky, over-the-top stage persona of Talking Heads vocalist David Byrne, set to the band's music.
Visceral Dance Chicago performs Ruff Celts, choreographed by Marguerite Donlon, who, inspired by the dancers' personalities, uses a mixed score of contemporary Irish and German composers in this dynamic, dark-humored work. A fusion of contemporary and deconstructed technical vocabularies defines this sharp-witted, quirky, full-company work that has become a crowd favorite. Dance for Life Chicago, which takes place Saturday, August 19, begins at 5 p.m. with a gala reception and buffet dinner at the Hilton Chicago Grand Ballroom, 720 S. Michigan Ave., and continues with the performance at 7:30 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.
Tickets-$275-600 for both the gala reception and performance and $15-75 for the performance only-go on sale May 12 by phone at 312.341.2300, online at chicagodancersunited.org or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office. Group Tickets (10 or more) are available by calling 312.341.2300. Tickets for Dance Divas, which takes place Tuesday, June 20 at 8 and 10 p.m. at The Baton Show Lounge, 436 N. Clark St., are $50, which includes two drinks, and are available at
chicagodancersunited.org. Chicago Dancers United
Dance for Life Chicago uses the art of dance to make a difference in people's lives. In response to the changing needs of Chicago's dance community, evolutions in the nature of HIV/AIDS, the growth of the annual event and its other programs, Dance for Life Chicago has grown into a nonprofit organization, Chicago Dancers United (CDU). CDU engages Chicago's dance community to support organizations and dance community professionals dealing with critical health and other life issues causing significant financial, emergency or catastrophic hardships, including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, through dance.
Proceeds from Dance for Life Chicago 2017 benefit the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and CDU's The Dancers' Fund, which began in response to the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the dance community. The fund now offers assistance in, but not limited to, housing, utilities, insurance, medication and travel. As a unified dance community in Chicago, CDU uses dance to support a stronger and healthier community by focusing on its health and well-being through The Dancers' Fund and Dance for Life Chicago. The companies