Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Spotlight Ball Raises More Than $800,000

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, one of the world's premier contemporary dance organizations, together with Event Chair and Chair of Hubbard Street's Board of Directors, Sara Albrecht, and Honorary Co-Chairs Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CEO/Co-Owner of The Second City Andrew Alexander, held its Season 38 Spotlight Ball on Thursday, June 9 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, located at 221 North Columbus Drive in Chicago.

The gala event raised more than $800,000 for Hubbard Street's artistic, community-focused, education and youth dance programming. More than $225,000 of that total was raised the night of the event, through a live auction and paddle raise led by Gary F. Metzner of Sotheby's, which included a $25,000 match provided by The Chicago Sun-Times Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust. More than 450 esteemed guests included artists, civic and corporate leaders; philanthropists; and the entire cast of Hubbard Street + The Second City's encore engagement of The Art of Falling, which continues through June 19 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park, located at 205 East Randolph Street in downtown Chicago.

The event began at 5:00pm with a Champagne reception at the Harris Theater, sponsored by Blue Plate Catering, preceding the opening-night performance of The Art of Falling at 6:00pm. Guests were then transported to the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel's Atlantic Ballroom. Following welcomes and remarks from Albrecht, Alexander, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hubbard Street Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton, attendees enjoyed a three-course dinner; wines from AJR Ventures, Brooks, and Wine Sisterhood; Tito's Handmade Vodka; and The Art of Falling-themed décor by Kehoe Designs.

"When The Second City invited us to collaborate," said Glenn Edgerton, "we discovered how both contemporary dance and sketch comedy are rooted in the exploratory process of improvisation. There's something special in sharing the stage with a company that starts every new project with the concept of 'Yes, and.'" The Second City's Andrew Alexander in turn thanked Hubbard Street for making it "very, very easy to take a risk, and to produce what I think is one of the finest collaborations [The Second City has] ever been involved with."

"I can't say enough about the iconic institution that Lou Conte built nearly 40 years ago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel added. "Hubbard Street has not just changed lives through dance. They have changed Chicago for the better, by bringing art and culture to more Chicagoans and, especially, to our children. I cannot wait to see what the next 40 years hold for Hubbard Street."

Chicagoans Melissa Chrusfield and her daughter, Nina Chrusfield, spoke later in the evening of their experiences participating in Hubbard Street's long-running Education Programs partnership with Ellen Mitchell Elementary School, where Nina recently graduated the fifth grade. As a participant on her own time in Hubbard Street's Youth Dance Programs, taking six classes per week at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, "Nina has had the opportunity to be a leader for her classmates," observed her mother, Melissa, "as some of them approach their first-ever experiences with movement and dance. She sees the value in her friends getting the chance to express themselves in ways beyond words."

"Every kid should be able to have the chance to express themselves through dance," Nina declared. "Sometimes we have emotions. Not all of them are happy. Some are sad, confused, and scared about the future. Dance doesn't just help us express our joy, but can help us walk through and deal with all the mountains and valleys of life."

"To see my daughter reaching, striving for something she loves so much builds hope in me," Melissa concluded. "Hope for her future, and for our future. A hope that says nothing is out of her reach. It gives me the courage to dream for her, and for myself."

The gala evening concluded with plenty of dancing to music by DJ Tess Kisner, of No Small Plans Productions and its popular dance party Slo 'Mo, held monthly at the Slippery Slope and other locations.

Kenneth C. Griffin was the Presenting Sponsor of Hubbard Street's Season 38 Spotlight Ball.

Benefactors included Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P.; The Chicago Sun-Times/The Chicago Community Trust; Sara Albrecht; David Herro and Jay Franke; Denise Stefan Ginascol and John Ginascol; and the Latsko Family Foundation.

Sponsors included Allstate; Berle Blitstein and Marlene Breslow-Blitstein; Meg and Tim Callahan; Lew Collens; Patti Eylar and Charles Gardner; ITW; Caryn Jacobs; Jenner & Block, LLP; Abby McCormick O'Neil and D. Carroll Joynes; The PrivateBank; Lauren Robishaw; The Second City; Deborah and Kelly Stonebraker; and Jamie and Rob Taylor.

Patrons included Robert and Marilyn Arensman; ARI; Athletico Physical Therapy; Janet and Michael Colleran; Kristen Conley and Andrew Sudds; Dirk Denison and David Salkin; Michael Downing and Kathy Bernreuter; Exelon; Mary Galvin; Jim Gordon, The Edgewater Funds; Sandra and Jack Guthman; Northern Trust; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Marc Miller and Chris Horsman; Alexandra and John Nichols; Byron and Judy Pollock; PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers); Alyssa Rapp and Hal Morris; Ellis and Sally Regenbogen; Richard L. Rodes; Buron X. and Sheli Rosenberg; Mary Kay Shaw; Richard and Barbara Silverman; Richard and Ann Tomlinson; and John E. Vazquez and Dr. Paul Gleixner.

Second City Theatricals produces an eclectic array of entertainment in venues worldwide. Recent productions include Let Them Eat Chaos (Washington D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre), and #DateMe, an original comedy created in partnership with OkCupid. Current and future productions include Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody, with Writers Theatre; The Second City's Almost Accurate Guide to America, customized for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and Unelectable You, a political show developed in partnership with online magazine Second City Theatricals is also the exclusive provider of sketch and improv comedy for Norwegian Cruise Line.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, under the artistic leadership of Glenn Edgerton, celebrates its 38th season in 2015 and 2016. Among the world's top contemporary dance companies and a global cultural ambassador, Hubbard Street demonstrates fluency in a wide range of techniques and forms, and deep comprehension of abstract artistry and emotional nuance. The company is critically acclaimed for its exuberant and innovative repertoire, featuring works by master American and international choreographers. Hubbard Street's artists hail from four countries and 12 U.S. states, and comprise a superlative ensemble of virtuosity and versatility. Since its founding by Lou Conte in 1977, Hubbard Street has grown through the establishment of multiple platforms. Each is dedicated to the support and advancement of dance as an art form, as a practice, and as a method for generating and sustaining communities of all kinds.

Hubbard Street 2, directed by Terence Marling, cultivates young professional dancers, identifies next-generation choreographers, and performs domestically and abroad, in service of arts education, collaboration, experimentation and audience development.

Extensive Youth, Education and Community Programs, directed by Kathryn Humphreys, are models in the field of arts education, linking the performing company's creative mission to the lives of students and families. Hubbard Street also initiated the first dance-based program in the Midwest to help alleviate suffering caused by Parkinson's disease. Youth Dance Program classes at the Hubbard Street Dance Center include Creative Movement and progressive study of technique, open to young dancers ages 18 months to 18 years.

At the Lou Conte Dance Studio, directed by founding Hubbard Street Dancer Claire Bataille, workshops and master classes allow access to expertise, while a broad variety of weekly classes offer training at all levels in jazz, ballet, dance fitness, modern, tap, African, hip-hop, yoga, Pilates and more.

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