Thodos Dance Chicago Celebrates 21st Birthday at 21 Club Gala Benefit Tonight

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Fans, friends and supporters of Thodos Dance Chicago, the contemporary dance company founded by Melissa Thodos, will kick up their heels at Thodos Dance Chicago's 21st Anniversary Gala 21 Club, tonight, February 2, 2013 at 6pm at the Chicago Cultural Center, Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Kim Vatis, news anchor at Chicago's NBC5, longtime supporter of Thodos Dance Chicago, and Chair of the 21 Club Host Committee is already planning an evening themed to New York's historic restaurant and prohibition-era speakeasy, the 21 Club. Honorary Co-Chairs for the evening are Ann Reinking, the Tony Award-winning Broadway star, and frequent Thodos Dance Chicago guest artist, Gary Chryst.

Suggested dress for the evening is Black and White Cocktail. Tickets to 21 Club are $275; tables of 10 are $2,500. Purchase tickets at or call Thodos Dance Chicago, (312) 266-6255.

Fans of New York's 21 Club will recall that during prohibition, only insiders armed with a secret password could gain entry to the restaurant and its secret underground wine cellar. Guests will enjoy the same private privilege as they enter TDC's modern-day 21 Club, where they will encounter an exciting evening including cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, a wine roulette wheel, plus dancing late into the night to the music of Swing Assembly.

The evening will be capped with a performance by the Thodos Dance Chicago Youth Ensemble, and an exclusive sneak peek of Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos's newest collaboration, A Light in the Dark: the Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, an intimate dance/theater piece about the extraordinary woman who was deaf and blind yet went on to become a world-famous writer, political activist and inspiration to all. A Light in the Dark- an equally powerful yet more intimate follow-up to their smash hit The White City: Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893 - will debut to the public on February 16 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, and March 2 and 3 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in downtown Chicago.

In addition to a busy performance and touring schedule, each year Thodos Dance Chicago nurtures and supports its ensemble dancers to express their own choreographic vision through the company's nationally unique New Dances program. Over the past 11 years, Thodos's New Dances series has provided the framework and support for nearly 100 Chicago-based choreographers and over 200 Chicago dance artists to develop and showcase their skills and build their reputations. Many works from New Dances have entered the repertory of Thodos Dance Chicago and been showcased at Dance Chicago, while others were embraced and received subsequent productions by noted directors Gerald Arpino of the Joffrey Ballet and Jim Vincent of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Reaching young minds through dance education is vital to Thodos Dance Chicago. As a teaching company, members of this highly trained ensemble hold BAs and MFAs in dance, and teach at the elementary, high school and university levels. TDC is well suited for residency programs where performances, lecture demonstrations, workshops and master classes go hand in hand. TDC also fulfills its education mission by offering dance instruction for ages 3 to adult at Chicago's Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls, where it also trains its own Thodos Youth Ensemble.

Thodos Dance Chicago continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Founder and Artistic Director Melissa Thodos, Executive Director Gail Ford, Grants and Booking Director Rick Johnston, Board President Elaine Rosenfeld Margulis, a dedicated board of directors and administrative staff, and the support of thousands of loyal contemporary dance enthusiasts both in Chicago and nationwide.

Current TDC ensemble members, who each teach, choreograph and perform with innovative flair, include Cara Carper, John Cartwright, Caitlin Cucchiara, Annie Deutz, Ray Dones, Alissa Tollefson, Kyle Hadenfeldt, Brian Hare, Joshua Manculich, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, Diana Robertson and Jon Sloven. Laura Gates is the company's rehearsal director and ballet mistress.

TDC is supported by the Illinois Arts Council - a state agency, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs - City Arts Program II, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and many individual and corporate sponsors.

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