Chicago Dancemakers Forum Celebrates 15 Years Of Bold And Ambitious Dancemaking

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Chicago Dancemakers Forum Celebrates 15 Years Of Bold And Ambitious Dancemaking

Chicago Dancemakers Forum celebrates its 15th Anniversary with robust public programming, increased grants to dancemaking artists, public showcases, and two celebratory events. During this milestone year Chicago Dancemakers Forums renews its commitment to Chicago's extraordinarily diverse dance communities with ten grants to local choreographers totaling $110,000. Cash grants are combined with mentorship and showcasing opportunities giving artists and dance-enthusiasts a lot to celebrate.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum is the only organization in the city dedicated solely to nurturing artistic advancement for the dancemaking field. It is the single largest local source of support for individual choreographers in Chicago which invites proposals through an open call process. Over the past 15 years, Chicago Dancemakers has provided over $1 million in direct support to choreographers through its signature Lab Artists program. In 2018, Chicago Dancemakers is leveraging its 15th Anniversary to increase public awareness of Chicago dancemakers, strengthen partnerships, and provide more resources to artists.

Executive Director Ginger Farley says "It is deeply gratifying to witness the growth and increased vibrancy of the field of dance in Chicago since this program began 15 years ago. Focused, long-term commitment can have a profound impact. I am thrilled to be able to shine the light on so many dynamic dancemaking artists during our anniversary year."

Chicago Dancemakers Forum began in 2003 through the Chicago Community Trust's "Excellence in Dance Initiative". It was designed to address a clearly identified need for multi-layered support of Chicago's independent dancemaking artists and has been a driving force in the Chicago dance community ever since. Leaders from three of the city's major dance incubating and presenting institutions, Bonnie Brooks (then at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago), Peter Taub (then at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, MCA), and Asimina Chremos (then at Links Hall) formed a consortium to design and nurture the project. Chicago Dancemakers honors this founding trio at the Crystal Anniversary Brunch on Sunday, October 21, 2018 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Also in honor of the anniversary, Chicago Dancemakers partners with its consortium member organizations and community partners on multiple public events, including: SHareOUT!, a mini-festival of performances at MCA featuring the six 2017 Lab Artists, and three Dance Dialogues at MCA and Hyde Park Arts Center. In keeping with Chicago Dancemakers Forums's goal to connect artists with one another, MCA also hosts a special Greenroom Reunion event; all past Chicago Dancemakers Forum participants are invited to come together to share their current work and to discuss their perspectives on the future of dance in Chicago. As the culmination of the anniversary year, Chicago Dancemakers Forum and the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) showcase the work of 20+ artists through Elevate Chicago Dance - Investigating Dance, Space, Race, Place, a full-day event on Sunday, October 21 the Chicago Cultural Center.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum's Programs

For 15 years Chicago Dancemakers Forum has fueled the field of dance by supporting Chicago choreographers at key moments in their artistic development. As the signature endeavor in that effort, the Lab Artists program provides up to six selected dancemakers with $15,000 each year. The program is unique in that it emphasizes an extended period of research in the development new dance works. Cash grants are combined with mentorship and collegial interactivity throughout the year to support artists as they experiment, and take artistic risks. This multi-layered approach provides dancemakers with renewed resources and builds strategic relationships to nourish their artistic growth during the award year and beyond. Past Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artists are diverse in age, gender, race and discipline; they work in tap, Bharatanatyam, footwork, dance for the camera, voguing, contemporary, modern dance, and more. Collectively these artists represent the spirit and power of new dance in Chicago now.

Also in 2018 Chicago Dancemakers Forum reinstates its Greenhouse program for emerging choreographers. The program, offered only once before, stimulates artistic growth and relationship building by providing $4,000 cash grants to artists for the development of new work with the support of a mentor. Applicants must each apply with the committed involvement of an established artist who is awarded $1,000 for their participation. Application deadline for the Greenhouse program is May 7, 2018.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum will applaud the newly selected Lab Artists and Greenhouse Artists on Thursday, July 12th at the 2018 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Awards Celebration at The Arts Club of Chicago.

During the past 15 years Chicago Dancemakers Forum has actively contributed to a thriving dance community on many levels. In additional to its granting programs Chicago Dancemakers Forum delivers a wide variety of public events and programs which catalyze artistic process, bring artists together for dialogue, and build new networks of support and public appreciation for dance and dancemaking in Chicago.

During 2015-17, in partnership with the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, Chicago Dancemakers Forum led the way in bringing the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) to Chicago. RDDI, a substantial one-time stimulus, was designed to increase the scope, visibility, and viability of dance activity in regions of the U.S. RDDI Chicago began with the Chicago Dance Lab and Presenter Exchange in Summer 2016 and concluded with the Elevate Chicago Dance festival in Fall 2017. Programming also included symposia, choreographic workshops, and public dialogues about dancemaking practices. Events occurred throughout the city in partnership with Chicago Dancemakers Forum's many community partners and its consortium organizations.

Upcoming 15th Anniversary Public Events

Dance Dialogues:

  • Summer 2018, Day and Time TBA at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S Cornell Ave, Chicago, IL 60615
  • Tuesday, November 27 and Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Times TBA at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Past Lab Artists with different backgrounds and art-making practices engage in live exchange of movement, ideas, and process sharing.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum's 2018 Awards Celebration:

Thursday, July 12, 2018, 5:30-8:00 PM at The Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago Dancemakers applauds the 2018 recipients of the Lab Artist and Greenhouse Awards and celebrates the creative riches of Chicago's dance communities. The evening includes an awards presentation and reception at The Arts Club of Chicago.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum SHareOUT! at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago:

SHareOUT! is MCA's mini-festival of works that have been developed in a year of research

supported by Chicago Dancemakers Forum.

  • Friday, August 24, 6:00 PM and Saturday, August 25, 2:00 PM at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

2017 Lab Artists Victoria Bradford and Brittany Harlin activate the museum grounds, and Joshua Ishmon and Rika Lin share a double bill in the theater for two premieres: Ishmon and his dancers perform Redefining BLACK to an original score by trumpeter/vocalist Sam "Trump" Harris; and Lin performs a solo accompanied by traditional Japanese and electronic music in Asobi: Playing within Time.

  • Friday, August 31, 7:30 PM and Saturday, September 1, 2:00 PM at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The closing weekend of SHareOUT! features two firsts: a dance work for a theater stage by Daniel "BRAVEMONK" Haywood, founding member of the internationally legendary breaking crew Phaze II Crosstown Crew; and the world debut of the Jazz Hoofing Quartet by tap artist Jumaane Taylor with Marlene Rosenberg (bass), Justin Dillard (piano), and Makaya McCraven (drums).

Elevate Chicago Dance - Investigating Dance, Space, Race, Place:

Sunday, October 21, 2018, Times TBA at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Chicago Dancemakers Forum partners with consortium member the Department of Special Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to produce a day of dance events created by 20+ experimental contemporary dancemakers, called Elevate Chicago Dance - Investigating Dance, Space, Race and Place.

Dancemaking artists submit proposals for performances, workshops, in progress showings, public dialogues, social choreographies, extended residencies, dance on film, and performance installations that are embedded within and around the architecturally rich Cultural Center building. Invited artists include the more than 75 past awardees of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum's Lab Artist and Greenhouse Programs, and the 2015-17 RDDI Chicago and the Elevate Chicago Dance 2017 festival.

The relationship between Dance, Race, Space and Place is an organizing theme for the day. This theme was identified by working with current Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artists. For artists as well as for public audiences, the cultural, political and architectural history of the Chicago Cultural Center building is a powerful setting for these relevant considerations. In keeping with DCASE's mission to provide high-quality cultural programs for Chicago citizens, all events and performances during this full-day showcase are free and open to the public.

Crystal Anniversary Brunch - Celebrating 15 Years of Chicago Dancemakers Forum:

Sunday, October 21, 2018, 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Chicago Dancemakers Forum celebrates 15 years of supporting bold and experimental dance in Chicago. This fundraising brunch honors the program's founding trio: Bonnie Brooks, Asimina Chremos, and Peter Taub. Chicago Dancemakers Forum invites artists, friends of dance, cultural consumers and leaders, and members of Chicago's business community to share in the celebration. Sarah Solotoroff Mirkin, formerly of the Chicago Community Trust, and Eduardo Vilaro (Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist 2004), Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico, will present the awards.

Photo: Melissa Morley Photography

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