Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration

The annual Community Celebration gathered 250 dance supporters and artists to honor Chicago’s dynamic dance community with performances, toasts, and more.

By: Oct. 20, 2022
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See Chicago Dance, the dance industry's nonprofit service organization, held its annual Awards Presentation & Community Celebration, Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina Street. The event co-chairs were 3Arts's Executive Director Esther Grisham Grimm and Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project's Director Princess Mhoon and the 2022 Host Committee included Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Rachel Arfa, Pam Crutchfield, Turiya Gray, Judie Moore Green, Sheilah Rae Gross, Giordano Dance Chicago's Executive Director Michael McStraw and Joffrey Ballet's Chief Advancement Officer Brian Smith. The evening's proceeds support See Chicago Dance's mission to be an advocate for the dance field and strengthen a diverse range of dance organizations and artists through services and programs that build and engage audiences.

Check out photos from the event below!

The annual Community Celebration gathered 250 dance supporters and artists to honor Chicago's dynamic dance community with performances, toasts, an online auction that included a week's stay in Breckenridge, Colorado, a dance passport with Harris Theatre productions, a theatre experience from Broadway in Chicago and a destination golf outing to The Lido in central Wisconsin and to honor two very special people with the See Chicago Dance Legacy Award and the Distinguished Service to the Dance Field Award. The evening began with a performance of "The Rosies," choreographed by the 2022 Distinguished Service to the Dance Field Award recipient Ginger Lane and commissioned by MOMENTA Dance Company and then a welcome from See Chicago Dance's Board President Meghan McNamara, the vice president of programming and audience at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. McNamara said, "We all know the last few years have not been easy, and the way that artists, administrators, funders, audiences continue to show up for one another is incredible. See Chicago Dance is proud to be part of this ever-growing community."

After the welcome, the 2022 Distinguished Service to the Dance Field Award was presented to Ginger Lane in recognition of her groundbreaking artistry and advocacy, establishing Chicago as a city at the forefront of dance and disability.

The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities Commissioner Rachel Arfa said of Lane, "Rosie the Riveter [the image that was the inspiration for Lane's "The Rosies"] was a symbol that urged opportunity and change for women. Ginger Lane shares that, as a trail blazer and hero, and a role model who has inspired us all." Lane accepted the award saying she was grateful to See Chicago Dance for the award and added, "To me this award represents progress towards society accepting us as equals and understanding that dancers and choreographers with disabilities are vital contributors to the arts. When I look back I do see myself as a change agent in my own way: as part of the disability arts dance movement, and as a fighter for disability rights.."

See Chicago Dance Board Vice-President Jorge Perez, executive and associate artistic director of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, encouraged the enthusiastic crowd of 250 to support the work of See Chicago Dance.

In the second half of the program, the See Chicago Dance Legacy Award was then presented to Joan Gray, long-time executive director of Muntu Dance Theatre and a leader and mentor in the dance community for decades. The 2022 Event Co-Chair Princess Mhoon, director of the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project said, "Joan forged alliances that highlighted a theme of Muntu's legacy: That there is merit in all cultures. She went on to build a company where [Muntu's dancers are] world citizens and seek to appreciate our differences so we can amplify our similarities."

Gray's daughter, Turiya Gray accepted the Award on behalf of her mother and then Amaniyea Payne, former artistic director of Muntu and Gray's partner in building the company throughout the 1980s and 90s and Babu Atiba Walker, a founding member of Muntu, shared memories of Gray, who was unable to attend the event.

The See Chicago Dance Executive Director Julia Mayer closed the evening by thanking the attendees for supporting See Chicago Dance and reminded the crowd that "while the city has proclaimed 2022 the Year of Chicago Dance, all of us in this room know that every year is the year of Chicago dance." The final performance by Muntu Dance Theatre, was "DJEIYA" choreographed by Regina Perry-Carr.

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
The See Chicago Dance Board of Directors

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Muntu Dance Theatre Executive Director Sekou Conde, Former Muntu Dance Theatre Artistic Director Amaniyea Payne, Leana Flowers, Current Muntu Dance Theatre Artistic Director Regina Perry-Carr, and Nef

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
See Chicago Dance Board Vice President Jorge Perez of Ensemble Espa ol Spanish Dance Theater

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
See Chicago Dance Board President Meghan McNamara of the Harris Theater of Music And Dance and ASL Interpreter Veraamarie Baldoza

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Naomi Kinslow of Muntu Dance Theatre

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Muntu Dance Theatre

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Mashaune Hardy, Emily Lansana Hooper, D''onminique Boyd, Event Co-chair Princess Mhoon and See Chicago Dance Executive Director Julia Mayer

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Ladonna Freidheim, Stefanie Piakiewicz, Linda Mastandrea and Mia Coulter of MOMENTA Dance Company

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
The 2022 Distinguished Service to the Dance Field recipient Ginger Lane and ASL Interpreter Veramarie Baldoza

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Event Co-chair Princess Mhoon of the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project t.

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Event Co-chair Princess Mhoon with the 2022 Distinguished Service to the Dance Field recipient Ginger Lane and the daughter of Joan Gray, the 2022 See Chicago Dance Legacy Award recipient,

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Members of the 2022 Host Committee Brian Smith of the Joffrey Ballet, Meghan McNamara of the Harris Theater, Judie Moore Green of The Auditorium Theater and Michael McStraw of Giordano Dance

Photos: See Chicago Dance Honors Chicago's Dance Community At Community Celebration
Babu Atiba Walker



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