The Pivot Arts Festival is an annual celebration of contemporary and multi-genre performance taking place in Chicago’s Uptown & Edgewater neighborhoods. Over ten days, audiences have the opportunity to experience unique music, theater, dance, puppetry, all ages shows, comedy, discussions and more. The purpose of the festival is to create a culture of innovative performance works in Chicago, to bring diverse people together through the arts, and to contribute to the economic vitality of the Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods.
The Pivot Arts Festival is an annual celebration of unique and adventurous performance works. This year we’re presenting a Virtual Festival with events going live on this page starting June 5, and staying up through June 30. Enjoy a diverse array of everything from dance films to dance parties.
- Alex Alpharaoh and Lidieth Arevalo
- The Era Footwork Crew
- DJ Dance Party with artists from The Rosina Project, co-created by Chicago Fringe Opera and BraveSoul Movement, developed and produced by Pivot Arts
- In/Motion International Dance Film Festival featuring Daniel Williams and Katie Carey; Alex Murrull; and Jake Russell curated by Amy Wilkinson
- Prison and Neighborhood Arts Project led by Damon Locks and Sarah Ross
- Red Clay Dance Company
- Short Works by Artists in Quarantine curated by Julieanne Ehre and Tanya Palmer featuring Obie award-winning solo performer, David Cale, plus Aaliyah Christina, Irene Hsiao, Olivia Lilley, Corey Smith, Darling Squire, Sister Sylvester, Anna Martine Whitehead and Vanessa Valliere with John Gregorio.
- Seth Bockley and Drew Paryzer
Wednesdays, May 6 – June 3
As a run-up to the festival, our Live Talk Series runs weekly and includes interviews with festival artists and impromptu performances via Zoom. Artists include The Era Footwork Crew; Vershawn Ward and Red Clay Dance Company; Aaliyah Christina, Pivot Arts Incubator Artist; Seth Bockley and Drew Paryzer, co-creators of Superfluxus; and Olivia Lilley, Artistic Director of Prop Theatre and featured artist in (Un)Touched series.
Friday, June 5
- 7pm: VIP cocktail event talk with acclaimed Los Angeles performer, Alex Alpharaoh, via Zoom. Dress up or dress down and meet the artist who created and performed WET: A DACAmented Journey then head to our DJ led dance party.
- 8pm: Live Streamed Welcome by Festival Director, Julieanne Ehre.
- 8:15pm: DJ led Dance Party live streamed led by artists from The Rosina Project, a collaboration between Chicago Fringe Opera and BraveSoul Movement, developed and produced by Pivot Arts.
Performances will be launched on the following dates and then available to stream through June 30
Friday, June 5
Alpharaoh by Lidieth Arevalo. An engaging documentary about Alex Alpharaoh’s national tour of WET: A DACAmented Journey. WET is a stirring autobiographical work by Alpharaoh about his experience as an undocumented American performing artist. Through his story, the film shines light on what it means to be an American in every sense of the word except on paper. Following the film, Alpharaoh will participate in a meet-and-greet via Zoom.
Pivot will present a live Chicago performance of WET, written and performed by Alpharaoh, directed by Brisa A. Muñoz, on a future date.
The Era Footwork Crew presents a preview of their performance, In the Wurkz, a touring dance performance based on the lives and dreams of young dancers on Chicago’s West and South Sides. This shorter recorded version of the evening-length piece unveils a history of footwork dancing, tracing its development from “the holy ghost”—the first footwork dance move inspired by spirit possession in Church—to a citywide, black teenage dance culture that keeps youth safe in dangerous neighborhoods across Chicago.
Pivot Arts will present The Era Footwork Crew live at a future date.
Saturday, June 6
Red Clay Dance Company presents Resilience Re-Imagined a new work inspired by their site-specific performance, Art of Resilience 2.0. Pivot Arts will present both a link to the original performance plus a Red Clay Dance Company response to current times demonstrating their strength and perseverance.
Art of Resilience 2.0 was Red Clay Dance Company’s site-specific, mixed-media and immersive activation of the DuSable Museum Roundhouse. Using movement, text, vibrant projections and soundscapes mixed by DJ Sadie Woods, the “Urban Griots” of Red Clay Dance guided the audience through a journey of Chicago’s Black Belt, the “Stroll” and the Black Arts Movement while disquieting the impact of redlining, restrictive housing covenants and state violence on black life.
Sunday, June 7
In/Motion International Dance Film Festival Executive Director Amy Wilkinson curates three short films:
• Perfect Imposition by Daniel Williams and Katie Carey, United States, 2019: A courageous portrayal of a young artist recognizing, realizing and accepting that their sex is the opposite of their sex at birth.
• Traces by Alex Murrull, Spain, 2019: Two strangers share a room separately for hours at different times of the day. The loneliness they experience gradually breaks when they find objects each has left in the room. Through this contact, a relationship develops that resides between fantasy and reality.
• Le Chorégrave by Jake Russell, France, 2017: A one-shot film portraying a Christmas dinner where connections between people is impossible, expressed through live music and dance.
Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project presents The Long Term, a hand-drawn, animated film about the impact of long-term sentencing policies.
6pm: Discussion with co-directors, Damon Locks and Sarah Roth, of Neighborhood Arts and Prison Project moderated by Jane Beachy, Artistic Director of Illinois Humanities includes civil rights attorney, Sarah Grady, plus artists and activists impacted by long-term sentencing.
Monday, June 8
(Un)Touched is a series of short video performances on the absence of touch curated by Julieanne Ehre and Tanya Palmer and created by Obie award-winning solo performer, David Cale, plus multi-genre performers Aaliyah Christina, Irene Hsiao, Olivia Lilley, Corey Smith, Darling Squire, Sister Sylvester, Anna Martine Whitehead and Vanessa Valliere with John Gregorio.
Thursday, June 11
SUPERFLUXUS co-conceived by director Seth Bockley and writer Drew Paryzer; performed by Brianna Buckley, Alana Grossman, Alex Quiñones, H.B. Ward and Mary Williamson; created in collaboration with Tony Churchill, Hannah Foerschler, John Holmes, Nick Keenan and Melissa Schlesinger
Superfluxus is an original sci-fi puzzling experience full of humor, suspense and mind-bending twists. Originally intended as an immersive theater and installation project, the artists have reimagined SUPERFLUXUS, during this time of social distancing, as a choose-your-own-adventure text and video Web experience, set in a surreal and sinister lunar landscape in the year 2120. This virtual journey will give audiences a flavor of what will ultimately become a live immersive experience in the not-too-distant, but still very surreal, future.
Tuesday, June 30
Closing event; Last chance to view streaming events