Chicago Teen Dance Festival

Event Type
Event Description

The Chicago Teen Dance Festival Kicks Off Its Inaugural Year With A Showcase At The Harris Theater for Music and Dance During the Chicago Dancing Festival, August 29, 2015

CHICAGO - Announcing the inaugural year of The Chicago Teen Dance Festival (CTDF) Showcase at The Harris Theater August 29, 2015 during the Chicago Dancing Festival supported by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust (the Trust). The festival will become an annual showcase featuring high school dance performances from Chicago Public Schools, After School Matters, Chicago Communities In Schools and Chicago Park District dance programs. This new program highlights and features Chicago's public high school dance students and teachers/instructors with a platform to celebrate the form and raise the profile of dance instruction. The festival takes its inspiration from another successful Trust funded project, The Young Jazz Lions Pavilion program of the Chicago Jazz Festival, which has spotlighted dozens of high school and college bands, and encouraged interest in the genre and legacy since its inception in 2009.

“The arts are a mandated part of the core curriculum in Illinois, and high school graduation requirements have recently been expanded to include dance as a credit course.  With only 4 Chicago Public High Schools offering dance courses, the District has been advertising all year for certified dance instructors to include more high schools.  We want to use the bully-pulpit afforded by Chicago Dancing Festival to raise awareness among dancers and dance enthusiasts about this window of opportunity that can nurture the talent of a new generation of dancers and choreographers in Chicago.” -Suzanne Connor, Chicago Community Trust

The showcase is reflective of the exciting work taking place in Chicago’s Public programs by dedicated dancers and choreographers. Represented in this first year are four After School Matters groups, four Chicago Public School Programs, and two Chicago Park District Programs. A wide range of styles will be presented including Contemporary Ballet, Flamenco, and West African from different areas of the city.


The student groups are chosen using an open call video submission process and determined by a Curatorial Committee of program partners including:

Andreas Bottcher, DanceWorks Chicago
Sarah Ford Thompson, ChiArts - The Chicago High School for the Arts
Kristina Isabelle, Program Manager/Finale Co-Choreographer - Kristina Isabelle Dance
Joshua Ishmon, Finale Co-Choreographer - Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Carmel Louis, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Christine Malesky, After School Matters
Meida McNeal, Chicago Park District
Julie Nakagawa, DanceWorks Chicago
Evan Plummer, Chicago Public Schools
Annie Rezac, Chicago Communities in Schools
Roell Schmidt, Links Hall

Benefits to being selected include; the opportunity to perform in the showcase, a post show reception in celebration of the dancers and their families, reserved seats for the dancers and their guests for the closing night of Chicago Dancing Festival performance at the Pritzker, and tickets to attend Deeply Rooted’s Emerging Choreographers Showcase.

Choreographers Kristina Isabelle (who also serves as the Project Manager) and Joshua Ishmon (who runs the Emerging Choreographers Showcase for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater) will conduct studio visits of the selected ensembles to incorporate a section of each ensemble's work into an all ensembles dance that will be the closing number of the showcase.

Dance Styles
Tap / Rhythm
Ballroom / Social Dance
Traditional/Indigenous Dance
Hip Hop


Harris Theater for Music and Dance

205 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 334-2400