Chicago Dancers United

Organization Type

Chicago Dancers United began in 1992 as Dance For Life, a grass-roots dance performance created to raise money for dancers who were battling HIV/AIDS. Under the umbrella of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, a dedicated group of volunteers staged an annual performance of Dance For Life to raise money for what became known as The Dancers’ Fund.

Over the years, Dance For Life’s purpose expanded beyond support for dancers fighting HIV/AIDS to include support for dancers facing any critical health issue, and ultimately all professionals in the dance community, including choreographers, administrative staff, accompanists, technical staff, etc.

In 2015, Chicago Dancers United was created as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization to advance our mission to support organizations and dance professionals facing critical health issues.

Today, Chicago Dancers United is once again expanding to improve lives by provide pathways to holistic wellness for the Chicago dance community in addition to providing a safety net for dance professionals during times of critical health need. In addition to our continued partnership with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, CDU is now partnering with the American Cancer Society and other local health and wellness partners to provide new pathways to holistic wellness for the Chicago dance community.

The Dancers' Fund
The Dancers’ Fund provides short-term financial assistance to Chicago dance professionals facing a critical health need which results in a significant financial emergency or catastrophic hardship. Although this program was created in response to the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the dance community, The Dancers' Fund now offers assistance in several areas to help qualified individuals meet their financial obligations while dealing with their health issues, The Dancers’ Fund is available to Chicago-based, professionally trained working dancers and those whose primary source of income is derived by serving the dance community. 

Who is eligible?
The Dancers’ Fund provides assistance to:

  • company dancers
  • freelance dancers
  • choreographers
  • musical theatre chorus dancers
  • full-time dance instructors
  • full-time class and rehearsal musicians
  • full-time administrative, production and technical personnel

Other dance professionals will be considered on a case-by-case basis

Do you qualify?
When in doubt, APPLY. If we can help, we will. The Dancers’ Fund Committee is dedicated to being open-minded, compassionate and inclusive in addition to being thorough, professional and good stewards of The Dancers’ Fund.

What will The Dancers’ Fund pay for?
The Dancers’ Fund may pay for costs associated with:

  • doctor and hospital visits
  • surgery
  • medical testing
  • therapy
  • rehabilitation
  • medication
  • In some cases, assistance may be provided for:
  • home health care
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • other basic needs

when medical circumstances adversely impact the applicant’s ability to work in the dance profession and, in turn, hinders their ability to pay for these necessities. The Dancers’ Fund is intended for short-term financial assistance. It is not intended for long-term or recurring support.
Again, when in doubt, APPLY.

How much financial support can The Dancers' Fund provide?
The Dancers’ Fund may provide up to $4,000 annually to a dance professional facing a critical health need. Funds will be paid directly to the organization/person to which the debt it owed, NOT to the dance professional.

Dance for Life
On the third Saturday in August, Chicago Dancers United presents our annual Dance for Life performance followed by a celebration gala that raises funds to support The Dancers' Fund. Each year Chicago’s dance community unites artistically and philanthropically to help dance professionals who are facing critical health issues. The Dance For Life performance brings world-renowned companies, such as The Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Giordano Dance Chicago, along with many of Chicago’s small to mid-sized dance companies, such as Chicago Dance Crash and Ensemble Español, together to perform in a unique, one-of-its-kind night of concert dance. Proceeds from the performance and gala support Chicago Dancer United’s cause to strengthen the Chicago dance community by supporting The Dancers' Fund and HIV/AIDS initiatives in Chicago. 


Chicago Dancers United

200 West Monroe Street
Suite 1150
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 922-5812


Lynn Colburn Shapiro | Aug 21, 2014

Past Events