Chicago Dance Sails Into May

Chicago Dance sails into May with dance happenings around every corner of the city. Take advantage of the many free and low-cost events like open studios, lecture demonstrations, and open rehearsals listed on our calendar. Treat yourself to highlights like the Joffrey’s continuing performances of the North American premiere of Alexander Ekman’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream," The Ballet Natcional de Cuba, and Zephyr Dance’s “Shadows Across Our Eyes.” Multi-Group Concerts from Inaside, Winnifred Haun and Dancers,  The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, The Chicago Moving Company, and Links Hall offer an opportunity to sample a variety of choreographic styles and genres in one evening. And those rascals at Dance Crash Chicago serve up this year’s “Keeper of the Floor” dance face-off.  Salt Creek Ballet brings family-friendly “Carnival of the Animals” to the College of DuPage’s McAninch Arts Center, while Emily Stein riffs on the Fairy Godmothers of “Sleeping Beauty.” See Chicago Dance sponsors its exciting interdisciplinary forum, “Moving Dialogs: Culture In Motion,” challenging both artists and audience members to experience the interface of dance and visual art from diverse cultural perspectives. So climb aboard, and cruise to ports unknown throughout the month of May!


SOUTH PACIFIC (Drury Lane Theater, through June 17) More timely than ever, this Rodgers & Hammerstein landmark musical proves that even the backdrop of a tropical paradise cannot shelter its residents from the prejudices of World War II. South Pacific is the winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical.South Pacific


INASIDE CHICAGO DANCE Choreographic Sponsorship Event, 7:30 PM, May 2-5, Stage 773) With audience votes, you could Win $800 and a chance to set a work on Inaside Chicago Dance to be premiered during their Spring 2019 concert.  Head to the website for more info.  Deadline for submissions is March 31st.

Join them May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to watch the CSE participants present their work and compete to win the Grand prize.  Audience participation is a must.  The audience will get to vote for their favorite work.May 5th is our special In-house night where the members of Inaside choreograph on each other.  Inaside's Youth Training Program will be our special guest performers for the evening.  Each night will feature a different moderator.  Come out and hear about the process each choreographer uses to create their work. 

THE JOFFREY BALLET PRESENTS ALEXANDER EKMAN’S “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM” (May 3-6, Auditorium Theatre) Swedish trailblazer Alexander Ekman returns to Chicago for the North American premiere of his most daring and wildest production yet.  A fully immersive theatrical experience, this ode to the summer solstice relishes in joyful abandon and dreamlike fantasy, as the Joffrey transports you to a world of non-stop adventure. Think Shakespeare? Think again. Ekman’s Midsummer is a celebration unlike any other.

WINIFRED HAUN & DANCERS WITH BODYSTORIES: TERESA FELLION DANCE (7:30 PM, May 3-4, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater) See the work of two contemporary dance companies, Chicago's Winifred Haun & Dancers and New York's BodyStories / Teresa Fellion Dance.  Winifred Haun & Dancers will present their award winning new work, Trashed, and The Woman Who Fed Her Diamonds to the Goldfish Bowl.  Trashed is choreographed by Winifred Haun and Australian Circus Artist Emma Serjeant.  The dance combines Modern Dance and Circus Arts to tell the story of how humans have come to clutter their lives with too much stuff, and how all that stuff keeps us from each other.  Trashed received major support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. “The Woman Who…"  is a solo about a uniquely disturbed woman and features a table, a doll, jewelry, and water in a goldfish bowl.  Choreographed originally in 2001 for Winifred Haun, The Woman Who will be re-staged and performed by veteran Company Dancer, Ariel Dorsey. (This will be the last chance for Chicago audiences to see the award winning Trashed!) New York City's amazing BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance will present an excerpt from their acclaimed new work: "rose walk green ice," and more.Winnifred Haun and Dancers


OPEN STUDIO FRIDAYS, 4:30–6 p.m., Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio, 78 E. Washington Street Join See Chicago Dance as we celebrate Chicago Dance Month 2018 with our FREE Open Studio Fridays at the Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio. A variety of Chicago dance companies will offer performances and other activities every Friday during Chicago Dance Month!  MAY 4 - FREE - Chicago Dance Theatre Ensemble + Poetry Center of Chicago, In-Progress Showing and Panel Discussion; May 11 - FREE - South Chicago Dance Theatre, Open Rehearsal/Informal Performance

THE BRIDGE DANCE FESTIVAL culminates with Beyond The Box II - Yu (), ( 7 PM, MAY 4-6,  LINKS HALL),  a continuation of Rika Lin's 'Beyond the Box' series. Roughly translated "Yu" means "do something with joy" -- this work boldly and creatively deviates from the accepted norm in traditional Japanese performance practices by making space for female performers to embody the full range of emotional and physical expression, strength, and power, subverting the gender roles in traditional Kabuki dance. The strength of Lin's rebellion is a powerful capstone for the Bridge Dance Festival.


EMILY STEIN DANCE  presents Secret Experiments in Ballet #5: The Godmothers (7:30 PM,  May 4-6, Dovetail Studios) taking its inspiration from the fairy godmother solos from the classical ballet Sleeping Beauty. Exploring “fairy godmother” imagery from ballet tradition and folk and fairy tales, Stein brings to the stage unique, dynamic solos for six riveting women whose dance backgrounds include ballet, West African, hip-hop and modern dance. The dances freshly illuminate the gifts of the fairy godmothers – honesty, wit, passion, generosity, joy or wisdom – and each dancer brings personal magic to her performance, brightly costumed by designer Amanda Lee Franck. Michael Caskey’s original music subtly references the original score while involving a broad range of musical styles and textures.


ZEPHYR DANCE’s “Shadows Across Our Eyes” (7;30 PM, MAY 3-5,  SITE/LESS, 1250 W. Augusta Blvd.) continues themes of independent trajectories between mover and viewer that intertwine and entangle. Neon lines in tension cut the space, iconic stand-offs back away and move into active self-bindings, outwardly focused mind states morph into inward unknowable personas. With no clearly defined performance area viewers experience the performance from inside and out, edging around a suspect center trapped and entangled across a divide. Bodies squatting, lunging, suspended, assessing; hover, scrimmage, quiver, scurry; shaking, shuddering, molt, trip and drag. Eyes closed—anti-heroes and limited views shut down, worn down, torn shut. Narrative fragments unblended, side by side, false oppositions and mythic fluidities, one marking the edge of another. Featured Artists: Michelle Kranicke, David Sundry, Molly Strom, Richard Norwood, Amanda Lee Franck.

CHICAGO DANZTHEATRE ENSEMBLE Directors, Ellyzabeth Adler and Sara Maslanka split the bill in Art In Response (8 PM, May 4-19, Ebenezer Lutheran Church) featuring four works of new, in-process and remounted Ensemble repertoire. I Bet You Think This Dance is About You is an in-process work by Sara Maslanka devised using the poetry in, milk and honey, by Rupi Kaur to explore how perceptions and experiences shape us. This in-process work will be developed into an evening-length work set to premiere May 2018.  Unraveling Bill is remounted Ensemble repertoire that originally premiered in 2006. Unraveling Bill tells the story of William Blake, a soldier who commits suicide after returning from the Iraq War. Ellyzabeth Adler remounts Unraveling Bill with original and new Ensemble members. Chapter 3: The Dinner Table is an expanded danztheatre work by Maslanka focused on the connections and interactions at the dinner table. Engaging the senses, Maslanka and Ensemble investigate how group identity and dynamic translates beyond the dinner table. HOPE is a new Danztheatre work by Adler based from the letters of incarcerated men. that asks us, what do we hold onto and where do we find hope at times of struggle and is based off of the letters of incarcerated men. Join Adler and Maslanka as they ask audiences to respond, redirect and take action.Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble


STOMPING GROUNDS is a free and affordable two-month citywide celebration of authentic, rhythmic dance companies from a variety of world cultures, including American tap, Spanish, Mexican, African, Indian, Native American, Urban Hip Hop, and Irish dance. The series culminates with the grand finale at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Thursday, June 7. The series visits Hyde Park on Saturday, May 5th at the DuSable Museum of African American History. This event will feature the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago alongside the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's "Stone Soup Rhythms" and Chicago Dance Crash. The series visits Chicago's west side neighborhood on Wednesday, May 23rd at the Garfield Park Conservatory. This event will feature the Chicago Dance Crash and Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater alongside Natya Dance Theatre and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's "Stone Soup Rhythms."Our events offer a mix of free and affordable seats for the entire family. Reservations for free seats will be honored on a first come, first serve basis starting 30 minutes prior to each event's starting time. The $5 seats are held until each event starts. Unclaimed reservations are released to people on the waiting list. 

Come see why VAUDEZILLA! Burlesque Cabaret (10:30 PM, May 5 & 12, Stage 773) is Chicago's top rated burlesque show - you'll find your seats in Stage 773's intimate cabaret theatre, where you will enjoy a diverse cast of one-of-a-kind burlesque, drag, and aerial acts ranging from classic Vegas-style showgirls to cutting-edge, gender-non-conforming performance artists, and everything in between! Show theme changes monthly. Directed by Red Hot Annie.


The critically acclaimed Ballet Chicago Studio Company returns to the Harris Theater (May 5th, at 2 and 7:30 PM)  for a triptych of condensed versions of beloved story ballets by the 20th century's most influential classical choreographer George Balanchine, Ballet Chicago Artistic Director Daniel Duell, and Ballet Chicago Resident Choreographer Ted Seymour. Repertory includes Balanchine’s rapturous Swan Lake, with Miami City Ballet’s Simone Messmer featured as Swan Queen, Duell's Hansel and Gretel, and Seymour's The Creatures of Prometheus. Generously supported by Platinum Anniversary Season Sponsor, Wintrust, and Spring Series Sponsor, the NIB Foundation.Ballet Chicago


“MOVING DIALOGS: CULTURE IN MOTION," sponsored by SEE CHICAGO DANCE,  (Wednesday, May 9, 6-8pm - Chinese American Museum of Chicago),  features VADCo/Valarie Alpert choreography, celebrating Asian American Heritage month. Moving Dialogs: Culture in Motion features unique collaborations between Chicago-area dance companies and cultural institutions to explore what interpretive dance can add to the tangible objects and experiences in museums.  

Choreographers from each of three dance companies will partner with curators from three partnering museums to learn about the museum’s collections and heritage, seeking inspiration from tangible objects housed in the museum to create a dance that illuminates those objects and the cultural heritage they represent. Through Moving Dialogs: Culture in Motion, the choreographers and curators learn together and create a unique performance piece based around the cultural objects and their unique histories. The curator, choreographer, and a moderator will talk about their creative process, with attendees getting a chance to dialog with the speakers and learn more about what went into their decision making and the art they’ve created.

Through Moving Dialogs, we’ll be working to understand the surprising and exciting ways that dance could activate the objects and culture contained within the partnering museums. By partnering with the three museums, we hope to gain insight into how a dance-driven creative interpretation could be successful in the future by implementing what we learn at each museum site.

Moving Dialogs: Culture in Motion is made possible by funding from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance,  and The Joyce Foundation.


SILVITA DIAZ BROWN of SILDANCE/ACRODANZA collaborates with the National Museum of Mexican Art to present “Weaving Paths (Tejiendo Caminos)” (6:30 PM, May 9, National Museum of Mexican Art) as part of the Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz Festival that honors female activists in the arts. Sor Juana Ines de La Cruz was a poet and activist born in Mexico in the 1600s and is considered the first feminist of the Americas. Weaving Paths blends Silvita’s Mexican roots with her acquired American culture. The program will featuretwo dance works: “La Llorona” and “Del Otro Lado.” These twoworks of artistic collaboration blend dance, partner acrobatics,video projection, live music and poetry to tell these stories with a touch of mysticism (La Llorona) and magic realism (Del Otro Lado).Silvia Diaz Brown

DANCE SHELTER 2018 (7:30 PM, May 10-11, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater) features bold, new and re-imagined contemporary dance works by the CHICAGO MOVING COMPANY, its artists-in-residence--award-winning/noted choreographers Rachel Bunting and Ayako Kato, and guest artist Emma Draves.  Draves' "The TransPenine" (with music by Bob Garrett) is a lovely group work with lyrical movement set in the beautiful architecture of the Hamlin Park Theater-embodying/evoking the atmosphere and sensual textures of an early morning train ride across Scotland: " heavy fog suspended over fields, a cool mist seeping in to the train cabin and settling on skin"; Bunting unveils a quartet (3 dancers and singer Katya Lysander), part of her ongoing monumental work SUNS, and full of fast and furious movement colored with her trademark mood landscape of visuals, costuming and sound; lauded choreographer Ayako Kato performs "eyes", a new solo that reflects on perspectives and what seeing means--all suffused with " a reliably satisfying movement aesthetic"  (Warnecke, SeeChicagoDance). Dance Shelter 2018


SYNAPSE ARTS presents “LIGHT HAND,” a dance performance that travels through the historic Gunder House at Berger Park Cultural Center ­ 6219 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago IL 60660, May 18 ­- 26, 2018 . FREE Previews: Fri May 18 ­ 7pm and 8:15pm, Sat May 19 ­ 7pm and 8:15pm. PREMIERE: Thurs May 24 ­ 7pm only, Fri May 25 ­ 7pm and 8:15pm, Sat May 26 ­ 7pm and 8:15pm. Light Hand

BALLET NACIONAL DE CUBA returns to Chicago for the first time in 15 years (7:30 PM 18-20, AUDITORIUM THEATRE) with company director Alicia Alonso’s Don Quixote. The company puts a distinctly Cuban spin on the classic ballet, elevated by Ludwig Minkus’ acclaimed score, performed by the Chicago Philharmonic. Loosely based on the story by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote has been heralded as an “unforgettable” production (The Los Angeles Times) that will make you “fall in love with ballet all over again” (The Washington Post). Ballet Nacional De Cuba

SALT CREEK BALLET presents CARNIVAL OF THE ANIMALS (3 PM, May19; 1 PM, May 20, McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn)  with divertissements from Paquita. Salt Creek Ballet brings to life Camille Saint-Saëns’ grand zoological fantasy, Carnival of the Animals, in a witty and sophisticated, musical salute to the animal kingdom. Experience this entertaining series of vignettes danced by feathers, fur and fins of all shapes and sizes. Carnival of the Animals


CHICAGO DANCE CRASH presents the KEEPER OF THE FLOOR” Dance Battle! (9 PM, May 19, Den Theatre) This very special KTF at The Den will feature the 10-year anniversary of our inspiring, fertile host… Mr. Mattrick Swayze! Enjoy the flips, spins, costumes, drinks and late-night humor that have made KTF Chicago’s longest-running dance show in history as we throwback to a decade worth of themes and movement rounds since Mr. Swayze first grabbed the microphone. Get your tickets NOW because they WILL sell out long before showtime. Chicago Dance Crash continues to blur the line between art and entertainment with the city’s most notorious dance battle. KTF matches competitive dance with the energy of late-night theatre and the spectacle of sports entertainment, featuring some of the Chicago’s most accomplished dancers battling it out for YOUR vote and the coveted KTF title belt!Kritter-and-Zak/Chicago Dance Crash

DESUEÑO DANCE will present an evening of choreography featuring DESUEÑO VISION, a Latin Jazz ensemble, and Desueño Latin. (7 PM, MAY 25, Links Hall) The performance showcases current Desueño repertoire. After the performance, there will be social dancing with Salsa, Bachata, and ChaCha.


To purchase tickets and get details, go to and click on “See Dance.”  Then click on “Calendar.”