Heart and Soul of Chicago Dance On Stage in August

When August yawns into a summer lull, and we sigh that the last of our long, lazy days and sunny beach weather are coming to an end all too soon, take heart.  Two major Chicago summer dance events are poised to reinvigorate the season and recharge your dance battery!Hanna Brictson and Dancers


For the past 27 years, DANCE FOR LIFE has put the heart and soul of Chicago dance on stage with a one-night-only gala performance and fund-raiser (7:30 PM, Saturday, August 18th, The Auditorium Theatre). Produced by Chicago Dancers United, Dance for Life Chicago is the annual benefit performance that showcases the city’s unique diversity of talent, dance traditions, and styles. One night a year, talented and renowned professional dancers of Chicago come together to share the same stage at the historic Auditorium Theatre—donating their time and talent for a good cause. 


Giordano Dance Chicago Since 1991,  Dance for Life has united the Chicago dance community and its fans to support local dance community professionals affected by critical health issues. The money raised through the performance goes directly to the Dancer’s Fund. Created by Chicago Dancer’s United in response to the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the dance community, the Dancer’s Fund fund has broadened to include other health and living needs.

The Joffrey Ballet Celebrate and toast Chicago’s incredible range of dance and choreographic talent. Featured Dance for Life Chicago 2018 companies include Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Dance Crash, Hanna Brictson and Dancers, and Nomi Dance Company. Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre Randy Duncan is reviving his 2007 Dance for Life finale this year as the program opener. Beneficiaries of the fund-raiser are The Dancers’ Fund and AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Honorees are Lou Conte (Founder of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago) and Nan Giordano (Artistic Director of Giordano Dance Chicago)

The performance is preceded by a gala celebration at the Hilton Chicago, 5:00PM. Performance tickets start at just $15. Gala tickets are $300 and $650. (For tickets and details, go to SeeChicagoDance.com, and click on “See Dance.”)


Summerdance Village On Saturday, August 25th, the 2018 SUMMERDANCE CELEBRATION at MILLENNIUM PARK-CLOUD GATE will culminate in the largest annual outdoor live music and dancing series in the United States with an all day-long celebration at Chicago’s town square, Millennium Park! The day will include interactive “citizen dancer” options such as circle dance lessons and the amateur Most Versatile Dancer Contest®, complimented with performances from some of the City’s most inspiring professional troupes, crews and companies from 12 noon to 6 PM at the Wrigley Square “Dance Village.”

Explore the all-day Dance Village Expo to learn more about dance in Chicago! Dance companies, businesses, and other arts and culture organizations will be assembled to share ways to get involved. Stop by the tables to learn about classes, performances, and resources available to dance lovers like you!

Culminating performances at Jay Pritzker Pavilion, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, include: Concert Dance Performances featuring three of Chicago's leading professional companies: Ayodele Drum & Dance, Visceral Dance Chicago, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, The Puzzle League and Giordano Dance Chicago.

The night will crescendo as professionals, amateurs, and patrons alike can all enjoy a house DJ dance party at Cloud Gate. The event is FREE! 

Summerdance Cloud Gate Cloud Gate Stage
12-1PM Dance Downs Showcase
1-2 PM Most Versatile Dancer Contest® hosted by May I Have This Dance
2–3 PM  Line Dancing with Thomas Twins Line DancersBoolumaster
8–9 PM House DJ Dance Party at The Bean

Wrigley Square Stage
12-6PM Dance Village hosted by See Chicago Dance
12-6PM Dance Village Expo Tables 

Pritzker Pavilion Stage
6:30-8:30PM Concert Dance Performances




Yin He Dance YIN HE DANCE presents DANCE TO CHINA (Wednesday, August 1st, 1-2 pm, Wentworth Gardens Park, 3770 South Wentworth Avenue) Learn Chinese culture through dance performances, cultural lessons, and hands-on activities. Dances from China's different regions and ethnic enclaves give audiences an opportunity to see how dance transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries as a means of expression. Dance to China! is presented by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Night Out in the Parks program.


Dance in the Parks is a professional dance company that produces  portable concerts that tour Chicago's public parks in the summer. Dance In The Parks dancers and choreographers work with some of the city's best-known dance companies during the "regular" Fall-Spring seasons, and join Dance in the Parks to create a diverse, all-ages-appropriate performance of concert dance works in ballet, modern, contemporary, and tap dance styles.  Neighborhood dance schools and youth companies partner at many of the performances, and a raffle for free tickets to upcoming professional dance concerts takes place at each performance. All performances begin at 6 PM and are free and open to the public. Performances will take place during August at the following parks:  AUG. 1st, JEFFERSON PARK, 4822 N. LONG AVE.; and DAVIS SQUARE PARK, 4430 S. MARSHFIELD AVE.;  AUG. 3RD, ADA PARK, 11250 S. ADA; and FOREVER MORE DANCE AND THEATER ARTS, RUTHERFORD SAYER PARK, 6871 W. BELDEN AVE.; AUG.4th, HYDE PARK SCHOOL OF DANCE, KENWOOD COMMON PARK, 1330 E. 50TH ST.;  AUGUST 5th, BALLET ARTS, 2500 W. LUNT. 



SET FREE, VOLUME 3 winds up at Links Hall (7 PM, August 9-12). As part of Links Hall's 40th anniversary, The Watering Can, produced by Jessica Marasa, presents the culminating showcase for the SET FREE Volume 3 series. Participants include Emma Draves, Keisha Janae, Julia Mayer, and Tara Aisha Willis.

**NOTE-- Emma and Tara perform Thursday & Friday ; Keisha and Julia perform Saturday & Sunday.**



Dance Works Chicago presents DanceForce SHOWING, an informal showing by dancers participating in Dance360 DanceForce Week #2 & #3! (1:15 PM, August 11th, Ruth Page Center).




showcases its what its Adult Scholarship Program has been working on all summer! This event will also feature best of Dances in the Hall, and a guest performance from the Joel Hall Dancers Youth Company!




DanceWorks Chicago ChoreoLab choreographers Brian Enos, Dexandro Montalvo, and Tommie Waheed-Evans present an informal showing (2 PM, August 18, Ruth Page Center) of their creations followed by an informal Meet the Artist Session.



Tamar Kali and Damon Locks The MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART throws open its theater doors on two works in development that expand the boundaries of black musical genres and lineages,7:30 PM, August 18th, Museum of Contemporary Art)  riffing on radical histories for the current moment. Audiences are invited to witness New York–based vocalist and composer Tamar-kali’s “Demon Fruit Blues” and Chicago-based visual artist and musician Damon Locks’s “Where Future Unfolds” as the two artists develop new creative collaborations across dance, video, and visual art. Tamar-kali’s Demon Fruit Blues is a multilayered, immersive music-based experience that deconstructs the origins of misogyny, weaving a sonic tapestry that connects the dots between modern day rock, gospel, the blues, and original African rhythms. Damon Locks formed the Black Monument Ensemble to address the shift toward an era when people’s civil rights are again in question. Where Future Unfolds asks how the past lives in the present and how it can be activated to learn about that present. Inspired by the activism of the 1960s and 1970s—when the church was a focal point for galvanizing the black community, with its gospel music as the soundtrack—Locks uses voice, sampler, and drum machines alongside the ensemble’s vocals and percussion to dig into those powerful musical structures. Locks’s visual art is projected in concert with the music and alongside dancers from Chicago’s Move Me Soul, addressing how the winds of change blow both forward and back.



INSIDE/OUT (12:15 PM, August 23rd, Pritzker Auditorium, Harold Washington Library) is CERQUA RIVERA DANCE THEATRE’s annual series inviting you INSIDE the creative process. Experience works in progress and shape them with your feedback and input. The August 23rd performance  presents the company’s annual FREE lunchtime concert in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium at Harold Washington Library. This unique event is a blend of its Inside/Out programs - where  they share works in progress and discuss them with the audience - and a showcase for several of the new pieces coming up in 2018. Selections include the following works in progress:  American Catracho (part 3) by Wilfredo Rivera; ROOT: mwanzo wa mwili ni roho by Monique Haley and Joe Cerqua; The Process Takes a LIfetime by Pharez Whitted and Joshua 'Stretch' Ishmon; and Sin Fronteras by Wilfredo Rivera and Clarice Assad, arrangement by Stu Greenspan. Cerqua Rivera’s dance ensemble and members of its jazz band will perform. Some of the composers and choreographers, as well as dancers and musicians, will share their inspiration, their partnership, and their creative process. Audience members will play an important role too, sharing thoughts and input about the themes and the art in the making. Performers may even improvise on the spot to incorporate your ideas!



To Be Two “TO BE TWO” (7 PM, August 23-24, Links Hall) is an immersive movement experience constructed by audience with performers. To Be Two mirrors the messy and muddled construction of self in real life and honors the difficult task of being – together. Artist Megan Young extends the considerations of French philosopher, Luce Irigaray, as she explores intimacy in a postdigital age. NOTE: This experience involves conversations and/or references to sex, sexuality, and sex organs that we consider to be appropriate for a general audience of all ages, and performers come within close physical proximity to viewers. Performed by: Megan Young, Tuli Bera, Rebecca Burchur, Angela Luem, Caitlin Rafferty, and Emily Thompson.



“SHareOUT!”  is the MCA’s new mini-festival of works that have been developed in a year of research supported by Chicago Dancemakers Forum (6 PM, Aug. 24/ 2 PM, Aug. 25 and September 1/ 7:30 PM, August 31, Museum of Contemporary Art). Cofounded by the MCA, Links Hall, and the Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago Dancemakers Forum is celebrating 15 years of supporting audacious and imaginative dancemakers.

For the opening weekend, Victoria Bradford and Brittany Harlin activate the museum grounds, and Joshua L Ishmon and Rika Lin (aka Fujima Yoshinojo) share a double bill using the theater. Bradford and electronics composer Todd Mattei transform the building’s outdoor perimeter for a durational relay run that invites the public to join. In the theater, Ishmon and dancers perform Redefining BLACK to an original score by trumpeter/vocalist Sam “Trump” Harris, and Fujima Yoshinojo transgresses Japanese classical dance with Asobi: Playing within Time—a performance for four dancers with original video and music by Tatsu Aoki and Reduction Ensemble. Harlin’s dancers and a live band close out each day in the Commons.



“TOUCH MY BELOVED’S THOUGHT” (7:30 PM, August 26th, Links Hall) is presented as part of the DOG/DAYS Festival of free performances leading up to the 40th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival. “Touch My Beloved’s Thought” by Onye Ozuzu (choreographer) and Greg Ward (composer) was inspired by Charles Mingus’ 1963 studio album The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.



Tight Squeezes TIGHT SQUEEZES: A NIGHT OF ORIGINAL WORK BY ADINA STUHLMAN AND MIKE STEELE (7:30 PM, August 29th, LINKS HALL). In this shared bill, Adina Stuhlman presents Don't Drop The Soap--a new dance work exploring the movement possibilities that occur within the limitations of the confined space of a shower. Are those 3 walls in fact limitations? The work explores themes of personal discovery, limitation versus freedom, all starting from the very simple idea of dancing in the shower. Mike Steele and his collaborators (Jesse Hoisington and Kelsey Shipley) present Capillaries -- an interdisciplinary work utilizing movement, soundscape, and spoken word.



As part of Links Hall's 40th anniversary season, ESOTERIC DANCE PROJECT (EDP) opens its eighth season with Correlated Mediums (7 PM, August 31st-September 1, Links Hall). The evening features three premieres; two crafted by Co-Artistic Directors Brenna Pierson-Tucker and Christopher Tucker and the third by this season’s recipient of EDP’s Choreography Mentoring Program, Francesca Baron. ative. 



Madison, WI-based choreographer MARLENE SKOG will present her second evening-length contemporary ballet concert

Consider It Not So Deeply.”  (7:30 PM, August 31-September 1, 2018 at Ruth Page Center for the Arts). “Consider It Not So Deeply” explores the conflicting layers of the female psyche in Shakespeare’s women through Skog's powerful,

demanding choreography, Shakespeare's theatrical prose, and original sound, designed by Matan Rubinstein and Timothy Russell.


For details and tickets, go to SeeChicagoDance.com, and click on “See Dance.”