First Blog Post of the Season!

Note: This article first appeared on Shari’s Corner on (, and is republished with permission from the author. Shari Schmidt is a member of the 2014 Chicago Dancing Festival blog partners program.


Mark your calendars for the Chicago Dancing Festival 2014 outdoor events

Shari | July 26, 2014 | Comments (0)

[Juilliard School of the Arts] The Chicago Dancing Festival has brought  free, world-class dance performances representing all dance genres to Chicago since 2007. This year the founders Lar Lubovitch and Jay Franke continue the tradition with world premieres, special commissions and two outdoor simulcasts.

The first simulcast brings the August 20 Opening Night performances to the Pritzker Pavilion and Great Lawn. The second brings the August 23 Grand Finale performances off the Pritzker Pavilion stage to the Great Lawn seating. The free outdoor simulcasts are great opportunities to bring family and friends together for an end-of-summer celebration.

We’ve made it a summer tradition to meet friends for the free Millennium Park concert series. We bring down picnic baskets, blankets, lawn chairs, a book and a change of clothes. Why a change of clothes? We get there early enough to let the kids play in the Crown Fountain. They get soaked, change clothes, eat dinner and settle in for some music. We need a book because someone always stays at our “base camp” to read a book, watch all the stuff, wait for other people and enjoy the atmosphere. After all, not everyone wants to get soaked.

We’re taking that same template and applying it to the Chicago Dancing Festival 2014. We’ll get down early, set-up camp, take the kids over to the fountain and come back to enjoy the performances.

For the August 20 show, the performances take place live in the Harris Theater. The simulcast brings the show outside. I wondered if this affected the dancers since they know they are performing for two audiences, but can only receive feedback from the inside audience. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton said, “For both the first-ever simulcast Hubbard Street performance, on June 6, and our upcoming Chicago Dancing Festival simulcast, on August 20, we’re fortunate to be able to present our work as we normally would. In both instances, our dancers are onstage at the Harris Theater, where we appear throughout the year — it’s a place where we already feel at home. We’re still in front of a live audience in the theater itself so, as usual, our focus is on giving them the best possible experience of the work. We know there are cameras placed in the house, but we don’t have to do anything differently. The work our dancers are doing isn’t affected, which is very important to us — to preserve the integrity of the choreography — and they still get that important feedback from the audience inside, still get that energy. The interesting part of the process is working with director Bruce Bryant and the rest of the simulcast team to decide how to translate the choreography from the stage to the screen — when to use close-ups, for example, and when to stay wide so everyone watching outdoors gets the bigger picture.”

Now is the time to get your group together and start planning to join us on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Great Lawn in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph Street, Chicago) for the Chicago Dancing Festival 2014 live simulcasts. Here is the current line-up for the simulcast performances, but as with all live shows, the line-up is subject to change.

Wednesday, August 20 – 7:30 pm

“Classics and Creations”

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Counterpoint, CDF original commission by Kyle Abraham
The Juilliard School, The Jig Is Up by Eliot Feld
Martha Graham Dance Company, Errand into the Maze by Martha Graham
Stars of American Ballet (a CDF debut performance), Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins
The Joffrey Ballet, Bells (excerpt) by Yuri Possokhov

Saturday, August 23 – 7:30 pm

“Celebration of Dance” Grand Finale

After School Matters, CDF original commission by Darrell Grand Moultrie
The Joffrey Ballet, Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp
The Juilliard School, The Jig Is Up by Eliot Feld
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Falling Angels by Jiří Kylián
Rennie Harris Puremovement (a CDF debut performance), Students of the Asphalt Jungle by Dr. Rennie Harris
Stars of Washington Ballet Brooklyn Mack and Maki Onuki, pas de deux from Le Corsaire by Marius Petipa

Of course, none of this happens without the support of sponsors. Free events like the Chicago Dancing Festival 2014 can only be free for guests if someone else pays the bills, so here’s the current sponsor list:InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Official Hotel Partner; Museum of Contemporary Art; Harris Theater for Music and Dance; City of Chicago, Millennium Park; The Robert and Jamie Taylor Foundation; David Herro and Jay Franke; Illinois Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; and the Irving Harris Foundation. The Harris Theater is proud to have the support of The Northern Trust Company as its 2014-2015 season sponsor. If you happen to know someone who works for one of these organizations be sure to thank them. It’s always good for the sponsors to know those of us enjoying the free festival appreciate their support.

For more information on the Chicago Dancing Festival, its history and programs,


Shari writes about life with her tween twin daughters at Two Times The Fun. Image courtesy of the Chicago Dancing Festival.

Tags: CDF14

comments powered by Disqus