Archive for August, 2012

Chicago Dancing Festival 2012: Chicago Now

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

What was opening night at the 2012 Chicago Dancing Festival? It was…

… a packed house of excited, anxious fans that ranged from veteran patrons to children who were seeing their first professional dance.

… Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel showing his passion for the arts in a wonderful pre-show tribute to Maggie Daley, co-founder of After School Matters. In fact, one of the Chicago Dancing Festival Partner Bloggers, Rogue Ballerina, quoted our board chair David Herro stating that Mayor Emanuel is “probably the only Mayor in the United States that can do a proper plié”. Read the rest of her post here.

… an exciting and spirited performance by that same group which brought loud and enthusiastic cheers from the huge crowd. One of our other Partner Bloggers, D Underbelly, was able to speak with the After School Matters renowned choreographer, Nicholas Leichter, and some participating dancers before the performance. Read the write-up here!

After School Matters Photo: Cheryl Mann

… Hubbard Street, Joffrey Ballet and Giordano Dance representing Chicago with grace, power, and humor.

… an informal group of Chicagoans from all over the city coming together in a beautiful and moving dance called Bolero Chicago, which one of our other Partner Bloggers, Chicago Now, stated was the highlight of her evening. Read her thoughts here.

Bolero Chicago Photo: Cheryl Mann

… an amazing opening night Prima Parti featuring food, music and dance on the Harris rooftop with dancers, staff and supporters who celebrated a night well spent.

… a special appearance by Benny the Bull to showcase true Chicago culture beyond just dance. Partner Blogger Contrapuntist shared his thoughts on this subject here.

Bolero Chicago Photo: Cheryl Mann

Many of our festival bloggers have pointed out that this night was about Chicago. It was. While the festival is about presenting the highest quality dance to the city, this year, our attempt to bring the city to the dance is what makes this year very special year.  Not only for the staff and patrons, but for the community who spun, glided or jumped onto the Harris stage, or any stage, for the first time. Partner Blogger, Scott Silberstein, stated that “Dance is of the people, by the people, for the people.“ Read the rest of his blog here.

Want to see more? Our Partner Photo Blogger, Chicago Photo Blog, created a Flickr album of some shots opening night, including some of the bloggers themselves! See more on our Pinterest page. Want to share your own photos and thoughts? Tweet using the #CDF12 hashtag (or mention our Twitter handle, @chida_fe!) and share via our Facebook and Foursquare pages.

If you missed out on the fun last night, don’t worry, we still have plenty of dance left - which is great - because in the words of a nearby patron after the show, “We need more free around here.”

Why Dance Matters: A Highlight from After School Matters

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

“Why does dance matter?” Isn’t it obvious? Not when the answer is different for each individual.  For some people dance is an outlet. For others it’s a workout. But for some, the act of taking a beat, rhythm, emotion, or story is a way of life. It’s not for the purpose of “mattering.” For most people who perform in front of thousands of patrons or just a commuter on the subway (to potentially steal from some famous philosopher)… Dance just “is.”

In fact, there is an active online conversation on this very topic. You can participate in the discussion and provide your own answer via Pinterest, Facebook or by using the hashtag #WhyDanceMatters on Twitter.

Source: via Nichelle on Pinterest

We’d like to offer up a variety of responses to this question as well - as told to us from a Chicago youth program. We recently attended a rehearsal of Touch of Soul, an original commission by Chicago Dancing Festival in honor of Maggie Daley, performed by After School Matters, to be shown during  “Chicago Dancing” and “Celebration of Dance”, part of this season’s Chicago Dancing Festival. After School Matters, (no relation to Why Dance Matters), is an organization whose mission is “to provide teens with opportunities to discover their potential and find their path to a meaningful life.” It was an opportunity to witness over 30 high school kids grooving, stepping, sliding, spinning, and jumping to contemporary beats in an urban dance choreographed by Nicholas Leichter. With 4 ½ days of rehearsal, in front of TV cameras and Twitter-bound iPhones, they produced a wildly energetic, precise yet authentic performance that, for them, was more than movement or music, it was an expression of something much bigger.

“Sometimes I dance just to let people know how awesome dancing is.”

“I dance to let people know this is me.”

“I dance because it’s who I am.”

“I do this to feel free.”

“We dance to find ourselves.”

“I dance not for me, but because it’s a family.”

“I dance to find my way.”

“I dance because I love it.”

The many touching and insightful comments made the day a truly unique experience and reminder of why we are proud to be artists. These student dancers will show how awesome dancing is on August 20th at the Harris Theatrer for Music and Dance and again on Saturday, August 25th at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, where you can see them perform among many other grand Chicago talent.

Before you go, we want to know: “Why do you dance?” Let us know by commenting below, or by posting your reply to or on If you tweet, don’t forget our hashtag, #CDF12!

Chicago Dancing Festival and Our Bloggers

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

With the Chicago Dancing Festival just around the corner, we wanted to give you a quick “behind the scenes” look from our Chicago Dancing Festival Blogger Program! Leading up to the Festival, our Partner Bloggers have been attending, reporting on, video recording and photographing the process. We wanted to share some highlights!

Rogue Ballerina attended the rehearsal of Giordano Dance Chicago with choreographer Alexander Ekman. According to her blog, “[Ekman's] work – Two Become Three – was originally created last year on dancers at Julliard where the Chicago Dancing Festival co-founder Lar Lubovitch saw the piece and commissioned it for the opening night of this year’s festival.” Read the rest of her observations and reporting here.

Giordano dancers Martin Ortiz & Maeghan McHale work with choreographer Alexander Ekman. Photo by Joel Solari.

Rogue Ballerina also spoke with dancer Amber Nuemann of the Joffrey Ballet. Nuemann will be performing Forsythe’s In the Middle in this year’s Chicago Dancing program on Monday, August 20th at the Harris Theater. Read her interview with Nuemann here!

We are very proud to partner with Keigwin + Company in the creation of Bolero Chicago to perform during the opening night of the Chicago Dancing Festival. Several of our partner bloggers attended the Bolero Community Workshops that took place for Chicago volunteers to come and learn about Bolero and participate in a workshop in preparation for the rehearsals. Read from our music blogger, Contrapuntist, here, and our art appreciation blogger, Scott Silberstein of HMS Media, here!

Following the Bolero workshop are the Bolero rehearsals, currently underway! One of our bloggers, D Underbelly, who writes from the dance audience perspective, attended one of the rehearsals along with our photo blogger, ChicagoCeli. Read D Underbelly’s moving account of the rehearsal here, and check out some of the photos taken from ChicagoCeli below!

Chicago Dancing Festival 2012 (Practice)

Chicago Dancing Festival 2012 (Practice)

Chicago Dancing Festival 2012 (Practice)

Chicago Dancing Festival 2012 (Practice)

And the Festival isn’t just performances! On Tuesday, August 21st, we will be screening several dance films throughout the day at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This day-long event is curated by Sarah Best. Our family blogger, part of Chicago Now, spoke with Sarah about the movie program. Read her interview here!

We are thrilled to be working with such fantastic bloggers to bring you a behind-the-scenes look into the Festival and beyond. We will be posting links to their coverage during the Festival as well, so you can follow along.

And we hope you will also, of course, attend the Chicago Dancing Festival beginning this coming Monday! If you were unable to reserve your tickets, you can visit the performance spaces the day of each show and try to obtain standby tickets. You also can come to our Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday events and performances, which don’t require tickets. Please see our Events Page for details!

Bolero Chicago 2012 Workshop Recap and You Can Still Participate

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

The four community workshops for Bolero Chicago proved to be a wonderful success. Thank you so much for those of you who came out and danced alongside us! We had a few of our bloggers show up and share their thoughts on the workshop and our music blogger, Contrapuntist, even included some video examples of past Bolero Projects, one example below!

Check out some pictures from one of the community workshops here. Thank you to partner blogger, Scott Silberstein, for taking them for us! And thank you to all of you for supporting such an exciting program!

Want to join?  You still can!  E-mail [email protected] to learn how!