Welcome to the third-annual Chicago Dancing Festival

Welcome to the third-annual Chicago Dancing Festival.  This year promises to be our best yet.  The Festival has expanded to a five-day event starting Tuesday, August 18 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and ending with a Saturday, August 22 performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park.  In between, we are adding a second performance at the Harris Theater and collaborating with the Museum of Contemporary Art in its Artists Up Close series.  And like previous years, all Chicago Dancing Festival events are free!

Programming highlights include performances by guest artists from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet; dances by a rich variety of choreographers, including two different William Forsythe pieces and Chicago debuts by Aszure Barton and Jessica Lang, who will then be setting works next season on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet, respectively; and companies that have never before been seen in Chicago, like the Houston Ballet.

Chicago Dancing Festival 09 begins Tuesday Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance with “New Voices,” a performance of works by a hot new generation of contemporary choreographers.  The program will include Baryshnikov protégé Aszure Barton’s Ah! Crudel performed by dancers from the New York-based Aszure Barton and Artists; Jessica Lang’s Elysian movement poem To Familiar Spaces in Dream, performed by Virginia’s Richmond Ballet; Robert Battle’s percussive Train, performed by River North Chicago Dance Company; Edwaard Liang’s Victorian Age-inspired Age of Innocence, performed by the Joffrey Ballet; and Trey McIntyre’s lush Just, performed by dancers from Oregon Ballet Theatre.

Wednesday, August 19 at 6:00pm at the MCA, Art of the Duet will feature Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet Ashley Wheater, who will be joined by dancers Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall of New York City Ballet, as well as dancers from the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and The Joffrey Ballet to give an exclusive performance of duets programmed in the Festival and to discuss the relationships and processes specific to choreographing and dancing duets.

Thursday, August 20 at 7:30pm, the Festival returns to the Harris Theater for Modern Masters, a performance of repertoire by contemporary master choreographers.  The evening will feature William Forsythe’s Slingerland pas de deux, performed by dancers from Aspen Santa Fe Ballet; Nacho Duato’s sensual and mystical Gnawa, performed by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; José Limón’s There is a Time, inspired by the great Ecclesiastes passage, performed by Chicago’s Luna Negra Dance Theater; Lar Lubovitch’s lyrical and kinetic Jangle (Four Hungarian Dances), performed by the New York and Chicago-based Lar Lubovitch Dance Company; Jerome Robbins’ haunting In the Night, performed by The Joffrey Ballet; and Christopher Wheeldon’s bold and emotion-filled pas de deux After the Rain, performed by New York City Ballet guest artists Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall.

The Festival culminates with A Celebration of American Dance, a performance under the stars at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park Saturday, Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m.  Programming will include an all-star lineup of dancers from some of the country’s most acclaimed dance companies including Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performing Ulysses Dove’s powerful and stark Vespers; Alvin Ailey’s acclaimed solo work Cry, performed by guest artist Linda Denise Evans; the Houston Ballet performing William Forsythe’s neoclassical showpiece The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; Hee Seo and Cory Stearns, guest artists with American Ballet Theatre, performing the ever-popular Le Corsaire Pas de Deux.  Rounding out the program, Chicago Human Rhythm Project will appear in a collaboration with Step Afrika!, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company will preview Coltrane’s Favorite Things, and the all-male Les Ballets Grandiva will perform Star-Spangled Ballerina, its version of George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes.

Please continue to check in with us at our website for updates and additional, ancillary programming still being planned.

I look forward to sharing Chicago Dancing Festival 09 with you,

Gregory Russell

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