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What are the Benefits of Dance?

Dance for exerciseDancing is an art of movement which comes in many forms and styles. Many dancers begin as toddlers and continue their professional lessons for a long time. But the beauty of dance is that you do not have to be an expert to do it. Many people only dance from their living room!  No matter what your level of dance experience is, it does not take away from the fact that it is good for you and your soul.

Health Benefits of Dance

• Weight loss

Dancing is an excellent way to take care of the body. Aerobic and anaerobic movements build stronger muscles all over the body. Like other sports, dance will also increase your endurance. The more you dance, the longer you will be able to go without stopping.

  • Flexibility

FlexibilityDancing comes with increased flexibility from movement. Stretches and kicks will reduce the stiffness in your body. Better flexibility will also ease the pain in your joints as well as soreness in your body. Reducing weight is particularly helpful to people who can’t bend or tie their shoes because of carrying extra pounds.

• Reduces Stress

Dance just makes you feel good. Listening to good music while you move is an excellent way to express yourself. If something is bothering you, dance is a great way to clear your head and focus on something positive. Moving around has proven to decrease anxiety and to improve overall mood. When dancing, you are exercising but having so much fun that you forget that you are even working out.

• Increased memory

Studies show that dance can improve memory during aging. This may be from all the intricate moves and routines that come with learning something new. It also reduces volume loss in the hippocampus which causes you to retain more information. Research has shown that people with Alzheimer’s remember more when listening to music and dancing.

How Dance Reduces Chances of DementiaMemory

Dancing can lessen the likelihood of dementia more than any other activity. Frequent reading and doing crossword puzzles does help but can only cut the risks by 35% and 47% respectively. The cerebral cortex and hippocampus are elastic components of the brain. They can rewire the neural pathways depending on how you utilize them. And, in this instance, dance is found to improve the cognitive reserve and better complexity of the synapses in the brain’s neurons by as much as 75 percent.

People who build multiple neuronal pathways will be able to utilize several paths once the other brain cells die. This is why it is necessary for us to create new pathways and maintain the neuron synapses. Dance uses the thought, musical, feelings and kinesthetic processes. Another way to lower dementia risks is to learn a new dance routine all the time. Classes that stimulate us are helpful as the brain is forced to require and create new neural paths.


Ten Years of Festival Magic in Chicago

BalletInviting audiences from diverse backgrounds and giving a platform to young ballet, contemporary and ethnic dancers from all corners of the world, the Chicago Dancing Festival, after running a successful stint for ten years came to an end.

Founded by three Chicagoan’s, choreographer Lar Lubovitch, former dancer Jay Franke and David Herro, the festival was a highlight of Chicago summer events. The festival ended after a very successful run. Many people will always remember the phenomenal dance routines, spectacular sets, and beautiful music known as the Chicago Dancing Festival.

What Was the Festival About?

The Chicago Dancing Festival was a non-profit initiative by the Chicago Dance Company who provided free entry to a breathtaking culmination of dance forms and talents. Popular local entertainment and dance companies like Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ensemble Espanol and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project were a few of the exceptional groups that performed in front of sell-out audiences. There were also international dance platforms like the Martha Graham Dance Company, Rennie Harris and the Philadelphia Ballet who volunteered their dance routines for free.

Multi Faceted Venues

Modern Dance

This festival had a backdrop of various indoor and outdoor venues. The organizers believed that charging an entry price would mean keeping a section of the public alienated from the dance revolution. People came from all over the world to take advantage of one of the best dance festivals in the country.

The main aim of the festival was to amalgamate various dance forms. With Pritzker Avenue, Millennium Park as the designated location for this festival, Chicago became a leading dance center. Modern, Contemporary, Ballet and other dance forms shared the stage together.

Ending on a High Note

The ten-year stint was a phenomenal success. The dancers at the festival were incredible performers, and around 200,000 dancers performing in the festival. Many performers got their start from dance companies seeing them dance.

We Can Only Hope for a Return

Ten Years

Fans of this festival were highly disappointed by the closing announcement. The festival was a must attend venue during the summer months in Chicago and will leave a big void. Hopefully, someone will come forward to introduce a new festival. Watch social media for any news. We can only hope for a return of this highly successful event.

How the Chicago Dancing Festival Got Started

Chicago the Windy City

Chicago… The Windy City… The Heart of America… There’s a lot you can say about Chicago, and it’s attractions: Sports, Jazz clubs, classical concerts, and some of the world’s most popular conventions and festivals in the world. Indeed, every year millions of people from across the globe visit Chicago to experience the cities melting pot of culture and events.

One such event that has been a staple in Chicago over the last decade has been The Chicago Dancing Festival. The 100% free admission event drew spectators from Chicago and other parts of the nation. But as the saying goes “All good things must come to an end.”

Saying Goodbye

In October 2016, after ten years of bringing together hundreds of dancers from dozens of dance companies around the world, the festival organizers announced that their mission was complete, and they would be shutting down the annual summer event. And we are all saddened to see the multi-day Summer festival come to an end.

However, we will always have the memories of the choreographic masterpieces we witnessed every year and the legacy of excellence and class the festival gave us. Many of us still remember the first Chicago Dancing Festival ten years ago. But for many newcomers that history has been lost to the sands of time. Today I’m going to take you back to where it all began.

The First Chicago Dancing Festival

Chicago Dancing Festival
Google Image of Chicago Dancing Festival

It all started in 2006 when Chicago native and internationally renowned choreographer Lar Lubovitch and well known Chicago dancer Jay Franke launched the Chicago Dancing Company NFP for the purpose of producing a free dance festival every year. On August 22, 2007, they witnessed that dream come to fruition as leading American dancers from seven exceptional dance companies from Chicago and around the nation took the stage at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park for the first annual Chicago Dancing Festival. It was a complete success with over 8,000 people attending that first year.

Ten Years of Excellence

Over the coming years, the festival became synonymous with excellence due to the keen eye and expertise of Lar Lubovitch and Jay Franke. Through the help of donors, the festival remained free over its ten-year span even though the attendance steadily grew. Each year attendance grew as word of the outstanding national and international dance companies showcased yearly at The Chicago Dancing Festival spread.

The mission of the Festival was to present a wide variety of dance excellence, enrich the lives of Chicago residents, and provide a stage for dancers to share their talent. I think it’s safe to say they succeeded. And although the Chicago Dancing Festival has come to an end, it’s legacy and impact on this city will live on as new fans and dancers emerge from Chicago to take the world stage.

Thank You

thank you

Thanks for making us proud. Cheers to The Chicago Dancing Festival, dance lovers around the world will undoubtedly miss you.