Impressions of the Chicago Dancing Festival

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - Uneven

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performing Uneven - Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

As I announced last month, Viola and I were asked to partner with the 2011 Chicago Dancing Festival.  I knew I would be exposed to an art form I know so little about, but I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did.

Before getting into the details of the festival, I wanted to set some expectations for the next few days because our content will be a bit different from our usual postings. After the next few days, our posts will resume to the regular stuff we write about.

When asked to partner with the 2011 Chicago Dancing Festival, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Despite the fact the Chicago Dancing Festival is celebrating its 5th anniversary, this was the first year I heard about it.  I took this opportunity to explore an art form that has a deep connection with music. In truth, I know very little about the art form, other than the conversations I had while living amongst many dancers during my undergraduate years.

Based on what I experienced throughout the week, there is a lot Chicago should be proud of.  In five short years, the festival has moved from a one day event to five days that incorporates multiple venues and features some of the best dancers in the U.S.  Here is just a sample of companies that performed throughout the week:

  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • Bellet West
  • New York City Ballet
  • The Joffrey Ballet
  • Paul Taylor Dance Company
  • Martha Graham Dance Company
  • And several other companies…

By all appearances, the next few years will be good for the festival too. New Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, a former ballet dancer in his youth and a dance advocate, will likely help raise funding and increase the size of the festival.  On the final day of the festival, Mayor Emmanuel indicated ambition to increase the festival to six days;  currently it’s five days with a fundraiser day before the official start.

Over the next few days, we’ll go into greater detail describing the performances, the music used for some of the dances, and discussions about the relationship between choreographer and dancer.

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