For its 27th annual event, Dance for Life Chicago presents a diverse group of companies and artists performing August 18at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. Dance for Life, which mobilizes Chicago’s dance community by raising funds through dance, presents this annual benefit performance, which is preceded by a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago.
Joining the Partner Dance Companies that perform each year—Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet—are Hanna Brictson and Dancers, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Dance Crash and Nomi Dance Company.The concert also includes a work choreographed by Randy Duncan.
This year, Dance for Life honors two pillars of Chicago dance: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Founding Artistic Director Lou Conte and Giordano Dance Chicago Artistic Director Nan Giordano. Said Dance for Life Board President Kevin McGirr, “Lou founded Hubbard Street in 1977 and directed the company for 23 years. HSDC continues his legacy to enrich, engage, educate and change lives through the experience of dance. Nan continues the artistic vision of her father, Gus, who founded GDC 55 years ago. For the last 25 years, Nan has guided the development of GDC’s large and diverse repertoire. We are so proud to honor both of these remarkable people at this year’s Dance for Life.”
Co-chairs for the 27th annual Dance for Life are Tom Ferguson Gomez and Mark Ferguson Gomez.
Giordano Dance Chicago performs Tossed Around (2017), choreographed by Ray Mercer to music by Sbongiseni “Bongi” Duma. “I wanted to capture a feeling that exploits chaos,” said Mercer. “As human beings, I think we experience instances where we are emotionally, physically and spiritually tossed around. I wanted that experience to be reflected in the movement. Working closely with the composer [Duma], who is very familiar with my aesthetic, we came up with a work that complemented Giordano Dance Chicago’s movement style.”
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs the company’s longtime signature work The 40s, choreographed by Founding Artistic Director Lou Conte to bandleader Ralph Burns’s rousing take on Sy Oliver’s “Opus One” and Burns’s own “V.J. Stomp.” Said Conte, “I was born in 1942 during the war, and remembering how happy everyone was when it ended, shooting guns in the air and beating on washtubs, was one of my first memories as a child. It was a very celebratory feeling, and that’s what I’ve told the dancers about The 40s.”
The Joffrey Ballet performs Body of Your Dreams, choreographed by Myles Thatcher. Joffrey describes this work as "a witty, inventive play on fitness crazes, but beneath the surface is a cautionary message that may be relevant to many of us living in today’s society. Jacob Ter Veldhuis’s music is interlaced with sound bytes from too-good-to-be-true fitness ads and infomercials promising that the next fitness phenomenon is 'so easy!'."
Hanna Brictson and Dancers, comprising dancers who have been associated with Visceral Dance Chicago, perform My Darling, which, according to Brictson, was “created and inspired by all my fond memories of music and dance growing up as a young artist. I wanted to create a dance that leaves you inspired to find the simple pleasures in life. Emotion-filled, step-filled and a stage full of giving dancers was my vision…the power of the Chicago dance community coming together to feel the joy of dance, simply and purely, will be epic.”
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre performs excerpts from Between Us by Chicago choreographer Sherry Zunker, who collaborated with CRDT co-founder and composer Joe Cerqua on a diverse suite of dances that explore issues of intimacy and the layers of connection between the CRDT dancers and musicians.
Chicago Dance Crash returns to Dance for Life to showcase its span of breakdance, acrobatics, hip hop and concert dance techniques with a celebration of movement in the most raw, pure form: a freestyle. An athletic, diverse collection of artists improvise, battle and build off each other to create a living piece right in the moment, conceived and structured by Artistic Director Jessica Deahr.
Nomi Dance Company performs excerpts from Kim, choreographed by Giordano Dance Chicago’s Joshua Blake Carter, director of Giordano II. This piece for 11 dancers centers on the experience of women. The two sections on the program, “A Losing Game” and “Begin Again,” exhibit challenges and, consequently, the overcoming of obstacles and strength that all women face and find in their lives.
Randy Duncan is reviving his 2007 Dance for Life finale, this year as the program opener. ADROIT, with music by Doug Brush, gives the dancers an opportunity to express synchronicity and precision through contemporary ballet and African movement vocabulary.
Saturday, August 18
Gala and reception 5:00 PM
Performance 7:30 PM
Gala and reception: Hilton Chicago Grand Ballroom
720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Performance: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago