It seemed like a somewhat crazy yet wholly
inspired notion five years ago. The idea, devised by choreographer Lar
Lubovitch and dancer Jay Franke, was to put on a free, one-night-only
dance festival on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
The event would feature a smorgasbord of ballet
and contemporary dance performances by some of the finest companies on
the national and international scene, and also would focus attention on
this city as a fast-growing center of dance.
From the first leap, the Chicago Dancing Festival
proved to be a monumental hit, attracting many thousands of dance
lovers as well as others who became converts to the art. In the ensuing
years the festival has expanded, with the original Saturday night gala
in the park now prefaced by a week of indoor programs at the Harris
Theater for Music and Dance, the Auditorium Theatre, the Museum of
Contemporary Art and the Chicago Cultural Center.
This summer’s fifth anniversary Festival will run Aug. 22-27, with a lineup as follows:
† “Moderns” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 23, Harris Theater,
205 E. Randolph). Doug Varone & Dancers in Varone’s “Lux”; Aspen
Santa Fe Ballet in Cayetano Soto’s “Uneven”; Adam Barruch in his solo
work, “The Worst Pies in London”; River North Dance Chicago in Charlie
Moulton’s “9-Person Precision Ball Passing,” and Hubbard Street Dance
Chicago in Sharon Eyal’s “Too Beaucoup.” Highlights also will be
presented at a noon matinee on Aug. 24 as part of the Harris’ popular
lunchtime series “Eat to the Beat.”
† “MCA Moves” (6 and 8 p.m. Aug. 24, Museum of
Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago): Independent, avant-garde and
up-and-coming dance artists will be part of a program hosted by Martha
Graham impersonator Richard Move, with an outdoor, site-specific
performance by Japanese Butoh exponents Eiko & Koma before the show.
† “Masters” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 25, Auditorium
Theatre, 50 E. Congress): The Martha Graham Dance Company in “Embattled
Garden”; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Jiri Kylian’s “Petite Mort”;
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in his “The Legend of Ten,” and more.
† “Dance Films” (10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 26, Claudia
Cassidy Theatre in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph):
Including Gene Kelly’s “Invitation to the Dance”; “A Dancer’s World” (a
documentary about Martha Graham and company); “Dancemaker” (a
documentary about Paul Taylor and his company) and the Michael Powell
classic “The Red Shoes.”
† “Muses” (6 p.m. Aug. 26, MCA): A lecture-demo
and panel featuring Janet Eilber (artistic director of the Martha Graham
company); Alejandro Cerrudo (dancer and resident choreographer for
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago) and festival co-founder Lar Lubovitch.
† “Celebration of Dance” (7:30 p.m. Aug. 27,
Pritzker Pavilion): The Joffrey Ballet in Balanchine’s “Stravinsky
Violin Concerto”; Ballet West in Jiri Kylian’s “Sinfonietta”; Martha
Graham Dance Company in “Diversion of Angels”: Paul Taylor Dance Company
in “Esplanade”; New York City Ballet guest artists Gonzalo Garcia and
Tiler Peck in Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” and River North
Dance Chicago in “9-Person Precision Ball Passing.”
For information about obtaining free tickets for the indoor events, visit www.chicagodancingfestival.com.
An opening-night fund-raising gala featuring
performances by dancers from the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street, Martha
Graham Dance Company and others (plus a cocktail reception) is slated
for Aug. 22 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Tickets are $250
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