Dance for Life Raises $365,000+ for Dancers’ Fund
Chicago Dancers United, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, welcomed 1,600 people to the 32nd annual Dance for Life, its primary fundraiser, Saturday August 19 at the Auditorium Theatre, followed by an after party at Venue SIX10, attended by nearly 550 guests. From a combination of ticket sales, contributions, and sponsorships, Dance for Life raised more than $365,000—exceeding its fundraising goal—to support The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs.
The complete lineup of artists included BOOM CRACK! Dance Company, Chicago Tap Allstars, Giordano Dance Chicago and South Chicago Dance Theatre, Hiplet Ballerinas, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, freelance performers Joseph Massarelli and Riho Sakamoto, Moonwater Dance Project, Muntu Dance Theatre, and, for the finale, choreographer Randy Duncan revived and expanded his 2021 finale As One.
Prior to the finale, CDU paid tribute to longtime dance community leader Gail Kalver, previously executive director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and River North Chicago Dance Company. CDU board member Patti Eylar said, “Gail was there at the beginning of Dance for Life, and she jumped in with both feet to help found it. …She’s always been helpful to the entire community.”
Also during the performance, CDU Board President Sara Schumann announced a new partnership with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. “This partnership provides a significant discount for Chicago dance industry professionals who are uninsured, including those who have retired. They are now eligible to receive services at the discounted rate, services like physical therapy and orthopedic care. This partnership helps us increase our reach and provide meaningful support for our community’s needs. We are deeply grateful to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab for helping us further our grant dollars as we explore this new partnership.”
Co-chairs for Dance for Life 2023 were Ted Grady and Ross Slotten, M.D., and Victor Alexander and Maray Gutierrez. Presenting Sponsor was Fred Eychaner. Lead Sponsors were Tim and Paula Friedman, Barbara Levy Kipper, and Ted Grady and Ross Slotten M.D.
Dance for Life raises money for The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs. The event showcases the city’s unique variety of dance traditions and styles by bringing together professional dance companies and dancers from throughout Chicago, who unite to support their peers by generously donating their time, energy, and artistry. Throughout its history, Dance for Life has presented more than 50 Chicago-based professional dance companies representing a variety of genres, sizes, and histories and numerous choreographers, artists, and designers. An additional beneficiary of Dance for Life is AIDS Foundation Chicago.
The mission of Chicago Dancers United is to foster the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community by providing financial support through The Dancers’ Fund for preventative health care and critical medical needs. Anyone working in or retired from a professional capacity within Chicago’s dance community—dancers, technical staff, administrators, choreographers, instructors, accompanists, and more—is eligible.
For more information, visit chicagodancersunited.org.