Dance for Life Returns to Auditorium
Chicago Dancers United, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, announces the program for its 32nd annual fundraiser, Dance for Life, which takes place Saturday, August 19 at 6 p.m. at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago, followed by an After Party at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
The complete lineup of artists includes 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.
Dance for Life 2023 Co-Chairs are Ted Grady, Ross Slotten MD, Victor Alexander, and Maray Gutierrez.
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 nearly 45 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.
Below is a sneak peek of what to expect from the artists performing at Dance for Life:
BOOM CRACK! Dance Company combines hip hop styles with curated choreography in Decibel, an excerpt from an evening-length production choreographed by Trae Turner with music by Paul Mond. The work explores frequency and emotions attached to sound, with an eclectic score of lo-fi sample-based production, harsh electronic instrumentals, and energetic music.
Chicago Tap Allstars, which features tap dancers from throughout the Chicago area, including from Chicago Tap Theatre and M.A.D.D. Rhythms, performs Birdland, a joyous dance choreographed by Mark Yonally with improvography from the dancers, to the music of Weather Report. Chicago Tap Allstars aims to bring professional tap dancers together in the spirit of community, inclusivity, and excellence.
Giordano Dance Chicago and South Chicago Dance Theatre join forces for Luminescence, created by Kia Smith for Giordano’s 60th anniversary season earlier this year. With music by Coldplay and U2, the work is a true celebration of community, collaboration, and light.
Hiplet Ballerinas, the professional company of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, performs React, choreographed by Trevon Lawrence and Anthony Sampson to the music of The Pussycat Dolls. From classical ballet to hip hop, this piece fuses tradition with the energy of dance.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago offers the full company in excerpts from Busk by Aszure Barton, set to music by Daniel Belanger, Ljova, Camille Saint-Saëns, and David Wikander.
The Joffrey Ballet performs excerpts of Gerald Arpino’s Birthday Variations, which was commissioned by Becky D’Angelo as a birthday present to her husband Dino, who owned Chicago’s Civic Opera House and loved the music of Giuseppe Verdi. Set to Verdi’s infectious opera-ballet music, the work is a sparkling showcase of classical dancing.
Freelance dancers Joseph Massarelli and Riho Sakamoto perform On the Nature of Daylight, a pas de deux choreographed and staged by David Dawson to music by Max Richter. This work explores the idea of love as the ordinary and the extra-ordinary—the many possibilities of finding pure love, a task that binds us as human beings, and a search that happens continually around the world on a daily basis. The piece fully encompasses the idea that love lost remains unforgettable.
Moonwater Dance Project’s work Clarity, choreographed by Hanna Brictson to music by Murcof and Venessa Wagner and Travis Lake, explores the challenge of finding transparency within oneself, taking the performers and viewers on a dynamic journey to discover purity and strength.
Muntu Dance Theatre performs Djeliya, featuring Lamba, the dance of the djeli, or griots, who are highly respected among the Mandingue people for keeping the history and culture intact by playing special instruments and singing. Choreographed by Regina Perry-Carr to music by Idris Daniel and Sekou Conde, Djeliya includes a drum procession.
For this year’s finale, Randy Duncan revives and expands his world-premiere finale from Dance for Life 2021, As One, with music by Ira Antelis. Created in honor of longtime Dance for Life supporter Harriet Ross, As One drew inspiration from the marches and protests during the pandemic and the hate, but also the love and healing necessary, to survive in this climate.
Tickets for the performance and after party are $500, and tickets for the performance only are $45-$125. Group tickets (10 or more) are available by calling 312.341.2300. To purchase tickets, visit auditoriumtheatre.org.
For more information, visit chicagodancersunited.org.