Dance for Life Returns to Auditorium

Dance for Life Returns to Auditorium

Chicago Dance Health Fund, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, announces the program of works for Dance for Life, its 33rd annual fundraiser, taking place Saturday, August 10 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.

Dance for Life 2024 Co-Chairs are Victor Alexander and Maray Gutierrez, returning for a second year, and new this year, Ekua and Jamin McGinnis. 

Proceeds from Dance for Life benefit the Chicago Dance Health Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs. The event showcases the city’s 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 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 companies to perform at this year’s Dance for Life are as follows.

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater performs Viejos Aires/Flamenco Tango, choreographed by Antonio Najarro to music by Astor Piazzolla. Merging two styles—Argentinean tango and Spanish dance—with his own personal style, Najarro described the work as “a timeless passionate choreography that speaks from the heart to the heart.”

Giordano Dance Chicago’s excerpt from Gershwin in B is “a celebration of the glorious music of George Gershwin, the incredible legacy of Giordano Dance Chicago, and one young woman’s curious spirit,” according to choreographer Al Blackstone. “I like to say that life happens in chapters. There are core memories locked inside us that inform who we are and inspire the decisions we make.”

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago offers a tribute to Chicago House music and DJ Frankie Knuckles in Dear Frankie, choreographed by Rennie Harris to an original composition by Harris and Darrin Ross.

The Joffrey Ballet features the “Italy” pas de deux from Anna Karenina, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov to music by Ilya Demutsky performed liveby pianist Jorge Moron Ivars. In Leo Tolstoy’s novel, love is all-consuming for the beautiful but married Anna, who in the pursuit of passion, finds herself caught in a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Vronsky.

Trinity Irish Dance Company performs Communion, a synthesis of forms rooted in the profound power of connection choreographed by Mark Howard and Sandy Silva to music originally conceived by Cleek Schrey.

Visceral Dance Chicago presents Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s 18+1, a playful work full of unexpected moments accompanied by rich and fiery Cuban and Latin music by Perez Prado.

Dance for Life will also feature several debuts as follows.

Ballet 5:8 performs Wind, choreographed by former Martha Graham Dance Company dancer Steve Rooks, which emotes the ethereal embrace of an unseen force. The music by Alfonso Peduto weaves a symphony that echoes the delicate dance of leaves in a gentle breeze or the tumultuous roar of a storm.

Praize Productions performs Black is the Color, choreographed by William Gill, assisted by Enneressa LaNette, set to music by Club Des Belugas and spoken word by LaNette. This celebration of Blackness in its totality (community, culture, people) highlights the strength and beauty in supreme femininity and sisterhood.

Winifred Haun & Dancers offers an excerpt of Haun’s Absent Moon, which reveals the inner and outer unrest present in all of us, set to music by Michael Wall and Jana Winderen.

Jonathan E. Alsberry is creating a new work featuring an original score by Ira Antelis. Inspired by the opening lines of James W. Johnson’s iconic poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” Alsberry and Antelis are collaborating with more than 40 artists from the Chicago area to create a work that celebrates Chicago’s supportive and open-hearted dance community and what it means to lift, share, and love the thing that moves us all. 

Tickets for the performance and after party are $500, and tickets for the performance only are $45-$125. Book Now.

Dance For Life 2024 Emani Drake, Elijah Richardson, Photo credit Todd Rosenberg Photography