Going all-in for its fifth year, the Chicago Dancing Festival will produce five days of shows and an all-day film fest for 2011, and adds the Auditorium Theatre and Chicago Cultural Center to its stable of venues. As always, all events will be free and open to the public (including your little ones). Celebration of Dance, the program's finaleperformed August 27 at the Pritzker Pavilion, is particularly family friendly. Make sure to get there early to reserve your spot on the lawn.
“What we do is a gift to the city of Chicago,” festival executive director Evin Nicole Eubanks told me by phone. And what a gift it is—let us count the ways:
Hubbard Street’s production of Petite Mort, one of Jiří Kylián’s most accessible and enjoyable dances, joins The Legend of Ten by festival cofounder Lar Lubovitch, performed by his fine New York company. The Martha Graham Dance Company presents Embattled Garden, the real Graham’s 1958 work to music by Carlos Surinach, with designs by sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
Friday, August 26
10am–6pm at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater: MOVIES
In a festival first, four films featuring dance will be shown back-to-back. Invitation to the Dance kicks it off, the 1956 triptych starring (and directed by) Gene Kelly, featuring stage stars of the era such as Tamara Toumanova and Igor Youskevitch. Peter Glushanok’s 1957 documentary about Martha Graham, A Dancer’s World, and Matthew Diamond’s 1998 portrait of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dancemaker, follow. Tying it off with satin ribbons is the classic The Red Shoes (1948).
6pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art: MUSES
Historian and writer Lucia Mauro hosts a discussion about the relationship between choreographers and dancers, with live performances providing points of reference. Mauro’s guests are Alejandro Cerrudo, resident choreographer at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; Lar Lubovitch, festival cofounder and director of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company; and Janet Eilber, artistic director of the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Saturday, August 27
7:30pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park: CELEBRATION OF DANCE
Per festival tradition, the grand finale takes place at the Pritzker, where it all started on August 22, 2007. Program:
Joffrey Ballet, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, created by George Balanchine in 1972 Ballet West, Sinfonietta, Jiří Kylián’s 1978 breakthrough work to Leos Janáček Martha Graham Dance Company, Diversion of Angels, from 1948 to music by Norman Dello Joio Paul Taylor Dance Company, Esplanade, one of Taylor’s masterworks, set to Bach New York City Ballet’s Gonzalo Garcia and Tiler Peck in Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux River North Dance Chicago, 9-Person Precision Ball Passing, an encore of Moulton’s dance from the MODERNS program
For CELEBRATION OF DANCE and MOVIES, simply show up (plenty early) and enjoy. All other programs will require free tickets, made available the week of July 18, staggered in release so that fans can pick up tickets to one show and not worry about missing the boat on another. (Last year’s festival, which drew an estimated 12,000 people, “sold out” in two hours.)