After a SYTYCD audition stop in Chicago, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe stopped in for a visit to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s studios to observe a rehearsal of the company’s upcoming all Kyliàn program, and (perhaps more importantly) visit a few of the youth program classes supported, in part, by an operational grant from the Dizzy Feet Foundation. Accompanying Lythgoe on the tour were board member Jenna Elfman and Executive Director Danae Rees.
Of particular note was a trip to Choreolab, a creative movement and choreographic workshop for 9-11 year olds. The group was struck by the imagination, innovation, and total confidence the eleven children in the class displayed. “It isn’t so much just doing an exercise. It’s putting yourself into the exercise,” said Lythgoe. The group commented on the childrens’ ability to let go of inhibitions, and Elfman redirected that they never had any to begin with. “Kids learn by example, so when you have adults setting the example of a safe space to be creative… the more creative and free you are, the better it is. That’s an amazing example to set for the next generation,” she said. Danae Rees added, “Imagine if every kid was doing this… the confidence they’d get… it’s a way of negotiating without talking.”
Dizzy Feet Foundation gives scholarships to young and promising dancers who can’t afford quality training. On the community side is a split mission with the objective to give as many people as possible access to dance. As benefactors of Dizzy Feet funding, the staff and faculty at Hubbard Street appear to be keeping their end of the bargain by splitting their energy between the elite contemporary dance company we all know and love, and innovative community programming that is enriching the lives of neighborhood youth.