#whydancematters

Gu Jiani’s ‘Right & Left’ Challenges Assumptions (review)

By on September 28, 2015

Joseph Lam, Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (CI), climbed a short set of stairs from the house of the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater up to the edge of the stage and immediately noted that he’d been given specific directions: Don’t touch the floor. Indeed, it was a pristine white […]

First Ever Chicago Teen Dance Festival Tonight!

By on August 29, 2015

A conversation between Links Hall’s Roell Schmidt and Suzanne Connor of the Chicago Community Trust was the catalyst for the Chicago Teen Dance Festival, a new initiative mirroring the Chicago Jazz Lions Pavilion and kicking off tonight at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The Jazz Lions brings together young jazz musicians to perform […]

Dancer/Choreographer Paul Christiano dies at age 39

By on August 6, 2015

“A few years ago, Paulie was directing a production conceived and choreographed entirely by him from the ground up. Early on in the creation process Paul let me know there was an extra piece he wanted to add using eight specific guest artists. I told him, ‘That’s great Paulie, but we didn’t budget any cash for […]

Summerdance Meets Science

By on September 11, 2014

I’ve been keeping my eye on Dr. David Marquez, who keeps his office across campus from me at UIC. Marquez is conducting some interesting research on the effects of Latin cultural dance programs for older adults. Our backgrounds and our work are as different as peanut butter and cats, but on this we agree: there is […]

That’s (not just) Entertainment: Dance as a tool for cultural dialogue and social change

By on July 18, 2014

In 2013, Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) became the first American dance company to appear in the 15th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience in Durban, South Africa. JOMBA!’s founder Lliane Loots first connected with Deeply Rooted through the tireless work of Lorna Johnson, a DRDT board member and consultant on international exchange programs. Last year’s appearance, sponsored […]

Chicago Dancing Festival founders receive Public Humanities Award

By on May 21, 2014

Every once in awhile, we are reminded that dance is about more than just dance. Each year since 1984, the Illinois Humanities Council has awarded the Public Humanities Award to acknowledge outstanding individuals or organizations who don’t need reminders that the arts and humanities can create positive changes to society. In 2014, Jay Franke and David Herro […]

Choreographers team together for “Fostering Dreams through Dance”

By on March 16, 2014

Producer Jesse Welch and professional dancer Melanie Buttarazzi teamed together recently with a vision to enrich the lives of foster youth through dance. Welch and Buttarazzi recruited choreographers Sean Cheeseman, Stacy Walker, Gustavo Vargas, and Robert Chino Lopez, who have worked with world renowned entertainment giants the likes of J Lo and Michael Jackson, as well […]

Dizzy Feet’s Nigel Lythgoe and Jenna Elfman pop in for a visit at Hubbard Street

By on March 1, 2014

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 […]

DMTs Show Artistry and Collaboration in the Third Annual MOVED Concert (preview)

By on November 8, 2013

MOVED is a student run organization in the Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling (DMT & C) program at Columbia College Chicago. With a mission of advocacy for DMT through sponsored events and volunteering, MOVED promotes the integration of body and mind as a healing practice and provides exposure for the various therapeutic applications of dance. A day […]

Sometimes it’s Reassuring to See that Other People Agree With You

By on October 30, 2013

There’s a nice article online at Dance Magazine floating around on the social media today about common mistakes we are making in the dance world.  Author Nancy Wozny gathered information from Physical Therapists, and I’m relieved and excited to report that all three bullet points are things I’ve already said. In a nutshell: Mistake #1: Static Stretching […]

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Crosses the Ocean!

By on August 30, 2013

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is the first American company to participate in JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, an international festival in its 15th year in “Sister City” Durban, South Africa. During its 10-day residency, DRDT will present two performances, one a collaboration with Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company, and participate in workshops and community-based outreach to rural […]

Lizzie MacKenzie Pontarelli voted Chicago’s Top Dance Teacher!

By on April 29, 2013

Happy National Dance Week! I have a big week planned on the blog in celebration of National Dance Week and the close of Chicago Dance Month.  A few weeks ago I asked readers to tell me who your favorite dancer teachers are and why, and I was awesomely surprised to receive nearly 150 nominations!  Of […]

Rockford Dance Company: Thoughtful, Talented Dancers Who Are Really Far Away

By on April 14, 2013

Once a thriving small city in the middle of all that corn, Rockford, IL has been hit hard with an economic downturn that has been infamously compared to Detroit and Flint, MI. Add to this a total lack of public transportation from the Chicago metro area, and Rockford is a place that most Chicagoans only […]

A Chance to Dance. But, is it really your only chance?

By on September 7, 2012

  In watching last week's episode of A Chance to Dance, I found a lot of myself in those young dancers.  I remember what it felt like to think that this one thing was my *only* opportunity to succeed in a dance career.    When I was 20, I took a 48-hour trip to New York […]

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Turn and Face the Strain)

By on August 2, 2012

While perusing my daily blog reader I came across a post on 4dancers by Lucy Vurusic-Riner about her transition to a new job after 15 years in the same place.  Wow. I can relate to that.   After nine years, Tuesday was my last day at The Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls.  The job as the […]

Why Dance Matters (or at least why it mattered at 8pm last Thursday night)

By on July 29, 2012

  I've been doing a whole lot of stalling this week on giving my two cents for the Why Dance Matters campaign.  The lovely Nichelle over at Dance Advantage launched this initiative a few years ago and I love it for both its simplicity and its impact.   The task is simple… To write, blog, pin, tweet:   […]