Our Guest Reviewer is Judith Ann Calder
Now in its 27th year, Dance for Life Chicago returned to the Auditorium Theatre with a spectacular program that included Chicago’s premier dance companies – Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet – along with Hanna Brictson and Dancers, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Dance Crash, Nomi Dance Company, and Randy Duncan.
Proceeds from Dance for Life support the Dancers’ Fund, which provides financial assistance to dance professionals experiencing critical health issues that adversely affect their ability to work, plus annual contributions to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and advocacy organizations.
This was my first opportunity to attend a Dance for Life performance. I noted there was a diverse, multi-generational audience, which is great to see because many people don’t have the opportunity to experience dance, with tickets for many professional dance companies being very expensive.
This show was enhanced with beautiful photography from Todd Rosenberg and Alice Klock. The Camouflage-patterned costumes by Luis Razo in Randy Duncan’s Adroit added depth and context.
The lighting in Nomi’s pieces created a beautiful golden glow as backdrop for the very structured black and white suits.
Unlike many pieces that incorporate chairs, rarely do they have movement and feature in choreography as they did in Gordiano’s piece.
The live musicians in Cerqua Rivera demonstrated that the subtle movement of a musician is as beautiful as a dancer’s.
The red costumes pulsing against a matching red background added to the excitement and wonderful synchronous choreography of Hanna Brictson’s piece.
If you are a looking for a new company to follow, or an alternative to the most expensive seats in town, the evening was a great opportunity to sample the highlights of the Chicago dance scene. Since I see a lot of ballet, I am planning on attending performances of all of the companies that participated this coming season. For young dancers it is a window into the breadth of opportunity to dance in Chicago.
PS – On a personal note, the evening had a certain poignancy for me. Lou Conte was honored and Claire Bataille was featured in the documentary. My daughter always takes class at Lou Conte’s studio when in Chicago, and the first ballet class she ever took was at Claire Bataille’s Chicago Ballet Arts School. Claire introduced herself to me one night at the school and told me that my 9 year-old daughter could become a professional ballerina, and she did. While I hope my daughter has a long and healthy career, I know only too well that dancers are very vulnerable to injury and rarely have the support they deserve. You can see my daughter on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/elizabeth.cohen_/.
Dance for Life supports organizations and dance professionals facing critical health issues. Proceeds from Dance for Life benefit The Dancers’ Fund, which was established in response to the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the dance community, and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. The Dancers’ Fund now offers assistance in, but is not limited to, health matters, housing, utilities, insurance, medication and travel. As a unifier of Chicago’s dance community, Dance for Life supports a thriving dance community by focusing on its health and well-being through The Dancers’ Fund.
Dance for Life Chicago 2018 is supported, in part, by Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Hilton Chicago, Barbara Levy Kipper, MB Financial Bank, Peoples Gas, Holistic Health Practice, HMS Media, Paterno Group, Bell Litho Inc., Athletico, Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago/Lou Conte Dance Studio. Special thanks to Dance for Life Chicago 2018’s Producers and Dance Captains.
All Photos: Courtesy of Dance for Life