Lead Photo: Joffrey Ballet © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2022
Dance for Life is an inspiring event that merges talent and philanthropy into one spectacular evening. It brings together the best Chicago dance companies and all proceeds go toward the Dancers’ Fund; a resource which provides financial assistance to professional dancers in their time of need, including covering medical expenses. It is one of the many ways our vibrant dance community joins forces to care for its own.
As dance enthusiasts entered the Auditorium Theatre this year, one could immediately feel the infectious joy that carried through the evening with each performance as this was the first Dance for Life at The Auditorium Theatre since the pandemic began. The joy and support from the audience radiated to the dancers who in turn delivered a magical evening filled with grace, beauty, precision, and undeniable talent.
Below you will find the program, along with information for upcoming performances by the dance companies that participated in this year’s Dance for Life.
Chicago Dance Crash performs the Chicago premiere of “Us vs. Them,” a section of its 20th anniversary work Booms Day! choreographed by Annie Franklin to music by Man From Sol, Jonah k, and Overlook.
Next Performance: Booms Day – August 26th to September 10th at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater performs Parallel Lives, choreographed by Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director Gary Abbott to original music by Evangelos Spanos, based on La Folía. This modern work is inspired by poor working women who’ve shared life-changing events, both beautiful and tragic.
Next Performance: At the Auditorium Theatre on November 5th.
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater performs Baile de Luis Alonso, choreographed by Irma Suárez Ruiz to music by Gerónimo Giménez, based on a one-act lyrical play by Javier de Burgos that premiered in 1889 at the Teatro Español. Composer Giménez fell in love with the production; in 1896 it opened as a zarzuela (Spain’s light opera) at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid to great reviews.
Next Performance: At the Auditorium Theatre on October 1st
Giordano Dance Chicago performs Shirt Off My Back, a jazz work choreographed by Ray Mercer to music by Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, and Bongi Duma. Beginning with indistinct whispers, fluid lines, and undulating torsos, Mercer modulates the go-for-broke energy with interludes of liquid partnering and solos. A brief section underscores the strength of the company’s men in precise unison moves. The dancers make swift exchanges across space, volleying shirts on and off from dancer to dancer. A rousing wind-up culminates in an ecstatic group finale.
Next Performance: Catch the Light at the Harris Theatre on October 21st and 22nd
The Joffrey Ballet performs Élégie by Yoshihisa Arai set to Morceaux de Fantasie by Sergei Rachmaninoff, performed live on piano by Jorge Ivars. Élégie is about a love gone by—not just the loss of it, but the passion and beauty that comes from time spent with another. It’s an homage to the meaning that can come from the deepest, most visceral human connection. The dancers embody Rachmaninoff’s incredible score, making the experience both visual and auditory.
Next Performance: Beyond Borders at the Lyric Opera from October 12th to 23rd
NAJWA Dance Corps performs sections of The Guinea Suite, choreographed by Mouminato Camara to live percussion: “Guinea Fare,” a celebration of the Susu people featuring a dance women perform for marriages, naming ceremonies, and female initiations, and “Sorsene,” an initiation dance for the young of the Baga people from the Boke village of Guinea, West Africa.
Next Performance: Not yet announced
Trinity Irish Dance Company performs American Traffic, a progressive Irish dance work choreographed by Michelle Dorrance and Melinda Sullivan, set to drums and hand percussion by Steven Rutledge. The work offers a hybrid of Irish step and American tap that plays at the intersection of rhythmic sensibilities and rebellious histories.
Next Performance: Not yet announced