Dance in Chicago
The city of Chicago’s dance scene is thriving. With top tier companies performing year-round and even more companies on tour making stops in Chicago, you can enjoy a evening of musical and physical wonderment nearly every night of the week.
Chicago’s ballet represents some of the best in the country and its contemporary scene is booming and electric. If you have some extra time, why not jump in yourself? Chicago offers open classes in everything from ballroom to burlesque. The Ballet Chicago Studio Company has been bringing legendary Balanchine choreography to the city for more than 10 years now, giving Chicagoans and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy favorites like Serenade and Concerto Barocco.
Each year, Ballet Chicago performs a full spring repertory with choreography by new artists, the company’s directors and of course, Balanchine. But if you’re looking for something a little more traditional, wait until December and take in Ballet Chicago’s magical Nutcracker at The Athenaeum Theater. The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago also performs a glorious production of the Nutcracker at the legendary Auditorium Theater. Throughout the year, The Joffrey presents more full-length ballets, like Cinderella and Othello along with mixed rep to packed houses and pleased audiences.
Chicago is home to some of the best contemporary companies in the world. Hubbard Street and their second company, Hubbard Street 2, draw large crowds at both their Chicago performances and their tours, most recently in Italy. Take in Millennium Park as Hubbard Street’s theater, The Harris, is located right in its heart.
River North Chicago Dance Company has been building their fan base for 20 years, focusing on jazz-based contemporary technique and wowing audiences with their bold energy, exciting music and daring choreography. And if you get a chance to explore even more contemporary dance, try and catch the critically acclaimed Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago or the thrilling Thodos Dance Chicago, both smaller companies making huge steps in bringing dance to the forefront of Chicago arts.
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Chicago’s premier African dance-based contemporary company performs all over the city and its surrounding areas. The inspiring company performs dance that explores topics of war, love, religion, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and much more. The energy they pass onto their audience will stay with you all night; the rhythm of their music will continue to beat in your heart.
Since 1972, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago has been bringing Chicagoans and tourists to their feet, encouraging participation and celebration. Muntu also follows the African dance tradition, exploring their roots, music and folklore through dance. Don’t be surprised if you’re dancing and clapping as you leave the theater.
To move to the other side of the world, look no further than Trinity Irish Dance Company Chicago. Trinity serves as both a school and a company and the young girls who perform exhibit such controlled and fast-paced footwork you will hold your breath, watching in astonishment as they move in unison.
Each year Chicago plays host to many touring dance companies, many of them the finest in the world. In the past few years New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, The Bolshoi Ballet, Kirov Ballet, and many more have all made stops in Chicago, delighting all who have had the chance to see them. Check with company websites to see if your trips may match up with one of these amazing opportunities.
And while you’re in Chicago, you needn’t always be in your seat to enjoy dance. Lou Conte Studio has open classes in beginning ballet, jazz, tap, modern and more. Want to get a bit wild, check out Studio L’Amour and learn to strip with style. Studios like Chicago Dance offer ballroom and swing classes. And if you feel you’re ready to take your hard work public, why not journey over to Navy Pier and take part in their yearly Chicago Summer Dance.
by Thalia Aurinko-Mostow