Chicago Dancing Festival

Chicago Companies

By: Hedy Weiss

The 2013 lineup is in place for the 7th annual edition of the Chicago Dancing Festival — that free, multi-venue dance event that has become a familiar rite of Chicago summers. Running Aug. 20-24, this year’s programming puts the emphasis on Chicago companies, as well as on diversity of dance styles with ballet, modern, ethnic and rhythmic dance companies all getting their place in the spotlight.

Among the first-time performers at the festival will be Ensemble Espanol, Chicago’s contemporary flamenco ensemble, and Natya Dance Theatre, the Chicago troupe that puts a modern impulse behind the classical Indian or bharata natyam style. Philadelphia-based Philadanco, an African-American contemporary dance ensemble, also will make its first festival appearance.

The Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project will be among the Chicago participants. Visiting artists also will come from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.

Co-produced by Chicago-born choreographer Lar Lubovitch and dancer Jay Franke, the festival will feature five completely free programs over over four days. The kickoff event (Aug. 20) will be at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, which also will serve as part of that venue’s 10th anniversary season celebration. It will be followed (Aug. 21) by the festival’s Gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art (the only paid ticket event during the week), which will feature a program of solos that will be repeated free for the public in two performances on Aug. 23.

The Auditorium Theatre will serve as the stage for the Aug. 22 program. And the festival’s signature grand finale (Aug. 24), will, as always, be held on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Highlights this year include two festival commissions — the Chicago premiere of Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s “Episode 31,” performed by the Joffrey Ballet, and the world premiere of Lane Alexander and Bril Barrett’s “In the beginning…,” performed by the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. This season also will feature a bit more live music accompaniment by way of Lubovitch’s company and Ensemble Español.

The complete schedule is as follows:

Aug. 20 at 7:30 pm, “The Harris at 10! Anniversary Special” at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph: Brian Brooks Moving Company in Brooks’ “I’m Going to Explode”; Chicago Human Rhythm Project in “In the beginning…,”; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Alejandro Cerrudo’s “little mortal jump”; The Joffrey Ballet in Stanton Welch’s “Son of Chamber Symphony”; Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in Lubovitch’s “Crisis Variations.”

Aug. 21 at 6:30 pm, “Solitaire — A Game of Dance” (gala performance and benefit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago): An evening celebrating solo artists from the world of classical, contemporary, bharata natyam and flamenco dance. This fundraising benefit includes a cocktail reception. (Tickets are $250 per person and can be purchased by emailing

Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m., “Dancing in Chicago” at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress: Ensemble Español in Dame Libby Komaiko’s “Bolero”; Giordano Dance Chicago in Alexander Ekman’s “Two Become Three”; Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in a work tba; the Joffrey Ballet in Ekman’s “Episode 31”; Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in Lubovitch’s “Transparent Things.”

Aug. 23, at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., “Solitaire — A Game of Dance” (The Art of the Solo) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago: Samuel Lee Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Robert Battle’s “In/Side”; Brian Brooks of Brian Brooks Moving Company in his “I’m Going to Explode”; Camille A. Brown of Camille A. Brown & Dancers in Brown’s “Mr. Tol E. Rance”; Julia Hinojosa of Ensemble Espanol in her “Ensuenos de mi Caribe”; Johnny McMillan, David Schultz and Jonathan Fredrickson of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Cerrudo’s “Pacopepepluto,” Victoria Jaiani of the Joffrey Ballet in Mikhail Fokine’s “The Dying Swan” from “Swan Lake”; and Krithika Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre in her “Sthithihi.”

Aug. 24 at 7:30 pm, “Celebration of Dance” at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph: Samuel Lee Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in “In/Side”; Chicago Human Rhythm Project in “In the beginning…”; Ensemble Espanol in “Bolero”; the Joffrey Ballet in Jerome Robbins’ “Interplay”; and Philadanco in Rennie Harris in “Wake Up.”

For complete ticketing information (and it is a bit complicated) visit No tickets are needed for the outdoor “Celebration of Dance” grand finale performance at the Pritzker Pavilion. NOTE: All programs are subject to change.