The first annual Chicago Dancing Festival's Opening Night Gala at the MCA was an intimate evening of dance that included duet performances by some of the top dance companies in the country. Co-founder, Jay Franke, welcomed the crowd and introduced Mayor Rahm Emanuel who is thrilled that the Dancing Festival will help promote Chicago as a destination for dance. This year's event is a sell-out with over 19,000 people expected to attend the free performance in Millenium Park on Saturday, August 27th.
Five dance companies showcased top talent beginning with a pas de deux from "Swan Lake" danced to perfection by The Joffrey Ballet's husband and wife team of Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili. Following the Joffrey, Hubbard Street Dance Company presented "Following the Subtle Current Upstream" danced by Penny Saunders and Alejandro Cerrudo. Martha Graham Dance Company's Xiaochuan Xie and Tadej Brdnik presented "Shaker Interior" from "Snow on the Mesa." Next came Brian Brooks Moving Company's "Motor," hauntingly performed by Brian Brooks and David Scarantino. And finally, there was a world premiere commissioned just for the Chicago Dancing Festival by modernist Walter Dundervill. The piece, "Compression Piece (Swan Lake)," was danced by Walter and Jennifer Kjos and featured a compilation of music by Diana Ross and the Supremes, Sonic Youth, M.I.A., Public Image, Ltd., Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky.
The Chicago Dancing Festival runs all through the week and culminates with the finale, "Celebration of Dance", in Millenium Park. This festival is the largest of its kind in the country and will include 19 dance companies.
Dancing Festival Co-founder and co-Artistic Director, Lar Lubovitch, summed it up best. "It would not be incorrect to say that the essence of dance, and in fact all of art, is inherently love. But it would be even more accurate to say it is about belief. The belief that all artists share that through acts of dedication and imagination, there is the possibility of a better way......and therefore, a better world.
(www.ChicagoDancingFestival.com) (Photos by Caitlin Saville Collins).