Chicago Dancers United Dance For Life, Jessica Tong, Photo: Todd Rosenberg © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017
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What an amazing opportunity awaits dance lovers. Don’t miss this. Chicago Dancers United (CDU), which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, announces an expanded lineup and program for the 30th anniversary of its annual fundraiser, Dance for Life, which takes place in person on Thursday, August 26 at 6 p.m. (new start time) at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. For the first time in the event’s history, admission is free.
The complete lineup of companies includes DanceWorks ChicagoGiordano Dance ChicagoHubbard Street Dance ChicagoThe Joffrey BalletMovement Revolution Dance CrewPARA.MAR Dance TheatreSouth Chicago Dance TheatreTrinity Irish Dance Company, and Visceral Dance ChicagoRandy Duncan will choreograph a world premiere finale. The program also includes a film by Winifred Haun & Dancers.

DanceWorks Chicago performs the Chicago premiere of Charissa-Lee Barton’s Mutter Matters, which explores how physical expression can sometimes be a more direct, playful, and meaningful form of communication, whether or not we are six feet apart. The work is set to music performed by the Oscar Peterson Trio and composed by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Clark Terry, who joins the Trio for his piece.

Giordano Dance Chicago performs Take A Gambol, choreographed by Joshua Blake Carter. Set to a score of 1960s jazz classics by Yazz Ahmed, Maynard Ferguson, Perry Como, Mose Allison, and Quincy Jones, this work has been completely reworked for Dance for Life from its original eight dancers in 2018 to include, for the first time, the entire ensemble of 13 dancers. 

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs Rena Butler’s This, That, and the Third, a multifaceted viewpoint of code-switching as a means of either sterilizing oneself or maintaining the ability to adhere and adapt to an evolving space, posing questions of universality and ways to build a multilingual and progressive future. The soundtrack includes music from the film Whiplash by Justin Hurwitz, music by Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo, and text excerpts in Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and English.

The Joffrey Ballet performs Justin Peck’s The Times Are Racing, a “sneaker ballet” for 20 dancers that channels the power of protest and draws inspiration from a variety of dance styles while matching Dan Deacon’s electronic score with youthful impulse and vigor. 

Movement Revolution Dance Crew performs Dedicated to the Originators, choreographed by Monternez Rezell, a tribute, a dedication, and a look back to the young Black people who created the culture of Hip Hop. The work is set to music by Tech N9ne and Afrika Bambaataa.

PARA.MAR Dance Theatre performs kiss., choreographed by Stephanie Martinez and set to Johann Sebastian Bach, in which the dancers take the perilous journey we all take to find and sustain intimacy—often felt for only a moment, before sliding back into obscurity.

South Chicago Dance Theatre performs an excerpt from Architect of a Dream, choreographed by Kia S. Smith to music by Solomon Ilori, which memorializes the legendary Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” speech and aims to be a symbol of hope for audiences during this time of sociopolitical turbulence.

Trinity Irish Dance Company performs Push, choreographed by Mark Howard with contributing choreography by Andrew Vickers, an explosion of hard-driving percussive power that exemplifies the company’s consistent message of female empowerment. Performing the music is the Trinity Irish Dance Company band: Brendan O’Shea, Christopher Devlin, Jake James, and Steven Rutledge.

Visceral Dance Chicago performs Nick Pupillo’s Synapse, a responsive interaction of music and dance in which electrical energy joins the driving house beat of Chicago composer Darryl Hoffman’s work with Visceral’s technicality and provocativeness.technicality and provocativeness.


Randy Duncan is creating a finale, using dancers from throughout the Chicago area, with original music by Ira Antelis.

Winifred Haun & Dancers presents an excerpt from its film Press on, regardless, choreographed and directed by Winifred Haun with music by Michael Wall and videography by Sean Rafferty. The duet, like the entire film, is abstract and includes inverted movements that are floating and somewhat disorienting; the duet resolves into a calming “aha” moment.

Dance for Life raises money for The Dancers’ Fund, which provides Chicago dance industry professionals with financial support for preventative health care and critical medical needs. The event showcases the city’s unique variety of dance traditions and styles by bringing together professional dance companies and dancers from throughout Chicago, who unite to support their peers by generously donating their time, energy, and artistry. Throughout its history, Dance for Life has presented nearly 40 Chicago-based professional dance companies representing a variety of genres, sizes, and histories and numerous choreographers, artists, and designers.

Co-chairs for the Dance for Life 30th Anniversary Celebration are Jennifer Edgcomb, Mark Ferguson Gomez, and Tom Ferguson Gomez. Optum is the Presenting Sponsor of Dance for Life. Additional beneficiaries of Dance for Life are AIDS Foundation Chicago and American Cancer Society.

Chicago Dancers United presents
Dance for Life 30th Anniversary Celebration 

Thursday, August 26 at 6 p.m.
at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Admission for lawn viewing is free; 

premium bowl seating is available for a $300 minimum donation.
For information and to make a contribution, 
All programming is subject to change.

The mission of Chicago Dancers United is to foster the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community by providing financial support through The Dancers’ Fund for preventative health care and critical medical needs. For more information about applying for assistance from The Dancers’ Fund, visit
For more information, visit


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