Chicago Dancing Festival (CDF), co-produced by renowned choreographer and Chicago native Lar Lubovitch and highly esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, returns for its 8th season of free dance performances and events, August 20 – 23, 2014

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Eric Eatherly / Beth Silverman

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Keeping Chicago “America’s Dance Capital”


Free Programming features Top Ballet, Modern & Hip-Hop Dancers, including a

World Premiere Festival Commission by Kyle Abraham


Opening Night Performance Simulcast,
co-presented by Harris Theater


August 20-23, 2014


Free Tickets Become Available Early July


CHICAGO (April 21, 2014) – The Chicago Dancing Festival (CDF), co-produced by renowned choreographer and Chicago native Lar Lubovitch and highly esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, returns for its 8th season of free dance performances and events, August 20 – 23, 2014, featuring top ballet, modern and hip-hop dancers from Chicago and across the country. 


Just as the Festival draws from top dance companies across the nation, this year’s program will once again be featured in top venues across Chicago’s downtown summer playground, including the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion of Millennium Park.  Highlights of the 2014 Festival include:

  • The World Premiere of a new work commissioned by the Chicago Dancing Festival from choreographer Kyle Abraham, performed by Chicago’s own Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • A simulcast of the opening night performance on the massive outdoor screen of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, greatly increasing the audience.  The simulcast is a joint presentation between the Harris Theater and the Chicago Dancing Festival.
  • The Festival debut of Stars of American Ballet, featuring dancers from New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. 
  • The Festival debut of New York-based contemporary ensemble Pam Tanowitz Dance performing with live music.
  • The Festival debut of Philadelphia-based “next generation” hip-hop troupe Rennie Harris Puremovement.
  • The return of Festival favorites Adam Barruch, dancers of The Juilliard School, the Martha Graham Dance Company, Stars of the Washington Ballet and Chicago’s own The Joffrey Ballet.


“Commissioning new work is an important component of the Festival,” said Franke.  “Last year, we were proud to bring Alexander Ekman’s wild and exciting Episode 31 to The Joffrey Ballet, and before that it was Larry Keigwin’s Bolero Chicago for non-dancer Chicagoans and Charlie Moulton’s 9-Person Precision Ball Passing for River North Chicago Dance Company.  It’s important to not only bring outside dancers and companies to our city, but also to bring in works that Chicagoans have never seen before that can then live in our local companies’ repertories.  This year, we’re proud to commission a brand new World Premiere by Kyle Abraham, who has distinguished himself as a unique voice in dance, exploring identity, race, history and social politics through movement that defies categorization.  We can’t wait to see what he does with the exceptionally talented dancers of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.”


“The City welcomes the Chicago Dancing Festival for its 8th season of bringing free dance performances to Chicago residents and visitors,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “Watching the amazing national dance artists that come to Chicago each year, and seeing the excitement of the public to experience this powerful art form, is inspiring to me and a highlight of the summer.” 


Chicago Dancing Festival 2014 Schedule


Wednesday, August 20 – 7 pm

Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Street

The Chicago Dancing Festival opening night program will be simulcast on the outdoor screen of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. 

A Gala Benefit on the Harris Terrace follows the free indoor program.

  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, CDF original commission by Kyle Abraham    
  • The Juilliard School, The Jig Is Up by Eliot Feld
  • Martha Graham Dance Company, Errand (an arrangement of Errand into the Maze) by Martha Graham
  • Stars of American Ballet*, Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins


Friday, August 22 – 6 pm and 8 pm

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue

An evening of duets

  • Adam Barruch, Belladonna by Adam Barruch
  • The Joffrey Ballet, Bells (excerpt) by Yuri Possokhov
  • Martha Graham Dance Company, Errand by Martha Graham
  • Pam Tanowitz Dance*, Passagen by Pam Tanowitz (live music)


Saturday, August 23 – 7:30 pm

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street

“Celebration of Dance” Grand Finale

  • The Joffrey Ballet, Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp
  • The Juilliard School, The Jig Is Up by Eliot Feld
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Falling Angels by Jiří Kylián
  • Rennie Harris Puremovement*, Students of the Asphalt Jungle by Dr. Rennie Harris
  • Stars of Washington Ballet Brooklyn Mack and Maki Onuki, pas de deux from Le Corsaire by Marius Petipa


Additional events and artists for the 2014 Festival to be announced!

All programs are subject to change.


*CDF Debut



All events are free but tickets for indoor events must be reserved in advance by contacting the venue’s box office.  Tickets will be released in early July and more details will be announced soon.


No tickets are needed for the outdoor Pritzker Pavilion events, including the simulcast on August 20 and the Grand Finale performance on August 23. 


About Commissioned Choreographer Kyle Abraham

Kyle Abraham, a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, began his dance training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, PA.  He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY-Purchase and an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.  In November 2012, Abraham was appointed New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012–14; just one month later, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered Abraham’s Another Night at New York City Center to rave reviews.  Abraham has received a prestigious New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for Outstanding Performance in Dance for The Radio Show, a Princess Grace Award for Choreography in 2010, the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, was named USA Ford Fellow in 2012 and one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” for 2009, and received a Jerome Travel and Study Grant in 2008.  In addition to performing and developing new works for his company, Abraham.In.Motion, Abraham recently premiered The Serpent and The Smoke for himself and Bessie Award-winning New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan, one of four duets comprising Whelan’s “Restless Creature,” premiered at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2013. Visit for more information.


About the Chicago Dancing Festival

Established in 2007, the Chicago Dancing Festival was founded to elevate awareness of dance in Chicago, to increase accessibility to the art form and to provide inspiration for local artists.  Its mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance, enrich the lives of the people of Chicago and provide increased accessibility to the art form, thereby helping create a new audience.  Its vision is to raise the national and international profile of dance in the city, furthering Chicago as the “dance capital of the world” (as Mayor Rahm Emanuel put it at the 2012 Chicago Dancing Festival). 


Lar Lubovitch (Founder, Artistic Director) is one of America’s most versatile and highly acclaimed choreographers and founded the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company 45 years ago.  In the years since, he has choreographed more than 100 dances for his New York-based company, which has performed in nearly all 50 American states as well as in more than 30 foreign countries.  Born in Chicago, Mr. Lubovitch was educated at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School in New York.


Jay Franke (Founder, Artistic Director) began his formal training at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  In 1993, he was selected as a Finalist for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts and accepted into the Juilliard School.  Upon receiving his BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School, Mr. Franke went to work with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, “THARP!”  Mr. Franke has since danced with The 58 Group, Lyric Opera Ballet Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and was a leading dancer in the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company from 2005 to 2010.


The Chicago Dancing Festival is grateful for its 2014 supporters including: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Official Hotel Partner; Museum of Contemporary Art; Harris Theater for Music and Dance; City of Chicago, Millennium Park; The Robert and Jamie Taylor Foundation; David Herro and Jay Franke; Illinois Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; and the Irving Harris Foundation. The Harris Theater is proud to have the support of The Northern Trust Company as its 2014-2015 season sponsor.


For more information on the Chicago Dancing Festival, its history and programs, visit


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