Dance lovers visiting Chicago are in store for a hot time in the old town on just about any given night. Dance in Chicago is booming! With a packed calendar of over 200 professional dance companies performing on stages downtown and throughout Chicago's diverse neighborhoods--from grand theaters to tiny storefronts, in public parks, museums, and universities, from world-class ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, and culturally-specific traditional dance forms--Chicago dance has something for everyone.
Classical to Cutting Edge: Chicago's Dance Companies & Venues
If classical ballet is your thing, Chicago's Joffrey Ballet is your ticket. Louis Sullivan's historic Auditorium Theatre in the downtown Loop has been a leading presenter of major Chicago and world-renowned touring dance companies for 125 years and is the performing home of The Joffrey.
Or you may like to see what Chicago Repertory Ballet, the Hyde Park School of Dance, Ballet 5:8, Ballet Chicago, or the Ruth Page Civic Ballet are up to.
Do you love cutting edge? The Dance Center of Columbia College, Links Hall, and the Museum of Contemporary Art: MCA Stage present year-long seasons of local and touring companies that will challenge you with the unexpected.
Chicago's best and brightest modern, contemporary, and jazz companies perform regular seasons at the Harris Theater For Music and Dance, including
Catch exciting out of town companies there as well, right in the heart of downtown's crown jewel, Millennium Park.
Ruth Page Center for the Arts in the downtown Gold Coast district, and The Athenaeum Theatre in Lakeview on the North Side host mid-size companies all year-long, including Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Concert Dance Inc., Hedwig Dances, Winifred Haun & Dancers, The Cambrians, and Ron De Jesus Dance.
Chicago has long been a center for innovation and excellence in tap and percussive dance and boasts an impressive roster of individual virtuoso artists and tap dance companies, including BAM!, Chicago Tap Theatre, jorsTAPchicago, MADD Rhythms, Audible Odyssey, and Jump Rhythm Jazz Project.
Festivals & Special Events that Celebrate Dance in Chicago
April is Chicago Dance Month, with dozens of dance events, classes and performances of all kinds in both conventional and unconventional performance spaces. Check the SeeChicagoDance.com calendar for listings.
The Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park blossoms into an urban dance space for the alfresco series Chicago SummerDance
(June-September), an all-ages, all-levels downtown dance party. Groove
to the sounds of 44 different live bands and get into step with FREE
dance lessons from professional instructors beforehand. Glide across the
restored 4,900-square-foot, 100 percent recycled, open-air dance floor
designed by Chicago artist Dan Peterman. Go global with cumbia and
samba, learn classics like swing and waltz... or simply enjoy the music
from the sidelines.
Dance In The Parks
offers FREE dance concerts all summer long throughout Chicago's
neighborhoods, featuring professional dancers and contemporary
The Auditorium Theatre also hosts Chicago's annual Dance For Life showcase each summer, bringing together the best of Chicago's vibrant dance community in a concert to benefit The Dancers' Fund and HIV/AIDS research through Chicago Dancers United, providing financial support for dancers experiencing critical health issues.
The open-air Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park is host to The Chicago Dancing Festival (August), a highlight of Chicago's summer dance events for the past nine years. The four-day festival of major Chicago, national, and international dance is FREE to the public, but reserved seating goes quickly. Additional venues have included the Harris Theatre, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Auditorium Theatre.
The Chicago Human Rhythm Project hosts Rhythm World, an annual summer festival of tap and percussive dance at its home base, the American Rhythm Center in the Fine Arts Building. The Festival culminates in JUBA! a week of performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art featuring local, national, and international tap dance companies and solo artists.
You don't have to go to Ireland, Spain, or India to see great Irish, Spanish, or Indian dancing, or Latin American, Egyptian, Polish, or African for that matter. Chicago has them all! The world-famous Trinity Irish Dancers performs at multiple locations throughout the Chicago area (and of course over St. Patrick's Day weekend in March), and Ensemble Espanol hosts its annual American Spanish Dance and Music Festival at Northeastern Illinois University each June.
Tempting? We hope so! Check out SeeChicagoDance.com for details, discount offers, and tickets--as well as a full schedule of performances citywide.