chicago culture shock

Celebrate July with a bang! In Chicago, fireworks aren't the only shows that will make you say "ooo and ahh", and Chicago's dance world keeps the excitement going long after the Fourth of July. From Chicago Human Rhythm Project to Cerqua Rivera, here are 7 performances that will spark your interest:


1) JUBA! // July 18 & 20 - 23

July sparkles with dancing fireworks throughout the month, culminating in JUBA!: the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's annual summer tap dance extravaganza (July 18, and 20-23, Jazz Showcase and Museum of Contemporary Art). JUBA! is the culminating event of "Rhythm World," CHRP's month-long intensive for tap dance and percussive arts at its downtown home, The American Rhythm Center.

The performance on Wed., Jul 20, commemorates the 15th Anniversary Youth Tap Ensemble Benefit Concert, honoring tap dance legend Maurice Hines, who will make a rare appearance to receive the JUBA! Award. Future tap talents from across the country — Gene Medler's North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, Melba Ayco's Northwest Tap Exchange, and Shelley Hoselton's Footprints Tap Ensemble — showcase their best moves in this open program of Rhythm World. Jumaane Taylor and M.A.D.D Rhythms perform July 21st and 23rd, and Earl "Groundhog" Basie will be featured on the 22nd.


2) NOCTURNE: le passage // July 7 - 10

LEVELdance's second installation, NOCTURNE: le passage, (Athenaeum Theatre, July 7-9, 10:30 p.m.) is a late night, site-specific, 55 minute show exploring the world of after-hours and anything that happens from nightfall through day-break. NOCTURNE features a cast of new characters, new stories and an all new passage through the historic Athenaeum Theatre. The show features 6 choreographers: Artistic Associate, Brandon DiCriscio, Ricky Ruiz, Braeden Barnes, Taylor Mitchell, Christian Denice and Co-Artistic Director Eddy Ocampo, with brilliant lighting by Joshua Paul Weckesser, ask the audience to partake in a journey of dance in nontraditional spaces, and the audience is just as much a part of the cast as well as the performance. Tickets limited to 50 audience members per showing. 



3) Evil & Good // July 8 - 10, 15 & 16

Chicago Dance Crash and Artistic Director Jessica Deahr present the world premiere of Evil & Good, (Vittum Theater, July 8-10, 15 & 16) fit for all ages, choreographed and directed by Deahr with additional choreography by CDC Senior Company Kaitlin Webster and Culture Shock Chicago Artistic Director Christopher Courtney. Inspired by a growing demand for Chicago Dance Crash's street dance aesthetic, Evil & Good utilizes the company's signature blend of concert dance and hip-hop, offering a boiled down alternative to its summer annual movement play: sheer, pulse-raising dance, inspired by the world's constant struggle between its angels and demons.


4) Spectacle Spectacular! A Fully Improvised Song and Dance Musical // July 10

J Lindsay Brown Dance

Spectacle Spectacular! A Fully Improvised Song and Dance Musical returns to MCL Chicago on July 10. J Lindsay Brown Dance and The Glitter Island Gang reunite for a new run of their improv collaboration of dancers and improv comedians finding inspiration together through song and dance. Spectacle Spectacular! is completely improvised, so no two performances will be alike. Each show has new characters, new songs, new dances... all discovered on the spot in front of the audience.


5) New Dances // July 16 & 17

Cirqua Rivera Dance

It's always interesting to view new works, and we can thank Thodos Dance Chicago for cultivating new dance creation through its New Dances series July 16 & 17 at Athenaeum Theatre. New Dances is Chicago's earliest and most extensive in-house choreography project, providing TDC ensemble members the unique opportunity to step backstage and call their own shots as choreographers and directors.



6) The Inoffensive Family Series // July 17

Cerqua Rivera fuses music, dance, and visual art in The Inoffensive Family Series on July 17 at Stage 773 to explore and celebrate contemporary American society. The whole family can enjoy this journey through the rich history of American music and dance, experiencing the New Orleans style of the early 1900s, the swing and big band phenomena of the ‘30s, bebop from the ‘40s, free and avant-garde jazz from the ‘60s, the jazz/rock fusion of the ‘70s, and influences of Latin, Indian, African, Rock and Soul.  



7) The Adventures of Tapman // July 23

The Adventures of Tapman returns to Stage 773 July 23. Follow Tapman, Chicago's premiere tap dancing superhero, through various episodes as he battles his arch nemesis, The MADD Tapper. Along the way, Tapman joins forces with The Modern Marvel, a crime-fighting modern dancer, in his quest to defeat The MADD Tapper. The Adventures of Tapman features light-hearted, 60s-era comic book humor, elaborate projected special effects, and phenomenal tap dancing including the unique tap dance fighting style, Tap-Fu!


This feature is brought to you by, the definitive guide to Chicago's dance scene and your source for a full calendar of performances in the city. Read about all the top picks for the month at