Chicago Dance Luminaries Talk Dance/USA

Editorial note: This article was originally published Thursday, June 30, 2011 on the blog Ruminations by a Rogue Ballerina, Interviews and insights from the Chicago dance scene.

Prominent members of Chicago’s dance scene are excited about Dance/USA‘s national conference (more here) coming in July!

What does it mean for Chicago to be hosting the national conference this summer?

Any national attention the city’s dance scene gets can only be beneficial.  I think Chicago has its own style of concert work and deserves a national presence.  Plus, Chicago is great in the summer time.  The conference can share in the major transition the city is experiencing as our new Mayor Rahm Emanuel takes over.  The man calls himself a former dancer — great timing!  ~Venetia Stifler, Artistic Director Concert Dance Inc, Executive/Artistic Director Ruth Page Foundation

Having the Dance/USA national conference in Chicago brings visibility to the city’s dance scene.  Chicago’s dance community continues to grow and flourish and that activity has been recognized.  People not ordinarily predisposed to watching dance, or even having knowledge about the enormous amount of dance activity in Chicago will hopefully become more aware.  ~Michelle Kranicke, Artistic Director Zephyr Dance

We have such a vibrant dance community in Chicago.  There are  a number of larger companies plus the many, many smaller companies and individual artists that are putting forth interesting work along with community outreach and educational programming.  I don’t think people realize how much is going on.  And, with our new Mayor being an arts advocate with a history in dance, it’s serendipitous that the conference is in Chicago this year.  It’s time for everyone to see what a world-class dance destination we are.  ~Glenn Edgerton, Artistic Director Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

It is a recognition of Chicago’s contribution and importance to the art form as seen through the level of activity and practice found here and the quality of work being performed.  ~Shirley Mordine, Artistic Director Mordine & Co, Founder Dance Center at Columbia College

Chicago is very lucky to have this opportunity to host Dance/USA.  It will bring even more national attention to our thriving dance scene.  ~Jay Franke, Co-Founder Chicago Dancing Festival

I think the Chicago dance community has been growing for the last ten years.  We’ve really become a destination for dance, dance audiences, choreographers and dancers.  Dance/USA conference proves how much of a dance city we’ve become.  It’s proof of how fabulous we are and it will give us another push in that direction.  I feel like we are the second city of dance in the U.S.  We’re not as big as New York, but we’re definitely second in terms of number of people producing work and number of dancers living here.  ~Winifred Haun, Artistic Director Winifred Haun & Dancers

Chicago’s dance community is very strong and receives enthusiastic support from audiences all over the city.  It is an important opportunity to showcase the professional companies in Chicago and bring light to this thriving dance community.  ~Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Artistic Director Luna Negra Dance Theater

For many years, the Dance/USA national conference has been held on the East Coast.  Bringing Dance/USA to Chicago this year is a recognition of the fact that significant dance companies are now found across the country and that Chicago has become a vibrant center for dance in America.  ~Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director Joffrey Ballet

Anyone who’s read me recently can attest to my excitement about Dance/USA’s annual conference being held in Chicago this year.  It comes on the heels of a spring season which saw companies of all sizes taking risks and reaching out to new audiences, and seeing those initiatives pay off.  Recently announced plans for the 2011-2012 season put Dance/USA’s Chicago conference at the head of a banner year for dance in the city.  Attendees from around the country will see firsthand where those performances will take place and meet many of the people who have brought them to fruition.  ~Zachary Whittenburg, Dance Editor Time Out Chicago


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