The Chicago metropolitan area, or Chicagoland as the locals call it, has a special place in the history of dance. From the pre-war Pavley-Oukrainsky Ballet — credited with freeing the discipline from exacting European standards — to the African dance of Darlene Blackburn and the contemporary moves of Maggie Kast, Chicagoland has built a rich dance history on pushing boundaries. Whether you want to follow in the pointe shoes of the greats or simply have some fun, check out these great Chicagoland dance companies.
Inaside Chicago Dance
Founded in 2003, Inaside Chicago Dance is one of the city's leading jazz dance companies. It celebrates the genre's history while looking forward to its future. Inaside Chicago Dance has a diverse range of male and female instructors and dancers, which help its program innovate and inspire. Its performances, workshops, and outreach programs aim to make jazz dance accessible to people of all ages. Inaside encourages its dancers to grow their creativity as performers, choreographers, and teachers. They showcase their talents at annual spring, fall, and summer concerts at the Athenaeum Theatre.
Inaside's youth initiatives aim to inspire the next generation of dancers. Its youth training program, designed for young dancers between the ages of 8 and 18, supplements a home studio's lessons. During the program, participants work intensively with leading choreographers and dancers to refine their technique and hone their craft. The experience gives talented youngsters an insight into the demands of a dance career. Inaside Chicago Dance also holds annual Youth Summits for the Arts in Oswego and Chicago. These events celebrate the talents of young local dancers in a non-competitive environment.
Evanston Dance Ensemble
Since 1997, Evanston Dance Ensemble has nurtured the talents of young dancers and helped them achieve their full potential. This not-for-profit ensemble built a reputation for inventive main stage productions that tackle stories and themes in exciting and innovative ways. These presentations celebrate a variety of different dance styles, such as modern contemporary dances, as well as original numbers created in collaboration with leading dance professionals.
Evanston Dance Ensemble promotes diversity, inclusivity, collaboration, and creative expression. Its commitment to inclusivity inspired the company to create its Jump for Joy dance classes. This six-week program was expertly designed for young dancers with physical or developmental challenges that may preclude them from mainstream dance lessons.
In 2012, Evanston Dance Ensemble launched its sister company, ede2. This second group aims to bring dance to as many people as possible with its shows in schools, seniors centers, and public libraries.
Dance Center Evanston
Dance Center Evanston is the dance school associated with the Evanston Dance Ensemble. This school nurtures dancers of all ages, abilities, and interests. Its lessons help students develop their artistic and technical skills, improve their self-confidence, and, perhaps most importantly, have fun. Many of the school's most promising students go on to become members of the Evanston Dance Ensemble.
Whether students love the grace of classical ballet, the modern movements of hip hop, or the energy of tap, Dance Center Evanston has the class for them. Cecchetti training ballet classes help students hone their artistic and technical skills, strength, and elasticity in preparation for the Cecchetti Council of America exams. Having a goal to work toward helps these students excel.
Dancers can also take musical theater classes, which appeal to aspiring Broadway actors and actresses, and contemporary dance classes, which help students express themselves creatively through dance. Additionally, special adaptive dance classes make the world of dance accessible to people with physical and mental challenges.
Dance Center Evanston's primary classes introduce children as young as 3 to the magic of dance. Many mini dancers graduate to regular student classes designed for children and teens 7 years and older. Age is no barrier for the school's adult drop-in classes, which welcome dancers 18 years and up. This positive, supportive environment is perfect for anyone rekindling their love of dance. Dancers who are serious about their craft can join Dance Center Evanston's pre-professional Academy Program. Focusing on artistic and technical prowess, it prepares dancers for college programs and dance careers.
Celebrated professional dancers Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair co-founded Ballet Chicago in 1987 to help young classical ballet dancers reach their full potential, professionally and personally. The school believes that good character is just as important as technical and artistic skills, and it aims to nurture both through its lessons. Its classes follow a curriculum based on the Balanchine Technique, which enhances speed, movement, and musicality. Through a special partnership with the George Balanchine Trust, Ballet Chicago offers an accelerated performance program that efficiently prepares dancers for a life on the stage.
Ballet Chicago has performed more than 400 shows through Chicagoland, America's Midwest, and Canada. Local shows at the Athenaeum Theatre and Harris Theater for Music and Dance add to Chicago's rich cultural landscape. Their productions include classic works and exciting new presentations that bolster Ballet Chicago dancers' resumes. Taking the stage in these productions helps prepare young dancers for a lifetime of performing.
Chicago Tap Theatre
Chicago Tap Theatre aims to preserve and promote the art of tap dancing through Chicagoland and beyond. This not-for-profit dance group welcomes intermediate and advanced tap dancers to its weekly classes. Intensive three-day holiday workshops build on these lessons with expert advice on choreography, tapping techniques, and the history of this American art form.
Chicago Tap Theatre aims to introduce as many people as possible to tap, so its dancers regularly perform in traditional and non-traditional settings. Along with performances at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre and other cultural venues, Chicago Tap Theatre has also performed at the Jazz Dance World Festival, the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and Lollapalooza. Much more than just dance presentations, Chicago Tap Theatre's productions present conceptual narratives to engage the audience. Their use of rock and pop music also helps excite crowds everywhere.
Whether you're dancing for fun or you're more serious about your craft, keeping your body in peak condition is vital.
For nearly 20 years, Dr. Scheone has consulted for and performed podiatric medical show coverage for many dance companies in Chicago. She lectures and gives in-services on proper foot care, nutrition, exercises and lower extremity injury prevention strategies to many dance companies and studios, including those listed above.
Call our office at 847-263-6073 or complete our online contact form for a consultation.