If you are a Chicago-based dance artist or choreographer, this is for you.
4dancers spent some time looking into dance programs and spaces that are affiliated with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. We talked with Emmelia Halpern-Givens, Dance Programs Assistant at the Chicago Office of Tourism & Culture and she shared some great information about resources that those in the dance community here have available to them here…
Here is Emmelia with a closer look:
DanceBridge is our incubator program. We run 3 sessions a year (Winter, Summer and Fall) and send out an open call to Chicago based artists/companies, then pick between 2 – 3 artists each session. They’re given 3 months of space to work, followed by 2 nights of an informal showcase where they split profits between themselves and our box office. The work is usually an excerpt or a work-in-progress, and we offer lighting and sound as well as room for about 85 people each night.
I think it’s an awesome program because it’s free space! Plus, it allows lots of artists opportunity to be in that space, whether as a choreographer or a dancer. Also, because it’s at the Chicago Cultural Center which is a public building, I think it offers visibility to new audiences who just kind of walk in the night of the showcase and decide they’re here, so why not see the performance? I think the accessibility of the space is a great benefit to the program itself.
It also has marley floors and thick walls. In terms of privacy in a public building, it holds up well. It has one glass door on the south side and we have a folding screen in the studio to for artists to move if they feel it necessary, otherwise you’re generally on your own.
We also have 2 application based programs for the theater department.
Our studio theater, which is located in the Chicago Cultural Center runs an incubator program where companies get the space for a month and then perform in a one night showcase at the end. Again, like the DanceBridge program, the performances are generally pretty bare bones but still get great turn outs and we’ve had companies do incubators and several years later make it into the Storefront theater for a 6 week run. (Striding Lion Performance Group performed in this programming in 2009.)
Our storefront theater is just across the street in the Gallery 37 building, it’s a 99 seat black box that presents between 8-10 companies a year. Companies get between 3-6 week runs. This year we have Chicago Dance Crash doing a 6 week run in our space followed by Khecari doing a 3 week run. For dance companies, that’s huge! The reviews will have time to land before the run closes.
For more information about these programs/spaces, visit the DCA Theater website.