Scott Silberstein: Celebrate Chicago Dance with "Thank Dance It's Friday" in the Loop
Oh sure, I could start off by telling you about the power of the arts and describing the beauty of dance on stage and how it’s good for the soul but on the other hand HEY! LOOK! A super cool video with people dancing all over The Loop! Click now!!!!
Made you look. And aren’t you glad?
Making people look at Chicago dance has become, it seems, a part of the mission of HMS Media, the creative media ensemble that Matt Hoffman and I formed more than twenty-five years ago. So embedded is dance in our creative psyche that when the ad agency Euro RSCG asked us what we thought would be the best way to demonstrate the excitement, diversity and vitality of the City of Chicago, we said…
We Chicagoans talk a lot about our specific style. We have a Chicago style of theater, and improv, and music. We have Chicago schools of architecture, and food, and fashion. We know we’re different from other cities in how we talk, sing, play, and tell stories.
Chicago dance companies and dancers – like Chicagoans – are generous with their time and energy. You can see it in the way so many smaller dance companies share their resources, theaters, concerts and even their dancers.
You see it when major dance figures from all over the world want to come collaborate with our companies to create work that premieres in downtown Chicago theaters. “So You Think You Can Dance’s” Ray Leaper setting a piece on Giordano Dance Chicago, for example, or “An American in Paris” director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon getting ready to create a new “Nutcracker” on The Joffrey Ballet.
And you see it in the way that major Chicago institutions seek out Chicago dance companies for new collaborations – The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic performing with River North Dance Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre, for example, or Hubbard Street Dance Chicago practically creating a new form of theater with The Second City in “The Art of Falling.” And this doesn’t even count the national and international companies, like The Royal Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey and countless others that not only want to perform in their own right at our Loop theaters but also want to be part of spectacular joint programs in our annual Chicago Dancing Festival.
Dance permeates and embodies this city. That’s also why invite you to pop by the Pritzker Park every Friday until September 4. Right around 4pm, people are going to start dancing for a couple of hours. Not just any people, but amazing, talented, creative professionals who create and perform dances for the sole reason of making people think, or laugh, or cry, or marvel at the beauty of the human body and condition – and, perhaps most of all, just enjoy each other’s company, especially yours.
Those people up on stage really are just… us. OK, some of them look better in leotards than the rest of us, but that’s not really what matters. What matters is that when people move, then other people respond. We feel feelings and we think thoughts and we share them with each other, all which makes being alive that particular day all the more interesting and memorable.
Every Friday is a different program, and you can come to one, you can come to all four, doesn’t matter – you’ll remember the day you did, and what you saw, and what you felt, and you’ll have an interesting story to tell as a result.
And isn’t that a great way to spend a Friday?
Scott Silberstein is a multi-Emmy Award-winning writer, producer, composer and director who co-founded HMS Media with Matt Hoffman in 1988.
Location: Pritzker Park