Creating more, with support from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

Creating more, with support from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

We are pleased to announce that in the 2016-2017 season, with the generous support of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, we’ll be welcoming more Chicago-based companies to our stage. This expansion helps us fulfill one of our core objectives: to offer Chicago’s small and mid-sized dance companies a state-of-the-art venue in which to develop and perform their work.

As of this fall, we are expanding our Subsidized Theater Rental Program. The program, which began in the 2000-01 season, provides Chicago companies and artists with one week in the Dance Center theater to rehearse, technically prepare and perform. In addition to performance space and access to technical staff and equipment, we provide promotional support, box office and front-of-house services. The Subsidized Theater Rental Program offers a significantly reduced rental rate to talented and dedicated local companies that often do not have the budget to afford to present their work in a professional venue of the Dance Center’s scale and technical and staff resources.

With the support of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, we are now able to expand this program from two to three companies. This season, we are excited to present three celebrated Chicago companies: Lucky Plush Productions (September 29–October 1), The Seldoms (October 13–15) and Chicago Human Rhythm Project (February 23–25).

The expanded Subsidized Theater Rental Program is just one aspect of the Dance Center’s refreshed efforts to provide a platform for local companies. In the coming season, we will pilot a Production Residency program.

Performing arts organizations around the nation are grappling with many obstacles: money, time, space, and expertise are ever-present hurdles in bringing artistic visions to life. Many beloved Chicago companies and artists face the chronic challenge of limited access to modern, well-equipped facilities that provide substantive time for production planning, lighting and sound design, technical preparation and collaborative staging prior to opening night.

The additional support from The Driehaus Foundation gives the Dance Center the opportunity to help address these challenges. During the pilot program this season, we will work with The Seldoms in the development of company member Philip Elson’s new work, The Fifth. This ambitious multimedia work investigates the origins and captors of a reimagined cyberspace, now deemed the fifth domain of war, where people become weaponized, masked and used as virtual political objects.

Philip Elson

“The commission of Philip Elson’s new work marks a first for The Seldoms, wherein we are investing significantly in an emerging choreographic voice from within the ensemble,” said Artistic Director Carrie Hanson. “We are making this commitment to express our confidence and interest in his art-making and honor his stellar contributions to my work during the past eight years. I am very excited for Philip to have the Dance Center’s extensive support for the production/design residency and the premiere presentation. This advance period in the theater with production equipment, technical staff and designers, as well as the time to experiment, problem-solve, imagine and test the integration of design elements, is too rare in our field, but advances the artwork immeasurably.”

The Seldoms production residency, which takes place August 1–5, will involve time in the theater for lighting, sound and video projection designers and other technical collaborators to access the Dance Center’s crew, space and equipment as they develop the staging for the work. The residency period also will include dancer rehearsals and a work-in-progress, constructive critique showing for a specially curated audience.

Elson in The Fifth. View his choreography reels here. Photo: Kristi Kahns

“It’s not very often that a young, emerging artist finds a place that feels like home for their artistic practice,” said Elson. “Eight years ago I serendipitously found myself studying at the Dance Center while beginning to work with The Seldoms. These two institutions have consistently supported, challenged and advanced my artistic potential as my career begins to flourish on and off the stage. I’m incredibly honored to experience a first with these two organizations, a first-time evening-length commission by The Seldoms and a first-time local artist Production Residency at the Dance Center. We are forging new territory, further demonstrating our community’s ability to strengthen artists and their creative processes at all levels in their careers. I’m grateful that this milestone and pivotal experience is happening with the people and places that I can call my artistic home and close family.”

We are celebrating here at the Dance Center, and eager to begin the season. With the ongoing support of The Driehaus Foundation, we are able to make a significant impact and contribution to Chicago’s rich cultural field.

“The Driehaus Foundation’s commitment to cultural enrichment and the vitality of Chicago’s small and mid-sized dance companies aligns with the Dance Center’s dedication to the creation and presentation of contemporary dance works, dance education and community cultural development through the arts,” said Bonnie Brooks, director and lead curator of the Dance Presenting Series. “We are delighted to partner with them in expanding our Subsidized Theater Rental Program, and we are especially excited to apply special funding to test the waters for a new production residency program for Chicago-based dance artists.”

Watch these great programs unfold all season long. Bookmark our blog and check back for updates. To learn more about the 2016-2017 Season, visit the performance page.