The Chicago Dancing Festival continues its tradition of breaking new ground with Planet Chicago. This event features all Chicago dance ensembles in an iconic Chicago destination. Unlike a traditional dance performance where the dancers are on the stage and the audience is in the seats, Planet Chicago mixes the dancers and audience members in a first-of-its-kind performance.
The Chicago Moms asked Chicago Dancing Festival 2016 Artistic Director Jay Franke about Planet Chicago.
What sparked the idea? What did it take to move it from a concept to planning?
“CDF is always interested in reaching new audience through our programming and when Navy Pier approached us about the possibility of presenting a world-themed dance program this year, we felt it was a no brainer….a match made in heaven, I’d say.”
We’ve read that there is an audience participation component. How will the audience participate? How much dance experience will it take to participate?
“Audiences will encounter ample opportunities to interact with Planet Chicago dancers- without giving too much away. The audience will be led from stage to stage and performance to performance by Chicago Samba. The rhythms will be loud, the spirit playful and the stage set for some of Chicago’s top dance companies. be prepared to be surprised and engaged.”
The performance moves across Navy Pier. How do you plan for an artistic performance that moves across such a large space? What challenges did the team encounter as they brought the concept to life?
“CDF has an unorthodox way of thinking BIG and the challenge here becomes making our audience as mobile as the performance they are encountering. There are moments of focus mixed with parade like fun as we explore the pier together thru dance.”
No tickets are required for the Planet Chicago program at Navy Pier on Friday, August 26. This is the most recent performance schedule as available on the Chicago Dancing Festival 2016 website. Be sure to join the fun at this free event.
Planet Chicago@ Navy Pier
Polk Bros Park – 5:30 p.m.
A traditional South African Gumboot dance featuring over 80 young dancers from Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, and schools and studios throughout Chicago.
East Performance Platform – 6:00 p.m.
A performance of contemporary and ancient African, African-American and Caribbean dance, music, and folklore.
Center Performance Platform – 6:30 p.m.
A tap and percussive dance piece performed by Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s resident performance ensemble
A contemporary performance of the classical Indian dance-theatre art of Bharata Natyam
Polk Bros Park Fountain – 7:00 p.m.
A cumulating performance of the Gumboot dance which invites all audience members to join the dancers for a participatory event in the newly created Polk Bros Park Fountain.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of the Chicago Dancing Festival.
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