Better Makers: Top Dance Companies Share the Stage to Support The Dancers’ Fund and AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Dance for Life: Top Dance Companies Share the Stage to Support The Dancers’ Fund and AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Chicago is a hub for arts and culture. A recent study from the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago confirms that our city is, in fact, a destination for creative professionals. With nearly 63,008 artists working in Chicago, scientists and programmers included, the segment of “creatives” in the labor force rises above the national baseline: 1.6 times that of the U.S.

For the past 27 years, Chicago’s dance community has come together to create a multifaceted dance experience showcasing the city’s unique talents, traditions, and styles. Dance for Life uses dance as a unifier, as well as a way to build and support a healthy and strong dance community.

The annual fundraiser supports dance professionals facing critical health obstacles. Since its inception in 1992, DFL has raised more than $5.75 million for The Dancers’ Fund, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and 24 other local AIDS prevention, treatment, and advocacy service organizations. DFL has grown into the nonprofit organization Chicago Dancers United.

The 27th annual Dance for Life performance was held Aug. 18 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

With record-breaking attendance, 2,700 guests arrived to support the local dance community. This year’s event raised more than $275,000 in support of The Dancers’ Fund and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

The pre-performance gala reception was held at the Hilton Chicago. The main event continued in Hilton’s Grand Ballroom for cocktails and dinner, followed by performances in the Auditorium Theatre.

The show opened with a piece from world-renowned choreographer Randy Duncan. Dance for Life 2018 featured seven companies, including Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and The Joffrey Ballet, joined by Hanna Brictson and Dancers, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Chicago Dance Crash, and Nomi Dance Company.

Two prominent champions of Chicago dance were honored: Lou Conte and Nan Giordano.

This year’s event was co-chaired by Mark Ferguson Gomez and Tom Ferguson Gomez. Dance for Life Chicago 2018 was made possible by the generosity and support of The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, Hilton Chicago, Barbara Levy Kipper, MB Financial Bank, Make It Better, Peoples Gas, Holistic Health Practice, HMS Media, Paterno Group, Bell Litho Inc., Athletico, Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago – Lou Conte Dance Studio.

Dance for Life: Joshua Blake Carter, Nan Giordano, Cesar G. Salinas
Joshua Blake Carter, choreographer of Nomi Dance Company’s Dance for Life work Kim; Dance for Life 2018 honoree and Giordano Dance Chicago Artistic Director Nan Giordano; and Cesar G. Salinas (Photo by Philamonjaro.)
Dance for Life: Glenn Edgerton, Julie Burman Kaplan, Lou Conte
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton, Dance for Life board member Julie Burman Kaplan, and Dance for Life 2018 Honoree and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Founding Artistic Director Lou Conte (Photo by Philamonjaro.)
Dance for Life: Rochelle Gomez, Mark Ferguson Gomez, Angela Gomez and Tom Ferguson Gomez
Rochelle Gomez, Dance for Life 2018 Co-Chair Mark Ferguson Gomez, Angela Gomez and Dance for Life 2018 Co-Chair Tom Ferguson Gomez (Photo by Philamonjaro.)
Dance for Life: Giordano Dance Chicago
Giordano Dance Chicago, Tossed Around (Photo by Gorman Cook Photography.)
Dance for Life: The Joffrey Ballet
The Joffrey Ballet, Body of Your Dreams: Anais Bueno and Edson Barbosa (Photo by Cheryl Mann.)
Dance for Life: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (above: Florian Lochner) in The 40s by Lou Conte (Photo by Todd Rosenberg.)


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Emily Stone is Associate Editor at Make It Better. She earned a degree in journalism from Elon University in North Carolina. Along with writing, Stone has a passion for digital storytelling and photography. Her work is published in Chicago Athlete Magazine. Stone is a supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stone is a fluent Spanish speaker who in her free time loves a good dance class.




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