Saturday, June 18, 2011
15th Annual Chicago SummerDance, July 7-Sept. 18
Chicago SummerDance unveils newly renovated dance floor and serves as a venue for World Music Festival: Chicago 2011
For 15 partner-dipping, hip-shaking, foot-stomping, soul-steppin’ and swingin’ years, Chicago SummerDance has brought dancing and live music to Chicago’s residents and visitors. In its most spectacular year yet, Chicago SummerDance offers the most musically diverse lineup in its history and showcases dance styles from all corners of the globe, including our most popular domestic dance forms.
The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture presents the 15th annual Chicago SummerDance series.
Each Thursday through Sunday from July 7 to Sept. 18, the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park blossoms into a vibrant urban dance space. Last year over 100,000 people enjoyed the Chicago SummerDance series, making it the most established and popular dance series of its kind in the United States.
Each night of the 11-week series offers an introductory one-hour dance lesson by professional instructors followed by two hours of live music and dancing on the 4,900 square-foot, open-air dance floor designed by artist Dan Peterman out of 100% recycled materials. The dance floor, titled Chicago Ground Cover is undergoing an expansion and restoration and will be completely renovated when Chicago SummerDance opens on July 7.
Highlights include a nostalgic evening celebrating Soul Train’s 40th Anniversary on July 23; Locos Por Juana on Sept. 9; and events in conjunction with the Chicago Colombian Music Festival on July 9 and 22, the Latin Street Salsa Congreso on Aug. 17 and 21 and the International American Tango Festival on Aug. 25.
Furthermore, the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park will serve as a venue for both Chicago SummerDance and World Music Festival: Chicago, Sept. 16 – 18. The events will follow the Chicago SummerDance format with international dance lessons and concert performances. World Music Festival: Chicago 2011 will take place Sept. 16 – 22.
Chicago SummerDance is located in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, at 601 S. Michigan Avenue. Events occur every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. and on each Sunday afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m., weather permitting. There will be no events Friday, Aug. 5 – Sunday, Aug. 7. Updates and announcements will be available on Facebook at Chicago SummerDance and on Twitter at SummerDance2011. Weather announcements will be available on the SummerDance Hotline at 312-742-4007. The full program of events is available at www.ChicagoSummerDance.org.
In association with the Chicago Park District, live music and dancing will be brought to the city’s many neighborhoods on various Wednesdays between July 13 and Sept. 7. Chicago parks, including the Humboldt Park Boathouse on July 13, Aug. 10 and Sept. 7; Jackson Park 63rd St Beach on July 20 and Aug.t 17; Athletic Field Park on July 27 and Aug. 24; and Ping Tom Memorial Park on Aug. 3 and Aug. 31, will host the free Chicago SummerDance in the Parks series. Dance lessons run from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by live music and dancing from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
For two special nights, Wednesday, July 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 24, Chicago SummerDance moves the fun to the Navy Pier Beer Garden at 600 E. Grand Avenue for Chicago SummerDance at Navy Pier. Professionals teach dance moves from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. and the live music runs from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. The evenings are highlighted by Navy Pier’s Wednesday night fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 312.595.PIER (7437) or visit www.ChicagoBestBeerGarden.com.
Chicago SummerDance is made possible by the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and United, the Official Airline of Chicago SummerDance.
Chicago SummerDance Dance Floor
The open-air dance floor for Chicago SummerDance was designed by Chicago artist Dan Peterman out of recycled plastic. Titled Chicago Ground Cover, the floor was first installed in 1997 at the original Chicago SummerDance site in Grant Park along Michigan Avenue at Washington Street (now Millennium Park). Originally 2,500 square feet, it was first expanded to 3,500 square feet in 1999, and was then expanded to 4,600 square feet. This year, it will be newly renovated and further expanded to 4,900 square-feet to accommodate the increasing number of SummerDance visitors.
Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, artist Dan Peterman’s work explores issues around recycling and ecology. His specialty includes making art out of recycled plastic, producing mottled grey or green bricks and timbers that he uses to fabricate tables, benches, parquet floors and storage boxes. Peterman received his MFA from the University of Chicago in 1986 and continues to live and work in the Hyde Park/Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. He currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago and helps run the Experimental Station, an “incubator of innovative cultural, educational and environmental projects and small-scale enterprises.”
Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
The Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park was developed and landscaped especially for Chicago SummerDance and received a Gold Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association. The Chicago Park District worked with Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of General Services and the Mayor's Office of Special Events to create a garden that fulfilled program needs as well as a destination garden. Using a combination of annuals and perennials to create the spectacular splash of color throughout the summer, the garden’s layout incorporates a geometric design that pulls the visitor into the center of the garden. Classic wooden umbrellas, tables, and chairs circle the center of the garden, allowing visitors to sit and enjoy their surroundings. A variety of food and drinks are available for purchase at the SummerDance Grill. Outside alcohol is strictly prohibited at all Summer Dance events.
Sculptor Albin Polasek's The Spirit of Music statue presides over the award-winning garden and pays tribute to Theodore Thomas (1835-1905), who in 1891 founded the Chicago Orchestra (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and served as its director until his death. Polasek intended this personification of music to have "the majesty and sweep" of a symphony and to be "dignified yet simple, assertive but not bold...a feminine figure…but not too feminine." The goddess figure has just struck a chord on her lyre. The hemispherical base is embellished with reliefs illustrating the power of music.