PBT to Join Dance Companys from Around the Country in 9th Annual Chicago Dancing Festival


 Joining top dance companies from across the country, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will tour to Chicago this summer to perform in the 9th annual Chicago Dancing Festival August 25-29, 2015.

Co-produced by renowned choreographer Lar Lubovitch and highly esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, the Chicago Dancing Festival will bring together leading ballet, modern and contemporary dancers from Chicago and across the country to present the largest dance festival in the nation.

This free, five-day festival will be featured in top venues across downtown Chicago, including the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. 

PBT will perform Mark Morris’ “Sandpaper Ballet” at the festival’s culminating event on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park in front of an anticipated crowd of 12,000. Also headlining the bill are Miami City Ballet, Chicago’s famed The Joffrey Ballet and other Chicago-area ensembles.

The festival will mark PBT’s first appearance in Chicago and its third-largest U.S. tour destination, following engagements in New York City (most recently in 2005) and Los Angeles (2001, 2003).

Mark Morris’ signature wit and musicality are on full display in his spirited ensemble work, “Sandpaper Ballet,” originally created in 1999 for San Francisco Ballet. Set to songs by 20th century American composer Leroy Anderson, “Sandpaper Ballet” buoys audiences from the overture with the cheerful notes of “Sleigh Ride,” “The Typewriter” and nine other classics of the ‘40s and ‘50s. The work features 25 dancers costumed in electric green jumpsuits with whimsical, blue-sky torsos. Based in classical technique, “Sandpaper Ballet” explores and expands on traditional ballet vocabulary as Morris draws from the tempo and orchestration of the music to lend a jazzy swing and a movement style of easy grace and casual elegance. PBT added the work to its repertory during its March “PBT Premieres” mixed repertory program at the Benedum Center.

Described as “undeviating in his devotion to music” (The New Yorker), American choreographer Mark Morris was born in Seattle, formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980, and has created more than 140 works for his own company and 18 ballets since 1986. His work is in the repertory of major dance companies worldwide.  According to The New York Times, “Heart and brain keep meeting in the work of Mark Morris, but each time with new results… we recognize him as one of the dazzling artists of our day.”


Other Highlights of the 2015 Festival include :


  • The Festival debuts of Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and, from New York City, Ballet Hispanico and Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company, plus the Chicago debut of Brooklyn-based contemporary dance troupe Kate Weare Dance Company.


  • The return of Festival favorites Martha Graham Dance Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Pam Tanowitz Dance, Brian Brooks Moving Company, artists of American Ballet Theatre and Chicago’s own The Joffrey Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago


  • For the first time, an entire evening is devoted to “Modern Women,” featuring works created by lauded and renowned female choreographers from across the nation.


  • Continuing the Festival tradition of new works, Chicago Human Rhythm Project with special guests will present the world premiere of a new tap and percussive dance piece commissioned just for Chicago Dancing Festival 2015.


  • A Gala one-night-only program of solos & duets, and benefit dinner, will take place on Friday, August 28, at the Museum of Contemporary Art with proceeds benefiting the Chicago Dancing Festival’s ongoing mission to present superior dance programming.


Chicago Dancing Festival 2015 Schedule


Tuesday, August 25 – 7:30 p.m.

Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Street.

“Opening Night Celebration”


Wednesday, August 26 – 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue

 “Modern Women”


Thursday, August 27 –7:30 p.m.

Harris Theater for Music and Dance at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph Street.

“Dancing at the Harris”

Friday, August 28 — 6:30 p.m. and post-performance Gala

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue

A Gala one-night-only performance of solos and duets by members of the nation’s top dance companies

Saturday, August 29 – 7:30 p.m.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street

Dancing Under the Stars”

Additional details for the 2015 Festival to be announced soon.  All programs are subject to change.


All events are free and seating is general admission, but tickets for indoor events must be reserved in advance at the venue’s box office. Find details at chicagodancingfestival.com.


About The Chicago Dancing Festival

Established in 2006 by internationally renowned choreographer and Chicago native Lar Lubovitch and highly esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, Chicago Dancing Company NFP produces the Chicago Dancing Festival each summer.  Nine years later, through the combined curatorial expertise of Lubovitch and Franke, the Festival has become synonymous with excellence. The Festival’s mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance, enrich the lives of the people of Chicago and provide increased accessibility to the art form, thereby helping create a new audience.  Its vision is to raise the national and international profile of dance in the city, furthering Chicago as a dance destination.

For more information regarding Chicago Dancing Festival tickets and performance schedules, please visit www.chicagodancingfestival.com.


PBT to Make Chicago Debut in August