Dance for Life, SummerDance, Flamenco Passion and more sure to please fans this summer

In 14 neighborhoods across Chicago, summertime is dance time.

Chicago SummerDance is returning in full force this year after on-line programming in 2020 and a reduced schedule in 2021 because of COVID-19 protocols. “This year is when we are able to bust out and be back in Chicago in a big way,” said John Rich, the event’s programmer.

The 26-year-old series, which is organized and funded through Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, runs June 18-Sept. 17 and features scores of free, open-air dances with live accompaniment by musicians and DJs (

Dancing returns to the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park this summer courtesy of the Chicago Summer Dance festival.|

“It’s a place,” Rich said, “where the entire city shows up to express themselves through movement, meet new friends, see old friends and to cherish the experience of community in an outdoor setting through movement and music. That vibe has persisted all this time. It’s what makes it such a loved event in Chicago.”

Anchoring the series are programs in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park at 601 S. Michigan, but others are also taking place in conjunction with the Maxwell Street Market, 800 S. Desplaines, and Taste of Chicago at Buckingham Fountain.

In addition, events are scheduled at 11 other parks around the city like an early evening of Latin dance and hip hop July 13 at Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento, or Chicago-style stepping or steppin’ Aug. 17 at Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine.

While all the presentations are presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District, the events in the 11 parks outside the Loop receive double billing under the Park District’s “Night Out in the Parks” program.

Free instruction is offered at every event, and dancers of all experience levels are welcome. “It’s a great place for beginners to show up,” Rich said, “but it’s also a fantastic place for people who really know how to cut a rug.”

Here are five other dance events worth considering this summer:

The Joffrey Ballet 2011 production of

The Joffrey Ballet 2011 production of “Don Quixote” is being presented in a revival through June 12.|

  • Through June 12, Yuri Possokhov’s “Don Quixote,” Joffrey Ballet, Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive ( Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century novel about the fanciful adventures of Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza, is one of the most venerable and cherished stories in Western literature. This production is Joffrey’s first revival of Possokhov’s balletic adaptation since its world premiere in 2011.
  • June 11, Giordano Dance Chicago, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells ( This nationally known jazz dance company, which is poised to mark its 60th anniversary in 2022-23, returns to the Auditorium Theater for its annual summer engagement. Featured will be six solos, duets and full-company works by such choreographers as Autumn Eckman, Adam Houston and Ray Mercer.

“El Baile de Luis Alonso” by Gerónimo Giméniz, presented by Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater.|

  • June 17-19, “Flamenco Passion,” Ensemble Espaol Spanish Dance Theater, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie ( This colorful celebration of Spanish dance features several notable guest artists, including flamenco choreographer and performer La Lupi, from Malaga, Spain, and 12-time Grammy Award-winning percussionist Diego “El Negro” Alvarez. The performances cap the company’s 46th American Spanish Dance and Music Festival, which runs June 8-19.
  • July 8-24, Rhythm World, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago and five other Chicago-area venues ( One of the largest and most prestigious tap-dance festivals in the United States returns this summer under the leadership of the Rhythm Project’s new artistic director, Jumaane Taylor. Combining an array of performances and educational offerings, it features 12 master artists including Dianne “Lady Di” Walker and Sam Weber, who are billed as the Ella Fitzgerald and Glenn Gould of tap.
Choreographer Randy Duncan's 2021 “Dance for Life” finale.

Choreographer Randy Duncan’s 2021 “Dance for Life” finale.

  • Aug. 13, “Dance for Life 2022,” Auditorium Theater ( This annual gala event serves as a fundraiser for Chicago Dancers United, which provides financial support to Chicago dancers for much-needed preventative and critical health care. On the line-up is an array of the city’s top dance companies, including Chicago Dance Crash, Giordano Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet and NAJWA Dance Corps.
Dianne Walker (center) will return to this year's Rhythm World celebration in July.

Dianne Walker (center) will return to this year’s Rhythm World celebration in July.

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