Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, April 17

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Pint-size Rhyme Spitters Overheard Illustrated: "Not Always" »

Dance Sun Aug 19 2012

Dance Works: Bolero Chicago and the Chicago Dancing Festival

Bolero Chicago rehearsal (4).jpg

Photo by Araceli Arroyo

Last Monday evening in an old gymnasium in the Edgewater neighborhood, a group of 30 or so Chicagoans opened multicolored umbrellas in-sync, waved cellphones above their heads like lighters at an outdoor concert, and mimed a quaint, picturesque baseball game. The activities - familiar, universal - were just quick glimpses of Bolero Chicago, the local edition of the acclaimed community-centric dance work. Created by New York-based Larry Keigwin of KEIGWIN + COMPANY (K+C), Bolero Chicago features anywhere from 30-80 local non-dancers incorporating a variety of different movements to represent Chicago's broad culture and style. The work will be featured along with performances from the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, and national dance companies as part of the 6th annual Chicago Dancing Festival. This year's festival runs from August 20 - 25.

During the rehearsals, the number of performers was lower than initially anticipated, but the simple choreography and loose structure of the work meant that new performers could easily be added and acquainted to the choreography within a day or two. The non-dancers - ranging in size, shape, age, and race - invited friends and family to participate, creating an even more complete representation of the diversity of the city. What does it mean to be a Chicagoan? Well, it can mean many things.

"Choreography is choreography," Keigwin said. Keigwin arrived to his first rehearsal to examine what had already been choreographed and to work with the "dancers" to create new vignettes that were relatable, easy to remember, and unique to their talents and understanding of the city. Incorporating Maurice Ravel's classic "Bolero," the choreography of Bolero Chicago changes and intensifies as the music repeats and layers upon itself 18 times.

Bolero Chicago rehearsal (2).jpg

Photo by Araceli Arroyo

Originally created in New York, Bolero has grown and adapted to the spirit and culture of each individual city. Unsurprisingly, for Chicago, wind and sports dominate. But there are quieter, smaller moments that resonate: the reading and blowing away of pages of the local paper, the jolty experience of riding public transportation, the "worship" culture surrounding local athletes, the craning of the neck (and the obliviousness to one's surroundings while texting and reading from one's cellphone).

Blanks were filled in along the way, hopefully creating something special. Scheduled to premiere on Monday, August 20 as part of the "Chicago Dancing" series of local dance companies, Bolero Chicago perhaps best represents the true spirit and passion collectively of the dancers and viewers of the festival. What does it mean to be a dancer? It means a belief in the craft and a willingness to manipulate, to push and cherish the body to demonstrate the myriad of ways storytelling can be expressed for the most novice and most seasoned of fans.


The Chicago Dancing Festival runs from August 20 through 25. Ticketed events are sold-out, however stand-by lines for each venue begin one hour prior to the performance and unclaimed tickets 15 minutes of curtain time will be released to those in the stand-by line. A series of non-ticketed events are also still open to the viewing public.

Monday, August 20, 7pm - "Chicago Dancing" SOLD OUT

Tuesday, August 21 - "Dancing Movies" at the Museum of Contemporary Art
For full schedule, click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 7:30pm - "Dancing East & West of Chicago" SOLD OUT

Thursday, August 23, 6pm - "Dancing Under the Stars"
Chicago SummerDance, in partnership with the festival, will feature a 4,900 square-foot and open-air dance floor that will hold a one-hour introductory dance lesson taught by Del Dominguez followed by salsa, mambo, and cha-cha beats of DJ El Caobo.

Friday, August 24, 6pm - "Chicago Now"

A panel discussion moderated by Zachary Whittenburg (formerly of Time Out Chicago) and including Lane Alexander (Chicago Human Rhythm Project) and Carrie Hanson (The Seldoms), among others.

Saturday, August 25, 7:30pm - "Celebration of Dance"

Featuring the After School Matters Hip Hop Culture Dance Ensemble, Bolero Chicago, Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Martha Graham Dance Company, and stars of the New York City Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet.

GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15