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« Double Feature: A Stand-Up Comedy & Film Festival Great Nebula Productions Presents: Plus Size »

Dance Wed Apr 10 2013

FlySpace Dance Series Launches at Jay Pritzker Pavilion

TDC - Moving Stories (4), photo by William Frederking.jpg
Moving Stories, photo by William Frederking

Last weekend, FlySpace Dance Series kicked off at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, marking the launch of a new and exciting resource-sharing consortium between four Chicago dance companies called FlySpace. In case you missed it, the series continues with another round of performances this weekend in the same place (Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 5pm). FlySpace is not a new dance company, but a new strategic partnership in Chicago between The Dance COLEctive, Hedwig Dances, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre and Zephyr Dance. The four artistic directors of these companies--Jan Bartoszek, Margi Cole, Michelle Kranicke and Joanna Rosenthal--are also the four artistic directors of FlySpace, sharing directorship equally. Cole, founder and artistic director of The Dance COLEctive, answered some questions about what audiences can expect from FlySpace at their show this weekend, as well as in the future.

Margi Cole headshot.jpgWhat inspired you to start FlySpace?

Cole: Initially a funder brought our peer group together to talk about reasons why we had all garnered a certain amount of stability and accolades for our work as artists, but had not been able to get over the hump in terms of elevating our general operating budgets to a higher level that, in a sense, matched the prestige we had accomplished thus far as artists in the community. [...]We started discussing ways in which we could combine resources to help each other, and a shared vision for marketing our genre seemed like the most level playing field. As a result of these discussions we were inspired to launch Flyspace.

What need does FlySpace fill in the Chicago arts community?

Cole: One of our primary goals is to bring more visibility to contemporary dance in Chicago. So far we are doing that. After all, Mayor Emanuel has said he wants Chicago to be THE dance capitol of the world, and that includes contemporary dance, so raising the visibility of dance as an art form helps the whole community. Ultimately, we hope to create a model that can be used by other arts organizations around the country.

How did the opening performance at Jay Pritzker meet or exceed your expectations?

Cole: We had a big, varied and enthusiastic audience for the opening weekend, which was fantastic. We have had far more attention than we could of ever expected and it has been enormous reward for all the work we have been putting in to make FlySpace happen.

What have been the best and most challenging aspects of launching this project?

Cole: Many of us were and are primary administrators for our organizations. Having to take on the additional responsibilities without any additional staff support has been a challenge. Because we have not officially created a new 501(c)3, we have hit a few road blocks finding the appropriate sustainable funding sources. But, it has been a gift to be able to share ideas, bounce things off each other, have critical discourse and come out on the other side with some new and exciting ideas. We are very grateful for the relationships we have made while developing FlySpace.

What can audiences expect from the April 12-14 performances coming up?

Cole: There is nothing like sitting right on the stage, hearing the dancers breath and seeing them sweat! The architecture of the space is gorgeous and not to be missed. The viewer has the opportunity to be fully engaged by the work happening in front of them as well as the opportunity to see how it interacts with what is happening in the park, on the other side of the glass wall that encloses the stage (and protects the audience from the elements - it's very comfortable in there). The pieces we're presenting were crafted to involve the space in a way that traditional black-box performances don't do.

Zephyr at Defibrillator (5), photo by Jamie Padgett.jpg
Zephyr at Defibrillator, photo by Jamie Padgett

If you could give readers one reason to check out FlySpace, what would it be?

Cole: Dance is a beautiful and thought-provoking art form that deserves your attention. It's not a one-sided activity. It WILL give back to you in a meaningful way if you give it a chance.

What's next for FlySpace after these Jay Pritzker performances?
Ultimately we will have a shared email list of patrons that we can use individually and for ongoing FlySpace events. We have several ideas related to technology that we are going to explore throughout our next phase of development. These ideas are related to data gathering and management, ticketing, marketing, social media and actively engaging with our patrons. These are the areas where we will focus next.


The FlySpace Dance Series performances are this Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, at 7pm and Sunday, April 14 at 5pm. Tickets are $15 and available at or by phone at 773-871-0872. For more information on FlySpace, visit

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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 »


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