Hometown Talent Stars at the Chicago Dancing Festival

FEELIN’ GROOVY: The Midwest’s largest dance festival presents Bolero Chicago with 70 volunteers

Sean Rozanski and Ashley Rockwood of Gus Giordano Jazz Dance
Sean Rozanski and Ashley Rockwood of Gus Giordano Jazz Dance

The most ambitious event of its kind in the Midwest, the Chicago Dancing Festival historically had one glaring problem: too few Chicago faces. This summer, attention has been paid. The week of free programs kicks off August 20 with an all-local performance. But founders Jay Franke and Lar Lubovitch aren’t stopping there. In a notion that’s kooky and brilliant, they have hired the populist choreographer Larry Keigwin to create Bolero Chicago using 70 volunteers of all shapes, ages, and walks of life (for info on the audition and the fest, go to chicagodancingfestival.com).

As for the choreography, well, “the dance vocabulary will depend drastically on who is in it,” says Keigwin. The New Yorker will riff on actions of his volunteers—say, how they dart across the street or groove in the club. Lest you think he’s nuts, Keigwin builds on a theme: His Bolero Santa Barbara had a swimsuit motif, and Bolero Akron used tires for props. For Bolero Chicago, Keigwin says he’s considering wind, sports, or . . . O’Hare? “Chicago has the second-busiest airport in the world, right?” he muses. “Surely it’s interesting to move through there.”

PLUS: Watch the dancers at right improvise at our photo shoot in the video below:


Photograph: Erika DuFour



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