For the past seven years, the organizers of the Chicago Dancing Festival have been presenting dynamic and varied programs to arts fans.
This year, the fest, which began Aug. 20 and runs through Aug. 24, is continuing to offer diverse and innovative works.
"We've always had the same aim (for what we want to bring to audiences)," said Lar Lubovitch, notable choreographer and co-founder of the Chicago Dancing Festival with dancer Jay Franke. "That is to present excellence and to provide a program that is a journey."
Chicago native Lubovitch, who is also the founder of the 45-year-old Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, said the free festival always puts a focus on variety and diversity in its programming. And the fact that it's free also helps to develop a dance audience and attract new fans.
Lubovitch said he has a "belief that art belongs to everyone and shouldn't be available to only those who can afford the price of a ticket."
On the festival stage, the founders are presenting stellar groups from not only Chicago but troupes from across the country. "The way to build a dance audience is by showing them the best," Lubovitch said.
Companies starring during the fest include Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, which will all be featured on the "Dancing in Chicago" program at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Auditorium Theatre.
Other troupes include Giordano Dance Chicago, Philadanco of Philadelphia, dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Natya Dance Theater.
Lubovitch said he and Franke make it a point to see the work of many dance troupes throughout the year. They'll immediately begin planning next year's fest after the current one ends.
In addition to the "Dancing in Chicago" program Aug. 22, other programs include "Solitaire - A Game of Dance" at 6 and 8 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the "Celebration of Dance," at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
FYI: The Chicago Dancing Festival runs through Aug. 24 at various venues. While admission is free to performances, tickets for indoor events must be reserved in advance. No tickets are needed for the grand finale performance in Millennium Park. For more detailed information, visit chicagodancingfestival.com