Chicago Human Rhythm Project's Stone Soup Rhythms American tap ensemble (photo courtesy of Chicago Human Rhythm Festival).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Icon of Chicago dance and true advocate for American tap and global percussive arts Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) has announced its fourth annual Stomping Grounds Festival, a collaborative, city-wide celebration of diverse rhythmic expression featuring nine companies performing and teaching in seven community venues and their neighboring Chicago Public Schools. Community events run April through May, with a June 7th Grand Finale at the Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which will also kick off CHRP's 30th Anniversary Season.
A sprawling, eclectic festival of Chicago dance, Stomping Grounds aims to enlighten, entertain, educate and, at the same time, connect diverse communities throughout Chicago. The festival will showcase many of the city’s most accomplished percussive dance companies from cultural traditions including CHRP’s Stone Soup Rhythms (American tap), Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Mexican Folk Dance Company of Chicago, Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago (African), Trinity Irish Dance Company and the Trinity Irish Dance Ensemble and, new to this year's festival are the Black Hawk Performance Company (Native American), Chicago Dance Crash (Urban Fusion) and Natya Dance Theatre (Indian).
Stomping Grounds presenting partners around the city include Chicago Cultural Center, Beverly Arts Center, Irish American Heritage Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, DuSable Museum of African American History, Garfield Park Conservatory and Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
Billed as a "Performalogue," each program presented in the festival will feature three or more companies in a combination of performance and open rehearsal. Each event begins with free dance instruction, includes culturally specific arts and crafts, and concludes with open dialogue between artistic directors, artists and the audience.
In addition to the Performalogues, students from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) surrounding the festival's community centers are slated to receive free education programs called "We All Got Rhythm." Each school receives a lecture/demonstration, five genre-specific master classes, and a professional development seminar for teachers featuring five festival company artists. Nearly 4,000 underserved students from eight schools will have an opportunity to engage.
Stomping Grounds events are open to the public and most are free with others offering 60% complimentary seating. Other seating is offered at a $5. Reservations are available at chicagotap.org.