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Dance for Life, which mobilizes Chicago’s dance community by raising funds through dance, welcomed more than 3,100 guests, an all-time high in attendance, at the 28th annual Dance for Life performance on August 17 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. Following the performance, more than 650 guests attended a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Avenue. From a combination of ticket sales, sponsorships, a raffle and contributions, Dance for Life raised more than $300,000—also a record—to support the Dancers’ Fund, which provides assistance to members of the dance community facing critical health issues.

​During the performance, Robert Neubert, board president of Chicago Dancers United (CDU), the organization that produces Dance for Life, introduced new executive director Kesha M Pate. Together, they welcomed AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) President and CEO John Peller and American Cancer Society Executive Director Peter Steele to the stage to announce a new partnership: the three organizations will work together to increase philanthropic support for the Dance for Life fundraiser and the Dancers’ Fund’s ability to provide financial assistance to dance professionals in times of need.

“Dance for Life began in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, in partnership with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago,” said Neubert. “Throughout the years, we have increased our support to include all critical health issues, and this partnership with the American Cancer Society is a great next step in expanding our ability to fulfill our mission here in Chicago. We could not be more excited to have ACS join the Dance for Life family.”

​The Dance for Life performance featured the Partner Dance Companies—Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet—joined this year by Chicago Dance Crash Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Stone Soup Rhythms and Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater; a first look at a work in tribute to late dancer, choreographer and instructor Claire Bataille, choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams; and a finale choreographed by Randy Duncan. The gala reception following the performance at the Hilton Chicago Grand Ballroom featured refreshments and dancing.

Proceeds from Dance for Life benefit the Dancers’ Fund, which offers financial assistance to dance professionals in times of need for, but not limited to, health matters, housing, utilities, insurance, medication and travel.

Dance for Life 2019 was supported, in part, by the Auditorium Theatre, Hilton Chicago, HMS Media, Illinois Arts Council Agency and other generous benefactors.

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre in Alone/Together (photo courtesy of Cerqua Rivera Dance).

Dance for Life Raises $300K in Record-Setting August  

Benefit Performance