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Watch World-Class Dancers For Free At The Chicago Dancing Festival

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 24, 2015 7:09PM

Photo from CDF's website by Todd Rosenberg.

Nine years in, the annual Chicago Dancing Festival is still going strong, giving the public opportunities to see some of the country's top dance companies for free. This year's celebration begins Tuesday night and continues through the week at various venues throughout downtown.

Many of the best companies from around the country will appear along with much loved local talent from the likes of the Joffrey Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance. Highlights this year include the world premiere of a tap piece from Chicago Human Rhythm Project commissioned by the festival, as well as a night dedicated to "Modern Women" that will feature works from legends Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham alongside contemporary artists Crystal Pite, Pam Tanowitz and Kate Weare.

We've got a day-by-day, venue-by-venue breakdown for you with our top picks. All events are free to the public, but many of the indoor performances require in-advance tickets that are already sold out. Check CDF's website for current status and details on stand-by entrance to these events. Saturday night's closing celebration at the Pritzker Pavilion, however, is open to all and doesn't require any advance reservation.

Tuesday, Aug. 25
Opening Night Celebration
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
7:30 p.m.

The kickoff event includes performances from Ballet Hispanico and Pam Tanowitz Dance. Don’t miss The Black Rose by Lar Lubovitch, one of the co-founders of the festival.

Wednesday, Aug. 26
Modern Women
Museum of Contemporary Art
6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The evening features pieces from dance’s finest female choreographers like Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s will also perform Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s work, A Picture of You Falling.

Thursday, Aug. 27
Dancing at the Harris
Harris Theater for Music and Dance
7:30 p.m.

Tonight features a great mix of classic and contemporary dance. Tap is at the top of the menu with the world premiere of In the Meantime from Chicago Human Rhythm Project, but ballet companies have a strong showing with works from Stanton Welch (Joffrey Ballet performing Maninyas) and George Balanchine (Miami City Ballet performing Allegro Brillante).

Saturday, Aug. 29
Dancing Under the Stars
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park
7:30 p.m.

The final evening is a grand finale of sorts, featuring a second opportunity to see the tap commission, In the Meantime. The rest of the bill is stacked with performances from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Brian Brooks Moving Company.