“The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas, Fifty Years of Sisterhood, and Their Reclamation of a Groundbreaking History” (Credit: Penguin Random House)

Together they made history under the direction of Arthur Mitchell, co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the first Black principal ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet. 

“Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed by the Joffrey Ballet ensemble. (Cheryl Mann)

It is a very good bet that you have never seen (and might never see) anything quite like Alexander Ekman’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” writes WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss. She calls the show a wild and crazy dream-come-to-life that is brilliantly performed.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Solomon Dumas, Constance Stamatiou and Yazzmeen Laidler in “Revelations,” 2021. (Paul Kolnik)

For WTTW News theater critic Hedy Weiss, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s recent Chicago run brought back vivid memories. She first saw the company in New York City in 1972.

People dance during a class at DivaDance Chicago. (WTTW News)

During the day, Lexi Longsworth is a speech pathologist. By night, she runs DivaDance Chicago, a dance studio focused on building confidence and community.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “Coltrane’s Favorite Things” by Lar Lubovitch. (Michelle Reid)

During the past couple of weeks, three of Chicago’s most formidable contemporary dance troupes — the Hubbard Street Dance Company, Giordano Dance Chicago and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater — have turned in terrific performances.

Visceral Dance performs “Take” at The Space on Rockwell. (Credit: KT Miller Photography)

At once abstract, often acrobatic, and driven by alternately intensely challenging solo turns, strongly varied and emotionally heated interpersonal relationships, and ensemble riffs that are technically demanding and expertly finessed — “Take” is performed to stunning effect. 

(Courtesy of “Skywalkers”)

Filmed at the Willis Tower, on the lakeshore at the Promontory Point with the city’s skyline in the background and other locations, “Skywalkers” is set to play on a permanent loop as art of a large public commission to Chicago artists. 

Dancers from Ballet Folklorico de Chicago rehearse. (WTTW News)

A dance studio on the Northwest Side is working to keep a Mexican tradition alive. And for a group of young dancers, there is joy to be found in every step and turn.

KC Bevis (from left), Logan Howell (front), Diamond Burdine, Jack Halbert and Monternez Rezell perform with Chicago Dance Crash. (Credit: Ashley Deran)

The pieces were brilliantly danced by five men and two women. Founded in 2002, Dance Crash continues to develop intriguing works that are a unique and seamless fusion of hip hop and contemporary dance.

A performance at the Chicago International Salsa Congress. (Courtesy of Chicago International Salsa Congress)

The 22nd Chicago International Salsa Congress, a four-night, three-day event, kicks off Thursday with three free beginner dance workshops teaching salsa, bachata and rueda casino.

Step Afrika! dancers perform. (Courtesy of Step Afrika!)

From the obvious to the obscure, we’ve pulled together a rundown of promising arts and culture events to stir the senses in the new year. 

Taylor Ramos, left, and Emani Drake in “Vespers.” (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

In addition to the bravura performances of its dancers, the exuberant works of a number of different choreographers and the excellent group of musicians that gathered for its grand finale, the company attracted an impressively vast, immensely enthusiastic audience.

Ale Gabino and David Acevedo, owners of the Hōkūle’a Academy of Polynesian Arts. (WTTW News)

Ale Gabino and David Acevedo are both lifelong dancers. After meeting at a 2003 Polynesian dance competition in Hilo, Hawaii, they married in 2009. A year later, they opened Hōkūle’a Academy of Polynesian Arts, where together, they teach their other great love – Polynesian culture and dance.

“It Starts Now” by choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo was performed at the Harris Theater in Chicago on Sept. 8, 2022. (Credit: Kyle Flubacker)

It Starts Now is not an easy work to describe. It is a transfixing physical manifestation of human existence  epic in its emotional tension, its simultaneously real and mystical aura and its remarkable dancing.

Chicago Dance Crash. (Credit: Ashley Deran)

Both events served as the latest vivid illustration of why 2022 has rightly been designated “The Year of Chicago Dance.”

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs Robert Battle’s “Mass” on March 2, 2022. (Credit: Paul Kolnik)

It was at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre where dancers with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater would unknowingly perform for the last time before a nearly two-year hiatus. Fast forward to today, and they’re back on their first national tour.