Chicago SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park on August 26 to Feature Local Dance Companies and the Finale of a Citywide Footwork and Steppin’ SummerDance-Off Competition

June 23, 2017

Christine Carrino, 312.744.0573


The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) invites dancers of all levels to flock to Millennium Park for the SummerDance Celebration on Saturday, August 26. The festival will feature a full day of dance competitions, social dancing, lessons and performances by local dance companies throughout the park from noon until 9:30pm. Admission is free. For a complete schedule, visit

Leading up to the SummerDance Celebration on August 26 and in conjunction with the Chicago SummerDance series, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will debut the SummerDance-Off competition. Residents are invited to show off their footwork and steppin’ skills at a series of city-wide amateur contests on July 8, 15, 22 and 29 at Chicago Park District locations as part of the SummerDance in the Parks program. The winners of each local contest will then compete at the Dance-Off finale at the SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park at Cloud Gate on August 26.

The new dance festival also brings a full day of dance competitions, social dancing and performances from noon to 9:30pm. Additional highlights include a DJ Dance Party at Cloud Gate, Circle Dance Lessons on the Great Lawn, professional dance performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and much more.

SummerDance-Off Neighborhood Competitions

In addition to the nine traditional SummerDance in the Parks programs, DCASE has created four SummerDance-Off competitions that will be hosted by the Chicago Park District. Two competitions will feature footwork, a genre of street dance and related music that originated in Chicago, and two competitions will feature steppin’, a traditional African American dance form born in Chicago. The footwork events are produced in collaboration with Donda’s House, a nonprofit supporting young and aspiring artists in Chicago.

SummerDance-Off competitions will be held on Saturday afternoons, 2–5pm. Dates and locations are as follows:

  • July 8 – Footwork at Garfield Park Golden Dome (100 N. Central Park Avenue)
  • July 15 – Steppin’ at Washington Park Refectory (5531 S. Russell Drive)
  • July 22 – Footwork at Hamilton Park Cultural Center (513 W. 72nd Street)
  • July 29 – Steppin’ at Austin Town Hall (5610 W. Lake Street)

Online registration for the Dance-Off competitions in the parks will go live on Saturday, July 1 at Groups are encouraged to register in advance. On-site registration will be available at each location. Registration is on a first-come first-serve basis.


SummerDance-Off Celebration in Millennium Park Full Schedule

Dance Village at Wrigley Square


In collaboration with Audience Architects and SeeChicagoDance, a dance service organization whose mission is to build and engage dance audiences in Chicago and advocate for Chicago dance, the Dance Village will highlight various dance companies, studios and advocacy groups including Ballet Chicago, RE|Dance, MADD Rhythms, Meher Dance Company  and more with expo and performance areas. For a complete schedule, visit


SummerDance-Off Competition Finales at Cloud Gate Stage


Finalists from the steppin’ and footwork neighborhood competitions will battle on the dance floor. The winners will perform at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion as part of the Mainstage Show later that evening. The steppin’ competition begins at noon until1:30pm, followed by the footwork competition at 1:30pm until 3pm.


Paul Collins, Circle Dance Lesson on the Great Lawn, Jay Pritzker Pavilion


This circle dance lesson, led and DJed by Paul Collins on the Great Lawn of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, will encompass Central and Eastern European folk dances and will be a family-friendly, all-ages experience.


SummerDance Competition at the Cloud Gate Stage


The Most Versatile Dancer Contest® is an all-style dance competition with May I Have This Dance. This is an amateur dance contest where couples must prove that they know the most dance styles by dancing whatever the emcee announces for 20 to 30 seconds song clips. To stay alive they should be able to dance at least 3 basic steps, the correct timing, and clear knowledge of each dance. The winners will be selected after the last couple(s) are tapped out and/or have the most cards left. For complete details visit the website.


Mainstage Show at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion


Five professional local dance companies have been commissioned to make new works for this event. Featured companies, all making their Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage debut are Chicago Dance Crash, Red Clay Dance, The ERA, Brave Soul Movement and Move Me Soul. The evening will also include spotlight dances by the two winners of the SummerDance-Off competitions. 


House DJ Dance Party at Cloud Gate Stage


After the show, the audience will be led back out to the Cloud Gate Stage where house DJ Kenny Ray will spin music alongside voguers and other local dancers, while attendees dance in front of Cloud Gate.

In an effort to spread dancing throughout the city, SummerDance Chicago is the city’s premier dance festival, bringing communities together in a unique, urban dance space all summer long. Chicagoans can take part in dancing and live music every Friday-Sunday, June 23-September 10, in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park and on Thursdays and Saturdays, July 13-September 14 in neighborhood parks throughout the city. For more information about SummerDance, visit and for details about Night Out in the Parks initiative, visit  



As part of Chicago SummerDance and Year of Public Art, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District will present DANCE ZONES in six park district locations, July – August with a distinctive work of public art. The DANCE ZONES around the public art will be reserved by Park Supervisors and security as safe spaces to practice dance routines leading up to the four SummerDance-Off competitions during the month of July. Additionally, dance groups and individual dancers are encouraged to submit YouTube videos using the appropriate hashtags and handle tag-ins for a video competition. Hashtags and handles for tagging in posts are: #ChicagoSummerDance, #2017isYOPA, @ChicagoParks. For details visit


Chicago Park District Dance Zones

Garfield Park - 100 N. Central Park Avenue

Public Art: Ruth Aizuss Migdal, Whirling Dervish


Austin Town Hall - 5610 W. Lake Street

Public Art: Austin Collins, Black Wedding Cake


Jackson Park - 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.

Public Art: Yoko Ono, Sky Landing


63rd Street Beach - 63rd Street and Lake Michigan

Public Art: Carolyn Ottmers, Remembrance


Piotrowski Park - 4247 W. 31st St

Public Art: Austin Collins, White Wedding Cake


Diversey Lakefront – just south of Diversey, east of Lake Shore Drive

Public Art: Indira Johnson, 10,000 Ripples


The Chicago SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park is supported by the Chicago Transit Authority. For complete details on all Chicago SummerDance Events, visit or call the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at 312.744.3316.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit


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