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Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project

A black and white CAB 5 person placeholder image with This is a Rehearsal text.

Chicago, United States


Chicago has long been a significant hub of African American arts and culture. Chicago’s Black community has played a defining role in dance history, from imbuing traditional forms with new vibrancy to establishing entirely new forms of urban dance. While Chicago’s Black dance companies are as diverse as the city itself—from dancers to dance styles—they are all united by the African American heritage on which their work is centered. The Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, developed through a partnership between Logan Center Community Arts, the Office of Civic Engagement’s Community Programs Accelerator, and leaders from each dance company, is a multi-year project that celebrates the historic impact of Chicago-based Black choreographers in the national dance community, and aims to strengthen the impact and reach of Black dance for generations to come. Selected specifically for the history and impact of their work, Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project partners include legacy, next-generation, and arts education dance companies.

CAB 5 Contribution

Project Overview

Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project Presents Joel Hall Dancers & Center and The Era Footwork Crew

One of the most significant works happening currently in Chicago that designs equity as a matter of rehearsal is the work that is Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project. In understanding the disproportionate funding of Black-owned and/or led dance companies in the city, the work of this initiative is to present and assist these practitioners with establishing infrastructure to become internationally recognized for their choreographic innovation and pedagogy(s). The idea of performances and/or practices with both The Era Footwork Crew and Joel Hall Dancers & Center was to allow the presentation, rehearsal and/or conception of movement to consider itself in union with the overall design of an install in a unique setting / event. The Era was presented within the WOJR installation, The Gray Veil, and Joel Hall performed “Flight” during the opening night speeches. Like many other considerations in This is a Rehearsal, both of these dance companies present the seasoned and new art practices in a city. The juke of The Era and the house of Joel Hall represent staples in Chicago dance culture that come from members of marginalized communities. The power of these performances inside the unique stages and circumstances maintains the importance of presenting intersectionality in an exhibit named after one of the city’s greatest attributes – its architecture.


-avery r. young

The City is the Site