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Dance for Life marks 25 years with Aug. 20 show

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CHICAGO — Chicago Dancers United presents the momentous 25th Anniversary of Dance for Life, welcoming the most renowned-Chicago dance companies onto the Auditorium Theatre's historic stage Saturday, August 20, 2016.

Since its inception in 1991, Dance for Life has been committed to raising funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago as well as other organizations dedicated to serious health issues while showcasing the city's unique diversity of talent, dance traditions and styles, making it truly the only event of its kind. The celebratory evening, hosted by The Second City's Carisa Barreca and Tim Mason, will also honor long-time supporters of Dance for Life, Fred Eychaner and Alphawood Foundation, Barbara Kipper and Scott Silberstein and Matt Hoffman with HMS Media.

"Dance for Life is not just a name for an event, it is an act of truly bringing people together to dance for the lives of those who can't themselves," said Chicago Dancers United Executive Director Anthony Guerrero. "For 25 years, this one-of-a-kind event has brought together the Chicago dance community in ways that no other event has been able to. It is incredible to see that continued support and unwavering dedication, and we are so proud to celebrate this significant anniversary with friends from near and far."

In 1991, after having lost many close friends and dance colleagues to HIV and AIDS, Keith Elliott, a member of Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre ( JHCDT ), took it upon himself to rally his fellow dancers and take an active role in preventing the spread of the disease. Together with friend Todd Kiech, JHCDT Associate Artistic Director Harriet Ross, HIV/AIDS community activist and skilled fundraiser Danny Kopelson and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Executive Director Gail Kalver, the small group worked together to bring Chicago's dance community together, for one night only — to raise money and…Dance for Life.

Over the past 24 years, 32 Chicago-based, professional dance companies and numerous choreographers have been presented at Dance for Life, supporting and showcasing the city's unique and diverse talent. Millions of dollars have been raised by Dance for Life since its inception, for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, The Dancers' Fund and thirty AIDS service-providing organizations in Chicago. The event has supported and helped produce several spin-off events, while The Dancers' Fund established by Dance for Life provides assistance to any member of the professional Chicago dance community facing critical health issues. In response to the changing needs of Chicago's dance community, evolutions in the nature of HIV/AIDS, the growth of the annual event and its other programs, DFL has matured into a nonprofit organization, Chicago Dancers United, functioning on a year-round basis.

The celebratory evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago ( 720 S. Michigan Ave. ) and continue at the Auditorium Theatre ( 50 E. Congress Pkwy ) at 7:30 p.m. with the highly anticipated anniversary performance. Performing with Dance for Life since its inception, Giordano Dance Chicago will help commemorate the special occasion with two numbers including Gus Giordano's signature "Sing, Sing, Sing" and "Alegria." Joffrey Ballet will also perform two pieces including "Rendez-Vous" and "Adagio," while Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will perform an excerpt from "Solo Echo,"Visceral Dance Chicago performs an excerpt from "VITAL" and Chicago Dance Crash performs "Heard That." Closing out the first act of the performance, Harrison McEldowney will choreograph a world premiere piece specifically for Dance for Life. In addition, what has come to be a Dance for Life tradition,Randy Duncan will also choreograph a world premiere piece to cap off the entire evening using dancers that are welcome to audition through an open-call ( see details below ). Special tributes throughout the evening will honor long-time supporters of Dance for Life Fred Eychaner, Barbara Kipper and Scott Silberstein and Matt Hoffman with HMS Media.

Dance for Life Finale Auditions

In an effort to include the entire Chicago dance community, Choreographer Randy Duncan will hold open auditions for the finale piece in the Dance for Life program. Auditions will be held on Sunday, May 22 at 1:00 p.m. at Dovetail Studios ( 2853 W. Montrose ). Rehearsals will be held June 25 — 29 and August 15 — 19, 6 -9 p.m. For more information, please email .

*In addition to the August 20 performance, dancers will also need to be available on August 27 for The Chicago Dancing Festival. In an exciting new collaboration, the Dance for Life Finale piece will be performed at the annual Festival.

Tickets and More Information

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a gala reception at the Hilton Chicago ( 720 S. Michigan Ave. ) and continue at the Auditorium Theatre ( 50 E. Congress Pkwy ) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for both the gala reception and performance ( $250 - $600 ) or performance only ( $15 - $75 ) are on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 312.341.2300, online at or in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office. Group Tickets ( 10 or more ) are available by calling 312.341.2300.

Chicago Dancers United

The mission of Chicago Dancers United is to mobilize Chicago's dance community to support organizations and dance community professionals dealing with critical health issues including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, through the art of dance.

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