Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-10-18
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



(Joel) Hall of fame
by Vicki Crain

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

If you're familiar at all with dance in Chicago, you know his name. Over the last four decades he's taught thousands of students, grooming them to be the best they can be, watching them bloom into artists. Joel Hall has a number of things he's passionate about, but first and foremost is jazz dance.

Hall, 63, grew up in Cabrini-Green and began dancing in his teens when he tagged along with some friends to a ballet class on Saturday mornings on the North Side. He continued dancing while in college at Northeastern Illinois University under the tutelage of Nana Shineflug, eventually making his dance debut with the Chicago Moving Company. In 1974, he started The Chicago City Theater with his partner, Joseph Ehrenburg (who passed away in 1995), renting a factory floor for $15 a night. They taught classical theater works to minority actors and Hall taught dance classes while working on his choreography. Joel Hall and Dancers organically evolved and now 38 years later, he has the main company, Joel Hall Dancers II, a youth company and a school.

What keeps him going? It's that passion. "The most special thing to me in my career is still being able to do it, to still be engaged in the arts," Hall told Windy City Times. "I think the highlights are being able to see my students grow from a beginning level to a professional level into performing artists. This is the thing that gives me the most pleasure and the most reward out of my experience in my role being a leader or director. Other highlights are being able to do my work and choreography and to watch and teach others to do their work, to teach the value of the art form."

He's also passionate about gay rights. Hall, who was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1993, has been with his husband for 15 years. They had a civil-union ceremony last June. "We're looking to the point of actually getting married whenever they can get themselves together in Springfield," Hall said. "I'm really tired of these people depriving me and everybody else of our rights. It's not that we're trying to take over anything or be given special privileges. It's about being equal to, not less than. Whether people get married or not is not the issue. The issue is that marriage is there and we have a right to it."

His latest project—again, a passion—is choreographing an opera based on the civil-rights movement. The MARCH is a collaboration with Alan Marshall (librettist) and Jonathan Stinson (composer), with Hall adding the dance steps as well as additional recordings and live voice text. "As far as I know," he said, "it's the first civil-rights opera that's being presented. The younger generation hasn't been informed of the civil-rights movement. They've heard of it, but certainly didn't participate in it or have the information unless they sought it out. Here's a presentation of what was actually going on during the movement. I'm proud to be a part of it." A one-night-only performance of the work on Nov. 10 will benefit the continuation and evolution of the work and The Joel Hall Dancers and Center.

November is notably the month for giving thanks, but Hall lives that way every day. Three things come across when talking with him (even over the phone): his passion, pride and love of life. "I've had an unbelievable life," Hall said. "I've been very blessed and fortunate to be doing what I'm doing my entire life. It's still a struggle, but it's worth the struggle because it's my passion."

The MARCH: A Civil Rights Opera plays at the Ravenswood Event Center, 4011 N. Ravenswood Ave., Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $125; for more information visit

More shows in November:

Jump Rhythm Jazz Project performs as part of Dance Chicago 2012 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 8-10, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $30; call 773-327-5252 or visit

Dropshift Dance presents Catch and Release at the Hairpin Arts Center, 2800 W. Milwaukee Ave., Friday-Sunday, Nov. 9-11, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16-$20; visit

Inaside Chicago Dance's fall concert will be at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Saturday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22-$30; call 773-935-6860.

River North Dance Chicago welcomes four new dancers to the company for its fall engagement at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Friday-Saturday, Nov. 16-17, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30-$75; call 312-334-7777 or visit .

Chicago Human Rhythm Project invites Vancouver-based ScrapArtsMusic to share the stage for Global Rhythms 8 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Saturday, Nov. 24, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 25, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15-$55; call 312-334-7777 or visit .

Trey McIntyre Project brings the Chicago premiere of Ladies and Gentle Men to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Friday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$55; call 312-334-7777 or visit .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

DANCIN' FEATS The 'Play' is the thing 2017-10-18 - By Joanna Furnans In a few weeks, Faye Driscoll and her cast of performers will return to the Museum of Contemporary Art ...

Gay News

Queer partner dance debuts with SWITCH: Chicago 2017-10-17 - Imagine a safe space for LGBTQIA folks to partner dance free from traditional binary roles. That is what SWITCH: Chicago aims to provide ...

Gay News

DANCIN' FEATS A kinesthetic anthropologist and his movement specialists 2017-09-27 - Next month, the Brooklyn-based Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group will return to the Dance Center of Columbia College to perform "CITIZEN" ( ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theater to premiere Living The Black Renaissance 2017-09-26 - CHICAGO, IL — Black Ensemble Theater continues the 2017 Season ( The Dance Theater Season ) with the World Premiere of Living The ...

Gay News

Dance for Life raises $233,000+ for dancers with critical health and life issues 2017-09-22 - Chicago Dancers United ( CDU ), which mobilizes Chicago's dance community by raising funds through dance, welcomed nearly 2,300 guests at the 26th ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE: TELEVISION Rumer Willis spins tunes and tales at Hard Rock 2017-09-20 - Actres/singer Rumer Willis has carved out a strong career on her own, apart from being the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. ...

Gay News

FALL DANCE PREVIEW Innovation abounds this fall 2017-09-13 - Chock full of innovative performances by local independent dance makers as well as opportunities to see new work from some of the most ...

Gay News

Auditorium to mark 50th anniv. with dance companies 2017-09-13 - On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 7:30 p.m., the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., will commemorate the 50th anniversary of its grand reopening ...

Gay News

People react swiftly to DeVos' changing Title IX guidance 2017-09-11 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) was among those groups and individuals who expressed concern over the decision by U.S. Secretary of ...

Gay News

PFLAG responds to DeVos' planned change to campus sexual assault guidance 2017-09-08 - WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, PFLAG National—the nation's largest and oldest organization uniting families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...


Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.