The Issue: Limited Access to Chicago’s Dance Performances
In an interview with the Associated Press, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was quoted last year proclaiming that he wants Chicago to become the “heartbeat of dance for the entire country," and that the city’s theater district features a plethora of internationally renowned professional dance companies. However, such performances are prohibitively expensive for many Chicagoans. Furthermore, only 4% of Chicago public elementary schools offer dance as a discipline, according to a survey of Chicago public schools by the Chicago Community Trust. Therefore, many of the city’s residents face very limited access to dance exposure.
The Campaign: Fund Free Outdoor Dance Performance
If this Grassroots campaign raises $900, then Dance in the Parks can fund one public outdoor dance performance. Each additional $900 raised will fund another public performance. Dance in the Parks' 2012 season includes six performances in neighborhood parks across the city and in the suburbs. However, the organization still needs additional funding to cover the costs of performance fees for the dancers and technicians, flooring, lights and sound-system rentals, costumes, and a truck to transport everything to each location.
You can follow the progress of this and other Grassroots campaigns at the Groupon Grassroots website.
Dance in the Parks
Dance in the Parks creates opportunities for underserved audiences in Chicago to experience the breadth and depth of professional dance performances that the city has to offer outside of the traditional theater setting. The organization’s three-person board works with Chicago choreographers and a team of dancers to put on one-hour shows with 17 days of rehearsal. They perform the shows in public parks for neighborhood audiences during two weeks in July, and audiences can bring their families, picnic, and enjoy the dancing for free. The dancers are pulled from local youth companies to establish connections between the audience members and accessible dance organizations. In order to make the performances financially feasible, Dance in the Parks borrows equipment and costumes from professional contacts, and prepares stages from scratch in public spaces.