SoleStance, a Chicago-based dance festival now in its seventh season, is the brainchild of dancer and choreographer Jamie Horban. The festival’s mission is to showcase and promote emerging talent from the Chicagoland area, while providing an entertaining, accessible and educational show for the audience.
The show’s participants typically are talented, emerging choreographers and dance companies that provide a fresh take on the art of dance. Many undiscovered choreographers and dance companies who have gone on to work with major dance companies and festivals (e.g.—Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Melissa Thodos, Gus Giordano, Chicago Ballet, River North, and Joel Hall) have premiered works with SoleStance.
Again, Solestance aims to educate as well as entertain. The program variety, reasonable ticket prices, and combination of high artistic standards with popular music and dance forms continue to attract patrons from a wide variety of economic and social backgrounds. “We want the person who doesn’t usually attend dance shows to have a great time,” says Ms. Horban, “and we want the seasoned dance-show connoisseur to have a satisfying experience, as well.”
Solestance features an eclectic mix of authentic styles and forms, ranging from ballet to belly dance to hip-hop. Some of the pieces incorporate narrative elements to help newer audiences relate better to the forms. “We appeal to a broad demographic without sacrificing good technique,” Ms. Horban emphasizes.
No other dance festival in Chicago features as much variety as SoleStance. “We want to unify the Chicago dance community by gathering as many different dancers and choreographers from as many different backgrounds as possible under one roof,” says Ms. Horban. “SoleStance 2006”’s panoply of styles includes: ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip-hop, capoeira, salsa, flamenco, acrobatics, western line dancing, Indian dance and belly dance.
SoleStance also has another unique feature—all of the choreographers collaborate on a final piece. Ms. Horban chooses the music and comes up with the concept. Then the group choreographs and performs the dance. This is another way in which SoleStance encourages unity within the Chicago dance community. “I’d like to dispel the notion that all artists are competing, and replace it with a sense of working together for a greater whole,” says Ms. Horban.
Color photographs by Catherine Pedemonti and Jerry Barmore, black and white photographs by Erik Oefeline.