From Hip Hop to Ballet, Dance Show at Genesee has it all

Above, What a Feelin’ performed by Alats Dance of Waukegan, choreographed by Anisa Diaz last year at Gorton Theatre in Lake Forest. – Waukegan Arts Council

by Tina Johansson

For the second time, the Waukegan Arts Council will be featuring a lively dance program. The only difference is, this time it will be bigger and better than before, and in a different venue.

The Lake County Dance Showcase, Saturday, July 23 at 6 p.m. at the historic Genesee Theatre in downtown Waukegan, will include 200 dancers and 17 dance troupes from the Chicagoland area.

The program will benefit cultural arts in the City of Waukegan. It is being sponsored in part by a generous contribution from Olson’s Ace Hardware store.  

This is not going to be your run-of-the-mill dance show, folks. Planned are a variety of styles, including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, folk, Irish step dancing, and more.

This is a great opportunity to bridge communities through the arts. We’re delighted to be able to provide this experience to bring all these dancers together from across Lake County and the Chicago area, and to celebrate the art of dance at such a beautiful venue. – Lori Nerheim, president of Waukegan Arts Council

Among the dance troupes participating are Alats Dance, Ballet Folklorico Erandi, Ballet Folklorico Regional Mexicano, Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance, Dance Academy of Libertyville, DancEd Dance Centre, Forum Dance Theatre, Hip Hop ConnXion HQ, Hip Hop Force, Illinois Dance Conservatory, Jazz Theatre of Illinois, Lake Bluff School of Dance, Lake Forest Dance Academy, O’Hare School of Irish Dance Chicago, On Your Toes Academy of Dance, Steppin’ Up Northshore Dance Academy, Tarpley Dance Ensemble, and Waterford Dance Academy.

Prima Donna performed by Lake Forest Dance Academy, choreographed by Mary Tarpley, dancer Morgan Cohen
Prima Donna performed by Lake Forest Dance Academy, and dancer Morgan Cohen. Choreographed by Mary Tarpley. – Waukegan Arts Council

Lori Nerheim, president of the non-profit Waukegan Arts Council said the idea for the program came two years ago after meeting with Kristy White, a professional dancer and dance instructor.

As they talked, the women felt there was a need to showcase dance as an art form in Waukegan, which already has an active arts community.

Nerheim said White was interested in giving back to the Waukegan community where she was raised, by directing a high-quality show featuring many different styles of dance.

The first show took place last year in Lake Forest at Gorton Theatre.

White worked with Sheila Crotty-Kagan to make it happen. Crotty-Kagan serves on the Waukegan Arts Council’s board and also is Enrichment Coordinator for Waukegan Public Schools. Among other responsibilities she coordinates elementary fine arts events on behalf of the district.

The first show held last year took place in Lake Forest at Gorton Theatre.

“This is a great opportunity to bridge communities through the arts. We’re delighted to be able to provide this experience to bring all these dancers together from across Lake County and the Chicago area, and to celebrate the art of dance at such a beautiful venue,” said Nerheim.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Come early to get the best seats and enjoy the pre-show entertainment with mime artist Gary DeVar performing in costume in the lobby. DeVar has been delighting audiences for decades and will showcase an art form that is considered among the earliest mediums of self-expression using movement. The Theatre’s Road Show Lounge will be have refreshments available for purchase, and Flowers for You will be selling flower bouquets.

Tickets to the dance showcase are $10 and can be purchased at the door on Saturday evening, or in advance through Event Brite. 

For more information, contact the Waukegan Arts Council at 847-920-4ART or waukeganartscouncil@gmail.com.

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