TDE Asks Chicago's David Schultz (Hubbard Street Dance) and Joshua Blake Carter (Giordano Dance Chicago) about DANCE FOR LIFE

TDE Asks Chicago's David Schultz (Hubbard Street Dance) and Joshua Blake Carter (Giordano Dance Chicago) about DANCE FOR LIFE

Published on July 28, 2015
Dancer: Jack Shamblin. Photo credit: IanMiyawaki

Chicago's Top Dance Troupes Perform and Raise Funds and Awareness for HIV/AIDS

Seven of Chicago’s top dance companies will come together for one evening at Dance for Life, an annual event to support organizations and dance community professionals dealing with critical health issues, including, but not limited to HIV/AIDS. Representatives hail from the Joffrey Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago, C5, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre.

Many of these dancers have participated in the performance for years, and share common goals.

When: Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. 5pm – Gala Reception; 7:30pm – Dance for Life Performance

Where: Gala Reception - Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Ave., Chicago; Performance - Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago. *Complimentary shuttle bus service provided between the two venues.

Tickets: $15-$75 (performance only); $250- $600 (inclusive of gala admission and premium seats), Call 312-922-5812 or visit

Follow Dance for Life on Facebook.


SAMMI LIM for THE DANCE ENTHUSIAST: Will this be your first time performing in Dance for Life 2015 or are you a veteran?

JOSHUA BLAKE CARTER of GIORDANO DANCE CHICAGO: This year will mark my sixth Dance For Life Chicago performance. Plus, I've had the unique opportunity to perform in all four Dance For Life Palm Springs performances.

DAVID SCHULTZ of HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO: This will also be my sixth year performing in Dance For Life.

Giordano Dance Chicago performing Feelin' Good Sweet.  © 2015 Giordano Dance Chicago

TDE: Tell me about your respective performance pieces. Is there a reason they were chosen to fit into Dance For Life’s repertoire?

JBC: As a member of Giordano Dance Chicago, I will be performing Ray Leeper's "Feelin' Good Sweet." The title says it all... It's a delightfully sensual, upbeat work set to a score by Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin and an original arrangement and recording of the Judy Garland classic "Get Happy." In a world full of sadness and hardships, art has the opportunity to uplift and wipe away negativity; even if just for a moment. That IS "Feelin' Good Sweet."  And that's why I believe it was chosen for the DFL 2015 lineup.

DS: We will be performing sections of our collaboration with The Second City comedy theater entitled "The Art of Falling." Second to last will be a series of duets choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo and a classic Second City skit. These two selections will show two sides to the collaboration, thus giving the audience a beautiful piece of dance followed by an unexpected hilarious joke. I feel these in tandem will serenade the audience with the sublime beauty of dance and leave them crying with laughter, something I feel is always appreciated and needed when celebrating and remembering those whom we have lost and the amazing achievements we have made.  

Hubbard Street Dancer Jessica Tong and The Second City's Tim Mason. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

TDE: Could you describe the energy surrounding the festival?

JBC: The energy is "community." It's the one time of the year where we get to dance alongside our peers from other companies. We are in the wings cheering each other on, watching each other dance like it's the first time. It's the entire reason DFL exists: to support OUR community. We have to take care of one another, and DFL is a beautiful reminder of that.  

DS: When preparing myself for any Dance for Life performance, I find the atmosphere absolutely electrifying and the community spirit so contagious that the only mental work I need to do is just to keep myself from jumping off the stage!

Joshua Blake Carter from Giordano Dance Chicago. Photographed by KJ Heath.

TDE: What does it means for you to be participating in Dance For Life? Has HIV, AIDS or any other dire health issue touched your life?

JBC: Dance For Life has always been very close to my heart. Ever since I was a teenager, I wanted to be a part of something that educated people and raised awareness about HIV/AIDS because when I came out to my mother some of her first words were, "Don't you know you can get AIDS?"  My response, "Don't you know YOU can get AIDS?" She didn't like that too much, but it's the truth. I love being a part of something that brings knowledge of prevention and can help eliminate stigma. Additionally, DFL raises money for The Dancers' Fund.  Thankfully, HIV/AIDS is now considered a manageable disease. The Dancers' Fund is in place to help our community should someone encounter a bout with any sudden disease or health issue. I have friends who have been able to pay their medical bills while managing the curve balls life thrown their way. Yet again, a perfect example of what DFL is all about: taking care of each other. It's what we like to call our "chosen family." We're a lucky bunch here in this fantastic city.  

Hubbard Street Dancer David Schultz. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

DS: It is always such a pleasure and an honor to perform alongside the many talented artists Chicago calls her own. To see the audience members so enlivened and touched is the greatest reward of the season. This year is especially important to me; I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October and immediately went through with the operation and am happy to say that I've been cancer-free for over six months. The Dancers Fund, set up by Dance for Life to provide financial assistance to Chicago based dancers and choreographers who are dealing with critical health issues, has been fundamental in helping me to pay any extra bills that have arisen. The piece of mind this brought me has been pivotal in my ability to stay positive and to get back to what i love most - dancing. Thank you again, Dance for Life and I can not wait for another magical night on stage.

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