Chicago SummerDance returns for its 18th year from June 27 to September 14 at the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park

Friday, June 27 – Sunday, September 14 in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park

Chicago, Il, 2014-5-19 — /Travel PR News/ — The largest annual outdoor live music and dancing series in the United States, Chicago SummerDance, returns for its 18th year – and Chicagoans who love to dance will flock to the Spirit of Music Garden as it blossoms into a unique multi-dimensional, urban dance space. Chicago SummerDance is FREE and takes place in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden (601 South Michigan Avenue) Friday and Saturday evenings, from 6 to 9:30pm and Sunday afternoons from 4 to 7pm between June 27 andSeptember 14.

The Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park will also serve as a venue for World Music Festival Chicago 2014 on its opening weekend, September 12–14. These events will follow the Chicago SummerDance format with dance lessons and live music. World Music Festival Chicago 2014 runs Thursday, September 11–Sunday, September 21. The complete schedule will be available at a later date at

Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Chicago SummerDance brings people of all ages and skill levels together on a 4,900-square-foot, open-air dance floor made of 100% recycled plastic. The series offers FREE, introductory one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. The diverse lineup showcases various traditional and modern dance styles from all corners of the globe.

SummerDance highlights include Haitian vocalist Emeline Michel, who will bring her high-paced, Haitian compas and rara to Chicago for a captivating live performance on Friday, July 11. Not losing sight of her culture, Michel is noted for intertwining the traditional Haitian rhythms with jazz, pop, bossa nova and samba to create an inspirational, social and political message that has amassed an international audience. Before Emeline Michel takes the stage, the night kicks off with a Haitian folkloric dance lesson from Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company.

The weekend continues on Saturday, July 12 with Madagascar’s most celebrated group, Jaojoby. Eusèbe Jaojoby is the most popular singer in Madagascar and throughout the Indian Ocean islands. He is known as the “King of Salegy” for his role as one of the founders of the islands’ most celebrated music. He will be joined by fellow NYC-based Malagasy vocalist, Razia Said, for their Wake Up Madagascar tour to raise awareness of the critical environmental situation in Madagascar. This will be an unforgettable experience that will also include a Malagasy salegy dance lesson taught beforehand by Claudine Zafinera withRazia Said.

The weekend concludes on Sunday, July 13 with a cajun “flava” when Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys bring their southern style to SummerDance. Their stunningly comprehensive performance of Cajun French music from the backwaters of Southwest Louisiana propelled them into the music limelight early on, and by their third release, Trace of Time, they had earned their first Grammy® nomination in the worldwide field of traditional folk music. They received a second in 2004 for Bon Reve, a third in 2009 for Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and a fourth Grammy® nomination in 2011 for their last album release, Grand Isle. This past year, Steve Riley received his first Grammy® Award in the Best Regional Roots Music Album category for his part in the Cajun supergroup, Courtbouillon, which includes Cajun favorites, Wayne Toups, Wilson Savoy and bassist Eric Frey. Preceding Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys’ performance is a Cajun two-step dance lesson by Louie Stallone and Monica Vachlon.

The festivities continue the following weekend starting on Friday, July 18 with a music session from Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca. Spreading their infectious Congalese Soukous & Rumba, Cuban Son and Salsa rhythms to salseros around the world, Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca will continue their musical voyage with a pit-stop at SummerDance following an energetic Mambo and Cha-Cha dance lesson from the Dance Academy of Salsa.

On Saturday, July 19, Grammy® award winning Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience will take the stage. After making history with their musical selection in the Disney film, The Princess and the Frog, Simien and his band continued on their successful path with appearances stretching from New Orleans to Australia. Preceding their performance is a dance lesson from Zydeco two-step experts, Buddy Bates and Rebecca Unger.

Bringing excitement Sunday, July 20 is Kimosha P. Murphy with an invigorated African dance lesson, followed by live music from Grammy® nominated Cheick Hamala Diabate. Dedicated to providing not only great dancing music, but a lesson to people about their lives, Cheick Hamala Diabate embraces his role as a griot and uses his spellbinding ngoni (lute covered with animal skin) plucked riffs to entrance and educate listeners about the vast traditional music of Mali.

Additional highlights of the 2014 series include two special House dance parties, celebrating one of Chicago’s most diverse and original music genres, house music. Renowned DJ Alan King will spin in the garden on Saturday, July 26 along with DJ Gene Hunt, starting at 6pm and on Saturday, August 9, DJ Heather will lead the party when she opens for DJ Terry Hunter, starting at 6pm.

The last weekend of Chicago SummerDance kicks-off the 16th Annual World Music Festival Chicago with a lineup that includes a performance from Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta on Friday, September 12. Forming the bedrock of Chicago’s cumbia scene, the five-member group covers and performs the varied Cumbia styles of Latin America. Latin Rhythms – Academy of Dance and Performance will teach cumbia beforehand.

Chicagoans and visitors are also invited to enjoy SummerDance in the Parks at five different locations every Thursday, July 10–September 4 beginning with dance lessons from 6-7pm and live music and dancing from 7-9pm. SummerDance in the Parksis presented as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District. Arts programming in neighborhoods advances the goals of the Chicago Cultural Plan and the Night Out in the Parks initiative. For more information on SummerDance in the Parks including locations and participating artists visit or

Updates and announcements (including weather delays or cancellations) will be posted on Facebook and on Twitter@SummerDanceChi. For more information, visit or call the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at 312.744.3316.


Chicago SummerDance Schedule

Each Friday and Saturday evening, dance lessons begin at 6pm with live music at 7pm; and every Sunday afternoon, dance lessons begin at 4pm with live music at 5pm. Below is the complete 2014 schedule.



Friday, June 27

Rica Obsesion (Salsa)

Latin Rhythms – Academy of Dance and Performance (Salsa)


Saturday, June 28

Chicha Libre (Surf & Psychedelic Cumbia inspired by Peruvian Cumbia from the 1960s)

Chicago Dance (Cumbia)


Sunday, June 29

Steve Cooper Orchestra (Ballroom)

Arthur Murray Dance Center (Rumba, Cha –Cha)



Friday, July 4

Chicago Catz (R&B, Soul and Funk)

Dawud & Lara Shareef (Chicago Bop)


Saturday, July 5

National Steppers Society (Chicago Steppin’)

Ken Watkins (Chicago Steppin’)


Sunday, July 6

Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra (Vintage Big Band)

Dance Center Chicago (Fox-Trot)


Friday, July 11

Emeline Michel (Haitian Compas and Rara with Jazz, Pop, Bossa nova and Samba)

Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company (Traditional Haitian Folkloric Dances)


Saturday, July 12

Jaojoby with Razia Said (Malagasy Salegy Dance Music)

Claude Zafinera and Razia Said (Malagasy Salegy Dance)


Sunday, July 13

Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys (Cajun, Zydeco)

Louie Stallone and Monica Vachlon (Cajun Two-Step and Waltz)


Friday, July 18

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (Congalese Soukous & Rumba, Cuban Son & Salsa)

Dance Academy of Salsa (Mambo, Cha-Cha)


Saturday, July 19

Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience (Zydeco)

Buddy Bates and Rebecca Unger (Zydeco)


Sunday, July 20

Cheick Hamala Diabate and His Band (Malian Ngoni Music)

Kimosha P. Murphy (Dances from the African Diaspora)


Friday, July 25

SoundMinas Quintet (Brazilian Samba)

Dill Costa (Afro-Brazilian Bloco – Samba Dance)


Saturday, July 26

*Chicago House Music Party

DJ Gene Hunt (7:30–9pm)

DJ Alan King (6–7:30pm)


Sunday, July 27

Chicago Barn Dance Company (Country and Square Dance)

Meg Dedolph (Square and Contra Dance)

Friday, August 8

Mambo Express (Latin Big Band Mambo)

Mixed Motion Art (Mambo, Cha-Cha)


Saturday, August 9

*Chicago House Music Party

DJ Terry Hunter (7:30–9pm)

DJ Heather (6 – 7:30pm)


Sunday, August 10

Petra van Nuis Quintet (1920s, ‘30s & ‘40s Classic Swing)

Kasper Dance Studio (Fox-Trot)


Friday, August 15

The Fat Babies (1920s & ‘30s Jazz & Swing)

Big City Swing (Jitterbug)


Saturday, August 16

Swing Nouveau (High-energy 1930s,’40s,’50s & ‘90s Jump Swing)

Tommye Giacchino (East Coast Swing)


Sunday, August 17

Willy Torres (Salsa Dura)

Latin Street Dance Academy (Salsa, Mambo and Cha-Cha)


Friday, August 22

DJ Calvin (Chicago Steppin’)

Majestic Gents (Chicago Steppin’)


Saturday, August 23

Carpacho y Su Super Combo (Salsa)

May I Have This Dance (Salsa)


Sunday, August 24

Tangata Ensemble & the Kaia String Quartet (Tango and Milonga)

American Tango Institute (Argentine Tango)


Friday, August 29

Funkadesi (Bollywood, Bhangra, Reggae and Funk)

Bollywood Groove (Bollywood, Bhangra)


Saturday, August 30

The Hoyle Brothers (Honky-Tonk Country)

May I Have This Dance (Country Two-Step)


Sunday, August 31

Steve Anthony Orchestra (Ballroom)

Chicago Dance (Bolero, Tango)



Friday, September 5

Joel Paterson & the Modern Sounds (1930s & ‘40s Swing)

Margot Toppen and Riley Wimes, Jr. (Jitterbug)


Saturday, September 6

La Dynastia featuring Freddy Kenton (Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Reggaeton and Latin R&B)

Dance Academy of Salsa (Bachata & Merengue)


Sunday, September 7

Teddy Lee Orchestra (Ballroom)

Fred Astaire Dance Studio – West Loop (Rumba, Waltz)


Friday, September 12

Chicago World Music Festival

Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta (Pan-Latin American Cumbia)

Latin Rhythms- Academy of Dance and Performance (Cumbia)


Saturday, September 13

Chicago World Music Festival

Las BomPleneras (Puerto Rican Bombazo)

Ivelisse Diaz – Bombera de Corazon (Bomba and Plena)


Sunday, September 14

Chicago World Music Festival

El Payo y La Tiranta (Rumba, Nuevo Flamenco)

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater (Flamenco Rumba)


Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
The Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park was developed and landscaped especially for Chicago SummerDance and received a Gold Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association. Using a combination of annuals and perennials to create the spectacular splash of color throughout the summer, the garden’s layout incorporates a geometric design that pulls the visitor into the center of the garden. Classic-style wooden umbrellas, tables, and chairs circle the center of the garden, allowing visitors to sit and enjoy their surroundings. A variety of food and drinks are available for purchase at the SummerDance Grill. Outside alcohol is strictly prohibited at all Summer Dance events.

Chicago SummerDance Dance Floor
The open-air dance floor for Chicago SummerDance was designed by Chicago artist Dan Peterman out of recycled plastic. Titled Chicago Ground Cover, the floor was first installed in 1997 at the original Chicago SummerDance site in Grant Park along Michigan Avenue at Washington Street (now Millennium Park). Originally 2,500 square feet, it was first expanded to 3,500 square feet in 1999, and was then expanded to 4,600 square feet in 2008. In 2011, it was renovated and further expanded to 4,900 square-feet to accommodate the increasing number of SummerDance visitors.


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The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.


Mary May    312.744.0576