‘Dance for Life’ raises $175,000 to fund HIV/AIDS care

The event: The 23rd annual “Dance for Life” benefit supporting HIV/AIDS care pulled out all the stops on Aug. 16 at the Chicago Hilton which turned its Grand Ballroom crimson for the occasion.

More than 650 supporters enjoyed a gala reception and bid high for the cause before moving to the Auditorium Theatre where more than 2000 attendees enjoyed performances by newbie and veteran Chicago dance companies. Participating troupes included: Visceral Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Chicago Dance Company and Ensemble Español.

Cause célèbre: “There is always a new element to ‘Dance for Life,’” said four-year managing director Anthony Guerrero of Chicago. This year’s benefit extravaganza offered two world premieres and six high-energy dance numbers. To help forge a cohesive sense of community, each company presenting the premieres included members of different performing troupes, as well as independent artists from around the city with their dancers.

“This is really the essence of ‘Dance for Life’ and the Dancers’ Fund,” said Guerrero. “Besides building the awareness (for HIV/AIDS care) and raising the funds, it’s really to build the dance community here in Chicago. That’s why we are all really here.”

This year, the “Dance for Life” benefit was accessible to a greater number of dance-lovers, with a range of tickets with prices that began at $25.

“You don’t have to have a lot of money to be able to be part of the philanthropic movement and give back to wonderful organizations in the community,” said Guerrero. “We’re here celebrating life and celebrating dance and every single body in every seat is important.”

Bottom line: Dance for Life raised more than $175,000 benefiting the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, The Dancers’ Fund, Making A Daily Effort and Agape Missions Inc.

The 23rd annual “Dance for Life” gala benefiting HIV/AIDS care took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton. | Lee A. Litas/for Sun-Times Media

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