Chicago Dancing Festival

Many summer dance festivals feature ballet companies, and many more take place in beautiful outdoor settings. However, few can boast as outstanding a combination as the Chicago Dancing Festival. Not only does this year’s edition feature Daniel Ulbricht’s Stars of American Ballet, the Joffery Ballet and the Washington Ballet, and not only does much of the festival take place in the majestic Pritzker Pavilion, but the entire festival is free!

I'm starting to get jealous of Chicago. Ever since ballet lover Rahm Emanuel become mayor of The Windy City, it's been rapidly blossoming into an even more attractive dance hub. During the Paris Opéra Ballet's visit last week, their performance of Giselle was streamed live for the public from an 18 by 32 foot LED screen in Millenium Park. And next month will bring the largest-ever Chicago Dancing Festival, full of free performances, dance films, discussions, tributes and interactive work.

The hugely popular Chicago Dancing Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary this year with five days of free dance events, starting on August 23. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, New York City Ballet, Ballet West and The Joffrey are all scheduled to perform at a variety of venues around the city. The Chicago Cultural Center will even screen The Red Shoes. Tickets will become available on July 19. Get 'em quick before they're all gone—past years' events have "sold out" within hours!