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See Chicago Dance. The name is direct and specific, and the nonprofit organization formerly known as Audience Architects has wisely adopted it as part of an ongoing rebranding strategy.
Audience Architects began in 2006 with a grant from the Chicago Community Trust to figure out ways to increase interest in dance in Chicago. For 13 years SeeChicagoDance.com has provided free promotional services for more than 200 local dance organizations. Unifying the website and the nonprofit under the same name strengthens the brand, and intensifies the drive to build a bigger dance audience.
Chicago Dance Month is See Chicago Dance's biggest promotional push, and since 2014, April has been packed with events spotlighting the city's dance talent, with pop-up performances bringing dance directly to the public. "Sometimes there's a perception barrier with dance, and people are just not quite sure what they're going to see," says See Chicago Dance executive director Heather Hartley. "So we now have a series of pop-up performances in various locations. These events are free and quick, and we do them wherever people are."
With its Moving Dialogs series, See Chicago Dance partners with museums to explore different cultures. "We really focus on cultural and societal issues so that we can get new audiences to think about dance as a lens for viewing and understanding these topics," says Hartley. Ultimately, it's not just about seeing Chicago dance, but using art to look at the world in a new way.Chicago Dance Month 4/2-4/30, times and locations vary, see website, 312-846-6357, seechicagodance.com.