Chicago Winter Dance Festival

May 21, 2010 12:09:15 PM PDT
When you live in Chicago, you have to learn to embrace winter. That's the idea behind the city's annual winter celebration that runs through the month of February. The Chicago Winter Dance Festival in Millennium Park centers around ice skating lessons and late night, themed skating parties, plus a winter version of the popular SummerDance program. All events are free.

You can learn Ballroom, Tango, Swing, Honky Tonk Two Step, Steppin', Latin, and other Ethnic Dances every Saturday and Sunday beginning February 6 behind the glass doors on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion. Ice skating lessons and late night ice dance parties will take place at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. Ice Dance Party themes Include a Tribute to Michael Jackson, Show Tunes, Love Songs, Disco, Country Western, and Twilight Nights.

"February is a great time for both visitors and residents to get out and enjoy Chicago," said Dorothy Coyle, Director of the Chicago Office of Tourism. "Millennium Park's central location, superb facilities, and natural beauty make it the perfect location for a new winter festival. With free Chicago Winter Dance activities every weekend and great rates at hotels, Chicago is an ideal destination for visitors looking for a refreshing winter getaway."

Visit www.explorechicago.org for more information about Chicago Winter Dance, a schedule of events, or to book hotel accommodations.

Here is a schedule of free events and programs taking place this February:

Ice Skating Lessons
Learn the basics of ice skating and play fun and interactive games on the ice in the beauty of Millennium Park. These family friendly morning sessions are open to Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and skill levels.

Saturdays and Sundays, February 6 - 28
Beginner lessons: 8 - 8:30 am and 9 - 9:30 am
Intermediate lessons: 8:30 am - 9 am and 9:30 am - 10 am
McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Late Night Ice Dance Parties, Ice Dancing Demonstrations, and Extended Rink Hours for Public Skating Weekend nights will offer spectacular ice dancing demonstrations, and extended ice rink hours for skating and late night dance parties on the ice at McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.

Fridays and Saturdays, February 5 - February 27 from 7 - 11 pm Ice Dancing Demonstrations at 7, 8:30 and 10 pm

Special Ice Dance Party Night Themes and Music:
Friday, February 5: Sock Hop/1950s
Saturday, February 6: Tribute to Michael Jackson/1980s
Friday, February 12: Show Tunes
Saturday, February 13: Love Songs
Friday, February 19: Disco
Saturday, February 20: Country Western
Friday, February 26: Twilight
Saturday, February 27: Big Band Jazz/1920s

Dance Lessons and Dancing
In SummerDance style, visitors will be offered one hour dance lessons followed by open dancing behind the glass doors on the Pritzker Stage. Music will be broadcast through the speakers on the trellis of the Great Lawn so that even those strolling through the Park can enjoy the sights and sounds of dancing on the Pritzker Stage. Unless otherwise noted, dance lessons and dancing are accompanied by recorded music.

Admission is free but space is limited. Doors open 30 minutes before the lessons begin. Early arrival is recommended. At Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Beverages and warm refreshments from the Park Grill will be on sale in the Pritzker Pavilion and near the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Saturdays and Sundays, February 6 -28
1 pm: Dance Lesson
2 - 4 pm: Open Dancing
5 pm: Dance Lesson
6 - 8 pm: Open Dancing

Dance Lesson schedule

Saturday, February 6: Latin instructor from Latin Rhythms-Academy of Dance and Performance

Sunday, February 7: Cajun instructor Monica Vachlon; Live music by the Chicago Cajun Aces

Saturday, February 13: Honky Tonk Two Step instructor from The Galaxie; Live music by the Hoyle Brothers

Sunday, February 14: Tango Instructor from Tango 21, Inc.; Live music by Tangata

Saturday, February 20: Swing Instructor from MayIHaveThisDance.com; Live music by the Thomas Gunther Trio

Sunday, February 21: Ethnic Dances from Around the World Instructor from Ethnic Dance Chicago

Saturday, February 27: Steppin' Instructor from The Magestic Gents

Sunday, February 28: Ballroom instructor from Chicago Dance Latin and Ballroom Schools
www.chicagodance.com.

Chicago Winter Dance is presented by the Chicago Office of Tourism. A division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Office of Tourism is the official City agency dedicated to promoting Chicago to domestic and international visitors and to providing innovative visitor programs and services.

MORE WAYS TO ENJOY CHICAGO IN FEBRUARY
Top Winter Activities Include Museum Free Days, Award-Winning Theatrical Productions and Free Family Events

For more information on the events and activities listed below, visit www.explorechicago.org .

Family Fun Activities
Don't let winter slow you down. Enjoy the free Polar Adventure Days held on Northerly Island on Saturday, February 20. Watch as amazing ice sculptures are created right in front of you, meet an arctic dog sled team, and see birds of prey and other live animals. You can also make winter crafts, sip hot cocoa, and even snowshoe (if there's snow!) Don't forget to dress warmly.

February is Black History Month. Visit the DuSable Museum of African American History through April 4 for an interactive multimedia exhibition, Freedom's Sisters, and learn about 20 African American women who helped advance civil rights in America. From historical figures to contemporary leaders, discover these extraordinary but often unsung heroines who have sought equality for all Americans.

Special Events

The Chicago Auto Show returns to McCormick Place, February 12-21. Now in its 102nd year, the nation's largest auto exposition showcases a full range of over 1,000 domestic and imported vehicles, including experimental and concept cars, collectors' antiques and numerous auto-related accessories and exhibits.

On Sunday, February 14, don't miss the annual Chinese New Year Parade. Celebrate the Year of the Tiger with a full day of entertainment and festivities in the heart of Chicago's historic Chinatown. Firecrackers and dragon and lion dances are a surefire way to heat things up this winter.

Museum Free Days
Chicago is world-renowned for its diverse collection of over 40 museums. Highlights range from dinosaur fossils to submarines to 1960s pop art -- ensuring something for every age and interest. Many are free; while others offer free days (admission fees to special exhibits may not be included).

Art Institute of Chicago is free on Thursday evenings throughout the year from 5-8pm. The museum is also free every day during the month of February.

Field Museum is free on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from through February 24 (excluding Tuesday, February 9.)

Timeline Theatre Company: Master Harold?and the Boys, through March 21

Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Short Shakespeare! The Comedy of Errors through March 7.

Court Theatre: The Year of Magical Thinking through February 14

Steppenwolf Theatre: American Buffalo through February 14

Apollo Theatre: Million Dollar Quartet, open run

Second City:Taming of the Flu, open run

Hotel Rates as Low as $79/Night Chicago hotels offer their lowest rates of the year during the winter months. Take advantage of these great rates at downtown Chicago hotels.

$79 at Best Western River North (includes free parking)
$91 at Days Inn Chicago
$99 at Marriott Chicago at the Medical District
$99 at The Allerton Hotel
$129 at Westin Michigan Avenue
$139/$159 at The Dana Hotel and Spa
$265 at The Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago

The Chicago Office of Tourism provides a seven-day-a-week Twitter Concierge Service offering advice and suggestions about the city. Visitor service representatives answer questions and provide information with a focus on free and discounted events and activities in neighborhoods throughout Chicago.


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