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Feb 06, 2018
Performance Guide
Chicago Area Performance Listings

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The arts are, as much as anything, about participation, and participating helps keep the arts a vibrant part of our lives and communities. Participation can be fun, and its important. Here's how (first the easy stuff!).
Chicago Dance Mapping Project
Attend a Concert
Attending concerts or dance performances is really fun, it gives you new perspectives, lets you meet interesting people and supports the arts in the most direct way possible. Just for starters, the Alliance has more than 150 member organizations, and they present thousands of performances a year in the Chicago area. You can find information on this site about performances of all types, all around Chicago. But this is just the beginning.
Take Lessons
Now that you know how much fun music and dance are, how about doing it yourself? Not that long ago children had music instruction in almost all schools - the Chicago Public Schools provided great opportunities for all of their students to learn. Even though many schools, including those in Chicago, don't provide good opportunities doesn't mean you, or your children, can't learn. Find a teacher (many good teachers and schools are listed on this site's Teaching Directory), sign up, and learn. You'll understand the arts better, and find out just how talented you really are (we're not kidding). And of course you should learn languages

Find a Chicago Dance Company
Whether or not you decide to take lessons, get involved! There is plenty to do, plenty of good organizations to help, and plenty of good people to meet. Volunteering is an American tradition, with more than half of adults in the United States still volunteering to help some worthy cause or group every year. Become part of that tradition, and make a real difference for a community orchestra, a small dance company, or a school or training program. All of the Alliance's member organizations are not-for-profit organizations, and all not-for-profits rely heavily on help from people who believe in their work. This really can be fun, and really makes a difference.

Something else that not-for-profits rely on, of course, are donations from individuals. The government encourages contributions, giving you tax breaks for giving money, because they know that the work of not-for-profits makes a difference in society. So, make a difference, and give to the not-for-profit arts organization of your choice. You can find a complete list of Alliance member organizations on the Membership Directory - you can also make donations to the Alliance to support our work on behalf of the performing arts in the Chicago area. If you wish to donate to the Alliance, please contact, or call the Alliance office at 312-987-9296.

So, you've gone to performances; learned to play, sing or dance; volunteered and given money - have you done everything you can to assure the future of the arts? Almost, but not quite. The last item on your checklist is communicating with the people who make public policy - legislators, congressmen, city council members. These people make a difference, too, since they often approve the use of public money to support the arts. Public support for the arts can, and does, make the difference for many groups - the difference in being able to perform, to give lessons, to work in schools and in nursing homes, everywhere the arts make a difference in people's lives. When there are debates over public funding for the arts, you, as members of the public, need to be heard. A phone call, a fax, a letter, an e-mail, or a visit to a public official all can work wonders, with not a whole lot of effort. The Alliance has information on current advocacy issues, like state support for the Illinois Arts Council, which provides grants to hundreds of arts groups around the state. Join the chorus in support of the arts, and make the arts work for everyone.

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Simply The Best
Chicago is, simply, one of the best places in America for the performing arts. Every year there are thousands of events, in all styles of dance and music, presented by scores of excellent organizations.

The Alliance's listings capture the essence of Chicago's cultural life, whether you want classical or contemporary, dance or music, city or suburban. These detailed listings are available for tonight, next week or next year. Make CDMA's Performance Guide a regular stop when you want to know what Chicago has to offer.

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