Open-air Social Dance Series

“How come there is no public dancing in Chicago?” That was the question in 1997 that prompted the creation of the first SummerDance, an outdoor, public, free dance series in parks in Chicago. Since that first year with 150 participants, SummerDance has grown to a 3 month event, with 44 public dances and of upwards of 3,500 participants on any given evening.

Dancing is a great attractor – it brings people into a space, offers the opportunity for economic activity, creates social bonds, promotes health and fitness, and is an accessible form of cultural exchange. This toolkit, created by ArtPlace America, walks through the logistics and timelines of creating an event like SummerDance, and can be scaled for individuals and community groups looking to start something local that shares their identity, artists seeking to organize an event that brings audiences together, or cities looking to change perceptions and fill an underutilized area.

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If you’re having issues with the form or have other questions, click here to request the free toolkit, or email Carl at with questions.