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What is the Illinois High School Dance Festival?
The organization started as a yearly festival that was created to provide interested high school dancers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a day of dance.  The organization believes that young dancers should be exposed to the many genres of dance, not only in class but in performance as well. Through time, the organization has evolved and now incorporates a Festival Workshop in the Fall and a Student Choreographed State Showcase in the Spring.

The Fall Festival, itself, is an annual event that brings together high school dance students and educators from across the state of Illinois. The festival provides an opportunity for students to attend master classes, workshops, and performances led by professional dancers and choreographers. The festival typically takes place on a Saturday in the fall and includes a variety of activities, such as classes in ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and other dance styles. The Illinois High School Dance Festival is a great opportunity for high school students to develop their dance skills, learn from experienced professionals, and connect with other dancers from around the state. It also serves as a platform for students to showcase their talents and pursue further opportunities in the field of dance.


Who can participate in the Illinois High School Dance Festival?

The Illinois High School Dance Festival is open to any high school student from public and private schools across the state of Illinois. Typically, students must be in grades 9-12 and enrolled in a dance program at their school to participate. All dance students, including high school performing arts dance companies and athletic dance teams, are welcome to attend. However, the Student Choreography Showcase auditions are limited to performing-arts based high school groups,, not athletic dance teams. All students must be accompanied by a school staff sponsor or chaperone. In addition to student participants, the festival also welcomes high school dance educators who are interested in networking with other educators in the field.


Does a school need to participate in the Student Choreography State Showcase Auditions to be part of the Festival?
Not necessarily. Any high school dance programs and groups can choose to bring their students to the Fall Festival regardless whether or not they would like to audition for the Student Choreography State Showcase in the Spring. We also would hope that schools that auditioned for the Showcase and were not selected would still allow their students to come and be a part of this wonderful day and support the all-state dancers and schools. The Student Choreography State Showcase is a great opportunity for high school dance students to showcase their own original choreography and receive feedback from professional dancers and choreographers. Participating in the showcase can be a valuable learning experience and can help students develop their choreographic skills. We encourage all performing-arts based high school dance groups to audition in the Spring!

Is the Festival at the same location each year with the same master teachers?

The festival invites different master teachers and choreographers each year to lead workshops and master classes. These professionals are typically selected based on their expertise in a particular dance style or area of dance education, and the festival organizers strive to offer a diverse range of workshops and classes that cater to a variety of interests and skill levels. Master teachers are selected upon availability and teacher/student feedback.  It is not uncommon to have the same teachers from year to year.  In fact, some master teachers from Chicago-based companies such as Chicago Dance Crash, Desueño Dance, Inaside Chicago Dance, Joel Hall Dancers, and Giordano Dance Chicago have become traditional figures at the Festival due to their contributions to the dance community in Chicago and abroad.

The location and master teachers of the Illinois High School Dance Festival may vary from year to year. The festival has been held at various locations throughout the state of Illinois in the past. Although there are schools that have the space capacity and resources to host it often, the Festival Committee does try to rotate locations at least every other year so that students get to experience different schools and how their programs operate. If you believe your school would be interested in hosting the Fall Festival, please contact us so future plans can be made; we would LOVE to offer any school the opportunity to host!

Is there a minimum amount of students required from a school to bring in order to participate in the festival?
There is no minimum amount of students that a school must bring in order to participate in the Illinois High School Dance Festival. Schools are welcome to bring as many or as few students as they would like, depending on their interest and availability. All dance students, of any level or experience, are welcome, groups small or large.

Please contact ihsdancefestival@gmail.com for any questions, details, and/or interest!

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