The Joel Hall Dancers have a long, rich history beginning with the company’s inception in 1974. Over the years, JHD has performed both locally and globally, dazzling audiences in venues throughout the Chicagoland area, across the country, and overseas. Joel has also shared his choreographic gifts throughout the arts community, working with theater and film productions in the Chicago area. Below are some major events in the history of Joel Hall Dancers and Center, a division of Chicago City Theatre Company.
September 1974: Chicago City Theatre Company co-founded by Joel Hall, comprising the Joel Hall Dancers, Chicago City Theatre, and New School for the Performing Arts.
“I started my own dance company because I have a personal dance statement to make. I can work in other mediums, such as ballet, but my message has to be conveyed according to my own personality. Audiences can relate to that.” – Joel Hall, Chicago Sun-Times, December 11, 1974
March 7-9, 1975: JHD’s first concert series at Francis W. Parker Auditorium; works premiered include Space by Joel Hall, Cyclic Conversion by Anna Czajun, My Love by Joel Hall, and Shades of Blue by Joel Hall.
December 14, 1976: Joel Hall Dancers perform Bus Stop on WTTW-TV.
Spring 1980: JHD performs Chain of Fools, a jazz ballet choreographed by Ruth Page at Francis W. Parker Auditorium April 25-27 and May 2-4.
“My company and I are ecstatic over the chance to work with Miss Page.” – Joel Hall, press release
Fall 1983: Joel Hall Dancers in residence at the Joyce Theatre in mid-town Manhattan. Premiere of Erutuf II by Joel Hall.
“Theirs is a spontaneous response . . . it’s natural . . . not imposed . . . they don’t have to write a review . . .” – Joel Hall, July 1983, on his “ultimate critic,” the audience
“Come the week of November 22nd at the Joyce Theatre, we’ll hear what New Yorkers have to say. We’re very excited about this tour.” – Joel Hall, July 1983
1984-85 season: JHD begins its season with a five-concert series at the Theatre of Western Springs, then returns to the Joyce (NYC) in December. Following the company’s season at the Civic Theatre, the company performs in Scotland at Glasgow’s MayFest. JHD premieres Caliente, Por Favor by Joel Hall, and Axial Motion by Laurie Sanda.
1985: Joel Hall choreographs the “football dance” for Wildcats, starring Goldie Hawn and filmed in Chicago.
April 1986: JHD presents a signed performance (geared toward a hearing-impaired audience) at the Civic Theatre.
November 1986: JHD performs at the Stranmills Theatre in Belfast.
December 1986: JHD performs in the Netherlands, in Rotterdam and in Amsterdam.
October 1988: JHD performs at the Mitchell theatre in Glasgow and at The Playhouse in Liverpool.
Fall 1989: The Joel Hall Dancers tour overseas, performing in the United Kingdom and the now-former Soviet Union.
October 1991: Joel Hall choreographs for Pegasus Players’ revival of Duke Ellington’s musical Jump For Joy.
August 23, 1993: Fire at School Street Arts Building forces JHD to move from School Street to 422 S. Wabash. No human injuries were reported – however, the company’s cat, Civic, did not survive. Costumes, financial records, mailing lists, videotapes, and legal documents were destroyed. The company eventually relocated to a new space at 934 W. North Ave.
1996: JHDC moves from 934 W. North Ave. to Alphonsus Academy & Center For The Arts at 1439 W. Wellington.
1999: JHDC moves from Alphonsus Academy to 1511 W. Berwyn Ave.
May 2002: JHD Youth Company, established as JHD 1511, debuts in its premiere concert at UIC Theatre.
July 2006: Joel Hall choreographs a piece for the opening ceremonies of Gay Games VII.
September 2010: The Joel Hall Dancers perform at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton, United Kingdom, at the invitation of Merseyside Dance Initiative.