Hedwig Dances

Chicago, Illinois

Story Overview

For a cultural institution that thrives on provoking human connection through dance, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Hedwig Dances especially hard. The company creates, performs and cultivates dance theater that explores cultures and ideas, ultimately creating work which is visually exciting and emotionally rich. For 35 years Hedwig Dances has stood the test of time, working with a wide range of world-class artists, across disciplines and media, creating and performing compelling contemporary dance with soaring imagery, original music, and movement that inspires human connection.

In March, as Hedwig Dances faced the prospect of celebrating its 35th anniversary without the patrons and artists that help the company thrive, executive director and founder, Jan Bartoszek knew she needed help to keep her company alive and meaningfully connected with its audiences. The lack of revenue from spring performances and fundraising events made it impossible for Bartoszek to continue to pay her dancers and her business expenses.

After missing out on a loan during the first round of funding, the company was referred to one of CRF’s community partners, IFF, and the two organizations worked together to ensure that Hedwig Dances was able to obtain a PPP loan during the second round. With the loan, and with the dancers back to work, Hedwig Dances can continue with virtual rehearsals while launching a series of successful online dance classes for dancers and movers of all abilities. Bartoszek has also choreographed various shadow dances that allow dancers to keep social distance, and the company is accepting the limits of the COVID-19 challenge as an opportunity to go deeper with creative ideas for virtualizing both performances and educational programs. Hedwig Dances is an accomplished, inventive company, poised for its next chapter, thanks to CRF and IFF.

People don’t realize how important the arts are to the community – for the economy and the soul. We didn’t think that we would get a PPP loan, but IFF and CRF believed in us and our mission. We couldn’t have done it without them.

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