Dance as a Learning Platform

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Funding Received: 2012
Chicago, IL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
July 19, 2012

Using dance as a learning platform for collaboration, innovation, leadership and growth, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will translate skills inherent in making new dances to a community of early- stage technology companies.

ArtPlace spoke with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Executive Director Jason Palmquist about Hubbard Street’s exciting new collaboration with 1871, a new community-led tech center in Chicago.

ARTPLACE: What is your elevator pitch when you describe your project to people?

PALMQUIST: The arts have learned a great deal from business, but we believe there’s plenty that business can learn from the arts.  Collaboration, innovation, creativity, feedback – these are just a few key business concepts that are inherent in the arts.  Using dance as a learning platform, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is supporting the creation of a vibrant community of early-stage technology companies populating 1871.

ARTPLACE: An important goal for ArtPlace is to increase vibrancy in communities throughout the country.  How do you expect to increase vibrancy at 1871 and in Chicago?

PALMQUIST: We are creating an ambitious new model for linking the arts and business together. Hubbard Street artists and consultants from ClearSpace and Strategos have been working to create a learning platform that explores concepts such as team-building, innovation, and collaboration through dance and Hubbard Street’s creative process.   We’re excited to bring this project to 1871, a center newly created for Chicago’s burgeoning tech start-up community.

Hubbard Street artists will inhabit 1871 for nine months of immersive programming, which will help make 1871 not only a place where people are working together, yet also a place that comes alive because of the arts.  We believe that through this project, companies will discover new strategies that lead to job creation and growth.  Plus, we hope these entrepreneurs will be able to leverage this dynamic collaboration with a world-renowned arts organization to draw attention (in the press and otherwise) to their work.

The business practices of start-up companies, especially in the tech sector, are often emulated by others, so we expect this collaboration with Hubbard Street will “trickle up” to other industries, inspiring them to value and partner with arts organizations.  The curriculum we develop for this project will be used as a template by Hubbard Street to collaborate with other companies in the future, leading to new partnerships as well as a new earned revenue stream.

Now is the ideal time for this project as it will coincide directly with the timeline for Chicago’s new Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition plan, which seeks to make Chicago the most successful big city in America with the arts playing a major role in the realization of this objective.  It doesn’t hurt that Mayor Emanuel was a dancer himself and has ambitions for Chicago to become a dance capital.  This project also coincides with the launch of 1871, named after the year of the Chicago Fire. The name was chosen to reflect the spirit of renewal and innovation that rebuilt Chicago.  Our current energy will take our city vibrantly into the future.