From Voting Projections to 'The Nutcracker' Digital Projections, There’s Dancing in the Streets

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When the results of the 2020 presidential election were announced, cities across the country (and around the world) became the settings for spontaneous dance parties. Chicago was no different. From the Loop to Rogers Park and beyond, Windy City residents breathed a collective sigh of relief and kicked up their heels with glee as they literally jumped for joy!

And the jubilation need not stop with election week since apolitical projections of The Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will grace Art on theMART’s 2.5 acre river-façade through the end of the year. The festive offerings can be watched from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street, where viewers may wish to dance along.

Presented in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Art on theMART presentation showcases the dance classic on a larger-than-life scale. To date, it’s the most expansive permanent digital art projection on the planet.

“Though the holiday season will look a lot different this year, we are thrilled that The Nutcracker will be presented on one of the largest public canvases in the world, and we look forward to offering virtual ways for families to enjoy the hope, optimism, and joy that this wonderful holiday tradition represents,” says Greg Cameron, Joffrey Ballet president and chief executive officer.

“Art on theMART is the perfect opportunity to bring The Nutcracker to the city of Chicago,” adds Ashley Wheater MBE, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet. “We see this presentation as a tribute to the city, and a celebration of the optimistic spirit that allowed Chicago to rise from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire and produce the World’s Columbian Exposition 127 years ago.”

The newly animated digital display features Tchaikovsky’s famous score and Christopher Wheeldon’s innovative choreography. It also includes iconic paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as works from Arts of Life’s City Circle Heart, which represents artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“The Nutcracker is a unifying experience, and we are grateful that Art on theMART gives us an opportunity to celebrate one of the world’s most beloved holiday traditions and the tenacity that enables Chicagoans to overcome even the most extraordinary challenges,” continues Wheater.

The free 30-minute presentations run from November 12 through December 30, at 7 p.m. and 7:30 pm. The opening night projection will also be livestreamed on Facebook, Thursday, November 12.

“The Nutcracker is arguably one the most well-known stories in the world,” notes former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “What makes The Joffrey’s version so special is that it’s also the story of Chicago. As a Chicagoan, I was proud to see the world premiere in 2016. Four years later, I’m even more proud that it continues to bring people together, especially now, at a time when we need it most. This underscores the importance of public art and why we need to keep it thriving.”

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Image: Christopher Wheeldon’s “The Nutcracker” performed by the The Joffrey Ballet. Courtesy of Art on theMART. Photo by Cheryl Mann.

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to serve as Arts & Culture Editor on our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.