The Pivot Arts Festival returns to the Edge Theater in June

Opera theater

Pivot Arts, an adventurous and multi-disciplinary performance hub, presents the Pivot Arts Festival 2022, highlighting artists’ resilience and ability to “pivot” during the pandemic into film/video works and structured live events of creative way. Taking place June 10-18, 2022 at The Edge Theater complex, 5451 N. Broadway in Chicago, the festival features film/video, live performances, work in progress and community gatherings. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, April 26 at

Julieanne Ehre, Pivot Arts Director and Festival Curator, said, “Pivot Arts has always been innovative and forward-thinking throughout the pandemic by creating imaginative programming in digital and live spaces. For the 2022 festival, we are amplifying artists who have also shown creativity and resilience in creating artistic works during these difficult two years.”

The schedule to date follows. Pivot Arts may add other events in the coming weeks.

Friday June 10 at 8 p.m.
Co-presented by Pivot Arts and Full Spectrum Features
Produced by Diet Coke & Cake Productions
Designed and created by Alex Grelle

This short film makes its live debut to kick off the festival and Gay Pride month, complete with a live song and dance performance. Inhabiting the world of Alex Grelle’s VHS collection, in what has been dubbed “a virtual homage to the obsessive age,” grelley. is an extension and restatement of the larger-than-life The Grelley Duvall Show. Grelle and the cast, including Ike Holter, Nnämdi, Hot Kitchen Collective, Alyssa Gregory, Mary Williamson, Darling Shear, Erin Kilmurray, Glamhag, Tia Monet Greer, and more, weave their way through a stream of movie parodies linked by song and dance.

Alex Grelle is a Chicago-based queer artist who creates heartfelt comedy shows that feature performances and artists who have impacted his life. Bringing together the worlds of music and dance through film, Grelle’s past live performances have been cult hits, selling out Steppenwolf, Chopin and The Hideout.

Saturday June 11 at 8 p.m.
In/Motion and Pivot Arts present dance shorts from local Chicago artists who have created digital works during the pandemic, including:

The Real Dance, Episode 2: Same Same But Different, co-created and co-directed by Nora Sharp and Grace McCants. The Real Dance: A Micro Reality TV Show, Episode 1, commissioned by and premiering in virtual space as part of the 2021 Pivot Arts Festival, is an intimate and humorous portrait of the personalities and stories of contemporary dancers and their collaborators. Episode 2 explores the dynamics of co-dependency and interdependence at the intersection of relationships and artistic creation.

Motion/Pictures Dance Project presents A Tale of Two, co-created by Princess Grace Award-winning choreographer Rena Butler and co-directed by Talia Koylass; photograph by Ashley Battle. Brimming with emotional, intellectual and artistic tension, this new work is both Butler’s love letter to his hometown of Chicago and a compelling portrait of a young person’s life in a city torn apart by violence. This dance film features the entire Hubbard Street Dance Chicago company, as well as collaborations with filmmaker Koylass, composer Darryl Hoffman, and singers Shawnee Dez and Alencia Norris.

Glass Pictures presents Lonely, a film by Wills Glasspiegel; music by Jana Rush and DJ Paypal; dance by Erin Kilmurray, Darling Shear, Steelo Lofton and Diamond Hardiman; produced by Planet Mu. Lonely depicts slow motion dancers at night along a deserted Lower Wacker Drive and the Chicago River. Artist and filmmaker Glasspiegel recently created Footnotes, a video projection for Art on theMART featured in The New York Times and dubbed “Public Art of the Year” of 2021 by TimeOut.

A work by Hannah Santistevan, a multidisciplinary conceptual artist specializing in dance performance, completes the program.

Sunday June 12
Pivot Arts spotlights Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab artists and digital dance grant recipients with a work-in-progress screening and a screening of films made by local artists.
4 p.m.: Performance of work in progress
6:00 p.m.: Networking opportunity for the Chicago dance community
7 p.m.: Screenings of digital works by Chicago artists including:

  • Visita a Nuestros Muertos (Visit to Our Dead) by Sildance/AcroDanza, created and choreographed by Silvita Diaz Brown and directed by Alexandra Yasinovsky. This dance film features four dancers portraying four personal stories about a deceased loved one and honoring them with Day of the Dead traditions.
  • Archangels presents Shaping Lens, written and directed by Annie Franklin, produced, filmed and edited by Kenny Washington. This four-part docuseries focuses on an artist’s process in creating a successful dance film.
  • Moods of Nāyikā, created by drag performer Abhijeet and dancer Ashwaty Chennat. This work is a celebration of the nāyikā – the heroine – which is etched in ancient Indian literature. In eight dynamic episodes, the ashta nāyikā emerges with agency, and all at once uncertain, sexy and powerful. This work is an explosion of South Asian queer art and the rising local digital performance scene.
  • Afterimage created by Zach Nicol; cinematography by Julia Pello. An afterimage produces the illusion of a visual form in the dark, the impression of a vivid sensation retained after the end of the stimulus, or the trace of a sudden conclusion, rendered in the full depth of black. Obscured, a gesture, full of constraint, conscious, or unconscious, in a saturated visual and sound field, a movement. What figures linger in the dark, after the light, in color, outside the image?

Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m.
OBLIGATE! an opera in three acts
Created and directed by Anna Martine Whitehead with Ayanna Woods
Composed by Philip Armstrong, Angel Bat Dawid, Ayanna Woods
Performers including dancers, musicians and singers include Jenn Po’Chop Freeman, Rahila Coats, Brooke Skye, Teiana Davis, Angel Bat Dawid, Tramaine Parker, Daniella Pruitt and others.

FORCE!, a new opera in development, depicts a group of women and women of color who, while waiting to enter a prison, find a memory-erasing mold leaking from the waiting room toilet and realize that their future may depend on their entry into prison. prison behind the waiting room wall. OBLIGATE! will be in residence to develop works throughout the festival, and a public presentation with artists and creators Anna Martine Whitehead will take place on Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. Whitehead works with Chicago artist Ayanna Woods, Grammy-nominated performer and songwriter, and bandleader.

Friday June 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday June 18 at 7 p.m.
Beaten track
Movement and choreography by Ashwaty Chennat
Percussion and musical composition by Alvin Cobb, Jr.
Beaten Path is a three-movement dance suite that fuses Carnatic (associated with South Indian) and Black American jazz influences, creating a passionate and innovative blend of contemporary music and dance styles. Performance reflects mental health pathways in various families.

Friday June 17 and Saturday June 18 at 8 p.m.
Rosina: Remixed!
Presented by Chicago Fringe Opera and BraveSoul Movement
Music by KF Jacques and ‘Kechi
Text by Mikey at P
Words from the artists
Directed by George Cederquist
Choreographic movement by Kelsa “K-Soul” Robinson and Daniel “Bravemonk” Haywood

The Rosina Project, the “hip-h’opera” inspired by Rossini’s Barber of Seville that sold out at the 2019 Pivot Arts Festival, returns as Rosina: Remixed!. The artists share hit tracks and dance numbers from the original production as well as new material from their recent solo adventures in hip hop, beat boxing and more.

The Pivot Arts Festival 2022 will take place from June 10 to 18
at The Edge Theater complex, 5451 N. Broadway, Chicago.
Tickets go on sale April 26 at
Admission ranges from free to $35.
All programming is subject to change.

Pivot Arts amplifies adventurous artists by creating and presenting contemporary, cutting-edge works in all performance genres. The organization brings together diverse people through artistic experiences presented in unique ways, often in unusual spaces, and develops and produces new work throughout the year, culminating in a festival of contemporary performance. Pivot Arts has adapted its Live Talk series to a new platform, the Pivot Arts Podcast, which includes short performances, interviews with artists and experts, and a featured music artist.
Pivot Arts is funded in part by FLATS, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Arts Council, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce SSA #26, and the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.