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CHICAGO DANCES IN THE MILLENNIUM WITH THE MILLY.

CHICAGO--"I want something unifying that will bring everyone in the city together at midnight on New Year's Eve as the new millennium is ushered in," says Lois Weisberg, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. To this end, Weisberg commissioned choreographer Harrison McEIdowney to create a new dance, called the "Milly." McEldowney, witty and imaginative, came up with a jaunty line dance expressing the tone of the city in clever gestures and steps, set to music by Wade Hubbard. Representatives of the city's dance community attended a Milly preview in July at the Cultural Center, where McEIdowney performed his made-to-order steps and a score of pros joined in.

A somewhat simplified Milly was unveiled for the general public the following week. McEIdowney had prepared several groups of professional dancers representing a number of dance persuasions, including jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, and folk dance. Each group performed the Milly in its own style. The professional teams then came together as an ensemble and energetically danced the Milly in the simplified form geared to "just everybody." The audience was invited to join and in minutes the Milly was a joyous melee, a sample of the kind of unity instigator Weisberg hopes the Milly will inspire on this New Year's Eve.

Commissioner Weisberg has involved the Chicago dance community in spreading the Milly. Dance instructors provided free Milly lessons throughout the summer and fall at locations across the city. An instructional video featuring award-winning actor-dancer Hinton Battle (a star of Ragtime) is available, and a lesson on doing the Milly is online, in the Chicago Millennium Celebration Web site at www.Chicago2001.org.

Chicago's dance community has been invited to participate in the millennium celebration beyond just teaching the Milly. On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day there will be dance performances and related events throughout the city.
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Article Details
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Author:Barzel, Ann
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Dec 1, 1999
Words:308
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