Hanna Brictson and Dancers Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Dance for Life changed the trajectory of Hanna Brictson’s career. She performed in the annual charity event on multiple occasions as a company member of River North Dance Chicago, but she’ll be in the audience this year, watching the debut performance of Hanna Brictson and Dancers.

“I had created this piece, and I submitted it to Dance for Life on a whim, assuming it wouldn’t happen,” says Brictson of the fast, feel-good number performed by an ensemble of 36 dancers. “During the process, they wanted to know the name of my dance company, but I didn’t have a dance company. Now it’s a thing, and I really want to run with this.”

A professional dancer in Chicago for 14 years, Brictson has long had a passion for choreographing, mentoring, and directing. She plans to use her company to develop work that will help younger audiences appreciate the art form. “I want to do events in social clubs, bars, restaurants, coffee shops,” says Brictson. “Get into the scene and put dance right in front of people, because the younger generation is so attracted to convenience.”

Now in its 27th year, Dance for Life brings together local dance companies to raise money for the Dancers’ Fund, which provides financial assistance to dance professionals with critical health issues. Brictson is thrilled to see her company making its debut alongside major players like the Joffrey Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

“People talk about Dance for Life like it’s the best show of the whole year,” says Brictson. “We all take a ballet class together and you get to dance with every company. It feels like a family, very welcoming and warm. We do what we do because we love it and we want people to see that, to feel that.”   v