This weekend’s first annual Hope Through Dance Festival, in honor of Laura Maceika, a Chicago Dance Crash member at the time of her death last year, consists of people who were connected to Laura—people she danced with, choreographers who worked with her, as well as students she taught.
The festival was created by her mother, Jeri Pulver, the founder of the Laura Twirls Foundation, which she started when she realized there was not a lot of support systems for the family victims of suicide. “I didn’t find this support and there’s not a lot out there period for suicide. No one wants to talk about it,” says Pulver.
The goals of Laura Twirls are to provide dance scholarships as well as financial support to mental health facilities focusing on assisting the survivors of suicide. “It is a reality. Mental illness, like other diseases, can result in death. I want to educate people and remove the stigma.”
All the dances to are going to be connected to Maceika in some way, including one piece that Laura choreographed. “About nine dancers, who grew up with Laura, are all coming back for this,” Pulver says, including some who are dancing professionally, and others who haven’t danced in years. “The dance community is small and everyone knows everyone, everyone has been great and supportive,” Pulver says. (Ashley Abramowicz)
The Hope Through Dance Festival takes place today, June 25, at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren, Woodstock, (815)338-5300 and tomorrow, June 26, at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport, (773)935-6860. $25, benefits the Laura Twirls Foundation.