Joel Hall

The Legacy of Joel Hall: Past, Present, and Future

Joel Hall and Jacki Sinclair
Joel Hall and Jacki Sinclair

Joel Hall is a story teller, both in his choreography and in his recent conversation with Jacki Sinclair presented on Saturday, April 21 as part of Chicago Dance Month. “The Legacy of Joel Hall” brought together family, friends, fans, current and former dancers and students for an in-depth look at Hall’s choreographic career. From his first piece, My Love, performed by the company he founded in 1974, to his most recent, Anja: the Unexpected, Hall’s works highlight the dynamic interaction of dance, theatre, music, and design. He describes his signature jazz style as a combination of all that his many teachers taught him—among others, Chicago modern dance icon Nana Shineflug, revue choreographer Al Gossan, ballet pedagogue Ed Parish, jazz legend Pepsi Bethel, and Alvin Ailey associates Thelma Hill and Denise Jefferson. Now 69, Hall looks forward to assuming the role of emeritus director, handing over the day-to-day operations to Sinclair, although he still plans to teach and to choreograph. The company is actively thinking about legacy—documenting Hall’s signature style and pedagogy, organizing the company archives, even considering a certification program. Toward the end of the conversation, just before current dancers performed “A Train” from the 1979 work Nightwalker, Hall gestured toward the newly named street Joel Hall Way, reassuring us all that his legacy will continue in Chicago dance. ​

-Susan Manning

Joel Hall Way


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