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Elgin's Going Dutch Festival showcases work of women

Wisconsin artist Gina T’ai returns to the Going Dutch Festival as one of two commissioned artists. T’ai will premiere her commission at the festival, which runs June 21-23 in downtown Elgin.

Be on the lookout for artists on the move in the streets of Elgin.

“There’s going to be a roving improv workshop. So Friday and Saturday, late afternoon and evening, a group of artists is going to take whoever’s involved in that workshop on the road and they’ll be doing some improvisation at different sites around Elgin,” Going Dutch Festival Artistic Director Erin Rehberg said. “I look forward to seeing how that plays out as well. I love seeing that in action on the streets of my hometown.”


The workshop is just one of many activities taking place June 21-23 as part of the ninth annual Going Dutch Festival, which celebrates the female voice in dance, music, theater and visual art.

“It started about 10 years ago when I was artistic director of the dance company called Core Project, based in Chicago. We were finding that so many female choreographers and artists were being overlooked, and bigger festivals often curated in or were run by male artists or male producers. We wanted to do something about that and decided to create a dance festival that was just about the celebration of the female voice,” Rehberg said. “It’s not all females performing, but it’s all female-made work. As that developed over time, it started to include different disciplines of performance as well as visual art and to include those who self-identify as female.”


“We moved out here when we opened Side Street Studio Arts and Side Street took over the festival and found it to be a wonderful place to host the festival,” Rehberg said. “It’s a much less saturated market, and there’s a lot of local support and involvement in it, and for that it’s a really wonderful opportunity for these artists and the festival itself.”

Now in its third year in Elgin, Going Dutch offers a variety of performances, workshops and exhibits. A full schedule of events is available at Typically about 300 artists participate over the course of the three days. Attendance grows each year, with more than 1,000 people attending in 2018.

“We hope to be at that or more this year. We’ve moved to mostly smaller venues this year,” Rehberg said. “A lot of the work that artists submitted felt like it needed to be seen up close and kind of not give the audience the ability to sit in the back row and separate themselves from the work that much.”

Along with Side Street Studio Art, festival venues include nearby Imago, Martini Room and Eastern Groove Studios. Most of the performing venues will be in the round to see the performance from different angles, Rehberg said.

A $25 Festival Pass provides entrance into all six workshops and 11 performances over the course of the three days. Individual day passes, good for all events on that particular day, are $10. The cost increases to $30 for the Festival Pass and $12 per day pass when purchased at the door.

“If you only have time for a workshop, you can show up at a workshop and throw in a suggested $5 donation and attend that as well,” Rehberg said.

All of the artists participating receive a stipend for their work. In addition, this year Going Dutch commissioned two artists to premiere work at the festival: Erin Kouwe from Tennessee and Gina T’ai of Wisconsin. This is T’ai’s third year at the festival, but the first her work is commissioned for it.

“Her work is always really exciting,” Rehberg said. “It’s relevant and humorous and has a pop culture spin all the while having a serious conversation about things going on in the world, so I always look forward to her work, and this year is no exception.”


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No performance is longer than 90 minutes, with the majority lasting about an hour.

“Most performances have three to eight artists involved, meaning there could be up to 25-30 performers involved …” Rehberg said. “And you will see work that runs the gamut from modern dance to flamenco to tap. Some will have live music, some will have spoken word. We have theatrical performances that are straight plays, comedy. You’ll see a variety of work within the dance world and then extending to the interdisciplinary modes within each performance.”

Going Dutch Festival

When: June 21-23

Where: Side Street Studio Arts, 15 Ziegler Court, and downtown Elgin

Tickets: $25-$30 Festival Pass; $10-$12 day pass