12 artists partake in Chicago Dance Lab

Chicago Dancemakers ForumIn late January, The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) and the Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) announced the 12 Chicago-based artists who had been hand-selected to participate in an exclusive 10-day dance lab set for July 29–August 9.


The dance lab is part of the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) of NEFA’s National Dance Project (NDP), which provides professional growth for dance artists in regions across the U.S. through programs designed to help them clarify goals, develop strategies, hone public presentation skills, and strengthen partnerships between themselves and presenters. 


“NEFA’s work with the Chicago dance community in developing this RDDI has been particularly rewarding, and the generous early response from local foundations makes it possible to move forward,” said NEFA Deputy Director Jane Preston. “We are excited about building more connections and opportunities for these artists, as well as strengthening Chicago dance artists’ connections to each other and to the national dance field.”


A national panel selected 12 artists from a highly competitive pool of 36 applicants who represent a broad range of career stages and dance disciplines, including: African, butoh, burlesque, contemporary, dance on film, improvisation, interdisciplinary and tap, representing multiple neighborhoods across the greater Chicago area.


The 2016 RDDI Chicago Dance Lab Artists are: Julia Antonick of Khecari; Tosha Ayo Alston of Ayodele Drum and Dance; Jan Bartoszek of Hedwig Dances; independent movement maker Jessica Ruth Cornish; Jenn Freeman of Po’Chop; Kristina Isabelle of Kristina Isabelle Dance; Ayako Kato of Art Union Humanscape; Jonathan Meyer of Khecari; butoh-inspired and site-specific performance artist Erica Mott; Chicago native and traveling tapper Nico Rubio; Molly Shanahan of Mad Shak; and former CDF lab artist Sara Zalek.


The panel consisted of five artists and presenters from around the country, including: Rob Bailis, associate director at Cal Performances in San Francisco; Jennifer Calienes, independent consultant based in Boston; Laura Elaine Ellis, executive director of the African and African American Performing Arts Coalition in San Francisco; Chuck Helm, director of Performing Arts at Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio; and Christopher K. Morgan, artistic director of Christopher K. Morgan & Artists in Washington D.C.


The Chicago Dance Lab will present open workshops and events to the Chicago dance community in 2016 and 2017. For further information, visit www.chicagodancemakers.org.


Photo by William Frederking.