Monthly Archives: March 2010



Chicago Dancemakers Forum announces the grant recipients of the 2010 CDF Lab Artist Program, with four awards of $15,000 plus 12 months of professional development support for choreographers Rachel Bunting, Rachel Damon, Meida Teresa McNeal and Erica Mott.  The Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) is a catalyst for innovation and a means to increase dynamic interaction among Chicago’s dancemakers.

CDF is the only artistic programming forum of its kind dedicated to nurturing artistic advancement for new dance development in Chicago. Launched in 2003, CDF serves the ongoing need to support the research and development of new directions in dance. The program is designed to cultivate artistic exploration and growth by funding dance artists in their creative process.  CDF also hosts workshops, work-in-progress feedback sessions, and critical forums and discussions for the broader Chicago dance community. CDF is led by a consortium composed of two independent dance artists, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, and Links Hall.

Ginger Farley, a former grantee and current consortium member proclaimed: “CDF offers a deep validation for artistic process and experimentation; it’s more than just money.”  Lab Artists are offered broad support for in-depth research and development periods leading to the production of a new dance work of their own. These three distinct phases of dedicated research, development, and production, are key elements to the CDF program. The support system includes regular discussions with consortium members, visiting artists, and the other grantees, in order to advance and stimulate their artistry. As a result, this program has created uniquely strong relationships for Chicago choreographers.

The four 2010 Lab Artists have been identified for their outstanding creative vision. Each artist has identified a unique path of creative investigation leading to a new public project.

Rachel Bunting is an independent dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of The Humans. For her CDF project, Bunting will create Paper Shoes, immersing herself in nostalgic processes to create a series of vignettes, rooted in the aesthetics of a contemporary fairytale. Bunting will explore connected themes of rites of passage, memory, and sexuality, by way of image, metaphor and object.

Rachel Damon is a multi-media artist, dancer, and artistic director of Synapse Arts Collective. Damon’s project, Factor Ricochet: Embodying the Gender Spectrum (working title) is a dance study of gender expression as exhibited by the human body, taking into account personal experiences and scholarly research. Damon will investigate the body and voice as a soloist and in cooperation with others to travel the spectrum of gender options.

Meida Teresa McNeal is a choreographer, ethnographer and performance scholar who uses the medium of dance to tell stories about communities. Her proposed piece is The Sweetgoddess Project, which explores the movement principles and aesthetic ideas of Chicago house music and dance culture through the experiences of women of color. The Sweetgoddess Project places women squarely at the forefront of this often male dominated form, embracing the presence of femininity, community, sensuality, pleasure and empowerment as integrated components of Chicago house culture.

Erica Mott is a choreographer, dance theater maker, and puppeteer whose work is particularly informed by observation of specific environments. Mott will create Dancing Forms, an evening length performance emerging from a deep investigation into and application of object manipulation, puppetry, and principles of energetic presence to create new and integrated dance choreography. Dancing Forms will include collaborations between Mott and internationally celebrated artists Sara Shelton Mann, Clare Dolan and Royal De Luxe.

Past CDF grant recipients are: in 2009, Julia Rae Antonick, Lin Hixson, Kevin Iega Jeff, Atalee Judy; 2008, Jan Bartoszek, Peter Carpenter, Jonathan Meyer, Nadia Oussenko; in 2007, Matthew Hollis, Ayako Kato, Nicole LeGette, Julia Mayer, in 2006, Darrell Jones, Michelle Kranicke, Margaret Morris, Molly Shanahan; in 2005, Asimina Chremos, Margi Cole, Carrie Hanson, Julia Rhoads; in 2004, Lane Alexander, Shirley Mordine, Hema Rajagopalan, Eduardo Vilaro; and in 2003, Ginger Farley, Jimmy Payne, Jr., Sheldon B. Smith, Erica Wilson-Perkins.

Public Programming: CDF also conducts a series of public workshops and roundtable discussions to invigorate and benefit the broader Chicago dance community, including informal works-in-progress showings, artistic development workshops, and critical forums and discussions. Engaging and educating audiences, and each other, on how to discuss, understand, and critique movement work is at the core of CDF’s mission. Programs are led by visiting artists, cultural organizers, and local artists and scholars. CDF public programs are open to the general public, as well as interested Chicago artists, and are offered for free or at an affordable cost.

During spring 2010, CDF is extending its ongoing partnership with Silverspace Studio to produce CDF/Silverspace Salons, a free, informal series of salon-style artist talks with local and national dance artists committed to pushing their creative approach forward. Typically held on the first Monday of every month, each conversation focuses on an invited artist’s process in making movement-based work. The next CDF/Silverspace Salon features a conversation with interdisciplinary artists Mark Jeffrey and Judd Morrissey, discussing the build process for The Precession, a performance, installation, and digital poem inspired by New Deal-era architecture which will premiere at the Hyde Park Art Center in December, 2010. This event is scheduled for Monday, March 22,from 7:00-9:00pm at Silverspace Studio, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago.

For more information about the new 2010 Lab Artists, the current 2009 Lab Artists who will be completing their projects in the coming months, and workshops and the monthly discussions series Silverspace Salons, go to, or contact Heather Hartley, CDF Project Director at 773-891-4785 or

The Chicago Dancemakers Forum is supported by the Alphawood Foundation, the Weasel Fund, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance, and a number of generous individuals.

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heather hartley
project director
chicago dancemakers forum

The Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) supports the creative growth of Chicago dance artists, funding the research and development process for new projects, and hosting workshops and discussions for the broader Chicago dance community. Learn more at

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