About Elevate Chicago Dance

Elevate Chicago Dance is a citywide festival with public performances and studio showings at nine creative spaces around the city, featuring close to forty Chicago choreographers and dance companies.  


Peter Taub

Producer, Elevate Chicago Dance

Ginger Farley

Executive Director, Chicago Dancemakers Forum

Sara Nash

Program Director, Dance, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA)

Cameron Heinze

Coordinator, Elevate Chicago Dance

Shawn Lent

Program Director, Chicago Dancemakers Forum


Elevate Chicago Dance is guided by a Task Force of key stakeholders in Chicago’s independent dance community. Its members and their organizations are:

Margi Cole

Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

Yolanda Cesta Cursach

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 

Heather Hartley

Audience Architects

Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Kay LaSota

Chicago Moving Company

Kimberly Davis

Old Town School of Folk Music

Meida McNeal

Chicago Park District

Roell Schmidt

Links Hall

Steven Wang

High Concept Labs


Chicago Dancemakers Forum elevates the field of dance by being a catalyst for the artistic and professional growth of dancemakers, providing time and resources for in-depth exploration and creation. Through robust interaction among dancemakers and with the public, Chicago Dancemakers Forum builds broad support and appreciation for Chicago’s diverse dance communities. As the signature endeavor in that effort, the Lab Artist Wards program has made $15,000 cash grants to four-to-six dancemakers annually for 14 years. Chicago Dancemakers Forum is the only organization in Chicago dedicated solely to nurturing artistic advancement in dancemaking; it is also the single largest source of support for individual choreographers in the city with an open call process.


The New England Foundation for the Arts invests in the arts to enrich communities in New England and beyond. NEFA accomplishes this by granting funds to artists and cultural organizations; connecting them to each other and their audiences; and analyzing their economic contributions. NEFA serves as a regional partner for the National Endowment for the Arts, New England’s state arts agencies, and private foundations. Learn more at


Now in its third decade, NEFA’s National Dance Project (NDP) is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding for dance. NDP has invested more than $36 million in funding to artists and organizations to strengthen partnerships and bring dance into communities across the U.S. To date, NDP has supported the creation of over 412 new choreographic works that have toured to all 50 states and Washington, DC, reaching over 2.8 million audience members.


NDP launched the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) in 2004 to catalyze existing regional resources and redefine the relationship between artists and organizational partners. Through RDDI, NEFA engages with local partners, funders, and communities to develop and implement professional development programs for choreographers, primarily through an intensive ten-day dance lab. The first pilot project of the RDDI took place in Seattle in August of 2004. Additional regional projects have taken place in the San Francisco Bay area; Portland, Oregon; New England; and Minnesota. Each RDDI site is developed for the unique needs of the nearby dance community through partnerships with regional dance leaders.

Click here to return to the main Elevate Chicago Dance page, with complete event listings.