A 2005 graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Rachel Damon creates, designs, and manages live performance. She has performed and presented internationally, as the Artistic Director of Synapse Arts, with Director Erica Mott, and in dance films such as Nothing to See/Hear by Nadia Oussenko. At the start of her performance career, Damon had the honor of appearing in Chicago, Toronto, Minneapolis, and regional colleges as a company member with both Breakbone Dance Company and The Anatomical Theatre.
As a recipient of the Alfred P. Weisman Foundation Award in Choreography, Damon co-founded the interdisciplinary Synapse Arts in 2004 to support the making of original work by developing the artists themselves. Through residencies at The Chicago Cultural Center and commissioned works, Synapse has grown into a company which presents bi-annually in Chicago and regularly on tour. Damon is honored to have been supported by The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Artists Coalition, Links Hall, The Morrison-Shearer Foundation, The Chicago Park District, The CliffDwellers Arts Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, MetLife New Stages For Dance, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Ragdale Foundation, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and many others.
Along with her collaborator Dan Mohr, Damon curates the series collision_theory, which brings together improvising dancers and musicians in blind-date performances. Damon and Mohr began their work together with Stridulate: hybrid forms in voice and movement, named one of NewCity’s “Top Ten Performances of the Year” and made possible by an Experimental Sound Studio CROSSCUT Grant. This acclaimed performance piece went on to be presented at a symposium at The Roy Hart International Arts Centre in France, and the co-directors became Links Hall Artistic Associates in 2009.
Featured in Dance Spirit Magazine for her self-made career that bridges onstage and backstage, Rachel currently works as Production Stage Manager and Lighting Director with the three-time Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, as Adjunct Faculty at Columbia College Chicago, and as the Apprentice and Touring Programs Manager at Links Hall. Her Production and Design work has appeared in world-renowned venues such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Australia), The Fine Arts Center (Mexico City), The University of Texas at Austin, The NeoFuturarium, The Goodman Theater, and The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
DURING THE CDF YEAR
Rachel Damon's project Factor Ricochet was a motion laboratory for gender expression. The ensemble's research looked at how body states are experienced, projected, and perceived. Taking into account personal experience and scholarly study, Damon investigated the body and voice as a soloist and in collaboration with performers Ni'Ja Whitson, Adriana Durant, Marc Macaranas, and Movement Coach Kristina Fluty.
Factor Ricochet premiered at Holstein Park in November, 2011
Currently, Rachel is developing new work that blends her movement research with the large-scale textiles she creates. Her experience in stage design, knitting, and dance are informing one another as she undertakes various artist residencies to devise new material.
Having just celebrated the tenth season of Synapse Arts, Rachel is looking forward to a calmer, more reflective year.