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Columbia College Chicago
Upon Graduation
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Upon Graduation

The Dance Center prepares students for varied career paths within or beyond the dance field. Graduates of our program have a solid record of continuing activity and success in dance and related fields. Dance Department alumni have gone on to dance in major New York dance companies, teach dance within a full range of institutions from private studios to universities, form their own dance companies and produce their own work, enter dance and performing arts management careers, pursue advanced degrees in dance education, choreography and dance therapy and further their qualifications with certifications in K-12 teaching and somatic practices such as Pilates and massage therapy, and more.

On completion of the program, our graduates are:

* Skilled contemporary dancers with substantial performance abilities
* Able to actively engage in dancemaking through choreography, improvisation and performance
* Knowledgeable concerning historical, cultural, scientific and theoretical information and perspectives on dance
* Knowledgeable concerning dance, pedagogical practices and functional body mechanics
* Able to describe, analyze and interpret dance works

See below to read about what some of our alumni have been up to after graduation.

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Current Listed Alumni:

Hettie Barnhill

Haley Bergschneider

Beth Berta

Bethany Betzler

Kaitlin Bishop

Margi Cole

Shae Colett

Rachel Damon

Kristin Damrow

Maggie Dianovsky

Jenna Dillon

Kevin Gerrard Dirckson

Philip Elson

Madelyn George

Molly Grimm-Leasure

Colleen Halloran

Emmelia Halpern-Givens


Kesha Johnson

John Leonard

Kendall Loyer

Emily Lukasewski

MaryAnn McGovern

Shannon McGuire

Anna Normann

Cheryl Olendzki

Katie Petrunich

Joshua Rackliffe

Cara Sabin

Elizabeth Seim

Shari Simpson

De'Mar Jovan Singleton

Alexandra Subak

Stephanie Velasco

Lauren Warnecke

Elza Ala`Niece Watson

Hettie Barnhill (BA Dance, 2006)

Hettie Barnhill is a dancer, actress, songstress and choreographer.  A 2006 honors graduate of Columbia College, Chicago and twice honored in "Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities".  Hettie has worked in film, television, and performed in top venues all over the world including The Muny, Alvin Ailey Theater, Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, Second City and on Broadway in The Production FELA! a Tony Award Winning & Grammy nominated play.  She received the "Young Artist Scholarship (American Dance Festival)", "The Weisman Grant" for her choreography and the 2011 NAACP  "Top 12 leaders 40 and Under Award in the field of Arts and Culture".

Haley Bergschneider (BA Dance, 2009)

Haley Bergschneider studied choreography at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, graduating in 2009. While at Columbia, she had the opportunity to show work, dance for her peers and faculty members including Erika Wilson-Perkins. Currently, Haley is continuing her movement investigations with the Laboratory Dancers, drawing from concepts of social construction and communal influence. In the past, Bergschneider has displayed pieces at Wright College, Lincoln College, Charnel House and the Dance Center of Columbia College.

Beth Berta (BA Dance, 2009)

Beth Berta has been a dancer and administrative team member with Laboratory Dancers since the company's establishment. In 2009, she received her BA in Dance from Columbia College of Chicago, granting her the fortunate opportunity to both present and perform various works on the Dance Center's stage. Although currently on the companys injured list, Bertas driving curiosity concerning movement has nurtured her interest in improvisation and collaborative processes, which she enjoys implementing in an exploration of social issues. 

Bethany Betzler (BA Dance, 2005)

After graduating, she worked as Associate Director for Synapse Arts Collective, worked at The Dance Center as Student Coordinator, and worked as a personal trainer. In 2006 she moved to L.A. and worked as a freelance writer, danced with Kristin Smiarowski and In/Ex Dance Project, and supported Dance Camera West for a summer as their festival coordinator, and then went back to working as a personal trainer. In 2008 she moved back to her hometown of Detroit and danced with Mack Avenue Dance Company. In the fall of 2009 she moved to London, UK to start an MA course in Creative Enterprise, looking at how to support start-up businesses in the creative industries.

Currently she is writing her dissertation and working with a company called THECUBE, offering consultancy support to various start-up businesses in fashion design, graphic design/branding, architecture, and visual art. 

Kaitlin Bishop (BA Dance)

Kaitlin Bishop is originally from Greenwood, Indiana. She came to Chicago in 2002 to pursue her dream and passion for dance. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a BA in dance, Kaitlin has had the privilege of working and performing with such dance makers as Krenly Guzman, Nicolle Wood, Molly Shanahan, Angie Hauser, Colleen Halloran, Jeff Hancock, and Sandra Kaufman. She is currently a company member with The Dance COLEctive.

Margi Cole (BA Dance, 1990)

Margi Cole graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts, received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a teacher and guest lecturer, she has taught for numerous educational and professional organizations such as the Alabama Ballet, the American College Dance Festival, Ballet Tennessee, Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago, and various other institutions throughout Illinois, the Midwest, and the Southeast. As a choreographer, Margi has been commissioned by The Alabama Ballet, Springfield Ballet Company, Sanspointe DanceCompany, the Birmingham Museum of Art, Girl’s Preparatory School of Tennessee, Beloit College and Columbia College Chicago. 

As a performer, Margi has danced with well-known choreographers and companies, including Ralph Lemon, Joe Goode Performance Group, Liz Burritt, Stephen Koplowitz, Ann Boyd, David Rousseve, Bill Young, Douglas Nielsen, Timothy O’Slynne, Paula Frasz, Colleen Halloran, Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, Mordine & Company Dance Theatre, Renee Wadleigh, and Ellie Klopp.  In August 2011, Cole traveled to Finhorn Scotland to join 19 international performers to participate in the Deborah Hay Solo Commissioning Project.
Awards and acknowledgements of Margi's accomplishments include making the list of “Teachers Rated Excellent by their Students”  four consecutive semesters while on faculty at the University of Illinois, receiving two Dance Center of Columbia College Choreographic Mentoring Scholarships, two Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships, a 2005 Chicago Dancemakers Forum grant, a American Marshall Memorial Fellowship, and winning a Panoply Festival Choreography Award for Contemporary Dance in Huntsville, AL.
Margi is active in the Chicago dance community, serving on grant panels and in public forums as an arts administrator, dancer and choreographer.  In 2011, she was integral in organizing both the Dance/USA and Marshall Forum annual conferences in Chicago.  Cole is currently a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Consortium Member and is part of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship Selection Committee.  She is currently on faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where she has served as a Lecturer and Associate Chair. Most recently she was name on of The Players in New City’s “Fifty People Who Really Perform in Chicago” List.

Shae Colett (BFA Dance, minor in Arts and Entertainment Media Management, 2008)

After Graduating in 2008, Shae moved to San Francisco. Since her moved she has worked with numerous artists including Joe Goode, Flyaway Productions and Here Now Dance Collective. Shae is currently focusing her time at Dancers' Group, a non-profit dance service organization, as Outreach Director (dancersgroup.org) and is going into her third season with LA/SF dance company Holly Johnston/LEDGES AND BONES (ledgesandbones.org). Shae is LEDGES AND BONES Rehearsal Director/Administrative Director/ Dancer and also has the honor of traveling the West Coast along side Holly Johnston to colleges and universities teaching and setting work on students. Shae is currently training to be certified to teach Johnson's "Integrated Functional Kinetics."

Rachel Damon (BA Theatrical Design, Dance Minor, 2005)

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 as a former company member of both The Anatomical Theatre and Breakbone Dance Co. A 2010/11 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist (www.chicagodancemakers.org), she is currently creating the project Factor Ricochet, which premieres in October of 2011. Damon devises improvisation programs with Lisa Gonzales and JulieAnn Graham and with her collision_theory collaborator, Dan Mohr. Damon and Mohr began their work together with Stridulate: hybrid forms in voice and movement, and the pair became Links Hall Artistic Associates in 2009. Featured in Dance Spirit Magazine for her self-made career that bridges onstage and backstage, Rachel works as Production Stage Manager and Lighting Designer with the Grammy-winning ensemble eighth blackbird, at Links Hall, and with many Chicago companies, ranging from the Neo-Futurarium to the MCA. Rachel loves action movies and eats dessert every day. See more information at: www.synapsearts.com

Kristin Damrow (BA Dance, 2009)

Kristin Damrow, received her B.A in dance from Columbia in 2009 and relocated to San Francisco, where she has performed with many independent artists, Dance ceres and Strong Current Dance Company. After a year of residing in the bay area, Damrow launched her own company, Venture Dance Project. Her collaborative work explores the boundaries of human nature to be seen from a unique perspective; melding dance, live music, film and visual art. In addition to performance work, Damrow has been artist in residence of the Carlmont High School Dance Department, and educates young artists at Roco Dance and Fitness, The Y of Berkeley and senior teaching artist with Leap.

Maggie Dianovsky (BA Dance Choreography, 2009)

Maggie Dianovsky is a choreographer, fashion/costume designer, and one of the founding memebers of Laboratory Dancers. Ms. Dianovsky studied fashion design at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago. During her studies as a dance major at Columbia College Chicago she explored costume design for dance. She graduated in 2009 with a BA in Dance Choreography from Columbia College Chicago. Ms. Dianovsky started her line 'Peggy Davis Design' last summer and currently sells pieces from her collection at Clothes Optional.

Jenna Dillon (BA Dance, 2009)

Jenna Dillon is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago earning a Bachelor of Arts in Dance/Choreography with a minor in Entertainment Management. Since graduation, she has continued to perform, choreograph and teach in Chicago. An activist in the arts community, she has developed skills through both theater and concert dance. She has performed works by Bonnie Brooks & Jeff Hancock, Paige Cunningham, Lisa Williamham-Johnson, Twyla Tharp and Matthew Hollis to name a few. Choreographically, Dillon has created works for Rebound Dance Festival, The Open Space Project, Freelance Dance Chicago, and Produce Festival in Chicago, and for Indy Convergence in Indianapolis. Dillon has trained with Deeply Rooted Dance Productions, The Dance COLEctive, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Zephyr Dance. Jenna is in her third season now as Artistic Administrative Assistant and Dance Program Director with Thodos Dance Chicago. Developing her pedagogy skills by teaching dance through studio classes, workshops, master classes, and summer programs, she currently teaches at The Menomonee Club for Boys & Girls, Steps Dance Center, Dancecenter North, McDonalds Dance Academy, and May I Have This Dance.

Kevin Gerrard Dirckson (BA Dance, 2008)

Born and raised in Lake Wales, Florida, Kevin trained in Scottish dance under the direction of the late Dennis Kusy for the Lake Wales Highlander Band. In 2004 Kevin Moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue higher education in the art of movement and dance. Kevin achieved that education through post-secondary institution of Columbia College Chicago. While at Columbia Kevin worked with several top choreographers including, Merce Cunningham, Emily Stein, and Gesel Mason. Also during his time there Kevin created three original pieces titled: The Bible (2006), As One (2006), and Lala (2007). In May 2008 Kevin completed the curriculum to attain his Bachelor’s Degree.
Upon graduation Kevin joined Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater as a company member for two seasons under the direction of Wilfred Rivera. He then went on to dance for Momenta Dance Company under the brilliant leadership of Stephanie Clemens. Also while dancing for Momenta Dance Company Kevin was picked up by Winifred Haun & Dancers, He has danced for both companies for three years.
While continuing to perform, Kevin also finds time to be the Assistant Director and Choreographer for the dance company Spiritual Feet, which has been up and running for about three years now. In addition Kevin also serves in his dance ministry Yielded Vessel as the Rehearsal Coordinator at New Life Covenant Oakwood Church under the Vision and leadership of Pastor John F. Hannah, and under the careful guidance of dance ministry leader Matthew Williams.

Philip Elson (BFA Dance, 2011)

Philip Elson graduated from The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago in May 2011 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance, concentration in Dancemaking.  Currently, Elson resides in Portland, Oregon working with tEEth, a Portland-based contemporary dance/performance art company and creating his own choreographic work.  He also teaches at The mOuth Studio and is a Teaching Artist with Oregon Ballet Theater.  His choreographic work has been showcased in Chicago as part of The Open Space Project, Poonie's Cabaret, The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010: Chicago, Manifest Urban Arts Festival, Links Hall Linkages Program, and exhibited at The Loyola University Museum of Art in conjunction with The Seldoms.  Elson’s choreography has also been presented nationally and internationally by PerformanceWorks NW, Collin College, In It For Life Productions, Muscle Memory Dance Theater, the American College Dance Festival, and Basso in Berlin, Germany.  Aside from his own choreographic work, his collaborative roles with dance involve sound design, web design, video documentation and editing, and arts administration.  Elson has performed for and worked with companies and artists such as Carrie Hanson/The Seldoms, Jonathan Meyer/Khecari Dance Theater, Paige Cunningham, Liz Burritt, Margi Cole/The Dance COLEctive, Matthew Hollis/Power of Cheer, Jyl Fehrenkamp, Laboratory Dancers, Muscle Memory Dance Theatre, and Collin County Ballet Theatre.  

Madelyn George (BA Dance, 2010)

Madelyn has transmuted her experience of true physical presence through dance into her professional organizing business. Madelyn works closely with some amazing business owners, healers, and creative people, helping them improve their relationships to the spaces they use every day. She also completed a program in massage therapy at The New School for Massage, Bodywork and Healing, and is so excited to actually be able reach out and touch people in a way that was not possible through dance performance. For more info check out www.idealspaceconsulting.com.

Molly Grimm-Leasure (BFA Dance Choreography, 2004)

Molly Grimm-Leasure is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she obtained a BFA in Dance Choreography. While at Columbia, she was a featured dancer in Dance Spirit Magazine, which tracked her professional and scholastic achievements and reported what life was like to be a dance major. Molly was one of three dancers in the United States chosen for this opportunity. Molly has been with The Dance COLEctive since 2002 and has also worked with Breakbone Dance Co. under the direction of Atalee Judy. In 2006, Molly performed in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Chicago Gay Games under the choreographic direction of Joel Hall and Kevin Iega Jeff. More recently, Molly has choreographed for Stagg High School’s Orchesis program and was involved in choreographing and helping to produce a series of videos for International Women’s Day. These videos were shown on Accenture’s website. For the past two years her choreography has also been seen during The Dance COLEctive’s show, COLEctive Notions. On occasion, she will teach modern classes during The Dance COLEctive’s open company class. Molly also works as a full-time massage therapist in the Chicago area.

Colleen Halloran (BA Dance, 1991)

Colleen Halloran is a Chicago-born choreographer, filmmaker and educator who has taught at Columbia College Chicago since 1997.  She is intrigued by the intersection and manipulation of movement, image, and story to arrive at a collective “whole”.  Such companies as Mordine & Company Dance Theatre, The Dance COLEctive, and Same Planet, Different World Dance Theatre have commissioned Colleen’s dance works for the stage.  Her short films have screened in Japan, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Chicago. Her feature screenplays have been finalists for The Sundance Screenwriters Lab in 2009 and 2010.  www.colleenhalloran.com

Emmelia Halpern-Givens (BA Dance, 2009)

Emmelia Halpern-Givens graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with her bachelors, while at columbia she performed in multiple faculty and student works. Emmelia relocated to Los Angeles, CA and taught dance, creative movement and yoga to children ages 2 - 12. Realizing that Chicago has the dance scene she missed, she's back again and better than ever. Emmelia is absolutely thrilled to be performing in her first season with the LaboratoryDancers.

Kesha Johnson (BA Dance, 2007)

Kesha has been dancing in Gus Giordano's second company and full time faculty at Gus Giordano Dance School in Evanston IL. Currently she is working at Helen Peirce School of International Studies for their outreach program, teaching 4th and 7th graders Jazz, Science and Health. 

John Leonard (BA Dance, 2009)

John Leonard, a native of Chicago, began his dance studies at the North Carolina School of the Arts and received his BA in dance, with honors, from Columbia College of Chicago. Leonard continued his dance studies at Arizona State University where he was a graduate student and teaching assistant on scholarship. Leonard has performed with several small companies as well as the national and Japan tours of the Broadway show blast. A teacher and choreographer for nearly fifteen years, his work has been seen in most of the fifty United States. Leonard is an active freelance choreographer and has worked with distinguished organizations such as Fred J. Miller Clinics, Phantom Regiment, Santa Clara Vanguard, Lake Park High School, Centerville High School, First Flight Winter Guard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Arizona State University, to name a few. Leonard currently resides in the Dallas area where he is in his second year as director of the color guard at Marcus High School and the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps. Leonard is also a company member of A Ludwug Dance Theatre in Phoenix and performs on tour with them. When he is not in the studio or teaching somewhere in the world, Leonard enjoys swimming, running and biking and actively participates in races and triathlon events.

Kendall Loyer (BA Dance, 2005)

Kendall Loyer is originally from the small rural town of Caledonia, Ohio, and excited to be an MFA candidate in Experimental Choreography at the University of California, Riverside.  She earned her Bachelor of Art in Dance Performance from Columbia College Chicago and has been privileged to work with artists such as Molly Shanahan, Sandra Kauffman (in a reconstruction of Doris Humphrey's Water Study), Kristen Rae Stevens, Beth McNeill and Julie Mayo. In addition to performing with Khecari Dance Theatre, her choreographic work has been featured at Columbia College, Chicago’s Estrogen Fest, Links Hall, Culver Center for the Arts, and the University of California, Riverside.  She has trained under Eduardo Vilaro, Jan Erkert, Banu Ogan, Kelli King, Peter Carpenter, Anna Paskevska, Erica Wilson, Deb Siegel, Selene Carter, Susan Rose, Wendy Rogers, Linda Tomko, Marta Savigliano, Jacqueline Shea-Murphy and many other talented thinkers and movers.  Kendall is a writer, photographer, collaborator, dancer and choreographer.  She is currently researching the way other art forms (such as writing, voice, and photography) as well as the sciences, influence the physical art of dance.  Her current investigations are that of combining dance and photography to capture “the dimensions of a moment”; vocal work and its applications in dance; as well as collaborating with scientists to bring a new aesthetic and dimension to the concert dance stage.  She is currently working on her thesis in which she challenges traditional scholarship that memories cannot be repeated by questioning exactly what constitutes a memory.  She spends her free time recollecting her memories and helping her dancers do the same.  She is currently enjoying teaching an Introduction to Dance class at the University of California, Riverside.  Kendall is also a proud recipient of a University of California, Riverside Gluck Fellowship, and a University of California, Riverside Humanities Graduate Student Research Grant. 

Emily Lukasewski (BA Dance, 2009)

After earning her BA from Columbia in 2009, Emily Lukasewski co-founded Laboratory Dancers and has been teaching, choreographing and performing ever since.  She has shown work at Links Hall, Hamlin Park, 1804, Ball Hall, Underground Lounge, Red Tape Theatre, and most recently, South Shore Cultural Center.  She has been lucky enough to collaborate with other artist units such as Phillip Morris, bjornphoto, GET DOWN/pick up company, and Chicago Parks District.  She warmly invites you to take the $1 Laboratory Dancers Modern Technique class, where she co-teaches at Rumble Art Center every Sunday at noon.

MaryAnn McGovern (BA Dance, 2008)

MaryAnn is very close to becoming a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. She's in the Integrated Movement Studies program at the University of Utah under the direction of Peggy Hackney, Janice Meaden, and Ed Groff. She also launched MaryAnn McGovern and Dancers in 2009, and "Saboteur" received a great review from Zac Whittenburg. She also dances with GET DOWN/PICK UP company and is performing work by Lisa Gonzales. She is teaching Modern Dance for 12-18 year olds in the suburbs and is absolutely loving it. She has plans in the works to open a new rehearsal space for emerging and underfunded dance artists. 

Shannon McGuire (BA Dance)

Shannon McGuire began classical training in Chicago at the age of twelve. She graduated with a BA in dance from Columbia College Chicago where she performed choreography by Twyla Tharp, Paige Cunningham, and Matthew Hollis. Shannon enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for dance with children at local studios. She is currently a member of MaryAnn McGovern and Dancers and is thrilled to be dancing her second season with The Dance COLEctive.

Anna Normann (BA Dance, 2009)

Anna Normann graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Dance in May 2009 and began co-directing The Open Space Project. Her choreographic credits include: Standing Room Only at the Viaduct Theater, the 2010 Rebound Dance Festival, The Inconvenience, The Open Space Project, Columbia College Chicago, Links Hall, Manifest, the American College Dance Festivals in both Madison, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota and Limit(ed/less) in Orlando, Flordia. Anna has danced for Paige Cunningham, Emma Draves, Erin Kilmurray, Get Down/Pick Up Company, David Gerber, Amanda Timm, MaryAnn McGovern, McClaine Timmerman, Kelly Kane & Dancers and as an apprentice for Mordine and Company Dance Theatre. She has been a collaborating performer with Kate Corby & Dancers since 2009 and continues to perform regularly in Chicago, New York and Madison. Anna also coaches dance at Saint Ignatius College Prep.

Cheryl Olendzki (BA Dance Teaching and Choreography, 2006)

Cheryl Olendzki holds a duel BFA in Dance Teaching and Dance Choreography from Columbia College Chicago and has studied dance pedagogy under Jan Eckhart, Anne Green Gilbert, Dardi McGinley-Gallivan, Sinead Kimbrell, Shawn Lent, Zypher Dance, and Project AIM.  In 2008, she became Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s first full-time teaching artist where she has taught in partnering Chicago public elementary schools developing the Focus Schools Initiative yearlong model and collaborated in developing the Performance as Curriculum program.  With Hubbard Street and the Center for Community Arts Partnership, she has created and implemented sequential, developmentally focused curriculum for integrated and creative based programs with an emphasis on personal voice.  She has also led professional development sessions and workshops for dance teaching artists and for elementary school teachers.  She teaches technique for Ballet Chicago and HSDC’s Youth Dance Program and is independently developing movement classes for senior centers and for children’s hospitals.  Her writing on education has been published in Dance Magazine and HSDC’s Footnotes. In 2011, she joyously joined the Dance Center’s adjunct faculty teaching dance pedagogy.

Katie Petrunich (BA Dance)

Katie Petrunich received a BA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. She has performed with the Minneapolis-based company, HIJACK, and Chicago’s Antibody Dance. Katie recently performed works by Stephanie Williams, Jeff Hancock, Donnette Kuba Cannonie, and TDC’s own Olivia May. She is currently a company member of The Dance COLEctive.

Joshua Rackliffe (BA Dance Dancemaking, 2010)

Joshua Rackliffe is a company member, guest choreographer, and board member of Laboratory Dancers. His work has been shown in Atlanta with Dodekapus Art Collective and throughout Chicago; including Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1804, Poonie's Cabaret at Link's Hall and the Anode Gallery for Art Restores. Most recently Joshua has shown work at The Dance Center of Columbia College, where he graduated in December 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dancemaking.

Cara Sabin (BA Dance, 2006)

Cara has performed with a number of Chicago artists since graduating from Columbia College in 2006, including Jacqueline Stewart, Jonathan Meyer and Julia Rae Antonick (with Khecari), and is currently is a member of The Seldoms.  

Elizabeth Seim (BA Dance Studies, 2009)

Elizabeth Seim moved to Chicago in 2006 from Appleton, Wisconsin. She holds a BA in Dance Studies from Columbia College Chicago and has performed a wide range of styles, from learning West African dance for a piece with Ron K. Brown to belly dancing at Arab World Fest to falling on Marley with the Lab Dancers. Elizabeth is currently pursuing a career in physical therapy as well as dance performance.

Shari Simpson (BFA Dance Education, 2011)

Shari Simpson is a Washington State native that has always had a passion for movement. As a young girl she has wanted to move and she took full advantage of that passion when she was fifteen years old and started to train at the Charisma School of Dance in Lakewood, Washington with Ms. Erin Fye. With the full support of her family she pursued her dance training in Chicago, IL in 2007. She planed and earned her degree and began her dance training from Columbia College Chicago.  She earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Art Degree in Dance with a concentration in Teaching in 2011. It was here in Chicago where she found her passion for teaching. Ms. Simpson has taught at the Soka Gakka International USA as well as Columbia College Chicago. She has a passion for teaching creative movement and modern technique to all levels of dance education.

De'Mar Jovan Singleton (BA Dance, 2010)

De’Mar Jovan Singleton, a mid-west native who was originally a Computer Science major at Michigan State University, began training in Ballet and Modern dance only 3 ½  years ago at Columbia College Chicago. Having a passion for Hip Hop dance, he followed his heart and sought dance in its entirety.  While receiving most of his training from the Dance Center of Columbia College, De’Mar has also trained and performed with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater as a Forth Company member. He has trained at Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Millennium Dance Complex, and Debbie Reynolds Studio in Los Angeles, CA. After recently receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Choreography this past December, De’Mar immediately moved to Los Angeles, intending to get grounded in the Commercial aspect of dance. He focused on Hip Hop classes and networking in that community, which landed him as the assistant choreographer of a project titled “PhiL.A.”, a musical production that informs the youth on racial tension and gang violence, mainly in the urban areas of Los Angeles. In that project, he worked alongside Alfred Thomas, who starred in many dance films such as Stomp the Yard and Step Up. All the training received in technique, however, has not gone in vain. De’Mar was just recently hired as a company member by Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, a repertory company structured in Ballet, Modern and Jazz based in downtown Los Angeles. He now prepares for the company’s fall season, while also keeping his eyes and ears open to the many other opportunities presented in the world that is Dance!

Alexandra Subak (BA Dance, 2009)

Alexandra Subak, artistic director of Laboratory Dancers, is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago. She is a resident artist at the Ball Hall and the Rumble Arts Center, as well as a teacher at Rumble. She has shown work and performed all over Chicago including An Evening with the Laboratory Dancers, at Links Hall in June 2009, The Open Space Project, performed at the Inconvenience in December 2009 and March 2010, and Blindsightedblindsidedblindsitedblindcited, performed at Hamlin Park in February 2010. She also dances for Scarlet Monk, and performs her original folk-acoustic music around Chicago.

Stephanie Velasco (BA Dance, 2010)

Stephanie Velasco graduated in December 2010 from Columbia College Chicago, with a BA in Fiction Writing and Cultural Studies. She is originally from Kingsport, TN. Stephanie has performed work by Peter Carpenter and Sean Curran, and she has also performed with David Dorfman Dance company. Stephanie is proud to be a founding member of Laboratory Dancers and feels privileged to work with such talented and passionate artists.

Lauren Warnecke (BA Dance, 2003)

Lauren Warnecke is a Chicago-based dance artist, educator, and writer. She trained at Judith Svalander School of Ballet and Barat Conservatory of Dance before earning a BA in Dance at Columbia College Chicago. In 2009, Lauren completed her MS in Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is an adjunct instructor for the Department of Kinesiology at UIC, the Performing Arts Coordinator at the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls, a member of the Cecchetti Council of America, and Neurotransmitter to Synapse Arts Collective (read: too many jobs). Lauren created and maintains Art Intercepts as a platform for dance that is informed, inventive, and evidence-based. She enjoys her freelance work as a grant writer, production manager, and columnist at danceadvantage.net. A homeowner, bike commuter, and a master composter, Lauren loves to grow strawberries, go hiking, bake scones, and dig in the dirt. For more information and current projects, visit www.artintercepts.org.

Elza Ala`Niece Watson (BA Dance Choreography, 2009)

Elza Ala`Niece Watson always had a passion for dance;and in 2004 she decided to make her dream a reality.  Graduating from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a B.A. in choreography, she moved back to her home town of Dallas Texas to share her joy of dance. To date, she has been teaching dance in after-school programs for Teco Theater and providing private lessons.