The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago Announces Leadership Transition

Dance Presenting Series Director Ellen Chenoweth to Step Down

Lisa Gonzales, Chair of the Department of Dance of Columbia College Chicago, announced that Ellen Chenoweth will be departing the Dance Center after five years of serving as the Director of the Dance Presenting Series and Assistant Professor of Instruction. Her last day in the role will be in mid-July 2022. 

Chenoweth came to the Dance Center after holding positions at Pig Iron Theatre Company, Dance Exchange, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Chenoweth led the Dance Presenting Series in a wide variety of innovative programming directions during the pandemic, including outdoor dance film screenings, an online networking platform for artists, and virtual residencies.

Highlights of her tenure included the presentation of the world premiere of Kyle Abraham’s An Untitled Love, Emily Johnson’s overnight, site-specific work And Then A Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing At Stars, and strengthening the Dance Center’s support and presentation of Chicago artists. She was named as one of “The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago” by New City in 2019 and 2022. Chenoweth departs the Dance Center with the Dance Presenting Series operating on a surplus and a strong foundation for the Presenting Series’ 49th season.

“I have loved getting to witness and collaborate with the incredible dance artists in Chicago. There is an unbelievable amount of exciting work happening here and I hope that individuals and institutions will continue to support artists and arts workers who make their home here,” says Chenoweth. “I’ve also been so lucky to work with the artists who are in and among the Dance Center, from our talented students to the faculty and staff and guest artists who come in to teach and perform in our beautiful space.”

“Ellen cares deeply for dance artists, dance making, and the power of dance to create and strengthen communities. From the amazing array of artists she curated into the Dance Presenting Series, to her innovative programming during the depth of the pandemic, to the students she mentored and inspired, Ellen has made an indelible mark on the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago,” says Gonzales. “She will be deeply missed even as we wish her the best on her next adventures.” 

The process for determining the next leadership for the Dance Presenting Series is currently underway. Fall programming will be announced later this summer.

The Dance Center

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. The Dance Center has been named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine, “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader and Chicago’s top dance venue by Newcity, and Time Out Chicago cited it as “…consistently offering one of Chicago’s strongest lineups of contemporary and experimental touring dance companies.”

Programs at the Dance Center are supported, in part, by the Alphawood Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley Jr. Family Foundation, the Irving Harris Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council and the Crane Group. Special thanks to Friends of the Dance Center for their generous contributions to the Dance Center’s work.  



Daisy Franco
Communications Manager