The Dance Center Names Ellen Chenoweth Permanent Director of Dance Presenting Series

Photo: Phil Dembinski '08

CHICAGO—The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago announces the appointment of Ellen Chenoweth as the permanent Director of its Dance Presenting Series (DPS) and a new faculty member of the Department of Dance, effective July 1, 2018. Chenoweth has been serving as Interim Director of the DPS since September 11, 2017.

The Dance Presenting Series showcases contemporary dance artists of regional, national and international significance, offering Columbia students opportunities to learn from world-renowned performers and understand the rigors of the discipline. As interim director, Chenoweth has been overseeing all aspects of the DPS—implementation of the 2017–18 season, curation of the 2018–19 season in consultation with Dance Department Chair and Interim Theatre Department Chair Peter Carpenter, personnel management, finance and administration, partnership with internal and external constituents, fundraising, marketing, education, audience development and public advocacy. During the 17-18 season, she designed programming for the Process v. Product Festival, supervised/shepherded/managed the presentation of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan and created a dance writing cohort of Columbia students and recent alumni.

Said Carpenter, “Ellen had a spectacular year as interim director. She surpassed our expectations with regard to programming, development, marketing and integration with the academic department, and I feel confident that she’s just getting started. The entire team is extremely enthusiastic about her continuing to lead the Dance Presenting Series.”

Before relocating to Chicago, Chenoweth was director of development and communications for Pig Iron Theatre Company in Philadelphia. She worked as a freelance arts administrator with choreographers in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. She was a program development consultant for the American Dance Institute (ADI) for two years, helping evaluate and document its residency program, the ADI Incubator. During four years at the Dance Exchange, she was instrumental in its transition when founder Liz Lerman left the company, serving as managing director for two years following the transition. She began her career in arts administration at the Kennedy Center, where she worked with iconic artists such as Suzanne Farrell and Katherine Dunham through the Education Department’s Performance Plus program. Chenoweth holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Rice University and a master's degree in dance from Texas Woman’s University. She completed a graduate certificate at Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance, where she focused on Philadelphia performance history. Chenoweth is a writer and editor for thINKingDANCE, an online dance journal based in Philadelphia.

“It’s been a true joy to work with the faculty and staff of the Dance Department and see the creative work that is happening here in the studios and on the stage” Chenoweth commented. “Our 45th anniversary season is an exciting milestone as we celebrate our legacy and move forward into a new chapter.”

The Dance Center

The Dance Center celebrates its 45th season in 2018–19, beginning with Ephrat Asherie Dance Oct. 11–13 and continuing with Tere O’Connor Dance Oct. 18–20, Hedwig Dances Nov. 1–3 and Red Clay Dance Company Nov. 8–10 in the fall, and a collaboration with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Jan 17–19, Spectrum Dance Theater Jan. 31–Feb. 2, Ananya Dance Theatre Feb. 14–16 and Urban Bush Women Feb. 27–Mar. 1. In addition, the B-Series, a free mini-festival of hip-hop and street dance forms, takes place October 13 and April 5–6. On March 16, 2019, the Dance Center presents a 45th Anniversary Celebration hosted by alumnus Matthew Hollis (aka Mattrick Swayze) and showcasing work by Dance Center alumni, current students and other special guests.


 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 MacArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at Prince, 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.  

For information, visit


Jill Chukerman
JAC Communications