Dance Center Moves Online in a Spirit of Abundance

Dancer Performing
Fall 2020 Celebrates Chicago Artists


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago announces their fall programming season, which includes classes, discussion groups, virtual residencies for local artists, and more.

With travel curtailed out of public health concerns, the Dance Center is highlighting Chicago dancers and choreographers with its fall season. Season highlights will include the following production residencies, virtual residencies, and programmatic course offerings:

  • In partnership with the Chicago Dancemakers Forum, the Dance Center will provide Chicago luminaries Nejla Yatkin and Jumaane Taylor with support staff and space to develop their respective projects. Yatkin’s project, dance film The Other Witch, will be available to Dance Center patrons and will premiere on Friday, October 23 at 6pm. Taylor will perform his new work, Ugly Flavors and The Jazz Hoofing Quartet, which will be livestreamed from the Dance Center on Saturday, November 7 at 7pm.
  • The Dance Center will host virtual residencies with Chicago artists Kierah King (’20), Sara Zalek, and Jenn Freeman (’07) as a part of the Chicago Artists Performance Platform, which is supported by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
  • Programmatic offerings include classes taught by Chicago artists including Erin Kilmurray (’08), Steph Paul, Gina Hoch-Stall, and Anjal Chande, among others. In addition, a series of five technique classes called the Dance Center Sampler Pack will be taught by Dance Department Chair Lisa Gonzales and faculty members Ayo Alston and Paige Cunningham. The Sampler Pack is designed for high school students thinking about pursuing dance in college, Dance Center alumni, and dancers located in other parts of the country who do not normally have access to Chicago faculty.

“We have a platform that can highlight the incredible artists in our community and I’m thrilled to share their work with audiences everywhere. There are so many activities that aren’t possible in the traditional ways right now and we’re really motivated by the new possibilities that are suddenly available,” says Dance Presenting Series Director Ellen Chenoweth. “I wanted to create some programs and structures that highlight that we can still move together. We can still learn together and build connections. We can help make sure that we are alive to the current moment. We can expand what’s possible, in our imaginations, in our bodies, and in our dance spaces. We can celebrate the brilliance that is all around us. This spirit of abundance and newly available possibilities underlies the fall programming.”

Patrons will be able to access all content for the general public with a donation of $20 or more. Dancers will be able to access all classes and programming with a donation of $120 or may purchase individual class offerings. All activities will be offered online.

Registration and sales will begin on September 1, 2020 and will be available online at



Jumaane Taylor and Ugly Flavors

Ugly Flavors is a tap dance working with a combination of legendary composed recordings built for challenging the ear. The two compositions, Ornette Coleman’s ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’ and Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ present an everlasting display of sound progression with this music. The ideas they compose sonically express the human experience. Taylor will deliver a tap interpretation, inspired by the original 1913 Vaslav Nijinsky choreography that perfectly complimented Stravinsky. While also moved by the revolutionary Pina Bausch’s version from the 70s, the hoofing will rhythmically add a missing layer. Coleman’s 1959 classic statement can be understood and played back by a dancer, some call them jazz hoofers.

The Jazz Hoofing Quartet is led by tap dancer Jumaane Taylor dancing rhythms with other musicians into a journey of improvised sets. The quartet communicates in rhythm while melody and all other elements arrive when summoned by the music. With over twenty years of studying the culture of tap, in 2006 Jumaane Taylor embraced the opportunity to collaborate with live music including sessions at The New Velvet Lounge and Von Freeman's legendary Apartment Lounge jams. Jumaane transitioned into being featured on countless live sets and joining bands in Chicago and recorded with Corey Wilkes’ Abstrakt Pulse in 2009 and Sidewalk Chalk from 2010 to 2015.

Nejla Yatkin and The Other Witch

Described by The New York Times as "... a magician, telling tales and creating worlds..." and "...a fierce and supple performer," Chicago-based Nejla Yatkin travels around the globe inspiring empathic connection among people and their environments. She creates solos, choreographs ensemble dances for stages and sites, collaborates on plays and film/video projects, and educates young artists. She is the recipient of multiple grants and awards from the Princess Grace Foundation, the Jay Pritzker Foundation, the Turkish Cultural Foundation, the National Performance Network, 3Arts, the Chicago Dancemakers Forum, the Illinois Arts Council, and the City of Chicago, among others. 

Nejla's ancestry is German, Turkish, Selçukan, Armenian, and Egyptian. She explores multifaceted identities in solo creations including What Dreams May Come (2015), an evening-length multimedia piece that explores the spaces between felt and perceived selves with video and original music; it has toured in Latin America, Africa, and Russia.

The Other Witch, is a multi-media dance and multi-lingual dance performance featuring elements of contemporary dance, dance ritual, video, music, text, sound, and community participation through movement workshops exploring the feminine archetype of the witch. The piece references Mary Wigman’s 1914 Hexentanz but recreates itself anew.

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.  


Keisha Cowen
Senior Director of Campus Communications