Photo by Eddo Photography
Photo by August Tye
FOUNDING DIRECTOR – KATIE McCANN
Katie is a Chicago-based performer, teacher, and director. Before moving to Chicago in 2004, she was a company member with Kentucky Ballet Theatre in Lexington, KY where she performed principal and soloist roles in Giselle, Paquita, Dracula, The Nutcracker, and various repertory pieces. In Chicago, she has performed as a freelance dancer in works by choreographers Peter Carpenter, Autumn Eckman, Emily Stein, and August Tye, among others.
Katie has taught ballet technique, pointe, and repertory classes to all ages and ability levels for fifteen years. She has taught company class for several professional companies in Chicago and is currently the ballet mistress for Nomi Dance Company. Her students have gone on to prestigious college dance programs and professional careers in the ballet, contemporary, and commercial dance industries.
She founded Dance in the Parks in 2009 as a way to expand the vibrant Chicago dance community into neighborhoods throughout the city. Combining some of the city's best cultural assets - our huge park system, diverse dance community, and gorgeous (though unpredictable) summer weather - the company has reached nearly 8,000 audience members via performances in 24 different parks.
REHEARSAL DIRECTOR - JAMIE SALAS
Jamie began her dance training at TJ's Dance Factory in San Antonio, TX. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she received a BFA in Dance with a concentration in performance and choreography.
Upon graduation, she apprenticed with Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater and performed in their premiere company show. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Chicago to dance on scholarship at Giordano Dance School in Evanston, IL. Since then, she's danced professionally with Inaside Chicago Dance, Esoteric Dance Project, bnw:dance, and Chicago Tap Theatre. Jamie has had the pleasure of performing works by Harrison McEldowney, Autumn Eckman, Jon Lehrer, Eddy Ocampo, Elijah Gibson, and Brenda Bufalino to name a few. She has performed as a guest artist in Thodos Dance Chicago's New Dances series and multiple Dance Chicago, Dance Chance, and Chicago Freelance Dance performances.
In addition to performing, Jamie has choreographed for Inaside Chicago Dance, Framework Dance Company, Dance Chance: Redux, Chicago Freelance Dance, and Dance Chicago. She is currently on faculty at Des Plaines School of Dance, where she enjoys choreographing and directing their competitive dance company, Artistry in Motion. Jamie also has a love of health and fitness. She is a Pure Barre teacher and studio manager of Pure Barre Willowbrook. 2017 is Jamie’s third season performing with Dance in the Parks and first season as rehearsal director.
Hanna grew up dancing and training in both Elgin and Chicago. Although she received multiple university scholarships, after graduation from Larkin High School's performing arts program, she accepted a company position at River North Dance Chicago in 2004. In her first year with the company, Hanna was nominated for the prestigious Princess Grace Award as one of the company’s youngest members.
In her 12 years at RNDC, she performed all over the world, served as rehearsal assistant, choreographed on the company, co-choreographed with director Frank Chaves, and was a lead instructor for the company’s extensive workshop and intensive programs.
Outside of company life, Hanna has choreographed for national commercials, dance companies throughout the Midwest, award-winning competition dance troupes, dance teams, and colleges and high schools nationwide. She also directs her own youth dance company, Integrity.
She loves, and would like to thank, her unbelievable family, bananas, chocolate, and the mass amounts of coffee that all help her to continue to dance, create, and live this passion-filled, crazy life.
Tristan is a Chicago-based tap dancer, performer and the Artistic Director of Tapman Productions, LLC. Tristan can be seen performing locally, nationally, and internationally as a solo artist and with companies such as M.A.D.D. Rhythms and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project's ensemble, BAM! Tristan has performed his (sometimes) one man show, The Adventures of Tapman, across the country and, if you are lucky enough to catch it, sporadically in Chicago. Tristan holds a B.A. in Music from Columbia College and is a big fan of Dance in the Parks!
JOSHUA BLAKE CARTER
Joshua is a member of Giordano Dance Chicago, America's original jazz dance company. Originally from Atlanta, GA, he received his early dance training from the Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts and continued his studies at the University of Arizona where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Cum Laude. He received the Outstanding Senior Award from the School of Dance.
Since joining GDC in 2010, Joshua has had the opportunity to tour nationally and abroad performing works by Peter Chu, Brock Clawson, Autumn Eckman, Nan Giordano, Liz Imperio, Roni Koresh, Ray Leeper, Jon Lehrer, Ray Mercer, Mia Michaels and more. He also serves as the Director to GDC’s second company, Giordano II, and he is a member of the Dance For Life Chicago Ambassador Committee.
In 2008, Joshua’s choreography for the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, CA, made it to the finalist round. The following year, he was selected as the winner of Wonderbound’s (formerly Ballet Nouveau Colorado) national choreography competition, dancemakers2.0. In the spring of 2013, he was one of six winners commissioned to create a new work for DanceWorks Chicago’s DanceMoves choreography competition. Later in 2013, he was awarded the Producers’ Panel Prize by The Ruth Page Foundation for his work Ripen which was created for of Dance Chance: Redux 5.0. Joshua’s work for Giordano Dance Chicago has been referred to as “fresh and cohesive... honest and genuine” by Halfstack Magazine. Other commissions include: Sing! featuring Elton John and works for Giordano II, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Nomi Dance Company, Visceral Dance Chicago, Artifact Dance Project, and Glendale Community College (Artist in Residence 2012).
In addition to performance and choreography, Joshua is a passionate dance educator and teaches in schools in Chicago and across the U.S. each year.
Suzanne is originally from Connecticut. She trained at the School of the Hartford Ballet and Butler University before performing professionally with Nevada Ballet Theatre, Ballet Idaho, DROP Dance Collective, and the National Choreographers' Initiative.
Suzanne is currently in her 14th season with the Eugene Ballet Company (EBC) in Eugene, OR. She has been featured in many works by EBC Artistic Director Toni Pimble and guest choreographers including; Mauricio Wainrot, Jessica Lang, Amy Seiwert, Robbert Battle, and Septime Webre.
In 2013, Suzanne co-founded the unique performance group #instaballet which utilizes audience participation and creativity to generate new ballets. #instaballet works with a broad range of audiences including students of Bridgeway House, a school for children with autism./font>
Suzanne began creating ballets as a young student and has continued to create throughout her performance career. As an emerging choreographer, her first major commissioned work for the Eugene Ballet Company, Look, was premiered in 2016 with great success. Her second work for EBC, The Surrounding Third, quickly followed, premiering in February of 2017. Suzanne is one of four choreographers selected from across the nation to create new work for the acclaimed National Choreographer’s Initiative in July of 2017. On the horizon, she will be collaborating with internationally renowned band Pink Martini in February of 2018.
Photo: Matthew Gregory Hollis
Erin makes dance works that intentionally shift between immersive and proscenium spaces - consequently resonating in concert dance spaces, lo-fi performance galleries, music venues, parties, and film. Her choreography has been presented and supported by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Links Hall, High Concept Labs, Metro Chicago, Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, and for varied theatrical productions as well as event commissions such as The Empty Bottle Presents and The Chicago Reader. Her performance has been seen with Same Planet Different World, Rebecca Lemme, Jessie Young and Paige Cunningham-Caladrella. She is a member of the Artistic Council of The Inconvenience, and Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer of The Fly Honey Show. Acclamations include: “Best Choreographer” (Chicago Reader) and “Four Artists Heating Up This Fall” (Chicago Magazine). She holds a B.A in Dance from The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.
Anna is a dancer, choreographer, Gaga teacher, and creator of the Chicago-based dance project Heart Content. She was raised in Southeastern, MA and began her dance training with New England Dance Academy of Attleboro. She continued her training and earned her degree in dance and biology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. She was accepted to the pilot Gaga Teachers Training program in 2011 in Tel Aviv, where she trained under Ohad Naharin and past and present members of Batsheva Dance Company.
Since becoming a certified Gaga teacher, Anna has taught regular Gaga classes in New York City and Chicago. She has been a guest teacher for Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company, CSU Long Beach Dance program, Columbia College Chicago, Ate 9, Lee Saar the Company, and Punch Drunk Theatre’s
Sleep No More
. She has hosted Gaga and Heart Content repertoire workshops in Boston, Chicago, Paris, and Los Angeles. While continuing to create works for Heart Content Dance Project, she has created works for Visceral Dance Chicago and Loyola University in Chicago. Anna is thrilled to lead a Gaga workshop in Paris in May 2016.
MICHEL RODRIGUEZ CINTRA
Michel is a Cuban-born dancer, teacher and choreographer. He graduated from Escuela Nacional de Arte (National School of Arts) in Havana Cuba and was chosen to join Danza Contemporanea de Cuba where he became Principal Dancer and toured internationally. He has premiered works by choreographers Jan Linkens, Cathy Marston, Rafael Bonachela, Luca Bruni and George Cespedes.
After moving to Chicago in 2008, Michel joined Hedwig Dances where he performed works by Susan Marshall and Andrea Miller in addition to choreographing his own works on the company. In 2013, Michel became an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions and is a founding performer/choreographer of The Cambrians where he has performed The Nexus Project and Clover. He has performed as a guest artist and company member with several companies in Chicago including Concert Dance Inc, Khecari, and Chicago Moving Company. In May 2017, he performed as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in a work by Lucky Plush Productions director Julia Rhoades at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
Choreographic credits include creating works for Visceral Dance Company’s Solus in 2015 and 2017 and Dance in the Parks in 2014, 2016 and 2017. In 2010, Michel was a finalist of the A.W.A.R.D. Show Chicago with his work Moi Aussi and was named one of The Men of 2010 in dance by Timeout Chicago. He was the recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award in October 2013 and was featured in Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch 2014.
Michel is currently an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, teaching modern dance technique.
Photo: Cheryl Mann
Owen (Long Island, New York) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University. While attending college, he also trained with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Parsons Dance Company, and River North Dance Chicago. As a student, he also had the opportunity to perform at the Joyce Theater and the American College Dance Festival Association.
Owen has performed a diverse variety of works by choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Fernando Melo, Sidra Bell, Mónica Cervantes, José Limon, Marguerite Donlon, Robert Battle, Toru Shimazaki, and Kevin Iega Jeff. He is a founding member of Visceral Dance Chicago and is currently in his fourth season with the company. Aside from his performing experience, he has also extended his craft by creating work for Visceral Dance Chicago’s WITHIN, DanceWorks Chicago’s DanceMoves, and a show he co-produced titled Triptych.
During his off time with company, he’s been a guest artist in Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances and Inaside Chicago Dance’s Choreographic Sponsorship Event. Owen enjoys giving back to others in the dance community. In 2015, he founded Owen Scarlett Productions, a design and film production company. This company has assisted numerous dancers to market themselves cost effectively via video.
Without the help of his loving family, he wouldn’t be where he is today and would like to give them a special thank you.
Katy is a native of Carol Stream, Illinois, where she began her dance training at the age of three. Her extensive training began at Expression Dance Academy under the direction of Susan Ross-Shike. She took advantage of the Chicago dance scene by competing in dance competitions, participating in conventions and master classes, and performing works by Chicago choreographers. Katy continued to grow as a dancer at Dance Motions Dance Studio and performed with the Motions Dance Company, under the direction of Kristin Hild and Sinead Gildea. Katy spent a summer on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio and had the chance to take classes from and alongside Hubbard Street Dance Company directors and members.
Katy graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from The University of Arizona. While at the U of A, Katy was given the opportunity to perform pieces by Martha Graham, Mia Michaels, and alongside Liz Calaway. She had the privilege to work with a notable faculty, which included: James Clouser, Amy Ernst, Jory Hancock, Melissa Lowe, Doug Nielsen, Susan Quinn Williams, Michael Williams, and Sam Watson.
Immediately following graduation, Katy moved back to Chicago and was a company member of Inaside Chicago Dance for four seasons where she was able to work with world-renowned choreographers Harrison McEldowney, Eddy Ocampo, Autumn Eckma, and directors Richard Smith and Robert Mckee. Katy has performed professionally with Thodos New Dances, Wake Up! Waltz, and The Prince Experience at the House of Blues. She is presently a company member with Nomi Dance Company and is thrilled to be joining Dance in the Parks for her first summer season!
Irina hails from Deerfield, IL and began her early training in the Chicago area including studies at the Giordano Dance Chicago and Visceral Dance Chicago scholarship programs.
Irina earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with concentrations in Performance and Choreography from the University of Iowa with Highest Honors. While at UI, she had the pleasure of performing in many faculty concerts and toured as a member of the UI Dancers in Company. In addition to performing, Irina honed her passion for choreographing, creating several works for UI performances, culminating in a self-produced and choreographed evening-length show, Kaleidoscopic Memoirs.
Since moving to Chicago, Irina has had the opportunity to perform works by Rebecca McLindon, Mary Tisa, Laura Thurston, and Kate Vandivier as part of
, a dance performance that showcases the inspirations of independent dance and visual artists. She has worked with Chicago Repertory Ballet for two seasons, where she performed works by Tenley Dorrill and Wade Schaaf. 2017 is Irina’s first season with Dance in the Parks.
Mario started dancing at the Marya Kennett Dance School in Goshen, NY. He received his pre-professional training at Walnut Hill School for the Arts under the direction of Michael Owen with additional training at the Professional Performing Arts School/The Ailey School and the San Francisco Ballet School. Mario went on to attain his B.F.A. from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College on scholarship. While on scholarship, Mario has attended summer intensives with the Boston Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The Juilliard School, Nederlands Dans Theater, Movement Invention Project, and Springboard Danse Montreal.
Mario has danced for the Purchase Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Fellowship, and American Repertory Ballet. While attending Springboard Dans Montreal, Mario was invited to join Visceral Dance Chicago where he is currently a company member. Mario has danced repertoire by George Balanchine, Mary Barton, Monica Cervantes, Merce Cunningham, Nicolo Fonte, Madboots Dance Co., Mark Godden, Stephan Laks, Paul Lightfoot & Sol Leon, Jose Limon, Matthew Neenan, Kirk Peterson, Nick Pupillo, Erica Sobol, Doug Varone, Yin Yue, Chuck Wilt, Dr. Rosalind Newman, and others. This is Mario's first season with Dance in the Parks!
CRAIG V. MILLER
Craig began his training in the Fine Arts Academy at Southfield-Lathrup High School and Motor City Dance Factory. He attended Oakland University as a Merit Scholarship student, earning a B.A. in Dance Performance. He has trained with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and the Ailey School summer intensives.
Craig was an apprentice for Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, a member of the Michigan Dance Project, Inaside Chicago Dance, Esoteric Dance Project, and Chicago Repertory Ballet. He has performed works by Louis Falco, Amy Marshall, Sean Curran, Robert Moses, Joel Hall, Harrison McEldowney, Autumn Eckman, Alonzo King, Randy Duncan, Monique Haley, and Kristina Isabelle. As a guest artist, he has performed the Civic Ballet of Chicago’s production of The Nutcracker and with Chicago Dance Crash. Choreography credits include: Little Me (Porchlight Music Theater), Billy Elliot (Porchlight Music Theater, Fall 2017), The Color Purple (Mercury Theater Chicago, Assoc. Choreographer; Broadway World Award-Best Choreography in a Musical), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Porchlight Music Theater, Asst. Choreographer; Joseph Jefferson Award Winner for Best Production of a musical review), Rent (Artist's Giving Back World AIDS Day), and Carl Neilsen’s Maskarade (Vox3 Collective, Choreographer). His work has also been presented at Dance Chicago, Dance Chance, and Chicago Freelance Dance.
Craig has been training dancers for 14 years, and is a Peffpointe © certified teacher at the 25-hour level. 2017 is Craig’s 6th season with Dance in the Parks.
Joe was born in Buffalo, NY and later moved to Indiana where he studied Contemporary Dance at Indiana University. During his time at IU, he had the opportunity to work with a variety of renowned artists and companies including Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, Parsons Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, American Dance Festival, Ballet Chicago, and Deeply Rooted Dance.
In 2013, Joe moved to Chicago to accept a second company position dancing with Giordano Dance Chicago allowing him to learn from and work with artists such as Brock Clawson, Ronnie Koresh, Keisha Lalama, and Autumn Eckman. Recently he performed in West Side Story at the Paramount Theater (Aurora) and was a principle dancer in the production of Tannhäuser at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In addition to performing on stage. he has found a knack for choreography and has put those skills to the test by winning Inaside Dance Chicago’s choreographer competition and receiving recognition in choreographic showcases at College of Dupage, Alluvion Dance Chicago, Carnivale Chicago, and J E L L O. He has set works on professional companies Inaside Dance Chicago and Noumenon Dance Ensemble. This is Joe’s his first season as a dancer for Dance in the Parks, and he is so excited to hit the stage with this amazing organization and dancers.
Natalie received her early training in her hometown, Whitestone, NY, and on work/study scholarship at Steps on Broadway in New York City. She graduated Cum Laude from Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance where she had the pleasure of working with Robin Becker, Chris Elam, Larry Keigwin, and Amy Marshall. During her tenure at Hofstra, she also performed at The Paul Taylor Summer Intensive, Dance Theatre Workshop, Dancers Responding to Aids, and at American College Dance Festival. Natalie moved to Chicago to accept a position with Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago and, later, spent two seasons as a company member of Thodos Dance Chicago. During her time with TDC, she had the honor of working with Ann Reinking and performing the choreography of Bob Fosse. Natalie has choreographed for TDC’s New Dances Series and has performed and choreographed as a member of Aerial Dance Chicago, Piel Morena Contemporary Dance, and LEVELdance. She currently enjoys performing as a freelance artist. 2017 is Natalie’s first seasons with Dance in the Parks.
2017 APPRENTICE DANCERS
Stephen grew up in Wilmette, Illinois and started his training in a modern-based men’s class at New Trier High School. He then began his formal dance training as a freshman at Northern Illinois University. While performing with Northern Dance Theater, his favorite roles were Spartacus in the Act III Adagio and Siegfried in Swan Lake. In the fall of 2016, he received his B.F.A from Northern Illinois University. He is currently a freelance dancer based in Chicago and dances on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studio.
Tessa is from Walworth, Wisconsin where she started training at The Dance Factory until entering the University of Iowa where she is currently pursuing a BFA in Dance and an ASL minor. At the University of Iowa, she has had the opportunity to dance in faculty, graduate, and undergraduate works including choreography by Mindy Myers, Autumn Eckman, Marc Macaranas, and Rennie Harris. Along with performance experience, she several of her own choreographic works have been produced by the university.
Lorena Sanchez began dancing when she was 2 years old at her neighborhood dance studio in Chicago. She continued her training under the direction of Lizzie Mackenzie at Extensions Dance Company and has worked with numerous professionals in Chicago including Harrison McEldowney, Ricky Ruiz, Monique Haley, Jason Hortin, and TOKYO. She studied tap with Jay and Connie Fagan. Through Extensions, Lorena was a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist.
Lorena attended Indiana University where she majored in Kinesiology with a concentration in Contemporary Dance Performance. She received the Jane Fox Dance Scholarship and was the recipient of the National Society of the Arts and Letters in Dance. While at Indiana, she had the pleasure of performing the works of Liz Shea, Larry Keigwin, Laurie Eisenhower, and Ihsan Rustem with Hubbard Street 2.
Since moving back to Chicago, she has studied on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studio, working with teachers Claire Bataille, Birute Barodicaite, and Laura Wade. Lorena has performed with Royal Caribbean Productions allowing her to travel over seas and across countries, performing in shows ranging from Rock 'N Roll to Broadway.
Though Lorena has performed at Dance in the Parks as a student at Extensions, she is excited to be apprenticing and truly being a part of Dance in the Parks.
Angela Dice Nguyen
Kim Fletcher Stibal
Jessica Miller Tomlinson
Robyn Mineko Williams
Michel Rodriguez Cintra
Angela Dice Nguyen
Craig V. Miller