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 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 fourteen 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.
he 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.
Photo by Kevin Fleming
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR - KATE VANDIVIER
Kate received the majority of her early training at the Academy of Russian Ballet in her hometown of Denver, CO. She was a trainee with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble prior to receiving a scholarship to attend Point Park University where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in dance. Upon graduation, Kate moved to Chicago where she has danced professionally with Giordano Dance Chicago II, Piel Morena Contemporary Dance, and as a guest artist in Thodos Dance Chicago's New Dances Concert. She is currently in her fourth season with Chicago Repertory Ballet, where she also serves at the Administrative Director. She has had the pleasure of performing works by Autumn Eckman, Ricardo Garcia, Tony Powell, Wade Schaaf, Manuel Vignoulle, and Joshua Manculich.
Along with dancing professionally, Kate teaches extensively throughout the Chicagoland area and is currently teaching for Joffrey Academy's ISDI and DanceLab summer programs. Her past teaching credits include Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Principle Dance, and North Shore School of Dance, where she served as ensemble director from 2012-2016.
2016 is Kate's 4th season performing with Dance in the Parks.
Photo by Joris-Jan Bos
Originally from Greenwood, Indiana, Shannon received her training at Butler University and the University of Utah. She danced and performed professionally with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago for nine years, then went on to further her growth and career at Nederlands Dans Theater under the direction of Jim Vincent and Paul Lightfoot. During her time in Chicago and Europe, Shannon toured internationally dancing works by many world renowned choreographers such as: Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Twyla Tharp, Daniel Ezralow, Jorma Elo, and Johan Inger. Having since returned to Chicago, and given birth to a little baby girl, Shannon is, once again, sharing her artistry with the community. She has appeared in several productions at Lyric Opera Chicago, is on faculty at the Joffrey Academy, and is beginning to focus her creativity on the development of her choreographic voice.
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.
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.
Photo by Cheryl Mann
Tom began training in his hometown of Ridgecrest, California, at Sierra Academy of Dance. He supplemented his training with internationally renowned summer intensives including San Francisco Ballet School, American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive, The Rock School, and the Boston Ballet School. In 2005, he graduated from Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of the late Petrus Bosman and was awarded the prestigious Dame Margot Fonteyn Award for artistic excellence. Tom danced as an apprentice with Richmond Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet prior to joining the corps de ballet of Ballet West in 2008. He was promoted to soloist in 2010, first soloist in 2012, and principal in 2013. In 2014, Tom joined Visceral Dance Chicago under the direction of Nick Pupillo. Currently, he is a freelance artist based in Chicago.
Notable roles in his repertoire include the title role in George Balanchine’s
, Oberon in Sir Frederick Ashton’s
, Phlegmatic in Balanchine’s
, the second pas de deux in Ulysses Dove’s
, the first pas de trios in Balanchine’s
, the Solo Man in Nicolo Fonte’s
, Sigfried in Adam Sklute’s
, El Capitan in Balanchine’s
Stars & Stripes
, the first pas de deux in Jiri Kylian’s
, Prince in Sir Frederick Ashton’s
, Basilio in Anna Marie Holmes’
, Nicolo Fonte's
The Rite of Spring
, and Red in Jiri Kylian's
To date, he has choreographed new works for Ballet West, Ballet West II, Ballet West Academy, Honolulu Classical Ballet, Arova Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Arkansas’ Visions Choreographic Competition, Charlottesville Ballet, Utah Arts Festival, Lake Tahoe Dance Festival, Dance In the Parks, Richmond Ballet’s trainee division, World Ballet Competition, Youth America Grand Prix, and the Beijing International Ballet Competition. 2016 is Tom’s second year choreographing for Dance in the Parks.
Taylor earned his BFA from The University of Arizona, where he received the
Creative Achievement Award
for numerous works of choreography set on the University Dance Ensemble and The Musical Theater Department. In 2015, his work
Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours,
was premiered by DanceWorks Chicago at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance and was also performed on the company's European Tour. Taylor's more recent work
All You Need Is
was created for Thodos Dance Chicago's New Dances 2015 and was recently taken into the Company's repertoire. Taylor has also performed, taught and choreographed internationally from Kiel and Frankfurt, Germany to Bolzano, Italy. He danced professionally with Thodos Dance Chicago and is currently performing and choreographing on a freelance basis. He has most recently danced, collaborated, and choreographed with Cocodaco Dance Project in Evanston under the direction of Ronn Stewart.
MICHEL RODRIGUEZ CINTRA
Michel Rodriguez is a Cuban-born dancer, teacher, and choreographer. He graduated from Escuela Nacional de Arte (National School of Arts) in Havana, Cuba. Upon graduation, he was chosen to join Danza Contemporanea de Cuba where he became a 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 started dancing with Hedwig Dances, where he performed works by Susan Marshall and Andrea Miller in addition to choreographing his own works on the company. Michel has been an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions since 2013 and is a performer, choreographer, and founding member of The Cambrians with whom he has co-created and performed
The Nexus Project
He has been a guest artist for numerous dance companies in Chicago including Khecari and Chicago Moving Company.
Michel teaches modern dance technique as an Adjunct Faculty member at The Dance Center at Columbia College. He has choreographed works for Visceral Dance Chicago’s
show in 2015 and Dance in the Parks’ 2014 summer season. In 2010, Michel was a finalist of the A.W.A.R.D. Show Chicago with his work
and was named one of
The Men of 2010
. In October 2013, he was the recipient of the prestigious 3Arts Award and was featured in
Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch
Photo by Ben Wardell
Karl Watson began dancing in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Butler University, earning his B.F.A.
in Dance Performance with a history minor in 2012. In addition to his studies at Butler, Karl attended summer programs at Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Springboard Danse Montreal. Following his graduation, Karl began dancing with Luna Negra Dance Theater under the direction of Gustavo Ramirez Sansano. He is grateful to have performed in the company's final season. Karl has danced for three seasons with Visceral Dance Chicago, of which he is a founding member. He has also performed with Pursuit Productions in their dance theater production
by Federico Garcia Lorca.
REBECCA McLINDON BLANCHARD
Rebecca, originally from Baton Rouge, LA, began her training with Donna Blanchard and Stacie Collins. She went on to study dance at Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan, where she performed with MMC’s Dance Company. Honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside David Parsons, Edwaard Liang, Anthony Ferro & Geoffrey Doig-Marx on original choreographies, she ultimately graduated with a BFA in Dance,
magna cum laude.
Rebecca danced with Giordano Dance Chicago II and apprenticed with River North Dance Chicago before joining Michigan’s Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in 2010. While dancing with EDE, Ms. Blanchard had the privilege of performing works by Laurie Eisenhower, Lar Lubovitch, Harrison McEldowney, Brock Clawson, and Stephanie Pizzo. She was also chosen to perform the principal dance role in Michigan Opera Theater’s production of The Pearl Fishers choreographed by John Malashock.
Rebecca has taught master classes and set choreography at many high schools and universities across the country, including Hope College, Oakland Dance Theater, and Western Illinois University.
Rebecca currently dances with Chicago Repertory Ballet, Pursuit Productions, and LEVELdance. She is excited to be dancing with Dance In The Parks this beautiful summer!
Derek Lauer began dancing at his mother’s studio in Flagstaff, AZ. After graduating from Virginia School of the Arts, he joined Milwaukee Ballet II, performing in Romeo & Juliet and Don Quixote. He moved on to New York Theater Ballet where he performed leading roles in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, then joined Ballet Tucson, appearing as The Devil in Three Virgins and a Devil, Sir Anthony Tudor’s Continuo, and Flower Festival. Currently a member of City Ballet of San Diego, Derek has performed he title role in Romeo and Juliet, as well as solo and principal roles in Ballet on the Edge, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Requiem, and George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Serenade, Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Square Dance, and Emeralds.
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, and a company member of the Michigan Dance Project, Inaside Chicago Dance, 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, and Steve Koester. As a guest artist, he has performed with the Civic Ballet of Chicago’s production of
, Esoteric Dance Project, Dance in the Parks, and Chicago Dance Crash.
Craig’s choreography credits include
The Color Purple
(Mercury Theater Chicago, assoc. choreographer, Broadway World Award for Best Choreography in a Musical),
(Porchlight Theater, asst. choreographer), Carl Neilsen’s
(Vox3 Collective, choreographer), and
(Artists Giving Back, choreographer).
His work has also been presented at Dance Chicago, Dance Chance, and Chicago Freelance Dance.
Craig has been training dancers for 10 years, and is a Peffpointe© certified teacher at the 25-hour level, teaching workshops, master classes, and choreographing for competitive dance studios. This is Craig’s fifth year dancing for Dance in the Parks.
Tori began her training at the age of 14 at Dancenter North in Libertyville, IL. She pursued her studies at Point Park University on scholarship with a concentration in modern dance. Under the direction of Rubén Graciani, she earned her BFA in 3 years, graduating
magna cum laude
. Along with her studies, she has attended The Movement Invention Project in New York, where she had the privilege of working with Alexandra Wells, Nancy Turano, and Sidra Bell. Additionally, Tori was awarded scholarships from Thodos Dance Chicago and the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Following graduation, Tori joined Aerial Dance Chicago as an apprentice and is now a company dancer. Most recently, she performed with ADC alongside Elements Contemporary Ballet in their collaborative production of
. In addition to performing, Tori has choreographed for Aerial Dance Chicago and enjoys working there as a teacher. She is very excited to join Dance in the Parks for her first season!
Jamie began her dance training at TJ's Dance Factory in San Antonio, TX. She attended University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she received her 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. 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 LoMastro Performing Arts Academy and Des Plaines School of Dance, where she enjoys choreographing and directing their competitive dance companies. Jamie is also a Pure Barre teacher at Pure Barre locations in Evanston, Wheaton, and Naperville. 2016 is Jamie’s second season performing with Dance in the Parks.
Tony grew up in Seattle, where he started dancing at a neighborhood studio at the age of ten. He continued his training at the Arc School of Ballet. While in high school, Tony was nominated for several 5th Avenue Musical Theater Awards. In 2007, Tony moved to San Francisco to train for two years at Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet School’s Training Program where he worked with Robert Moses, Alonzo King, Yannis Adoniou, and several other Bay Area choreographers.
After graduating, he danced as a guest artist with Moving People Dance Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then relocated to Chicago. Tony has danced with Inaside Chicago Dance, Dance in the Parks, Chicago Repertory Ballet and has performed as a guest artist all over the state of Illinois. He has had the honor of working with outstanding choreographers such as Harrison McEldowney, Tony Savino, Eddy Ocampo, Autumn Eckman, Richard Smith, and Wade Schaaf. This is Tony’s fifth season with Dance in the Parks.
2016 APPRENTICE DANCERS
Katie grew up in Trevor, Wisconsin and started dance at a very young age at a nearby studio. She is currently attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree for dance with the support of the 4-year Marge Maddux Dance scholarship. Her pre-college career was spent at Forum Dance Theatre at Talent Forum studio in Libertyville, IL. With Forum, Katie attended and performed at Regional Dance America for 4 years, participated in Dance Chicago annually, guest performed throughout the Chicagoland area, and toured Austria with Young Tanzsommer in 2015. She has attended various summer intensives including Alonzo King LINES Ballet, River North Dance Chicago, Inaside Dance Chicago, and Forum Dance Theatre. 2016 is her first year as an apprentice with Dance in the Parks.
Andrew was born in Dayton, Ohio, where he began his ballet training under Barbara Pontecorvo, a former principal dancer with the Dayton Ballet. He continued training at the Cincinnati Ballet Academy and Milwaukee Ballet’s Second Company before he joined the corps de ballet of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2015. As a freelance dancer, he has also worked extensively with Ballet Chicago, as well as appearing as a guest artist with the Sacramento Ballet, and other schools and companies. This coming season, he will join Oregon Ballet Theater. He is working with Dance in the Parks this summer courtesy of OBT.
Michel Cintra Rodriguez
Angela Dice Nguyen
Kim Fletcher Stibal
Jessica Miller Tomlinson
Robyn Mineko Williams
Angela Dice Nguyen