Free dance classes for kidsBallet and Jazz Dance Combination class for 7 to 11 year oldsMondays...

Free dance classes for kids

Ballet and Jazz Dance Combination class for 7 to 11 year olds

Mondays 4-5pm CST April 5 - May 24, 2021

8 classes held virtually via Zoom, you will receive a link once registered

This beginner level activity is an introduction to ballet and jazz dance, adapted for a virtual space. This class introduces students to music and movement from both styles with progressive warm ups and fun combinations. Ballet instruction includes the five positions, floor and barre work as well as basic dance combinations. Jazz instruction includes stretches, isolations, across-the-floor progressions, and dance combinations. The class will culminate with a virtual “mini-performance” on the last day, where students will be encouraged to invite friends and family members to join the Zoom session and watch them dance!

Session schedule:

Class 1 (4/5): Ballet with Katie Matteson Campana

Class 2 (4/12): Ballet with Katie Matteson Campana

Class 3 (4/19): Ballet with Katie Matteson Campana

Class 4 (4/26): Jazz with Dylan Roth

Class 5 (5/3): Jazz with Dylan Roth

Class 6 (5/10): Jazz with Dylan Roth

Class 7 (5/17): Review and practice with both instructors

Class 8 (5/24): Mini-performance with both instructors! Students can invite select friends and family members to watch them dance during the last half hour of class on this day.

Register through Synapse at

(click “more details” for an active link)

FREE, registration required for Zoom link.

Registration will close on Sunday, April 18th.

Synapse Arts is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and is happy to accept tax-deductible donations of all sizes.

Classes will be held virtually via Zoom. Students are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing that allows movement, such as leotards or leggings, and to use a space in the house where they are free to move safely. Ballet shoes are optional. Taught by Synapse Teaching Artists Katie Matteson Campana and Dylan Roth.

Accessibility and inclusivity notes

Synapse Arts events actively welcome individuals with diverse identities, including all genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, income levels, ages, parent/caregiver status, backgrounds, and household structures. All sessions are relaxed and sensory-friendly. Please contact Megan at or 920-819-5467 with requests for accommodations​ or accessibility assistance.

New Works Artists Announcement

We are thrilled to announce the Synapse Arts - New Works 2021 artists, Maggie Bridger and Rahila Coats!

These intrepid artists will receive a mentor, a budget, production and marketing support, and much more as they make their dances. 

New Works takes place every other year and since 2010 has commissioned 17 choreographer/directors, supporting 21 fresh pieces so far. 

For the 2021 cycle we received 29 applications from 30 artists, setting up our esteemed panel for deep discussion and reflection. Our panel of judges was made up of 8 members. 50% of these experienced artists, advocates, and administrators are BIPOC, 87% are womxn, and 62% identify as LGBTQIA+.

Photo credit: Bill Cameron

Rahila Coats plans to create work that stems from concepts of contact improvisation, patterns in popular culture, and our narratives as it relates to consent and permission. She is interested in work that surrounds the life and issues we embody, while recognizing differences in each of us. Rahila is looking to play, investigate, and find fluidity in space. 

Learn more about Rahila and her work here:

Photo credit: Shawn Guiney 

Maggie’s project explores the generative potential of pain in creating movement. She and her fellow disabled dancers will think and work together to develop dance based in their embodied experiences of pain, ultimately hoping to offer alternative understandings of the role of pain in dance.

Maggie can be found on Instagram at and Twitter at

Congratulations to Maggie and Rahila!


Winter dance classes for kids

Join us for some fun dancing this winter! Though we cannot hold in-person classes at our normal Park District locations, we encourage students from Loyola Park, Berger Park and beyond to continue taking classes with us, online. Synapse Teaching Artists Tim Tsang and Laura Tennal co-teach an 8 week session combining jazz and hip hop, ending with a mini virtual performance for students!

Hip Hop and Jazz Dance for 7 to 11 year olds, Saturdays, 9:30-10:30am CST 

February 13 to April 3, 2021

FREE, registration required for Zoom link.


Register through Synapse at

Synapse Arts is in residency at Loyola Park and Berger Park Cultural Center through the Chicago Park District’s Arts Partners in Residence Program, which unites artists and communities in Chicago’s parks.

photo by Christina Dunn


Dance Film Premiere

We are excited to be a part of the In/Motion International Film Festival 2021. Two virtual events will be taking place on Saturday, January 23rd in support of our first-ever dance film called “Leverage”. You can register for free on the In/Motion website here:



Featured at our 2020 festival as Local Artists at our Works-In-Progress showing, Rachel Damon and Aaron Greer premiere their newest dance film, Leverage. Following the premiere, join Rachel, Aaron, and their production team for a discussion on the process:  How they recreated choreography from the stage to film, how sound and lighting elements altered the journey, and how each person involved became woven into the storyline.



After the premiere of Leverage, join filmmakers Rachel and Aaron LIVE for a Q&A about the film, its process, and being artists during trying times. We encourage this to be a forum for feedback, shared ideas and experiences, and discourse between filmmakers all around the world.

image from “Leverage” shoot showing dancer Amanda Ramirez with her arms wrapped around her chest as Cinematographer Mitch Fowler lines up the shot. Photo by Carly Rude. 


New Works 2021

Synapse Arts - New Works

call for Choreographers/Directors

Synapse Arts invites proposals from choreographers/directors who wish to take part in “New Works”, a program that supports independent dance-based artists in making an original performance piece. This program reflects the founding principles of Chicago-based Synapse Arts, connecting artists with one another to share resources and develop their voices through the creation of unique performance works. New Works takes place every other year and has commissioned 17 choreographers/directors so far. 

This program typically takes place in person, however the 2021 cycle will largely center around virtual programming, in the form of a remote residency. This means that applicants for this cycle do not necessarily need to be based in Chicago.



Two choreographer/director positions are available by application. Applicants should be independent artists who are developing their body of work and are interested in learning about how to self-produce. We emphasize process over product, and this remote residency is intended to help artists learn about themselves and their working style as they create. Proposed pieces may be created for any number of performers, including solos, and can be part of ongoing projects. Applicants who have not worked within the New Works program previously will take priority.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel that includes Synapse Arts staff, ensemble, board members, and previous New Works artists. A minimum of 50% of the panel will be individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ and a minimum of 25% BIPOC. Please consider how your work intersects or aligns with the Synapse values of supporting LGBTQIA+ and womxn/women before applying. 

A recorded information session from a panel of former New Works artists, including Maria Blanco (of LOUD BODIES), Chris Knowlton, Amanda Ramirez, Megan Rhyme, and Nora Sharp is viewable here: Please email to request a transcript of the closed captioning.

The selected choreographers/directors will receive:
-A stipend which can be used as pay for oneself and/or to pay for rehearsal space, collaborator fees, etc.

-Support from the staff and collaborators of Synapse, including coordination of a work-in-progress showing, virtual rehearsal visits (if desired), marketing and public relations

-A dedicated mentor (chosen in collaboration with the artist) who receives a stipend

-Experience in performance production, including planning, marketing, fundraising, and presentation. Primarily this experience occurs in support of the artist’s own New Works piece; we also offer coaching sessions for topics the artist wishes to learn about

-A place in a final showing, the structure of which will be determined by the artists and Synapse staff, in response to pandemic considerations. This showing could be a performance via Zoom, a dance for the camera, a site-specific outdoor performance, or other format

-Professional photos and video of their final work

-Additionally, we are working on partnerships for reduced cost rehearsal space in Chicago while our studios are closed due to COVID-19

This minimal and flexible structure is intended to organize a process that provides balance and direction without restricting creativity. New Works can be a step in your artistic evolution; we are interested in helping move focused artistry forward.

We are attempting to be as transparent as possible in explaining this program and what we are asking for in your proposal. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out via email or social media messaging. Since our staff does not work full time (we are 3 part time workers) we do not have an office number and prioritize written communication that can be answered during our work hours. Transparency is a way of debundling the power we acknowledge exists within the relationship between an organization and an applicant, please know that we are artists ourselves and have experienced all the parts of application processes. All respectful questions are welcome.


To apply, send PDFs of the following to BY MIDNIGHT on TUESDAY JANUARY 5, 2021. Label and title each document with your full chosen name. Please note that incomplete or late applications cannot be reviewed as it overextends our small staff. 

Narrative - Two pages maximum with 12 point font, 1” margins, and single spaced (Margins and spacing help us read your text more easily)
A description of the concept or idea you would like to develop, how your personal style of performance-making will approach this idea, and a brief description of what the final work might look like. Describe any envisioned plans for sound, staging/spacing, apparel/costumes, etc. and how you will coordinate or make these elements. Proposed pieces should be no longer than 20 minutes in length. 

Address how making this piece fits into your hxstory/history and future as a choreographer and/or director. What aspects of producing your work are most interesting to you, and what do you want to learn more about? Prior experience in professional presenting is not necessary, however if you have no prior professional experience please include an additional paragraph describing how you are prepared to manage the resources available through the Synapse Arts - New Works program. 

You might also recognize assets or positive things that you can bring to this project and the New Works program now and in the future. Many New Works artists continue to work with us in a variety of ways. 

Please outline an anticipated rehearsal schedule, taking into account these important dates:

January, 2021 – notification of chosen choreographers/directors

Early April, 2021 – shared showing and feedback session 

Late May, 2021 – final showing

Background - One page maximum
A resume, CV, or listing of relevant experience in performance, production, teaching, marketing, and/or presentation. 

Please also include your complete contact information and the contact information for two references (professional references if available).

Work sample
A link to a full-length video of an original work created within the last three years. Vimeo, YouTube, and online storage links such as Dropbox (with password provided as necessary) are preferred. 

The selected work should be a minimum of 5 minutes long. Please specify the time frame you would like reviewers to watch, if the sample piece is longer than 15 minutes. Feel free to direct us to what you think of as the strongest part. Panelists will have agency to watch more of any works they are interested in viewing, so it is best if you can send between 5 and 15 minutes of footage. 

Work samples should be reflective of your creative approach, and also show reviewers that you can develop a piece that is at least 5 minutes long. If you are proposing a project that requires context of more than one work sample, you may submit up to two samples (as separate links or as one video), while staying within the 5 to 15 minute range.


A note on language in your application: we are aware of and have been complicit in the “professionalization” of proposal language which centers whiteness and prioritizes education that has not been accessible to everyone. In an effort to better support artists who may not have written proposals before, we ask that you focus on communicating your ideas in the best way that reflects your style. If we are unclear on essential elements, we will reach out to you.

Also, we ask for references because accountability is important in this program. New Works creators who can respond to deadlines and lead their own projects lessen the workload for our small staff. 

Eligibility ­

Applicants must be available for all important dates that are outlined in the application.

Applications must be complete and be received by the deadline. 

­Preference is given to professional artists, not currently enrolled in a degree program. ­

Applicants who have taken part in the New Works program before will receive lower priority.

Find out more about Synapse Arts at

Questions? Email