Digital program for New Works 2021Click the link below to access the digital program for New Works...

Digital program for New Works 2021

Click the link below to access the digital program for New Works 2021, which includes full information on the creative works and credits for contributors.

Are you looking for the ticket page? Find it here:


Chicago Dance Month - June 2021June 4 - SPACES exhibit closesSee our dance film...

Chicago Dance Month - June 2021

June 4 - SPACES exhibit closes
See our dance film “Leverage” in a curated digital exhibit of compelling time-based artworks. Vote for your pick in the People’s Choice award!
View the exhibit at this link:

June 5&6 – New Works 2021 Premieres
Saturday June 5 at 7pm
Sunday June 6 at 2pm
Via livestream, tickets $10-$50 and more information at this link:

June 25 at 7pm - Dance Through Different Lenses festival
A digital dance film festival presented by Banks Performance Project. Use ticket code “Rachel” to send a portion of your purchase to the Leverage team!
Tickets and more information at this link:

June 30 at 4:30pm - Chicago Dance Month live event
See a textile dance in the trees of McKinley Park! Presented by See Chicago Dance.
FREE, more information at this link:


New Works 2021Synapse Arts – New Works 2021 PremieresSaturday June 5 at 7pmSunday June 6 at 2pmVia...

New Works 2021

Synapse Arts – New Works 2021 Premieres

Saturday June 5 at 7pm

Sunday June 6 at 2pm

Via livestream, tickets $10-$50 at this link:

left: Rahila Coats, photo by Grace Kerpan right: a screenshot from Maggie Bridger’s dance film

Access Notes

ASL interpretation and edited closed captioning included

Audio description available via conference call

For additional accessibility service requests, please contact info(at)

Event Description

Our bi-annual New Works incubator program returns with two young dance artists who will premiere their original pieces to a virtual audience. Emerging from a field of 29 talented applicants, 2021 New Works artists Maggie Bridger and Rahila Coats were selected in January by our diverse and distinguished review panel. After working with their mentors in safe studio spaces provided by Synapse Arts, Maggie and Rahila are ready to unveil their moving and evocative dance creations on June 5 and 6, 2021.

Rahila Coats

With a body of work that often confronts personal narratives as they relate to consent and permission, Rahila’s pieces also draw from concepts of contact improvisation, play and fluidity in space. Since the winter, Rahila has been hard at work, collaborating with her mentor Jenn Freeman/Po’ Chop, a renowned Chicago-based performance artist. Rahila’s New Works piece is inspired by her connection with a grandmother who passed before she was born. Dealing with issues of race and gender, the work will also explore the relationships Black women have with their grandmothers - and the legacy of those connections, whether physical or spiritual. As a recent transplant from her hometown of Minneapolis, Rahila is excited to make her Chicago creative debut with Synapse Arts.

Maggie Bridger

As an accomplished dancer and PhD student at the UIC Department of Disability and Human Development, Maggie’s distinctive voice and unique artistic vision explore the generative potential of pain in creating movement. Collaborating closely with her New Works mentor Bryan Saner, a well-known creative artist, performer, and board member of Chicago Opportunity for Peace in Action, Maggie’ New Works premiere will invite the audience to question traditional ideas of the body in dance. Through the medium of film, Maggie’s work will explore her experiences with chronic pain. Incorporating themes drawn from her daily routines, the piece will delve into the practices that both mitigate and sharpen physical pain - both for herself and as she observes it in others.

What Is New Works?

Every other year, Synapse Arts invites dance artists and choreographers to apply for its pioneering New Works program. Up to three artists or artist groups are selected to create original pieces that reflect their unique voices - while sustaining the company’s priorities of diversity and inclusion. In addition to a stipend, New Works artists receive mentoring throughout the creative process, free rehearsal space, professional photos and videos, and more. Culminating in a final show for the public, participants also gain invaluable experience in performance production from planning and fundraising to marketing and ticket sales.


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!