Synapse Arts – New Works 2021 Premieres
Saturday June 5 at 7pm
Sunday June 6 at 2pm
Via livestream, tickets $10-$50 at this link: https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/events/29468-synapse-arts-new-works-2021
left: Rahila Coats, photo by Grace Kenper right: a screenshot from Maggie Bridger’s dance film
ASL interpretation and captioning included
Audio description available
For additional accessibility service requests, please contact info(at)synapsearts.com
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-819-5467 with requests for accommodations or accessibility assistance.
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.
Congratulations to Maggie and Rahila!
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 https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/events/26722-synapse-arts-winter-session-virtual-classes
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
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: http://www.inmotionfestival.com/2021
LEVERAGE PREMIERE & FILM-MAKING PROCESS DISCUSSION
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.
LIVE Q&A - LEVERAGE CREATORS RACHEL DAMON + AARON GREER
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.