New Works artists announced

Congratulations to LOUD BODIES, Amanda Ramirez, and Nora Sharp!


LOUD BODIES (Maria Blanco and Yariana Baralt Torres) is a dance collective that aims to use dance as a platform for activism and social change. Through the New Works program we are creating a work about sexual expression and orientation, and how society chooses to perceive and accept it. 

See more on their Facebook

photo by Emma Peterson


Amanda Ramirez is a Mexican American dance artist and graphic designer who blends thought-provoking choreography with her multimedia skill set.

Follow her on Instagram @amramire

photo by Fstop Photography


Nora Sharp grew up in Chicago and has been making multidisciplinary dance work here since 2014.

Nora approaches performance as a mutually cathartic service of humor, care, and vulnerability, and is thrilled to be able to engage a new ensemble process for the New Works program.

See more at

photo by Naomi Ishisaka

What is New Works?
New Works is one of our three core programs, supporting independent dance-based artists by commissioning them to make original performance pieces. New Works reflects the founding principles Synapse Arts, connecting artists with one another to share resources and develop their voices through the creation of unique artworks since 2004.

SAVE THE DATE for April 18 and 19, 2019 for the culminating performances at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater in Chicago.

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Start your monthly donation by December 1, 2018 to receive special access to the New Works creative process. See your contribution in action as emerging choreographers make new pieces that stir discussion and reflect their unique voices.

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New Works call for proposals

Synapse Arts invites proposals from choreographers/directors who wish to take part in New Works, a program that supports independent dance-based artists by commissioning them to make original performance pieces. 

This Chicago-based program reflects the founding principles of Synapse Arts, connecting artists with one another to share resources and develop their voices through the creation of unique artworks. Since its beginning in 2007, New Works has commissioned 14 choreographer/directors. The 2019 cycle will culminate in performances that will take place on April 18-19, 2019 at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse in Chicago.


[image from New Works piece “Sackcloth and Ashes” by Michelle Modrzejewski, photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis]

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 how to self-produce. 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 staff, ensemble, board members, and previous New Works artists.

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

-Free rehearsal space (schedules allowing)

-Mentorship and support from the staff and collaborators of Synapse, including a work-in-progress showing and rehearsal visits as desired

-Access to professional modern dance classes at Loyola Park, where Synapse is an Arts Partner in Residence

-Hands-on experience in performance production

-A place on a fully-produced final concert (including two public performances, tech time, lighting design, stage management, house management, public relations, & marketing)

-Professional photos and video of their work in performance

To apply, send PDFs of the following to BY 10PM on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 13, 2018. Label and title each document with your full name. Please note that incomplete or late applications will not be reviewed.

Narrative - Two pages maximum with 12 point font, 1” margins, and single spaced
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, costumes, etc. and how you will create these elements. Proposed pieces should be no longer than 20 minutes in length.

Address how making this piece fits into your 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.


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

Nov 13, 2018 – New Works proposals due

Dec 10, 2018 – notification of chosen choreographers/directors

Early March – shared showing and feedback session

Apr 18/19, 2019 – final performances at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse

PLEASE NOTE Applicants must be available for evening technical rehearsals and performances from April 15 through April 19, 2017.

Background - One page maximum
A resume or CV listing 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, and the panel will view no more than 15 minutes of longer works. Please specify the time frame you would like reviewers to watch, if the sample piece is longer than 15 minutes.

Questions? Email

Elevate Chicago Dance

Sunday, October 21 - FREE

at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Synapse performs along the South Stairwell at 11am

Six dancers wearing individual speakers will travel up multiple floors, weaving their way with large-scale arm knitted textiles. This 25 minute performance reimagines the history of women’s domestic arts as fully-embodied expressions of creativity and selfhood. The design elements of textiles, costumes, and sound intermingle time-tested approaches with new technologies in an effort to honor the old by looking at traditions through a contemporary frame. Space is transformed sonically and visually, revealing freedom in the familiar and imagining new possibilities for the grand stairwell. 

Find the full schedule of festival events here: