Special donation campaign

Support vulnerable artists and provide hope to young dancers. Donations up to $1,500 will be matched by a generous anonymous individual. 


The current COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone, and at Synapse Arts it has most impacted our artists and teachers. Artists and teachers are the lifeblood of our community, but as contractors and gig workers, are often the first to lose work.

Find out more about how we’re supporting our artists, students, and teachers on the donation campaign page here: 



Free Dance Day

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Events at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm CST hosted online via Zoom

All events are FREE


Join Synapse Arts for FREE dance-centric events! In the past this day has been chock full of in-person activities. This year we are reimagining Free Dance Day for virtual space, with three main events intended for all ages, abilities, identities, and incomes. 

Learn about the Synapse Arts - New Works program in a Q&A session with former New Works artists, take an intermediate/advanced workshop with Kristina Fluty, and have young artists try a ballet class. All events are free and open to the public. Zoom codes available by registration or request. See event info below for details.

Schedule Overview

full descriptions below

All times CST (Chicago)

12pm-1pm New Works Information Session with past New Works Artists

Ideal for anyone who is interested in how the Synapse Arts - New Works program works, how new performance pieces are made, or intends to apply to the program in the fall of 2020.

Direct Message (DM) Synapse Arts on Facebook to receive the Zoom code

**The session will be live captioned and recorded for later use at your own pace.

2pm-3pm Phrasebuilding Workshop with Kristina Fluty

Join Kristina Fluty of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and The Theatre School at DePaul University for a quick creative process class. We will build and investigate a long-form phrase of movement. All are welcome though this workshop may be best suited for intermediate/advanced movers.

RSVP required at this link: https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/events/18542-phrasebuilding-workshop-with-kristina-fluty

Zoom code will be sent by automatic email once you register

4pm-5pm Ballet for Young Dancers with Ms. Katie 

Join Synapse Arts’ own Ms. Katie for a fun all-levels ballet class. This class is aimed at students who have participated in Arts Partner Ballet classes at Loyola Park and Berger Park, but all young dancers ages 4-10 are welcome.  

Contact megan@synapsearts.com for the Zoom code

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. Some sessions will be captioned and recorded for later use at the user’s own pace. 

Please note: 

Selected activities from the original Free Dance Day schedule have been cancelled by the Park District or postponed indefinitely. These cancelled activities include:

All events are free. We hope that you will help us support the hard working artists who are bringing you this event by donating to our Synapse Arts Pandemic Support Campaign. With your help we can reach our goal of $5,000 and pay all of our artists for every single one of our spring events - even those that were cancelled due to COVID-19. Donate at https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/projects/97355-dance-will-keep-us-together-synapse-arts-pandemic-support or at www.synapsearts.com

Please remember:

Full Details and Schedule

New Works program Information Session

Free, ages 18+, via Zoom, Direct Message (DM) Synapse Arts on Facebook for the code

Learn about Synapse Arts - New Works, a choreographic mentorship and commissioning program run by Synapse Arts in an informal setting. Join former New Works artists Christopher Knowlton, Maria Blanco (of LOUD BODIES), Amanda Ramirez, Nora Sharp, and Megan Rhyme for a Q&A session in preparation for the fall 2020 call for applications.

Are you curious about the application process? Want to know what support and resources are offered to New Works artists? Have questions about the challenges and triumphs of being in New Works? Converse with former New Works artists and Synapse staff members to answer these questions and more!

**The session will be live captioned and recorded for later use at your own pace.

Phrasebuilding workshop with Kristina Fluty

Intended for intermediate and advanced movers, ages 18+

Free with required pre-registration: https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/events/18542-phrasebuilding-workshop-with-kristina-fluty

Join Kristina Fluty of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and The Theatre School at DePaul University for a quick creative process class. We will build and investigate a long-form phrase of movement inspired by the fundamentals of Laban/Bartenieff, the Molly Shanahan commitment to spiral, and a Feldenkrais-like idiosyncratic engagement with self and the space. We will start gently with guided and improvisational movement to warm ourselves into larger dancing.

This workshop is free of charge and pre-registration is required. This allows us to send you a Zoom code and support a quality experience for all. Please sign up to save your spot!

Ballet for young dancers with Ms. Katie

For ages 4-10, all levels of experience

Free, contact megan@synapsearts.com for Zoom code

Join Synapse Arts’ own Ms. Katie for a fun ballet class! All young dancers ages 4-10 are welcome, especially students who have participated in Arts Partner Ballet classes at Loyola Park and Berger Park. This fun class will use music and movement to introduce students to classical ballet. The class will include material from Synapse Arts’ beginning and intermediate level ballet classes, such as the five positions, floor and barre work and basic dance combinations. 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. 


April 30th - Dance Break!

In light of recent events, the staff, board, and artists of Synapse Arts have opted to reimagine our spring fundraiser (aka the Synapse Soiree) as a day of online events. We’re calling it Dance Break - take a little dance break with us, at the top of every hour throughout the day. 

Find the gallery of recorded Dance Break sessions here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7071960

Free registration opens April 17 here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dance-break-tickets-102823720516


photo: dancers Rachel Damon and Jesse Coffelt by William Frederking

Dance Break - April 30, 2020

events beginning at 10am and ending at 8:30pm

See full schedule below

We’re presenting these events to connect with our fans and supporters, to offer ways to take a break through dance, to spread the word about our donation campaign, and to pay artists for their talents.

All events are free with the option to donate so we can keep paying our artists, teachers, and staff through this challenging time. “Dance Break” reimagines and expands on our cancelled spring fundraiser, the Synapse Soiree, in virtual formats.

100% of each donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law, and thanks to the recent stimulus package, you can deduct up to $300 of charitable donations for 2020 even if you don’t itemize your taxes.

See the donation campaign here: https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/projects/97355-dance-will-keep-us-together


10am - 30 minutes

Pilates opener class with Gretchen Soechting-McGuire

via Zoom

Using a foam roller and basic Pilates principles, this session is designed to bring mindfulness, ease and opening (with a little balance and abdominal/ breath support thrown in). Though equipment and experience are not necessary, this session will be centered around use of a foam roller.

*No foam roller? No problem! Participants can substitute by using a bolster (towel or blanket), yoga mat, Franklin balls, or nothing at all!

11am - 30 minutes

Megan Rhyme and Katie Matteson-Campana lead a short workshop for movers who are parents (or parents-to-be.) Bring your little one for some fun movement-based interaction, including dancing, songs and games!

via Zoom

12pm - 15 minutes

A mini dance party with Synapse artists! Lunch break = dance break

via Zoom

Vote on songs by commenting on our Facebook

1pm - 10 minutes

The premiere of a short dance film by Kait Dessoffy

On Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo

2pm - 15 minutes

An improvised performance by Rachel Damon

on Instagram Live

Registrants and commenters can suggest prompts/ideas

3pm - 30 minutes

MovementLab with Nadine Lollino, a guided moving meditation/improvisation class using visualizations and breath to become more present in our experiences. Open to all movers.

via Zoom

See more about Movement Lab here

4pm - 30 minutes

Improvised movement class with Amanda Ramirez

via Zoom

You’ll need a pen or pencil and paper

5pm - 15 minutes

Stretch it out with Dee Alaba

On Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo

6pm - 20 minutes

“Leverage” Lightbulb Performance & Exploration by Dylan Roth with options to join in

via Zoom

An adapted excerpt from Synapse work “Leverage”, utilizing a lightbulb to explore and sense the relationship between. Grab a lightbulb, flashlight, or smartphone flashlight to join in the investigation.

7pm - 30 minutes

Join Sammy Spriggs for a 30 minute release-technique class, during which we will use the floor, movement efficiency, and spiraling to ground ourselves and find openness.

via Zoom

8pm - 30 minutes

Piano and ukulele performance with Matt Griffo

on Facebook Live

Relaxing cover songs and music to wind down to

Register for free to receive Zoom codes and special extras! 



Ballet From Home

We are missing our ballet students! Our teachers have put together some ways for you to practice ballet at home. 


Ballet flyer (English)


Ballet flyer (Spanish)


Links to ballet videos with Ms. Laura:

Beginning Ballet

Intermediate Ballet

We hope you and your families will all stay safe and have some fun dancing at home. If you have questions or would like printed copies of the ballet flyer, please email megan@synapsearts.com. 


Updates as of 4/14/20

Please note: some of our programs have been postponed in response to health concerns. The schools and Park District locations that we work within are temporarily closed and have released official statements in response to COVID-19. You can read the Chicago Park District statement HERE.

Synapse remains committed to the health and safety of our artists, teachers, students, and their families. Our staff is working remotely and we are abiding by the attendance thresholds announced by Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot. 

Updates will be posted here and on social media as they become available. 

Thank you for your support during this challenging time for our artists!

March 18 - Residency at Old Orchard Junior High


Three performances of dance pieces and Social Emotional Learning elements for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.

April 2 - first day of the Spring Session

Cancelled by The Chicago Park District

Classes include Adult Modern with Margi Cole and LOUD BODIES, and beginning ballet and intermediate ballet for young artists.

April 23 - Free Dance Day

POSTPONED until May 21, 2020

Join us for a day of free classes, workshops, and performances for all ages at Loyola Park from 10am to 5:45pm. 

April 30 - Synapse Soirée

The spring fundraising event is being reimagined as a day of online events and linked to a matched donation campaign supporting our artists, teachers, and students.