Classes & Workshops

Winter 2024 Quarter

A quick snapshot of the WQ TAPS Dance Program offerings. Scroll down for the location and description of each class, workshop, and event!


Weekly Class Overview

  • Mondays, 5-6:30pm Jazz Dance with Keesha Beckford
  • Wednesdays, 5-6:30pm Falling through Space with Kevin Shannon
  • Thursdays, 3:30-5pm Ballet with Erica Edwards and Meredith Dincolo


Workshop Series Overview

  • Sat, Jan 13, 1-3pm Somatic Practices with Elliot Hammans
  • Sat, Jan 20, 1-3pm Nihon Buyo Japanese Classical Dance with Yoshinojo Fujima
  • Sat, Jan 27, 1-3pm Physical Narratives with Tim Heck and Hope Youngblood
  • Sat, Feb 3, 1-3pm Afro Grooves with Amansu Eason
  • Sat, Feb 10, 1-3pm Hubbard Street Repertory with Jacqueline Burnett
  • Sat, Feb 17, 1-3pm Contemporary Choreography with Kinnari Vora
  • Sat, Feb 24, 1-3pm Tap with Sterling Harris
  • Sat, Mar 2, 1-3pm Access as Method with Maggie Bridger

Weekly Technique Classes

Kevin J. Shannon

Contemporary Class: Falling through Space
Wednesdays, 5-6:30pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS) 
Sign-Up Form

In this release-based contemporary dance class, you will work to discover new pathways and possibilities that empower you to expand your physical limits. We will work through a series of movement phrases that center around the use of weight, gravity, and momentum to fall through space. These fundamental ideas will be used as a starting place to find a greater range of movement possibilities. Come prepared to use your imagination, to explore the delicate nuances of the dancing body and dive into the creative drama of the human spirit. This class will be geared to adv/beg to advance. Knee pads are recommended.

Kevin J. Shannon was born in Baltimore, Maryland and is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts. He received additional training from the School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Paul Taylor, and Springboard Danse Montréal. After receiving his BFA from The Juilliard School, Kevin was invited to join Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. While a company dancer with Hubbard Street from 2007 to 2022, he had the privilege to perform works by Kyle Abraham, Aszure Barton, Alejandro Cerrudo, Peter Chu, Sharon Eyal, William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, Twyla Tharp, Robyn Mineko Williams, among many others. As an educator, he has led and programmed the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Intensive and is currently a guest teacher for Hubbard Street’s main company, José Limón Dance Company and Gibney Company. He has been a visiting artist for the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and has served as faculty for The Joffrey Ballet School, Gibney Dance NYC, Chicago Movement Collective, Youth American Grand Prix, and Peridance Center. Kevin is a certified IMAGE TECH for dancers™ teacher. He is on faculty for the Gibney Pro professional certificate program under the direction of Alexandra Wells. Currently he is a freelance artist dancing with Flockworks Dance, Brian Brooks/Moving Company, KNONAME and Danielle Russo. Instagram: @thedancingpotter Email: kevinjayshannon@gmail.com

Keesha Beckford

Jazz Dance with Keesha Beckford
Mondays, 5-6:30pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

This open-level class explores jazz technique as a mixture of African-American social dance traditions and ballet and modern-dance vocabularies that blended and evolved to form a range of jazz styles. Through a warmup, an across-the-floor series, and center choreography, we will focus on dynamics, alignment, musicality, technical clarity, transitions, and expressive and powerful movement. Beginners will have the space to learn the fundamentals, while more experienced dancers can push their attention to detail, athleticism, and artistry.

Keesha Beckford began her dance studies in Queens, New York, before graduating cum laude from Princeton University with an A.B. in American history and a minor in dance. She has performed the choreography of Milton Myers, Teri Lee and Oliver Steele, Danny Herman, Paige Cunningham-Caldarella, Amy Marshall, Michael Foley, and Lorn MacDougal, among others in the U.S. and abroad. Her teaching credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Dance Center Evanston, Charlotte Ballet, the UNC Charlotte dance department, and as a guest teacher for Thodos Dance Chicago. Beckford has served as Youth Programs Manager at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and is currently the Dance Lab Liaison at the Joffrey Academy, Official School of the Joffrey Ballet.

 

Meredith Dincolo

Ballet with Erica Edwards & Meredith Dincolo (alternating)
Thursdays, 3:30-5pm
Ida Noyes Dance Room
Sign-Up Form 

Moving from barre to center work, this class supports a mindful approach to the structure and flow of classical ballet. Emphasis will be placed on functional technique, musicality, and artistic expression of the individual dancer. This is an open-level class, and anyone interested in exploring ballet techniques is welcome. Enhancements will be provided to challenge advanced dancers and modifications to support those with less experience.

Meredith Dincolo has been dancing and teaching professionally for the past 29 years. She danced with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago for nearly 14 years where she performed and created works with choreographers from around the world. Meredith has also danced in Europe with Lyon Opera Ballet and Nationaltheater Mannheim. Most recently, she performed with Robyn Mineko Williams and Artists in the premiere of Echo Mine, a collaboration with the band Califone. Meredith is on faculty at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and COMMON Conservatory, and she taught at the Lou Conte Dance Studio from 2014-2020. She is a founding member of the Chicago Movement Collective, and sets works at the professional level in the US and abroad. 

Erica Lynette Edwards

Erica Lynette Edwards received her early training at Salt Creek Ballet and through summer intensives at the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet,  American Ballet Theater, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet, among others. After being one of the first dancers in the Joffrey Ballet's Arpino Apprentice program in 2000, Erica enjoyed a 15-year carrier as a ballerina at The Joffrey Ballet and five years as the company’s Director of Community Engagement. She is featured with The Joffrey Ballet in Robert Altman’s movie, The Company, and she has been recognized by the Chicago Sun-Times and Ebony magazine for her leadership and excellence in the field. Erica recently founded Cultivating Better Tomorrows, a consulting company with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through CBT, Erica offers antiracism training to reshape the dynamics of dance communities. Her visionary leadership has earned her many honors and opportunities, including speaking on national panels, giving a TEDx talk, and being selected as a member of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40.”

Dance Workshop Series

Elliot Hammans

Somatic Practices with Elliot Hammans
Saturday, January 13, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Explore awareness of the body through somatic movement. The workshop incorporates many exercises and movement ideas from Pilates, Yoga, Gyrokinesis, Feldenkrais, and Physical Therapy. Study the functional range and capacity of the body in order to discover how ones sense of neutral informs efficiency in different patterns and systems of movement. Create more awareness of the body and gain tools for analyzing healthy sequences and functional pathways to apply within training, dancing, and everyday life.

Elliot Hammans began his formal dance training in 2008 with Robert Sher-Machherndl and continued his ballet and modern dance education with Moving People Dance in Santa Fe, NM, under the direction of Curtis Uhlemann. Following one season with Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance and studies abroad at Austria’s Tanzzentrum SEAD (Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance), Hammans earned his BFA in Dance in 2014 from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Hammans joined Hubbard Street 2 in August 2014 and was promoted to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's main company in August 2016. He has danced works by Twyla Tharp, Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Kyle Abraham, Crystal Pite, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, and Aszure Barton among others. Elliot's class, while rooted in a technical practice and method, seeks to understand efficient dancing by engaging in a somatic sensibility and awareness of movement.

Yoshinojo Fujima

Nihon Buyo Japanese Classical Dance with Yoshinojo Fujima
Saturday, January 20, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Nihon Buyo(日本舞踊) draws from Kabuki and also has origins derived from Noh and Bugaku.  The workshop will introduce the principles of odori dance movement relying on using both traditional pedagogy and modern workshop(group) teaching. Foundations of etiquette, yukata/kimono dress, using the dance fan, and basic Japanese terms will be discussed. Completion of the introductory workshop can be used as part of the prerequisite for workshop participation at the Shubukai Okeikoba.a/kimono dress, using the dance fan, and basic Japanese terms will be discussed. Completion of the introductory workshop can be used as part of the prerequisite for workshop participation at the Shubukai Okeikoba.

Grandmaster Yoshinojo Fujima is trained in the Fujima Style (Iemoto Fujima Kan’emon VI/ Kabuki name Onoe Shoroku IV) of Japanese Classical dance, The Fujima School is one of the five main dance schools in Japan and is known for its intricate choreography as well as dancemaking for kabuki theater. She received her professional stage name (Natori) from Shunojo Fujima, and her Grandmaster teaching license (Shihan) in Japan.  As the Program Director of Shubukai, (formally known as Fujima Ryu of Chicago), she performs, teaches, and continues to return to Japan to perform and train. She has received the Illinois Arts Council Ethnic & Folk Art Master Apprentice Grant, and is a 2023 recipient of the 3Arts/Reva and David Logan Foundation Award for dance.

Tim Heck

Physical Narratives: Storytelling in Immersive Worlds with Tim Heck & Hope Youngblood
Saturday, January 27, 1-3pm 
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Drawing primarily from their work directing and teaching Punchdrunk’s award winning immersive theater show, Sleep No More, Hope and Tim will use impulse, fantasy, tension and rhythm to tell stories, reveal characters and charge atmospheres. There will be a priority on responding to the physical space and fellow participants through solo, partnering and group. We will explore how to amplify the human condition through the intersection of dance and theatre. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and be ready to break a sweat!

Tim Heck has been a lead performer, rehearsal director and event collaborator with Punchdrunk’s landmark immersive production Sleep No More in New York and Shanghai since 2013. He originated the role of Captain Hook for China Broadway Entertainment’s immersive Peter Pan, setting the play-based structure on its original Chinese cast; and played the role of Judge Turpin in Adam Barruch’s contemporary dance iteration of Steven Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Originally developing his artistic chops in Chicago, Tim has been a performer with Blue Man Group, Lucky Plush Productions, 500 Clown, Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, and Redmoon Theater. He studied physical theater at Ecole Lassaad in Brussels, Belgium; and holds a Masters of Social Work from NYU. He is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist.

Hope Youngblood

Hope Youngblood was the Resident Director of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More Shanghai from 2018 to 2022. During this period of time she directed dozens of events and performances blending her talents as a director, visual artist and dance maker to create a range of immersive experiences.  She has directed campaigns, photo shoots, music videos and immersive dance-based experiences for brands such as Valentino Act Collection. Hope is a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts and the International Center of Photography.  She performed lead roles in the Drama Desk Award and Obie Award winning Sleep No More in Boston, New York and Shanghai. Other credits include: Rehearsal Director and lead performer, Random Scream's Too Shy To Stare; Artistic Associate, Patricia Noworol Dance Theater’s Tremendous; and guest soloist with the Limon Company.

Amansu Eason

Afro Grooves with Amansu Eason
Sat, February 3, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Get your groove on with rhythms and movement that draw from a unique blend of West African, Caribbean, and Western dance traditions. Afro-Fusion is grounded and energetic and is welcoming to all physical abilities and body types. This workshop will support students to develop fully body expression with strength, flexibility, coordination, and a sense of rhythm. Wear comfortable clothing for full range of motion. 

Amansu Eason is a dancer, choreographer and teacher of African/Diaspora dance. He is a certified instructor in the Katherine Dunham Technique and offers classes in West African, Afro Caribbean as well as his exploration of “Afro Grooves.” Eason serves on the technique committee for the Institute for Dunham Certification. He was the guest instructor for Edna Manley School of Dance summer intensive in Kingston, Jamaica and was invited to give a dance workshop series at the direct request of the Ga’ aton Kibbutz dance commune in Israel. Eason began training at an early age in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and musical theater. He also received extensive training in West African folklore and after high school began touring with Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, the oldest traditional African Dance Company in the US. In the 18 years he performed with Muntu, Eason was lead dancer, rehearsal director, assistant artistic director and choreographer. His tribute to Michael Jackson won two Black Excellence Awards for Best Choreography in Chicago. Amansu has performed with and opened for pop artists Ben Harper, Omarion and Mary Mary, and has been a soloist for Chris Walker and a guest artist with Kashe Dance Company.

 Jacqueline Burnett

Hubbard Street Repertory with Jacqueline Burnett
Saturday, Feb 10, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Open to intermediate and advanced dancers, this 2-hour workshop begins with a guided improvisational warm-up with stability exercises and exploration of movement textures, dynamics, and musicality. This will move into learning excerpts from Ne Me Quitte Pas by choreographer Spenser Theberge, performed by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Jacqueline Burnett received her formative classical ballet training in her hometown of Pocatello, Idaho, from Romanian Ballet Master Marius Zirra. She moved to New York City in 2005 to pursue the Ailey School/Fordham University joint BFA degree, graduating magna cum laude with departmental honors in 2009. She joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in January 2008 as a Center Apprentice while completing her degree and became a member of the main company in August 2009. She received a 2011 Princess Grace Honorarium for Dance and was a member of the HSDC contingent for DanceMotion USA 2013, a U.S. State Department/Brooklyn Academy of Music cultural diplomacy tour in Algeria, Morocco, and Spain. In addition to dancing with HSDC, she has served as an Artistic Lead and teacher for Hubbard Street Summer Intensives, a repetitor for choreographies by Penny Saunders (Ballet Idaho, Seattle Dance Collective, Royal New Zealand Ballet), and a freelance dancer with Robyn Mineko Williams and Artists and Seattle Dance Collective. She recently choreographed for Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of Murder on the Orient Express under the direction of Annika Boras and premiered a new work, co-choreographed with David Schultz, for Danza Visual in Mexico City. Photo credits: Photo by Michelle Reid, styling by Imani Sade.

Kinnari Vora

Contemporary Choreography with Bharatanatyam Influences with Kinnari Vora
Saturday, February 17, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Explore a diverse range of choreographic tools using Bharatanatyam fundamentals: facial expressions and emotions, rhythm dynamics, storytelling through hand gestures, and the integration of metaphor/poetry in improvisation. Open to all dancers and choreographers. No prior Bharatantyam experience required.

Kinnari Vora (she/her) is a Chicago based dancer, choreographer, and educator. She shares stories of universal human conditions and emotions through movement, meditation, and theatrical practices. She was born and raised in India. Her contemporary works are rooted in Bharatanatyam (disciple of Sarmishtha Sarkar, India), various Indian folk dances and kalaripayattu martial arts. Kinnari is co-founder and artistic co-chair of Ishti Collective and a dancer collaborator with Surabhi Ensemble. She is a 2022 Chicago Dancemakers Lab Artist and a resident artist at High Concept Labs.

Sterling Harris

Sterling Harris

Tap with Sterling Harris
Saturday, February 24, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

Tap dance lies at the intersection of dance and music; tap dancers are both dancers and musicians simultaneously. Instead of just dancing to music, tap requires that you also become the music – opening the door to deeper expression, connection, and exploration. Through exercises working on technique, musicality, and improvisation, this workshop will delve into the range of rhythmic expression possible through tap dance.

Sterling Harris (he/him) is a Chicago native who fell in love with tap at the age of seven and hasn’t stopped dancing since. He holds a B.A. in Neuroscience from Northwestern University, where he also pursued his passion for dance in Tonik Tap, Northwestern’s premier tap group. Sterling is the Artistic Associate of Chicago Tap Theatre and Company Member of M.A.D.D. Rhythms, and he has performed with Dorrance Dance, Music From The Sole, and 333. Sterling is also an alumnus of the Tap Program at The School at Jacob’s Pillow and the recipient of the 2021 Lorna Strassler Award.

Lauren sheng

K-POP with Lauren Sheng
Saturday, March 2, 1-3pm
Bartlett Arts Rehearsal Space (BARS)
Sign-Up Form

 

Open DJ Dance Sessions

Photo of Dj

Building upon the success of our autumn quarter events, the TAPS Dance Program willl host 2 DJ’d events during winter quarter, bringing a mix of vibes and styles together. These are open community events.

Sun, Jan 14, 6:30-8:30pm
Soul Session + Battle 

Host/Fasicilator: Vero Sagredo
DJ: Salem
Sounds: Funk, House, Breaks

Sun, Feb 18, 6:30pm-8:30pm
House + Deep House Grooves

Host/Facilitator: Tre Daniels
DJ: Vader
Sounds: House, Deep House, Disco