Chicago Dancemakers Forum 2019 Greenhouse Program Recognizes Emerging Choreographers

Keyierra Collins, Reginald “Sirr Tmo” Cosper Jr., Marceia L. Scruggs and Connie Shiau

(Chicago, IL) – Chicago Dancemakers Forum announces the four recipients of the 2019 Greenhouse Awards. Keyierra Collins, Marceia L. Scruggs, Reginald “Sirr Tmo” Cosper Jr., and Connie Shiau will each receive $4,000 for the development of new work with the support of a mentor who is awarded $1,000 for their participation.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum is the only organization in the city dedicated solely to nurturing the artistic advancement of dancemakers. In addition to its signature Lab Artists program for established artists, Chicago Dancemakers Forum renews its commitment to supporting Chicago choreographers by offering this opportunity for emerging artists for the third time. The Greenhouse program stimulates artistic growth and relationship-building for emerging dancemakers by providing financial support along with paid mentorship, rehearsal space, marketing, and group dialogue—to support their creative process as they develop new work over the course of three months.

Executive Director Ginger Farley shares, “To have a thriving cultural landscape in Chicago we must support artists at all stages of development. There is such a rich pool of young dancemakers in Chicago right now, we are eager to engage with them as they develop new work in 2019.”

The four 2019 Greenhouse awardees will be recognized along with the recently-announced 2019 Lab Artists during the Chicago Dancemakers Forum 2019 Awards Celebration and Benefit on Thursday, July 11, 5:30-8:30 PM at The Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E. Ontario, Chicago, IL 60611.

Keyierra Collins (Mentor: Raquel Monroe)

Keyierra Collins is a dancer, teaching artist, and choreographer based in Chicago, IL. Collins earned a BA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago where she studied varies dance forms including West African, modern, jazz, ballet, some hip hop forms, and improvisation. As a dance artist, Collins has collaborated with a number of choreographers including Onye Ozuzu, Paige Cunningham, Margi Cole, Emily Stein, Anna Martine Whitehead and Sonita Surratt.

As a choreographer, Collins’s work explores how dance and movement can be used to heal trauma, particularly the collective and individual trauma experienced by people of the African diaspora. Having traveled and worked with artists in Haiti and Nigeria, Collins wants to continue to travel and collaborating with artists around the world.

Reginald “Sirr Tmo” Cosper, Jr. (Mentors: Daniel “BRAVEMONK” Haywood – 2017 Lab Artist, and Darrell Jones – 2006 Lab Artist)

Reginald Cosper Jr. A.K.A Sirr Tmo Sama Dancer/DJ/Music Producer is an ambassador of cultural arts and a Chicago dance maker. He has been dancing for 14 years underground in juke parties/clubs/raves, battles, stage performances and parades. As a dancemaker, his goal is to make the most beautiful movements out of something undone, not normal, and preferably unorthodox, through improvisation.

While everyone does something one way, he inverts, reverses and combines movement with other vocabulary (a process close to his creative work as a DJ). In his Greenhouse project, Sirr Tmo explores his native stomping grounds of Chicago and observes, embraces and shakes up things. He is fusing personality, movement, music, fashion and architecture of Chicago.

Marceia L. Scruggs (Mentor: J’Sun Howard – 2014 Lab Artist)

Marceia L. Scruggs is a mover and creator, driven by research in Women’s/Gender studies where her dancemaking practice allows for experiential storytelling: raw, energetic, transformative experiences. Her work aims to challenge and interrogate notions of internalized self-hatred, anti-blackness and self-worth and to fully embody and normalize these experiences that constantly shape her and people like her.

Marceia’s practice focuses on effort in physicality, risk, and musicality. Rebuke It is an ongoing work that investigates language in relation to Black bodies, when it is accepted and when it becomes a barrier to accessing resources in other spaces. Code-switching, repressed trauma and its translation to self-urgency, and exoticism of the black body are examined through a series of connective interludes.

Connie Shiau (Mentor: Rena Butler – 2019-2020 Consortium Member of Chicago Dancemakers Forum)

Connie Shiau was born in Gainesville, Florida, U.S.A., and raised in Tainan, Taiwan. She moved to the U.S. to further her dance education and pursue a professional dance career at the age of 18. Shiau has worked as a collaborator with an array of choreographers including Kyle Abraham, Helen Simoneau, Rena Butler, Sameena Mitta, Adam Barruch, and Kevin Wynn. She is currently a dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.

Shiau is a choreographer drawn to the power that movement can bring. To her, it bridges experiences and perspectives, and serves as a connection with her people and her world. Shiau’s work sparks curiosity, conversation, questions, and stories. In this solo project, she explores the fluidity, freedom, struggle, and societal expectations of a female in this current political climate.

About Chicago Dancemakers Forum

Chicago Dancemakers Forum fuels the field of dance by stimulating and nourishing the professional development and artistic fulfillment of Chicago’s individual dancemakers. Since its inception in 2003, Chicago Dancemakers Forum has granted over $1 million to artists and is the single largest, local source of support for the city’s dancemakers which has an open call for applications. Past Chicago Dancemakers Forum awardees vary in age, gender, race and dance discipline. They work in tap, butoh, burlesque, Chicago Footwork, dance for the camera, Bharatanatyam, voguing, classical Japanese, African, contemporary, and more. Collectively they represent the spirit and power of new dance in Chicago now.


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