Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble — an innovative dance/theatre company whose artistic director, Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago alum Sara Maslanka ’13, is a graduate of the Dance Center’s BA Program in Dance — has received a grant from Chicago’s prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for international collaboration. In collaboration with Erica Mott Productions, CDE has received a grant under MacArthur’s International Connections Fund, which was initiated in 2008 to enable Chicago arts organizations to launch new partnerships and creative projects with cultural organizations in other countries. The news was announced on November 6, 2017. The grant will support an exchange program with Egyptian composers, computer programmers, dancers, and new media artists that will result in a new interactive exhibition and performance designed to deepen connections between communities in Cairo and Chicago. The new project, called “The Mycelial Cycle,” is an interactive multimedia installation performance that investigates civic participation and social movements in the digital age, inspired by activists’ use of social media during the 2011 occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble was founded in 2001 by multidisciplinary artist Ellyzabeth Adler. Maslanka was named artistic director in 2015, after originally joining CDE as a teaching artist and ensemble member in 2014. Dedicated to “performance with a purpose,” Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble challenges, engages and inspires audiences both onstage and in the classroom, through innovative, multidisciplinary storytelling in the genre of Tanztheatre, “which unites all art media and to achieve an all-embracing, radical change in humankind.” The ensemble collaboratively creates thought-provoking arts performances and educational outreach programs incorporating elements of theatre, music, movement, visual arts and literary text.