2021 GD Performing Artists



Sophie Allen is a Chicago-based dance artist whose work might make you laugh (it’s ok if it doesn’t). Sophie pushes gender, playfulness and absurdity to the forefront of her work and continues to hone her sense of musicality and humor to connect with deeper subtexts. She is fascinated by acts of subversion, confrontation, confession and concealment in performance—specifically for the purpose of reimagining personal and collective histories. She enjoys the magnetism of interdisciplinary collaboration and loves nothing more than when a dance doesn’t make sense until it does. Sophie is excited to be performing for real people again. Her living room and her computer screen were growing tired of her… and vice versa.

Sophie holds a dual degree from the University of Michigan, where she earned her BFA in Dance and BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). She has performed works by Sandra Torijano, Shannon Gillen/Laja Field/Martin Durov, Hanna Brictson, Ayako Takahashi and Peter Sparling among others. Her choreography has been presented throughout the Midwest and New York, and is featured in several music videos and screendance projects in collaboration with independent musicians and visual artists across the US. Sophie is thrilled to be an artist-in-residence for the 11th annual Going Dutch Festival in Elgin, IL.

Heather Danielsen is a graduate of MTSU where she studied Theatre and Dance. She currently resides in New York, where she acts and does comedy, improv, and sketch (Pitchfork Patty).

Abagail Darrow (she/her) hails from Gilberts, IL. In the past four years, Abagail has completed her undergraduate studies at Loyola University Chicago – in which she now possesses a BA in Dance and a BBA in Marketing. Currently, Abagail is working towards her Masters of Business Administration at Loyola and plans to graduate in August of 2021. Abagail is the former recipient of Loyola’s 2017 and 2018 Undergraduate Research Provost Fellowship for her work with Mandala Dance Company in Rome, Italy, and Pivot Arts Festival in Chicago, IL. Abagail’s most recent collaboration includes the premiering of her choreographic work, Eventide 12:31 – emulating the establishment of community through investigation of one’s body and interpersonal relations – at Momenta Dance Company’s ‘Night Vision’ show in of Spring 2020. This work was preceded by her choreographic work Menswear (2019) – an exploration of gendered fashion as a social construct – at the Loyola Dance Theater’s Annual Dance Concert in the fall of 2019, as well as her work How to Scream in Color (2019) – touching on the interpretation of social justice-driven photography through dance – at the Loyola University Museum of Art’s ‘Flash Forward 2018’ exhibition. She has participated in the American College Dance Association’s Gala Concert, Emergence Dance Festival in Chicago, and Going Dutch Festival in Elgin, IL. Her previous performances include works by Rena Butler, Randy Duncan, and Sandra Kaufmann. Abagail’s practice revolves around the nourishment of mind, body, and soul through social-driven movement and concepts.

dropshift is a provocative, inquisitive and authoritative investigator of movement. Conceived through a collaborative incubation laboratory of movement, sound, and visual installation, the work engages audience with dialogue, choice and experimental practice. The company works through a rigorous process of studio investigation to create work that energizes the space and creates an alternate world for the performer and viewer. Using specific directives of quality, imagery, and trajectory dropshift creates movement environments that allow the viewer an opportunity to connect and engage with what is abstract by layering the physical experience with one that is human and authentic.

Britney C. Johnson is a Philadelphia based artist exploring creating during such an uncertain time. Britney’s piece investigates how all of the past year has led her to her current place in existence.

Emily Loar is a choreographer and movement artist based in Chicago, Illinois. A 2019 and 2021 recipient of the DCASE Individual Artist Award, Loar’s choreographic work seeks to combine our primary forms of communication: written and spoken word, body language and facial expression, playful instincts and imitation.

After graduating with a BFA from Columbia College Chicago, Loar has performed with notable dancemakers including Peter Carpenter, Lydia Feuerhelm, Kasey Foster, Erin Kilmurray, Jonathan Meyer, and Julia Rae Antonick (under the company name, Khecari). A founding member of the modern dance collective Project Bound Dance, Loar took over as Co- Artistic Director alongside Ashley Deran in 2018. She began working closely with non-profit arts service organizations in 2019, and continues to assist in the coordination of community events.

Maxine Patronik is a Chicago-based dancer, educator, and choreographer, with an interest in creating site-specific works and works for film. She holds a BFA degree in Dance from Dominican University of California with a minor in Creative Writing. As a movement artist and earth-lover, she is passionate about the intersection of art and the earth, and most of her work focuses on nature, our relationship to the natural world, and climate justice. Maxine also believes strongly in the power of collaboration, and is the co-creator of a movement and music collaborative project titled Fémura.



Jordan Reinwald (she/her), is a dancer, aerialist, and choreographer currently based in Chicago. She has performed professionally, nationally, and internationally with Winifred Haun and Dancers, Khecari, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, The Catskills Ballet Theatre, The Civic Ballet at the Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts, Aerial Dance Chicago, C5 Create With No Limits, and as a promotional performer for Theater Mama with Cirque Du Soleil, among others. She was recently a featured aerialist with Q Productions Las Vegas, and is an active member of The Drifter’s Collective, a multi-disciplinary contemporary circus troupe. She currently creates work with Michel Rodriguez Cintra under the name Once. The pair’s work has been featured at Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, Columbia College Chicago, LatinX Arts Festival, and at Northwestern University. Reinwald is the Director of Document Cuba, a collaborative choreographic research project which aims to provide choreographic inquiry opportunities for Reinwald, Rodriguez Cintra, and Osnel Delgado Wambrug, Founder and Artistic Director of Malpaso Cuban Dance Company. Reinwald has taught ballet, creative movement, Acro, and composition for River North Chicago Dance, Chicago Public Schools, The Jillana School, and The Actor’s Gymnasium, among others. Reinwald is a 2019 graduate of the Actor’s Gymnasium Professional Training Circus Program with specialties in Clown, Rope and Harness, and additional focuses in Silks and Bottle Walking.

Gina T’ai has been creating and crafting performances, dances, and spectacles for the better part of 20 years. She earned both her BA and MFA from Hollins University. Ms. T’ai is on faculty at Beloit College (WI) 2009-present, teaching Dance and Critical Identity Studies. Her work has been presented at nationally and internationally including but limited to Performatica, World Dance Alliance- Americas and Global Summit, The American Dance Festival (ADF), Center for Performance Research (CPR), Richmond Dance Festival, the Queerly Contemporary Festival, and was commissioned for a new work by the Going Dutch Festival in 2019. She has published research the Journal of Dance Education, loveDANCEmore, Dance Education in Practice, and in Contact Quarterly (CQ).

- Thank You So Much For Coming was formed in 2015 by Maddy Rager and Scott Crandall to create performances drawing from their individual backgrounds in dance and theater.
- Thank You So Much For Coming is an ornate intricate stained glass iPhone case that says “WHERE AM I??” on the back
- Thank You So Much For Coming is a sentient Wikihow illustration for “How To Performance Artist”
- Thank You So Much For Coming sends gleaming invitations to come see the familiar become estranged.
- Thank You So Much For Coming brazenly stares down the stupid like a turned around athlete in the Bull Run of Pamplona and invites you to stare with/at us.


Sophie Allen - Photography Kenzie King.j
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Loar 2021 - Photo by Aderanphotography.j
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2021 GD Visual Artists


Alison Balcanoff is an artist working primarily with paper. Her work uses a minimal palette—often just the white of the paper—to focus on light and shadow. By sculpting or removing bits of paper through folding, burning, or cutting, Alison plays with negative space to create three-dimensional drawings. Each drawing develops organically as a result of a meticulous, yet meditative, process of repeated mark-making.

Alison graduated from the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University with her BFA in Fine Arts and obtained her MA in Art History and Museum Studies Certification from Northern Illinois University. She has exhibited locally and regionally at the Hyde Park Art Center, Water Street Studios, The Foundry Art Centre, and at various Pop-Up Gallery locations. In addition to her studio practice, Alison has held positions in museums and arts administration. In her most recent role as the Director of the St. Charles Arts Council, she worked as an arts advocate for the Fox Valley region and curated several juried exhibitions. She’s also curated museum exhibitions, most notably “Graffiti Imagery in Contemporary Art,” at the Jack Olson Gallery, “Movie Magic” at the Downers Grove History Museum, and Illinois Association of Museum Award of Excellence winner “Mapping: Measuring Across Place and Period” at the the NIU Art Museum. Her work in anthropological collections at The Field Museum and the Burma Art Collection at NIU has influenced her work as an artist: furthering her interest in specimens, cabinets of curiosities, and the natural world (themes that show through in her choice of subject matter) and bringing a unique sensitivity to, and awareness of, materials to her artistic practice.


Kathie Collinson/ Collinson Fine Art As an artist residing in North Aurora, I concentrate on graphite, colored pencil, photography, and encaustic painting and often use some or all within a single piece. My works include both 2D and 3D pieces that range from the beautiful to the whimsical - as I believe art is all about expression and experimentation. I frequently have pieces or shows in galleries in the area and open my studio at the Starline Factory in Harvard, IL during their 4th Friday events.

Horror Floral 

Lost? Look to the Stars

Horror Floral (est.2016) is the artistic alias of Mary Sweeney, whose sculptural assemblage-based work brings a dark arts sensibility to floral arrangement. Typically Horror Floral works in dried funeral flowers and ethically sourced insects/bones. 'Lost? Look to the Stars' is created in a different light. She wanted to bring a child-like fantasy as we look to the stars. Star gazing has always been an important part of her life even from a young age. During these times, she has turned to the stars above for their guidance.

Artist photo by: Christina Neubauer /Instagram: @scum.bunny
‘Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too truly to be fearful of the night.’

 - Sarah Williams

Kelsey Gordon is a Chicago based artist. She completed this piece in the summer of 2020. It is a meditation on how the corona virus restrictions changed her day to day life. It reflects her desire to find control and beauty in the world during a time where she needed both those things. The piece is painted in the style of the Dutch tradition, using a 'dead' color palette- all tones were mixed from cool black, yellow ochre, white, burnt sienna, and venetian red. 

Rachel Elizabeth Maley is an artist and teacher based outside of Chicago. A musician since a young age, she performs on multiple instruments and voice, and is a practitioner of meditation and Cha Dao, the Way of Tea. She is the founder of Still Life Meditation (StillLifeMeditation.net), a center for meditation and self-inquiry in downtown Elgin, IL. / re-maley.com 

Hallie Morrison is a Colombian-American a/r/tographer, creating curiously in the practice of “living inquiry.” As an artist, researcher, and teacher, her processes chase questions about life, and stem from reflections on lived and dreamt experiences. She and her work have been transformed by the sensitive duty of being a Teaching Artist in at-risk communities. Internationally, she has taught at many art centers, exhibited artwork and research, and has worked in Artistic Direction. Hallie received her MA in Creative Process in Ireland and her BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design.


Janelle O’Malley is an interdisciplinary artist, art educator, and independent curator working in Northern Illinois. She primarily works in painting, fiber, and sculpture. Her educational research focuses on the positive effects of non-profit art education access in struggling communities, decolonizing of museum spaces and place based pedagogy in museum education. 


The idea of holding onto nostalgia plays an integral part of my exploration into identity making and shared memory experiences. My own experiences with hyperthymesia has given me a particularly interesting outlook on how memory holds sway over us. Examining found objects, advertisements and archived materials provides me the context of how people form shared experiences. This process examines how time shifts can affect most people's perceptions and recollection. The imagery in my work is pulled from excavating parts of my childhood.

Pamela Seatter

After working full time as a graphic designer and raising a family, I was finally able to carve out some time for myself to pursue my passion for painting. I have been painting regularly for over 20 years now. Whether painting in a realistic or abstract style my inspiration always comes from nature, be it the human figure, water, plants, animals, or the ceaselessly amazing sky. I consider myself an oil painter, but I frequently use other mediums such as acrylic and watercolor paint. As long as I can freely express myself on canvas or paper, my heart is happy!

Website: Pamelaseatter.com

instagram: @PamelaSeatter

Tracy Whiteside is a Chicago-area photographer specializing in Conceptual Art. She is captivated by anything magical. Whether dark or divine, she will tell the story.

A photographer for over 17 years, Tracy is self-taught.  She feels unrestricted to explore all the different sources of inspiration that drive her imagination.  With her current creations, Tracy wants to open the viewers’ eyes and mind with images of real women and encourage exploration of the many aspects of the subjects’ mind, soul, and spirit that makes them who they are.  Her art is meant to ignite the imagination as well as initiate conversation.

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