Deeply Rooted Cultivates Next Generation

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Deeply Rooted Cultivates Next Generation

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) conducts its 20th annual Summer Intensive, themed "Looking to the Youth," for 80+ national and international students from ages seven to 70 June 25-July 21 at its home studio, 17 N. State Street in downtown Chicago, along with offerings at the Bartlett Center, 5841 S. Maryland Ave. on the University of Chicago campus, and Palmer Park, 201 E. 111th Street, Chicago, in partnership with the Chicago Park District. The Intensive culminates in performances July 20 and 21 at7:30 p.m. at the Reva and David Logan Center, 915 E. 60th Street in Hyde Park.

With the City of Chicago designating 2018 as the Year of Creative Youth, DRDT is emphasizing the expansion of the Intensive's Youth program and the deepening of the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Youth Ensemble (DRDT-YE). In addition to the Intensive's July 20 and 21 final performances at the Logan Center, the DRDT-YE performs as part of Night Out in the Parks, a program of the Chicago Park District,July 26 and 27 at Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd Street, and August 1 at Palmer Park, 201 E. 111th Street.

"I am extremely excited to formally announce the addition of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater's Youth Ensemble into our educational programming," said DRDT Dance Education Director Nicole Clarke-Springer. "These beautiful young artists are seedlings that I hope will grow into Deeply Rooted's next generation. Their voices and experiences are important and a needed asset in our global conversation."

Summer Intensive participants experience a rigorous curriculum fostering learning and personal growth, along with opportunities to experience the company's repertoire through workshops and performances. The program's Pre-Professional/Professional Division for ages 16 and older and the Youth program learn technique and DRDT repertoire, this summer including I Am Deeply Rooted, choreographed by DRDT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff; Parallel Lives, by Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director Gary Abbott; and new works by Clarke-Springer and Associate Dance Education Director MenCa.

An important component of the Summer Intensive is The Continuum, a three-step process of self-awareness and growth. "The Continuum is a powerful tool that gives context to each student's experience as they navigate through the intensive process," explained Jeff. "Students are invited to unpack their personal and collective visions and challenges (spiritual, intellectual and physical) in a safe, honest and supportive environment, and the Continuum is where it happens."

Led by Company and Artistic Team Member Joshua L. Ishmon, the Emerging Choreographers Showcase (ECS), an advanced division of the Intensive, provides an environment for emerging choreographers and dancers to cultivate creativity, deepen technical skill and gain performance experience. Also serving as a platform for established choreographers, ECS provides an opportunity for further exploration of choreographic approach.

Mature H.O.T. (Health-conscious, Optimistic and Triumphant) Women, a year-round program that provides technical training and repertory workshops to strengthen the body, challenge the mind and nourish the spirit of women who are average age 40+, offers a summer session that is part of the Intensive.

DRDT's Summer Intensive Program began in 1998 as a two-week intensive under the guidance of Andrea Haynes-Johnson. In 2007, Clarke-Springer joined the staff as associate dance education director under Haynes-Johnson's tutelage and took the reins as director in 2008. The Summer Intensive program serves as a breeding ground for DRDT Apprentice and Company members. Intensive alumni have joined the ranks of many Broadway, national and international productions, as well as dance companies including Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and others.

For information about the 2018 Summer Intensive programs, visit

Tickets to the July 20 performance are available at

Tickets to the July 21 performance are available at

Chicago Park District performances are free.


Photo by Ken Carl


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