Luna Negra Announces New Executive Director

Luna Negra Announces New Executive Director

Jorge Solis, Board President for Luna Negra Dance Theater, Chicago's only contemporary dance company devoted to the Latino choreographic voice, announces today that Esther Jeles has been named as Luna Negra's new Executive Director, effective immediately. Jeles, 51, has been a business consultant for 19 years and has worked throughout North America as an executive coach, workshop leader and professional speaker. Jeles replaces Joanna Naftali, who left Luna Negra at the close of 2012 to pursue other career opportunities.

"We are thrilled to have such an inspirational leader with proven organizational skills and a passion for dance, join the Luna Negra family," said Solis. "We are truly excited to have Esther as our new Executive Director."

"I look forward to partnering with Esther to lead Luna Negra to new levels that will further the company's mission, audience reach, and the 'art of movement,'" added Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Luna Negra's Artistic Director.

In 2001, Jeles started Aylet, Inc., a Chicago-based consulting company that specializes in executive leadership and performance development. Through her company, Aylet, Inc., she transformed corporate environments into collaborative, inspirational businesses. Jeles' talent is in developing meaningful relationships in the workplace, yielding higher levels of productivity, creativity, profitability and team work. Jeles has worked for some of America's top companies, including Oprah's Production Company HARPO, as well as Twentieth Century Fox, Chevrolet, Leo Burnett, GE Money, YWCA, Royal Caribbean International, Richard Gray Gallery, ComputerShare Investor services, Opus CMC, Varian Medical Systems, and many others. Since 2009, Jeles has held a Partnership position in BeMoved Dance, a dance fitness company formed by Founder and Creator Sherry Zunker. She has formal studies in Civil Engineering, Business Management and Business Consulting with a Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, California.

"I'm very excited to be joining the leadership team at Luna Negra Dance Theater," said Jeles. "The organization's growth potential is irresistible, and to be a part of that development process, part of a team with Gustavo and the Board, is thrilling to me."

Since its inception in 1999, Luna Negra Dance Theater has established itself as a significant and vital component of Chicago's arts and cultural community. Founded by Cuban-born dancer and choreographer Eduardo Vilaro, Luna Negra celebrates the richness and diversity of Latino culture through the creation of works by contemporary Latino choreographers and through intensive, hands-on education programs that encourage discovery and exploration of personal and community identity. Steering away from stereotypes and folkloric representations, the company performs works of contemporary Latino dance with energy, power, and passion. Luna Negra makes its home in Chicago at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park, and tours nationally and internationally. Under the leadership of award-winning artistic director Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Luna Negra Dance Theater has risen to the forefront of American contemporary dance. The company has commissioned and presented works by acclaimed Latino choreographers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Spain.

To learn more about Luna Negra and its programs please visit

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