GAR Hall 2nd floor
Meet our Emcee: Tekki Lomnicki
Tekki Lomnicki is the founder and Artistic Director of Tellin’ Tales Theatre, a 25-year old company dedicated to shattering the barriers between the disabled and non-disabled worlds through the power of personal story. She has written and performed over 26 solo performance pieces, and starred in the award-winning film, The Miracle by Jeffrey Jon Smith. She is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship in New Performance Forms, the 2008 3Arts Award in Theater, the 2010 Grigsby Award for Excellence in Solo Performance, the 2014 Dan Van Hecke Award for outstanding leadership and service to the disability community. Tekki also does disability awareness presentations for corporations. She is currently working on a new full-length musical spotlighting the disability experience. Websites: Tekkilomnicki.com and Tellintales.org.
Bringer of Your Hair (BOYH)
Composed by Rylan Gleave
Choreographed by Julia Cox
Dancers: Tatiana Castañeda & Robby Williams
Piano: Marianne Parker
Violins: Jennifer Leckie and Diane Yang
Viola: Wilfred Farquharson
Cello: Tom Clowes
Photo courtesy of Mometa Dance Company
‘Boyh’ aims to explore the intimacy that caring for a partner brings, the swapping of caregiving roles, especially when considering Disability. Patterns form from repetitive daily actions - the pulling of hair strands from the carpet, the morning coffee brought to bed - and echo differently when the contexts are changed. This piece navigates through grief, love, and struggle in a relationship where caretaking can become compassion fatigue.
MOMENTA Dance Company has been enriching lives through the art form of dance ever since 1983! In 2003, MOMENTA’s mission expanded to include dancers with disabilities and currently it is the only inclusive professional dance company in the state of Illinois. MOMENTA aims to showcase Physically-Integrated/Inclusive Dance as its own art form through high quality performances that seek to change preconceived notions about disability. MOMENTA encourages all of its dancers to achieve excellence in creative expression while demonstrating the value of appreciating and celebrating differences.
Crossing Borders Music: Founded in 2011, Crossing Borders Music has become a leading, critically acclaimed interpreter of chamber music by composers from under-represented cultures. Crossing Borders Music was a Headline Artist at the African Festival of the Arts, a Resident Arts Organization at the Chicago Cultural Center, and has been presented by the Old Town School of Folk, Montréal’s Society for the Research and Promotion of Haitian Music (SRDMH), United World College of South East Asia, and at Chicago’s Symphony Center through the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s African American Network. Crossing Borders Music has been featured on NBC-5 and ABC-7 Chicago News, on WFMT, on WBEZ, in the Chicago Tribune, and as a Critic’s Pick in TimeOut Chicago. The mission of Crossing Borders Music is to use music to promote the dignity of people from all cultures.
To this end, Crossing Borders Music shares moving music and compelling stories of people from under-represented cultures in a way that affirms and uplifts.
Outside The Lines
Ahona Mazumder is a Chicago-based singer songwriter, born and raised in the Chicagoland area. She writes music to connect with people and start conversations about the things that bring us together and make us all feel seen.
The song she's playing, "Outside the Lines", is an original song written in honor of folks who live life outside society's definition of "standard" to let them know that there is no such thing. Society has recently made a habit of "othering" us instead of focusing on all the things that make us alike and bring us together. It is the communities that we're apart of that allow us to support each other, be our authentic selves, and lift each other up. There's room and love for everyone living Outside the Lines.
Center for Kathak and ReinventAbility
Choreographed by: Shiwali Tenner
Dancers: Meredith Aleigha Wells, Ladonna Freidheim
Nina Simone voice connects us to the beauty of the world. This piece brings together two art forms - Physically Integrated Dance and Kathak. Kathak is an ancient Indian dance form that was born in the temples, came of age in Mughal courts, and matured in modern theaters. Kathak is a dance of a storyteller.
Illinois Center for Kathak believes in art with a purpose. They regularly hold events to promote dance, help heal while dancing out stories of past and present, and raising awareness about social and environmental justice.
Meredith Aleigha Wells (they/she) made their national tour debut in Dr. Suess’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas the musical, marking the first performance in a Broadway national tour by a wheelchair user. They have also toured their original one-person musical Dysfunctioning Just Fine (Purple Skies Playwright Award) across the northeast. Regional: Seattle Rep, Music Theater Works, Rec Room Arts, Beck Center, and Cleveland Public Theatre. Other appearances include Dance St. Louis, CounterBalance, OHIODance Festival, Boston Symphony Hall, Playhouse Square, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Luminous Festival in Beijing China. www.meredithaleighawells.com
Ladonna Freidheim is passionate about dance, inclusion, science, & joy! She is a formally trained dancer, experienced arts administrator, and disability inclusion specialist. After degenerative disability ended Ladonna's ballerina life, she recovered from surgeries with paralympic athletes. They taught her wheelchair sports and she taught them to dance in their chairs.
Ashaand Simone and Luke Greeff
Photo by Bree Pear courtesy of Live Bash
Bo(ix)y(e) Division is an intimate recounting and re-experiencing of physical and neurological evolutions related to trans-masculine identities. This extended duet exposes the intricate practice of controlled, curated metamorphosis, the witnessing of which places the audience in an intimate relationship with the process of gender realization and affirmation. Originally premiered in 2022 at the Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, the full work extends 60 minutes long, pushing its two performers to the brink of exhaustion and consequential vulnerability through a test of physical, emotional, and mental stamina in front of an audience of witnesses.
Such Creatures: Formed in 2020, Such Creatures supports the collective investigations of Ashaand Simone and Luke Greeff, two Trans & Gender Non-conforming movement artists invested in the exploration of inherent energetic systems, expanding the narrative surrounding queer and neurodivergent movement in the process. Such Creatures employs a broad spectrum of movement (including contemporary dance, acrobatics, and aerial arts) in the interest of finding various extensions of the self, presented to audiences in multidisciplinary experiences with a commitment to both mental and physical accessibility and safety. The work of Such Creatures can be defined by the phrase: “Trans Audacity.”
Music: Orchestra Carlos Di Sari, 1954
Choreographed by Liz Sung & Jorge Niedas
Performers: Ladonna Freidheim, Dawn Krajcik, Winita Lau, Lloyd Natof, Jorge Niedas, Liz Sung, Robert Williams
Tango 21 Dance Theater (T21DT) uses the language of Argentine tango to tell original, contemporary stories through live theater. Productions combine traditional tango technique with contemporary dance styles, live music and actors.
Tango 21 Dance Theater presents a look at their ongoing work in transposing Argentine tango techniques for dancers of all embodiments. The work focuses on creating equality on the social tango dance floor and on stage for both seated and standing dancers. In addition, the company is developing a wheelchair brake system designed to allow dancers to lead complex tango movements while maintaining a physically intimate embrace.