We are thrilled to be sharing the exquisite joy of dancing!
Ladonna Freidheim, our founder, is passionate about inclusion, dance, science, and joy! She is a formally trained dancer, experienced arts administrator, and has a therapeutic Masters Degree. Ladonna grew up dancing. After a degenerative disability ended her ballerina life, she recovered from surgeries with wheelchair athletes who introduced her to disability culture. They taught her to play wheelchair sports and she taught them to dance in their chairs. Ladonna enjoyed a successful career in arts administration and served on a number of Boards of Directors. A graduate degree in occupational therapy contributes considerable expertise to her work in adapted dance. While she is able to get around with the aid of leg braces and a cane, it is her wheelchair that returned the joy of dance to her life. In 2006 Ladonna joined Dance>Detour, the first physically-integrated performance company in Chicago. In 2013, she received a DCASE Individual Artist award to support her first Disability Dance Party workshop. Following the tremendous success of that project, Ladonna founded ReinventAbility to promote inclusion and to expand the horizons of dance to include everyBody. Additional information on LinkedIn
Ancel Montinelli, Director, is a wheelchair sports athlete and dancer. Ancel is well known as a leader in the field of advocacy for Latinos with disabilities in the United States and in Latin America. He has worked with national agencies and the governments of Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama to create programs and policies to improve the lives of people with disabilities. This includes introducing adapted dance to Costa Rica by organizing workshops and performances by Dance>Detour. Ancel’s work in the disability field has included collaboration on: many research projects related to minorities with disabilities; a self help guide and community needs assessment; an instrument to measure the accessibility of fitness and recreation environments; and projects related to employment. He is a founding member of the ReinventAbility Board of Directors.
Ginger Lane, Director, is an award winning dancer and choreographer. Lane was named one of the “100 Women Making a Difference” in Today's Chicago Woman, appeared in WTTW's award winning film Dance From The Heart, received a 3Arts Award, a UIC fellowship, and was honored to be Grand Marshall of the 2019 Chicago Disability Pride Parade. She served on the Board of Directors of the Robnald McDonald House Charities, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and as Arts & Culture Project Coordinator for Access Living. As a member of Dance>Detour, and founding member of the Disability Arts Culture Consortium, she collaborated with disabled artists to present 2 arts festivals in Chicago. Lane is a member of MOMENTA Dance Company and has been on the faculty of their integrated workshops since it's inception. In 2008 she conceived and produced the first Counter Balance: the Power of Integrated Dance, which recently completed its 9th annual showing to critical acclaim. Lane currently serves on the Cultural Advisory Council for the City of Chicago.
Robert Lee Williams, Instructor (pictured left) is a trained latin dancer. Prior to an accident resulting in spinal cord injury, Robbie performed with Tango 21. He is now a wheelchair dancer with Momenta. Robbie joins ReinventAbility as Co-Leader of our adaptive hip-hop project.
Jonathan St. Clair, Instructor (pictured right) is an experienced Hip-Hop, Break Dance, and Beat Box performer and instructor. He joined ReinventAbility this year as Co-Leader of our new adaptive hip-hop project..
Mia Coulter, Assistant Teacher (pictured right), trained and performed with Dance>Detour. She brings a unique perspective and enjoys bonding with her students. Mia has been with ReinventAbility since 2013.
Erica Brown, Teacher's Aide (pictured left), is a graduate of the ReinventAbility ICRE internship program. She attended our inaugural program in 2013 as a participant and has been dancing with us ever since.
Melissa Sallée, was one of the founding member of the ReinventAbility Board of Directors. Sallée is the former Assistant Director of Dance>Detour, Chicago’s first dance company comprised of multi-talented artists with and without disabilities. She also served as Artistic Director of Élan Dance Company. Sallée trained in classical ballet with Maria Tallchief, Ballet Chicago, Sherry Moray, and Salt Creek Ballet. She has worked full-time as an artist since she was fifteen-years-old. Her introduction to professional choreography began with staging period pieces focused on authenticity. As her ideas about movement expanded, Sallée found her true passion in making movement for everyone, regardless of physical or mental barriers. As a former member of Civil Air Patrol and parent of two officers in training, she was the driving force behind the ReinventAbility veterans workshops.