Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



DANCIN' FEATS A queer dance romance
by Lauren Warnecke

This article shared 8923 times since Wed Jan 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

"It's kind of weird to be in a relationship in this community," said Erica Ricketts, 23, a 2013 grad of the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. As she navigates the challenging task of making a career in dance, she has the support of her girlfriend, Greer Dworman, 25.

Dworman graduated a year before Ricketts, and they started dating in March 2011 as classmates at Columbia. The two first met in a contact improvisation class—"I know! It's so gay!" says Dworman. The cat was out of the bag about the on-campus romance when a professor spotted them together at a coffee shop. "They have meetings... we don't know what they talk about ... [but] if we ever broke up, the faculty would be devastated!"

Post-college life for the couple, as for most new dancemakers on the scene, has been an eclectic mix of jobs and activities. Dworman has gravitated toward arts administration. After school, she "was sort of done making work for awhile." A production internship at Links Hall kept her participating in the dance community and led to opportunities with RTG Dance, Sean Dorsey, and supporting production roles with her colleagues as they graduated from Columbia College and entered the professional dance community. She started working as a program manager for The Space/Movement Project, and this spring will make her debut as a dancer in the company.

Ricketts kept her thesis concert alive, showing it at D-49 ( a Chicago Moving Company ( CMC ) contest for emerging artists ), and in Detriot. The D-49 project lead to an upcoming opportunity to show new work in CMC's annual Dance Shelter project. She also makes sound scores, and has found a niche with the performance art community stemming from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago ( SAIC ). Ricketts' androgynous look is not one that many traditional dance companies gravitate toward, regardless of her strong training and facility. Performance artists have expressed a stronger desire to work with queer and androgynous artists, telling Ricketts "'[We] want someone who looks like you,' meaning, the gay on top of my head."

Dworman and Ricketts both came from very traditional dance backgrounds, which included a lot of ballet. Identifying as a dancer and identifying as queer sometimes clashed; Ricketts felt this conflict acutely when she came out in high school while still enrolled in a traditional ballet school. "I never got good parts in the Nutcracker," she said. "If I had been allowed to do the boy variations, that would have been fun. But that didn't happen. It wasn't so bad, maybe because I had the realization of what I was going to become in college."

She knew that pink tights and a bun were the penultimate place for her in the dance community, and she was able to more carefully craft her identity in college. "I love going to ballet class, I just don't want to wear ballet shoes, and I don't want to get my hair out of my face, and I don't want to wear a leotard, so I avoid those things," Ricketts said. "Just like a lot of young men don't do ballet because everyone's going to think they're gay, a lot of gay women don't do ballet because everyone's going to think they're straight!"

Dworman agrees that it's not the idea of doing ballet, but the heteronormative box that surrounds it that is the problem. "[Erica] is a beautiful ballet dancer...There needs to be space for this type of expression," she said, and while they've found queer ballet popping up on the New York scene, the two have yet to find a more accepting version of ballet in Chicago. She, too, has gravitated toward the performance-art scene, and is considering moving to New York to be among artists who share her values as a dancemaker.

What is involved in those values? "Less dance!" Dworman said. She added she finds it refreshing to participate in a dance-based vocabulary with people who don't have formal training. "I've been dealing with my size, as a performer, and my facility in that capacity," she said. "I don't identify myself as a fat person, but I'm thick, and that's not what people want. It's hard to get a gig here, and that's what I'm working with."

In a way, Dworman identifying herself as queer is as intimately connected to her size as it is to her sexuality. She desires a dance community that is void of connotations tied to a performer's size, gender representation, or sexuality. "I want to feel challenged and completely confused," she said, and isn't currently finding what she wants in Chicago.

For Dworman, making the move may be a "coming-out," more than realizing she was interested in dating woman. "I didn't come out. ... I just learned that dating women was another formation of being. I was challenged by my body, my facility—and I still feel that way now. My relationship is ... my relationship, and it's important to me, but my challenge is how my body works ... and that's totally queer!"

This article shared 8923 times since Wed Jan 8, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Season 43: A Virtual Homecoming June 24 2021-06-04
--From a press release - CHICAGO CHICAGO — Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC) Season 43: A Virtual Homecoming will conclude with the world premiere of Greener Grass, a full-company work choreographed and directed by former HSDC company dancer Jie-Hung Connie S ...

Gay News

DANCE Joffrey Academy seeking submissions from minority applicants for competition 2021-06-01
- The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, has announced a national call for ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) artists to submit applications for The Joffrey Academy's Twelfth Annual Winning ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Red Hot' album, 'Drag Race,' 'L Word,' Qveen Herby, Lee Daniels 2021-05-30
- The Red Hot organization, which raises funds to fight HIV/AIDS, announced Red Hot + Free—a mixtape of dance beats, electro grooves and global anthems, a press release noted. Out July 2 and helmed by producer-provocateur Bill ...

Gay News

DANCE Joffrey Ballet expands to South Loop 2021-05-11
- The Joffrey Ballet announced the establishment of new studio space and training facilities at 1920 S.Wabash Ave. (formerly the Chicago Dance Academy studios)—expanding the Joffrey's reach to the South Loop and beyond, and marking a major ...

Gay News

Dance for Life to take place in person (and for free) Aug. 26 2021-05-10
- Chicago Dancers United (CDU)—which supports the health and wellness of Chicago's professional dance community—announced that its primary annual fundraiser, Dance for Life, will take place live and in person Thursday ...

Gay News

DANCE Hubbard Street's 'Half of Us' debuting May 20 2021-05-03
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC) 43rd season will be completed with the virtual world premiere of new work by choreographer/director Robyn Mineko Williams entitled "Half of Us," on Thursday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. The 16-minute ...

Gay News

Joffrey Ballet presents world premiere of Nicolas Blanc's "Under the Trees' Voices" 2021-04-07
--From a press release - THE JOFFREY BALLET PRESENTS WORLD PREMIERE OF NICOLAS BLANC'S UNDER THE TREES' VOICES World Premiere streamed online: April 30 at 7:00 PM CST Audiences are invited to experience a rehearsal via livestream TODAY: April 7 at ...

Gay News

See Chicago Dance Open Call: Dance For Life 2021 2021-03-30
--From a press release - Chicago Dancers United is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the lives of Chicago-area dance professionals by cultivating pathways to holistic wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. Our primary annual fundraiser, Dance for ...

Gay News

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre announces revised 2020-2021 season 2021-03-19
--From a press release - Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is a multicultural company that creates new dance and music to explore strong personal narratives. We build partnerships across Chicagoland to engage a diverse audience: sparking ...

Gay News

k.d. lang to release dance-remix album 'makeover' on May 28 2021-03-18
- In celebration of Pride Month, Nonesuch Records is releasing k.d. lang's makeover—a new collection of classic dance remixes of some of her best-loved songs—on May 28. The album brings these remixes, made between 1992 and 2000, ...

Gay News

DANCE Hubbard Street season to resume with 'In Any Event' 2021-02-25
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's (HSDC's) 43rd season will resume Thursday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. with a virtual world premiere of new work by choreographer and former HSDC dancer Penny Saunders. The piece will also be ...

Gay News

New dance film features 46 dancers from 20 countries 2021-02-17
- Films.Dance—a global film series produced by and under the creative direction of LA-based Jacob Jonas The Company—continues with Match, the single most expansive collaboration in the 15-film series. Match features ...

Gay News

Queer musician Ari Gold dies at 47 2021-02-14
- New York City-based dance artist Ari Gold has died at age 47 after a long battle with cancer, according to Gold—who was also known as Sir Ari and GoldNation— released seven albums as a part ...

Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago names new artistic director 2021-02-04
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) announced that former company member Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell has been named artistic director of the contemporary dance company, effective March 1. A native of Baltimore, Fisher-Harrell ...

Gay News

Joffrey Ballet artists create video installation 2021-02-01
- The Joffrey Ballet announced that a dynamic video installation featuring members of the company will animate the acclaimed 150 Media Stream public art exhibition at 150 N. Riverside Plaza as the inaugural output of Action Lines. ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.