Winter 2022

Limited in-person programs are returning to the Hamlin Park Theater.  Please see below.  CPD safety protocols apply.  All CMC staff/artists are fully vaccinated.


In-person, Online, Outdoor, Hybrid Programs : :  

(tuition from these classes goes fully and directly to the artists)

At the Hamlin Park Theater

JAN 8 - FEB 12, 2022   Saturdays

"The Art of Being" - Dance/Movement Workshop with Ayako Kato

in-person, Hamlin Park Theater  |  12:30 - 2:15 pm

ZOOM remote option also available; email Ayako for link

Single drop-in $12-$15; Full Workshop Early Bird $70 (pay by 1/8)

Dance is the art of being. Ayako wants to offer this workshop as a daily practice of being,—as a human, mover, performer, artist, dancer, and choreographer. Through this practice, Ayako will share the way to find our centered, grounded, and balanced selves through imagery (and physical reality) based exercises.  Participants will create their own short dance; more info on our workshop page.


CMC Movement Workshops  (ongoing)

part of the Chicago Park District's 8th season of "Your Night Out at Home"

virtual, on-line movement workshops appropriate for any adult and seniors!

"Moving with Ayako Kato"

Seated Dance Movement with Elisa Foshay

We’re proud to be one of the 120 arts partners selected to showcase their work as part of the 8th season of Chicago Park District’s “Your Night Out at Home.” This year, we're virtual--providing on-demand workshops in your living room, backyards & balconies. Check out CMC workshops above, and ours and others at

Adult Basic Yoga with Lyndsae Rinio


contact Lyndsae here for schedule and link to join.

Hamlin Park Pop-Up Gallery

"love, storied."

summer/fall 2021

April 1 - Sep 30, 2021.  select works online.

Nov 15 - Jan 31, 2021. works in-person at the gallery.

Ru Wen: collaged images and wordsadditional images here




BACK AND FORTH  |  stories, videos, photos, conversations that recollect/reconnect to a CMC work

"Coming Forth by Day" - 1st featured work (#'s 1-3)

Nana Shineflug's evening-length master work premiered in 1996 at the Harold Washington Theater, Chicago.  Inspired by Normandi Ellis' poetic translation of the "Egyptian Book of the Dead" (actually a guide for how to live life), the work was hailed as "multi-faceted and burnished with atmospheric invention" (Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune). 

.   Read Sid Smith's  full review in the Chicago Tribune: 

    "Shineflug Creates Images of Life from Death" here

.   Watch an excerpt of the 2013 performance here

.   Talk about the work here--with the original cast, CMC alumni, & fans




"Rhythm Around the World" - 2nd featured work (#'s 4-6)

A rite of passage, training ground, bread and butter (income earner), awesome-sauce in-school assembly performance (K-3) that the company, and many, many CMC dancers presented at hundreds of CPS schools for decades through Urban Gateways. 45 minutes of slapstick comedy, movement theater, dance, authentic dance forms, and content--(rhythm is all around you); and a message--"if we all work together, we can succeed"; with vignettes of dance forms--West African, Balinese, Jazz, Polish folk dance, and Ballet. A great training ground for live and on-the-fly performance--and learning how to teach and engage hundreds of youth.

See other Rhythm photos and learn about the work from decades of casts

"Approaching 9" - 3rd Featured Work (#'s 7 -9)


In 2000 as the 21st century loomed, Nana Shineflug explored a new form/way of working. She used task-like, simple (but not so simple) movement, pared down phrase material devised by 3 stellar dancers--then layered, repeated, intersected, and directed the material masterfully, creating a work startling in its authenticity, simplicity, and beauty. This original cast owned and embodied the work:

Peter Sciscioli's sideways looks, smooth lunges, and purposeful and mysterious walking; Elizabeth Lentz-Hill's emboite's reinvented for a 21st century amurican grrl, sprightly energy, technical prowess; and Cindy Brandle's fire, grace, spirit, and quirkology. The piece premiered at the Harold Washington Theater; Jeff Abell consulted on the music, helping select the pure, and at once celestial and elemental work of Pauline Oliveros, a lesbian/latinax composer and pioneer in electronic music. wow. it was rad.  Little wonder, then when CMC was looking for a rep work to build out it's multi-year Echo Project, we chose "Approaching 9"

See other "Approaching 9" photos and learn about the work from the 

    original cast


Read the Critic's Choice featuring "Approaching 9" and other works

. watch video of "Approaching 9" (re-imagined as a solo) as part of CMC's

   current Echo Project.  Performance:  Chih-Hsien Lin.

"Crash and Burn" - 4th Featured Work (#10, 11)

Ah, here we are in a new year, a new place. Much has been torn down, but much is/will be rebuilt--in, we hope, a better way. Yet sometimes, maybe, it's time/right to tear things down. This brings to mind the company's iconic "Crash and Burn" (1996)--a group work created in the 90's. While Wall Street and the country glutted/gluttoned out--many struggled and battled to survive, to be seen, heard, recognized. In "Crash and Burn", bodies battled and battered--against brick walls, each other, the unseen puppeteer(s), with literal bricks in hand. Ferocious. Sad. Admirable. Awe, inspiring. Critic's Choice (Chicago Reader) "a metaphor for all the harsh conditions of contemporary life . . . 4 dancers hurl themselves at each other, at the walls, at the security gate. "Crash and Burn" is as plain, rough, and dirty as a brick. A welcome change from some of Shineflug's more cerebral work"

(Laura Molzahn).  Timely and timeless. yes. The first performance was at the Blue Rider Theatre, a small, rough, brick-walled avant-garde performance space in Pilsen  Embodying this frenzy were dancers Cindy Brandle, Julie Schiller Daly, Holly Rothschild, Krenly Guzman.  a later performance expanded and included: Robbie Cook, Eric Paul Otto Swanson, Wendy Taylor Appling.

.  Read the Critic's Choice featuring "Crash and Burn" (Blue Rider Theater)

Read the Critic's Choice featuring Atalee Judy's version of "Crash and Burn" in CMC's concert of "covers", "Cover Band"

"Ashen Wing" - 5th Featured Work (#12-13)

In 2011 Nana put forth "Ashen Wing"--performed in dappled light, in filmy/dreamy costumes (by Collin Bunting); embodied by kick-a** dancers: Karla Beltchenko, Precious Jennings, Mindy Meyers, and Matthew Kessler-McMunn, with Jeff Abell in front and foreground, looking like everyone's favorite nerd/hunk professor reciting Wallace Steven's elegiac poem--"Angel Surrounded by Paysans". Nana was grappling with the ephemerality of life, its gauzy nature--opaque and oblique, its changeability and beauty. All that jazz. The dancers whirled and spun, and tableau-ed. Then, they seemed/and did float and spring from the wings (due to "secret" mini trampolines hidden there). Stevens knew what he was about: "Am I not, Myself, only half a figure of a sort, A figure half seen, or seen for a moment, a man of the mind, an apparition appareled in Apparels of such lightness (Collin got this) look that a turn of my shoulder and quickly, too quickly I am gone?" And, too quickly--4 years later-- Nana was gone. The dance was wistful, and you could feel the air move as those unseen and seen angels moved about.

.Watch video of "Ashen Wing" (excerpt) at The Other Dance Festival (10th Anniversary) 



NOV 11/12, 2021,  Thu/Fri  7 pm

DePaul Dance Company - Fall Concert

a trial performance project event testing the safety of/strategies for reopening the theater;

if trials are successful fuller theater use slated for 2022

NOV 13 - DEC 11, 2021   Saturdays

"The Art of Being" - Dance/Movement Workshop with Ayako Kato

in-person, Hamlin Park Theater  |  12:30 - 2:15 pm

Single drop-in $12-$15; Full Workshop Early Bird $60 (pay by 11/13)

Dance is the art of being. Ayako wants to offer this workshop as a daily practice of being,—as a human, mover, performer, artist, dancer, and choreographer. Through this practice, Ayako will share the way to find our centered, grounded, and balanced selves through imagery (and physical reality) based exercises.  Participants will create their own short dance; more info on our workshop page.  

NOV 18/19, 2021,  Thu/Fri

Sway Dance Chicago - Fall Concert

a trial performance project event testing the safety of/strategies for reopening the theater;

if trials are successful fuller theater use slated for 2022

AUG 28/29, 2021

ETHOS  Movement Summer Intensive Workshop with Ayako Kato

Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 1 pm

Location: Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater (in-person)

2 days, $40-$50 sliding -scale; 1 day $25-$30 sliding scale

What does it mean to make ourselves empty physically and mentally? How do we dance/move differently when we achieve this state? In this workshop, participants explore ways to open up the body-mind and stay balanced.   Participants will create a short dance

April 20 - June 15, 2021 (9 sessions plus a showing)

Ayako Kato Dance Movement Workshop

"WindFlow:  Going Through with Improvisation"

Tuesdays, 10 am - noon

Location: at Hamlin Park - outdoor lawn (weather permitting)

Jan 5 - April 6 (14 sessions)

Ayako Kato Dance/Movement Workshop

"ETHOS:  Following Nature Toward Spring" 

compositional and improvisational movement, somatic exercises, meditation-

Tuesdays.  9:30 - 10 am Zazen Mediation | 10 am - noon Creative Sessions

on ZOOM /orin-person outside at Hamlin Park (weather permitting) 


Dec 27


Performance - Echo 4/"Approaching 9"

Clark Park Boathouse Plaza

just before sunset (4:30 pm) .  free of charge

outdoors - socially distanced

Sep 8 - Dec 15 (14 sessions, no class Nov 24)

Ayako Kato Dance/Movement Workshop

"Be a poet" 

compositional and improvisational movement, somatic exercises, meditation--referencing/inspired by Renku, Japanese chained poetry

Tuesdays.  9:30 - 10 am Zazen Mediation | 10 am - noon Creative Sessions

in-person outside at Hamlin Park (weather permitting) or on ZOOM

Ayako Kato, 3-day Summer Intensive 

Aug 23-25, 10 am - 2:30 pm

a delicious experience combining movement (improvisational and compositional), poetry, and conversation.

Live ZOOM and/or live outdoor at Hamlin Park.

Feb 15 - Aug 15 .  Hamlin Park Pop-up Gallery

"Dream Gallery".  dreams/thought of youths

Free.  Raw posters - text and images with marker | multi youth-artists

Jun 23- July 28

Eclipse II - Dance & Creative Movement Workshop

pay what you can.  Tuesdays: 9:30 am Zazen Medidation, 10 am workshop. 

Jan 14 - June 16

Eclipse Dance & Creative Movement Workshop

with Artist in Residence Ayako Kato

What is improvisation? What is composition? How are they different? How are they interdependent? Are they really different after all? In this workshop, participants will move, practice, and discuss perspectives on improvisation and composition. Ayako shared personal realizations about these questions that she has come to through her work. The workshop focused on improvisation as performance and the refinement of improvisation skills--including the sense of time and arc and how to create a reciprocal relationship with music improvisers as an equal partner on stage.

MAR 12  |  Thu/Fri  |  7:30 pm

DePaul Dance Company


Jan 5 - March 5 .  Hamlin Park Pop-up Gallery

"Young Americans"  CMC in the 1970's

Gallery open during Hamlin Park building hours:  M-F 9 am - 9:45 pm;

Sat/Sun 9 am - 4:45 pm.  Location:  2nd floor theater lobby.  Free

mini-exhibit - select photographs and ephemera from the archives | multi-artists

Elements Ballet 

"Ethos of Elements"

Feb 20/21, Thu/Fri.  7:30 pm.

e·thos /ˈēTHäs/noun: the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations

Experience the singular character and resolute spirit of Elements Ballet through improvised dance, new works in contemporary choreography, and original dance films created by and starring Elements artists.

part of CMC's Performance Project


DEC 12/13  |  Thu/Fri  | 7:30 pm

Mordine & CO  Dance Theater

"NEXT 50.1"

Featuring new works by Shirley Mordine and Ayako Kato and including excerpts from repertoire, as well as 3 mentoring projects.  Inspired by Buddhist beliefs and philosphy, Kato's "Always the Beginning"  pursues the question:  how much can people be empty to be fully themselves.  Mordine directs a new improvisational work, Other Voices, in collaboration with musician Fred Simon; and repertory excerpts from Edge Mode (1994) and I haven't heard from you (2003) make triumphant return.  A "Dance Top 5" for December 2019/NewCityStage.

DEC 5/6  |  Thu/Fri  | 8:00 pm

TSMP + Meadow Dance Collective

"Continue & Begin"

Join The Space Movement Project in celebrating their 15th season and Meadows Dance Collective in celebrating their 1st! The Space Movement Project presents their original contemporary work 'Six of One' and Meadows Dance Collective premiers their contemporary ballet 'No Signal' .

Sept 10 - Dec 10, Tues 10 am -noon*

"Eclipse Dance Movement and

Creative Workshop" with Ayako Kato

What is improvisation? What is composition? How are they different? How are they interdependent? Are they really different after all? In this workshop, participants will move, practice, and discuss perspectives on improvisation and composition. 

NOV 21/22  |  Thu/Fri  |  7:30 pm

Sway Dance Chicago

'Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends and Myths'

NOV 14/15  |  Thu/Fri  |  7:30 pm

DePaul Dance Company:  "Restart  Night 1"

Join us in a night of new beginnings as DDC starts a new chapter.
DePaul Dance Company (DDC) is a performance based student run organization. Our mission is to continue people's passion for dancing by performing in different locations around Chicago.


NOV 7/8  |  Thu/Fri  |  7:30 pm

Mazi Dance Chicago: "Metamorphoses Showcase"

The powerful women of Mazi unveil powerful new dance work.


Nov 1 and 3.  Fri 6-9:30 pm, Sun 1-4:30 pm

Lucid Body Master Classes with

Fay Simpson​

"The Lucid Body offers a path to create a stimulating physical-performer brave enough to express the stuff of life."

more info on The Lucid Body and Fay Simpson here

To register/more information contact Precious Jennings here

AUGUST 19-23.  

Five Mornings Dream Dance -

Summer Intensive with Ayako Kato

"Follow your instincts. Do not rely on linguistic ideas." Soseski

Participants will reflect on what has been happening in our mind/body as movement/dance practitioners and as contemporary human beings due to "development." Listening to nature (through various interpretations) within us, we will practice letting go to find our grounded selves: through meditation/meditative exercise; expanding physical and mental awareness through improvisational exercises; practicing dance technique to build up flexibility, coordination, physical strength, stamina, mobility, balance, reflex, and instantaneous force; and choreographing our own solo or duet (3-5 minutes), based on your dream you saw, have heard, or have for the future by reflecting on Soseki's approach.

May 1 - Aug 31 .  Hamlin Park

Pop-up Gallery: "smoke not fog" 

installation - maniupulated and altered photos |  Jessie Young

JULY 24 - 27.

Mini somatic discovery camp, adults.

"Every inititation needs a container"

Weaving together somatic, energetic and improvisational movement practices and working with elements of earth, wateer, air, ire, and ether.

Modular workshops that you can take separately or combine into a set, include:  Elemental movement jam with Kristina Isabelle; group Reiki healing and guided meditation with Lindsay Hopkins; TRE (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) with Carrie Drapac; morning practice with the elements (Hopkins); and the Capture the body in light (by appointment/Hopkins).

curated/organized by artist Lindsay Hopkins - CMC host partner

JUNE 6.  Thu, 7:30 pm

DanceLab II Showcase

New Trier's capstone dance class, Dance Lab 2, will present original, cutting-edge work by recent graduates. The 45-minute show will consist of a series of solos, duets and trios strung together by interesting transitions. 

APR 2 - JUN 18.  Tues, 10 am - noon. 

"This is no(h) butoh workshop" Ayako Kato 

Guided by: “Kakyo: A Mirror of the Flower” by Zeami and “Workshop Words” by Ohno

This is neither a Noh nor butoh workshop. I am neither a Noh nor a butoh dancer. I am an experimental contemporary dancer who has learned a lot from the principles and essences established by these historical master artists on dance practice, creation, and performance. I want to reflect on Kazuo Ohno’s “Workshop Words” as well as “Kakyo: A Mirror of the Flower” by Zeami Motokiyo –and, by practicing together, use them a source to find, reflect on, and/or deepen our own “freestyle” dance.  More info here

To know more about Ayako, : OR Ayako Kato Dance on Vimeo

FB message me if you have any questions!  Photo by Ken Carl


May 2 & 3.  Thurs/Fri.  7:30 pm

Dance Shelter 2019

Dance Top 5:  May 2019, NewCity Stage

"The Best Things to Do in Chicago this Month" (Chicago Magazine)

"new creations by some of our city's most inventive dance artists"


Bold, new and re-imagined dance works by the Chicago Moving Company;

CMC Artists-in-Residence:  Rachel Bunting/The Humans, Ayako Kato

and guest-artist Jessie Young (Brooklyn, NY).

April 11/12, Thu/Fri, 7:30 pm.


Columbia College Chicago - 

Dance Movement Therapy Program

Two evening performances by members of the dance/movement therapy community. Come join us as we explore borderlands: 
1.  territory at or near a border
b: FRINGE sense lives on the borderland of society
2.  a vague intermediate state or region the borderland between fantasy & reality

APR 18/19.  Thu/Fri.  7:30 pm

"New Works"  |  Synapse Arts

New Works brings together fresh voices for an evening of creative performances in an intimate venue. See a compelling evening of original pieces by LOUD BODIES (Maria Blanco and Yariana Baralt Torres), Amanda Ramirez, Nora Sharp, and Synapse Director  Rachel Damon. 

APR 25/26.  Thu/Fri.  7:30 pm

"the beginning"

forward.  the movement

An evening length contemporary dance performance.

all proceeds will support the dance education of an underprivileged child.

Feb 1 - Apr 30. 

Hamlin Park Pop-Up Gallery

"what was"

abstract works in tempera, watercolor, marker



Mar 14/15.  Thu/Fri.  7:30 pm


DePaul Dance Company

A night of dancing that explores the foundation of home, its various forms and meanings, and the journey of it all.




Mar 16.  7:30 pm

Dance Center of Columbia College

45th Annniversary Celebration

CMC Performance/Echo Project/Echo 2

with Ayodele Drum and Dance, Margi Cole, Matthew Hollis, Erin Kilmurray,

Mordine & Company Dance Theater, and more.   Hosted by the witty and energetic

Mr. Mattrick Swayze and featuring stories, videos, and performances, this party celebrates the Dance Center's 45 years of excellence in contemporary dance




Mar 21/22.  Thu/Fri.  7:30 pm

"The Light is Below You"

Peckish Rhodes Performing Arts Society

Their first ever evening length performance:  innovative, interactive, and quirky- "The Light Is Below You " combines contemporary dance and theatre to give you a one of a kind entertainment experience.

Mar 28.  Thu.  7:30 pm

Todd Keich


Feb 14/15.  Thu/Fri.  7:30 pm


Experience the world’s first full-length, entirely improvised ballet!

A two-night world premiere performed to a live score by ALEXA GRÆ, SOAKED promises an exciting new twist to contemporary ballet while paying homage to Chicago’s longstanding history of improvised theatre. 



JAN 10/11, 17/18.  Thurs/Fri.  7:30 pm RE|DANCE GROUP


RE|dance group's two newest dance works, "The Biggest Wail From The Bottom Of My Heart" and "What Love Looks Like," delve into our reflections on the current state of affairs in our country. We are proud to be using our artistic voices to explore those biases within ourselves and make sense of the world around us. We premiere each of these new works at the beautifully rustic Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater.  









OCT 1 - JAN 15. 9 am - 10 pm M-F, 9 am - 5 pm Sat/Sun.

Hamlin Park Pop-Up Gallery: 

"Soul Storage"- Lindsay Hopkins

Soul Storage is a multi-part project that returns us to the wisdom of the body by looking at it as a map of our soul's experiences; the project included:

Oct 1 - Dec 31 |  Forgotten Body :: a series of self-portraits.  Free.

Oct 1 - Dec 31  |  Body Line :: a series of community portraits.  Free.

mid-October  |  Body Mapping :: an interactive take-home guide.  Free.

Fri/Dec 14/7:30 pm | Cartographic Body :: a participatory treasure hunt.  $

This piece is part of an international exchange, Storage Units, a works-in-conversation process between the art practices of Lindsay Hopkins (US) and Penelope Morout (GR). With common interest in the interplay between energy-body-space and memory, the mission of the exchange is to investigate the relationship between consciousness and awareness and achieve a molecular-level detailed expression through the fully receptive body.  


"Eyes in Nature" |Hamlin Park Gallery

Photographs by and of Ayako Kato.


















































































cmc photo logo.jpg

Robbie Cook, Holly Rothschild in "Coming Forth by Day"

Rhythm, 1991 Eileen, Derric, Kriota phot

Kriota Wilberg, Derric Harris, Eileen Sheehan in "Rhythm Around the World" photo J. Dreyfus

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MoCo .jpg
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DePaul Dance Co - Restart.jpeg
Ayako Kato_ETHOS I_by HMS Media
smoke not fog install, ds 2019 hamlin 01
Precious- Christina's World.  Photo  Jes
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kaytee cox, forward the movement.jpg
DePaul Dance Company.jpg
Hamlin Park Theater, dancer Precious Jen
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Mindy, Jessie Young, Cindy red backgroun

"Approaching 9" original cast-member Cindy Brandle (right, laying back).

Also pictured:  Mindy Meyers, Jessie Young.  Photo:  Erika DuFour

Sakura 2020.jpeg

"Following Nature Toward Spring" image courtesy - Ayako Kato

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Echo Project.  Echo 4/"Approaching 9". Sunset showing at Clark Park Boathouse Plaza.  Photo:  SGL Productions.

crash and burn, atalee judy cover band.
Ayako_Kato_Incidents II_by_Nadia_Oussenk
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"Love Burd".  Collage image:  Ru Wen.

Atalee Judy's version of "Crash and Burn" in CMC's Cover Band concert;

photo:  D. Guidara

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Payment -  Zelle:  Ayako Tsuchiya


Paypal: Tsuchiya

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