* Diversity and Equity



In response to requests from members of the Chicago dance community, Audience Architects initiated a series of discussions in July 2012 to address the topic of equal opportunity and access in the field of dance. On this page you will find notes from these  discussions, updates on our continued efforts to keep the topic of diversity active in our public sphere, and resources in the form of timely articles, blog posts, and websites addressing this complex issue.


July 25, 2012 –  Audience Architects held its summer community convening at the Chicago Cultural Center in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Prompted by events that occurred at the 2012 Dance/USA conference, the focus of the convening was to initiate dialogue on Diversity and Equity within Chicago’s Dance Community.

Over 60 members of the community were represented including, dancers, board members,
patrons, funders, choreographers, and administrators.

To begin the conversation, questions were posed to three representatives of the dance community who had been present for the Conference and brought distinctly different perspectives to the diversity discussion: Kevin Jeff, artistic director- Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Shirley Mordine – artistic director – Mordine and Company Dance Theatre, and Zac Whittenburg – independent dance critic/journalist. Facilitators Julia Perkins (MBMD Strategic Consultants) and Amina Dickerson (Dickerson Global Advisors) posed two probing questions:

1. Can you provide us with your definition/interpretation of diversity specifically in relation to dance?

2. What are the issues that under-gird the concerns on diversity and equity in Chicag0 dance community?

Download the full article here: Dance Community Conversation DIVERSITY AND EQUITYDiscussion Summary 08.01.12


September 28, 2012 – Audience Architects hosted a second conversation to address
the state of diversity and equity in the Chicago dance community with the intent
to determine the best approach for moving the dialogue forward productively.

Download full notes from this conversation here: Dance Community 2nd Conversation DIVERSITY AND EQUITY


  • The formation of  the, “Not A Steering” Committee.  A small group of volunteers from the Chicago dance community have committed to engaging more deeply in this ongoing conversation. We hesitate to call this committee a “steering” committee, as the role of this group is to unpack the complexity of this topic together as a group, with hope of bringing more awareness not only to the individuals involved, but to the larger community as insights are sought and found.
  • A resource page containing timely articles, websites and other materials addressing diversity in dance. We hope the resources bring awareness to continuing issues of inequity in the field as well as highlight efforts by organizations to move beyond these patterns of inequity. Visit our resource page HERE.



The “Moving Dialogs: Diversity + Dance” conversation series. Led by  internationally noted and resonant local dance artists, educators and scholars, “Moving Dialogs” is a natural extension of the conversations that began within the Chicago dance community. Each event features interactive experiences and moderated discussions to draw the public into thought provoking conversations on topics exploring the complexities of diversity.  Alongside this vital discussion, some of Chicago’s most distinguished writers and critics will be invited to reflect on the Dialog topics and events through “Moving Reflections,” a blog hosted by Audience Architects creating opportunities to expand the conversation virtually and globally. Hosted by Audience Architects.

Moving Dialogs: Diversity + Dance is funded in part by the Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance, the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly. Special Thanks to The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, Producing Partner for the spring series of Moving Dialogs: Diversity + Dance. Venue Partners for the Spring series include: The Old Town School of Folk Music, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.