We Are Company

Our main belief as an organization is that we are a common collective of dancers, viewers, performers, writers, and experiencers that need space to explore, innovate, and create. We are not your traditional company; there is no hierarchy.

We pride ourselves on being revolutionary inside of our company structure and that is fully inspired by the content of our movement work. It is pivotal to our functionality as a collective that we be accessible and continue to give to the community. For the past year, The Collective has been hosting free classes, presenting dance film festivals, providing resources, promoting community events and crowdfunds, and offering space to the community for discussion; this has been quite a rewarding process.

We are building the dance community we want to see in Chicago.

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Meet the Company

The Company encompasses Company Members, Improvisors, and Choreographers all sharing a mutually respected space.

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Grace Czechowicz (she/her)

Company Member & Choreographer

Grace Czechowicz (she/her) is a freelance dance artist from Rockford, Illinois where she discovered her love for the craft at age fifteen. Since then, she has worked under the direction of Amy Wright of Bad Wolf Dance Company, Helen Simoneau of Helen Simoneau Danse Company, and under the mentorship of Sonja McCord of Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem through the Sonja McCord Experience. She does not take any dance space for granted and considers this honorable opportunity with We Are Collective to be just the beginning of a lifelong journey of movement exploration and creation.

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Reign Drop (they/he)

Company Member & Choreographer

Reign Winker (he/they) is an artist from Chicago, Illinois. They graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Dance and Digital Marketing. Reign is a choreographer and teaching artist sharing modern and contemporary dance techniques captivated by spreading awareness to physical sustainability, mind-body connection, and mental health in the dance community. Reign aims to show movement as care and healing in all choreographic and teaching practices--from movement to physical practice to communication. During their time at The Dance Center, they presented work at Student Performance Night, choreograph for an MFA Thesis film, and had the privilege of working under the absolutely beautiful teaching staff being mentored by Darrell Jones and Dardi McGinley. In the Chicago community, they have choreographed for New Dances 2020 under Thodos Dance Chicago & Chicago Dance Works, as well as other local company showcases, and the iconic Chicago drag queen, Shea Coulee’s "Rewind" music video.

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Audrey Hartnett (she/they)

Company Member

Audrey Hartnett (she/they) grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to the city to pursue her BFA in dance from Columbia College Chicago. In Columbia’s program she was able to expand upon her classical dance training through exposure to different movement practices and influences, ultimately leading to their desire to create dance that honored their background experience while pushing boundaries towards representation and equity in performance. Audrey has been a company member with Meadows Dance Collective since 2020 and also dances as a Repertory Artist with Identity Performing Arts, debuting in their 2022 show “Fearless.

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Brady Neher (he/they)

Company Member

Brady Neher (he/they) is from Norwalk, Ohio and trained in gymnastics for seven years before starting his dance training. He then pursued his BFA in dance at Columbia College Chicago receiving experience in ballet, modern, jazz, West African, yoga, improvisation, choreographing, and teaching dance.

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Hannah Ottenfeld (she/her)

Company Improvisor & Choreographer

Hannah Ottenfeld (she/her) is a director, choreographer, dancer, and theatre artist. Born and raised in Chicago, she received her Bachelors of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Dance from Millikin University in 2021. Notably, she was the Featured Senior Choreographer for Millikin’s Dance Ensemble. Since graduating, Hannah has taught dance with several studios in Illinois, as well as at Camp Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine. She currently dances as a member of Perceptual Motion Inc., as well as a founding member of Queer Dance Freakout.

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Tristen Sanborn (he/him)

Company Member

Tristen Sanborn (he/him) received his early training at a local dance studio in Blaine, Minnesota. He then went on to train in High School, at Saint Paul Conservatory for the Performing Artists, having a concentration in dance. There he trained under many notable artists such as Gabriel Anderson, Jill Lile, Penny Freeh, Sam Johnson, Kaleena Miller, Laura Selle Vertucio, Joe Tran, Lisa Berman, and more. Through Minnesota’s Twin Cities as well as Chicago, Tristen has been seen in various professional performances at and with The Walker Arts Center, The Cowles Center, Common Conservatory, The Tek Box Theater, Berit Ahlgren, Helen Hatch, Scott Stafford, Kaleena Miller Dance, Shapiro and Smith Dance, and more. Currently, he is attending Columbia College Chicago with plans to graduate with a BFA in Dance.

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Alyssa Simpson (she/her)

Company Member

Alyssa (she/her) is a professional freelance artist and collaborator based in Chicago, IL. She is a native of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and a recent Dance BFA and Journalism graduate from the University of Iowa. From a young age, she’s been interested in pursuing a career that incorporates both of her passions for dance and writing. She has been trained in numerous techniques such as Release technique, Limon, Horton, Cunningham, some Gaga, Cecchetti, improvisation, and various somatic practices. She has also produced visual storytelling works through video and screendance. In her performance and works, she uses narrative as a way to present embodiments of histories that have the capability to help us further understand who we are and why we are. She has performed works by Melinda Jean Myers, Tony Orrico, Stephanie Miracle, Brian Enos, Marc Macarnas, Jessie Factor, Jacob Henss, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, and is currently working with Alluvion Dance Chicago as a performer and choreographer. She is thrilled to be joining We Are Collective!

 
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Our first company show will be an amalgamation of differing dance niches that never found a common home before: GROUND UP is a mouthful of dance, completely devised in collaboration with the company of dancers and directors, featuring work by

Grace Czechowicz

Reign Drop

Nik LaMaack

Hannah Ottenfied

Robyn Wilson

Natalie Young

and THE WOLFPACK


An invigorating piece of this show, THE WOLFPACK will be a series of improvisational performances, directed by Reign Drop, that will include theater and slam poetry elements while also leaning into postmodern aesthetics.

 
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