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Season II : and the sequoia stood tall


Tristen Sanborn (he/him)

and the sequoia stood tall | CRUDE

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 Free, 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, Shapiro and Smith Dance and more.

Alyssa Simpson (she/her)

and the sequoia stood tall | CRUDE

Alyssa Simpson (she/her) is a professional freelance artist and collaborator based in Chicago, IL. She is native to the greater St. Louis metropolitan area and attended the University of Iowa where she received Dance BFA and Journalism degrees. In her performance in works, she uses narrative as a way to present embodiments of histories that have to capability to help us further understand who we are and why we are. She has performed works by Melina Jean Myers, Tony Orrico, Stephanie Miracle, Brian Enos, Marc Macaranas, Jessie Factor, Jacob Henss, and Jessica Miller Tomlinson. Alyssa has performed professionally with Consuming Kinetics Dance Company and Alluvion Dance Chicago. She is ecstatic for her second season with We Are Collective!


Nik LaMaack (they/he)

and the sequoia stood tall | CRUDE

Nik is originally from Davenport, IA. After graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in dance, he quickly realized that the Chicago dance community was in need of more accessible dance. Some of Nik's notable works include Vex, Solstice, Rewind by Shea Coulee, For Asmodeus, The Things You Showed Me & FruitCake which were both accepted into Pink Slip Zine. All of these works can be found for FREE online. Nik has also performed with Perceptual Motion Inc. Nik is currently attending Columbia College Chicago to get their Masters in Arts Management.

Leana Welker (she/they)

and the sequoia stood tall | CRUDE

Leana Welker (she/they) is a trans dancer, choreographer, musician, actor, tattoo artist, and storyteller. She got her BFA in dance performance in 2015 from the Dobbins Conservatory at Southeast Missouri State University, while there, she performed works by Larry Keigwin, Sam Watson, Hedwig Dances, Victor Alexander and Murray Gutierrez, and Gus Giordano. In the years since graduating, she has worked with Giordano Dance Chicago, Ashleyliane Dance Company, Soilsigh Ireland, the Fly Honey Show, Alix Schilaci's: Sunset's That Way, Ordinary Peepholes, FloorShow, and is currently a member of We Are Collective. Through all mediums and projects, Leana seeks to delve deeper into the connection between community, culture, tradition, and ritual, and how they can intersect to build a stronger foundation for a brighter, more fantastical tomorrow.


Reign Drop (they/he)

and the sequoia stood tall | CRUDE

Reign Drop is a trans dancer, choreographer, and Co-Founder of We Are Collective. Over the last seven years, they have grown roots in the Chicago dance community focusing on creating sustainable and accessible dance spaces for all ages. They research contemporary movements that demonstrate autonomy, liberation, and connection. In the community, they have led an Improvisers’ Jam for Chicago Dancemakers Forum, performed for Alix Shilaci and Erin Killmurray, presented work at j e l l o dances, created work for Synapse Arts New Works, and have choreographed for New Dances and the iconic Chicago drag queen Shea Coulee’s "Rewind" music video. Their newest role includes being a Company Lead for Queer Dance Freakout, the largest trans dance organization in Chicago which aids them in their mission to be heard—to share their story—to honor the stories of all magical trans people.

Audrey Hartnett (she/they)

Things Long Forgotten

Audrey Hartnett (she/they) is a Chicago based artist with passions for dance performance and writing. After graduating in 2021 with a BFA from Columbia College Chicago, she has been exploring a variety of repertoire that play with the relationship between classical and contemporary dance. Audrey is honored to have performed with with 773 Dance Project, Meadows Dance Collective, Meher Dance Troupe, and Identity Performing Arts while continuing this journey with We Are Collective.


Brady Neher (he/they)

Things Long Forgotten

Brady Neher (he/they) is originally from Milan, OH where he grew up training in gymnastics and several other forms of dance. He then went on to Chicago, IL where he is currently based to receive to his BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. He uses his modern trainings and background in gymnastics together to create a movement style the explores torque and balance in unconventional ways.

Season II: Meet the Team
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