Investment Creates Opportunity

Announcing SEASON 12 Launch & New Executive Director Brendan P. Behan

August 8, 2018

CHICAGO – DanceWorks Chicago (DWC), the Chicago-based dance “laboratory” for early career dancers and choreographers, today announced two major developments including the launch of its 12th season and Brendan P. Behan’s assumption of the role of executive director. Behan, who began his new role on May 14, 2018, succeeds Andreas Böttcher, DWC’s co-founder and first chief executive officer. Böttcher, who announced his plan to transition out of his role last fall after eleven years with the organization, retired to spend time with family.

“This is an exciting time for DWC,” stated president-elect Leah Kaiser. “The board and I see this leadership transition as a chance to reaffirm our core purpose as an organization, which is to serve as an incubator to young dance artists while fostering a diverse and inclusive community. Brendan’s experience as a professional dancer and as a nonprofit leader who spent years working on issues of inclusion aligns so well with DWC’s legacy of supporting and inspiring the next generation of dance artists. Andreas’ steadfast leadership over the years has positioned DWC to take full advantage of the opportunity that this leadership transition presents, and I am grateful to him for his work in building a fiscally strong and operationally stable organization. Brendan brings a new set of skills and experience that will make him a valuable partner with Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Julie Nakagawa.”

Behan helmed the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee, the nonprofit which produces the annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade, as its executive director between 2011-2013 after having spent years serving the organization in a variety of roles from 2006 to 2010. Behan received his B.A. degree from Claremont McKenna College in 2003 and his MFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. “What particularly inspires me about DWC’s mission is the commitment to serve as a laboratory for young dancers,” stated Behan. “Dance is a field that grapples with the challenges of temporary work. DWC’s conscientious commitment to equitable compensation for dancers and choreographers is particularly crucial in creating a sustainable future for dance in Chicago. Having been a professional dancer, I understand how important it is that we as a community support artists with just compensation for their hard work and generous creativity.”

Headshot of new Executive Director Brendan P. Behan

Photo Credit: Vin Reed

Böttcher and his life partner, Julie Nakagawa, co-founded DWC in 2007. Böttcher continues to serve as an advisor to DWC during the leadership transition. Nakagawa stated, “Brendan’s passion for DanceWorks Chicago is contagious, and I look forward to his contribution of energy and ideas to Team DWC as we launch SEASON 12!”

Nakagawa led DWC’s annual open audition on Saturday, August 4 on stage at the Dance Center of Columbia College. Around eighty dancers participated in the audition process, which community members were invited to attend and watch as part of DWC’s on-going efforts to connect artists and audiences.

DanceWorks Chicago Audition 2018

DWC’s Dance360 Summer 2018 programming comes to an exciting conclusion with a pair of offerings at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 North Dearborn, where DanceWorks Chicago is in residence:

  • The DanceForceShowing, the culminating event of a two-week summer intensive, will feature student performances of DWC repertoire by choreographers Shannon Alvis, Greg Blackmon, and Christian Denise. The showing takes place from 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 11 and is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested: click here to RSVP.
  • TheChoreoLab Showcase highlighting new works created by dancemakers Brian Enos, Dexandro Montalvo, and Tommie Waheed-Evans will be offered on Saturday, August 18 from 1p.m. – 2p.m. Tickets are $10 and available for purchase: click here for tickets.

DanceWorks Chicago’s SEASON 12 menu of offerings will include locally-focused activities plus national and international touring, including a return to Germany in Spring 2019.

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DanceWorks Chicago Mission Statement: DanceWorks Chicago is committed to building a foundation for the individual artistic growth of dancers and choreographers, providing a laboratory from which early career artists propel themselves and the art form to a new level through training, collaboration, mentorship, and performance. For more information visit