Mission Statement

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Simantikos Dance Chicago (SDC) is committed to leadership and creative collaboration in both dance performance and dance education. The company aspires to advance the performing arts by offering the public visionary choreography and strongly executed performances by fostering an intelligent appreciation of dance as an art form. SDC is dedicated to providing an array of educational opportunities for professionals as well as aspiring students including those in underserved communities and schools. The company’s mission is to address social issues while recognizing the diverse range of cultures represented by the collaborators and facilitating a platform to create, contribute and influence a positive change within society as a whole.

Behind the Scenes

Nicole Lane - Director of Social Media

Nicole is an editor, writer, and artist. She is a regular contributor to Ravishly, Rewire News, HelloFlo, Sixty Inches from Center, and beyond. Furthermore, she is also the Art Editor for Vagabond City Literary Journal, a monthly publication. Her writing interests fall under the topics of the LGBTQ voice, women's health and wellness, POC, and body positivity. To further her practice, she works with found objects, latex, and physical movement. Her work has been exhibited at Prairie Lights in Iowa, Heaven Gallery, Mist Gallery, and various online publications. An avid dancer for most of her life, Nicole worked for choreographer Hope Goldman, and has since found solace in the Chicago dance community. 

The Company

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Haley McElwee

Artistic Director

Alexis Aguilar

2nd Season Company Dancer

1st Season Company Dancer

Tina Hernandez

2nd Season Company Dancer

Megan O'Toole

3rd Season Company Dancer

Nikki Renfroe

Haley is a Chicago-based dancer/choreographer/instructor and the founder and artistic director of Simantikos Dance Chicago. She graduated from Indiana University in 2015, where she performed and understudied works by Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Dayton Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, and more. Haley has attended numerous workshops and masterclasses, including those through CNADM, Interlochen Arts Academy, Thodos, River North, and Dance Italia. Haley began teaching at her home studio, Debbie Werbrouck's School of Dance, and continued to pursue her interest in dance education   throughout college by teaching at Windfall Dance Studio, traveling to teach in Panamanian Orphanages with Movement Exchange, and spending a summer teaching at Soul Arts Academy in New York City. Haley founded and directed Pre-College Dance Exchange - South Bend in the summer of 2014 and is continuing to build programming for yearly sessions in other cities. Haley currently teaches dance at NKO-UChicago Charter School and is very excited to be growing educational programming at the Simantikos Dance Chicago studio and through partnerships with Jahn Fine Arts Academy and Kids Creative Corner

Alexis Aguilar, originally from St. Charles, Illinois, received her BFA in Dance with a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the University  of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015. She has had the honor of performing “Continuous Replay” with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, in addition to the works of, Kate Corby, Raja Feather Kelly, Li Chiao-Ping, Danielle Russo, and Jin-Wen Yu. The recipient of various awards, Aguilar’s choreography was performed at the ACDA 2015 North-Central Conference in Ames, IA. Following her college tenure, Aguilar worked with Li Chiao-Ping Dance performing in Wisconsin, Iowa, TN, and Hawaii before she moved to Chicago in 2016. Currently, Alexis is a company member with Dow Dance, works as a freelance dancer, is employed at Francis W. Parker School as the Human Resources Assistant, and is ecstatic about her first season dancing with Simantikos Dance Chicago.

Tina Hernandez is from downtown Chicago, Illinois and began studying dance at a very young age. Tina has been trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, and contemporary. Tina trained at Chicago Multicultural Dance Center under Homer Hans Bryant, including multiple summer intensives and has also had the privilege of training with Ballet West for the summer as well as DanceWorks Chicago. She recently graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Dance Performance and is currently training on scholarship at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Tina is very excited starting her second season with the company.

Megan O’Toole, originally from Toledo, Ohio, began dancing at the age of five. She moved to Chicago to continue her dance education and graduated with honors from Columbia College Chicago with Bachelor’s degrees in Dance and Musical Theatre Performance. Megan has trained in many styles of dance, and is enjoying auditioning and working around the Windy City. Megan has also enjoyed the opportunity to become more involved with Simantikos as the Assistant Director of Educational Programming. After a long summer of dance camp fun, Megan is currently teaching dance to middle schoolers at Jahn Fine Arts School alongside Artistic Director Haley McElwee. Megan is extremely excited to be dancing with Simantikos Dance Chicago for their third season!

Nikki Renfroe, a native of the Chicago area, began studying dance at the age of three. Since then, she has gone on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Minor in Psychology.  She has had the privilege of training through workshops and intensives with Point Park University, Deeply Rooted Dance Company, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, Inaside Dance Chicago, Aerial Dance Chicago, and continues to study at Lou Cante Dance Studio, Visceral Dance Center, and the American Rhythm Center.  She has had the opportunity to perform in many local Chicago projects such as Delve Arts Festival, Renassiance Black, and Activate! Chicago.  Nikki also teaches dance at Intuit Dance Studios in Oak Park and Forest Park and she is the instructor/choreographer and director of the dance program at Trinity High School.  In addition to Simantikos, Nikki currently dances with Noumenon Dance Ensemble.  Nikki is extremely excited to begin her third season with Simantikos Dance Chicago.

1st Season Company Dancer

KT Williams

3rd Season Company Dancer

KT Williams

1st Season Company Dancer

Holiday Camp

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