Making dances is an act of progress; it is an act of growth, an act of music, an act of teaching, an act of celebration, an act of joy.

- Alvin Ailey

The mission of Winifred Haun & Dancers is to create and present original, contemporary, innovative works that illuminate and elevate diverse artists, audiences, and global themes.


In the 20+ years since its founding, the Company has created, presented and produced over 125 original dance works, including one full length ballet, commissioned 32 original musical scores, and participated in over 300 public performances and events. Winifred Haun & Dancers has garnered many awards and accolades, including Critic’s Choice from the Chicago Reader and TimeOut Chicago, and features in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Oak Leaves (Pioneer Press), WBEZ Radio, and many others. In 2005, the Company was featured as part of the critically acclaimed WTTW series, “The Chicago Dance Project,” and in 2010 was featured on WTTW’s nightly news program, Chicago Tonight. The Company has also been featured on-line at three national sites: Examiner.com, 4dancers.org RogueBallerina.com and Flavorpill.com Major awards include the 2000 Ruth Page Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Dance in Chicago” for initiating and producing Chicago’s NEXT Dance Festival, which grew to be the midwest’s largest dance festival for the new work of Chicago area artists, and the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s 2009 “Best in Class” Award.

Winifred Haun & Dancers has been invited to perform at many prestigious venues including Dance Center of Columbia College, Athenaeum Theatre, Link’s Hall, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas), Overture Center (Madison, WI), Epic Center Theater (Kalamazoo, MI), St. Mary’s College (Indiana), Iowa Summer Dance Festival, Illinois Wesleyan College (Bloomington, IL), Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Northeastern Illinois University, Fermilab’s Ramsey Auditorium, and in many non-traditional performing spaces such as Historic Pleasant Home, Hemingway Museum, Oak Park’s annual Handel Week (Grace Church), and the Cheney Mansion.

From 1994 to 2001 Winifred Haun & Dancers produced the annual Chicago’s NEXT Dance Festival, which grew to be the midwest’s largest venue for new and original dance works by midwest artists. In 2000, the Company was awarded the prestigious Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to the dance community. In 2004, the Company re-located to Oak Park, an historic suburb just west of Chicago. In 2006, the Company co-founded Circle in the Square: New Works in Dance Theatre, which presents the new works of Oak Park area and Chicago artists. During the 2013-14 Season, the Company produced three major events, Vision, Faith & Desire: Dancemakers Inspired by Martha Graham, which presented the work of 14 artists from the Chicago area who performed or majorly influenced by the 20th century’s iconic choreographer. More info about Vision, Faith & Desire can be found here.

In January of 2012 the Company formed a group of Associate Artists to help insure continuity and consistency in the artistic, technical and administrative abilities of the Company. To learn more about the Associate Artist program, click here.




Winifred Haun is the recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Foundation International Connections award.   The award allowed Ms. Haun to travel with the Company to Australia to collaborate on a new work, Trashed, that combines Modern Dance with Contemporary Circus.


Nominated twice for the prestigious Ruth Page Award for Choreography, Ms. Haun’s dances have appeared at many prestigious national venues: Danspace Project in NYC, Overture Center in Madison, WI, Epic Center in Kalamazoo, MI, West Shore Community College in Michigan, Dogtown Dance Center in Richmond, VA, St. Mary’s College in Indiana, and in Chicago at the Athenaeum Theatre, Dance Center of Columbia College, Links Hall, Ruth Page Theatre, Moming Dance & Arts Center,  and others.  Major grants for choreography have been awarded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Oak Park Area Arts Council, the City of Chicago, Illinois Arts Council, and several others.

Ms. Haun’s dancing and choreography have been presented and commissioned by several Chicago and midwest dance companies, including Chicago BalletAerial Dance Chicago , Zephyr DanceMOMENTA, Irreverence Dance + Theatre, Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, and Barrington Youth Dance Ensemble. Other dance organizations that have commissioned her work include: Without Shoes Modern Dance Co. (Rockford, IL), Patchwork Dance Co.(South Bend, Indiana), University of Nevada Dance Co., Illinois Wesleyan University Dancers, and Elgin Dance Theater.

Chicago’s NEXT Dance Festival, which grew to be the top producer of new and emerging Chicago dance artists, was the brain child of Ms. Haun. She spearheaded this annual event from 1994 to 2001. Ms. Haun won a Ruth Page Award in 2000 for Outstanding Contribution to the Dance Community for her work establishing and furthering the NEXT Dance Festival. In 2005, Ms. Haun was featured as part of HMS Media‘s Chicago Dance Project, which aired on Chicago public television.  In 2016, she established “First Draft: new work by Chicago area artists,” as a vehicle for the new work of Chicago dancemakers.

Ms. Haun was a member of the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre (JHCDT) from 1985 to 1991. She performed and taught with JHCDT while on tour in the US, Canada, Mexico and the middle east. Along with her dancing and teaching responsibilities, she was appointed Company Scholarship Coordinator in 1988. Ms. Haun eventually formed the scholarship group into a separate company, the Pilsen Dance Ensemble. The Ensemble performed the works of Ms. Haun and other JHCDT company members for four years. During her tenure with JHCDT, Ms. Haun danced several solos and received great critical acclaim for her dancing. In 1991, she won a Ruth Page Award nomination for Dancer of the Year.

Ms. Haun’s formal dance training began at the age of 10 at the Ellis-DuBoulay School of Ballet in Chicago. Ms. Haun attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale from 1981 to 1984, graduating with a B.A. in Theatre/Dance. While obtaining her degree, Ms. Haun choreographed several works for student and faculty dance concerts and musicals. Ms. Haun also served as dance captain and assistant director while performing in summer stock theatre productions in southern Illinois.

Ms. Haun has taught modern dance and dance composition at the Beijing Dance Academy in China, Chicago Academy for the Arts, Dance Center of Columbia College, University of Nevada, Illinois Wesleyan University and at numerous festivals and workshops worldwide. She is currently a modern dance instructor at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, the studio of Hubbard St. Dance Chicago and Legere Dance Center.




Deborah Goodman

Rehearsal Director


Deborah Goodman began her dance training at Northern Illinois University under the guidance of Randall Newsome. In 1990, she moved to New York to study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she received a full scholarship and took part in the reconstruction of Ms. Graham’s original work, “Sketches from Chronicle”. From 1998-2005, Deborah worked with Yuriko as her assistant and demonstrator. In 2006, Deborah moved back to Chicago where she currently dances for MOMENTA, performing works by Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham, Randy Duncan and Sandra Kaufmann, among others. Deb is currently a modern dance instructor at Loyola University’s Dance Department and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. She joined Winifred Haun & Dancers as an Advisory Board member in 2012 and was appointed Rehearsal Director in 2015.

Dexter Bishop

Company Dancer


Dexter Bishop hails from Clinton, Mississippi where he received his early training under Jennifer Beasley, Artistic Director of Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet. Mr. Bishop joined Missouri Ballet Theatre (MBT) in 2010 after graduating from Oklahoma City University with a B.A. in Dance Performance. He has also performed in Bird Cage, Spring to Summer, Upstaging, Masquerade, Opus 18, St. Louis Swing and LAPse Dance. Dexter joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in the fall of 2017.

Solomon Bowser

Company Dancer


Solomon Bowser hails from Atlanta, GA where he performed as a member of the Harambee Dance Company and taught at many dance facilities throughout the city. In 2006, the DeKalb County School System recognized Solomon for his work in the community specifically for his contributions to young people in the field of dance. Solomon attended Columbia College Chicago from 2010 to 2014. While at Columbia he performed and choreographed many student pieces. He represented the Dance Center of Columbia College at the 32nd Annual Black College Dance Exchange at Chicago State University. Solomon became a Company Dancer with Winifred Haun & Dancers in 2013. He currently also serves as Program Manager at the American Rhythm Center.

Vernon Gooden

Company Dancer

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Vernon Gooden, a Dallas,Texas native, began dancing at the age of 11. He started in the traditional dance form of West African. In 2001, he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School For The Performing Visual Arts. He received a Level I ranking by the National Foundation For The Advancement In The Arts (NFAA) for college scholarship for high school seniors. Mr. Gooden was nominated by NFAA  and named by The White House Commission for a 2001 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Mr. Gooden later trained at The Juilliard School under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy and Larry Rhodes. He has performed with noted companies such as Paul Taylor 2, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, Helanius Wilkins/ Edgeworks Dance, South Chicago Dance Theatre, Joel Hall Dancers, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. He has performed the works of noted choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Jose Limon, Katherine Dunham, Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones, Milton Myers, Cleo Parker Robinson, Nai-Ni Chen, Ronald K. Brown, and Jessica Lang. Vernon joined WH&D in the fall of 2019.

Amanda Milligan

Company Dancer


Amanda Milligan attended the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music where she received her BFA in Ballet Performance. Her previous professional experience includes participation in the Dallas tour of Jeanne
Mamlufts’ Pieces (2012), guest artist and choreographer for the Performance Time Arts series at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Dance Theater(2010-2014) and most recently Dance Kaleidoscope (2014-2017) based in Indianapolis, IN.  Mandy joined WH&D in the fall of 2017.

Michelle Reid

Company Dancer


Michelle Reid is a dancer, photographer and aerialist. After obtaining her BFA in dance from The Ohio State University in 2013, she moved to Chicago to pursue a professional career in the arts. Since then she has performed with Joel Hall, Emerald City Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Banks Performance Project. She has also worked with Visual Artist, Brendan Fernandes during his dance-based installation at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Michelle joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in the fall of 2019. 

Summer Smith

Assistant Company Director, Company Dancer


Summer Smith grew up in South Jersey, where she began dancing at a young age. She began her professional dance training in high school at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. During this time, she received scholarships to study at Orlando Ballet, Ballet Met, and in New York, at American Ballet Theatre. Summer attended The University of the Arts where she received her BFA in Dance and Painting with honors.   Summer is currently a Company Dancer and Assistant Choreographer for Winifred Haun & Dancers and she has performed with the Company since 2017.



Julie Ballard (lighting designer) is a Chicago-based professional theatrical technician, specializing in lighting design, photography and production/stage management. She is owner/operator of OverlapLighting Productions, her freelance company. Ms. Ballard is currently the Stage Manager/Properties Master for the world-renowned Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She first designed lights for Winifred Haun & Dancers in 2005. Julie designed the premiere of the Company’s first full length ballet, “Promise,” in 2009 at the Ruth Page Center, “Bento” in 2012 and “Don’t Linger Too Long” in 2013. Julie regularly has designed lights for many other Chicago dance companies, including Hedwig Dances, Mordine & Co. Dance Theatre, The Seldoms, Same Planet/Different World, and the Dance COLEctive. She has also worked as a lighting designer for many theater companies in Chicago. Ms. Ballard holds degrees in Theater (BA) and Lighting Design (MFA) from Kent State University and the University of Florida, respectively. Julie joined the Company as an Associate Artist in January of 2012. You can learn more about Julie here.


Barry Bennett (composer) has a BFA in Theatre from Southwest Missouri State. Barry has had his theatre and dance scores heard as far away as Salzburg and as near as Chicago. He has designed sound for 16th Street Theater, where is also a resident artist, Chicago Dramatists, The Aardvark, Steppenwolf, The Art Institute, Emerald City, National Pastime, PROP THTR, Chicago Moving Company, where he is composer in residence, Estrogen Fest, Asimina Chremos, NEXT Dance, and others. Bennett is also the Artistic Director of The Impending Behavior Orchestra, a modular sound / movement / light performance group which drinks heavily from the waters of improvisation and tribalism. Barry is married to 16th Street theatre director Ann Filmer, and they have one daughter. He became an Associate Artist in January of 2012.

Amanda Clegg Lyon

Lindsey Frattare, (dancer, assistant choreographer) an Ohio native, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She has performed works by Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Allison Chase, and William Forsythe. Upon graduating from SMU, Lindsey moved to Chicago to join the scholarship program at the Lou Conte Dance Studio under the direction of Claire Bataille. She has also attended summer programs with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theater, River North Dance Chicago, Spectrum Dance Theater and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Lindsey joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in February of 2008 and became an Associate Artist in January of 2012.

Erika Gilfether (dancer, technical support) is a graduate of the Chicago Academy for the Arts and New York Univeristy’s Tisch School for the Arts. While in New York, she performed with choreographers, James Martin and Marjie Citron. Erika danced for three years with Jan Erkert and Dancers, performing, touring and teaching throughout the US, Mexico and Uruguay. Since 1999, she has performed in aerial acts with her husband, Andrew Adams. Together, they have performed with the Midnight Circus, Pendulum Aerial Dance Theatre, the Lavender Cabaret and Zinzanni (San Francisco). Erika first performed with Winifred Haun & Dancers in the summer of 1991. She re-joined the Company in 1996 and has been a regularly featured dancer since 2005. Erika became an Associate Artist in January of 2012.

Irene Hsiao (dancer, assistant artistic director) began studying dance as a high school student in California,first as an elective at Chinese school, and then in open classes atJimmie DeFore Dance Center, Long Beach Ballet, and LINES. Shecontinued dancing while earning a degree in English literature from the University of Chicago, performing student choreography as well aswith various companies, including MC Squared and the Leopold Group II in Chicago, Glory Dance in Hong Kong, and Labayen Dance/SF in San Francisco. She has choreographed pieces for University of Chicago Festival of the Arts, the Opera Cabal salons, the play Drupelets (directed by Greg Callozzo), and in collaboration with Yael Vidan and Yao Chen at the Smart Museum of Art. She began working with Winifred Haun & Dancers in May 2010.

Christy Munch (dancer, costume designer) has been active in the Chicago area for about 20 years as a costume designer, dancer, performer, choreographer, dance educator, and arts administrator. She showed work in Chicago’s NEXT Dance Festival from 1995 – 2001 as well as in many independent venues. Christy has designed costumes for Winifred Haun & Dancers for over 15 years. She has also designed costumes for Hedwig Dances, Timothy Buckley, Bob Eisen, Jill Daley, Lynn Book, Redmoon Theatre, and Franklin Dance. Her community based dance group, Franklin Dance, has provided performing and choreographing opportunities for dancers-with-day-jobs from 2005 to 2010. Christy performed in the premiere of “Promise,” and she became an Associate Artist in 2011.

Grace Whitworth (dancer, assistant choreographer) has been dancing since she was three. She graduated from Point Park University with a BA in dance. Grace moved to Chicago upon graduation and was accepted for Hubbard St. Dance Chicago’s scholarship program. She has enjoyed being involved with Thodos Dance Chicago’s “New Dances” show, Dance Chicago and River North Dance Chicago. She is also a member of Jaxon Arts, a NYC based dance company under the artistic dreiction of Jacqueline Stewart. Grace joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in January of 2008 and became an Associate Artist in January of 2012.

Reign Drop Winker (web designer)



Susan Caudell, esq
Oak Park, IL

Lisa Friedman, esq
Oak Park, IL

Gia Gallegos, DVM
Oak Park, IL
Veterinarian, Green Paws Animal Clinic

Edna Hamburger
Oak Park, IL
Assistant Dean of Architecture, Retired, University of Illinois-Chicago

Winifred Haun (Founder)
Oak Park, IL
Choreographer, Artistic Director, Dance Instructor

Young-Kee Kim, PhD
Chicago, IL
Professor & Physics Dept. Head, University of Chicago

Tabatha Koylass
Chicago, IL
Director, TAB Pilates

Stephen Parke, PhD
Oak Park, IL
Scientist, Fermi National Accelerator Lab

Brenda Rodriguez
Chicago, IL
Business & Development Consultant




Winifred Haun & Dancers is honored to have the following artists and community members advising us on administrative and artistic trends and technology:

Cynthia Albright

Linda Clark

Yvonnie Dubose

Frank Fishella

Della Leavitt

Rebecca Lipton

Linda Meisel

Heather Overbeck

Sarita Smith Childs


​We believe in the power of dance to inspire, unite, and uplift our communities. And we believe that the world is a better place when more people are dancing and making dances. Donate now and help us continue bringing dance into our communities.