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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:, and 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.

The Company


Winifred Haun

Winifred Haun is the recipient of a 2022 3Arts Award and a 2016 MacArthur Foundation International Connections award.   The award allowed Ms. Haun and the Company to travel 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.



Company Dancers

Vernon Gooden

Assistant Choreographer, Company Dancer

Vernon Gooden, (he/him) originally from Dallas,Texas, is an emerging choreographer, performer, and teacher in Chicago. Mr. Gooden began dancing at the age of 11, and graduated from the acclaimed Booker T. Washington High School For The Performing and Visual Arts in 2001. He received a Level I ranking from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts as a high school senior. He was later nominated by NFAA and was named by The White House Commission as a 2001 Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Mr. Gooden continued his training 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 Dance Company, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, Joel Hall Dancers, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. He has performed works by Paul Taylor, Katherine Dunham, Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones, Milton Myers, Cleo Parker Robinson, Nai-Ni Chen, Adam Houghland, Ronald K. Brown, Jessica Lang, Christopher Huggins, and Kevin Iega Jeff. Mr. Gooden joined WH&D in the fall of 2019.


Myles Harris

Company Dancer

Myles Harris (he/him)


Crystal Gurrola

Company Dancer

Crystal Gurrola (she/her) is a dancer, yoga teacher, and graduate student of Traditional Oriental Medicine. In high school she trained with Visceral Studio Company, then went on to receive her BFA in Dance from the University of Iowa in 2016. After graduating, she traveled to Japan on a dance performance contract with a well-known theme park. After a year of adventures abroad she returned home to Chicago to continue her career in the performing arts, and joined Hedwig Dances. Ms. Gurrola started dancing for Winifred Haun & Dancers in January of 2021, just one week after beginning her master’s degree at Pacific College of Health and Science.


Jade Hooper

Company Dancer

Jade Hooper (she/her)


Amanda Milligan

Assistant Choreographer, Company Dancer

Amanda Milligan (she/her) graduated from University of Cincinnati Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Ballet performance. She received additional training at the Graham School for Contemporary Dance, Beijing Dance Academy, Dance Works Chicago, and others. She has performed works by Brock Clawson, Stephanie Martinez, Lone Kjear Larson, David Hochoy, Yuko Sakata and many more.  She has performed with Dance Kaleidoscope, Simantikos Dance, Cocodaco Dance Company and Kanopy Dance Company. Since moving to Chicago in 2017 her choreographic work has been shown at the Links Hall, Pleasant Home, Dance Chance, Going Dutch Festival, and the Simantikos Choreographic Competition. Mandy joined WH&D in the fall of 2017.


Jacinda Ratcliffe

Company Dancer

Jacinda Ratcliffe (she/her) graduated from Northwestern University in 2015 with a B.A. in Dance and Psychology. Upon graduating, she studied on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studio, under Claire Bataille. Jacinda has been a performer and devising collaborator on theatre productions. Notable roles include Lucifer in Striding Lion Performance Group’s production of The Great and Terrible Doctor Faustus and the titular role in Frankenstein AI: A Monster Made By Many, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2018. She also dances with Lucky Plush Productions. Jacinda joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in 2021.

Julia Schaeffer

Company Dancer

Julia Schaeffer (she/her) is originally from California, and she began dancing at age 13. She received her BFA in Dance Performance from Chapman University where she studied ballet, jazz, modern, and contemporary. After graduation, Julia danced with the Lineage dance company for four years where she had the privilege of performing and teaching community outreach classes. She relocated to Chicago in the summer of 2019 and danced for South Chicago Dance Theatre as a guest artist at Night Out in the Parks, Kaela Norwood in Fused, and Mariah Eastman in Patternalia. She joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in 2021.


Summer Smith

Assistant Artistic Director, Company Dancer

Summer Smith (she/her) grew up in South Jersey and trained at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. She received scholarships to study at Orlando Ballet, Ballet Met, and American Ballet Theatre. Summer attended The University of the Arts where she received her BFA with honors in Dance and Painting. She went on to dance with Ballet 5:8 where she served as a Company Artist, and set designer, then Moonwater Dance Project. Summer has performed soloist and corps roles in works by Hanna Bricston, Christine Cox, William Forsythe, Noelle Kayser, Ronen Koresh, Kevin McKenzie, Caleb Mitchell, Preston Miller, Marius Petipa, Julianna Slager and others. Summer teaches and choreographs throughout the Chicagoland area. Her work has received distinctions at RDA and YAGP, and she has had the opportunity to choreograph for Digital Dance Project, Ballet 5:8, Trinity College, and WH&D. Summer joined Winifred Haun & Dancers in 2017, and was promoted to Assistant Artistic Director in 2020. 


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.


Associate Artists

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) has been designing websites for four years for organizations in the state of Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, New Jersey, and New York. They exclusively work with dance organizations to translate the wondrous world of dance to the screen. They cherish getting to combine their passion for dance, technology, and digital collaging by collaborating with such talented movement artists. They currently work as a founder of We Are Dance Collective and are production assistants for Chicago Human Rhythm Project, See Chicago Dance, and Links Hall.


Board of Directors

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



Advisory Board

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.

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