J'Sun Howard, SJ Swilley, and Knockout by Erin Kilmurray & Kara Brody

Event Type
Event Description

Festival Week 2 performances invite audiences to explore the entire Dance Center building and experience installations and performances by J’Sun Howard (DCASE ’23-’24 Dance Studio Resident), Knockout by Erin Kilmurray (The Fly Honey Show) and Kara Brody (Lucky Plush) and a new work by SJ Swilley (Red Clay Dance Company).

These performances involve the audience moving from place to place at the Dance Center. Please wear footwear that allows you to move comfortably.

What if I need accommodations to participate?

If you need accommodations please email columbiatickets@colum.edu or call 312-369-8330.

J’Sun Howard is a Chicago-based dancemaker. He holds an MFA in Dance and a certificate in World Performance Studies from the University of Michigan. He is a 2020 3Arts Awardee, a recipient of the inaugural Esteemed Artist Award from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), and a 2019 Asian Cultural Council Fellow. He is also a Links Hall Co-MISSION Fellow, a Ragdale Foundation Sybil Shearer Fellow, 2017 3Arts Make A Wave artist, and 2014 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist. His works have been presented at Links Hall, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Defibrillator Performance Gallery, Patrick’s Cabaret (Minneapolis, MN), Danspace Project (NYC), Center for Performance Research (NYC), Detroit Dance City Festival (Detroit, MI), New Dance Festival (Daejeon, South Korea) where he won Best Dance Choreographer, and the World Dance Alliance’s International Young Choreographers’ Project (Kaohsiung, Taiwan), among others.

Erin Kilmurray (she/they) is a Chicago-based dance artist creating genre-straddling, femme-forward performance work that demands aliveness and collectivity on stage, in studio, and with audiences. They facilitate a dance and community practice that relentlessly explores the celebrations and liberations of women, queer folks, the underground, and the underdog. Her work embraces mess, play, eroticism, and lessons in how arbitrary the line between artist and audience can be. Erin is the creator / director of legendary queer punk dance and variety performance project The Fly Honey Show, where pleasure is king and politics favor the queens. Fly Honey was established in a DIY living space in 2010 and recently sold out rock venue Thalia Hall, was featured at Lollapalooza 2022, and named a “Chicago institution” (Chicago Reader). She is recognized as an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Awardee (2023), a Chicago Dancemakers Lab Artist (2020), and one of 50 People Who Really Perform for Chicago (2023; Newcity). Kilmurray was one of three artists commissioned for the inaugural Chicago Performs program at the Museum of Contemporary Art (2022). Erin has made dances for countless independent makers, parties, music videos, festivals, concerts, and theatrical productions. She is on faculty at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Kara Brody is a performer, educator, arts administrator, and collaborator working in movement arts. With a practice centered-around community-driven spaces, her work is grounded by the desire to create connection. Kara often works with live performance and collaboration through long-term developmental processes. As an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions, she has originated roles in works that have toured extensively throughout the US with the support of competitive awards from National Dance Project, National Theater Project, and NEA Art Works. Additionally, Kara collaborates as a devising team member and performer for The Fly Honey Show. Kara was a founding member of Chicago Dances with The Cambrians and developed three shows representing Chicago’s diverse dance scene. Most recent projects include Knockout, a collaboration with Erin Kilmurray supported by the Embodied Research Project; work around, a dance series curation at Steppenwolf 1700 Theatre; as well as works with Faye Driscoll, Danceable Projects, and Khecari. Kara holds a BFA in Dance from Wayne State University.

SJ Swilley is a black queer product-process based movement artist and educator. Centering notions of liberation, empowerment and mental health, they are a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson C. Smith University where they received a BA in Dance and a BA in Communication Arts. Swilley holds an MFA from Temple University where they initially began adjunct teaching. Swilley is an alum of the American Dance Festival where they served as assistant rehearsal director to Michelle Gibson. Additionally, they are an alum of the Urban Bush Women's Summer Leadership Institute. They have presented work at the Cherry Street Pier Show, American College Dance Association, Loose Leaves Showcase, and Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia College Chicago, Swilley has been an educator at Temple University, Barber-Scotia College, and Denison University. Swilley is a 2020-2021 performance fellow with Queer Art, and a 2020 recipient of the Rose Vernick Artistic Transformation Award.

Photos by William Frederking

The Chicago Artist Spotlight Festival is made possible in part by Alphawood Foundation, a grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Week 1's Ayako Kato’s ETHOS IV: Degrowth/Rebirth/Cycle is made possible in part by A. Montgomery Ward Foundation.

Week 2's SJ Swilley is supported by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum 2023 Production Residency Program.

Running Time
2 Hours
Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 369-8330