Synapse Arts – New Works 2021

  • new works 2021 banner (1).png

    A banner with blue and white text that reads "Synapse Arts New Works 2021" on the center left of the banner. The right side of the banner shows two images of two different dancers.
    A banner with blue and white text that reads "Synapse Arts New Works 2021" on the center left of the banner. The right side of the banner shows two images of two different dancers.

    Synapse Arts

    Saturday, June 5, 2021 to Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Virtual Event
    $5 Off June 6 Performance & Discussion! Use Code: FIVEOFF
Event Type
Event Description

Synapse Arts – New Works 2021 Premiere
Saturday June 5 at 7pm
Sunday June 6 at 2pm
Via livestream, ticket information available now

Access Narrative
Synapse Arts events actively welcome individuals with diverse identities, including all genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, income levels, ages, parent/caregiver status, backgrounds, and household structures.

All Synapse Arts events are relaxed and sensory-friendly. ASL interpretation and captioning are included; the Livestream program on YouTube will have closed captions and the Artist Discussion on Zoom will have AI captioning. Audio description will be available. For additional accessibility service requests, please contact"

Event Description
Our bi-annual New Works incubator program returns with two young dance artists who will premiere their original pieces to a virtual audience. Emerging from a field of 29 talented applicants, 2021 New Works artists Maggie Bridger and Rahila Coats were selected in January by our diverse and distinguished review panel. After working with their mentors in safe studio spaces provided by Synapse Arts, Maggie and Rahila are ready to unveil their moving and evocative dance creations on June 5 and 6, 2021.

Synapse Arts – New Works 2021 Artist Discussion
Join Synapse Arts and New Works artists Rahila Coats and Maggie Bridger for a deeper look into the artist’s work and a conversation about art, identity, and representation. The artists and moderators will facilitate respectful, loving, anti-racist, and accessible communication with participants and ask questions such as: How do we see multiple layers of identity in an artist’s work? What is the social and political weight of our bodies on stage and screen?

Sunday June 6 2021 at 3pm CST
Via Zoom
This moderated discussion will last approximately 60 minutes

Rahila Coats
With a body of work that often confronts personal narratives as they relate to consent and permission, Rahila’s pieces also draw from concepts of contact improvisation, play and fluidity in space. Since the winter, Rahila has been hard at work, collaborating with her mentor Jenn Freeman/Po’ Chop, a renowned Chicago-based performance artist. Rahila’s New Works piece is inspired by her connection with a grandmother who passed before she was born. Dealing with issues of race and gender, the work will also explore the relationships Black women have with their grandmothers - and the legacy of those connections, whether physical or spiritual. As a recent transplant from her hometown of Minneapolis, Rahila is excited to make her Chicago creative debut with Synapse Arts.

Maggie Bridger
As an accomplished dancer and PhD student at the UIC Department of Disability and Human Development, Maggie’s distinctive voice and unique artistic vision explore the generative potential of pain in creating movement. Collaborating closely with her New Works mentor Bryan Saner, a well-known creative artist, performer, and board member of Chicago Opportunity for Peace in Action, Maggie’ New Works premiere will invite the audience to question traditional ideas of the body in dance. Through the medium of film, Maggie’s work will explore her experiences with chronic pain. Incorporating themes drawn from her daily routines, the piece will delve into the practices that both mitigate and sharpen physical pain - both for herself and as she observes it in others.

Find out more at

What Is New Works?
Every other year, Synapse Arts invites dance artists and choreographers to apply for its pioneering New Works program. Up to three artists or artist groups are selected to create original pieces that reflect their unique voices - while sustaining the company’s priorities of diversity and inclusion. In addition to a stipend, New Works artists receive mentoring throughout the creative process, free rehearsal space, professional photos and videos, and more. Culminating in a final show for the public, participants also gain invaluable experience in performance production from planning and fundraising to marketing and ticket sales.

Running Time
1 hour
Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary