Dance Loop Chicago

History

DanszLoop Chicago was founded in 2002 by choreographer and dancer Paula Frasz. The company performed in Chicago for 14 years. The project-based work was the brain-child of Paula Frasz, whose dances were often influenced by the written word. Frasz, a Ruth Page Award winner and Illinois Arts Council Fellow,  described her work as “dancing the truth between the words.”

Beginning with a residency at Harper College in 2002, DanszLoop went on to be a fixture on the Chicago scene, at Dance Chicago, Duets for My Valentine, Best of Dance Chicago, Harvest Contemporary Dance Festival and The Winter Delights Festival in Schaumburg, IL. DanszLoop Chicago, with the help of The Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council and other granting institutions, also produced many concerts at Stage 773, The New Athenaeum Theatre, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, The Harold Washington Library and numerous venues in the city of Chicago. DanszLoop also performed in concert at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center in New York, NY. 

Frasz also collaborated with a variety of artists. With renowned Flamenco star Luis Montero, the company mounted Barefoot Flamenco, featuring the evening length “House of Bernarda Alba”. The American Theatre Company and director P.J. Paparrelli paired with DanszLoop for The Escapes, three plays and corresponding dances performed in Chicago and at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival in Massachusetts. Also in the Williams Festival, DanszLoop conceived Lorita, with festival founder and director David Kaplan. International director Robert Chevara collaborated with Frasz on The Chorus Girl Plays in Provincetown and Chicago. 

DanszLoop Chicago went on hiatus in 2015 after the tragic death of lead dancer and founding member Paul Christiano. In 2019 Frasz handed the Artistic Directorship over to Amber Echols. The mission of the new Dance Loop Chicago is to foster Minority choreographers and performers. The New Dance Loop Chicago premiered with Frasz’s award-winning ENUF as part of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble’s “Stories of Chicago” part of their four-part series “Art + Activism” at the Ebenezer Performance Space in Chicago on January 25 and 26, 2020, a concert that critic Emma Elsmo said, “addressed Chicago’s racially related history…and the political turmoil within our city.” (SeeChicagoDance)

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Founder

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Paula Frasz “has the talent and vision made infinitely clear in the sharpest and best-designed work” announced Sid Smith in the Chicago Tribune. Tribune critic Lucia Mauro calls her, “…a standout”. Her many achievements include:  Mordine & Company featured dancer and featured dancer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has been named Resident Choreographer of the Bosphorus Dance Company in Istanbul, Turkey and at the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, MA. Her choreography has been commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.  She is one of the founding choreographers of Chicago’s Next Dance Festival, whose work has been called “powerfully modern” by Lynne Voedisch of the Chicago Sun Times. She received the 1999 Ruth Page Award for Artistic Achievement in Choreography from the Chicago Dance Coalition, and the 2002 Artists Fellowship Award in Choreography from the Illinois Arts Council. From 2002 to 2015 Frasz was the Artistic Director of DanszLoop Chicago, a professional dance company which the Chicago Tribune calls “…a driving force on the Chicago dance scene.”


Ms. Frasz was a faculty member at the Dance Center of Columbia College for eight years.  She is currently Professor of Dance at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Nominated for the 2012 and 2013 Presidential Teaching Fellowship, this master teacher has also been in residence at many colleges and universities, including St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN., the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, Southern Illinois University, Winona State University and St. Mary’s College in Minnesota, Harper College and College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In 2002, she started DanszLoop Chicago (nfp), a theatrical modern dance company performing in Chicago and the surrounding Metropolitan area.  They performed at nearly 50 venues in their first year. The company made its New York debut in September of 2012, where critics said “Frasz's powerful choreography brought an intriguing twist to this, and left me wanting more.”  


 In 2013 Frasz made her acting debut in “The Chorus Girl Plays” at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.  Frasz also received the 2002 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Excellence in Choreography. After a broken leg sidelined her in 2015, she taught dance for 3 months on a scooter, recorded her learning experiences as a handicapped dancer and then presented the findings at the International Fine Arts Conference in Athens, Greece. Her article “How Injury Changed the Way I Teach” appeared in the March 2017 edition of Dance Teacher Magazine.


In 2018 Frasz brought her dance ENUF to the American College Dance Regional Festival. It was selected as best in the Midwest and will be performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC at the National American College Dance Festival. The adjudicators described the work in the following way:


ENUF reflects on the present and imagines a future rooted in the long Civil Rights movement, from the abolishment of slavery to Black Lives Matter. Through urgent athleticism, it creates collective and individual bodies of protest and power.


Ms. Frasz holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Butler University.  She graduated from the University of Illinois with an M.F.A.  She is also a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has served several terms on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Panel. Ms. Frasz is an active and vital member of Chicago’s dance community.  She has performed, choreographed and taught internationally in Brisbane, Australia, Istanbul, Turkey, Cannes, France, several locations in Austria, and other destinations.   - “A tongue-in-cheek choreographer with a spunky stage presence” as Lucia Mauro of the Sun Times insists, Paula Frasz continues to produce her work around the United States and abroad. As one critic wrote: “This review is full of superlatives, but she deserves them. Thank you, Paula Frasz!”