About ADC Founder and Artistic Director Chloe Jensen

By Kip Conwell, ADC Co-Founder and Production Director

This is a collection of thoughts about the Artistic Director of Aerial Dance Chicago, Chloe Jensen, and what makes her style unique.

Chloe established her creative niche in the realm of gravity defying dance (with and without strings attached) that inspired and challenged the audience to move more in their own daily lives. For me, like when watching the young Luke Skywalker employ his hardly cultivated genius to zoom his pod racers past a rough and tumble horde of lesser racers to ultimately prevail and shine as someone with a rare but inherent to the core gift for making compelling art. Chloe has got that.

Chloe has a movement style all her own, that comes from a body awareness and deep level of muscular control, flexibility, fluidity, creating curves, lines and occasionally humanity defying contortions and multidimensional workings of the ground and air space that few others would dare to bring to the stage, and even fewer be able to execute with such fascinating reliability and performance energy.

Her movement genius may have been seeded in a heritage of physicality and creative energy, her father descending from a Norwegian Island of creative and witty farmers and builders known to have hands as strong and big as necessary to swing the hammers they wielded just like the mythical God Thor whose name so many of them bore, and a mother whose gentleness and peaceful approach toward life and helping other people, as well as a secretive athleticism, probably inspired Chloe to have the drive and patience to see a company through its infancy and sustain the effort to allow a company to bloom into something greater. This background must have prepared exactly who she is today, an ever flowing spring of clear deep creative spirit, with a willingness to share with others her wisdom toward the path of finding creativity and physical power within themselves.

Since founding of Aerial Dance Chicago in 1999, Chloe has built an ongoing creative as well as administrative infrastructure that places the company on its sound footings today. She led the organization on an artistic mission that took us through the most amazing transformations and adventures over the first 16 years of aerial dance.

In a purposefully organic and unrushed style, Chloe led the company year after year, production after production toward increasing polish and professionalism, but from the start and all the while with a fresh and unique style of movement invention and insistence on a high degree of audience appeal. She established the style of the company that is characterized by fluidic transitions from earth to the sky, and a quality of dance elegance in the air that is second to none, as well as a core of dancers with unique movement qualities that immediately grab the attention of the audience for their quality and rarity of excellence.

Fiercely independent, and rebellious toward the status quo, Chloe defied with poise and confidence the school of thought that aerial dance was somehow less artful and elegant than dance on the ground. Contrary to the notion that aerial dance might be closer to circus stunts than dance, and through her persistence, a following developed that appreciates the beautiful blend of skilled dancers executing seamless airborne transitions with the same attention to detail and meaningful expression as when on the floor.

There is no doubt that aerial dance requires a physicality that is more demanding than many other types of concert dance. Chloe has a way to inspire inner strengths to the surface in all of the company dancers, and when it emerges, sometimes after months, sometimes after years, results in performers that challenge the audience impressions of what is possible. This deep strength in body and spirit inspires others to push through challenges and to become liberated by the confidence that is chiseled into the bodies of company dancers from their hard work and dedication to dancing in the air.

Read Chloe's bio

Read Kip's bio

ADC and Elements Artistic Directors on collaborating for Silk & Steel

From Mike Gosney, Artistic Director of Elements Contemporary Ballet

I have always enjoyed setting goals for myself and challenging my dancers in every endeavor. I am attracted to artists that thrive on hard work, dedication, and individuality. But now, after our year-long collaboration with Aerial Dance Chicago, my concept of our art form has grown in unexpected ways. Thanks to the expertise of Karen, Chloe, and the dancers of ADC, I have been exposed to the sublime art of air, giving me an even deeper appreciation for the balance of grace and athleticism that is possible through dance.
This collaboration exceeds my expectations on so many levels. At our shared concert you will see the unique style of Chicago's only contemporary ballet company, the seamless aerial work of Chicago's best airborne dance company, and a finale that is the result of a true collaboration and newfound friendship. Surge represents a flow of immense energy – the energy felt by all artists involved throughout this very special project. While a narrative in Surge may also be present, I hope you will join us on July 19th to enjoy the spectacular visual effect of our new work.

From Karen Fisher Doyle, Artistic Director of Aerial Dance Chicago:

Ever since joining ADC in 2003 as a choreographer and dancer I have been thrilled to explore both the traditional and contemporary forms of dance through landscaping horizontal and vertical spaces. I have been truly moved over the last decade by the joy of watching dance take form and the human body embracing movement through emotion, strength, and vulnerability. This year, when I was given the opportunity to direct Aerial Dance Chicago and collaborate with our Executive Creative Director Chloe Jensen and Elements Contemporary Ballet directors Mike Gosney and Joseph Caruana on a new work, I swooned. Could this be a dream come true? Yes, it has indeed materialized.
We began our inspiration for this collaboration from a Max Richter song titled The Trees. The music evoked a flow of ideas and movement that seemed to whisper between dancers from both companies as their bodies began to learn each other's language. Questions arose; what does our soul have to say....or feel...and how can we communicate this energy to our audience? By working together, these questions have seemed to manifest organically and solidify for me in many ways beyond words.
For me, this collaboration has released my fears and nourished my love for what I do. I look forward to celebrating with our dancers, Mike, Joe, and Chloe, and most of all, with our audience on Saturday, July 19th at the beautiful North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. As Martha Graham once said, "Dance is the hidden language of the soul." With this concert, and the viewing of our new work, Surge, I invite our audience to walk away with our story, our hearts, and our discoveries in this lovely art form.

Watch a 1-minute trailer from our concert Silk & Steel:

Silk and Steel is partially support by New Stages for Dance II. New Stages for Dance II is administered by Dance/USA in partnership with Audience Architects. Leadership Support for the New Stages for Dance II Initiative is provided by MetLife Foundation.

Thanks to all of our Kickstarter backers

We have been very busy with setting up our new space for classes and rehearsals during the last two months. During this time we had a really fun Grand Opening event (see photos below), and also held sessions to fulfill the rewards earned by our Kickstarter project backers, including the trapeze, hammock, and bungee rides. Last night, we hosted Aerial Works Raw, our first performance event in the new space.

And of course we haven't forgotten about giving credit to ALL the awesome backers on our website... The new space where we spend so much of our time these days would not exist without your support, and writing this post to acknowledge everyone reminds me of the sense of humility and inspiration I felt when our project got funded.

So thank you, once again, for your generosity, your support for the arts, and for believing in our vision. We love you! (And if you haven't yet -- please come visit the space!)

Backers for a new center for aerial dance

Doreen Stelton
Ron Lechler
Melanie Koreman
Molly Nicholas
Emily Schaeffer
Timothy Haitaian
Jodi Riley
Mercedes Murrieta
Jill Landry
Kimberly Dugalech
Edward Ficht
Melissa Bartz
Michael Meyer
Ace Mcginty
Julianna Orellana
Laurie Tumino
Tricia Smit
Viking Gymnastics Club
Lizette Molina Mora
Rick Haitaian
Jamie Wyser-Pratte
Lois Graziano
Ashley May
Chris Skeen
Joseph Burgum
Jeremy Perkins
Scott Winterroth
Mara Lou Kalat
Cailin Bell
Melissa Christakos
Sarah Canny
Jessica Lee
Karen Fisher Doyle
Tracy Von Kaenel
Karen Johnson
Caitlyn Haitaian
Lucretia Jensen
Russell Songco
Nicole Philippe
Juliet Cella
Heather Philippe
Mary Tambosso
Geb Jensen
Calantha Conwell
Kevin Conwell
Amy Reynaldo
Joan Van Den Bosch
Sarah Milosch
Gabe Visuetti
Minoru Uchida
Roberta Conwell
Frieda Austin
Kirsten Henry Spetzler
Fern Josephs
Kristian Brooks
Kathy Brooks
Debora Allard
Sammy Hajdu
Elizabeth Bagby
Maria Reed
Chris Drnaso
John Locallo
Sean Roschman
Nancy Yatzkan
Lynn & Lee
Jordan Boulger
Winifred Haun
Angela Schultz
David Spetzler
Jeffrey Kirschner
Anna Goldman
Charly McCreary
Angela Loiacono
Jenna Lennon Dorn
Brian Hoffmeister
Kri Bartholomew
Raymond Altergott
Katherine A. Quintero
John McNamara

John Papiewski
Alison Conwell
Tim Quirk
Noelle Miller
Adam Janosek
Elyn Koentopp-Vanek
Thomas Miller
Lauren Libutti
Roschman Dance and Wallis Knot
Brian Chojnowski
Jennifer Thornton

Alex Fernandez
Ohn Ho
Danielle K. Garrison
Renee Schwartz
Pamela Barry
Jackie Burkiewicz
Katie Chamberlain
Jan OSullivan
Sean Gormley
Tim Buividas
Trevor Verhelst
Nick Pupillo
Sara Spector
Michael Cifuentes
Victoria Perez
Michael McNamara
Katerine Sommers
Marjorie Altergott
Yaiyr Astudillo
Daniel Shoykhet
Nan Waterstreet
Margaret Butler
Noriko Uchida
Felicia Peters
Ardis Hanson
Laura M Miller
Heather Sanchez

Chris Johnson
Bradley Halpern
Ken & Pam Schmalzer
Mercedes Rauen
Alyssa St. Joseph
Matt Huspen
Peter Boyle
Steve Doyle
Julie Penn
Andrew Sutton
Charles Chung
Ryan Bohac
Marc Plemmons
Rebekah Fitchett
Eric Warren
Eric Weissmann
Colleen Frayn
Constanza Iribarne
Lloy Johnston
Kathy McCreedy
Sam Leahy
Jim Vogel
Roberta Obrad
June Anderson
Claudia Zekas
Alicia Diehl
Ramzan A. Sultani
Andy Crow
Rosemary Konig
Celia Garcia-Fernandez
Law H
Chad Dunbar
Joanne Loiacono
Gayle Altergott Jackson
Maria Diecidue
Kathy Brooks
Charles Guthrie
Trish Manke
Alex Kirkland
Alea Jensen
Becca VanderWall