CHICAGO ( February 24, 2020 ) — Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is pleased to announce the
final performance of its 2019-20 Art & Activism Performance Series, WHAT WE CARRIED , a
documentary-style danztheatre work created by ensemble-members that brings to life the
voices, stories, and struggles of asylum-seekers, featuring text pulled from interviews with local
immigrants. The performance is also a collaboration with sculptural artist Jean Parisi , serving
as both devised performance and immersive exhibition of her work. WHAT WE CARRIED will
play May 8-16, 2020 at Chicago Danztheatre's permanent home, Ebenezer Lutheran Church
Auditorium , 1650 W. Foster Ave. in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets are
currently available at danztheatre.org .
"This new work highlights the struggles and successes of waves of asylum seekers and
immigrants from across the globe, all of which call Chicago home now," says director and
deviser Maggie Robinson . "While we, the Ensemble, may not have directly immigrated
ourselves, our families did, our ancestors did, and we bring our stories to this work as well
honoring our families and the events we sought asylum from in our own paths. We see the
unjust and unethical separation of families at the U.S. Border, and want to address the ways in
which no human can be illegal."
WHAT WE CARRIED is devised and directed by CDE's interim artistic director, Maggie
Robinson , and features CDE ensemble members Tony Springs and Molly Hillson , as well as
newcomers Anna Bennett , Catherine Miller , ChihJou Cheng , Elisa Carlson , Joshua Miller ,
Koshi Mills , Mariah Larios , and Vanessa Strahan among the cast. What We Carried features
sculpture art by Jean Parisi , sound design by Andrew Stefano , and lighting design by Cora
Title: WHAT WE CARRIED
Devised and Directed by Maggie Robinson
Sculpture Art by Jean Parisi
Cast ( In Alphabetical Order ) :
Molly Hillson ( CDE Ensemble Member )
Tony Springs ( CDE Ensemble Member )
Location: Ebenezer Lutheran Church Auditorium , 1650 W. Foster Ave., Chicago
Regular run: Friday, May 8 - Saturday, May 16, 2020. Performances on Friday and Saturday
House Open: 7:00 p.m.
Performances: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: General Advance: $19. General Door: $25. Student & Senior Advance ( with ID ): $10.
Student & Senior Door ( with ID ): $15. Free to high-school and younger. Tickets are currently
available at danztheatre.org .
About the Artists:
Maggie Robinson ( Director, Deviser ) is a multidisciplinary choreographer, performer, and
teaching artist dedicated to presenting discussions surrounding socio-political issues through
performative art. They hold a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance and a minor in Dance from
the University of Memphis where they studied under Holly Lau and Moira Logan. They have
been a teaching artist in the Tristate area and Chicagoland region for ten years where they
emphasize co-creating and collaboration, students' artistic ownership of work, and devising
techniques. As a choreographer, Maggie values a rehearsal process where all artist voices are
utilized to create a personal yet universal message. They create pieces that primarily focus on
womxn's perspective, the queer experience and the lgbtq+ community, and activism for equality
of minority groups. Maggie began as a performance Ensemble member with CDE in 2016 and
has since performed in Consumed , Chapter Three , Unraveling Bill , and most recently I Bet You
Think This Dance is About You . They have co-directed A Memory A Monologue A Rant and A
Prayer ( 2018 ) and have choreographed pieces for Body Passages and Women In Response
since 2017 and will be making their full-length CDE debut this spring. Additional Chicago
choreography credits include Carrie 2: The Rage ( Underscore Theatre ) and The Pirates of
Penzance ( Saltbox Theatre Collective ). Regional credits include Almost, Maine , In the
Soundless Awe ( Saltbox Theatre Collective ).
Jean Parisi ( Space Designer, Artist Collaborator ) is an artist, performer, and educator - a
cultural activist collaborating with others in a creative effort to make a difference. Since 2010
she has created timely, large-scale, site-specific installations annually at Pilsen Open Studios.
Her illustrations for Lionel Bottari's Folktale series have been a monthly feature in the Fra Noi, a
national Italian American Magazine for over 25 years. Jean is a performer in the improvised
physical tradition of the Commedia dell'Arte presenting her work throughout Chicago, across the
US, and in Italy. In 1978 she co-founded the Pros Arts Studio, a community-based arts
organization in the inner city Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago where she taught and worked as
Executive Director until 2008. Jean Parisi is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Individual
Artist's Fellowship, the Public/Community Service Award from the Illinois Alliance for Arts
Education, the Deep Roots Award from ElevArte Community Studio, and several Neighborhood
Arts Project grants from the City of Chicago. Jean has an MFA in performance from the School
of the Art Institute, and a BFA in sculpture from the Philadelphia College of Art ( now University
of the Arts ).
About Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble
Dedicated to "performance with a purpose", Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble challenges,
engages and inspires audiences both onstage and in the classroom, through innovative,
multidisciplinary storytelling in the genre of Tanztheatre, "which unites all art media to achieve
an all-embracing, radical change in humankind." As an ensemble, CDE collaboratively creates
thought-provoking arts performances and educational outreach programs incorporating
elements of theatre, music, movement, visual arts, and literary text.
—From a press release