Gary Abbott, Kevin Iega Jeff, La Verne Alaphaire Jeff, Diane Shober and Linda Spriggs
Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is rooted in traditions of African-American dance, storytelling, and universal themes that spark a visceral experience and ignite an emotional response in diverse audiences world wide. Collaborating with nationally renowned choreographers, across the spectrum of modern, ballet, and African dance, DRDT’s work reflects many voices in contemporary life.
In Chicago, DRDT has performed at numerous renowned venues including the Auditorium Theater, the Shubert Theater, and The Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago. DRDT has been a resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance since 2003 where it now presents its annual fall performances.
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) Dancers
Chicago’s Premier Contemporary Dance Theater is steeped in the African-American aesthetic. Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) performs the works of renowned choreographers, tours nationally and internationally, and produces two seasons annually in Chicago.
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater II (DRDTII) Dancers
DRDT2 is comprised of young talented artists, selected from DRDT’s annual dance Intensives. These dancers are developing their artistic and technical skill to matriculate into the first company – Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, or a career opportunity of their choosing. The company is co-directed by DRDT’s Artistic Team, comprised of the Artistic Directors, members of the first company, and the teaching staff.
The Artistic Team
Nicole Clarke Springer (Summer Intensive Program Director/Instructor/Choreographer)
A native of Joliet, Illinois, Nikki Springer began her training both with Renee Spinks and Claudette Soltis of the Joliet Ballet Society. A graduate of Butler University, Mrs. Springer has performed with the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. She has taught at, and created pieces for, various institutions such as Chicago State University, Bowling Green State University and Western Kentucky University. She has had the privilege of working with artists Jeffery Osborne, Jennifer Holiday and Roberta Flack in Deeply Rooted’s production of “Flack”. Since 2006, Nikki has served as Deeply Rooted’s Summer Intensive Program Director and as a member of the Associate Artistic Team.
Brian Brooks (Rehearsal Director, DRDT/ Instructor/Choreographer)
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, Brian Brooks began his dance training at the Dance Theater of Harlem, and later moved on to Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Since then, Brian has performed with such companies as FootPrints Dance Company, Forces of Nature, Philadelphia Company (Philidanco), Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater; the touring company of Vinette Carole’s “Your Arms Too Short Box with God,” Donald Byrd/The Group, and Earl Moseley’s Diversity of Dance.
Tracey Franklin (Rehearsal Director, DRDT2/Company Member)
A native of Chicago, Tracey Franklin began her training at the age of 16 at Joseph Holmes Dance Theater. She moved on to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and is a graduate of their Certificate Program. Franklin has worked with noted choreographers such as Donald Byrd, Kevin Iega Jeff, Alonzo King, Donald McKayle, and Milton Myers. She was a four-year member of Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Tracey’s first season with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater was in 2004.
Carolina Monnerat (Rehearsal Director, DRDT/Company Member/ Instructor)
A native of Brazil, Carolina is a graduate of the Vaganova technique and has worked with Eugenia Feodorova, as a soloist in ballets such as Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Paquita, and Sleeping Beauty, among others. Carolina has worked with renowned choreographers and ballet masters including Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott, Dwight Rhoden, Milton Myers, Vera Timachova, Alexander Gorbatsevich and Galina Shlyapina. When not performing, Carolina works with film and video and is currently producing two documentaries on dance: “On Point,” an upcoming documentary about Deeply Rooted Dance Theater; as well as a a feature length film. She has been a company member since 2001.