As a "for dancers, by dancers" company, we pride ourselves on having a staff of 100% dancers. We're also proud that our staff are involved in all different aspects of the dance community. While being a respected profession for decades, over the last 10-15 years especially, more opportunities to be a professional in the dance field have emerged. These roles include: performers, dancemakers, studio dance teachers, academic dance teachers, dance writers, dance administration, and more. You'll find dancers on our staff in all of these areas, both with and without college dance degrees. We love how our staff fully embodies the opportunities of the professional dance community.
Today we’re showing support for long-time team member, Alix Schillaci, as she prepares for the premiere of her first evening length work at the end of this month. Alix began working at Allegro in 2015 and is currently one of our most senior pointe fitters, as well as our E-commerce Manager. She is also a professional dancer, choreographer, and creative producer in Chicago. We asked her to catch us up on dance, Chicago, and how to support her current work.
Can you share a bit about your dance background?
Absolutely! I grew up dancing in the Southwest suburbs at Stage Door Dance Academy and in the city at Joffrey Ballet. I graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BA in Dance in 2016. Loyola’s program is ballet-based, but I have focused my career on contemporary and modern dance forms. After graduating I joined Project Bound Dance as a company member until 2021 when I decided to focus on my freelance work. I have performed independently with dancemakers Darling Shear, Erin Kilmurray, Hannah Satistevan, Sarah Ellen Miller and others. I am an ensemble member for The Fly Honey Show, Loud Bodies, and Four Dimensions Ensemble as well as a regular performer in Chicago variety show staple Ordinary Peepholes. I most recently presented my own work through the J E L L O Performance Series and am currently an artist-in-residence at The Rooted Space. In and outside of dance I do costume, prop, and set design professionally.
Tell us about your choreographic practice.
I’m interested in a few things as a dancemaker. Right now most of my work explores the identities we build for ourselves and the ways we display that identity. My practice focuses on the use of make believe and daydreaming as tools for building exaggerated personas that offer control and opportunities for reclamation of our personal and shared experiences within the project. Because of that most of my work includes elements of surrealism and world-building- often playing with themes from classic Hollywood cinema (Westerns, and cult classics). The goal is to create dance spaces where everyone is the star and the possibilities are limitless. Concepts of glamor/stardom; and the isolation/desperation of longing are common in my work for that reason. I am aiming to make high drama, dance extravaganzas that seek to keep you so entertained, you don’t realize you are also crying.
What work are you premiering this October? How can we support the project?
I’m putting up my first evening length work at Links Hall, October 28-30 at 7pm. It is called Sunset’s That Way and is very much in line with the approach I described above! Sunset’s That Way is a “...Hollywood superstar surreal wild west dance extravaganza exploring the identities we build for ourselves.” The dance follows the journey of six loners heroes as they move in and out of a surreal wild west landscape chasing their dreams.
You can support the work two ways! Tickets are on sale now through the link below.
We are also running a fundraising campaign. We are more than half way to our goal, and could use your helping getting all the way there! You can learn more about what you donation will support and contribute through the link below:
What’s it been like self-producing your first evening length work?I have learned a lot, fast! Self-producing on a limited budget has meant I handle everything and it has actually been the non-dance parts of the project that surprised me most. Having to find a performance space and coordinating rehearsal schedules; creating marketing materials and programs; throwing a fundraising event and using fundraising and ticketing platforms for the first time. I am also creating the props for the work and did the set construction. Taking care of creating the work, marketing the work, designing, booking, and scheduling on top of my full time position at Allegro and my other dance and design gigs has been a lot to manage all at once. It has also been very exciting and affirming work. I get to spend so much time in the studio with my extremely talented, thoughtful friends creating a project that is meaningful and fun for us. The underground/freelance dance community in Chicago is a very supportive place and I feel so lucky to be part of it. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and the work I do. Hope to see you at the show!