Paula Frasz

PAULA FRASZ [Founder/Artistic Director] “is a choreographer to watch,” announced Chicago Tribune Arts critic, Sid Smith. Tribune critic Lucia Mauro calls her, “…a standout.”

Her many achievements include featured roles with Mordine & Company Dance Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, featured works in American College Dance Association Gala performances (Rochester, Michigan and Raleigh, North Carolina), and Outstanding Choreographer at the Midwest American College Dance Festival. Her choreography has been commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. She was one of the founding choreographers of Chicago's Next Dance Festival, who's work has been hailed "powerfully modern" by Lynn Voedisch of the Chicago Tribune. In 1999, she received the Ruth Page Award for Artistic Achievement in Choreography from the Chicago Dance Coalition, and in 2002, the Artists Fellowship Award in Choreography from the Illinois Arts Council.

Ms. Frasz was a faculty member at the Dance Center of Columbia College for eight years and is currently Professor of Dance at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she teaches Advanced Modern Technique, Choreography, Improvisation, Professional Seminar in Dance and Tap, Musical Theater, and choreographs musicals for the NIU School of Theatre and Dance.  She has traveled the Midwest guesting as a master instructor at numerous universities, including St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, University of Wisconsin at LaCrosse, Southern Illinois University, Winona State University and St. Mary’s College in Minnesota, Harper College in Palatine, IL, and College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL. Sponsored by a grant from Northern Illinois University, she performed, choreographed and taught at several locations in Austria and Germany. In 2002, she founded DanszLoop Chicago and facilitated nearly 50 venues in its inaugural year.

A native of Geneva, Illinois, Ms. Frasz began her career at age 12 while participating on the St. Charles Park District diving team, where her diving coach suggested she study ballet to improve her form.  After graduating with a B.A. and M.A. from Butler University in Indianapolis, Ms. Frasz headed to the east coast, where she spent six years performing in summer stock and musical theater.

Ms. Frasz then accepted a teaching position at East Carolina University, where she worked directly with renowned choreographer Mavis Ray.  Receiving an assistantship from the University of Illinois, Ms. Frasz graduated Magna Cum Laude and obtained her M.F.A. in 1985.  After completing the three-year M.F.A. program in two years, Ms. Frasz auditioned for Mordine & Company Dance Theatre and performed nationally and internationally with the company for eight years.

She is an active member of Actor’s Equity, has served several terms on the Illinois Arts Council dance panel, as well as on Chicago Dance Coalition's Ruth Page Award adjudication committee. Her choreography has been presented at the Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, Krannert Center of the University of Illinois, and is in the repertoire of numerous professional dance companies. 

Her production of Carmina Burana prompted critic E. Nelson James to write, “…this review is filled with superlatives, but this production really deserves them.  Thank you, Paula Frasz!”

“A tongue-in-cheek choreographer with a spunky stage presence” (Lucia Mauro, Chicago Tribune), Ms. Frasz continues to produce her work throughout the Midwest and beyond.

Tarah Brown

TARAH BROWN [Executive Director/Senior Ensemble Member] graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and is a founding member of DLC. Tarah has had the opportunity to work with many great artists and choreographers. Company credits include Thodos Dance Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, and Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre. Tarah recently retired after a 15-year stint as director of the Deerfield High School Dance Company.

PAUL CHRISTIANO [Senior Ensemble Member] trained pre-professionally in the Chicago suburbs for eight years before joining Hubbard Street II in 1998, Thodos Dance Chicago in 1999, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2008.  Paul’s first choreographic effort, Miracle, Interrupted, formerly in the repertory of The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, merited a 2001 Ruth Page Award and inspired the Chicago Tribune to designate Paul one of sixteen “Chicagoans of the Year.”  In 2003, Paul was voted “Best Dancer in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine.  Paul also received the 2003 Dance Chicago Choreography Award for Balada para un loco, formerly in the repertory of River North Dance Chicago, and was nominated one of TimeOut Chicago’s “Dancing Men of 2010."

Christina Diane

CHRISTINA DIANE [Senior Ensemble Member] trained pre-professionally in classical ballet for many years, yet began her professional career, oddly enough, performing with the urban-jazz-based Joel Hall Dance Company. During her time at Joel Hall Dance Center, she was introduced to celebrated Graham-based choreographer Paul Sanasardo. Under his tutelage, Christina began training seriously in modern dance and was later featured as a soloist in his work.  While pursuing a fine arts degree at Northeastern Illinois University, Christina co-founded Fôr Dance Company and currently serves as its resident choreographer. Christina joined DLC in 2006 and values the company's continued impact on her creative endeavors.

Heather Kroski

HEATHER KROSKI [Senior Ensemble Member] received a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Northern Illinois University in 1998. Since that time, she has worked with Danszloop Chicago, Zephyr Dance Ensemble, Northwest Ballet Ensemble, and has worked extensively with many independent choreographers. Heather also co-founded CAMP, a not-for-profit, Chicago-based multi-media performance group, and recently obtained a Masters in Social Work.

Katie Matteson

KATIE MATTESON [Senior Ensemble Member] has used her dance performance degree from Northern Illinois University to her professional advantage for the past ten years.  Having worked previously with Arts Intercepts/Lauren Warnecke, Mordine & Company Dance Theatre, Hedwig Dances, The Joel Hall Dancers, and after running away with a mysterious circus a few years back, she presently enjoys collaborating with Synapse Arts Collective and Emily Stein.

CHRISTOPHER MAROSI [Guest Artist] began his training at the Academy of Dance Arts in Downers Grove, IL, where he studied Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. While an undergrad at University of Illinois Chicago, he joined BOOM CRACK! Dance Company, performing repertory by Trae Turner, Dee Moore, and Dionna Pridgeon, and participated in commercial dance spots for Sears, Beats by Dre, HP, and recording artist Kid Sister. While pursuing his M.S. in Developmental Psychology at Illinois State University, he joined Illinois State Dance Theater, performing works by Sara Semonis, Greg Merriman, and Melinda Myers. Chris recently completed his second season as a member of Giordano Dance Chicago’s second company, Giordano II.