For over twenty years Zephyr has been a leading force in modern experimental dance. Zephyr’s work has been presented at the Dance Center of Columbia College, Epiphany Episcopal Church, the Athenaeum Theater, the Duncan YMCA, Chernin Center for the Arts, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Links Hall, and the Beverly Arts Center. Zephyr has earned the Critic’s Choice in the Chicago Reader for its new choreography every year since 2000, its dances praised as, “distinctive, rewarding and complex.” In addition to its Chicago seasons, Zephyr has performed throughout the United States from North Dakota to New York to Florida. In January 2005 Zephyr performed three benchmark concerts in New York City. The tour earned the company significant critical praise from national dance critic Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times who said of Zephyr’s work “… you couldn’t look away. What happened onstage, throughout the evening, was too authentic-looking and authoritative.” Zephyr Dance was one of the companies featured on HMS Media’s Chicago Dance Project, which aired on WTTW Channel 11. In 2003 Zephyr was awarded funding through the Dance Initiative, a project of the Chicago Community Trust, for the creation of new work and the development of Stepping into a Dance: The Open Rehearsal Series. In 1995, Zephyr created Dancing Across State Lines, an interstate exchange of regional dance companies designed to increase the company’s touring capacity. Since the program began, Zephyr has hosted fourteen different dance companies from Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin, and has toured to critical acclaim in each guest company’s hometown.
On par with its mission to develop and perform new works is Zephyr’s mission to bring experiences in self-expression and creative development to diverse communities through its education programming. The Illinois Arts Council has acknowledged Zephyr’s expertise by twice selecting the company to conduct statewide artist training in arts integration and assessment. Zephyr has taught professional development workshops at the Dance Center of Columbia College and Columbia College’s Center for Community Arts Partnerships. From 2010-2012 Zephyr was one of only 12 organizations nationally to receive the MetLIfe Foundation Partners in Arts Education grant for its Zephyr Project M2: Math in Motion. In 2006, the company was cited in ArtLink, the bi-annual national newsletter of Americans for the Arts, as one of four organizations nationally creating and teaching exemplary arts integrated curriculum programming. Zephyr has taken its arts integrated approach to the college and university level, using methods of movement integration to help students in higher education develop a deeper understanding of their area of study. Zephyr is the Arts Partner in Residence at Holstein Park, a program of the Chicago Park District that unites artists and communities in Chicago’s parks. At Holstein, Zephyr has established Dance is for EveryBODY, a comprehensive outreach program that offers dance classes for children and teens in addition to other performances and workshops designed to provide an ongoing professional dance presence in Chicago’s West Town community.