Community dialogue through an artistic lens: Trifecta Dance Festival 2024


Creating a platform for artistic development from scratch is a monumental task requiring earned respect and trust from your community. To gain that esteem takes hard work and dedication, and there is no better organization in the Chicago dance community to do so than Trifecta Dance Collective. 

Trifecta Dance Collective (TDC) is more than just a dance company, it is a well thought out framework for stimulating the growth of concert dance in the Chicago area. Helmed by Co-Founders Krissie Odegard Geye and Carrie Patterson, TDC maintains three tenants: community, collaboration, and connection.

The convergence of all the aspects of TDC is the Trifecta Dance Festival running April 18-20 at Athenaeum Center. The event features sixteen established Midwest dance companies, emerging solo artists and pre-professional youth companies, all brought together to celebrate their love for dance.

This occasion creates connections for the Chicago Dance community and helps build audience recognition of dance ranging in various genres and spheres they might not always get to encounter. From starting out as a student showcase and a small handful of companies performing at Stage 773, TDC's commitment to creating a platform in their dance community has come a long way in the past five years of the festival's existence. When asked about the future of the festival, Patterson stated, "we are focused on taking our mission of igniting community dialogue through an artistic lens and following it to whatever end it takes us. As long as it feels authentic to us, we will pursue it."

The opening event of the Trifecta Dance Festival is the Youth Showcase, in which all the TDC pre-professional companies will be performing alongside three other Chicago area youth companies. The young dancers are also given the opportunity to take a workshop class on Saturday and they receive a ticket to see the "Celebration of Dance" concert that evening.  Odegard Geye and Patterson have high expectations for the young dancers involved in the festival. 

"The main takeaway is that they can use their art to be leaders within their community and be an artistic voice.  Sometimes words don't communicate effectively, and art can.  We are trying to cultivate leaders that are compassionate and empathetic and think about the world through an artistic lens that is often beyond their own personal realm.  They can harness their artistic skills to help, inspire, and connect people within their community."

The second portion of the festival is the Emerging Artists Showcase "A New Light: Ember", featuring solo artists from the Chicago dance community. Normally a one-night performance, TDC had so many outstanding applicants for the 2024 festival that rather than exclude anyone from the opportunity to present, they added a second night.

The festival culminates in the "Celebration of Dance" concert featuring Trifecta Dance Collective and fifteen other midwestern dance companies including familiar names such as Chicago Repertory Ballet, Joel Hall Dancers, Moonwater Dance Project and Winifred Haun & Dancers alongside newer or emerging companies.

Trifecta Dance Festival, April 18-20 at Athenaeum Center

Community, collaboration, and connection…With these three purposes guiding their work, they engage in educational initiatives in their local communities, invest in the future of professional dance for youth, promote platforms for professional dance to be showcased and garner artistic development within their company. The company itself is designed to be "a group of artists dedicated to creating work that will inspire audiences and to connect together."

TDC’s ensemble of dance artists is more than just a repertoire company. TDC seeks to embolden them with the tools that they need to grow through their Artist-In-Residency Program, "a springboard for artists to launch into the next chapter of their careers and a transformative experience that allows them to grow as individuals and as artists." While performing as a company and representing the mission of the TDC, dancers are also working to seek out their own artistic visions, and both Odegard Geye and Patterson are committed to supporting their evolution.

Inspired by their time teaching in the youth sector, Odegard Geye and Patterson felt the need to challenge the artistry being presented at events they were attending. Odegard Geye states, "We wanted to present work for our students that would get them ready for a pre-professional concert dance career in the pre-professional sector." They began to see a shift in the authenticity of the young dancers they were working with and chose to continue that work with the creation of their professional company, Trifecta Dance Collective, and the TDC Studios Annex. 

Students enrolled in the TDC programs range from 4th grade up to seniors in high school, and the program offers different levels of intensity in training, while still focusing on developing the dancer's artistry and understanding of what professional dance is. TDC2 "allows dancers pursuing their undergraduate degrees to gain professional work experience without compromising on their educational goals". TDC3, "the pre-professional voice of TDC", gives advanced level high schoolers the opportunity to train with the goal of entering the professional concert dance industry.

"[The Trifecta Dance Festival] has grown into a beautiful celebration of dance,” says Patterson, “and we are hopeful that it is providing the companies the opportunity to create an artistic bond with like-minded artists in the Chicago area while supporting one another.”

The Youth Festival Performance runs April 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Trifecta Dance Collective Studios Annex Performance Space, tickets are $15.  "A New Light: Ember" Emerging Artists Showcase and "Celebration of Dance" take place April 18-20 at the Athenaeum Center, tickets $20-$35 available by clicking the event link below.