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  • Steve Sucato

Creative Residency: Rena Butler

Summer, 2022 | Work created: Sheep's Gothic











About Rena


Rena Butler hails from Chicago, IL. She began her studies at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, studied overseas at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, and received her BFA from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Rena danced with companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (also a choreographic fellow), AIM by Kyle Abraham, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, David Dorfman Dance, Manuel Vignoulle/M-Motions, The Kevin Wynn Collection, Pasos Con Sabor Salsa Dance Company, among others. Currently, she dances for Gibney Company, and was recently named its Choreographic Associate.


She is a recipient of the prestigious 2019 Princess Grace Foundation Award for Choreography and created works for BalletX, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Charlotte Ballet, Boston Dance Theater, The New Orleans Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with Academy Award-Winning jazz composer, Terrence Blanchard, CHTV Stories television program in Switzerland, a film short in collaboration with Third Coast Percussion x Devonté Hynes/Blood Orange, The Young Choreographer’s Festival in NYC, The Ailey/Fordham School, TEDxChicago Virtual Salon 3.0: Design Your Life, and more. She has been spotlighted in Dance Magazine’s On The Rise feature in 2013, and the featured cover story in Dance Magazine’s November 2021 issue.


Butler has taught dance and choreographic workshops at L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Danse de Marseille in France, The Macau Cultural Center in China, Ailey Camp Chicago, and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance.


She served on the Consortium for Chicago Dancemakers Forum for 3 years, was on the annual panel for Black Girls Dance in Chicago, and co-created and directed DanceLab—a free, choreographic course for Chicago teens, empowering participants of varying socioeconomic backgrounds + identities to find commonality in creation. She currently serves on Dancewave’s Artistic Advisory Council in NYC.


In addition to creating a new work for GroundWorks DanceTheater, Butler will be a guest choreographer at Jacob’s Pillow this summer, Norrdans in Sweden and the San Francisco Opera this fall, and will create her first work for The National Ballet of Canada celebrating the music of Grammy Award-winning composer John Adams for his 75th birthday that will premiere in March 2023.

Rena Butler Work Samples

Learn more at renabutler.com

Artist Talk with Rena




Thank you to our Creative Residency Funders!




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