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 Land Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge that we are standing and performing on stolen land. Chicago, IL is the traditional homeland of the Council of the Three Fires comprised of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi Nations, and many other Nations including the Myaamia, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac and Fox, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wea, Kickapoo, and Mascouten.

This land was and remains to be Native land.



Cheryl Cornacchione in collaboration with the dancers


Cheryl Cornacchione, Erika Farkvam, Alex Subak

Costume Design:

Kelsey Melvin

Lighting Design:

Joshua Paul Weckesser

Sound Editing:

Alex Subak


Witch Winset and Swaddledidaf Rose by Dali Muru & Polyphonic Swarm, Stuck in Pause by Astrid Sonne, El Oeste by John Talabot, Strange by Patsy Cline, The Real Thing by Christina Vantzou

Choreographer's note:

Like moths to a flame, we were drawn out to dance as soon as it was safe for us to gather again. We created ritual warmups. We re-discovered how our bodies moved. We were three strong women finding comfort and support in each other during this weekly meeting ground. Erika and Ally inspired me to keep following my instincts, and I found myself grounded in a special familiarity through their friendship and our shared movement language. [forge] is the gleaning of what drew me in most along this journey. Now, I invite you to enjoy the magic that is unique to live performance. This is the “why” of it all. BE here with us here and now, in this space, in this moment.

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Alex Subak in collaboration with the dancers


Beth Berta, Cheryl Cornacchione, Erika Farkvam, Michael O'Neill 

Costume Consultant:

Kelsey Melvin

Lighting Design:

Joshua Paul Weckesser


Composed, arranged, and performed by Alex Subak and Matt Walters, drum beat by Todd Gutner

Choreographer's note:
The past four years have changed the world as we know it. Overlay started with discussions about our nightmares, fears, and our personal realities. It eventually morphed into an exploration of relationships - how each individual has experiences we each carry with us and how those experiences interact and influence our paths. I invite you to project your own experiences onto the dance, there are no specific narratives and no right or wrong answers. Thank you to the dancers for helping me create this piece.


Kitten Scene Gulf Isle


Haley Bergschneider 


Beth Berta, Emily Lukasewski, Amanda Timm, Gina LoCascio, Michael O’Neill, Erika Farkvam, Jordan Mullins, Alex Subak, Jillian Endebrock, Jessica Vredenburg, Sammy Spriggs



Choreographer's note:

This project was created by participants playing a version of the game of telephone where they were passed a short dance from person to person via video. Each time the dance was passed along it was performed by the recipient to be sent to the next person. The final results from each pass were spliced together at points where they met common ground, forging multiple interpretations into a single narrative. 

Each video and information on the creators have been documented on this project’s Instagram and TikTok. Access to those accounts are posted around the venue. 

Meet The Team


Alex Subak (she/her)

Alex (aka Ally) has been creating and performing music and dance in Chicago since 2005. After graduating from Columbia College Chicago, she co-founded the Laboratory Dancers with Emily Lukasewski, which has since evolved into the collective it is today with the help of its passionate members.  Their shared desire to make modern dance more accessible has driven Lab Dance to perform all over Chicago at bars, art galleries, cafes, and theaters. Some of her favorite performances have been at Hamlin Park, Links Hall, The Athenaeum Theatre, The Ball Hall, The Burlington, the Den, and the Fulton Street Collective. When she isn’t immersed in Laboratory Dancer’s endeavors, she is the front woman for Chicago grunge band badcandy, back-up singer for Chicago blues/rock band Local Motive, personal trainer, kickboxer, and domestic violence support advocate. 

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis


Erika Farkvam (she/her)

Erika Astrid Farkvam grew up dancing at the Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park, IL., where her love of dance began. She moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, where she received her BFA in Dance. While in college, Erika had the privilege of studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and in Ghana, West Africa. Upon graduating, Erika danced and choreographed for New ARTiculations Dance Theater, engaging in work that was relevant to social and environmental issues within the Tucson community. Since returning to Chicago, Erika has performed for Momenta, Darling Shear, Kate Corby Dance, Laboratory Dancers, The Fly Honey Show, Erin Kilmurray, Duo Tandem, Daiva Bhandari, RE|dance Group, and Jessica Kondrath. In addition to working at Trader Joe's, Erika currently dances for RE|dance Group and Laboratory Dancers.

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis


Michael O'Neill (he/him)

Michael O’Neill graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Performance and Choreography from the Ohio University School of Dance. He currently resides in Chicago, IL where he has danced over the past decade with companies such as We Stand Sideways, Mordine & Company Dance Theater, RE|dance Group, Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre and Same Planet Performance Project. Although recently taking time away from dance to pursue other adventures, Michael is super excited to be back in the Chicago dance scene performing with Chloe Grace Michels and Laboratory Dancers this year!

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis


Cheryl Cornacchione (she/her)

Cheryl Cornacchione holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi. Upon graduating, Cheryl moved to Chicago where she has performed with BONEdanse, CORE Dance Project, Hope Goldman, We Stand Sideways Dance, Erin Kilmurray, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, and was an artistic collaborator with The Runaways Lab Theatre. Cheryl has been a company member of RE|dance Group Group since 2022, she has been a core company member of Kelly Anderson Dance Theater since 2014, and has been performing for and collaborating with Laboratory Dancers since 2013. Cheryl spends the rest of her free time on her other passion - helping others get strong and move better through personal training!

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis


Beth Berta (she/her)

Beth Berta earned her BA in Dance from Columbia College of Chicago and became a founding member of Laboratory Dancers. Aside from performing with the Lab Rats at various venues in Chicago, Portland, Minneapolis, Columbus, Ann Arbor, and Seattle, Beth has studied with Susan Marshall & Company and had the privilege of working with Kaitlin Fox and CUBE ensemble. Beth believes in using movement as a catalyst for healing, connection, and self-discovery, so she recently took a break from dance performance to complete her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and pursue a Dance/Movement Therapy credential. Now working as a therapist, Beth is awed by the creative process and finds joy in collaborative and improvisation-based dancemaking.

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis


Haley Bergschneider (she/her)

Haley is a founding member of Laboratory Dancers and has choreographed and performed in several projects since its conception in 2009. She has dabbled with other dance projects including Subconscious Development Motion Project and Trip the Dark. While residing in Portland, OR, she experimented with screen dance, collaborating with filmmakers and contributing choreography for local Portland music videos. Haley also studies and teaches Integral Yoga and works in Montessori education, guiding children to internalize a visceral experience of peacefulness.

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis


Matt Walters (he/him)

Live Music/Composer

Matt Walters is a songwriter, musician, and performance artist based in Oak Park. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with Alex Subak and the Laboratory Dancers on the music of Wrought. He has performed with dozens of bands in the Chicagoland area for over 30 years, many of which have been released via his acclaimed boutique independent record label Spade Kitty Records. Matt currently plays bass and guitar in badcandy, and also plays chapman stick in his solo project MT Walls.


Joshua Paul Weckesser (he/him)

Lighting Designer

Joshua Paul Weckesser is a lighting designer, production manager and stage manager.  He is founder of Bread & Roses Productions, dedicated to providing production support to art-based organizations.  The Cultural Voice of North Carolina called Josh "completely brilliant" and TimeOut Chicago said his “name seemed to pop up in every program."  Career highlights include lighting the first ever evening-length production of American Tap at the Kennedy Center, working with Karole Armitage in the Netherlands, and the international tour of Gobsmacked.  Josh currently tours with Alonzo King Lines Ballet.


Charlie Stephens (he/him)

Graphic Designer

Charlie Stephens is a graphic designer with over a decade of freelance experience. 


Since obtaining a BFA in graphic design from Ohio University, he has been pressing Command-Z and Shift-Command-Z over and over again until something cool happens. 


Charlie is honored to offer his skills to the brilliant and badass Laboratory Dancers.


Kelsey C. Melvin (she/they)

Costume Designer/Consultant

Kelsey is a lapsed theater artist and is excited to be working on their first live performance project since 2020. They have over ten years of experience in the world of theater/dance, wearing many different hats (onstage, offstage, and beyond). They would like to remind everyone that disabilities can be invisible and that more live performance companies should strive to provide environments and schedules that work for and with people with chronic issues. Many thanks to Laboratory Dancers for doing just that!

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Caleb Branam (he/him)

Stage Manager

Caleb studied theater at Oklahoma State University before moving to Chicago. He has a background in performance but for the past decade has transitioned to more behind the scenes roles as well as pursuing his off stage passions. He moved to Chicago in 2016, and in recent years he has focused more on writing and working as a member of the site and stage crew at the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain as well as helping to build sets for the fly honey show here in Chicago. He continues to be an avid supporter of the arts and is delighted to be able to play a small part in Laboratory Dancers most recent production of WROUGHT.


Matthew Gregory Hollis (he/him)


Chicago-based photographer, Matthew Gregory Hollis has been working in photography for almost thirty years. Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and left Ohio in 2000 to get his Masters in Studio Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently a freelance photographer for multiple dance and theatre companies from around the city. 

In his personal work, Matthew merges his love of portraiture with his appreciation for minimalism - not as theory but as a practice. He often avoids the use of professional lighting, opting instead for more playful and creative tools to create a more dynamic portraiture.


Tips for watching dance

Are you new to modern dance? Here are some tips! 


  1. There's no wrong way to interpret dance. Trust your instincts - your interpretation is valid.

  2. Don’t feel like you need to interpret the dance at all. You can choose to just sit back, enjoy the ride, and let yourself revel in whatever emotions bubble up. 

  3. Sometimes it’s fun to look out for patterns or repetitions.

  4. When multiple things are happening, focus on whatever catches your eye.

  5. Feel free to react! Your engagement energizes us.

  6. Ask questions after the show. We love discussing our work…that’s why we make it!

  7. See more dance! The more you watch, the more you'll enjoy.

Special Thanks


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Hotmanski Art

of Movement and Music

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