Jenai Cutcher, tap dance, red shirt, william frederking

Jenai Cutcher is the founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Chicago Dance History Project, a growing digital archive of original and collected research. Under her leadership, CDHP has interviewed 177 individuals, produced 37 public events, and digitized over 8 terabytes of archival material including programs, photographs, and performance footage from the past seven decades.


Cutcher’s creative practice includes dancing, choreographing, teaching, and researching histories of dance to present in a variety of media. She has performed nationally and internationally with tap dance artists such as
Brenda Bufalino, Michelle Dorrance, Barbara Duffy, John Giffin, Savion Glover, Derick Grant, Katherine Kramer, Max Pollak, and Lynn Schwab and her own choreography has been presented throughout the country.


Jenai has written articles for several dance publications including Dance magazine and The Village Voice, papers for presentation, three dance books for children, and Columbus Moves: A Brief History of Contemporary Dance. Her feature-length documentary, Thinking On Their Feet: Women of the Tap Renaissance, explores the work of the women who resurrected and revolutionized the art of American tap dance and continue to pioneer the field.


Cutcher is the 2019 recipient of Chicago’s esteemed Ruth Page Award. She has a BA in English and MFA in Dance, both from The Ohio State University.


Sometimes she brings her tap shoes to her CDHP interviews.

Jenai Cutcher

 Executive & Artistic Director


Maggy Fouché

Grant Writer

Maggy Fouché is a long-term supporter and advocate for Chicago’s arts community. A native New Yorker, she graduated from the University of Southern California with an MBA in marketing. Her professional experience includes consumer marketing positions with companies such as Redken Laboratories and Alberto Culver,.
Maggy joined the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs as Marketing Director where for twelve years she oversaw marketing campaigns for iconic programs like Grant Park Music Festival and Chicago Summer Dance, and venues like the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park. She then went on to Chicago Jazz Philharmonic and worked as a grant writer for Giordano Dance Chicago.


Maggy’s volunteer roles included Board Chair for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, where she helped secure new sources of corporate and foundation support. Maggy served a six-year term as Vice President of the board of See Chicago Dance.


Sean Rafferty

Digital Media Specialist

In addition to editing video for CDHP, Sean Rafferty films and edits videos for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Midwest Event Solutions. He has produced videos for arts organizations including the Brevard Music Center, Winifred Haun & Dancers, Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project, and South Chicago Dance Theatre. In his free time, he enjoys taking in as much wonderful Chicago performing art as he can and relaxing at home with his wife, dancer Mandy Milligan, and his two cats, Berlioz and Cleo.

Board of Directors

Elizabeth A. Liebman, Chair

Sarita Smith Childs, Cheryl Cornell, Jenai Cutcher


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Sami Ackerman

Sami is the communication intern at CDHP. She grew up in a Chicago suburb, where she was involved in theater and dance. Performing has always been an important part of her life, and she is excited to share everyone’s joy for it too. This is her second year as a Public Relation / Advertising major at Loyola University Chicago. She hopes to one day combine her love for the stage and promotion in her future career. In her free time, she enjoys baking and reading a good book.

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Patricia Alexander

Patricia Alexander is the Archives and Programs Intern with Chicago Dance History Project. She has been dancing and performing for 6 years, experimenting in many different styles, including Jazz, traditional Korean fan dance, K-Pop, and Contemporary. She is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance. When not focused on dance, she also enjoys photography, music, video games, and watching anime. As a Chicago native, Patricia joined CDHP to connect with her city in a new light and to learn more about what makes the dance community so vibrant.

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Will Coscore

Will is  currently a sophomore at DePaul University studying Business Management and Community Service. Being from Massachusetts, he admits he is a newbie to the Chicago dance scene but is finding out that delving into the rich history of Chicago dance is one of the most rewarding aspects of his internship! He is continually inspired by this project and its dedication to not only archiving a vital piece of Chicago history, but preserving the legacy and community that surrounds it. In his free time Will loves to learn about gardening, play basketball, and hike.

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Nora Henriksen

Nora Henriksen has a BFA in Modern Dance and a Minor in Business Administration from the University of Utah. While in Salt Lake City,  Nora worked in arts administration for Ballet West and Utah Division of Art and Museums. Nora has performed for the University of Utah Performing Dance Company, James Sewell Ballet, and choreographers Luc Vanier, Cristine McMillan, and Loanna Lees. Currently, Nora lives in Waconia, Minnesota, and works remotely for Texas Suicide Prevention Collaborative and Chicago Dance History Project. Outside of work, you can find Nora drinking matcha tea, tap dancing in the kitchen, and cheering on the Minnesota Vikings.

Emily Kilroy

Emily Kilroy is a student at The Ohio State University where she recently earned a BFA in Dance with Research Distinction in May of 2020. She currently still attends OSU, finishing her BA in Arts Management and a minor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her research interests include feminist theory, the blending of performance genres, choreographic collaboration, dance history, and improvisational movement exploration. Kilroy, along with creating her own choreographic work, has performed works by Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Edward Taketa, Ann Sofie Clemmensen, David Covey, André M. Zachery, and more. She lives her life with an enthusiasm for dance and the arts that is fueled by a belief in the world-changing possibilities that artistic expression provides.

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Zoe Lesser

Zoe Lesser is a maker and administrator in theater and dance. She is currently the Community Partnerships Manager for Chicago Arts Access, a non-profit platform that connects art-makers with communities around Chicago. She was the former LookOut Producing Apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where she programmed and produced multidisciplinary performance all year-round. She teaches Tap Dance at studios in the suburbs and is an apprentice with Chicago Tap Theatre.

Marissa Traver

Marissa Traver is currently a sophomore at Columbia College Chicago studying filmmaking. Alongside filmmaking, Marissa is studying creative advertising. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career working as an assistant director or producer on film projects ranging from feature films, to promotional films, to music videos, and more.

Marissa grew up in Michigan in the suburbs outside of Detroit. She attributes her love of filmmaking to her father. Him being a photographer, she grew up loving being behind a camera. From this, sprung her passion of using storytelling to connect people. 
In her free time she enjoys watching classic films, doing photography, knitting, trying new recipes, going on adventures, and thrift shopping.