top of page


Jenai Cutcher
 Founding Executive & Artistic Director

Jenai Cutcher was the founding Executive and Artistic Director of the Chicago Dance History Project from 2015 to mid-2023. 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 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.

Kelly Kleiman
Interim Executive Director

A lawyer educated at the University of Chicago, Kelly Kleiman has spent more than 30 years in the nonprofit sector. She founded NFP Consulting after serving as Executive Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir and Assistant Dean of IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. These experiences prepared her to become a serial Interim Executive Director. First, she served a long stint as the turnaround Interim Executive Director of Open Communities, the fair-housing agency serving Chicago's northern suburbs, where she reestablished the agency's program and financial strengths. She has also been Interim Executive Director of Care for Real and Reading Between the Lines. As a consultant, Kelly builds programs for the use of high-skills volunteers, conducts board recruitment and training, and guides staff and board through strategic planning. She also helps raise money from individuals using expertise she gained while serving as a major gifts officer in higher education and at human services agencies. Kelly writes powerful promotional pieces for nonprofits specializing in advocacy, arts, law and government, philanthropy, social justice, and women and girls.

Sean Rafferty
Digital Media Production Manager & Production Coordinator

Sean Rafferty has been filming and editing interviews and events for the Chicago Dance History Project since 2017, and also acted as Technical Director for the 2021 CDHP Interview Marathon. In addition to his work with CDHP, he has also produced videos for arts organizations including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, South Chicago Dance Theatre, and Brevard Music Center. In 2021, his dance film Press On, Regardless featuring Winifred Haun & Dancers was presented at Dance For Life in Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Kristy Rawson

Operations Manager

Kristy Rawson handles day-to-day operations at Chicago Dance History Project, including grants management/ reporting, maintenance of donor databases, board relations, and communications, and soon she will be resuming her involvement with website-based collections curation. Kristy holds a PhD in Cinema and Media Studies from the University of Michigan. She brings to CDHP an informed engagement with digital material culture preservation and public history, forged in her cultural history scholarship on ethnic and racial representation in classical Hollywood film and musical theater. Kristy’s dedication to bridging the gap between academically held knowledge and public discourse is guiding CDHP's collections strategy toward broader, more robust online public engagement.

Maddie Counsell
Communications Manager

Maddie Counsell is a 2020 graduate of James Madison University with a double major in Dance and Media Arts and Design. Maddie had the pleasure of working with Abraham.In.Motion, DanceWorks Chicago, Rubén Graciani, and Matt Pardo. She has presented work at the Going Dutch Festival and Emergence Festival. Maddie is currently entering her second season with South Chicago Dance Theatre, directed by Kia Smith, as an Emerging Artist. In addition to dance, she enjoys teaching yoga, working in retail, and coordinating social media for Chicago Dance History Project.

Board of Directors

Cheryl Cornell, Patti Eylar,

Kim Grigsby, Gail Kalver, Audrey Peiper,

Judie Green, Michael Anderson

bottom of page