About Critical Context

The Harris Theater is proud to introduce Critical Context, a paid writing residency created in partnership with See Chicago Dance (SCD). The initiative engages past SCD Critical Dance Writing Fellows in a three- to six-month residency in mentorship, research, and deep exploration of Harris Theater Presents dance programming.
By supporting writers in building their bodies of work — prioritizing writers of color and those with backgrounds in underrepresented dance forms — Critical Context aims to promote equity in the dance writing field, expand and deepen Harris Theater communications through multiple lenses, and enhance audience access to and understanding of the art form. 

The first two writers selected for Critical Context are D’onminique Boyd, whose work will be featured surrounding English National Ballet production of Akram Khan’s Creature, and Tristan Bruns, whose work will feature surrounding Ragamala Dance Company’s Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim. As Senior Editor of See Chicago Dance, Lauren Warnecke’s role is to provide mentorship and support to these two writers and, as part of that process, has contributed the program essay for this engagement Akram Khan’s XENOS.

Meet the 2021-22 Critical Context Writers:

D’onminique Boyd
For the past 15 years, D’onminique Boyd has contributed to the field of dance in varying roles as a performer, educator, healer, community member and arts administrator. Most notably, she danced professionally with Kotchegna Ivory Coast Company, the Howard University Marching Band, studied with the Urban Bush Women in the Summer Leadership Institute, appeared in the movie Step Up and worked as a dance facilitator at El Puente  Academy of  Peace and Justice. In 2016, she was awarded the Legacy Continues award by the Katherine Dunham  Museum for her commitment to sharing the importance of Dunham’s legacy. She has worked internationally studying traditional South African dances as a Baldwin Artist in Residence and locally with students on the Autism  Spectrum as an Adaptive Dance Assistant at Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago. 
Currently, Boyd lives on Chicago’s South Side where she works with a creative community of teachers, artists, families and students helping to build the next generation of artists, creative thinkers and arts advocates as the Assistant Director of Education and Family Programs at the Logan Center for the Arts. She continues to find inspiration in humanity as a new mom, while examining the politics of black movement in the streets, in nature, at leisure, in quiet and on the stage. She was a 2020 SCD Critical Dance Writing Fellow and is a staff writer and editor for See Chicago Dance.

Tristan Bruns
Tristan Bruns is a tap dancer from Chicago. Bruns is a professional company member of M.A.D.D. Rhythms and was a founding member of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s resident ensemble, BAM!. He is the director of Tapman Productions, LLC, a multi-genre dance production company and tap dance floor rental service. Besides tap dancing, Bruns has been a featured columnist at DanceAdvantage.net and currently pens the blog The Tap Book at TapmanProductions.com. Bruns holds a BA in music from Columbia College Chicago. He was a 2020 SCD Critical Dance Writing Fellow and is a staff writer and editor for See Chicago Dance.