Elizabeth Yntema is the President & Founder of the Dance Data Project®. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for WTTW/WFMT and the Board of Directors of the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Liza was graduated from the University of Virginia in 1980 and is 1984 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where she was awarded the Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Social Justice. Ms. Yntema is a past member of numerous organizations in the Chicagoland area, including the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Women’s Bar Association, Trust for Public Land in Illinois, Winnetka Board of the Northwestern Settlement House, the Children’s Home and Aid Society, and the Junior League of Chicago, where she was named as Volunteer of the Year for her work advocating for homeless women and children.
Named to the final full year training cohort of The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) in 2018, Liza spent a year honing her skills as part of “the next generation of strategic philanthropists.” TPW is a global network of over 450 selected philanthropists, from 26 countries.
Ms. Yntema has underwritten ballets for Sacramento and Pacific Northwest Ballets, the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company and BalletX, including world premieres by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (Mammatus) and Stephanie Martinez (Bliss!). She has also supported works by Penny Saunders, Robyn Minenko Williams, Amy Seiwert and Eva Stone, as well as Nicolas Blanc and Christopher Wheeldon. Liza was Lead Sponsor of Crystal Pite’s work Solo Echo as part of the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Hubbard Street Dance Company.
Most recently, Ms. Yntema is personally supporting Aszure Barton’s work for HSDC and her new work for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Penny Saunders’ new production with Ballet Idaho, the Eugene Ballet (in honor of Artistic Director Toni Pimble), Ballet Hispánico’s presentation of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Doña Perón at the Auditorium Theater, Amy Seiwart’s contemporary ballet company, Imagery, and Stephanie Martinez’s work All’s Well that Ends Well with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
In May 2018, American Ballet Theatre announced the launch of its ABT Women’s Movement, a multi-year initiative supporting the creation of new works by female choreographers for the company. Ms. Yntema, along with the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was an initial Principal Sponsor for this initiative and continues to support its development. Ms. Yntema recently joined the Boston Ballet’s multi-year initiative ChoreograpHER as a Lead Sponsor. Liza also actively supports the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s choreographic initiative for female students, New Voices.
Liza and Dance Data Project® have been featured in the book Women and Leadership: Journey Toward Equity by Lisa DeFrank-Cole, Professor and Director of Leadership Studies at West Virginia University and Sherylle J. Tan, Ph. D. a developmental psychologist and Director of Internships and KLI Research at the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. Ms. Yntema has also been awarded the inaugural Top Tier Feminist Giver Award by Philanthropy Women in March of 2021.
Ms. Yntema was recently selected for the first national cohort of Chief, a global network of women founders and C-Suite executives. In June 2022, she was also honored to be selected as a lifetime Honorary Member of Corps De Ballet.
DDP’s ground breaking work is featured in the book Turning Pointe: How A New Generation of Dancers is Saving Ballet From Itself, published in May 2021.
Stephanie Wilkins has been working as an Administrator/Executive Assistant for over 15 years in the philanthropic and business sector. Stephanie operates & manages a 30,000 sq ft executive office suite facility in Northfield where she first met and heard Liza’s ideas about promoting gender equity in the dance industry & she decided she wanted to jump on board and help Liza with the administrative part of turning Dance Data Project into a 501c3. Stephanie rejoined DDP in September of 2022 and is looking forward to help raise awareness related to gender equality, primarily in areas of leadership and choreographic opportunities. She resides in Northbrook with her 8 year old daughter and dog Bohdi.
Research Lead/Programming Consultant
Rebecca A. Ferrell (she/her) is a dance advocate, artist, educator, producer, programmer, and researcher. She holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as an MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. Her research interests focus on equitable practices in the dance sector, specifically traditional transactional procedures, labor rights, pay equity, and performing arts unions. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Arts Management at the College of Charleston and the Research Lead and Programming Consultant for Dance Data Project®. Ferrell has also served on advisory and grant panels throughout the US, including the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, United States Artists, the Arts Education Partnership Council, and Virginians for the Arts, where she was a member of the Legislative Committee. She has held academic positions at American University, Arizona State University, Shenandoah Conservatory, University of Illinois, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Her previous professional positions include Director and Curator of the Flatlands Dance Film Festival, Executive Director of Dance Metro DC, and the Director of Programs for Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance.
Isabelle is a graduate of Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and BS in Mathematics. At Butler, Isabelle has been recognized with the Eileen Poston Dance Scholarship for outstanding performance, as well as the Amos Carpenter Memorial Award for excellence in mathematics. She recently joined Phi Beta Kappa and will be completing her professional certification in Data Science in the coming months, after finishing her first season as a professional ballet dancer with Ballet Austin. Isabelle is eager to meld her interests while championing equity in dance.
Technology and Digital Lead
Jason has over ten years of project management, design, and software development experience, overseeing digital and design project for small start ups. He arrived at his current position through a circuitous route through studying literature, working in publishing, literary magazines, and other such ventures.
Jason and his team are behind the graphic design of the DDP website, reports, advertisements, and more. He joined the DDP team in 2018 and resides in Chicago.
Kelly Love, LBL Financial
Data Engineering Consultant
Andrew is a Senior Principal Data Scientist at Northrop Grumman in People Analytics. Through his independent firm, Pointe Vector, he brings cross-industry knowledge in data engineering and algorithm design to organizations with passion and purpose. In 2018, Andrew and his wife founded Deos Contemporary Ballet, a Michigan-based professional company, where he serves as its President and Executive Director. Through Deos Ballet, Andrew discovered his love for dance as a performance art and a passion for seeking equity in the industry. He is eager to assist the DDP team in using technology to maximize the impact of its data.
Jenna Magrath (she/her) is a dance researcher, artist, and educator. She holds a BA in Dance and a BKin (Hons) in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary. In addition to working with DDP, Jenna researches dance for health promotion amongst various populations and socio-cultural perspectives on dance-related pain and injury. Her research has received awards from the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science and Healthy Dancer Canada. Jenna is also a company member with METHOD Dance Society; an organization that brings contemporary dance to Northern British Columbia, Canada. Jenna is passionate about advocating for and creating safe and equitable dancing spaces.
Lee Nah is currently studying at Kenyon College in Ohio. She joined us as a senior at Lane Technical High School in the summer of 2021. She has been a dancer since the age of three and currently works with Joffrey Ballet Community Engagement in their Exelon Strobel Dancers Program. As a member of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Chicago Youth Commission, she represents youth voices in Chicago and collaborates with city leaders to develop youth-focused outreach programs. She is an advocate for the destigmatization of mental health and body-image disorders and is passionate about arts equity and social activism.
Senior Research Consultant
Junyla Silmon is a movement artist from Canton, Mississippi. She is currently a senior at Montclair State University earning a BFA in Dance Performance and a Minor in Business Administration. Junyla recently joined FreeSpace Dance Company of Upper Montclair, New Jersey. She has worked with notable choreographers including Fredrick Earl Mosley, Mark Dendy, Christian Von Howard, and Stefanie Batten Bland. With a love for community, individual expression, and the vast human experience, her art expands upon the desire to amplify humanity through physical storytelling. Coinciding with her artistic passions, Junyla is also a student representative in the Artist of Color Advisory Council and the ADVANCE team, which are two organizations committed to enhancing diversity, inclusion, and equity within the Theatre and Dance Department of her university.
Dance Data Project® would like to thank our friend Choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland for promoting DDP’s internship opportunities.
Archivist & Subscriptions Editor
Bailey Walker is an artist, choreographer, and educator based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Education and Spanish from Southern Utah University. She is an accomplished teacher and choreographer whose work and teaching philosophies center around contemplating, understanding, and expanding the human experience through dance. Her work has been featured in spaces such as the Red Rock Dance Festival and the American Collegiate Dance Association Conference. Bailey is a licensed K-12 educator in the state of Utah and has experience teaching within public and private educational institutions. She began working at DDP in early 2021 as an intern and has had the immense privilege of witnessing the positive impact and change that DDP’s mission and research have influenced and continue to create.
Katherine Wang (she/her) is a freshman at Stanford University prospectively studying Symbolic Systems and Sociology with a minor in Dance. She previously attended Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, where she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award upon graduating. There, she continued her thirteen years of concert dance training, served as a Head of the Dance Program and Captain of the varsity-level dance performance ensemble, in addition to having directed and choreographed for numerous productions. Through the CAMD Scholars fellowship, Katherine investigated the role of racial fetishism and cultural appropriation in concert dance, reflecting her dedication to instilling equity in the performance arts.*
*Katherine is currently on Academic Leave.
Jenesis Williams is a freshman at Columbia University studying data science and human rights. In her work, she hopes to use big data to solve even bigger problems in dance and beyond. She has studied the Cecchetti method of ballet and the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus for the past eight years. She joined the DDP team as an intern in 2019.
Newsletter & Website Editor
Lydia recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Strategic Communication. Passionate about both the arts and advocacy, Lydia had several opportunities at Butler to explore the intersections of ballet and choreography with feminism and equality. With a background in communications, she was also the Public Relations Chair for Sigma Rho Delta and, this past summer, the Digital Media Intern at Chautauqua Institution. Lydia is currently a professional dancer with Portland Ballet in Maine. She is excited to help create a more equitable dance world for women and girls.
Sehaj is a high school student from Michigan who interested in developing and applying her math, computer science, and engineering skills to real world problems to help create meaningful solutions. She has earned a MicroBachelors credential in Fundamentals of Computer Science from NYU. Sehaj loves developing insights through analyzing data. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano or flute, playing tennis, and programming in Python.
Sophia, originally from Missouri, is now a High School student in New York. She grew up dancing and is captain of her school dance team, where she gets to exhibit her love of choreographing. Sophia is interested in applied math and using her love of math to improve the world. She is also passionate about ways to grow female leadership and is an intern at an accelerator which supports women led startups in desert tech. In her free time, Sophia tutors peer students, participates in Girls Who Code, and loves to bake.