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.
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.
Isabelle Ramey, originally from Pittsburgh, PA, is a graduate of Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and BS in Mathematics. At Butler, Isabelle earned the Eileen Poston Dance Scholarship for outstanding performance, the Amos Carpenter Memorial Award for excellence in mathematics, and joined Phi Beta Kappa. Since graduation, Isabelle has danced professionally with Ballet Austin, Shana Simmons Dance, and Deos Contemporary Ballet, where she is currently both Company Dancer and Marketing Manager. Isabelle began working with Dance Data Project® in May of 2021.
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.
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
Kelly Love, is a strategic advisor whose love goes beyond just crunching numbers. Passionate about businesses and entrepreneurship, a visionary who thrives on giving each of her clients peace of mind knowing she is there to assist in their financial success. As a licensed CPA with more than 18 years of accounting experience, Kelly has extensive experience as an accountant and auditor, and is currently in private practice. She focuses on applying her technical experience as an engineer to take an analytical, structured approach to applied financial principles and problem solving. Kelly has worked in public accounting with for-profit and nonprofit clients as well as in corporate accounting for private industry before starting her own firm in 2005.
Senior Research Consultant
Junyla Silmon, a native of Canton, MS, is a 2022 summa cum laude graduate from Montclair State University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance and a minor in business administration. As a performing artist, she has worked with Susan Marshall, Roderick George, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, and Kayla Farrish, among others. In 2023, Junyla checked in as the newest resident of Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel. She is also a company member of Company SBB//Stefanie Batten Bland, Accent Dance NYC, and Freespace Dance. As a choreographer, her work, “[EK]+[OH],” was presented at the 2022 Upsurge Dance Festival.
Junyla began as a research intern with Dance Data Project in the summer of 2021 and has received two promotions since then: Research Consultant (April 2022) and Senior Research Consultant (May 2022)
Dance Data Project® would like to thank our friend Choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland for promoting DDP’s internship opportunities.
Senior Research Consultant
Daisy Ye is originally from Boulder, Colorado. She graduated from Indiana University with highest distinction in a double major, earning a BS in Informatics and a BS in Ballet with an outside field in Economics. During her time at IU, she was an intern for a nonprofit clinic in Bloomington named “Serve IT”, where she was a team lead on multiple projects serving the local community in promoting accessibility and improving media literacy. After graduating, Daisy has continued to pursue her career in Ballet, most recently with Ballet Austin. She is thrilled to intersect her passions of art and technology while working with Dance Data Project®.
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.
Maya Canestaro is a born and raised Texan. She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, earning a degree in Public Policy with a double minor in Philosophy and Human Rights. For the past two years, she’s danced with Kansas City Ballet’s second company and for this upcoming season, she will be dancing with Madison Ballet as an Apprentice. Outside of ballet and research, Maya loves to read and be in nature. Maya is passionate about advocating for dancers and progressing equity within the dance world.
Aanika Khansaheb is born and raised in Charlotte, NC. She is currently studying at North Carolina State University with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Computer Programming and International Studies. She is also part of the Business Analytics Honors Program. Aanika has been a dancer since she was four years old, specializing in Bollywood Dance and Competitive Ballroom. She is passionate about combining her love of dance with philanthropic efforts. Aanika is currently on the board of directors for Dance Marathon at NC State which raises money for the kids at the Duke Children’s Hospital through a dance fundraiser. Outside of school and dance, she loves traveling, cooking, and trying new foods. Aanika is a big advocate for bringing awareness to gender inequality in male-dominated industries, specifically the art industry and STEM related fields.
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.
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.
Newsletter & Website Editor
Lydia 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, during the summer of 2021, 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.
Digital Asset Coordinator
Jennifer Payán (she/her) is a Dominican-American movement artist, originally from the Bronx, NY, and currently resides in Jersey City, NJ. In 2016, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance with Magma Cum Laude honors from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Currently, Jennifer performs with The Trisha Brown Dance Company and CompanySBB.
Jennifer’s passion and dedication for the arts have led her beyond the stage and into more administrative roles. She previously served as the Social Media Marketing Manager for Company SBB, and was promoted to Associate Artistic Director in 2021. That same year, she joined Montclair State University as an Adjunct Professor co-teaching the Choreography II course with Stefanie Batten-Bland grounding her first collegiate-level teaching role.
Jennifer looks forward to growing alongside the powerful team present at Dance Data Project®.
Sehaj is a high school student from Michigan who is 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.
Quinn Andrews-Myers is a high school student from Chicago who is interested in applying math to real-world problems, advocacy, and increasing the growth of female leadership. A ballet dancer since the age of 3, she has loved dancing in complicated female corps roles such as Who Cares? and Concerto Barocco. She has also been fortunate enough to dance in new works set to Cécile Chaminade and Maya Angelou. Quinn heard about the Dance Data Project® through the Conversations on Dance podcast and was drawn to the combination of advocacy and data. She is excited to work on improving women’s opportunities in dance, choreography, and leadership.
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.
Currently on Academic Leave
Rebecca A. Ferrell (she/her) is a dance advocate, artist, educator, and researcher. She holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. Her research interests focus on equitable practices in the dance sector, specifically contracting, 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. She is currently part of the inaugural cohort of Ph.D. students in Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky, the first degree of its kind in the United States.
Nadia Chung (she/her) is originally from Los Angeles, CA, and is studying Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University. She began training in a classical ballet conservatory at age 13 and immediately fell in love with the art form. Now, she continues to dance as a part of the Cardinal Ballet Company and is grateful to take courses such as “Intersectionality and the Politics of Ballet,” which allow her to explore both her creative passions and intellectual interests. Nadia is also deeply engaged in practices of discourse—whether that be representing Stanford at the World Universities Debating Championships in Madrid or writing Op-Eds about art and culture that have been published in the LA Times High School Insider and the Stanford Daily. Nadia could not be more thrilled to support DDP’s mission for advocacy and equity in the dance industry.
*Nadia is on academic leave as of as of September 22, 2023.
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.
*Sophia is currently on academic leave.