20 3Arts supporters
$4,240 raised of $4,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on August 05, 2016
    • 106% contributed

With my new work Verge, I want to bring people back to ballet, and vice versa. Challenging traditional notions of gender, body type, and identity often found in classical ballet, my aim with Verge is to make this art form more relevant and accessible in today’s world. Classical ballet thrives on traditional themes of romanticism, fairy tales, and mysticism, often portraying overly masculine men and effeminate, soft women. Verge will turn this stereotype on its head by placing five dancers on stage and allowing their differences in age, height, body-type, race, gender, and mobility to contrast and compliment their movement. I am intentionally tinkering with the typical power structure of gendered performers by having the female dancers display physicality, grit, and, most importantly, connection, while the male dancers may act upon qualities generally considered “effeminate” by traditional ballet standards. With this campaign, I am asking for others to join me in making this new work possible. Contributions will help support a three-night performance in January 2017.

About This Project

“Ballet today is adrift: even when it is good…it is relegated to the margins of culture and thought of as ‘elite’ and ‘inaccessible.’* What will the affect be when we highlight more female choreographers and choreographers of color on ballet stages? How would this impact the accessibility of dance, the conversations around it, the imaginations and possibilities of its creators and appreciators?

In an age where less than 9% of ballet productions are choreographed by women and possibly even less by choreographers of color, I am deeply invested in helping to make ballet a vibrant and relatable art form. My current research interrogates and challenges the heteronormativity propagated by the traditional ballet pas de deux. In my work I integrate classical ballet with chance and abstraction to explore the relationship between ballet and other art forms. In ballet, choreographers are too often masking effort. I have a keen interest in exposing it. I aspire to create movement material that is charged with physical rigor, slightly askew in structure, and curious by nature. I look for strenuousness, dynamism, and risk-taking. I look for the places where opinions divide and experiences create parallels. I hope to help a wider audience discover ballet as a reflection of the present and future, rather than a relic of the past.

This project originally started in 2015 with the development of two separate duets that will serve as seed work for the full-length evening piece, Verge, scheduled to premiere in January 2017. Funds raised through this campaign will help support the fees for five dancers, a costume designer, technical director, and venue rental. Additional partners helping me to realize this work include the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

I am a firm believer in the beauty of ballet as an art form and its ability to evolve and inform contemporary discourses on gender, race, and sexuality. But unless multiple viewpoints are showcased on the stage and recognized as an integral part of the choreographic process, how far can it go? Thank you for helping me to make this project possible and bring new voices of ballet to the stage.

*The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. 

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $15
    Gratitude via a “thank you” on social media ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $30
    Above plus acknowledgement in the printed program and website ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus DVD copy of our dance film "On the Verge" ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    All of the above plus 2 tickets to our January 2017 show of "Verge" ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    All of the above plus invitation to an in-studio showing ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    All of the above plus 4 tickets to our January 2017 show of "Verge" and invitation for a post-show cocktail with the cast. ($0.00 is tax deductible.)

Paige Caldarella

Paige Caldarella (MFA University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) received her B.F.A. from the Juilliard School and immediately went on to dance with Merce Cunningham Company from 2000 to 2004. Caldarella is an emerging contemporary ballet choreographer whose work explores the relationship …

View Paige Caldarella's profile
  • Update 1: We got our 3Arts match!
    Posted on June 28, 2016


    Thanks to the generosity of our first 12 supporters, we have reached our 3Arts match! Thank you so much to everyone that has donated thus far. We are headed back to the studio tomorrow to continue working. Stay tuned for pics and rehearsal footage. 

    Update 2: Back at it!
    Posted on June 30, 2016


    We were back in the studio yesterday developing material. Thank you again to all of our generous supporters. The dancers and I are truly humbled by your generosity. 


    Update 3: Check this out
    Posted on July 06, 2016


    Check out the latest edition of Dance Magazine and this recent article: 

    More pics from rehearsal coming soon...thank you to everyone that has donated to our campaign. We are on our way!!!


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Julie & Jess Keck & King

    • Donald Cunningham

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Ziba Lennox

    • Donald Cunningham Sr.

    • Nora Sharp

    • Jane Caldarella

    • Gail & Bob Klein

    • Sheila Cohen

    • Toni Girimont

    • Paul & Mary Jo Duffy

    • Kathy and Tom Durrough

    • Karen Hagen

    • Margi Cole

    • Karen Peters

    • Amy and Jeff Smith

    • Kate Corby

    • Bob Caldarella

    • Cristina Tadeo

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council