Choreographers team together for “Fostering Dreams through Dance”

Producer Jesse Welch and professional dancer Melanie Buttarazzi teamed together recently with a vision to enrich the lives of foster youth through dance. Welch and Buttarazzi recruited choreographers Sean Cheeseman, Stacy Walker, Gustavo Vargas, and Robert Chino Lopez, who have worked with world renowned entertainment giants the likes of J Lo and Michael Jackson, as well as in television and film.

Eight to ten foster youth will be selected to participate in a 30-day dance program, and perform in their communities. Along the way, Welch and Buttarazzi will create a film documenting the process and exploring the challenges that foster youth face in America. This project marks the first in US history to allow the filming of foster youth, giving a voice to the challenges they face and their response to if or how dance changes their lives.
Check out the Indie Gogo campaign for “Fostering Dreams through Dance” below, or for more information visit

Author: Lauren Warnecke

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance dance critic, contributing to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine. She is senior editor of See Chicago Dance. Lauren covers dance across the Midwest and writes regularly for Dance Magazine and Pointe with additional bylines in Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Teacher. Forthcoming publications include essays on ballet training in Chicago (University of Illinois Press) and Shirley Mordine (University of Akron Press). In 2020, Lauren published an opinion piece on the impact of COVID-19 on the arts in the South African journal Agenda. Lauren holds degrees in dance and kinesiology and has presented research on dance training practices at the National Dance Education Organization and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. She has co-facilitated critical dance writing intensives in Chicago and Durban, South Africa, and participated in writing residencies at the National Center for Choreography, Bates Dance Festival and JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. Lauren teaches dance history and kinesiology for dancers, with part-time appointments at Loyola University Chicago and Illinois Wesleyan University.

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