About Deeply Rooted Dance Theater

Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is rooted in traditions of American and African-American dance, storytelling, and universal themes that spark a visceral experience and ignite an emotional response in diverse audiences worldwide. DRDT collaborates with nationally renowned choreographers, across the spectrum of modern, ballet, and African dance, to reflect contemporary voices.

In Chicago, the company has performed at numerous renowned venues including the Auditorium Theater, the Shubert Theater, The Dance Center of Columbia College, The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts.


The mission of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater is to re-imagine and diversify the aesthetics of contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical, American and African-American traditions in dance and storytelling. Through its uncompromising pursuit of excellence, Deeply Rooted seeks to demonstrate how art and beauty play a transformative role in Chicago, the nation and the world.

Co-founded by Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff and Associate Artistic Director Gary Abbott, LaVerne Alaphaire Jeff, Diane Shober and Linda Spriggs, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater was established in 1995, and made its public debut in 1996.


Through engaging in dance, Deeply Rooted is a creative community dedicated to nurturing artists, supporting human relationships, and sharing common values.


Deeply Rooted is a community of artists committed to individual and collective actualization and dedicated to nurturing artists, developing new choreography, expanding audiences, supporting human relationships, and sharing common values by engaging in dance.

  • We believe art is fundamental in forming community.
  • We pursue excellence—nurturing individual brilliance and authentic voices.
  • We recognize the relationship between the aesthetic and the political: the impact of art on society, therefore we hold ourselves accountable for our vision and strive to be ethical both in our art and our lives.
  • We realize that sound financial management enables growth; we aim to provide the conditions that support our dancers and staff in achieving this.
  • We commit ourselves to constructive and compassionate communication when in the midst of conflict.
  • We find joy in working together, creating beauty, and being.