Assistant Professor of Practice in the Arts
Division of the Humanities, the Committee on TAPS
Director of Undergraduate Studies, TAPS

thumb_LeslieDanzig.jpgOffice: Logan Center for the Arts, Rm 225

I am a director, writer and creator primarily of devised theater productions, which often bring together different performance languages (dance-theater, circus-theater, clown-theater, music-theater).

Recent and upcoming work includes being stage director on Metamorphosis with Third Coast Percussion and Movement Art Is (Lil Buck & Jon Boogz), slated to premiere at Carnegie Hall in NYC (2021); collaborating director on Rink Life with Lucky Plush Productions which premiered at Steppenwolf 1700 (2019, recipient of a National Theater Project Award); and currently writing a new musical theater project (my) Irrelevant Magnitude (working title).

Other productions include stage directing Third Coast Percussion’s Paddle to the Sea and Wild Sound, composed by Wilco's Glenn Kotche, with performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Forum of Music (Wroclaw), De Doelen (Rotterdam); co-creating/co-directing with Julia Rhoads and Lucky Plush Productions Rooming House, The Better Half and The Queue, recipients of a National Dance Project Award and National Performance Network creation fund award. Presenting venues include Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Spoleto Festival USA (SC); CRASHarts at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; Dance Cleveland; Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT); ODC (CA); and Maui Arts and Cultural Center. 

As co-founder and resident director of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown (2000-2010), I co-created/directed 500 Clown Macbeth, 500 Clown Frankenstein, 500 Clown Christmas and 500 Clown and the Elephant Deal. 500 Clown shows performed in Chicago at Steppenwolf and Lookingglass Theatre, among others, and toured throughout the US, receiving an Association of Performing Arts Presenters Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant.

Other projects include creating Quest, an original circus-theater production with Actors Gymnasium and directing Damon Kiely's The Revel with the House Theatre of Chicago, The Elephant and the Whale, with Redmoon/Chicago Children's Theater (with Frank Maugeri & Seth Bockley); Redmoon’s Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC); and Float with About Face Theater.  Prior to turning to directing, I toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service.

From 2011 – 2016, I was the curator of the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, a forum for experimental collaborations between artists and scholars, and prior to that, I was a lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago. I received my BA at Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, and trained in physical theater at Écoles Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier.