EDE was founded in 1997 by Béa Rashid, who was inspired to bring a high quality performing opportunity to the most talented dancers from her school, Dance Center Evanston. EDE received its 501(c)3 status in 1998 and had its first public performance, The Winter Festival of Dance, at King Lab School. The company began developing original work with 2001: A Dance Odyssey, often collaborating with professional musician, Steve Rashid, to create original music as well.
Each year, EDE puts on several mainstage productions with a wide variety of dance styles, and featuring original choreography by top professionals such as Monique Haley, Eddy Ocampo, Ron De Jesus and Meghann Wilkinson. Each year since 2008, EDE has done a 6-week session of Jump for Joy – dance classes for young dancers with physical and/or developmental challenges. The Ensemble also sometimes conducts a Young Choreographers Project, where the members get a chance to create choreography themselves.
In 2012, EDE created a second company: ede2, whose specific mission is to tour to community venues, bringing their own production out to more underserved areas.
The artistic goals of the Evanston Dance Ensemble are to use our young dancers to their best advantage to create the highest quality of dance possible and to share it with our community in a variety of ways.
The objectives used to accomplish those goals are: 1) to conduct a rigorous audition process; 2) to hire top professionals in choreography, lighting, costume and set design, music, and guest artists, so that the dancers and the audience will have a fantastic experience; and 3) to form and foster relationships with other organizations in the community to increase opportunities for collaboration.