Performer, Teacher, Choreographer
Photo by Fernando Rodriguez
Deandra Elizabeth M. Alaba, also known as Dee (former name Dwigth Dher R. Alaba), graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2017 with a BFA in Dance. There she trained in various technique and styles of modern dance, ballet, West African, contact improvisation, improvisation, jazz, hiphop, dancemaking, teaching, and dance studies.
Deandra was born and raised in Davao, Philippines and grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois. She started dancing at the age of 3 and was influenced by her mom who was a professional dancer but she didn't start her technique training until college. Her only training before coming to Columbia College were cheerleading and from her high school’s dance team where she mostly trained in POM dance.
Deandra had worked for various faculty members and other professional choreographers such as Keisha Beckford, Carrie Hanson, Rennie Harris, J'sun Howard, Chris Johnson, Dardi McGinley, Pam McNeil, Onye Ozuzu, Jessica Miller Tomlinson, and many more. Dee has worked with dance artist Erin Kilmurray, collaborating in her work Search Party Dances ‘18 and as a member of the Honey Cast for The Fly Honey Show X. She has also worked with dance companies as a member and collaborator such as, NEW DANCES 2018 with Thodos Dance Chicago & DanceWorks Chicago, The Cambrians, Loud Bodies and is currently an ensemble member for The Seldoms.
In Spring 2017 Dee's choreographic debut, Paradoxical, was chosen to represent The Dance Center at the ACDA (American College Dance Association) North Central Conference in Duluth, Minnesota. Paradoxical was chosen to perform at the Adjudicated Concert and subsequently at the culminating Gala Concert. Dee has also created choreography for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Dance Program in 2019. Aside from dance, Dee is a mentor for Lurie’s Children Hospital’s Trans Mentor Program. Recently, Dee was featured for Chicago Readers’ Pride Issue, nominated for 3Ards Awards in Spring 2020 and is currently performing with The Seldoms, and Erin Kilmurray.
Photo by Emily Scanlon