Bebe Miller's In a Rhythm Credit: Robert Altman

The creative process tends to be a mystery for some consumers of art. At the Process v. Product Festival at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, though, audiences will get the chance to see exactly how choreographers build their work.

The festival was born out of the back-to-back scheduling of performances by Molly Shanahan and Bebe Miller, which will form the centerpiece of the festival. Over two weekends, the Dance Center will host panels, discussions, and workshops to enrich audiences’ understanding of the dances.

“Things we take for granted in the field are not out there in the mainstream,” says Ellen Chenoweth, interim director of the Dance Center’s Presenting Series. “Most people don’t have a clear idea of what it means to choreograph, and this festival is a great window into that process.”

For the two “Process Prism” panels, poets, curators, and visual artists join choreographers to discuss where their processes intersect and diverge. During the “iLANDing Field Trip,” choreographer Jennifer Monson will take participants to the lakefront for an interdisciplinary workshop based on her research into movement and urban ecology.

“One of the biggest features of concert dance work is it’s about the relationships within the ensemble,” says Chenoweth. “It’s about a group of people and how they relate to each other over the course of the creation of the work, and that’s really juicy and interesting and can be sensed on stage when you see the final product. Both of these works and the surrounding programming are exploring the relationships that get built over the course of creating a dance.”

Process v. Product Festival 3/29-4/7: times vary; see website, Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S. Michigan, 312-369-8330,, prices vary by event.