Rena Butler hails from Chicago, IL. She began her studies at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, studied overseas at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, and received her BFA from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Rena danced with companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (also a choreographic fellow), AIM by Kyle Abraham, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, David Dorfman Dance, Manuel Vignoulle/M-Motions, The Kevin Wynn Collection, Pasos Con Sabor Salsa Dance Company, among many others. She most recently danced with Gibney Company and was their inaugural Choreographic Associate.
She is a recipient of the prestigious 2019 Princess Grace Foundation Award for Choreography and created works for BalletX, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, GroundWorks DanceTheater, Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Summer Program, Parsons, Charlotte Ballet, the Juilliard School, Boston Dance Theater, The New Orleans Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with Academy Award-Winning jazz composer, Terrence Blanchard, CHTV Stories television program in Switzerland, a film short in collaboration with Third Coast Percussion x Devonté Hynes/Blood Orange, The Young Choreographer’s Festival in NYC, The Ailey/Fordham School, TEDxChicago Virtual Salon 3.0: Design Your Life, and more. She has been spotlighted in Dance Magazine’s On The Rise feature in 2013, and the featured cover story in Dance Magazine’s November 2021 issue.
Butler has taught dance and choreographic workshops at L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Danse de Marseille in France, The Macau Cultural Center in China, Ailey Camp Chicago, and SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance.
She served on the Consortium for Chicago Dancemakers Forum for 3 years, was on the annual panel for Black Girls Dance in Chicago, and co-created and directed DanceLab—a free, choreographic course for Chicago teens, empowering participants of varying socioeconomic backgrounds + identities to find commonality in creation. She currently serves on Dancewave’s Artistic Advisory Council in NYC.