Gil Mata began his intense, professional training at the young age of 14 under
Xtreme Dance Force (XDF), the number "1" hip hop and jazz troupe in the Midwest. Originally from Aurora, IL, Gil has studied all styles of dance from a variety of top industry teachers and choreographers from around the world. Without any previous technical training, Gil made a reputation for himself in the Jazz Division of XDF by pushing himself past the norm. He grasped the concept of dance through his hard work and determination to be better then most on the Performance and Competition Stage. Under the direction of Samuel Renzetti, Gil has learned to assist and teach a style all his own. He began his Choroegraphy Career at XDF in 2006 setting pieces of work and teaching countless classes. Some of Gil's credits include opening acts for top recording artists Ciara, Bow Wow , Tyrese, Mims and Lupe Fiasco . He had the acclaim of performing in the 2007 MLS half-time show on ESPN . In 2009, Gil choreographed Noble Fool Theatricals "Altar Boyz". He has also choreographed for many high school and college dance teams.
Bernadette Foth is an accomplished dancer with a diverse performance background, as well as, being a board certified teacher, award winning choreographer, master class instructor and sought after competition adjuducator. She has received extensive training through Broadway Dance Center in New York City, The Edge in Los Angeles, New York University, University at Buffalo and Marygrove College. She is a member of Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of Michigan, Universal Dance Association and Dance Masters of America. Bernadette is the co-owner of Tina Marie School of Dance, with her mother, in which they operate two successful dance studios in Michigan. Their dancers have received extensive recognition for their incredible technique and performance and many have gone on to dance in broadway shows, on cruise ships, and for the Radio City Rockettes. In addition, she is the director of her own in-studio workshop, DanzJam, a program that ensures a positive and developmental learning environment with the goal of added depth in the areas of dance to our current and future dancers. She dedicates her life to her students and the education of dance, enabling them to reach their fullest potential.
Courtney Zemke is from a small town in Michigan. She began her training ten years ago at Sherry’s Academy of Dance. She was trained in ballet, jazz, modern, hip-hop, and lyrical under the direction of Sherry Blaha. In 2009 Courtney attended Wayne State University and was a member of the dance programs touring company. She continued training rigorously in ballet, modern, jazz, and African. Courtney has danced for the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Shock basketball teams along with performing with the Goo Goo Dolls. She has been a final contestant in Vegas the past two years on “So You Think You Can Dance?” Since moving to Los Angeles, Courtney has worked closely with many choreographers such as Matthew Tseng, Robert Schultz, Chris Downey, Justine Menter, Leo Morimune and is a member of Flirt Dance Company. She is excited to be represented by Bloc talent agency and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.
Cameron Mathe was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, where in 1999 he started training at Dance Arts Center (D.A.C.), in Racine, Wisconsin. He was a part of both the D.A.C.’s performance and competitive companies for a total of 11 years under the direction of Danelle Davies. Cameron has also trained with technicians and choreographers such as Nicki Loud, Christian Denice, Lauren Adams, Melody Squire and D.A.C.’s resident faculty from The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago and The Milwaukee Ballet. In 2005, Cameron was offered a position on staff at D.A.C. as an instructor and soon after graduating high school, Cameron became the Co-Artistic Director of D.A.C. Aside from teaching, he made the choice to further his career in the dance world by moving into choreography. He has won awards at regional and national competitions across the United States. During his many years on the competition and convention circuit, Cameron won multiple scholarships and titles around the nation which were a direct reflection of his excellent work ethic and passion for dancing. In 2009, Cameron was one of four dancers chosen at the Rainbow Dance Connection National Competition to dance professionally with Disney in Orlando. In August of 2011, Cameron was chosen as a principle choreographer in Milwaukee’s Danceworks show “JUMPSTART”-an emerging artist showcase, where he choreographed and set a piece on a selected cast of dancers. Most recently, after choreographing and dancing in “JUMPSTART”, Cameron was asked to perform with the Danceworks Performance Company as a guest artist in the show “Want or Need”, in 2012. Cameron continues to choreograph and teach master classes at various studios in the surrounding area. He aspires to one day open his own dance studio where he can continue to inspire and share his passion for dance.
Sarah Kramer, originally from Elk Grove Village, IL, started dancing at 3 years old. She is a magna cum laude graduate with two degrees from the University of Arizona: a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and a Bachelor of Science in finance.
Prior to her college training, Sarah performed various works for the Chicago Dance Legacy Project, Chicago Dance Medium, and was a principal dancer with Midwest Movement and Midwest Dance Collective. During her training at the University of Arizona’s School of Dance, Sarah had the honor to perform several repertoire works and study with world renowned choreographers such as James Clouser, Sam Watson, Doug Nielsen, Michael Williams, and Susan Quinn. She was accepted into the River North Dance Chicago summer intensive program for six consecutive years. Sarah danced commercially for three years with DanceWerks Dance Company. In 2011, Sarah was a featured dancer for Fadro’s “This is What We Live For” Tour.
During the past nine years, Sarah has been teaching several dance genres and setting choreography on competition teams and performing arts companies at different Chicagoland studios and workshops. Sarah has taught master classes for the Applause Talent Nationals in 2007 and 2011, teaching in Gatlinburg, TN; Chicago, IL; and Charleston, SC. She is thrilled to be on faculty again for the 2012 Applause Talent Nationals in Columbus, OH; and Charleston, SC.
In addition to dance, Sarah also has a passion for fitness. She is a certified Zumba® and TurboKick® instructor and teaches various group exercise classes at local fitness facilities.
Currently, Sarah is a dancer with Holland America Line and has the privilege to travel all over the world on their cruise ships.
Lauren Ashley has been dancing since she could walk. With a deep passion for dance, she was dancing 30 hours a week by age seven. She continued to grow as a person and as a dancer performing more and more, dancing in shows with The Joffrey Ballet, Lil’ Wayne, James Brown, Mariah Carey and many more. As well as choreographing for many different recording artists, she is currently the Director for the award winning Drury University Dance Team. Lauren is a main choreographer for several competitive dance troupes and has won numerous high place awards. In addition to being a renowned Choreographer, she also judges for many Talent Competitions. She has been studying dance for 21 years, training with renowned teachers such as Joel Hall, Mandy Moore, Anna Paskevska, Bril Barrett and Kirby Reed and attended The Chicago Academy for the Arts High School on a dance scholarship. Lauren is formally trained in every style of dance including Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Pointe and Ballroom. She has now dedicated most of her time to the instruction and growth of children and adults pursuing dance as a career. She has a special place in her heart for working with students and loves to share her passion and drive for dance.
Tanya Ashton Tanya's passion for dance started at an early age. She started dancing at the age of two at Palmer's School of Gymnastics and Dance before training seriously at the age of eleven at the Faulbourg School of Ballet under the tutelage of Watmora Casey and Avnun Yakubov. She then trained from age thirteen to eighteen with the Perseverance dance company in Chicago, Illinois. During her years with Perseverance, Tanya danced with choreographers such as Dee Caspary, Tina D’Amato, Michelle Elkin, Chris Jacobson, Lizzie MacKenzie, Mark Meismer, Melissa Ridgway and Sonya Tayeh. She as well traveled with Co. Dance as an assistant. Tanya soon realized her passion for teaching and choreography and has been on staff at Aspire Dance Company from Center Stage Dance Studio since 2002. Since 2007 she has been a lead choreographer for the Aspire Dance company. In the years following, her dances have won numerous top awards including Outstanding Choreography, Excellence in Technique, Most Entertaining, Overall Highest Score, and numerous FDC awards. On top of teaching, Tanya travels on weekends judging for multiple competitions. Tanya's other passion is running Sweet Bliss, her custom cake and cupcake company.
Mackenzie Schwarzkoff began her college career in the Dance Theatre Program and modern based Repertory Company at Oakland University. At this time, she also began her full time teaching career under the guidance of her own instructor and mentor, Tina Marie Foth, of Tina Marie School of Dance of Warren and Shelby Twp., Michigan. Mackenzie continues to attend the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, New York, each year to obtain her certification in education and dance instruction through Dance Masters of America. She was chosen to perform in the national casting tour of Sesame Street Live, Elmo Makes Music, through Vee Corporations. She has guest performed nationally as the regional and national title holder of various dance competitions. Mackenzie is grateful for each performance opportunity she is given. Hard work and a stable foundation has lead her to what she is so proud to be today; a Radio City Rockette. It is Mackenzie’s 3rd Year as a New York City Radio City Rockette and she continues to enjoy every moment of it, as it has been a dream come true. Aside from performing, she takes pride in being able to return her knowledge back to younger dancers, not only through her teaching, but by being a part of judging panels for a number of well renowned dance competitions ranging from local cities to those of a larger scale.
Sinead Gildea graduated from the University of Iowa, where she was a member of Dancers in Company (the University's professional touring company) for two years. She was a co-founder and the Executive Director of Impetus , a professional dance company based in Chicago. She has danced with Impetus Dance Theater, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, The Cerqua Rivera Art Experience, trained with River North Chicago Dance Company, and has had the pleasure of dancing for , Eddy , Randy Duncan, Jan Erkert, and many more. She has also danced in Dance Chicago, Melissa Thodos & Dancers New Dances, Duets for My Valentine, Around the Coyote, Next Dance Festival, the Other Dance Festival, Spectrum, Motivity and others. Sinead performs regularly with various production companies for corporate, commercial, and private events. She has appeared in benefit performances including Dance Divas, Who's That Girl, Chicago House, and Big Wigs Live, and was a featured dancer for the Black Orchid Supper Club and Dance Captain for Flirt Cabaret. Her dancing has been seen on ABC, WGN, and WTTW. She performed in the ABC ground-breaking ceremony, the Fashion Show, and hair shows in New York and Los Angeles. She currently teaches in the Chicagoland area and conducts Master Classes throughout the Midwest, and has been on staff at the Lou Conte Dance Studio. Sinead has choreographed for Impetus Dance Theater, Fisher Dance Center's professional production of "The Journalist", Forum Jazz Dance Theatre, Midwest Dance Collective, Whitney Young High School, Lake Zurich High School Orchesis, Mt. Prospect High School Orchesis, and holiday showcases Polar Express and Nightmare before Christmas. Sinead has served as Artistic Consultant to and Midwest Dance Collective, and is currently a Co-Director and Choreographer for Motions Dance Company, a pre-professional student company. Her choreography for Motions Dance Company has been featured in the Motions Annual Concert and other area concert dance performances, and has placed first overall at numerous national and regional talent competitions. Her choreography for Whitney Young High School was voted Best Choreography by the audience at Dance Chicago 2008's Dance Slam, and her dancing has been called "brilliant" by the Chicago Reader. Sinead is also a regional and national adjudicator for Applause Talent Competitions.
Courtney Kozlowski grew up in Bartlett, IL and started dancing at the age of 3. She furthered her training in Chicago at Ruth Page, Giordanos and Lou Conte. She was also accepted into Ballet Met’s program for a summer and did the Joffrey Nutcracker as a child. Courtney became a scholarship student for Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. She has been teaching and choreographing for many studios around the suburbs of Chicago as well. Courtney has been able to dance in, as well as choreograph a piece for Dance Chicago. Other performance opportunities include Chicago Freelance Dance, Chicago Takes Off, The Milwaukee Arts Festival, and was able to perform in Inaside's fall show of 2009 in Deb Nanni's piece. Courtney has been a work study with Inaside Chicago Dance and is currently a Performing Apprentice with Inaside. This year she performed in their Fall and Spring show, and she set a new piece on the company that has been performed throughout the Chicago land area.
Brandy Blaha is currently dancing weekly at Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, "Sophisticated Lady's". Brandy began her training under the guidance of her mother, Sherry Blaha. She continued her education at Wayne State University and earned her Bachelor's Degree of Fine Arts in Dance in 2007. Since moving to New York, Brandy has had the honor of working with many acclaimed choreographers such as: Brenda Bufalino, Michelle Dorrance, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Derick K. Grant, Jared Grimes, and Jason Samuels Smith. Brandy can be found teaching around NYC, as well as guest teaching in the Midwest area. Recent Performance credits include: “On Tap” at Joe’s Pub, “They Don’t Sing About Love No More” at New World Stages, and “The 28th Annual Downtown Dance Festival” with C3, a NY Tap Cooperative, Tap City’s 2008 “Tap and Song” “Old Man Time” by Ernest "Brownie" Brown and Reggio McLaughlin, Jared Grimes "Broadway Underground" at BB Kings Times Square, Tap Extravaganza 2011 and Summerstage with Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, “Smooth Criminal”, Derick K. Grant’s ”Once upon a Tap” at Harris Theatre in Chicago, IL, “A Shared Evening: Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards,” as part of the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Motor City Tap Fest's “Masters of Tap” at Detroit Orchestra hall.
Noel Powers, originally from Schaumburg, Illinois, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While there, she was also awarded The Dalton Exceptional Dance Major Scholarship and the Wendy Cornish Endowed Scholarship. She has performed in such Great Works as George Balanchine’s Who Cares? and Serenade as well as Lou Conte’s The 40s. In 2005, she had the privilege of performing George Faison’s Suite Otis at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as part of the Masters of African American Choreographers Showcase. She has participated in the River North Chicago Dance Company’s Summer Intensive/Invited Artists Program and was awarded a scholarship to the Thodos Dance Chicago Summer Intensive. In 2008, she was given the opportunity to choreograph an original work for Inaside’s spring concert, In the Painting. Ms. Powers is involved in both choreographing and teaching at studios in the Chicago area. She is thrilled to begin her third season with Inaside Chicago Dance.
Margaret Palmer has been a dancer/teacher/choreographer in the Chicagoland area for 25 years. She was one of the founding members of River North Dance Chicago and was featured in their very first television documentary "Reality of a Dreamer". Margaret also enjoyed a brief apprenticeship with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She performed with Second City Ballet Company, Cerqua/Rivera Art Experience, Kaye and Dow Productions, and Dancewerks. Margaret was the artistic director of the "Dance Theatre of Elgin" for 12 years. There she designed a pre-professional dance program for suburban youth. Currently she teaches and choreographs at Larkin High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy, Inspire School of Dance, Centerstage Dance Studio, Rise Dance Center, and Schaumburg Park District. She has been a regional and national adjucator for Applause Talent for the past ten years. Margaret is the mother of three beautiful children ages 10, 15, and 17. She loves encouraging them to explore their talents!
Jaime Moore’s successful career spans the wide gambit of television, music videos, theatre, commercials and industrials. She is an accomplished actress, dancer and choreographer. Jaime is a former dance camp instructor for MA Dance, and has been teaching workshops and providing award-winning choreography nationwide for 10 years. She has a degree in Commercial Entertainment from Columbia State, with plans to pursue her Masters in the near future. She is the former show captain for NickToons Summer Jam at Paramount’s King’s Island, where she received an IAPA (International Amusement Park Award) for “Best Children’s Show Performer. Jaime is currently residing in Opelika, Alabama, where she is Assistant Director of Make Your Move Performing Arts School.
"Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another." ~anonymous
Meghan Conway , Romulus, MI, is an award winning choreographer/teacher with 20 years of dance experience. At age 4, Meghan began dancing at Sherry's Academy of Dance where she studied ballet, jazz, lyrical, and tap under Sherry Blaha. Fifteen years later, in 2003 she was accepted into Wayne State University's Maggie Allesse Department of Dance with a Talent Scholarship where she continued her studies. As a dance scholar Meghan performed in several repretoire works and studied closely with world renowned choreographers such as Josh Hilberman, Melissa Allen, Jawole Willa Jo Zolar and Sean Curran. During her four years Meghan served as WSU Dance Company's president, recieved the first ever Harriet Burg Choreography Scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Dance in May of 2007. Upon graduation Meghan continued her dance training in NYC studying at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and Dance New Amsterdam. After two years in the Big Apple she returned to Michigan and Sherry's Academy of Dance to focus on her choreography. Since then she has won numerous national choreography awards. Currently, Meghan is living in Los Angeles, CA choreographing and performing as a member of the contemporary company Artists For Community Change LA (ACFCLA) and performing with the hip hop company Asylum Dance Co. Her most recent accomplishment, Meghan was a featured dancer in Chris Willis's “Louder” music video. You can also check out some of her choreography at http://www.youtube.com/user/MegKConway
Brittany Mileski is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, master class teacher, and competition adjudicator. Brittany began her training at the age of 4 with her mother, Susan Ross, and continued her training with Judith Svalander, Jazz Master, Nan Giordano of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Ballet Master, Homer Hans Bryant, Jon Lehrer of LehrerDance, Mark Swanhart, Susan Quinn Williams, Kirby Reed, among many others. Brittany won the Australian Dance Championships and was awarded a scholarship at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She was crowned Dancer of the Year in the year 2000. Brittany currently still trains and dances professionally throughout the Chicagoland area. Brittany’s career as a dancer includes Holland America Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Walt Disney World, One World Dance Theater, Colorado Jazz Dance Company, David Taylor Dance Theatre, Thodos New Dances, and the Denver Independent Choreographer Project. Brittany has modeled for Leo’s Dancewear and represented Candies Cosmetics as a GoGo dancer. She also represented Mattel Toys as Barbie. Brittany’s choreography has won many awards and recognition nationally. Currently Brittany is an instructor at Giordano Dance School and Bataille Academie of the Danse. She is the Education and Outreach Coordinator in the Chicago Public Schools for Dance as a Curriculum and Jazz Dance Science and Health program through the Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago organization.
Jon Sloven received an M.F.A in Dance: Choreography and Performance from the University of Arizona where he was recognized with a Most Outstanding Teaching Assistant award. After attending Colorado College where he received a B.A. in economics and business, Jon has danced professionally with Kim Robards Dance, Wats-on-Dance and Same Planet Different World and currently dances with Inaside Chicago Dance. Jon has won awards for his unique choreography including being a finalist in the Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Jazz Dance World Congress and Dance Chicago choreography competitions. He’s been fortunate enough to tour to China and Germany while dancing professionally and will return to Germany this summer to teach master classes in addition to perform. In addition to jazz, Jon also teaches modern and ballet in the Chicagoland area while choreographing for various schools and studios.
Joel Hall was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 20, 1949. Hall began his dancing career in 1968 under the tutelage of Ed Parrish, and the following year, he moved to New York City, where he studied under Denise Jefferson. Returning to Chicago, he earned his B.A. degree in sociology from Northeastern Illinois University in 1972.
In 1974, Hall and Joseph Ehrenberg co-founded the Chicago City Theatre Company, which later became the Joel Hall Dance Center. Hall now serves as the artistic director and principal choreographer for the Joel Hall Dancers, and director and chief instructor of the training studio. Over the years, the Joel Hall Dancers have gained an international reputation and Hall has been widely acclaimed as a choreographer. His company has performed three seasons at the prestigious Joyce Theater in New York, and he has led the company on nine international tours, beginning with the Glasgow May Fest in 1985. Hall has created ballets for the Chicago City Ballet, the Zenon Dance Company in Minneapolis and Ballet Tennessee in Chattanooga, as well as choreographing the opera "The Pearl Fishers" at the Chicago Opera Theatre and Goldie Hawn's film, Wildcats. In 1991, Hall choreographed the 50th Anniversary presentation of Duke Ellington's musical "Jump for Joy." In addition to these productions, he has created more than forty ballets for his own company. Hall has also gained attention as an instructor of jazz dance. He has taught at Wayne State University, New York State University, Northern Illinois University, and Western Michigan University. He has also taught internationally, conducting classes in Liverpool, Glasgow, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Belfast, and the United Kingdom. The Joel Hall Dance Center in Chicago offers more than 150 classes a week to students ranging from age three to adults.
Michael Schloegl has performed throughout the
*Faculty subject to change without notice