Our Staff

 


denise-headshot Denise Sabala (Executive Artistic Director) began her dance studies at age 4 and has worked and studied under many famous teachers and choreographers. Her dance training began in Chicago and eventually moved to Los Angeles where she had the opportunity to work with the Carol Burnett Dancers.  Upon the opening of Great America in Gurnee IL, Denise performed, choreographed and directed the shows at the Bugs Bunny Theater Royal for several years. While there, Denise had the opportunity to work with the infamous Mel Blanc, “the voice” of Bugs.  Throughout the years, Denise has been recognized and awarded for her outstanding choreography. She has also judged regional dance competitions throughout the states.  Ms. Sabala held the title of Miss Barrington and went on to compete for the Miss Illinois title. For several years following, she was asked back as guest performer, ending up choreographing and co-directing the pageant.  Denise has been professionally teaching around the Chicago land area for 40 years. She has owned Denise Sabala Dance Studios for the past 40 years with locations in Rolling Meadows, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Heights, Orland Park and Lake Zurich, Illinois.  Denise founded and co-directed The Chicago Dance Connection for 15 years, a dance convention, and competition, which was sold and is still successfully operating under new ownership as The Chicago Dance Connection.  Currently, she is teaching all styles of dance including her passion of Jazz and Musical Theater.  Credits include choreographing and directing for Lake Zurich High School’s musical productions. Shows – “Grease” (choreography), “School House Rock” (directed/choreographed), “The Wedding Singer” (choreography), “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (choreography), “The Wizard of Oz” (choreography), “Pinocchio” (choreography), “High School Musical” (directed/choreographed), “Urinetown The Musical” (choreography).

Aside from her love of dance, she also enjoys riding her horse, and time with her dogs and family.


bridget-headshot Bridget Euker is a project manager (Chartwell Studio) by day who is currently studying to get her Elementary Education degree at DePaul University. Before this, Bridget developed her love for theatre in school, community, and professional theatre productions for 18 years. She has used this experience to direct and choreograph 30+ productions, some highlights of which are: The Lion King Jr., Aladdin Jr., Anything Goes YPE, Cinderella G2K, and most recently, Matilda. She gained many of these opportunities through Cricket Theatre Company, where she has been directing since its inception in 2013. She is also their web content manager, social media manager, and recently joined the Corporate Board of Directors. Bridget often uses her theatre experiences outside of Cricket (Skyline Studios, Apachi Day Camp, Big City Day Camp, Trilogy Dance, I Theatrics Professional Development) and she looks forward to expanding those skills at Denise Sabala!

haley-headshot Haley Pennington started her dance training at Denise Sabala Dance Studio in Lake Zurich, IL at the age of eight years old. She went on to graduate from The University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and General Business. At the university, she performed works by Cornelius Carter, Kavin Grant, Rebecca Salzer, and Rita Snyder, as well as being a lighting designer for department concerts. She was awarded the Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award for her pieces in the student choreographed concert, Dance Alabama. After graduating, Haley plans on using both of her degrees to advance the importance of the arts through exposure and education.

maria-headshot Maria Jones was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. She studied through high school at Royal Dance Works under the direction of Carole Royal. She has had numerous opportunities to work along side major choreographers including Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, and Justin Giles. She has trained with and performed company works for Royal Flux, Dana Metz Co and SoulEscape in California, New York, Texas, and Arizona. Maria is excited to be here in Illinois and to share her passion and love of dance with her students!

tiffany-headshot Tiffany Krause Originally from Dundee, Michigan, Tiffany attended Columbia Chicago College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Teaching and Public Relations. After graduation, she received an internship with Thodos Dance Chicago and made her professional debut performance at the Harris Theater in “A Light In The Dark” choreographed by Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos. After her experience working with Reinking, Tiffany realized her passion for musical theater. Her regional credits include On The Town (Marriott Theater), West Side Story (Paramount Theater), and Wonderful Town (Goodman Theater) where she became a member of the Actor’s Equity Association. As for commercial work, Tiffany was a featured dancer in the Indian Bollywood film Dhoom 3, and has performed with global brands, such as T Mobile and McDonalds.

Throughout her training experience, she was fortunate to attend many remarkable programs with Hubbard Street Dance Company, River North Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, and American Ballet Theater. She has received many awards and scholarships from various dance conventions and toured as an assistant with LA Dance Magic Convention at the age of 17.

Along with being an active performer, Tiffany has been noted as an up and coming choreographer of the Chicago area. She was nominated twice as a featured artist for InAside Dance Chicago’s Choreographic Sponsorship Event, where she presented her works “Embrace Against Time” (2014) and “Those Left Behind” (2015). Last year, she was chosen as the Featured Bravo Choreographer for the Dancewerks National Werkshop, where she presented her work “Read Between the Lines.” Tiffany has choreographed many award-winning pieces within the competitive dance scene.

As a performer, choreographer, and instructor, Tiffany is driven to craft, mentor, and inspire the next generation of dancers with the knowledge that she has gained throughout her diverse dance career and help them lead a healthy and enthusiastic passion for dance artistry.


shauna-headshot Shauna Shrewsbury was raised in the Chicago suburbs where she found her love for dance. Shauna received training from several great studios, graduating from Denise Sabala Dance Studio in 2011. Shauna went on to pursue and earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her time at Wisconsin and upon graduation, Shauna had the opportunity to perform works professionally by Li Chaio-Ping/Li Chaio-Ping Dance Company, Kate Corby, Marlene Skog, Collette Stewart and Christopher Walker. Shauna was also able perform, and study dance education in Iowa, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Hawaii, San Francisco, and Vancouver, B.C. When at Wisconsin, she had to opportunity to perform works by Joe Goode and perform with The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and many other great guest artists. Most recently, Shauna performed as a part of The Dance COLEctive in Chicago, IL as celebration of their twentieth anniversary season.

Shauna has been teaching dance and working with students with special needs equally for the past five years. She has served as a 1:1 aid, group and movement class leader at Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association, working with all ages and abilities. Her focus and studies in dance/movement therapy afforded her the opportunity to teach for Performing Ourselves, a non-profit outreach dance organization teaching dance to underserved girls in Madison’s communities to build confidence and resiliency. Her passions have led her to where she is now, a second year graduate student at Columbia College Chicago where she is earning her Master’s in Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling. In January, she will also begin the Graduate-Laban Certified Movement Analyst program.


devon-headshot Devon Perri – Devon is from Toronto and has been since a young age. He has had the opportunity in choreographing for such projects as The Toronto Film Festival as well the tap scenes in the movies; Honey, Universal Pictures and Save The Last Dance 2 MTV.

He’s appeared in music videos for such artists as; Chris Brown-New Flame, Chris Brown-Loyal, Chris Brown-Turn Up The Music, NeYo-Beautiful Monster, David Guetta+Chris Brown-I Can Only Imagine, Timbaland-Cop That Disc, Snoop+Wiz-Young,Wild n’ Free, BoA-Energetic, K-OS-Superstar + Crab Bucket, Mark Ballas-Get My Name, Yasmeen-Blue Jeans and many more. Devon has also performed on TV and stage with artists such as; the Billboard Awards w/ Michael Jackson hologram tribute, the VMA’s w/ Justin Timberlake, the V.M.A.’s, Billboard Awards, BET Awards, DWTS and Carpe Diem Tour w/ Chris Brown, So You Think You Can Dance w/ Ne-Yo, DWTS w/ Jason Derulo, DWTS w/ Mark Ballas, DWTS w/ Macy’s All-Stars, American Idol w/ Travis Garland and Stefano Langone, Korean Pop Star BoA and many more. He has also appeared in commercials for Marshall’s, Cali-Max, and Milk-Canada. He now resides in Toronto and is still teaching at studios and workshops across Canada.


meridith-headshot Meridith Bell – Meridith is a fourth generation dancer, whose training began at the age of three. Ballet formed the technical core of her dance studies, which branched out to include Jazz, Tap, Hip hop, Contemporary, and Modern techniques. She received her formative training at the School of DanceWest Ballet, focusing on classical ballet technique and contemporary/modern. She performed extensively with their pre-professional company, including the annual production of “the Nutcracker“. Her education continued at Lou Conte Dance Studio, as well as studying Fosse technique with Gary Flannery and Ballet with Donna Douglass.

Professional credits include the title role in “Insanity” and “Across the Universe” with Motivity Dance and guest appearances in DanceWest Ballet Company‘s Nutcracker. A believer in the evolution of dance, her work includes avant garde performance art collaborations with groups such as Oucho Sparks. Meridith’s teaching career began in 1998, training dancers ranging from age two to professional level in a wide variety of disciplines, including tap, jazz, modern, contemporary and ballet. In the same year, she began to hone her choreographic skills. Her teaching credits include the School of DanceWest Ballet Company, Dream Academy of Dance Arts, Xtreme, Von Heideke’s Dance Center, Beyond Words Dance, JEDA, as well as guest teaching throughout Chicagoland. Students of hers have won recognition for technical proficiency in national competition, peer awards at the collegiate level, as well as scholarships to Bachelor and Masters degree dance programs.


stacy-headshot Stacy Bills (Jazz, Competition) – Stacy Bills, originally from Orem, Utah, started her career as gymnast but soon realized her love was dance.  She received her training at Center Stage Performing Arts in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and ballroom. In high school, Stacy won the junior and senior national solo championship in Orlando, Florida, and went on to become Miss Dance/Drill Utah 2000 and 1st runner up at the Miss Dance/Drill USA Competition. Stacy was awarded the “Dance Talent Scholarship” at Brigham Young University and danced with the 7-time National Champion Cougarettes for three years and was dance captain for two years. Later, Stacy represented her city as Miss Provo, and then went on to win the title of Miss Utah. She was awarded a talent award at Miss America. Stacy has been featured on the nationally televised show, Star Search and made it all the way to the finals. Stacy also danced with the professional companies, “Evolutions” and “Odyssey” Dance Theatre. In 2008 she was honored to make the top 20 girls on FOX’s hit series “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Stacy was a teacher at Center Stage, and directed the Teen and Senior Companies. Her students have danced and toured with JLo, Chris Brown, “Glee,” “Dancing WIth The Stars,” “Donny and Marie,” and “La Reve.”  She has choreographed all over the country and has won many national titles with her choreography, including  “Critic’s Choice” awards at New York City Dance Alliance and West Coast Dance Explosion, “Best Of Jump,” “and “Best NU” group at NUVO.  Her companies have been featured on the “Dancing With The Stars” national tour, the “Stadium Of Fire,” and were finalists for two years in a row at the “Capezio Ace Awards.”  Most recently she has enjoyed working behind the camera choreographing and directing for films, theatre, and music videos.  She feels blessed to have a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter and adorable twin boys.

lauren-headshot Lauren Blane Borgen began her training at the Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey. She graduated with honors from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. Upon graduation she was chosen to receive The Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Dance by her professors. In her senior year of college, Lauren’s choreography was chosen to present at the American College Dance Festival, and was later selected to be featured in the Gala.
Professionally, Lauren was one of twelve dancers to be accepted into the Lou Conte Dance Studio Scholarship Program under the direction of Claire Bataille. She also performed with Giordano Dance Chicago’s Second Company for two seasons. Lauren had the privilege of being a backup dancer for Beyonce on Oprah’s Farewell Episode at the United Center. In addition to concert and commercial dance, Lauren has also been featured in the Marriott Theater’s productions of SHOUT!, Now and Forever, The Nutcracker, Mary Poppins, and Evita as well as Drury Lane’s production of Chicago. Lauren is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association since 2016.
Shortly after graduation from Grand Valley, Lauren was chosen to be the first alumni in residence in the dance program. Lauren returned to her high school, Glenbard West in 2011 and 2012 to choreograph the fall musicals 13 and Urinetown. In 2013 she began her position as the Resident Choreographer for Lake Zurich High School’s Spring Musicals. Lauren has been invited to teach as such prestigious organizations as the Chicago Dance Connection (CDC), Dancewerks, Regarding Actors (Re: Actors), Dance Masters of Wisconsin, and the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters (CNADM). Lauren chose to further her dance teaching knowledge, and is now an American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Certified Teacher, who has successfully competed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary though Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Recently, Lauren was one of six choreographers featured in Thodos Dance Chicago and Danceworks Chicago’s NEW Dances: A New GenerationStill Inspired(?) this fall collaborating with local visual artists. Lauren earned the position of Assistant to the Director for the Marriott Theater’s production of Junie B Jones: The Musical this summer.
Lauren has had four works selected to compete representing Team USA at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix Competition in New York. She’s also helped students qualify and place in the World Ballet Arts Competition Finals in Canada. It is these experiences and more that encouraged her to create her own pre-professional ballet program aimed at helping young dancers achieve a higher education in ballet training. Lauren is the Founder and Artistic Director of Main Street Ballet Company in Lake Zurich, mentoring and coaching young dancers in the discipline of ballet. Every opportunity Lauren has pursued has also been an opportunity for her students to learn and grow. Lauren aims to inspire work ethic, drive, and a desire to be the best version of themselves in her students, and encourages them to find a deep appreciation and respect for ballet.

sandy-headshot Sandra Ferrigno “Miss Sandy” began her dance training when she was just three years old at Denise Sabala Dance Studios. She has been teaching at our studio since 1989. Sandy’s tap training was from Denise Sabala, Jay Fagan, Julie Cartier, and Bruce Stegman. She also took classes from Lane Alexander, Lady Di Walker and other well known tap masters. Sandy has also trained heavily in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, modern, Latin jazz, jazz funk, and Zumba. Training other than Denise Sabala Dance Studios includes Barat College, Joel Hall Dance Center, Lou Conte, Ruth Page, Giordano’s Dance Center and a few other local studios. She also attended an abundance of dance conventions growing up receiving scholarships at many of them. Sandy has competed and performed all over the Chicagoland area. Her work has been seen at Street Scenes over at Carmel High School the past several years. Also at Lake Zurich High School and Lake Zurich Middle School North. Many of the pieces she set at these venues were large production numbers and tap routines. She has a serious love for working with the preschoolers along with the elementary age dancers. She tries to instill that passion at a young age with her patience and her own love for dance. Sandy is the director of our children’s program. When she is not dancing or teaching, Sandy is in a hockey rink with her third grade son, Caden. She has passed the passion gene onto her elite hockey player!

bhare-headshot Brian Hare attended Columbia College Chicago, graduating with honors with a degree in Arts Entertainment Media Management and minor in Dance. He spent four seasons with the critically acclaimed multi-diciplinary dance company Chicago Dance Crash and then five seasons with Thodos Dance Chicago. He is currently a contributing artist with contemporary dance companyLEVELdance under the direction of Eddy Ocampo as well as an aerialist with C5: create with no limits under the direction of Jeremy Plummer. He has worked with Melissa Thodos, Ron De Jesus, tony winner Ann Rienking, KT Nelsen, Harrison McEldowney, Brian Enos and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano among others. In addition to presenting his own work in the repertory of Chicago Dance Crash and Thodos Dance Chicago has has also performed never before seen archival works by Bob Fosse. As a teacher and choreographer he has toured and taught around the country guesting at privates studios and large universities alike. He is currently a master teacher and judge for Move Productions, Chicago Dance Connection and World Class Talent Experience.Photo Credit: Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth

rebecca-headshot Rebecca McLindon Blanchard, originally from Baton Rouge, LA, began training with Donna Blanchard and Stacie Collins. She went on to study dance at Marymount Manhattan College under direction of Katie Langan, where she performed with MMC’s Dance Company and had the opportunity worked alongside David Parsons, Edwaard Liang, Anthony Ferro & Geoffrey Doig-Marx on original choreographies. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, earning a BFA in Dance with a minor in business. In 2010 Rebecca joined Michigan’s Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. While dancing with EDE, she had the privilege of performing works by Laurie Eisenhower, Lar Lubovitch, Harrison McEldowney, and Brock Clawson, to name a few. She was also chosen to perform the principal dance role in Michigan Opera Theater’s production of “The Pearl Fishers” choreographed by John Malashock. Rebecca has taught master classes and set choreography at many studios, high schools and universities across the country, some of which include Hope College, Oakland Dance Theater and Western Illinois University. Prior to her time with Eisenhower, Rebecca danced with Giordano Dance Chicago II, apprenticed with River North Dance Chicago and was a scholarship student at Lou Conte Dance Studio. Rebecca resides in Chicago where she performs with Chicago Repertory Ballet, Dance In the Parks, Pursuit Productions, Jaxon Movement Arts and LEVELdance, and works as a choreographer for Still Inspired.

jc-headshot JC Renzetti (Hip-Hop – Co-Director of Xtreme Dance Force) grew up and resides in the Chicagoland area. With a credited bachelors degree in Political Science from UIC, JC trained in jazz, tap, ballet, acro and hip hop since age 7. Through his performing and training years, JC lived in the competition limelight winning countless overall 1st place awards and being offered scholarships throughout the country. He was recently featured as a top 10 finalist with Xtreme Dance Force on MTV’s Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew Season 2. JC was also an assistant hip hop coach on MTV’s hit show MADE. He has performed and opened up for several top recording artists such as Ludacris, Ciara, Twista and Soulja Boy. JC has also been showcased in top shows in Las Vegas. He was a choreographer for the internationally broadcast MLS All Star Game Half-Time Show featuring top recording artist Lupe Fiasco on ESPN. He is also a choreographer for the NBA Detroit Pistons dance team Automotion. JC continues teaching all over the country while he sets award winning hip hop routines for numerous dance studios, companies and universities. Since becoming Co-Director of Xtreme Dance Force, the company has opened up for celebrity recording artists such as Chingy, Tyrese, Bow Wow and Mims, just to name a few. He was a part of the Dance Power Express faculty for 2 years, and was also an instructor on the dance convention/competition WILD.

susie-headshot Susanne Payne was born and raised in Dayton, OH where she danced for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company‘s pre-professional and professional repertory touring company for eight years, studying under and performing works by such noted choreographers as Eleo Pomare, Donald Byrd, Rennie Harris, Ron K. Brown, Donald McKayle, Talley Beatty, and Ulysses Dove to name a few. In 2006, Susanne received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a Minor in Psychology (summa cum laude) from Wright State University and was honored to be the only dance major to receive a Martin Sheen Artistic Scholarship as well as the Dayton Ballet scholarship. In 2008, while dancing with DCDC, Ms. Payne won the coveted JOSIE Award, an honor for outstanding dancer voted upon by her peers in the professional dance community. Susanne has danced for the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in New York City and studied intensely at summer programs such as Spectrum Dance Theatre Seattle, River North Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre and with teachers such as Elisa Monte, Sean Curran, and Bill T. Jones. Other institutions where Ms. Payne has studied include: New York University/Tisch School of the Arts, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and Interlochen Arts. Ms. Payne has been an instructor at Stivers High School for the Arts under the direction of DeShona Pepper Robertson and in Mason, Ohio at Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet under the direction of Oliver Arana. As well as dancing, Ms. Payne has a passion for teaching and choreography. Her choreographed works can be seen at performing arts high schools, university dance programs, local studios, and professional dance companies nationwide. Most recently, Susanne was accepted into RDA Craft of Choreography Intensive in Provo, Utah on full scholarship. She is excited to have recently relocated to Chicago to further expand her career.

Sasha Vargas (All styles instructor – Dance Exchange director) is proud to have trained at Denise Sabala Dance Studios since the age of three and has been a teacher for 17 years. Her theater credits include The All Night Strut (Choreographer – Jeff Award), The Light in the Piazza (Choreographer and featured dancer), Carousel (Louise). Her company work includes the Joel Hall Dancers, Ascension – the Kirby Reed Project, River North Chicago Dance Company (apprentice), European U.S.O. tour, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (Dance Captain). Founder and Director of Legend Dance Company (University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign), Sabala Dance Ensemble, and The Dance Exchange. Her choreography has been seen at the State Street Thanksgiving Day Parade, Dance Chicago, Dance Week (Metropolis theater), Dance For Life: Next Generation. She has been a master instructor and guest choreographer for studios and schools across the Midwest including Iowa and Minnesota. She has been a master instructor for the Chicago Dance Connection for 12 years. Thanks to all the students, parents, and fellow teachers. I am consistently inspired by the commitment to this beautiful art form.

jamie-headshot Jamie Farrell Jamie began dancing to supplement to her competitive gymnastics career at the age of 11. By 16, she considered herself a serious student when her passion for the art surpassed that of gymnastics. She graduated Summe Cum Laude with her B.A. in dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She originally moved to Chicago to train with Thodos Dance Chicago, but has also since the pleasure of performing with Chicago Dance Crash, Corpo Dance Company, Impetus Dance Theatre, Midwest Dance Collective and Rasa Dance Theatre. Ms. Farrell has been a company member of Venetia Stifler’s Concert Dance, Inc. since 2005, and is an Emmy nominated dancer for her work in the 2007 PBS documentary revival of Billy Sunday. Jamie holds her M.S. in Exercise Science from Northeastern Illinois University, where she serves on the faculty teaching exercise science and dance courses. She is proud to be on faculty at Ruth Page Center for the Arts and the artistic director of Denise Sabala Dance Company. Her competitive students, as well as her choreography, have received top regional and national recognition, training scholarships and college scholarships. Jamie would like to thank Ms. Denise and the community for the opportunity to teach with such unbelievable artists.

avnun-headshot Avnun Yakubov (Ballet Master) was born in Russia and received a Masters Degree in Choreography and Arts Management from the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Leningrad.Mr. Yakubov was the Artistic Director and Head Choreographer Alumnus of the Moscow Ballet Theater in Russia from 1973-1993. From 1974-1988, he staged numerous works in Italy, Austria, Turkey, and Greece. By invitation of the Italian government in 1992, he choreographed and produced “An Evening with Strauss.” He also choreographed different ballets for the Kirov Theater in Leningrad and the Vaganova Choreography College.From 1993-1997, Mr. Yakubov appeared in the Chicago Festival Ballet‘s “Nutcracker” as Herr Drosselmeyer and served as Ballet Master and Choreographer for the Chicago Festival Ballet School. He served as a choreography instructor for the Looking Glass Theater Company‘s production of Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita” and taught at the Lou Conte Studio.Mr. Yakubov was the Ballet Master and Head Choreographer for the Faubourg Ballet Theater from 1995-2001. In 1997-1998 he staged and choreographed Ravel’s “Bolero” and “Paquita” with Alexander Lunev (principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet). In 1999-2000, he served as Ballet Master and choreographer at the Academy of Dance Arts. There he staged and choreographed “New Ballet Divertissement” and “Paquita” with Roger Van Fleteren (principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre) and Yumelia Garcia (principal dancer with Milwaukee Ballet).From June 2001 till August 2007, Mr. Yakubov was a Founder and Artistic Director of “Ballet Cultural Arts Center” and “Youth Ballet Theatre of Chicago – NFP“.

In 2002 – Evening of Ballet was preformed at the Schaumburg Prairie Center for the Arts. Featured guest artists included Elena Martinson & Andrei Ustinov formerly principal dancers from the Kirov Ballet Theater and Mr. Yakubov’s Youth Ballet Theatre pre-professional division students.

In the summer of 2004, Mr. Yakubov proudly presented his US Ballet Premier of “BAMBI“. This full-length ballet in 2 acts featuring original libretto stage version with staging and choreography by Mr. Yakubov. Performances by Milwaukee Ballet Theater members Jennifer Provins and Christopher Fellows – 1st Principal Soloists and Kirk Henning of Daytona Ballet Company – Principal Soloist. Performing from the Youth Ballet Theater (YBT) NFP were Principal Soloists Renee Briglio, Lindsay Cregier and Kira Stiers and the pre-professional division students of the YBT. This wonderful event was held at Hemmens Cultural Arts Center.


avnun-headshot
Photographed by Kristie Kahans
Mark Yonally is currently the Artistic Director of Chicago Tap Theatre, a critically-acclaimed dance company in Chicago that produces a three-show season and tours nationally and internationally. Mark has developed a global reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, New York, Finland, Holland, France and England. He has been blessed to have Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Sam Weber, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. Mark has gained the plaudits of major dance critics for his innovative approach to tap choreography, which he displayed while dancing and choreographing with the Bill Evans Dance Company and Especially Tap Chicago (ETC). His works have been commissioned and performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company, ETC and Hope College, among others. Mark is a noted educator and has taught at festivals throughout the U.S. and has served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University and Hope College. He is sought after for his multidisciplinary approach to tap teaching, which includes history, basic music theory and an emphasis on jazz music, and has taught in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. More recently, he has been teaching for multiple dance conventions and judging for competitions. Mark is also a published author, with pieces appearing in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine. Last year his Company was the recipient of the “Best New Production of the Year” award from the Dance Magazine Reader’s Poll and was featured on the “Ten Best” lists of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Windy City Media and SeeChicagoDance.