Faculty

TEANNA ZARRO


Teanna Zarro (Ballet)
received her ballet training from The Joffrey Ballet School, the Meredith Baylis American Dance Institute, and The Pennsylvania Ballet. She was a Company member of the

 

 

 

 


Connie Sweeney (Jazz, Lyrical),
a former member of performance Company Same Planet, Different World currently dances with Jay Fagan in Sibling Rivalry and is the former Artistic Director of Footwork Dance Ensemble Company at sister studio Jo’s Footwork, Western Springs.

 

 

 

 


Katie Moan (Tap, Ballet, Jr.Jazz, Hip Hop)
has been dancing since she was five. She is accomplished in ballet, tap, lyrical, jazz, pointe, and hip hop. At Stagg High School, she was a member of the Varsity Pom Squad, Co-Captain in her senior year, and a member of the Stagg Orchesis Dance Club. A graduate of Luther College, she was Co-President for the student run hip hop dance team – Eklipse.

 

 

 


Zoe Martinkus (Musical Theater, Junior Jazz, HipHop, Twinkle Stars Combo & Kindergarten, and Director of the Dance Workshop Ensemble Company), has a Bachelor of Arts-Musical Theatre from North Central College. She has trained in tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, and modern through North Central, Lou Conte Studio, American Dance Center, and La Danse Academy.

 

 

 

 

  
Zada Cheeks
(Ballet), a native of Aurora, IL, began his dance training at the age of 10. He became a member of The Cartier Collective and Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s “BAM!” while graduating from West Aurora High School. Since then, Mr. Cheeks has also performed with dance companies such as: Chicago Dance Crash, Civic Ballet of Chicago, Corpo Dance Company, Inaside, Kanopy Dance Company, River North Chicago, and Winifred Haun and Company. He has toured nationally and internationally to China, Italy, Spain, and Venezuela.

 

 

Chris Zarate, (Hip Hop Instructor & Director, City Nation)

Former director of Work In Progress, Chris first honed his performance skills working with DJ Too Kool Chris and built his technical foundations under the guidance of Karlo Familiara and Suave at Hip Hop Connxion, Angelina Grima and Karlo Familiara at Design and a variety of instructors with The Puzzle League and the Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance (CODA). In recent years, he has been 1 of the 4 directors to lead the first Chicago based Mega-Crew company to Hip Hop International in Las Vegas, performed at various competitions (including World of Dance Chicago, Prelude, Masterpiece, and more), and has joined the Chicago Branch of “Young Lions” under the direction of Ian Eastwood.

Today, as Director and Owner of City Nation Studios, Chris enjoys sharing his experience across the country with a new generation of dancers as they embark on their own journeys.

 

J.P. resume photo (2)JP Tenuta (Ballet)(BFA-Dance Performance Northern, IL) has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Company, Nashville Ballet Company (Nashville, TN)  MOMENTA Performing Arts Company; toured in Austria for Tanzsommer International, Ballet Chicago– Civic Ballet of Chicago, Chicago Festival Ballet, Bryant Ballet, Midwest Ballet and Salt Creek Ballet, plus, performances with NIU Dance Theatre.  In addition to his performances, JP’s dance background includes Modern, Jazz, and Lyrical and has taught for various dance studios & companies both nationally and internationally: Beginning Ballet for Boys, Advanced Ballet, School of the Nashville Ballet – Intermediate/Advanced Ballet, Modern (Graham/Horton) Von Heidecke School of Dance – Advanced Ballet and Pointe, Ruth Page Foundation – Advanced-Professional Open Class, Luna Negra Dance Theatre – Company Class.  In addition to his performance and educational credentials, he continues to deepen his dance by attending various intensives at Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor School, Martha Graham, Lou Conte, and Ruth Page, to name a few.

 

Marissa Flores (ballet, twinkle, tap)  Marissa started training for dance at the age of 3. She has danced at several dance studios including Dance Images, The Dance Workshop and American Dance Cente in Orland Park. Her training includes all styles of dance – Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern and Contemporary. She was also in dance companies at both The Dance Workshop and The American Dance Center. In these excel programs she has performed in many events such as The Chicago Bulls ‘Pre-Game’ events, Miss Illinois Pageants, The Art Institute of Chicago, Anthaneum Theatre and Great America.  Marissa has also trained in gymnastics and has a strong theatre background.  She has been performing various theatrical productions with Missoulas Children      Theatre.  In addition to training at various studios, Marissa has competed in many dance conventions such as Dance Olympus, Tremaine, and Dance Chicago. In high school, she was involved extensively in cheer and poms. Marissa continues her dance education while taking dance classes at Visceral Dance Centerand Lou Conte in Chicago. She is also currently attending Governors State University and working towards her Early Education degree.

Kalina Bartlett (Ballet)
began performing with Ballet Wichita at age 10 and danced principal roles while in high school. She returned to BW as guest artist for The Nutcracker, dancing Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wichita State University with a BFA in Performing Arts in Dance.  With Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, she toured to New York City and Italy, and earned soloist roles with choreographers Cheyla Clawson Chandler, Rachel Boyajian, Darrell Grand Moultrie and Shauna Martinez. She performed professionally with Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) in St Louis. She resides in Chicago, trains  at Lou Conte Dance Studio, freelances and teaches.

 

 

Annie Pinta
has trained in ballet, tap, modern, jazz, and lyrical/contemporary dance since early childhood.  She recently graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Dance Teacher Education and has a dance teacher certification from the Illinois State Board of Education.  She was on the poms team at Lyons Township High School and was a performing member of Illinois State Dance Theatre while she attended college. She was on the executive board of Dance Association during this time, and was responsible for producing the student-choreographed concert, in which produced three of her own choreographed works.  Recently, she has been substitute teaching and choreographing for high school dance programs whenever possible, as well as teaching at the studio.

 

 

Vijay T. Olander  (Tap & HipHop) makes his way from Omaha, Nebraska, to tap city central – Chicago and TheDanceWorkshop.  Vijay has been teaching, performing, educating, and choreographing since 2009.  He has received many awards for his competition groups and his choreography in HipHop. Additionally, with his love of tap, he’s learned from some of the great tappers of the time – Savion Glover, Gregg Russell, Anthony Morigerato, and Con O’Shea, amongst others.  In addition to his teaching ability he will be performing with Chicago based M.A.D.D. Rhythms – a phenomenal TAPdance collective whose “SOLE” purpose is to spread the Love and Joy of TAP worldwide.

 

Bailey Caves (Jazz) started her dance career at the age of two at Dancentre South in Woodstock, GA under the direction of Annie Day and Marcus Alford. She trained and performed a variety of styles at DCS such as: tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, African, and musical theatre.  While training at DCS, she performed at the Nutcracker of Cherokee County, BalletFest, Jazz on Tap Festival, Disney World, the Panoply Festival, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Having found her life passion in dance, she attended Oklahoma City University to pursue dance as a career. Bailey is a 2017 Magna Cum Laude graduate with a B.S. in Dance Management. Bailey is currently with Chicago Tap Theatre.

 

 

 

Chance Ennis (ballet, conditioning/acro, musical theater tap) began his early training under the direction of Robert and Miyoko Thomas at The Robert Thomas Dance Center. He was a member of the Iowa Youth Ballet and company dancer for the Dancenter Dancers. Chance also had the opportunity to be in the opening production number of the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular in 2013. He has won numerous National Titles and Elite Level Scholarships dancing around the country Currently, Chance is dancing and training with Ballet 5:8, and he teaches ballet, contemporary modern, Acro, and tap, not to mention he is a former gymnast.

 

 

 

 

Emma Jones (Ballet, Contemporary) hails from the South Suburbs of Chicago. She began dancing at the age of 3 at a local park district and continued her training at Dance Images under the direction of Diane King, Isaiah Allatorre, and Steven Spanopoulas. Emma spent her high school years training in Ballet 5:8’s Conservatory Program primarily under Artistic Director Julianna Slager and Ballet Mistress Lauren Ader-Cumpston. With the Conservatory, Emma had the opportunity to perform at Regional Dance America National and MidStates Festivals in 2016, 2017, and 2018, receiving scholarships to further her summer training. Throughout high school, Emma attended summer intensives at Salt Creek Ballet, Forum Dance Theater, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, as well as several intensives at Ballet 5:8. She specializes in ballet, pointe, as well as tap, jazz, contemporary, and improv techniques for all ages and levels

 

 

Donna Johnson (tap)  is the founder and director of the award-winning tap company “Steppin’ Out Dance Company”. Donna’s students are regional and national dance champions. Many of them are now dancing professionally. Ms. Johnson graduated with honors from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Theater. She has trained at several Chicago area studios with teachers including Jay Fagan, Bruce Stegmann and Lane Alexander. Ms. Johnson has received numerous choreographic accolades for jazz, lyrical and especially for tap