INSTRUCTORS

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  • STEPHANIE CLAY
    STEPHANIE CLAYTAP, BALLET, JAZZ & ACROBATICS

    Stephanie Clay began her dance career at the age of four in Aurora Illinois. At age 13, she began her professional training. She studied with Bruce Stegman, Julie Cartier, and Lane Alexander. Stephanie also received training from numerous organizations, i.e. The Chicago Human Rhythm Project, St. Louis Tap Festival, Robert Reed, Savion Glover, Idella Reed, Ted Levy, Tracey Vonder Har, Barbara Swanson, Jimmy Payne, Debbie Dee, Jay Fagan, Sarah Savelli, Al Gilbert and several Chicago land Conventions.

    Stephanie has directed many youth groups over the past 27 years. Her choreography for her students has earned several local and national titles along with invitations to perform at events such as The Taste of Chicago, The Orange Bowl Games, Dance Chicago, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, McDonalds Thanksgiving Day Parade, Dance America’s Dancer of the Year, and many community events and fundraisers. Several of her students have gone on to dance professionally. Her choreography has been used by professional tap companies and has been featured in the United States, China, and Venezuela. She has choreographed for Sesame Street with Bob McGrath and is sought after for her knowledge and expertise of Tap Technique. In the spring of 1998, Stephanie became a member of Especially Tap Chicago. The company performs thru out the United States and Europe. “ETC” is hired for many tap festivals not only to perform but also to teach and educate students in tap dance.

    Stephanie began judging for Applause Talent Competitions in 2008. Stephanie has been a guest instructor at Northern Illinois University teaching tap education.

    Stephanie is certified in teaching dance and music to children with special needs. Teaching dance to children with special needs is a true joy for Stephanie.

    Stephanie donated her time volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse (a downs syndrome aware ness center for children) teaching dance lessons. Her Ballet students at GiGi’s have had several opportunities to perform their talents on stage with other youth along with Inaside Chicago Dance in their annual Youth Summit for the Performing Arts.

    In 2014 Stephanie joined faculty with Haley’s Playground. Together with Occupational Therapist Jackie Olson, they created a Sensory Play and a Dance Therapy Program. Stephanie currently runs three special needs dance classes weekly, each a different level of functionality. These classes are titled “Special Stars” dance classes. The Special Stars students have performed in annual dance recitals, Youth Summits, and Dance Competitions.

    In the fall of 2003, Stephanie opened her own studio in the suburbs of Chicago. The teaching staff consists of 12 professional instructors offering all genres of dance. It is the academy’s mission is to give the best dance education possible to our youth.

    • CRAIG MILLER
      CRAIG MILLERBALLET & MODERN

      Craig Miller began his training in the Fine arts Academy at Southfield-Lathrup High School under the direction of Stephanie Schinke-Justice. While being a part of the S-L Dance Co. and Dance Team, he trained with Motor City Dance Factory, under the tutelage of Nicole Burnett, and Brandon Lee. He attended Oakland University as a Merit Scholarship student, and performed with Oakland Dance Theater and the Oakland Repertory Dance Company.

      Through Oakland University, he twice received a Maggie Allesee Summer-Study Scholarship, and has trained with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and the Ailey school summer intensives. Craig apprenticed with Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, and he was a part of the Michigan Dance Project. He has performed works by Louis Falco, Amy Marshall, Sean Curran, Robert Moses, Joel Hall, Alonzo King, and Steven Koester to name a few.

      As a Guest Artist, Craig has performed with the Macomb Ballet, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company and the Ypsilanti Area Dancers. Craig has been a dance educator for seven years, and as a free-lance dance artist, he has set works on the Southfield-Lathrup High School Dance Company, Oakland Dance Theater, and Michigan Dance Project. Craig also performs improvised dance performances for his church, and teaches workshops and master classes.

      • CASSANDRA PORTER
        CASSANDRA PORTERJAZZ & BALLET

        Cassandra Porter (Aurora, IL) began her dance training at Bonnie Ardelean’s Dance Studio in Aurora, IL. After graduating, she continued her training in Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago’s second company, Giordano Illinois.

        Her professional credits include three contracts with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, where she performed the choreography of Harrison McEldowney, Jeremy Plummer, and Sherry Zunker, and was also a featured aerialist in the first grand scale illusion show at sea. Since 2003, she has danced in Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s annual Christmas show, Welcome Yule! In the summer of 2007, Cassandra was one of twelve girls to appear on the CW network TV show “The Pussycat Dolls Presents: Girlicious”. After four years with River North Dance Chicago under the artistic direction of Frank Chavez, Cassandra now performs with Julia Rhoads’ Lucky Plush Productions and continues to teach around the Chicagoland area.

        • SARAH FORD
          SARAH FORDGUEST INSTRUCTOR

          Sarah Ford is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and is a graduate of the Youth Performing Arts School. While attending YPAS, she received her training in ballet, modern and jazz, as well as lyrical, tap and hip-hop at other local studios.

          Sarah has also trained at the Joel Hall Dance Center and Columbia College in Chicago IL, the Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, CA and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles. She has performed with numerous dance companies such as Inaside Chicago Dance, Midwest Dance Collective, DanceWerks Dance Productions, The Joel Hall Dancers and The JADD Co.

          Sarah has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with artists such as Wierd Al Yankovic, Soulja Boy, Hannah Ford Welton and Joshua Welton of Counter Culture, 3rd Eye Girl and Prince. Sarah was a member of the Joseph Allen Decker Dance Company where she assisted Mr. Decker for two seasons. She was a Co-Director of Xtreme Dance Force for 3 years and is the artistic director of Cohesion Dance Company in MI. She is the choreographer and a dancer for The Prince Experience out of Milwaukee, WI and is currently residing in Illinois where she is training, teaching and choreographing all over the Chicagoland area. This is Sarah’s fifth season with Inaside Chicago Dance and her second year as a Company Member and the Youth training Program Director.

          • Deb Nanni
            Deb NanniINSTRUCTOR

            Debra grew up dancing and training in gymnastics in Buffalo New York. She trained in all forms of dance and toured Germany competing in gymnastics in which she qualified for the Jr. Olympics. A broken arm changed that route and she focused on dance. She won a Canadian American Dance Competition where Gus Giordano gave her a scholarship to study with him.

            Her professional career started at Gus Giordano’s Jazz Dance Chicago. She took classes with all Master Teachers in Chicago. While auditioning in Chicago for a movie, she met Michael Peters and Sydney Poitier, whom offered her work in Los Angeles. She also performed on Star Search with other local Chicago Dancers, in which Ellen Werksman was the Choreographer.

            Deciding to make Chicago her home, she found a love for contemporary ballet and modern. She was a privileged soloist with Chicago Dance Medium as well as an independent performer with many affluent dancers from companies such as Hubbard Street, River North and Chicago Repertoire Dance Ensemble and many more. She enjoyed her professional performing career in modern, contemporary ballet, jazz, lyrical and production companies.

            Debra then decided to focus on teaching. She was the Owner of Progressive Movement Academy where her competitive teams enjoyed many top national 1st placements along with choreographic awards. After fives years, she knew she was a better artistic director, teacher and choreographer rather than a business owner.

            Currently, she teaches and choreographs at various private studios, park districts and high school Orchesis ensembles throughout the Chicago area and suburbs. Training dancers from all different aspects of life from Dancers with Special needs to young aspiring performers. She also works with professional companies such as Inaside Chicago Dance, Meraki Dance Company and various small independent ensembles.

            She loves teaching master classes nationally with professional dance workshops, conventions and independent studios.

            Debra is in her 12th year of teaching classes and workshops in Austria and Italy with Balletshule Zechner and choreographed two international works on a Vaganova ballet company- F.V.G Neu Space in Udine Italy. Which has been seen on international television. She was the first American teacher to work with this company. She has been also invited to teach for a premiere Italian dance studio, Axis Dance, that teaches all styles of dance.

            With her extensive knowledge in all areas of dance, Debra is in her 23rd year as an adjudicator for various national dance and talent competitions.

            Through Debra’s teachings, her students have received many college scholarships, employment in the entertainment and television industry, professional companies and performances with nationally and internationally known recording artists.

            Debra is very excited to be the new company director for Stephanie’s Academy of Dance Junior,

            Intermediate and Senior Companies. She looks forward to working with all the wonderful dancers and building a great future for them.

            • Haley Ader
              Haley AderINSTRUCTOR

              Hayley Ader, originally from Colorado, graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Dance and a minor is Physiology. While there, she had the privledge to train in multiple facets of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, tap, pedagogy and choreography. The University of Arizona provided her with a wonderful opportunity to work with a varied and talented faculty that included Amy Ernst, Doug Nielsen, James Clouser, Sam Watson, Michael Williams, Melissa Lowe and Susan Quinn. Along with faculty and student works, Hayley was able to dance in Martha Graham’s Panorama and performed the piece in a concert alongside the Martha Graham Dance Company. In the summer of 2012 she danced on scholarship at the Gus Giordano Dance School in Chicago. While in Chicago, she has participated in summer dance and choreography projects with Alliance Dance Company and Thodos Dance Chicago. She has also choreographed for Inaside Chicago Dance, with whom she currently dances. Hayley can’t wait to share her artistry, passion and love of dance with teachers, peers and students alike.

              • Joe Musiel
                Joe MusielINSTRUCTOR

                Joe was born in Buffalo, NY and later moved to Indiana where he studied Contemporary Dance at Indiana University. During his time at IU he has had the opportunity to work with a variety of renowned artists and companies such as Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, Parsons Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, American Dance Festival, Ballet Chicago, and Deeply Rooted Dance. In 2013, Joe moved to Chicago to accept a second company position dancing with Giordano Dance Chicago allowing him to learn and further his artistry from artists such as Brock Clawson, Ronnie Koresh, Keisha Lalama, and Autumn Eckman.
                Currently Joe is a member of SueMo: A Dance Experience, in Milwaukee, recently performed in West Side Story at the Paramount Theater (Aurora), as well as was a principle dancer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In addition to performing on stage he has found a knack for choreography and has put those skills to the test by winning various choreography competitions put on by Chicago dance companies, setting work on professional companies, as well as receiving recognition for his choreography in showcases and studio dance competitions.

                • Jordan Beyeler
                  Jordan BeyelerINSTRUCTOR

                  Originally from Wichita, KS, Jordan is a dance teacher and choreographer based in the Chicagoland area. She’s currently a company member and rehearsal director of Jay-Son Tisa Dance Company along with performing for Dancewerks, Stage Factor and Zzazz Productions Agency. Jordan’s professional performance credits include Deeply
                  Rooted Dance Theater, Cirqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Carnival Choreographer’s Ball Chicago, Inaside Chicago Dance Choreographic Sponsorship and Visceral Dance
                  Chicago. Jordan majored in Dance at Columbia College Chicago along with training in the Framework Pre-Professional Dance Program under the direction of Pia Hamilton. Outside of the studio, she is on the judging staff with Applause Talent Competition and Dancewerks Chicago.

                  • Jordan Mercer
                    Jordan MercerINSTRUCTOR

                    Before moving to Chicago, Jordan Mercer danced with the Alabama Ballet in Birmingham, where she danced in a variety of both contemporary and classical works. She taught in the RAD certified School of the Alabama Ballet and choreographed for the Young Choreographers Project. She also performed with Southern Dance Works and Red Mountain Musical Theatre Company. She has trained with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Ballet Austin, Point Park University, and the Paul Taylor School. Since moving to Chicago, Jordan has performed with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, The Schaumburg Dance Ensemble, Deeply Rooted’s Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase, the Still Inspired Dance Project and Chicago Repertory Ballet.

                    • Kaela Norwood
                      Kaela NorwoodINSTRUCTOR

                      Kaela was born in Chicago, Illinois but spent most of her childhood living in the surrounding suburbs. She began dancing recreationally at the age of four at local studio. She then relocated to the Bay Area of California where she began to take dance to the next level. By twelve she moved back to the Midwest and was performing with youth companies all throughout the Chicagoland area at Leo’s Fashion Shows, Taste of Chicago and many other venues. In high school she continued her training in dance as well as was member of her high school poms team and Orchesis.

                      Kaela recently graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in Dance Performance. While there she studied styles like ballet, modern, and jazz intensely from amazing dance professionals like Judith Chitwood, Paula Frasz and Autumn Eckman. She performed every semester, and also received the privilege of dancing multiple solo roles in main stage faculty concerts. Kaela has performed works of Robert McKee, Brian Carey Chung, Autumn Eckman, Morgan Fogarty, and Paula Frasz during her collegiate career. She has been selected to perform works at American College Dance Festival two different years and attended their winter intensive at Alvin Ailey. Kaela was also heavily involved behind the scenes and was a member of the dance department’s executive student board, her last year she was honored to be board president. She found a her love for choreographing during her time in school and created pieces for student shows every semester as well. During her time in college she began teaching at a local dance studio in Dekalb, as well as for her former high school’s Oak Park and River Forest Poms Team.

                      Kaela currently is a freelance dancer and teacher. She is dancing with Winifred Haun & Dancers, as well as working with a newly founded dance company, Meraki Dance Company. She recently finished a year of training on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago where she studied under the highest qualified faculty like Claire Bataille, Lizzie Mackenzie, and many more. Kaela also had the pleasure of being a scholarship dancer with Aerial Dance Chicago. Besides training, she continues to teach at many studios throughout the suburbs and work with local high schools dance teams. She has a strong passion for teaching and has plans on beginning a graduate program in dance education/choreography in the next coming years. Kaela loves teaching and choreographing is grateful to share her passion with her others. She appreciates the discipline and maturity dance has taught her over the years and wants to pass that down to the next generation of young artists.

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