Staff

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Evolve’s amazing and talented teachers and staff!

Evolve has a distiguished list of highly experienced and caring indiviuals who invest their time and talents into their students. The ultimate goal of the staff at Evolve is to teach students to love dance, master the fundamentals, and grow to their highest potential.

 


 

Jenny Vause – Artistic Director, Teacher

Jenny is an experienced, award-winning choreographer who has been teaching dance for over twenty-two years. She has a passion for teaching all ages and levels of students. Jenny earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Rockford College. She has danced with Without Shoes Modern Dance Company and has studied in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and Las Vegas. She has been on the judges’ panel at Move Productions and Tribute Talent Competition and taught at Rockford University in the dance department. Jenny has been a guest teacher at Xtreme Dance Force, Forte Arts Center, and Dance FX. In 2014, 2015, and 2017 she was chosen as a featured choreographer at the Carnival Choreographers Showcase in Chicago. In 2015, three of her pieces were chosen to perform at Dance Chicago. Jenny’s jazz choreography was selected to open for the National Tour of Kidz Bop, as well as on the Disney Channel. She recently choreographed several numbers for Gateway Performing Arts Studio’s productions of “West Side Story” and “The Little Mermaid.” She appeared in their productions of “Into the Woods”, “The Little Mermaid,” and “Rent.”Jenny takes great pride in the studio and feels very blessed to have so many supportive families, talented dancers, and dedicated teachers at Evolve. She enjoys sharing her love of music and movement and couldn’t be more pleased with the last twelve years! Jenny’s choreography awards are displayed proudly on the walls of the studio as her students continue to bring her ideas to life through the art of dance!

Theresa N. – Teacher

Theresa has been teaching dance for eighteen years. With each year, her choreography grows to new levels, and her passion for dance continues. She has an eye-catching style and has received choreography awards at many competitions. While competing throughout the United States during high school, Theresa won several high scores and special awards. Her unique tap and hip hop choreography has been featured in an opening act for Kidz Bop the National Tour. Her amazing hip hop choreography was selected for Dance Chicago’s 2014 Legacy Choreographers Showcase. Theresa has been a guest teacher at Forte Arts Center and Dance FX. She performed at the 2014, 2015, and 2017 Carnival Choreographers Showcase in Chicago. Her passion for dance is clear when watching her teach classes at Evolve. Her no-nonsense style challenges her students to their fullest, and we are very lucky to have her on our Evolve staff. Theresa works mostly with our competitive dancers teaching technique classes and choreographing teams, solos duets, and trios. Her commitment to technique, creativity, and enthusiasm inspires her dancers to work toward their highest potential.

Jessica S. – Teacher

Jessica has been teaching dance for sixteen years. She has been with Evolve since we opened in 2005. While living in Los Angeles, she trained at some of the best studios in the country. Jessica is a very gifted instructor who enjoys teaching all age levels. She is very patient and brings out the personalities of her dancers. Jessica teaches recital classes and some technique and competition dances. She also teaches preschool dance at the YMCA and was the choreographer for Heartland Church’s “Smash Up” for several years. Jessica regularly assists with scheduling, registration, and receptioning. We appreciate her teaching talents, creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication!

Jessica J. – Teacher

Jessica has been teaching dance for eighteen years. She loves teaching all styles of dance and is wonderful with dancers of all ages. When competing, Jessica won many awards at both regional and national levels. Her passion for music shines in her choreography! She was a member of Fourth Movement, a semi-professional ensemble. Jessica also has choreographed for local high school dance teams. She has enthusiasm for teaching, and it shows! Jessica always gets the best out of her students with her wonderful choreography and the positive atmosphere she creates. We are so lucky to have Jessica teaching at Evolve.

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Valerie B. – Teacher

Valerie has been teaching dance for over twenty-two years. She graduated from Millikin University with a degree in Musical Theatre/Dance and has twenty-two years of experience in the entertainment industry as a professional singer and dancer. She studied in New York City, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Valerie was a back-up dancer/singer for Louise Mandrell for six years and danced in music videos and concerts with Dolly Parton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Kenny Chesney and Faith Hill. She also appeared in Melrose Place, Family Matters, and Mad T.V. She continues to work as a professional singer in her band, Primetime Live. Valerie is a certified Autism Movement Therapist and teaches our Special Needs Classes, as well our senior citizen competitive dancers, and adult tap classes. She has a creative teaching style, and Evolve is lucky to have her on staff!

Morgan C. – Teacher

This will be Morgan’s tenth year teaching at Evolve! She had danced competitively for eleven years and won several awards. We love Morgan’s spirit! She is wonderful with dancers of all ages and has a special quality that helps dancers with less confidence bring out their best. Morgan had been involved with teaching our special needs classes and graduated from NIU with a master’s degree in Special Education. She currently choreographs for the Children’s Theatre Project/Youth Theatre Project and volunteers at GiGi’s Playhouse. She has also been the choreographer for Boys and Girls Club performances in the Rockford area, the Children’s Community Theater, and the Penguin Project. We are happy to have Morgan on our staff here at Evolve; she brings many unique talents.

Tera E. – Teacher

This will be Tera’s eighth year on staff at Evolve. She has been teaching tap, jazz, lyrical, and ballet for twelve years. She danced for eighteen years and danced competitively for thirteen. Tera also teaches at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Tera brings a youthful energy, a love of music, and a passion for dancing. She is a multi- talented and enthusiastic teacher, and we are delighted to have Tera at Evolve.

Mariah D. – Teacher

Mariah began assisting classes at Evolve six years ago. She began teaching classes at Evolve summer of 2010; parents and dancers love her! Her choreography won 1st place at Legacy Nationals in summer 2014. She graduated from Rockford University in May 2014 and teaches math at an area high school. Mariah was a competitive dancer for twelve years and enjoys all styles of dance. She is a great performer and has a very unique style. Mariah is the teacher/choreographer for all our recreational teams. We are very excited to have Mariah on the teaching staff here at Evolve! Her students have fun and work hard.

 

Dana F. – Teacher

Dana began dancing at Evolve in 2006, and she was a member of our competition teams for six years. Dana was involved in theatre at Guilford High School and choreographed all their musicals for three years. Dana was an assistant teacher for two years, and we are happy that she will be teaching classes at Evolve for the second year. She is very excited, as are we!

 

 

Megan N. – Teacher

Megan began at Evolve as a competitive dancer and then became an assistant in the summer of 2015. This is her first year teaching. She started dancing at the age of three and was competing by the age of eleven. Megan enjoys all styles of dance and teaching all ages but especially enjoys working with the younger dancers. She is currently attending Rock Valley College working towards a degree in education.

 

 

Bree K. – Teacher

Bree began dancing when she was three and started dancing at Evolve when we opened in 2005. She has been an assistant for five years and likes working with a variety of ages. Bree attends Rockford University and is pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is excited to begin her first year as a teacher, and we are as well!

 

 

Brook H. – Teacher

Brooke began dancing competitively at Evolve in 2009; she was also an assistant teacher before attending North Central College. She graduated with an elementary education major, as well as minors in dance and studio art. While at North Central, Brooke choreographed for the college’s Cardinal Dance Company and directed the show her senior year. Brooke is currently a teacher at Holy Family School. We are thrilled that she will be back at Evolve as part of our teaching staff!

 

 

Joe C. – Pre Pointe and Advanced Ballet Instructor

Joseph Caruana is a co-director of Elements Contemporary Ballet. He has performed with River North Chicago Dance Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Sonia Dawkins/Prism Dance Theatre, the MasterWorks Festival, Civic Ballet of Chicago, Evanston Dance Ensemble, Ballet Legere, and in numerous trade shows as well as worked in TV and film. In addition to studying with Elements’ Artistic Director Mike Gosney he trained on full scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School Professional Division and with The Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles’ apprentice program. He has also attended workshops with the Boston Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and the Lou Conte Dance Center.

As a choreographer for Elements, his work has been accepted into the McCallum Theatre’s Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival and presented as part of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ DanceBridge program and On the Prairie at the Chicago Cultural Center. Caruana was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship and a Richard H. Driehaus Professional Development grant to develop his original one-act ballet, The Sun King, which premiered in November 2014 as part of the SpinOff series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Caruana also co-conceptualized and co-choreographed the works Surge and AYA, An Aerial Ballet, with Elements Artistic Director Mike Gosney and Chloe Jensen and Karen Fisher-Doyle of Aerial Dance Chicago.