Faculty & Staff
Youth Dance program faculty
Jonathan Emanuell Alsberry (Rehearsal Director) from Normal, IL is a dance educator, creator and coach focused on inspiring excellence and joy in the study of Ballet, Jazz, and Modern techniques with a constant dedication to the exploration of artistry and the creative process. Currently a rehearsal director with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Jonathan began dancing with his mother Lyndetta and went on to graduate from The Chicago Academy for the Arts where he has since been a guest faculty member. In 2006 he received his BFA from The Juilliard School where he met Aszure Barton. Jonathan a.k.a “Jojo” is now dancer, rehearsal director, and creative collaborator with Aszure Barton & Artists and has assisted Mrs. Barton in over a dozen creations including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bayerische Staatsballett and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2007 Jonathan also joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and is currently a performer, rehearsal director and teaching artist with the company. He has shared two tours with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s “Hell’s Kitchen Dance” as well as “Evolution” with Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo. Other credits include The Chase Brock Experience, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Nilas Martins Dance Company, and Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. Since 2007 Jonathan has been teaching, coaching and creating work at various educational institutions including Arts Umbrella, Harvard University, University of California at Irvine, Springboard Danse Montreal, Ballet Hispánico and University of Southern California
Erin D. Barnett is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She began her formal training at age 6 at Mayfair Academy, then continued her training at Joel Hall and with Homer Bryant. By age 9, Erin focused her attention to classical ballet under the tutelage of Larry Long at the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance. In 1987, Erin was selected as the first African American "Clara" in the Chicago Tribune Charities Production of the Nutcracker at McCormick Place. Ms. Barnett received a BFA in Theater Arts from Howard University in Washington D.C. Upon graduation, she performed and toured internationally with Garth Fagan Dance and Philadanco, and Armitage Gone Dance! After a three year run as "Sarafina" in Disney’s The Lion King in Las Vegas, Erin returned to Chicago to teach and share experiences with young dancers.
John Cartwright is originally from Madisonville, KY and began his training in Evansville, IN at the Children’s Center for Dance Education. He continued his studies with the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Austin, National Taiwan University of the Arts, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. John graduated from Butler University in 2008 with a degree in Dance and Arts Administration. He has had the privilege to perform works by Bob Fosse, Bella Lewitzky, Sybil Shearer, Ann Reinking, Val Caniprioli, Ron de Jesus, Steven Mills, Amy Seiwert, Helen Pickett, Lila York, KT Nelson, Garfield Lemonius, Kevin Iega Jeff, Lucas Crandall, Brian Enos, Autumn Eckman, Kristina Isabelle, Robyn Mineko Williams, and Wade Schaaf. John has performed as a guest artist with Chicago-land companies such as Chicago Repertory Ballet, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, NoMi Dance Company, Momenta Dance Company, Schaumburg Dance Ensemble, and the Berkshire Ballet Theater. Before coming to Chicago, John performed and choreographed for the Louisville Ballet and Louisville’s Moving Collective. His choreography has also been produced for main stage, touring, and educational outreach shows for Thodos Dance Chicago. John was a member of Thodos Dance Chicago for 7 seasons and was the co-artistic director of Thodos Dance Chicago’s Youth Ensemble for 5 years. Currently, John is dancing with Chicago Repertory Ballet for their 2017-2018 season. He is on faculty at the North Suburban School of Dance in Northbrook, IL, The Dance Workshop in Orland Park, IL and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, which holds their summer residency at Centre College in Danville, KY. John is thrilled to be joining the esteemed faculty of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Lou Conte Dance Studio.
Julie Chapnick received a BFA in Dance from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She went on to earn an MA in Dance and Dance Education from New York University's Steinhardt School of Education with a concentration in K-12. Julie performed numerous works during her undergraduate and graduate studies and has danced with the New Dance Ensemble, 2nd Avenue Dance Company, New Dance Collective, and American Dance Art where she was delighted to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Julie has taught and choreographed for students and professionals in the privately owned studio, public school system and higher education setting. She was an adjunct dance professor at Central Piedmont Community College and Johnson C. Smith University both located in Charlotte, NC. Most recently Julie acted as Ballet Mistress at Rise Vineyard Performing Arts on Martha's Vineyard. As Ballet Mistress she presented her work at the Built on Stilts Dance Festival and was awarded high honors for her competitive ballet choreography for the MA region.
Mai Claypool was born in Saitama, Japan. She trained at Kishi Ballet studio, The Matsuyama Ballet School in Tokyo, Japan, The Joffrey Ballet School and Steps on Broadway in NYC under the direction of Yoko Kishi, Yoko Morishita, David Howard, Finis Jhung, Michael O’Brian, Francesca Corkle and Eleanor D'Antuono. She has received awards from ballet competitions, such as the Hope Award and Achievement of Excellence. Mai danced with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florida Dance Theatre and Metropolitan Ballet. She has turned her passion for dance towards teaching and spreading the joy of dance. She has been teaching ballet, pointe, variations, modern and contemporary at several schools in New York, Illinois, Florida and Japan. She is currently teaching at Hubbard Street Youth Program and The Joffrey Academy of Dance. Mai is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher in levels Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum and pursuing a BA in Dance Education from University of Bath in England.
Megan Davis started dancing in Austin, TX where she apprenticed with Tri-Tone, under the direction of Tasha Lawson, and Tapestry Dance Company, under the direction of Acia Gray. While in Austin Megan was able to teach at Tapestry and St. Stephens Episcopal School. She taught tap, modern, ballet, and jazz to dancers of all ages at each location. In 2013 she moved to Chicago to complete her bachelors of science at DePaul University and pursue her dance career. She was fortunate to apprentice with MADD Rhythms, directed by Bril Barrett, and in January of 2014 she was a promoted to a company member. She has been able to perform with MADD Rhythms at multiple locations around the city of Chicago, in Washington D.C., and once in Poznan, Poland in Jumaane Taylor's show 'Supreme Love.' Most recently Megan has been performed with Stone Soup Rhythms, under the direction of Dani Borak, which is associated with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and was an artist in resonance with Audible Odyssey in 2017. In 2016 she was completed her B.S. and in 2017 she completed her M.S. where she studied theoretical mathematics. Currently she is teaching classes at HSYDP, Lou Conte, and the American Rhythm Center, performing with MADD Rhythms and Stone Soup Rhythms, and working on her own choreographic voice.
Maliwan Diemer began her formal training with RAD certified teacher, Ng Siew Fong. By the age of thirteen she had been invited to study and perform with Indiana University's Ballet Theater, where she trained with Violette Verdy, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, Jacques and Virginia Cesbron, Leslie Peck and Doricha Sales, along with notable guest choreographers and directors. A long time instructor for Indiana University's Pre-College Ballet Program, Maliwan also spent a year as Associate Instructor for the African American Dance Company under the direction of Iris Rosa. She is now on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, the Chicago High School for the Arts and Chicago Ballet Arts, where she also serves as Performance Project Director. Maliwan has worked with the University of Chicago's UBallet and has taught company class for DanceWorks Chicago. She is a professional ballroom dancer, competing in Latin and ballroom. Maliwan holds a MA in arts administration and a BSOF in ballet and political science, magna cum laude, both from Indiana University.
Rebeca Griffin was born and raised in Mexico, where she trained and performed professionally with the Instituto Real Flamenco, under the direction of Betty and Claudia Villarreal. After studying classical dance at the conservatory Escuela Superior de Música y Danza, Rebeca studied closely under Maltre Maru Eugenia Fuentes, nationally awarded classical dance instructor. Under her instruction, Rebeca graduated from a certification in Alignment for Cuban Classical Ballet, Introduction to Pilates and Feldendrais Method. Simultaneously, Rebeca co-directed the dance department at Escuela Chistiana de Artes, where she choreographed 13 musical plays and initiated a dance program focused on musical theater. Rebeca continues to teach workshops and choreograph in Mexico. In 2010, Rebeca moved to Chicago to pursue formal dance pedagogy training at Columbia College Chicago, where she graduated with Cum Laude. She has performed works of Paige Cunningham-Calderella, Pamela McNeil, Ela Olarte, Maria Macsay, and Luis Segoviano.
Rio Tasia Guillaume received her early training on scholarship at the Ruth Page Foundation, where she danced with the Civic Ballet of Chicago under Larry Long. She furthered her training at Point Park University, while dancing with the Pittsburgh Playhouse Dance Company and the Pillow Project. In New York City, Rio joined Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre, fulfilling soloist and company manager roles; and spent nearly a decade at American Youth Dance Theater, where she coached students into earning acceptance from the School of American Ballet and LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, among others. Outside the dance world, Rio regularly travels to Haiti and holds a passion for their culture, having married a native and become fluent in Haitian Creole. Rio is an ABT® Fellow Teacher in Levels Primary-Five, having successfully presented her students to the ABT® Artistic Board of Examiners for eight consecutive years, and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Dance and minor in Business Management from Point Park University.
Erin Harner began training with true intent at the age of nine through Steamboat Ballet School of Dance in Steamboat Springs, CO. At the local studio, she became well-versed in a variety of techniques including ballet, modern and jazz. Entering into Colorado State University’s dance department in the fall of 2008, Erin continued to further her technical training under the direction of Jane Slusarski-Harris, Chung-Fu Chang, Carol Roderick, Judy Bejarano, and Melissa Corr. In addition to performing within the CSU Dance Department, Erin choreographed several works, one of which was featured in the CSU Spring Dance Concert of 2011. Her collegiate education also incorporated pedagogical training, under the invaluable instruction of Carol Roderick, and throughout her final year of undergraduate schooling, Erin was employed by the Poudre School District, providing elementary school students with hip hop classes as part of an after school program titled Club Trés. Upon graduating with honors in the spring of 2012, Erin served as a dance instructor at Elevation Dance Studio in Steamboat Springs, CO. In the winter of 2015, Erin relocated to Chicago in an effort to foster a career in dance and further her exploration of the hip hop technique. Since that time, Erin has participated in valuable training programs such as Establish Your Empire Chicago, ArchCore40 and the Nan Giordano Certification Program. She has performed at events and venues such as the RAW Artists Showcase, Prelude Midwest, World of Dance Chicago, Soho House and Stony Island Arts Bank. She served as a member of a hip hop company by the name of BOOM CRACK! Dance Company and has worked on a project basis with a modern company, CabinFever Live Arts. Furthermore, Erin has been featured, on two occasions, as a guest teacher at Vail Valley Academy of Dance’s Summer Dance Camp in Vail, CO.
Winifred Haun has been choreographer and artistic director of her own modern dance company since 1991. From 1985 to 1991, she was a soloist with the critically acclaimed Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, under the direction of Randy Duncan. Wini won three Ruth Page Award nominations and in 2000, she won the Ruth Page Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Dance Community. Her work has been seen at many prestigious venues throughout Chicago, the midwest, Texas and Colorado, including: Athenaeum Theater, Ruth Page Center, Link’s Hall, Fermilab’s Ramsey Auditorium, Overture Center (Madison, WI), Epic Center (Kalamazoo, MI), St. Mary’s College (IN), Montrose (CO) Pavillion and in many non-traditional spaces, such as Cheney Mansion and Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. Wini’s choreography has been commissioned by Chicago Ballet, Aerial Dance Chicago, MOMENTA, Oak Park’s Handel Week and many other Midwest and national groups. She has taught modern dance and dance composition at the Joffrey Ballet, Beijing National Dance Academy and at numerous festivals and workshops worldwide. Currently, Wini teaches modern dance at Hubbard St. Dance Chicago, Deeply Rooted Productions, and Legere Dance Center. She and her husband theoretical physicist, Stephen Parke, have three daughters and they reside in Oak Park, IL.
Dancing since the youthful age of 3yrs old, Daniel Haywood, known as BRAVEMONK in the Hip-Hop community, is an eclectic, passionate and energetic soul, whose dance was inspired by Gung-Fu (Martial Arts), his older siblings and various street dance styles. As an Artist, Performer, Choreographer and Educator BRAVEMONK has traveled throughout the U.S. and Internationally speaking, judging, hosting, dancing and teaching at many cultural Hip-Hop events. He has worked closely with the University of Hip-Hop, Temple of Hip-Hop, Urban Arts in Action Movement, Hip-Hop Congress, the Universal Zulu Nation and the U.S.A. States Department. Over the last 18+ yrs BRAVEMONK has dedicated his energy towards understanding the origins, developing concepts and mastering the foundations of Hip-Hop’s cultural dance form known as B-Boying/Breakin, while also focusing on Freestyle, House, Hip-Hop, Choreography, Movement, Music, Health & Fitness through BRAVE MOVEMENT™ & BRAVE MOVEMENT DANCE™. BRAVEMONK, viewed as a Cultural Ambassador and leader in the Hip-Hop community, is a member of Chicago’s legendary and internationally recognized breaking crew, Phaze II – Crosstown Crew (Est. 1982), as well as Co-Artistic Director of BraveSoul a dance company he co-founded and directs with artistic partner, Kelsa “K-Soul” Robinson. BRAVEMONK is also a founding member and leader of Awesome Style Konnection (A.S.K.), a Chicago-based all-elements crew, and F.E.W. Collective which joined artist activists from across the City to create social change through the arts in Chicago and overseas. Most recently BRAVEMONK is a member and mentor of brother crew and All style + Artist collective ALKEMY. BRAVEMONK is also a founding contributor & the Co-Host of Power Style Radio an Internet Radio Show & AM Station for Bboys/Bgirls, Urban Dance & Hip-Hop Culture, and an Advisory Board member of the Chicago Dance History Project (CDHP) a Non-Profit that seeks to investigate, preserve & present oral and corporeal histories of theatrical dance in Chicago and its vicinity.
Emma Hill began her dance training in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. She first fell in love with teaching as a teenager, choreographing dance numbers for the students in the after-school program where she worked. In 2017, Emma graduated from Northwestern University with degrees in both dance and writing. During her time there, she worked closely with faculty such as Jeff Hancock, Amanda Lower, Vanessa Vallecillos, Jocelyn Garner, and Billy Siegenfeld, as well as Susan Lee, who fostered her interest in dance education by providing several teaching opportunities in local schools and community centers. While in school, Emma studied ballet, jazz, modern, West African, improvisation, and Jump Rhythm Technique, as well as popular music video choreography, which she did by completing an independent study on the incomparable Janet Jackson. In addition to teaching in various Hubbard Street programs, Emma is also currently the Education Coordinator for the company.
Jasmine Llenas teaches in the Early Childhood Program at Hubbard Street. She was a former company artist with Ballet Manila in the Philippines from 2010-2015 where she also taught creative movement and beginning level ballet classes. In 2015, she became a member of the World Dance Alliance Philippines and a co-founder of Turning Pointe Dance Project where she conducted dance workshops for kids before moving to Chicago in 2016. Prior to her career in dance, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology. Currently, she is continuing her studies in dance education through the National Dance Education Organization. Her experience in the arts and sciences has fueled her passion to teach and share with others the beauty and nature of dance.
Anne Kasdorf has taught extensively throughout the Chicago area since 2005 and begins her fifth year on faculty with Hubbard Street's Youth & Community Programs in the fall of 2016. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from Ohio University. As a performer and teaching artist of Zephyr Dance for seven seasons, she led several in-classroom, after-school and Chicago Park District residencies. Anne is in her tenth season with The Space Movement Project (TSMP) as a performer and choreographer. As the Managing Director of TSMP, she manages company operations and oversees the company's rehearsal studio, OuterSpace. Anne has appeared as a guest artist with dropshift dance and in Wili Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Spaces. She is the Chicago City Editor of the Not for Tourists and a freelance grant writer that has also been published in TimeOut Chicago, DanceSpirit and theurbaness.com.
Michelle Modrzejewski joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Education Department in 2014 and serves as the Community Programs Manager. She balances her time between teaching and managing Hubbard Street’s diverse in-school contracted partnerships, the Autism Project, the Parkinson’s Project, the Youth Dance Program’s ChoreoLab, and other community outreach. Prior to joining the Hubbard Street staff, Michelle taught dance and movement in both public and private settings for ages ranging from early childhood to adulthood. Additionally, she worked with the Chicago based wellness organization, Mindful Practices, where she led professional development workshops for educators in and around Chicago which focused on classroom management and social-emotional learning. She has performed and choreographed throughout Chicago and the Midwest as both a freelanced artist and as a company member with Synapse Arts Collective. More recently, Michelle has taken on the role of Board Member for the non-profit ballet company, Ballet 5:8. Michelle is a 2007 graduate of Ball State University, where she earned her B.A. in Dance.
Ruthie Picha, a native of the Chicago suburbs, received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance in May of 2016 from Belhaven University. Over the years she spent in classical training environments, she danced under the guidance of many wonderful instructors. She dreamed that she could help others love and enjoy the gift of dance with some of the same success her favorite teachers did. Upon moving back to Chicagoland, Ruthie started out as a summer intern at Hubbard Street and then later became an assistant Teaching Artist in the organization’s education program. Hubbard Street’s unique approach to creative movement curriculum has challenged her perception of the art form in the best way and continues to inspire and inform her own movement practice as she witnesses the positive impact of dance in her students’ lives.
Jumaane Taylor -a Chicago native- has been tap dancing since the age of 7. He began his training at the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre where he currently teaches. He has had the esteemed opportunity to perform and study with Idella Reed Davis, Martin Dumas III, Jimmy Payne Jr., Sarah Savelli and George Patterson III. Jumaane made his professional debut with the group M.A.D.D. Rhythms founded by Bril Barrett. He now serves as Assistant Director of the company. Performing and teaching both locally and internationally, Jumaane traveled to Europe to perform Rasta Thomas’ “Tap Stars” which premiered in Germany. He was featured in "Dance Spirit Magazine" as One of the Top 20 Hoofers under 20 and in 2006, he was proclaimed in The Chicago Tribune as one of the top five dancers in Chicago. Taylor was apart of the ensemble for "Imagine Tap!" which was directed and choreographed by Derick Grant. He was also a principal dancer for a production entitled “Tap in2 Peace” directed and choreographed by Sarah Savelli and Ayodele Casel. In Chicago, the Bearded Hoofer is a tap instrumentalist in the band Sidewalk Chalk and Ernest Dawkins' Trio. All the while, recording tap on various albums and performing at music or dance events throughout the country and abroad.
Jessica Miller Tomlinson graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in Contemporary Dance. As a young dancer, Jessica had the fortunate opportunity to apprentice with the NC Dance Theatre under the direction of former New York City Ballet principals Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. Upon moving to Chicago, she continued her training on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio and was honored to collaborate with Lauri Stallings of the Hubbard Street Dance Company and perform with her company NANDANSE. Jessica was a member of Thodos Dance Chicago from 2005 – 2017, during which time she performed and toured both Nationally and Internationally. In addition to being a dancer, she also served as an assistant rehearsal director, teacher, and choreographer. She was also the Co-Artistic Director for the Thodos Dance Chicago Youth Ensemble for eight seasons.
Jessica has choreographed professionally for the Chautauqua Ballet Company, NC Schools of the Arts, DanceWorks Chicago, Chicago Repertory Ballet, The Inconvenience Performance Group, Idaho Dance Theatre, Columbia College of Chicago Repertory Performance Workshop, Forum Dance Theatre, Nomi Dance Company, Dance in the Parks, Visceral Dance Chicago, Nebraska Contemporary Dance Theatre, Eisenhower Dance Company, and Thodos Dance Chicago. She was awarded the Grand Prize from the Joyce Theater Foundation’s The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2009. Jessica self-produced her first full-length concert of works under the working title JMT/JLS Choreography alongside colleague Jacqueline Stewart, followed by JMT/JLS Dance Gallery and then Triptych: 3 Dance Voices. Jessica has collaborated with The Merchandise Mart of Chicago, The Dance Center of Colombia College’s 1306 Ten Years Later Project, Dance For Life’s Our Voices Dance, Andy Warhol Silver Clouds Exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and local Chicago band District 97.
Jessica was selected as the Winner of Idaho Dance Theatre’s 1st Annual New Visions Choreography Competition. In 2013, Jessica was chosen to create a new work for DanceWorks Chicago as part of their inaugural DanceMoves Choreography Competition. She was recently named a Finalist in the Avant Chamber Ballet Women’s Choreography Project, as well as being named a Finalist for the METdance Emerging Choreographer Competition. Jessica in incredibly honored to have recently been selected to present her work “IN TONGUES” as part of Dance For Life 2017 this coming August at the historic Auditorium Theatre. She has also been commissioned to create a new work for SHIFT DANCE | FESTIVAL in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the Fall of 2018. Her work has been presented at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Joyce SoHo in NYC, The Harris Theatre for Music and Dance in Chicago, The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, The Athenaeum Theatre, The Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, The Great Lakes Dance Festival, the Austrian Festival Young! Tanzsommer, The Dance Center of Colombia College, numerous venues nationwide, and The EICC in Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Booking Dance Festival. In addition, Jessica has received grants from the Audience Architects New Stages Dance Initiative. Jessica is thrilled to have recently accepted an adjunct faculty position at Northern Illinois University starting this fall.