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Faculty 

Elise Flagg

Elise has been pursuing excellence in dance for years. She is the founder and director of Elise Flagg Academy of Dance as well as an instructor of many of the Academy's classes. Read her story.

 

 

 

 Jaclyn Allott

Jaclyn Allott holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. Her performance experiences include Northern Illinois University: 2015 Spring Dance Concert, Spent Days Out Yonder by Bill T. Jones restaged by Catherine Cabeen, Sliced Beats by Autumn Eckman, Silly Love Songs by Paula Frasz- April 14-15, April 24-27, Bill T. Jones Lecture Demonstration, Spent Days Out Yonder by Bill T. Jones restaged by Catherine Cabeen- January 22 2014 Got Broadway Rhythm, Everybody Dance! Mexican Breakfast by Bob Fosse restaged by Autumn Eckman, Steam Heat by Bob Fosse restaged by Judith Chitwood- November 20-23. Spring Dance Concert,Red and Black Ball. 2013 Fall Dance Concert, Les Sylphides by Michel Fokine restaged by Judith Chitwood, It’s Only A Game by Autumn Eckman, Silly Love Songs by Paula Frasz- November 21 – 24.

Jen Laino

Jen is an accomplished performer and choreographer with a strong teaching background and is highly qualified in contemporary and traditional jazz, hip-hop, and lyrical dance movement. Jennifer studied dance from a very young age training in the Chicago area as well as at the College of DuPage and Columbia College in Chicago. Laino was also training at the Joel Hall Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Studio and performing with Touch Productions under the Direction of Fletcher Nickerson, while making time to travel to New York and California to study at Broadway Dance Center and Millennium Dance Studio and The Edge. Jennifer has performed in the World Cup Soccer Tournament opening ceremonies, and has opened for artists like Hillary Duff, Missy Elliot, as well as choreographed for local Chicago music talent. Jen has been part of The Voice Dance Intensive here in Chicago. Always being a charismatic and passionate instructor she has been sought after for Master Classes along with setting choreography for many studios and companies in the area.

Guest Faculty

Debra Austin

Ballet Master

Debra Austin received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet when she was 12. At 16, she was handpicked by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. While at New York City Ballet, Debra danced many principal roles by both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, one of which was filmed for a PBS television special, Live From Lincoln Center. She later joined the Zurich Ballet in Switzerland where she danced principal roles in works by all of the major choreographers. Ms. Austin toured with the company throughout Europe. After her return to the United States, she was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal dancer where she danced roles in Swan Lake, Coppelia, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Giselle and La Sylphide. She went on to assist Lynne Taylor-Corbett in Ms. Taylor-Corbett’s ballet The Dancing Princesses, and in Florida was a preliminary judge for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.

Marin Boieru

Ballet Master

Marin Boieru began his ballet training in Romania and later trained at the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad. Mr. Boieru came to Carolina Ballet after seven years as principal dancer for the Miami City Ballet under the direction of Edward Villella. He has performed as a principal for such companies as the Pennsylvania Ballet, Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century, Roland Petit’s Ballet Company of Marseilles, France and Opera of Bucharest. He is the winner of the gold medal at the prestigious Varna and Moscow Ballet competitions. Mr. Boieru starred as James in Peter Martin’s PBS production of La Sylphide and as Albrecht on European television in the Romanian National Ballet’s production of Giselle.

Judith Chitwood

Judith Chitwood is a Professor and Coordinator of Dance at Northern Illinois University, School of Theatre and Dance.  She began her training in the Chicago area at the Academy of Movement and Music, Ruth Page Center for Dance, and the Evanston School of Ballet.  She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music where she studied the Horton technique of modern dance under James Truitte.  Her performing career includes member of Cincinnati/New Orleans City Ballet Company, guest artist with MOMENTA in reconstructions of Doris Humphrey/Charles Weidman works and guest artist throughout Chicago.  Ms. Chitwood is a certified Pilates instructor in Romana’s Pilates, studying with Juanita Lopez.  She is a member of the American College Dance Association, International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, and Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Doris Humphrey Society.

Therese Davis

Therese Davis, from Naperville, Illinois, currently dances with the Grand Rapids Ballet. She previously danced with the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. She studied on scholarship in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Professional Division, where she performed with the company in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella. In 2015, she received the Lorna Strassler Award from Jacob’s Pillow. Therese was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Prix de Lausanne and studied on scholarship at the School of American Ballet summer course. She received her early training at Faubourg School of Ballet and privately with Elise Flagg. In collaboration with the Dutch National Ballet, Therese modeled in a Viktor&Rolf fashion show and demonstrated choreography for the iPhone app Bounden. Therese is currently an apprentice with the Pennsylvania Ballet. She has been promoted and will be a part of the corps de ballet for the Pennsylvania Ballet in August 2017.

Steven Caras

Ballet Master

Steven Caras continues to enjoy a privileged and most colorful career in the arts which began with his timely good fortune in joining the New York City Ballet during the company's true golden age. For the next fourteen years under the leadership of New York City Ballet's legendary founder *George Balanchine, he would dance worldwide in more than forty ballets choreographed by Balanchine in addition to being featured in numerous Jerome Robbins works.

During this inspirational period of his life, Steven Caras was also mentored as a photographer by Mr. Balanchine along with the company's co-founder, Lincoln Kirstein. Their encouragement led Caras to a luminous career as one of the most revered image makers of dance in our time, whose work continues to appear world-wide in major publications, films and documentaries, exhibitions and private collections. 

Today, Steven Caras is very active in his travels as a keynote speaker and guest teacher while also playing a critical role in Palm Beach County philanthropy as a trustee on a private foundation along with his work as the founding chairman of two local charities--The Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts and College Drive. He is the recipient of the 2014 Career Transition for Dancers "Heart & Soul" award, presented to him at the organization's annual Palm Beach fund raiser by Broadway legend Chita Rivera. 

The PBS documentary, Steven Caras: See Them Dance, is a compelling celebration of Caras' accomplishments with a special emphasis on the artistry and magnitude of his photographic collection. The film has aired successfully on multiple PBS stations nationwide, receiving a 2012 Emmy Award in the category of Arts and Entertainment and the Grand Remi Award for 'Best Television Film of 2012' at the 45th Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival. In addition to his various projects, Caras is focused on identifying a permanent home for his extensive body of work: The Steven Caras Collection.

Marcus Galante

Ballet Master

Marcus Galante has worked extensively as a choreographer and teacher throughout the world.  Trained at the American Ballet Theatre School and The School of American Ballet, he was also a trainee at the Harkness School of Dance.  He went on to dance with the Chicago Lyric Ballet under Maria Tallchief, Cleveland Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and was a soloist with the National Ballet of South Africa C.A.P.A.B. dancing the classical repetoire.  He sang, danced and acted in A Chorus Line, Pippin, Carousel and other shows and has worked in Television and film as well.

Mr. Galante has created works for Ballet Chicago, Garden State Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Ballet Trockadero, the Buffalo Opera and other companies.  In 1995 he was nominated for a Dance in Film Award by the International Dance Film Association.  He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Harkness Foundation for Dance.  He is the founder and artistic director of the Comic Ballet Company Les Grands De Loony.

As a  teacher, Mr. Galante has been on the faculty of some of the most prestigious schools in the country.  Included are the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center where he was invited to be the company teacher of Ailey II, Pennsylvania Ballet School and Company, The Pacific Northwest Ballet, Lines Contemporary Ballet Company in San Francisco, Eglevsky Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Steps in New York, Broadway Dance Center, the Virginia School of the Arts, and many others.  He has also taught in Japan and Germany, as well as at the Midwestern Regional Ballet Festival in Columbus Ohio, and the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.

He is a musician trained at the Manhattan School of Music in Piano. He has played for most every major ballet school in New York City and has been in demand because of his extensive repertoire which ranges from classical and obscure ballet music to Stravinsky, Hindemith and the most recent Broadway Shows and movies.  Mr. Galante especially enjoyed working with such teachers as Mdm. Antonia Tumkovsky, Diana Cartier, Andre Kramerevsky, Peter Boal, and Lupe Serrano.