2020 Summer Guest Instructors

~Tuesdays 6:00pm-7:30pm~

Rich Grund

June 16th, 2020

Rich Grund is a proud alumnus of Northern Illinois University, where he completed his Theatre BFA in Dance Performance with minors in Music and Theatre. Upon graduation, Mr. Grund joined the Dayton Ballet performing principal and soloist roles in over 40 ballets in the company’s repertoire including works by Alvin Ailey, Gerald Arpino, Septime Webre, Dermot Burke, Stephen Mills, Collin Connor, Christopher Fleming and many others. His most recognized performances include leading roles in Dracula,Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol, The Three Musketeers, TOMMY, Cinderella, and The Nutcracker.  In addition, he was appointed Rehearsal Captain for the company and assisted in staging company repertoire. He received the Josie Award in 2008 for outstanding artistry in dance. Mr. Grund toured three years with David Taylor Dance Theater, now Zikr Dance Ensemble, performing throughout the United States and internationally. Other international credits include dancing by invitation with the Finnish National Ballet and a performance residency in Cuba commissioned through the Harkness Foundation. He then accepted Artistic Directorship for the Colorado Conservatory of Dance for three years, prior to joining the School of Theatre and Dance at NIU as Assistant Professor.  Mr. Grund received his MA in Education from the Royal Academy of Dance.  His continued professional production credits include répétiteur and rehearsal work for Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz, Romeo and Juliet, Peter Panand Carmenballets for Colorado Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Kansas City Ballet companies.

Wade Schaaf

June 23rd, 2020

Wade Schaaf hails from the Chicago area and graduated Cum Laude from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater arts (emphasis dance performance). During his professional career Wade has danced for such companies as the Ohio Ballet, State Street Ballet Santa Barbara, The Omaha Theater Ballet, and Thodos Dance Chicago, and River North Chicago Dance Company. He has worked with choreographers Septime Weber, Stephen Mills, Frank Chaves, Ron DeJesus and the Tony Award winning choreographer Ann Reinking. Wade has been privileged to dance such roles as Tybalt in Robin Welche’s “Romeo and Juliet”, Jonathan in Oberly’s “Dracula” and as well had the role of Mayor Carter Harrision created on him in the Thodos/Reinking collaboration, “The White City”. After retiring from the stage, Mr. Schaaf went on to open Chicago Repertory Ballet in November of 2011. The company premiered to the headline review, “A Bright Debut for Chicago Repertory Ballet.” (Sid Smith, The Chicago Tribune). Since the debut of CRB Wade has gone on to create such landmark works for the company including The Four Seasons, Le Sacre Du Printemps, Bolero, and the company's first full length ballet William Shakespeare's MACBETH.  Mr. Schaaf continues to steer the company through his vision of bringing storytelling and choreographic innovation to the stage.

Outside of the studio, Mr. Schaaf has a variety of interests ranging from visual art to health and wellness. Wade is a certified in both the Pilates method (Through Power Pilates) and RedCord, and is happy to enrich the lives of many through fitness.

Judith Chitwood

June 30th, 2020

Judith Chitwood is a professor of dance at Northern Illinois University. She began her dance training in the Chicago area. She earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Cincinnati - College Conservatory of Music studying under David McLain, Oleg Sabline and studied the Horton technique under James Truitte. Prior to her appointment at NIU, she taught at the University of Cincinnati and Kansas State University.

Ms. Chitwood's performing career includes member of the Cincinnati/New Orleans Ballet Company, guest artist with MOMENTA Dance Company in reconstructions of Humphrey/Weidman choreographic works and guest artist in many performances throughout Chicago. Ms. Chitwood is also a certified Pilates instructor in Romana's Pilates, working under the Master Teachers, Romana Kryzanowska, Sari Mejia Santo, and Juanita Lopez.

Ms. Chitwood is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, American College Dance Festival Association and also serves on the board of directors for the Doris Humphrey Society.

Joseph Caruana

July 7th, 2020

Joseph Caruana is a co-founder of Elements Ballet. In addition to his work with Elements, he has performed with River North Chicago Dance Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Sonia Dawkins/Prism Dance Theatre, Haymarket Opera Company, New York Baroque Dance Company, Alchymy Viols,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. He trained on full scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School Professional Division, with The Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles’ apprentice program, and as a private student of Elements' Artistic Director Mike Gosney. Caruana has also attended workshops with the Boston Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and the Lou Conte Dance Center, and studied . As a choreographer, his work has been performed at the McCallum Theatre’s Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival and presented as part of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) 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 DCASE’s SpinOff series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Caruana also co-conceptualized and co-choreographed Surge and AYA, An Aerial Ballet, with Elements’ Artistic Director Mike Gosney and Chloe Jensen and Karen Fisher-Doyle of Aerial Dance Chicago. His most recent collaboration, HUMAN with performing artist ALEXA GRAE, premiered at The Inconvenience's The Fly Honey Show 8 and performed again at the closing night program for Salonathon at Beauty Bar.

Danielle Campbell Steans

July 14th, 2020

Danielle’s dream began at the tender age of four, when she started dancing with June Neal Key in Kansas City, Kansas, then furthered her training at age nine with Lisa Stickelman Dillinger and Flo Klenklen at the State Ballet of Missouri (now the Kansas City Ballet School). Danielle continued her dance education at the Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts in Natick, Massachusetts with Michael Owen, Sydelle Gomberg, the late Samuel Kirkjian, and Tamara King, and was a member of their National Youth Ballet for two seasons. During that time she also attended several summer programs including the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education.

As a professional dancer, Danielle joined the Georgia Ballet, where she danced in La Sylphide, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake, and was featured in Ginger Thatcher’s Monet’s Garden. She then performed with Nashville Ballet and Nashville Ballet II, dancing in numerous classical and contemporary works, including Scheherazade, Balanchine’s Serenade, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Aida with The Nashville Opera, as the Tortoise in Paul Vasterling’s The Singing Tortoise, and in the late Robert Philander’s Snap.

In 2007, Danielle joined Ballet San Antonio and performed in Gabriel Zertuche’s Suzaki Dances and Svelto, in Spanish and Russian dances in The Nutcracker, as a villager and lead bride in Dracula, as lead Czardas in Coppélia, in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, and as the Nurse in Ben Stevenson’s Romeo & Juliet. In 2013, she joined the Ballet San Antonio staff where she helped expand the company’s community education program to reach over 10,000 families, and initiated a partnership between Ballet San Antonio and American Ballet Theatre’s prestigious Project Plié program.

In the summers of 2015 and 2016, her work with at-risk youth at Boys & Girls Clubs in San Antonio earned her a full-tuition scholarship to attend American Ballet Theatre’s National Curriculum Training. An American Ballet Theatre Certified Instructor, Danielle has served as Co-Interim Artistic Director, Company & Outreach Manager, Ballet Master for Ben Stevenson O.B.E.’s Swan Lake, and Children’s Rehearsal Director for Ballet San Antonio’s The Nutcracker. But most importantly, Danielle shares her true passion and love of dance with the many students of the San Antonio Ballet School and the San Antonio Youth Ballet, with the hope that they too will one day share their love and beauty of the art of ballet.

Mike Gosney

July 21st, 2020

Mike Gosney, co-founder of Elements Ballet, has been teaching and privately coaching ballet for over 20 years. In addition to training many of the dancers in Elements Ballet, his students have been accepted into prestigious programs and schools such as American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet School, The Juilliard School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Milwaukee Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Academy, LINES Ballet, Tisch School of the Arts, and many others. As a choreographer, Mr. Gosney’s work has appeared in St. Louis Spring to Dance, The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010 at Dance Center of Columbia College, The Best of Dance Chicago, Looptopia, Around the Coyote Arts Festival, The Atlas Agenda, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, Evanston Arts Week, On the Prairie at the Chicago Cultural Center, productions with the Evanston Dance Ensemble and Evanston Symphony, and in many other Chicago area festivals and dance performances. In 2015 and 2016 Gosney co-conceptualized and co-choreographed Surge, and AYA, An Aerial Ballet with Elements’ Joseph Caruana and Chloe Jensen and Karen Fisher Doyle of Aerial Dance Chicago. Mike is on faculty at Extensions Dance Center, Dance Center Evanston, and Steps Dance Center, and has previously taught at Visceral Dance Center, Chicago Dance Academy, Joel Hall Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Center, Gus Giordano Dance Center, DancenterNorth, Eastern Illinois University, and College of Lake County. Mr. Gosney has orchestrated events for Evanston Arts Week and DanceArt Outreach Program, and formerly served as Artistic Director of Koslynn Dance Academy and SASS Productions.

Dimensions Dance Academy

134 E. Lincoln Highway

Dekalb, IL 60115

(815) 756-8277

info.ddadekalb@gmail.com

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