Adult Division – Modern (Horton-based), Performance Workshop
Duwane Pendarvis is an experienced vocalist, dancer, educator, teacher, choreographer, model, poet, actor and commercial artist who majored in Voice and minored in Commercial Art at Tougaloo College (Private United Negro College), Tougaloo, Mississippi. Mr. Pendarvis is a Principal Senior Company Member of the world acclaimed Chicago-based Joel Hall Dancers & Center, where he teaches ballet, jazz, modern (Horton based) dance, performance workshop classes and choreographs a professional end of the year dance concert for children and adults; also Artistic Director of Joel Hall Dancers II (second company) since its 2001 inception. His professional travels and experiences have taken him across the United States, Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Duwane, in 1991, toured with the National Touring Company of Sesame Street Live; 1992 received three grants, one of which enabled his professional choreographic debut with Mississippi Ballet, Jackson, MS; 1992-1999, Dance and Drama Director for Department of Parks and Recreation, Jackson, MS; 1997, Headliner (actor, emcee, singer dancer) at Isle of Capri, Off-Broadway production of “A Legendary Review, also taught dance and choreography for Mississippi School for the Blind; Founder/Artistic Director of Duwane Pendarvis & Company in 2001, debut at Harold Washington Library, sponsored in part by a grant from Illinois Arts Council; 2002, two commissioned choreographic works for Black Catholics National Convention, also taught ballet, jazz, modern (Horton based) dance at Dr. King Jr. College Preparatory High School, Chicago, IL; 2003/2004/2005, nominated for Black Theater Alliance Award.
Mr. Pendarvis continues to encourage, teach, train and inspire young people to strive for excellence and always challenge one’s self to reach his or her fullest potential. Life Motto: “Feel the Spirit, Share the Experience (the Power of Love).”
Adult Division – Ballet
Ms. Barodicaite trained in Chicago with Richard Ellis, Christine DuBoulay, and Larry Long. Ms. Barodicaite danced with the Chicago Ballet and the Lyric Opera Ballet. Additionally, she toured throughout France, Austria, and Germany. Ms. Barodicaite has staged Ruth Page’s Nutcracker, Con Spirito by Jim Clouser, and works for Chicago Ballet. For many years, Ms. Barodicaite has taught for the Ruth Page School of Dance as well as teaching for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She has taught as guest artist in Lithuania for the Lithuanian National Ballet, Ballet Moscow in Idaho, and Chattanooga Ballet. She is the ballet mistress for Civic Ballet of Chicago, the official youth training company of the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance, and has been a guest teacher for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Grand Rapids Ballet and Luna Negra Dance Theater.
Adult Division – Musical Theater Dance
Mike began dancing at an early age, watching his sister practice for her dance shows and sometimes assisting her to prepare for upcoming events he instantly fell in love with dance. In high school, Mike was introduced to theatre his sophomore year as a featured dancer in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’. His mentors/directors Marsha Vanek and Gay Rupert gave him unconditional love and support and encouraged him to pursue dance. With that, Mike continued to dance in shows throughout high school. After high school, he wanted to start taking dance lessons in Chicago and with the help from his dance teacher and mentor Marsha, she explained what kind of classes are offered in Chicago and constantly encouraged him to go pursue the field. After many lessons at Lou Conte Dance and Joffrey Ballet, Mike discovered that dancing was his passion. in 2010, he auditioned as a leading role in the musical ‘Hairspray’ for UpAndComing theatre in Palatine. He got the role as Seaweed J. Stubbs, his life changed. Jenn Cupani who was the director and choreographer for the show challenged him as an actor and dancer. Her leadership, great communication skills and honesty with the cast inspired mike to consider becoming a dance teacher. In 2011, Mike had the privilage to assist as a choreographer in his former high schools musical production of ‘Hairspray’ Mike went from being the assistant to the choreographer. With great reviews on the choreography that was presented in the show, Mike knew this is what was set for him to do. Since then Mike has been seen in/and choreographed weddings,cotillions and many shows, musicals and other dance events around chicago. He soon decided that he wanted to be a freelance choreographer on the side to gain more experience.
Youth Division – Little Feet Ballet, Ballet, Jazz, Tap
Tehran Dixon, a Chicago native is a recent graduate of The Hartt School under the direction of Stephen Pier, where she received her BFA in Ballet Pedagodgy. She was awarded the Hartt Performance Scholarship and has had the opportunity to perform professional works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Troy Powell, and Pascal Rioult. She has danced professionally with Connecticut modern dance company DancEnlight and had the opportunity to dance along with the Graham II Company at the Joyce Theatre. She has received scholarships to train at the Graham School and The Ailey School. Tehran’s passion for dance spans a wide array of techniques, which she fuses together to produce unique and athletic movement vocabulary.
Youth Division – Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop
Casundria Fair, born in Chicago, currently dances with JHD II. Casundria first discovered her passion for dance through the Joel Hall Dancers & Center where she began her dance training on scholarship. She then went on to perform with the teen company, JHD 1511, under the direction of Katy Kempen and Courtney Hischke. Casundria has had the great pleasure of working with such artists as Joel Hall, Duwane Pendarvis, Kirby Reed, Whitney Moncrief, David Curwen, Kyle Vincent Terry and more. Casundria attended Hope College and Western Michigan University as a dance major.
Youth Division – Ballet, Jazz, Modern
Rosetta Fair (Chicago, IL) is a Joel Hall Dancer company member and currently trains at the Joel Hall Dancers & Center. She was a member of JHDC Performance Workshop and JHD II under the direction of Duwane Pendarvis; with Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company under the direction of Daniel Desir; and with Deeply Rooted Community Ensemble (D4) for a season. She has performed for Khalidah Kali, Laurie Goux, and was a cast member of Sonja Lee’s play, “When It Rains”. Rosetta earned a B.S. in Education and loves working with children.
Adult Division – Ballet
Cecilia Ferguson-Bell, originally from Louisville, KY, founded All the Pieces Dance Project in 2012; this annual project fulfills Cecilia’s desire to choreograph and train local youth artists, as well as hiring and creating work for local professional dancers. Cecilia received her BFA in Performing Arts: Dance Concentration from Western Kentucky University where she was awarded the Doris Owen Dance Scholarship, and the opportunity to perform with Balletto Di Civitavecchia in Italy. Cecilia spent six seasons at Inaside Chicago Dance, performed at MGM Grand in Las Vegas and worked as a guest artist for NoMi Dance Inc., Chicago Dance Crash, Winifred Haun, and Thodos Dance Chicago. As a choreographer, Cecilia has had the pleasure of traveling nationwide to set her work. Recent choreographic credits include: All the Pieces Matter, Inaside Chicago Dance, Rodriguez Dance Theatre, Dance Chicago, Dance for Life’s Next Generation, Loyola University (LA), Bowling Green State University (OH) and Moving Collective (KY). Cecilia has been passionate about teaching and choreographing for the past decade; her teaching style has been described as nurturing, but technically demanding. She challenges students to emotionally commit to exercises and to become more organic, believable performers. Experience one of Cecilia’s classes throughout the Chicagoland area at Des Plaines School of Dance, Pavilion Dance Center, Joel Hall Dance Center and Visceral Dance Center.
Adult Division – Modern (Horton-based), Jazz, Hip-Hop
William Gill, a Chicago native has danced and taught professionally throughout the nation and internationally for the last 12 years. He started his career with the Joel Hall Dancers and The Bryant Ballet where he was a principal dancer. He recently moved back to Chicago after touring with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre for the past 8 years. While at Dallas Black he worked with many dance legends such as Donald Bryd, Alonzo King, Donald McKayle, Milton Myers and Chuck Davis, just to name a few. He was proud to be chosen to teach and perform at The Austrian Dance Festival in 2006, in Vienna, Austria where he performed the legendary solo “Ostrich” choreographed by Asadata Dafora. Although he has an extensive concert background, he had the opportunity to work with Hollywood choreographers Otis Sallid and Niesha Folks on the Movie “Hoodlums” with Lawrence Fishburne, Queen Latifah and Cicely Tyson in 1999. He can also be seen in the television show “The Untouchables”. Recently (2010) he was proud to return to Europe in Liverpool, England with The Joel Hall Dancers where he was a guest artist at the Leap International Dance Festival. William is in demand throughout the Chicagoland area and across the nation for his modern classes (Horton style), which have been said to be “high energy” and “intense”. He is on staff full-time in Chicago at Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and Joel Hall Dance Center, where he is glad to be working again with his mentors Homer Bryant and Joel Hall. He also teaches master classes at many colleges, studios and dance conventions across the nation.
Adult Division – Ballet, Jazz
Paula started dancing at the age of 3, and has been determined to do little else ever since. She studied at the Kehl School of Dance in Madison, WI as a child, eventually joining their Junior and Senior Dance Teams. She also participated in the local Nutcracker, performing roles as diverse as a Mouse to a Waltz of the Flowers soloist, and everything in between. Paula attended many summer dance programs all over the country, including at the Boston Ballet. After high school, Paula went on to Hope College, where she earned a dual degree in dance and chemistry. While at Hope, she danced with their resident modern company, Aerial Dance Theater, and jazz company, InSync Dance Theater. She also taught at the Turning Pointe School of Dance, and choreographed for the Sacred Dance Club. Soon after graduation, Paula moved to Chicago to join JHD II. After two years as a trainee, Paula was promoted into the first company as an apprentice. During JHD’s tour to England, she was given full company status, and she is now in her third season as a JHD dancer. Paula is excited to start on the next chapter of her Joel Hall experience as the co-director of JHDYC.
Adult Division – Ballet
Betsy Herskind began her dance training with Edna McRae and Ellis-DuBoulay. She has danced professionally with Lyric Opera Ballet, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Illinois Ballet, Melody Top Theatre and Ruth Page’s Nutcracker. Ms. Herskind had her own dance school for more than thirty years on the northwest side of Chicago. She is currently on the faculties of the Joel Hall Dance Center and Dance Center Evanston.
David Isaac Leef
Adult Division – Jazz, Performance Workshop; Youth Division – Hip-Hop
David Isaac Leef started dancing when he was fourteen at Sullivan High School with the SHDance Squad. After graduating, he attended college at Columbia College Chicago as a dance major but life changed for the better when he got on scholarship at the Joel Hall Dancers & Center. David has been with the Joel Hall Dancers & Center for over 17 years now. He has had the great opportunity to dance for such choreographers as Joel Hall, Vanessa Truvillion, Kirby Reed, Iega, Angel Abecede, Chris Mccray, etc., as well as dance in such great companies as The Chicago Spirit Brigade, GI Alliance, Fivestar Boogie Productions, Urban Junction Dance Performance Ensemble, School Street Movements Sex Cadets, etc. David strives in his classes to teach both stage presence and confidence along with how to put your entire heart and soul into every step an individual takes.
Anne Marie Loesch
Adult Division – Ballet
Anne Marie Loesch began her training in Charlotte, North Carolina. She studied Humphrey-Weidman´s modern dance technique under Mary Ann Mee, dancer and demonstrator for Charles Weidman. Katharyn Horne provided Ms.Loesch with a thorough schooling in the methodology of Enrico Cecchetti. Ms. Horne was a devotee of Margaret Craske, Enrico Cecchetti´s only recognized teaching protégée. It was under these two talented women that Anne Marie began her professional dance career with Dance Central, Kinetyx Dance Ensemble, and Moving Poets Theatre of Dance. Since settling in Chicago she has worked with Against the Grain, For Dance, Paul Sanasardo, and Zephyr Dance. Ms. Loesch is also the Ballet Mistress for the Joel Hall Second Company.
Adult Division – Latin dance
As an Army child, Chris Manning began breakdancing in Europe in the 1980s. In 1995 he moved to Chicago to start graduate work at Northwestern University and two years later he became a founding member of the Chicago Latin Street Dance Company.
Since the 1990s Chris has taught multiple Latin dance forms including cumbia, cha-cha, salsa, merengue, mambo, and La Rueda de Casino. He has performed throughout the Chicago region and his choreographies have been performed at multiple international congresses including the Montreal Salsa Convention, the Miami Salsa Congress, the Puerto Rico Salsa/Hustle Convention, the Laval Summer Salsa Festival, the St. Louis Salsa Congress, and the LA Salsa Congress. He is the 2003 Bailes Tropicales Champion, the 2010 Barcardi Salsa Champion, Second Place Finisher in the 2010 Chicago Salsa Open, the 2011 Chicago Salsa Champion, and a Third Place Finisher in the 2013 Chicago Salsa Championship.
In 2012 Chris founded Inpiración Dance Chicago a non-profit Latin dance company dedicated to mentoring youth through dance and he is delighted to bring Latin dance to the Joel Hall community.
Youth Division – Zumba Fitness
Leah Martin was born and raised in Central Florida, and she traded the sunshine for some colder winds with her move to Chicago upon finishing high school. Leah attended Northwestern University, and she received her B.A. in Communication, graduating a quarter early, with a Major in Theatre and Minors in Business Institutions and Dance.
Throughout her time at Northwestern, Leah was vice president of New Movement Project, managing director of Spectrum Theatre Company (and a producer of one of their mainstage shows, “Korczak’s Children”), a member of Movement Dance and Step Team, a work-study student at Foster Dance Studios, and director of Northwestern’s first ever Dance Minor Concert.
During Leah’s sophomore year at Northwestern, she performed Billy Siegenfeld’s piece called God of Dirt. Leah also worked on and performed as a cast member of Danceworks, where she had the opportunity to perform the choreography of Molly Shanahan, Kristina Saldarelli, and Amanda Exley Lower. Leah has also had the opportunity to study with professional artists such as Dan Cantor, David Catlin, Susan Lee, Brandi Coleman, Stephanie Paul, Annie Beserra, Linda Gates, and Jeff Hancock, among many others.
Currently, Leah is a scholarship student with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project. She is a dance/theatre teacher and licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor, having taught at Northside Dance Theater, American Rhythm Center, and will teach a mini course at Northwestern University in 2013. Leah is excited to be teaching classes at Joel Hall Dancers and Center.
Youth Division – Jazz Funk, Hip Hop
California native Julie Matolo has lived in Chicago long enough to feel at home. After JHD II, she has since been a member of The Joel Hall Dancers. Favorite performance pieces include El Gato Negro, Phoenix, Etude Jazz #418. Involvement with The Joel Hall Dance Center includes performing with the outreach program, “Dance Is A Language”, teaching youth division classes and bringing Joel’s style to Walter Payton High School. Julie enjoys the privilege of learning from master teachers like Joel and learning from all the children she works with each week. The knowledge flow is continual and inspiring!
Julie also danced with Andrea Kelly, opening as a principal for different musicians including Toni Braxton, Musiq Soulchild, Babyface, Bell Biv Devoe and Teena Marie. In the theater world, a few favorite musicals she has done are Chicago, Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz, Ragtime. Julie also loves to choreograph and has indulged in a variety of projects in concert dance, theater and video.
This graduate studied at the University of Iowa before moving to Chicago. Julie discovered dance later in life, after growing up with her first love, gymnastics. The art of sport, competition and traveling will always remain true to her heart. Julie is grateful to have been coached by many greats like Liang Chow (coach to Olympic Champions Shawn Johnson ‘08 and Gabby Douglas ‘12).
Merrick M. Mitchell
Adult Division – Modern (Graham-based), Performance Workshop
Merrick M. Mitchell began taking dance classes while majoring in biology at Illinois State University. After earning his B. S. degree he returned to Chicago and started taking classes with Julian Swain who also suggested that he take ballet classes. Later on Mr. Swain invited Merrick to dance with his company Inner City Dance Theatre. Yearning for more Merrick auditioned for Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre where he danced featured roles under the artistic directions of Joseph Holmes and Randy Duncan. While dancing in JHDT he sought out the Boitsov Classical Ballet School to continue studying ballet. Mrs. Boitsov offered him a role in her production of the full-length ballet Pinocchio. Merrick has appeared in numerous productions in the Chicago area as a guest artist with Bryant Ballet, Columbia College, Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts, Dance for life, Duke Ellington´s musical revue, Jump for Joy, Luster Product “Man Hunt of the Year Awards”, and the “Amoco 100th Anniversary Celebration”. He is certified in Beginning and Intermediate Pilates mat and trains in Pilates with Linda Spriggs. Currently Merrick is a veteran member of the Joel Hall Dancers and teaches Graham based modern classes at the Joel Hall Dance Center and Boitsov Classical Ballet School. He has studied under teachers who were taught by Martha Graham as she developed her technique, as well as danced in her company. He also teaches in the Chicago Public School system, and is a very active member of his church. Merrick is blessed and thankful to be able to continue to share his craft with you.
Adult Division – Ballet
Joan Oberndorf’s early ballet training was with Bentley Stone and Walter Camryn. She has also studied ballet with Larry and Dolores Long, Orrin Kayan, and Birute Birodicaite, and jazz with Lou Conte and Claire Bataille. As a dancer she performed with Light Opera Works and Topeka Civic Theatre as well as doing industrial work for several corporations including Sperry-Rand and Carson Pirie Scott. Joan focuses on alignment, building strength and proper placement to help the dancers in her classes stay injury free. She also stresses musicality as she teaches, enabling students to move and dance at their fullest potential.
Amanda Olson (Ms. Mandy)
Youth Division – Little Feet Ballet, Creative Movement, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop
Ms. Mandy is certified in K-12 Dance Education with a Masters in Teacher Leadership. She currently runs a dance program for K-8th graders at a fine arts magnet school in the Chicago Public School system. Mandy has performed in Michigan-based dance companies with various choreographers and directors. She danced for Aerial Dance Theatre, Insync Dance Theatre and Strike Time Dancers. She is happy to be teaching dance in the public school system as well as being a faculty member at Joel Hall. Mandy will be teaching ballet and creative movement classes for 2-6 year olds.
Adult Division – Jazz
Kirby Reed is the Artistic Director of Ascension/The Kirby Reed Project and founder of House of Ascension. Mr. Reed is a former Joel Hall Dancer, Mr. Reed was picked twice for top Jazz Classes In Chicago out of ten must take classes in the city in Dance Spirit Magazine Jan., 2005. Voted Best Hip Hop teacher by Chicago Magazine (Best of Chicago) Aug. 2003. Having choreographed musicals such as West Side Story, Anything Goes, Honk and Fame. Kirby has traveled extensively both in and out of the country teaching master classes and judging future dancers, through Dance America, Dance Olympus, Dance Educators of America and International Dance Competition to name a few. He has appeared as a dancer for television, in movies and live concerts with a variety of today’s pop and hip hop artist.
Adult Division – Ballet
Malachi Squires trained at Marin Dance Theatre under the directorship of Margaret Swarthout and the Houston Ballet Academy. Malachi apprenticed with the Lawrence Pech Dance Company in San Francisco, CA, then joined Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet under Ben Stevenson OBE, now called Texas Ballet Theater. He danced for Les Ballets Grandiva directed by Victor Trevino, later under Brian Norris. Malachi has worked with a range of choreographers both classical and contemporary. Favorite works performed: City at Night a retrospective by Paul Sanasardo, Four Last Songs by Ben Stevenson, Petrouchka reworked by Richard Hubscher, Once is Enough by Julia Adam, Five Mazurkas by Yuri Possokhov. Malachi has taught at a number of schools as a guest in various parts of the US. He currently resides in Chicago, and is working as a freelance dancer, instructor, and choreographer.
Adult Division – Hip-Hop
Anthony Wolf began his journey into the world of dance in 1993, when he began his studying dance at the Joel Hall Dancers and Center. Tone has performed in several of the JHDC Performance Workshop Showcases, showcasing his skills in jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and modern.
Anthony has been dancing and choreographing with Culture Shock Chicago for the past fourteen years. In 1999, Anthony performed with Culture Shock Chicago on a segment for WGN channel 9.
Anthony has performed and choreographed with the likes of Elaine McAllen, Syleena Johnson “Save the Last Dance,” in the movie Hoodlums, in music videos such as “Best years of my life” by The Baha Man, “Happy People” by R. Kelly, and has danced on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In the summer of 2000, Anthony choreographed and assisted in the production of The Voices of Chicago on Channel 19.
In the summer of 2003, Anthony launched Nextlevel LLC. An agency that elevates the standard creativity and cultivates sophistication and talent.
In the winter of 2007, Anthony choreographed and assisted in the directing of the music video, “Pro Nails” by Kid Sista and Kanye West.
Anthony’s other choreography accomplishments include BMG Records Company for D.U.I., Art Safari hip-hop for kids on WTTW/PBS Channel 11, and Kids Can Dance sponsored by the Evanston Township.
Adult Division – Tap
Mark Yonally is currently the Artistic Director of Chicago Tap Theatre, one of the most critically well-regarded companies in Chicago. Mark has developed a national and international reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, Amsterdam and Paris. He has been blessed to have Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. As a company member of the Bill Evans Dance Company and Especially Tap Chicago (ETC), Mark performed at such prestigious festivals as the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World Congress and at the Royal Opera House in Helsinki, Finland. Furthermore, Mark has gained the plaudits of major dance critics for his innovative approach to tap choreography. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company, ETC and Hope College, among others. Mark also maintains a longstanding professional relationship with Valérie Lussac, Artistic Director of Tapage of Toulouse, France. Mark is a noted educator and has taught at festivals throughout the U.S. and has served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University and Hope College. He is sought after for his multidisciplinary approach to tap teaching, which includes history, basic music theory and an emphasis on jazz music, and has taught in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. Mark is also a published author, with pieces appearing in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine.
Adult Division – Ballet; Youth Division – Ballet, Jazz, Modern
Heather Zimny, originally from the suburbs of Chicago, received her BA in dance at Columbia College Chicago. In addition, she has trained at the Joel Hall Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Studio and Visceral Dance center under Betsy Herskind, Birute Barodicaite, Joel Hall, Paul Sanasardo, Kirby Reed, Mike Gosney, Pam Tanis, Duwane Pendarvis, Marshall Mitchell, Nancy Teinowitz, Vanessa Truvillion and many other wonderful teachers. After completing an aerial dance intensive with Aerial Dance Chicago she has thus become addicted and also currently trains there as well. She can currently be seen onstage getting sassy with the Joel Hall Dancers. She has also had the pleasure of dancing in Ballet Entre Nous’ “The Nutcracker!” for the past two seasons. Her other dance credits include dancing with Rasa Dance Chicago under the direction of Van Collins, Paul Sanasardo, GI Alliance, Allure Dance Company (Detroit, Michigan), D.I.A.L and with many independent choreographers. Last September she had the chance to dance overseas in Liverpool with the Joel Hall Dancers as part of a year long celebration of their LEAP program’s 10th anniversary. Heather has had the pleasure of teaching dance throughout the city and suburbs and in Chicago Public Schools through D.I.A.L for several years and is happy that she has the opportunity to do what she loves every day. Currently she is teaching ballet and jazz at the JHDC. Her classes are a blend of technique, control, athleticism and musicality.