Faculty & Staff
Béa Rashid, DFCCA
Ballet, Pointe, Cecchetti, Modern
Béa Rashid is a dance educator, choreographer, and theater director. A graduate of Northwestern University, Béa is a Diploma Fellow of the Cecchetti Council of America. She has choreographed and directed theatrical productions for over 30 years. In 1994 Béa opened Dance Center Evanston and in 1997 she founded the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Béa continues to direct and choreograph, often collaborating with her husband and composer, Steve Rashid. In the fall of 2016, Béa and Steve expanded DCE to include Studio5, a performing arts venue presenting professional dance and music events. Béa’s contribution to the community was recognized in 1999 with the Mayor’s Award for the Arts and in 2017 with the Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit/Public Service Award.
Allison Kurtz Volkers
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING & OUTREACH
Primary, Ballet, Cecchetti, Modern
Allison Kurtz Volkers is a Northwestern grad, mom, and Director of Programming and Outreach of Dance Center Evanston, where she has been training young dancers since 2003. Ms. Volkers has collaborated with a number of organizations as a performer and choreographer, most notably as a founding member of Striding Lion where she also served as Education Director. The Cecchetti Council of America has certified Ms. Volkers as a Grade IV Teacher of Classical Ballet Dancing, she serves on the board of the CCA’s Midwest committee, and has led workshops for the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Ms. Volkers is a frequent choreographer for the Evanston Dance Ensemble and is the founding artistic director of ede2.
Calyn Carbery, ACCA
Ballet, Jazz, Cecchetti
Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Calyn settled in the Midwest after graduating from Northwestern University with a major in dance. She was a company member with Striding Lion Performance Group (dir. Annie Arnoult), with which she performed in critically acclaimed immersive dance-theater productions and lead arts education outreach programs throughout the Chicago area. Calyn holds her Elementary Professional Cecchetti teaching certification from the Cecchetti Council of America and serves on the Midwest Committee of C.C.A’s board as Workshop Coordinator. In addition to her role as Managing Director at DCE, Calyn directs the popular Dance Performance Workshop annually and teaches classes in ballet, jazz, and Cecchetti techniques.
Primary, Tap, Jazz
Kaleigh Dent graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance in 2020. She has danced for companies such as Joel Hall Dancers, Still Inspired, and LOUD BODIES; and is currently a Company Member and Rehearsal Director for Identity Performing Arts. Her most recent choreographic project includes Father, Father, a piece showcased in Trifecta Dance Collective’s A New Light: Emerging Choreographer Showcase, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble’s show, Art. Heals. (2022) and Elpis Dance Fest (2022) under Rivet, a dance company created to explore her choreographic ideas. Kaleigh is so excited to meet DCE’s dancers and work with them this year!
Jacob (Pollux) Buerger
Modern, Hip-Hop, Jazz
Timothy Tsang started dancing in 2009 at The One Dance Studio in Shanghai, taking classes in hip hop and popping. First introduced to modern and ballet in 2014, Tim earned his BA (’17) in dance, and minor in arts administration from Columbia College Chicago. During college, he performed in original works by Paige Cunningham-Calderella, Bob Eisen, and Stephanie Paul, as well as repertory of Merce Cunningham. In 2016, Tim was selected as Columbia College’s commissioned choreographer for their Open House, and joined Ardent Dance Company the same year. Having performed with South Chicago Dance Theatre, and served as assistant to Artistic Director with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre for three years, Tim is currently a Company Member and Communications Manager with Mordine & Co. Dance Theatre, when he’s not at Dance Center Evanston.
Cameron is a Chicago based director, choreographer, performer and teacher with a BFA in Musical Theater from the Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University. Throughout his training at Center of Dance and Rocky Mountain School of Dance in his youth, he was able to train with Dennis and Dee Caspary, Mark Meismer and Lynne Patton, artistic director of America’s Got Talent runner ups, The Silhouettes. While in college, Cameron was fortunate enough to train under both Broadway and Radio City Rockette veterans, as well as choreograph new musical theater pieces by Ryan Scott Oliver and Shaina Taub. Since graduating, Cameron has been working around the Chicagoland area at theaters such as Mercury Theatre, Porchlight Music Theater, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theater and Pride Film & Plays where he was honored with a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination for his choreography in The Boy From Oz.
Boys/Men’s Technique, Partnering, Ballet, Pointe
Mike is the founder and Artistic Director of Elements Contemporary Ballet. Prior to founding Elements, he studied both classical and contemporary ballet with local master teachers. As a dancer, Mike performed with companies such as Instruments of Movement, Tyego Dance Project, and The Chicago Ballet. As a choreographer, his work has appeared in Dance Chicago, Around the Coyote Arts Festival, Looptopia, Joel Hall’s Dances from the Halls, Evanston Arts Week, productions with the Evanston Dance Ensemble and Evanston Symphony, as well as other Chicago area festivals and dance performances. In addition to his work with Elements, Mike has taught ballet at colleges and quality dance studios throughout the North Shore and Greater Chicago area. He orchestrated events for Evanston Arts Week and DanceArt Outreach Program, and has served as Artistic Director of Koslynn Dance Academy and SASS Productions. Mr. Gosney’s choreography was selected to compete in the Joyce Theatre’s The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010, presented at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.
Laura Brand has performed extensively with classical and modern concert dance companies and in musical theater, commercial, and industrial shows. Her work includes performances with the Chicago Ballet Theater, Momenta, The Beverly Dance Ensemble, the Polish Opera Company, the Lyric Opera Company of Chicago, the David Puszh Company, the Ukrainian Folk Dancers, and in the Ruth Page production of The Nutcracker. She performed at the International Ballet Competition in Lima, Peru and in the PBS television production of Ruth Page’s Die Fledermaus. Laura has appeared in Annie, Sweet Charity, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, West Side Story, and Carousel at The Theatre at the Center and West Side Story at the Timberlake Playhouse. She conducted a ballet workshop for dance teachers in Omaha, NE, and has been a judge at the National Dance Olympus competitions in Atlanta, Nashville, and Minneapolis. Laura received dance training from Loretto Rozak, Larry Long, Richard Arve and Lou Conte.
Victoria Barlow began her training at the Rockford Dance Company School with Janet Quilici, continuing with Ken Von Heidecke of the Lyric Opera and Joy Xu, former principal with Shanghai Ballet. As a member of the company, she danced many soloist and principal roles and toured with the company to China. After moving to Chicago, she completed her B.A. in Dance Education at Columbia College and continued training with Larry Long, Birute Barodicate, Anna Paskevska, and Homer Bryant. She performed with Chicago Ballet for two seasons and Bryant Ballet for six. She has danced in several productions of The Nutcracker throughout Chicagoland, including Ruth Page’s under the direction of Larry Long. Her repertoire includes Cinderella, Snow White, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia. A long-time faculty member of Dance Center Evanston, she is also Head of the Ballet Department of Dancenter North in Gurnee. Victoria is a popular guest teacher for Thodos Dance Chicago and the Midwest Cecchetti Council. She has been a master teacher for the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters for nine seasons, teaching both students and teachers in the Training School. Victoria is proud to be training the next generation of littles to advanced students, sharing her love of all things ballet.
As artistic director of Especially Tap Chicago Dance Company, Julie has performed and choreographed on both the jazz and tap concert stages for over fifteen years with some of Chicago’s finest dance companies including River North Dance Co., The Lynda Martha Dance Co., and Chi-Town Jazz Dance, for which she served as associate director. Her credits also include Especially Tap Chicago’s performances in the Kuopio Dance Festival in Finland, the St. Louis Tap Festival, and Chicago’s own Human Rhythm Project. In addition to Dance Center Evanston, Julie has taught for Barat College, DEA, NADA, CNADM, Gus Giordano Dance Center, the Cecchetti Council and numerous studios in the Chicagoland area.
Wendy Park, ACCA
Primary Division, Ballet, Pointe
Wendy Park began her training in ballet, tap, jazz and modern in Indianapolis at Curtain Call Academy of the Arts and the Jordan College Academy of Dance at Butler University. As an undergraduate at Barat College’s Conservatory of Dance, Wendy performed works by Rory Foster and Eileen Cropley. Completing her degree at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, she had the opportunity to perform works set by David Gordon, Jan Eckert and Eduardo Vilaro. Ms. Park has been teaching ballet, tap, and jazz professionally for over a decade in Indianapolis, Chicago and the North Shore. Currently, she is continuing her dance education through the Cecchetti Teacher Certification program.
Enid Smith is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, earning her BFA in contemporary dance. In New York City she performed with Ivy Baldwin Dance, The Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, Anita Cheng Dance, and MAC Cosmetics, among others. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2007, Enid has performed with Khecari, Same Planet Performance Project, Lucky Plush Productions, Chicago Fringe Opera, and presented her own work under the name enidsmithdance. In addition to teaching at Dance Center Evanston she also teaches Pro Modern at Dovetail Studios and maintains a massage therapy practice.
Shelby Moran Amarantos
Ballet, Modern, Jazz
Shelby Moran Amarantos, an alum of Dance Center Evanston and Evanston Dance Ensemble, studied dance at The Juilliard School (BFA ’15). While at Juilliard, she performed repertory of José Limón, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, and Merce Cunningham. She also performed original works by Monica Bill Barnes, Emery LeCrone, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Larry Keigwin, and Danielle Agami. Shelby began her professional career performing with Thodos Dance Chicago for two seasons. In her time there, she had the opportunity to dance starring roles in director Melissa Thodos’ original story ballets, perform world premieres by Robyn Mineko Williams, Brian Enos, and Kevin Iega Jeff. She has been an apprentice of Visceral Dance Chicago, and is now a company member with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre.
Rosina DeVries, DFCCA
Ballet, Pointe, Cecchetti
Rosina DeVries was born and raised in England where she received her early training with Elizabeth Swan at the Weston Schools of Dancing. She later studied with Viccy Chappell at the London College of Dance, where she was awarded the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma. Rosina danced with the Chelmsford Ballet Company and Newpalm productions, before moving to Greece and then New York to teach at the Coupe Theatre Studio. Former students have moved on to study at the School of American Ballet, The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, The Juilliard School and North Carolina School of the Arts, as well as performing with Richmond Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, and New Jersey Ballet. Rosina is a Diploma Fellow and Examiner with the Cecchetti Council of America.
Primary Division, Ballet, Cecchetti, Modern, Adaptive Dance
Jill Waller graduated from Webster University with a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in French. While there, she danced with Webster Dance Ensemble for four years and with Webster Dance Theatre for two years. After moving to Chicago, Jill performed with the Joel Hall Dancers for one season, Rasa Dance Chicago for nearly a decade and Tyego Dance Project for two seasons. She has also done many projects with independent artists throughout the Chicagoland area during her professional career. Jill is a member of the Cecchetti Council of America. She teaches preschoolers through adults at Dance Center Evanston, Hyde Park School of Dance, and also outreach programs at Marquette Park District.
Laura Gates grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago. She holds degrees in Dance and Psychology from the University of Iowa where she was privileged to train with many gifted artists. Professionally, she danced with Swallow Cliff Dance Company, Concert Dance, Inc., and several independent choreographers before joining Thodos Dance Chicago in 1999. During her six-year tenure as a TDC dancer, she performed locally, nationally, and internationally and worked with many renowned artists including Broadway icon Ann Reinking. Laura went on to serve TDC for twelve more years as Rehearsal Director, Ballet Mistress, Artistic Associate, and New Dances Project Manager. Laura teaches throughout the Chicago area and has served on the faculty of many intensive programs including TDC, CNADM, Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Inaside Chicago Dance, Gus Giordano Dance School, the Illinois State Dance Festival, and the Midwest Cecchetti Council Ballet Workshop. She has been a guest artist at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Riverside Brookfield High School, Evanston Township High School, Kansas State University, and the University of Kansas. A proud member of the Chicago dance community for over 20 years, Laura is passionately committed to the art of dance and furthering dance education.
Born in India, raised in New York, and dancing in Chicago, Irfan found his passion for dance at 13 years old, discovering Popping & Breaking and training himself in those styles through his younger years. Irfan has a passion for hip-hop culture, street & social dances, and commercial dance while also training in classical styles of ballet and contemporary fusion. After high school, Irfan trained under many veteran Chicago dancers, such as Ian Eastwood, Daz Harris, and Andrew Tamez Hull. He starred in Chance The Rapper’s music video for his Grammy award winning song “Angels”, choreographed by Ian Eastwood, and also starred as a principal dancer in the Netflix musical series, “Soundtrack” with choreography by James Alsop. Irfan has taught in the Chicago Community at various workshops, company classes & studios such as Hubbard Street Dance, Millennium Dance Complex Chicago, and Visceral Dance Studio.
Accessible Dance, Adult Program
Trish Strong was classically trained in the Cecchetti Method as a child under the direction of Karla Harris. After graduating cum laude with a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, Trish began teaching ballet in Chicago. She is a certified member of the Cecchetti Council of America having passed her Advanced Teacher’s Examination. Trish has also been trained in the Basic Elements of Structured Teaching (BEST) which helps her better connect with students on the autism spectrum. She has always loved teaching young students and is happy to merge that love with her passion for ballet technique. She celebrates the abilities of all students and shares the joy of dance with those who have diverse physical or learning needs including cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and Downs syndrome. Her training in the Ultra Barre dance conditioning program helps her safely strengthen dancers to improve their alignment and rotation needed in classical ballet. Trish has been on the faculty of the Joffrey Academy of Dance for the past thirteen years and has served in a management role for the past five. She has also taught for the Hubbard Street Youth Dance Program and a variety of studios on the North Shore for over 20 years. Trish is mom to a Dance Center Evanston alumna and is thrilled to return to Dance Center Evanston to teach.
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING & OUTREACH
Allison Kurtz Volkers
ASSISTANT MANAGING DIRECTOR
Jacob (Pollux) Buerger