DANCE CENTER EVANSTON FACULTY

Béa Rashid, Director

Hillary Aarons

Victoria Barlow

Laura Brand

Calyn Carbery

Julie Cartier




Christina Ernst

Laura Gates

Mike Gosney

Nichola Goss

Betsy Herskind

Jenny Higgins

Glenn Leslie



Wendy Park

Monte Rezell

Enid Smith

Allison Kurtz Volkers

Jill Waller

Travis "T-Roc" Wright
Béa Rashid, Director Béa Rashid (FCCA) is a dance educator, choreographer and theater director. A graduate of Northwestern University, Béa is a Fellow of the Cecchetti Council of America, holding the Advanced Professional Certificate. Béa has choreographed and directed theatrical productions for over 30 years. Professional credits include The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Piven Theater, Chicago Opera Theater and Light Opera Works. In 1994 Béa opened Dance Center Evanston and in 1997 she founded the Evanston Dance Ensemble as a not for profit youth performing company. Through the Ensemble, Béa continues to direct and choreograph, often collaborating with her husband and composer, Steve Rashid. In the fall of 2016, Béa expanded DCE to include Studio5, a new performing arts venue presenting professional dance and music events as well as presentations by the DCE student body. In 1999 Béa's contribution to the community was recognized with the Evanston Mayor's Award for the Arts, and in 2017 by the Chamber of Commerce's Nonprofit/Public Service Award. Béa teaches ballet and modern dance and oversees the artistic vision of the school. [back to top]
Hillary Aarons Hillary Aarons graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Dance and Creative Writing and a concentration in Choreography for Music Theatre. She has guest performed with the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project and her choreography for "On the Front" was featured in their 2015 show, Getting Down, Going Forward. In addition to teaching all over the Chicagoland area, she recently assistant choreographed two productions for Northwestern University Operas: Ruddigore, and Songs and Sweet Airs.[back to top]
Victoria Barlow Victoria Barlow completed her BA in Dance Education at Columbia College. She was a principal member of the Rockford Dance Company from 1987 to 1993, training with Kenneth Von Heideke of the Lyric Opera and Joy Xu, former principal dancer of the Shanghai Ballet of China. During 1992 and 1994, Victoria toured China attending two international dance festivals. She was a member of the Bryant Ballet from 1996 to 2001 and has been seen in numerous Chicagoland productions of The Nutcracker. They include the Chicago Tribune Charities and the Dancenter North production, in which she was The Sugar Plum Fairy. She has danced the title roles in Dancenter North's Cinderella and Schaumburg Dance Ensemble's Snow White. In addition to her teaching and the Nutcrackers, Vicki has danced with the Chicago Ballet under the direction of Paul Abrahamson. [back to top]
Laura Brand 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 has conducted a ballet workshop for dance teachers in Omaha, Nebraska, and has been a judge at the National Dance Olympus competitions in Atlanta, Nashville, and Minneapolis. Laura received her dance training from Loretto Rozak, Larry Long, Richard Arve and Lou Conte. She currently teaches at a number of Chicago area schools. [back to top]
Julie Cartier Julie Cartier artistic director of Especially Tap Chicago Dance Company, 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 additon 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. [back to top]
Christina Ernst Christina Ernst began her dance career in Switzerland and performed with the Zurich Opera. On the American scene, she has developed choreography for numerous companies, including Chicago Opera Theater, Next Theater Company, and the Goodman Theater. She has received grants for her choreography from the Illinois Arts Council, the Evanston Arts Council, the Chicago Office of Fine Arts, Chicago Artists Abroad, and won the Seven States Choreography Competition. She was Co-Director of ernst-watson dance, an international touring company, and a member of Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble. Christina spent 20 years as an Artist-in-Residence with Urban Gateways, has taught extensively at area dance schools, colleges, and universities, and is on the faculty of Evanston Township High School. Christina is Co-Artistic Director of the Evanston Dance Ensemble. [back to top]
Laura Gates Laura Gates holds degrees in Dance and Psychology from the University of Iowa. While there she was privileged to have worked with many gifted artists including: Francoise Martinet, David Berkey, Randy Duncan, and Mauricio Wainrot. Upon returning to Chicago after graduation, she performed locally with Swallow Cliff Dance Company, Concert Dance Inc., and several independent choreographers. In 1999, Ms. Gates joined Thodos Dance Chicago. Highlights of her six year performance tenure with TDC include performing in Dance for Life, meeting and working with Ann Reinking, and touring with the company to Turkey. She has also enjoyed being a master teacher for the TDC Summer Dance Workshop. Laura is passionate about teaching dance and has taught in the Chicago area for over 15 years. She has been an adjudicator for the State Wide Dance Competition and on guest faculty at Northeastern Illinois University and the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. She is proud to be working with the talented artists of Thodos Dance Chicago as their rehearsal director and ballet mistress. She is looking forward to another exciting year on faculty at Dance Center Evanston. [back to top]
Mike Gosney Mike Gosney 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. Mr. Gosney 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. [back to top]
Nichola Goss Nichola Goss has a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors from the University of Texas. She has been teaching dance to children and senior citizens in the North Shore area since 1995. Nichola has choreographed and performed professionally in Austin, Dallas, and Chicago. A member of the Cecchetti Council and a recipient of an Evanston Arts Grant, Nichola also enjoys dancing with her sons at the park. [back to top]
Calyn Carbery Calyn Carbery graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Communication, majoring in Dance. While at NU, she performed works by Jeff Hancock, Julia Rhoads, Annie Beserra, Jan Bartoszek, and many others. She was a company member and teaching artist with Striding Lion Performance Group for four years, under the artistic direction of Annie Beserra. With Striding Lion, she performed in original productions, developed new work, and lead arts education outreach programs in Chicago area public schools. Calyn is the Assistant Managing Director at Dance Center Evanston, where she teaches classes in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Cecchetti. [back to top]
Betsy Herskind Betsy Herskind is a former soloist with the Lyric Opera Ballet, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Illinois Ballet. She owned and operated her own studio in Chicago for many years and, in addition to teaching at DCE, is currently a faculty member of the Joel Hall Dance Center and ballet mistress for the Joel Hall Dance Company. [back to top]
Jenny Higgins Jenny Higgins studied dance growing up in Kansas City before going on to study at the School of American Ballet in New York City, the University of Michigan, and various dance studios in Chicago, Boston, and northern California. She also has a Master's degree and teaching experience in Special Education. Jenny has been teaching dance to children for the past 6 years, as well as dancing in the living room at home with her own 3 children! [back to top]
Glenn Leslie Glenn Leslie has been teaching at Dance Center Evanston since 1999. He established Classic Jazz & Tap Productions in 2009, committed to honoring, preserving, and promoting works in the genres of classic jazz and tap dance. Glenn danced with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project for ten years, and in 2007, Glenn received the Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On Camera/Performer for his work in the multiple-Emmy-Award-winning documentary Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There, produced by HMS Media. With JRJP, Glenn led many choreographic and teaching residencies as well as intensives, workshops, and master classes all around the country. Glenn is exploring some new dance paths including studying classic dances and developing his own choreography. Glenn performed professionally in musical theater for several years in productions that included tours of Europe with Rhythm, Oklahoma!, and West Side Story, and U.S. productions of Singin' in the Rain, Forty-Second Street, Dames at Sea, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, to name just a few. Glenn has also served as choreographer for such shows as Anything Goes and West Side Story. More about Glenn can be found at www.glennleslie.com.[back to top]
Wendy Park 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. [back to top]
Monte Rezell Monte Rezell was raised on the south side of Chicago and found his passion for dance and entertaining at a young age. As a performing and teaching artist, he has traveled across the US and all over the world to Jamaica, China, Germany, France, Canada and more, sharing his unique approach to the authentic hip hop styles of break dance, popping, locking, street funk, Chicago footwork, and tumbling. In 2010, he founded Movement Revolution Dance Crew where he continues to perform, choreograph, and serve as Artistic Director. Monte was featured on America's Got Talent Season 7 and is a Guinness World Record holder for his role as the principal dancer in the K-Mart Halloween Costume Challenge commercial. [back to top]
Edid Smith Enid Smith earned her BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1999. She danced in NYC with the Merce Cunningham Repertory Ensemble, Ivy Baldwin Dance, Anita Cheng Dance, and MAC cosmetics among others. She has been presenting her own choreography in the Chicago area since 2007. An avid collaborator, Enid has created work with painter Andrew Rauhauser, composers Jonathan Hey and Christopher Preissing, and frequently teams with the artists of Articular Facet. She currently teaches ballet and modern at Dance Center Evanston where she has created original dances for both the Evanston Dance Ensemble and EDE2. Enid is a member of the Cecchetti Council of America, a mother of two, and the artistic director of enidsmithdance. [back to top]
Allison Kurtz Allison Kurtz Volkers is a Northwestern grad, a die-hard Bears fan, Artistic Director of ede2, and Associate Program Director of Dance Center Evanston, where she trains young dancers in ballet and modern, and runs the popular Mini-Camp and Summer Dance Theater programs. A long-time choreographer and performer, Ms. Volkers has collaborated with such organizations as Adventure Stage, Albany Park Theater Project, Barrel of Monkeys, Beserra Dance Theater, Dog and Pony, Evanston Dance Ensemble, New Leaf, Piven, and, most notably, Striding Lion Performance Group, where she was a founding member and is currently an Artistic Associate. As an active participant in the growth of that company's educational outreach, Allison taught and administrated over twenty performing arts residencies throughout the greater Chicago area. 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 she has led workshops for the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Prior to these endeavors, she worked for the Dancercise Kids program, bringing dance to children in day cares, pre-schools, and after-school programs. [back to top]
Jill Waller Jill Waller graduated from Webster University with a B.F.A. in Dance. She danced with the Webster Dance Ensemble for four years and with the Webster Dance Theatre for two years. After moving to the Chicago area, Jill performed with the Joel Hall Dancers. In addition to teaching, Jill has been dancing with Rasa Dance Chicago for the past four years. [back to top]
Travis Travis "T-Roc" Wright Travis "T-Roc" Wright has appeared on ABC News, The Steve Harvey Show and most recently, a national K-Mart commercial. He has a background in dance from Columbia College and After School Matters, and has been able to share his love of dance with students around the world. Working with beginning through professional levels, T-Roc's approach is to entertain, inspire, and teach with positive energy. "Let's Rocit!" [back to top]

     Color photos by Matt Glavin