Faculty

Maan Almodovar
Ballet D + Conditioning/Pointe Prep II + Conditioning/Point Prep I

Maan Nabong received her dance training from Sherry Moray, Homer Bryant, Wes Chapman, and Roger Van Fleteran. In 2000 and 2001, Maan placed 1st in the Junior Classical division at Youth America Grand Prix. From 2002-2004, she danced with the Alabama Ballet where she performed Arabian in George Balanchine’s Nutcracker and various roles in Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake. Maan was a scholarship student at Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago and at Alonzo Kings Ballet in San Francisco. In 2006-2007, Maan performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, working with choreographer, Daniel Pelzig in Die Fledermaus. Maan is a Stott-trained Pilates instructor and is also currently on faculty at the Joffrey Academy of Dance.

Barry Bennett
Dance Accompanist

Barry is a Jeff nominated maker of theatrical music and sound with over 40 world premieres, a multitude of albums under his own name and as a band leader — with the seminal trance outfit, MiLkBabY and the art rock group he currently leads, GRAPE JUICE PLUS. Other companies he has worked with since coming to Chicagoland in 1993 would include: The Goodman, Victory Gardens, Lifeline, Chicago Dramatists (former associate artist), Mordine and Company, Something Marvelous, Writers’ Theatre, The Aardvark, Steppenwolf, The Art Institute, Emerald City, National Pastime, Cindy Brandle Dance Company, PROP THTR, Chicago Moving Company (former composer in residence), Estrogen Fest, Asimina Chremos, Breakbone Dance, and others. He is an artistic associate and resident composer for 16th Street Theater, Winifred Haun & Dancers, and the director of Impending Behavior Orchestra. By day, Barry is a modern dance accompanist and plays percussion with a wide variety of groups across stages in the region which includes being the regular drummer for The Przmatics. http://barrybennettsounds.com

Levizadik Buckins
Contemporary Jazz + Senior Repertoire

Levizadik Buckins began his dance education at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, under the direction of Ethan Stiefel. During his time at UNCSA, he worked with choreographers such as Brenda Daniels, Trish Casey, and Diego Schoch. He has also had the chance to work with well-known choreographers Maurya Kerr, Larry Keigwin, Scott Rink, and Trish Lent. He has performed professionally with the Winston-Salem Festival of Ballet under the direction of Gary Taylor in North Carolina, and River North Dance Chicago under the direction of Frank Chaves. While at River North Dance Chicago he worked with Adam Barruch, Kevin Iega Jeff, Ashley Roland, and Ivan Perez. Levizadik is currently in his second year as a dance instructor at the Chicago High School of the Arts.

Zineb Chraibi
Graham Technique

A former dancer, Zineb Chraibi has performed with the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Deeply Rooted Productions, Winifred Haun and Dancers as well as with various independent choreographers. She holds a BA in Dance from Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pa. Ms. Chraibi grew up in Casablanca, Morocco where she first started training. She later returned to her native city of Paris to study ballet, modern, and jazz. She has also trained at Les ballets Jazz De Montreal, Ruth Page Dance Center and Lou Conte Dance Studios. She is currently on the faculty at the Dance Center of Columbia College, the Joffrey Ballet and guest teaches in the U.S. and abroad. She has also served on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at Barat College, The Chicago Academy for The Arts, The Joel Hall Dance Center, and taught at the Lou Conte dance Studio. In addition to teaching dance, Zineb is a certified Yoga and Pilates instructor who teaches in the U.S and abroad.

Colin DeJong
Music for Dancers + Dance Accompanist

Colin DeJong is a company class pianist at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and accompanies classes at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, the Joffrey Academy of Dance, the Hyde Park School of Dance, and the Interlochen Arts Camp. He has sung with Music of the Baroque and taught music theory at the Merit School of Music. Mr. DeJong earned his MM in Music Theory and BM in Music Composition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where he was Associate Instructor in music theory and an accompanist for the university’s pre-college ballet program.

Brandon DiCriscio
Contemporary Modern and Ballet C Theatre (Dance) + Dance II and Dance IV (Theatre)
Mr. DiCriscio, of Wilmington, DE, received his initial training from Anne Marie and Sonny Leo. He then went on to pursue a B.A. in Dance at Point Park University. While in school, he apprenticed with River North Dance Chicago and then became a company member in 2007, dancing with the company for four seasons. Brandon has worked with choreographers including Robert Battle, Sidra Bell, Frank Chaves, Ron De Jesus, Shannon Gillen, Gustavo Ramierz Zanzano, Lauri Stallings, Doug Varone, Edgar Zendejas, and Sherry Zunker. While at Springboard Danse Montreal, he worked with BJM Danse Montreal under the direction of Louis Robitaille. Brandon also has apprenticed with Luna Negra Dance Theater. His true passion is for dance-making. In 2011, he won the Dance Chance Redux competition sponsored by DanceWorks Chicago and the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. In 2012, he created two new works on the Big Muddy Dance Company of St. Louis. Additional Chicago Concert dance commissions include Nomi Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Inside Chicago Dance, and LEVELdance. Brandon is currently Associate Artistic Director of LEVELdance. He enjoys training aspiring dance professionals at ChiArts, as well as Joffrey Academy, and the North Shore School of Dance. He also is the resident choreographer for ChiArts’ Musical Theatre Main Stage productions.
Maliwan Diemer
Ballet F + Senior Seminar for Dancers

Maliwan Diemer began her dance training in Columbus, Ohio at the age of three. She continued her studies with RAD certified teacher, Ng Siew Fong, while her family lived abroad. Ballet became her passion and by the age of thirteen she had been invited to study and perform with Indiana University’s Ballet Theater, where she trained with Violette Verdy, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, Jacques and Virginia Cesbron, Leslie Peck and Doricha Sales, along with notable guest choreographers and directors. A long time instructor for Indiana University’s Pre-College Ballet Program, Ms. Diemer also spent a year as Associate Instructor for the African American Dance Company under the direction of Iris Rosa. She is currently on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, serves as faculty member and Performance Project Director for Chicago Ballet Arts, and is a guest teacher for Empower Dance Company. Ms. Diemer has also worked with the University of Chicago’s UBallet and has taught company class for DanceWorks Chicago and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. As a ballroom competitor, she has won Professional Rising Star and Open events in Latin, Standard and Smooth and is a United States 10-Dance Finalist and 2x National Rising Star Smooth Finalist. Ms. Diemer holds a M.A. in Arts Administration and a B.S.O.F. in Ballet and Political Science, magna cum laude, both from Indiana University. She has been a member of the dance faculty at ChiArts since 2011.

Tracey Franklin
Department Assistant
Robert Garrett
Dance Accompanist
Robin Gayle
Novice Ballet

Robin Gayle is a professional dancer, an established ballet teacher, and a certified Pilates instructor. She performed for nine seasons as a Soloist with the Columbia City Ballet, apprenticed with the Colorado Ballet, and is a frequent guest artist around the country. Robin trained privately under Sherry Moray and Alla Osipenko and attended the Académie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, the Ruth Page School of Dance, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Her summer intensives include the schools of American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet. Robin was a top finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix competition and chosen to perform at YAGP Galas in 2000 and 2001. Robin’s reviews include Dance Magazine’s late Ann Barzel, who praised Robin as a “uniquely talented dancer,” and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Hedy Weiss, who characterized Robin’s dancing as “brilliant.” Additional credits include appearing in the movie “Save the Last Dance,” the TV show “Sabado Gigante,” and modeling for Capezio and Leo’s Dancewear. Robin has had the pleasure of working with the dancers at ChiArts since 2017.

Mike Przygoda
Music for Dancers + Dance Accompanist
Mike Przygoda has been at ChiArts since the beginning, playing for dance classes, teaching Music For Dancers, composing pieces, and running sound. Outside of ChiArts he works as a composer, arranger, producer, music director, sound designer, and a multi-instrumentalist around Chicago at such places as The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Goodman Theatre, Second City, Ailey Camp, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and others. He won a Jeff Award for artistic specialization in percussion, and his band has released several critically acclaimed albums.
Greer A. Reed
Dance Department Head

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Greer Reed successfully completed the Certificate and Merit scholarship programs at The Ailey School and shortly after became a member of the outstanding Ailey II. The bulk of Ms. Reed’s professional career took place with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, retiring after 10 years in 2002 with the “Josie” Award for Outstanding Female Artist. Her dedication to young people is a driving force to enrich, empower and inspire. In the classroom, Ms. Reed focuses on dance curricula on academic quality, technique, and cultural experiences that reveal the transparency of thoughtfulness, refinement, and holistic teaching. As the 2018-2019 academic year began, The Chicago High School for the Arts welcomed Ms. Reed’s transformational teaching into their dance studios and classrooms as Chair of the Dance Department taking the Dance Conservatory scholar-artists to new heights. She is excited and committed to developing the next generation of incredible dancers who will redefine movement and honor past traditions while creating a heritage that reflects their voice. Along with her busy schedule, Greer recently received her B.A. from LaRoche University in Pittsburgh, PA with a 4.0 grade point average and the President’s Leadership and Scholarship Award, the highest honor La Roche University can bestow on a graduate for exemplary academic and leadership skills who best exemplify the values and characteristics of the college’s mission. She is currently a Master’s candidate at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT.

Nicole Scatchell
Ballet A + Musical Theatre Dance I + Musical Theatre Dance III

Nicole Scatchell is a Chicago native.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Columbia College Chicago, as well as her certification to teach Dance K-12 from University of Milwaukee, WI.  As a young dancer Nicole trained at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet Legere.  Nicole has trained under the direction of Anna Paskevska, Liz Burrit, Jefferson Baum, Eduardo Vilaro, Krenly Guzman, Kathleen Hermsdorf, Darrel Jones to name a few.  She has performed with companies BONEdanse, Zephyr Dance, Get Down/Pick Up Company, David Dorfman, Dropshift Dance and has worked with choreographers such as Peter Carpenter, Reggie Wilson, Jan Bartosek, Tammy Thomas, Sean France, Jeff Hanncock, Jimmy Orrante, Emily Stein, among others.  She performed for audiences in Chicago, Scotland, Italy, France, Germany, New York as well as across the U.S as a soloist with the International Ballet Ensemble.   Nicole has been a dedicated dance educator in CPS, domestically, and internationally for 12+ years.   She is the Artistic Director of Chicago Dance Institute, All City Dance Ensemble Director, and on faculty at Harold Washington College, and Joffrey Academy.  She continues to work with countless non-profits across the U.S. teaching, training, and developing high-level dance programs for specific populations.  She led and directed international programming in Haiti where she worked with local children and trained over 20 local volunteers in pedagogy, in partnership with Worldwide Orphans.  Nicole also choreographs ChiArts’ Musical Theatre main stage productions.  She continues be a guest artist with Chicago choreographers, teach yoga, and perform with her improv comedy group.

Ted Seymour
Pointe II + Ballet Technique B

Ted Seymour was born in Dallas, Texas where he trained at the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. He moved to Chicago to study with Dan Duell and Patricia Blair as a member of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. Ted later attended The School of American Ballet where he choreographed two ballets for the school and was invited by Peter Martins to create a new ballet for the New York Choreographic Institute. After leaving SAB, he joined Cedar Lake Contemporary dance Company. Ted joined Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2007 where he has danced featured roles in Balanchine’s Episodes, La Valse, and the Act II pas de deux from A Midsummer Night’s Dream among others.

Anna Shuba
Accompanist
Megan Wright
Ballet + Pointe + Injury Prevention/Nutrition + Professional Development

Megan is a Chicago native who danced professionally with the Los Angeles Ballet and the St. Louis Ballet. Some of her freelance work includes performances with the San Diego Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Comedy Central, and a variety of music video and photo shoots. Megan studied at Ballet Chicago and the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, as well as summers at the School of American Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School, American Ballet Theater, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She also teaches at Ballet Chicago, the Beverly Arts Center, and independently offers adult classes in her neighborhood. In addition, Megan is an alumni of DePaul University, the iO Theater, and a certified group fitness instructor.

Teanna Zarro
Ballet Technique Level E

Teanna Zarro was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She received her early ballet training with former Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo Soloist, Meredith Baylis. Zarro continued her studies with The Pennsylvania Ballet School, as well as studying on a full scholarship with The Joffrey Ballet School. At the age of seventeen, Ms. Zarro moved to New York to join The Joffrey Ballet II, and also performed as an apprentice with The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

In 1999, Ms. Zarro was invited to join The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, under the direction of Gerald Arpino. With The Joffrey, Ms. Zarro performed ballets by renowned choreographers such as Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Leonard Massine, Agnes de Mille, Vaslav Nijinsky, Frederick Ashton, and Martha Graham. Zarro has performed featured roles with Ballet New York, The Los Angeles Ballet, RPM Productions, Civic Ballet of Chicago, The San Diego Opera, The Dallas Opera, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago. Principal roles include: Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, The Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Medora in Le Corsaire, Swanilda in Coppelia, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

Ms. Zarro is a current faculty member of The Chicago High School for the Arts and Hyde Park School of Dance. Zarro co-directs the top tier of Hyde Park School of Dance’s studio company for youth dancers, alongside Artistic Director, August Tye.