Our dance and music instructors are highly trained, positive and enthusiastic individuals. They all love to teach and enjoy passing along their love of dance and music.
Krissie Odegard Geye Owner / Artistic Director / Instructor
Krissie has been on staff for Goliard Concerts in New York City, The Ethnic Dance Theatre in St. Paul, MN, as well as clinician at the ATDI “Spirit of Tap” Conference and a faculty member for the New York City Public School system. For the past two years, she was given a grant to produce a full length work in Anita's Way in Times Square. She was selected to be a conference presenter at the International Dance Pedagogy Conference and Performance Festival at New Mexico State University in July 2017. She has also served master class clinician at the Big River Dance Festival in West Virginia. Her choreography has been selected for the Peridance Youth Showcase in NYC, Jennifer Mueller's "Hatch" series in NYC, the Detroit Dance Festival, the Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Big River Dance Festival, The Exchange Choreography Festival in Tulsa, OK, the 2018 Spring Choreography Showcase at Peridance in NYC, and Dance Chicago. She was selected for National "Best Choreography" at Cathy Roe's Ultimate Dance National Finals in 2017, the recipient of the Choreography Award at Bella Moxi Convention, in 2016, and was selected as one of 3 National Choreography Competition winners sponsored by Ovation TV. She is the four-time recipient of a space in the Dance Chicago's "Choreographer's Showcase" performance, featuring the top choreographers from the Chicagoland area. This will be her fifth year as the Director of the National "Heart and Soul" Dance Company and her second year as the National “Elite Petite” Dance Company. She is currently the proud Owner and Artistic Director of the Dance and Music Academy in Chicago and the Co-Founder/Artistic Director of the Trifecta Dance Collective.
Allie Boutsikakis Director of GBS Jr Titans Poms
Allie is a graduate of Glenbrook South High School and currently attends Loyola University of Chicago studying Biology and Bioethics. While at Glenbrook South, she was a four-year member of the Titan Poms team. She was a Varsity team member for 3 years and took on the leadership role of Captain her senior year. Allie led the team to place 11th in the Large Pom National competition and 13th in the National Large Jazz competition at the UDA National Dance Team Championship during her time as captain. She received the role of UDA Instructor during her college years. Through UDA, she has travelled throughout Illinois and Wisconsin, teaching and inspiring the youth poms teams in the region. She also served as a staff member at the the 2017 and 2018 UDA National Dance Team Championships. She is currently a second-year member of the Loyola University of Chicago Dance Team. Last year, the team placed 5th at the NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance National Championship. She will be entering her junior year in the fall as the Loyola University of Chicago Dance Team Captain. She is excited to choreograph and lead the GBS Junior Titan Poms Teams at the Dance and Music Academy for the 2018-2019 season!
Ashley May Coussens Director of Programming / Instructor
Ashley currently serves as Director of Programming at Dance & Music Academy, in addition to teaching as part of our faculty. She is a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Communication, where she studied Dance, Theatre, and Business Institutions. Ashley has worked administratively in external relations and fundraising for several arts organizations and educational non-profits, including Youth American Grand Prix, The Joffrey Ballet, The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Heron Agency, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. Since its inception in 2011, Ashley has been a member of the Auditorium Theatre's Auxiliary Board, where she currently serves on the Marketing Committee and previously served as a member of Event Planning Committee and Fundraising Committee, in addition to Secretary of the Executive Committee. Artistically, Ashley has performed with Trifecta Dance Collective, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Aerial Dance Chicago, Ballet Légere, and Rephrase Dance Collective, as well as the televised McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Chicago Lights Festival Parade. Ashley has been performing professionally, as well as teaching and choreographing, for over 10 years, and her original choreography has been selected for the Dance Chicago festival. Ashley has trained at Joffrey Academy of Dance, Hubbard Street's Lou Conte Dance Studio, Visceral Dance Chicago, American Rhythm Center, Joel Hall Dance Center, Gus Giordano Dance Center, Aerial Dance Chicago, Aloft Circus Arts, Trapeze School of New York, Actors Gymnasium, River North Dance Chicago, The School of Performing Arts, and Inaside Dance Chicago (Merit Scholarship Recipient). Having worked with several winners of the Joseph Jefferson ("Jeff") Award and Ruth Page Award, Ashley began her career as a performer and Dance Captain at Chicago's former American Girl Place Theater, and she is a graduate of the National High School Institute's "Cherubs" program for theatre arts. Ashley has had extensive teaching experience, having worked for Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development, French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, and numerous Chicago schools and arts programs. Ashley has a strong passion for encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to find empowerment through arts education, and she is thrilled to be part of the amazing community at Dance & Music Academy!
Kristi Liciera Director of Commercial Companies
Kristi Licera began training and competing in dance at age 8 in her hometown, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Kristi ended her competitive career in 2012 with a UDA Collegiate National Title in Division I Jazz with Cal State Fullerton’s Titans Dance Team. In 2014, Kristi graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Dance from California State University, Fullerton. She was a member of the university’s Dance Repertory Theatre, where she the honor of premiering works by choreographers such as Daniel Charon, Colin Connor, Jiří Kylián, and Jonathan Fredrickson. Upon graduation, Kristi joined Keshet Dance Company (Albuquerque, NM), where she had opportunities to create and premiere her own choreographic works and perform abroad in Italy and Switzerland. Since relocating to Chicago in mid-2015, Kristi has created a multi-faceted career in dance that spans from performance and choreography to marketing and press publication. She is the Dance Editor at DancerMusic.com, a press website for discovering the latest in music and dance. Kristi actively teaches youth and adult dance classes throughout the Chicagoland area and dances professionally with Chicago Dance Crash. She is thrilled to join the DMA staff!
Beth Netzly Director of Ballet Programming / Instructor
Beth Netzly was born and raised in Holland Michigan. She began her training under Rick and Lara Faucher and performed many lead roles with the Turning Pointe Ballet Ensemble for seven years. Her technique advanced as she attended various summer intensives across the country including JHD II, Ad Deum and Paul Taylor. Beth attended Grand Valley State University and was selected as a freshmen to to perform in the ensemble. In addition to college classes Beth trained under James and Lucia Martin and performed as a guest artist throughout west Michigan. Beth was asked to join Rasa in 2008 under the direction of Van Collins. She later trained with Joel Hall, Betsy Herskind and Nick Pupillo. She has performed works by many independent choreographers as well as John Lehrer, Lizzie MacKenzie, Elijah Gibson and Autumn Eckman. She has enjoyed being rehearsal director at Illinois Youth Ballet producing Nutcracker and the Little Mermaid. Beth continues to dance professionally and is thrilled to pass on the knowledge she has learned over the years to her students.
Carrie Patterson Executive Director of Programming and Outreach / Instructor
Carrie Patterson, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, began her training with the Atlanta Ballet, and continued training in the summers with Houston Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Luna Negra Dance Theater. In 2011, Carrie graduated cum laude from Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Psychology. After graduation, Carrie spent the 2011-2012 season dancing as a trainee with the Louisville Ballet.. In the summer of 2012, Carrie moved to Chicago where she spent 2012-2013 season as a trainee with Thodos Dance Chicago. Carrie has also danced in Chicago with Rephrase Dance Collective and Project606 Dance. She choreographed works for the Louisville Ballet in their New Works show of 2012, Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances, and Nomi Dance Company’s Instrumental. She currently is also a dancer with Nomi Dance Company and co-artistic director of Trifecta Dance Collective.
Joanna Paul Director of Community Presence / Instructor
Joanna Paul began her training in Indiana with Patti Plascak Willey at the Terre Haute Academy of Dance, and continued training in the summers with Cincinnati Ballet, Virginia School of the Arts, American Dance Festival, Doug Varone and Dancers and the Trinity-Laban Conservatory in London. Joanna received degrees in Dance and Kinesiology from Indiana University. While attending IU, she performed in works by Elizabeth Shea, Selene Carter, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and had the privilege of recreating works by Martha Graham. After graduating with highest distinction, she relocated to Chicago. Joanna currently performs with Trifecta Dance Collective, Esoteric Dance Project and Project606 Dance. Further performance experience includes Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater and Tapestry Dance Company. In the spring of 2016 she completed Esoteric Dance Project’s Choreographic Mentorship Program, premiering a dance for the company’s May performance, and also created a new work for Project606 Dance. In 2015 her work Trio for the Waiting was chosen for the emerging choreographer showcase Dances in the Hall at Joel Hall Dancers & Center as well as Going Dutch Dance Festival and as part of the Awakening Movement Project Midwest Tour. In addition to teaching dance, Joanna is also a certified Pilates and Yoga Instructor.
Emma Reeves Administrative Director / Instructor
The Debut Dancers curriculum is a research-based movement program that centers around movements that increase muscle control and encourage agility and musicality. The students will learn solid technique in this combination Ballet and Tap program.
Cayla Roberts Instructor
Cayla Roberts began her training in Sidney, Ohio. While in Sidney Cayla attended multiple intensive receiving training from Dayton Ballet, Ballet Met, Point Park Eniversity and Butler Eniversity. After high school Cayla went on to receive her B.F.A in dance from Wright State University where she not only took part in student and faculty concerts but musicals as well. After graduation from Wright State University Cayla moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where she danced with the Fort Wayne Ballet before moving to Chicago to pursue dance in a bigger city. Since moving to Chicago Cayla has had the opportunity to dance with the Chicago Honey Bears, Tapestry Cance, Project 606 and Esoteric. Cayla is very excited to be joining Trifecta this season and work with such a dedicated group.
Colleen Welch Instructor
Colleen Welch studied dance and exercise science at Indiana University where she graduated with a degree in kinesiology. During her time at Indiana, she performed works by Bill Evans, Martha Graham, Bella Lewitzky, Paul Taylor, and The Dance Exchange. After graduation, Colleen began her professional career with Zephyr Dance in Chicago and performed with the company for three years. She also performed with Dropshift Dance for five seasons and has performed with Ology Dance, Tapestry Dance Company, and Project 606. She is thrilled to be currently collaborating with The Friday Collective. Colleen has performed and presented her choreography in Chicago and NYC with Awakening Movement Project based in NYC. Colleen is so excited to be teaching at DMA!
Heather Zimny Director of Performance Companies / Instructor
Heather Zimny, originally from the suburbs of Chicago, received her BA in dance from Columbia College Chicago. She also holds a 200 hour Power Yoga Certification and a Yoga Sculpt Certification from Corepower Yoga. Heather continues to train and develop her artistry 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, Peff Modelski, William Gill, Pam Tanis, Nancy Teinowitz, Vanessa Truvillion, and Nick Pupillo among many other wonderful teachers sprinkling in some yoga and aerial into the mix for good measure. Heather can currently be seen onstage getting sassy with the Joel Hall Dancers, breaking boundaries with Trifecta Dance Collective and exploring the vertical dance floor with Aerial Dance Chicago. Other dance credits include Rasa Dance Chicago under direction of Van Collins, Paul Sanasardo, Ballet Entre Nous, Lucid Banter Project, Alliance Dance Company, Allure Dance Company (Detroit, Michigan), D.I.A.L and numerous independent choreographers and appearances in music videos. In September 2010 she had the chance to dance overseas in Liverpool with the Joel Hall Dancers as part of a yearlong celebration of their LEAP program's 10th anniversary. Dance has graciously taken her all over the world performing on stages in multiple festivals and concerts across the U.S.(Spring Into Dance St. Louis, Jazz Dance World Congress, Exchange Festival in Tulsa, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Anita’s Way in Times Square NY, Big River Festival in Huntington WV, Dance USA, Fontainebleau in Miami Beach FL) and overseas. Heather is grateful to be directing, teaching and choreographing throughout the city, suburbs and Chicago Public Schools doing what she loves everyday. She is honored to be returning to the Dance and Music Academy faculty this year and is jazzed about the amazing experiences and challenges the new season will bring.