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Maddie Plewacki - Program Specialist/Instructor
Maddie has trained in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Modern dance for more than 20 years. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where she majored in Dance Performance and Spanish Language and Literature. At NIU, Maddie trained with Judith Chitwood, Paula Frasz and Autumn Eckman, and performed in several Northern Dance Theatre shows. Maddie has been choreographing for the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance's competition team Hot Shots for 8 seasons. Her routines have received multiple high trophies, placed in the top 10, top 5, and 1st place overall and received Judge's Choice Awards (including best choreography and technique). In addition, Maddie choreographs for Big Deal Productions, Broadway Bound summer camp, and is resident choreographer for Yorkville High School’s musical. She continues to perform in local musicals, and some of her favorite past shows include Little Shop of Horrors and Shrek through Big Deal Productions. Maddie continues her training by attending DMI Conventions, Tremaine Conventions, taking class at Lou Conte and traveling to NYC each summer to attend the Dance Teacher Summit. With her strong passion for dance, nothing is more satisfying than spreading that passion to others.
Aly Stanczak - Recreation Manager/Instructor
Aly has been teaching dance for 18 years and will be entering her 13th year as studio director at the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance. She graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in education and a K-9 teaching certificate. She has pursued her dance training at Gus Giordano, Joel Hall Dance Center, Northwest Ballet Academy and various other local studios. Aly keeps her training current by attending Dance Makers Inc, DanceTeacher Web conference, DanceLife Teacher Training and Dance Teacher Summer Training, where she had the privilege of studying with amazing teachers such as Cathy Roe, Rhee Gold, Darryl Retter, Janice Barringer, Tommy Alexander, and the great tap legend, Al Gilbert. In addition to teaching, Aly has choreographed numerous theater productions for children and adults, with some of her favorites including Annie, 101 Dalmatians, The Magical Land of Oz, Bugsy Malone, The King and I, 42nd Street, Cinderella, Aladdin, and West Side Story. Aly is pleased to share her passion for dance with the community and welcomes everyone to the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance family.
Susan Cohen - Instructor
Susan started dancing at the age of 4, and her studies continued throughout high school and college. She continues to train and attend workshops. Susan enjoys working with children - helping them to develop a skill or explore a new adventure as the expression of dance can be very freeing of the spirit and mind. Watching her student’s progression from year to year is very exciting for her. “My love for dance is my bliss.” She is excited to begin her 10th year teaching here at the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance!
Melissa Gocek - Instructor
Melissa started taking dance lessons at age 4 at a park district in California, and went on to study at the Round Lake Area Park District Studio of Dance, Northshore School of Dance, Lou Conte Dance Studio, Cincinnati Ballet's Otto M. Budig Academy, the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, and is a proud member of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Melissa has been teaching dance for over 17 years, and has choreographed for more than 20 productions, including the Buffalo Grove Park District's own Nutcracker Rhythm and Grace. She is absolutely thrilled to be joining the staff again as a regular teacher, and cannot wait to get into the studio!
Gini Griffin - Instructor
Gini has been dancing for over 30 years, and has trained in ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical. She was in the Ripon College Dance Company, and has performed in the Nutcracker multiple times. Gini enjoys everything dance, from classes, to performing, to watching. Her favorite performances to watch are anything her daughters are in. She is very excited to be teaching for the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance.
Kathryn M. Lahey - Instructor
Kathy has been a dance teacher for 40 years. She had a studio in the Fox Lake area for 6 years, and then moved to Seattle, where she taught dance at many area community centers, and was the owner and director of Kathy’s Studio of Dance for 34 years. Before teaching, she studied at 2 studios in Illinois, and studied ballet with Judith Svalander School of Ballet in nearby Crystal Lake. She has been a choreographer for musicals, beauty pageants, pom-pon squads and cheerleaders. Kathy is a past member of the Dance Educators of America, and the Professional Dance Teachers Association. She teaches preschool dance, ballet, tap, jazz, musical theater, lyrical, tumbling and kickline. Kathy has worked for 25 years with Starpower National Talent Competition as a judge and staff member. Kathy is also on staff with Manhattan Dance Project (MDP), traveling around the country, hosting classes that are conducted by professional working teachers from today’s dance world. MDP helps Kathy keep up and be current in today’s dance techniques. Kathy is always most happy when she can pass on her passion of dance to children and adults of all ages.
Sean Murillo - Instructor
Sean has been involved in the performing arts since the age of 7, and is trained in jazz, musical theater, with a main focus in hip hop. He has performed in a number of Big Deal Productions, the most recent being the Donkey in Shrek. Along with his background in musical theater, Sean was the captain and choreographer for The Wheeling High School New Dawns show choir. Sean has also participated in the Disney Dancin workshop in Walt Disney World. This will be his fourth season with the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance and the Hot Shots dance team.
Caeli Sievert - Instructor
Caeli started doing gymnastics and dancing at the age of 3. She was a part of the club gymnastics team at the University of Illinois, and has coached gymnastics and tumbling for 20 years. Caeli is a former special educator, who put teaching aside to spend time with her children. She enjoys watching her children dance at the studio and taking classes herself. Caeli is excited to be a part of the staff and looks forward to a wonderful year.
Annie Snow - Instructor
Annie has been dancing for over 20 years and is excited for her first year at the Buffalo Grove Studio of Dance. She has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, musical theater, capoeria, creative movement, and improvisation. She has a degree in dance from Hope College and a Masters in dance/movement therapy and counseling from Columbia College Chicago. Annie enjoys performing as a dancer/actor whenever she gets the chance. She danced for 2 years with Dance>Detour Chicago and recently, for several local theatre companies. She enjoys working as an actor for seasonal events at Navy Pier and continuing her dance training at Lou Conte in Chicago. Annie has been working as a choreographer/director for musical theatre for the past 9 years. She is the resident choreographer for Encore Theatre in Libertyville and works at the Northbrook Park District summer drama camp. Some of her favorite works include Shrek, Brigadoon, Footloose, Hairspray, Guys and Dolls, All Shook Up, and Thoroughlly Modern Millie. Dance has been a passion of Annie's for a long time and she feels so blessed to continue to share her love of dance with her students and community.