Meet the Dance Staff
Candace is a resident of Oak Park, mother of three, and Area Director with AuPairCare. She began teaching with the PDOP in November of 2015 as a member of the Early Childhood Team. She brings over 30 years of practical dance experience to the studio and 12 years of management and program development.
She performed pre-professionally with the State Ballet of Rhode Island and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Pedagogy from the Hartt School, University of Hartford. She has performed as a soloist with The Ballet Theater of West Hartford, company member and teacher with Kim Robards Dance, MA, and No Name Dance Company of Boulder, CO. She has performed with DanceLoop Chicago, Beyond Grace, KCD, Choreospace, Thread Metal Outfit, Nicole Gifford, Instruments of Movement, Thodos New Dances, Dance Chicago, Spectrum Festival, Arts for Life and most recently Ginger Jensen Choreography.
Her teaching style is impacted by the stars of The American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet (NYC), Mariinsky Ballet, Martha Graham Company and Jose Limon. She continues her journey of kinetic passion through performing, choreography, Yoga, Pilates, Barre Fitness, improvisation, and visual art. Mrs. Candace can be reached at Dance_Coordinator@pdop.org.
Rachel Kuhr Spalliero
Rachel, known by her unique nickname, Sabah. She took her first dance class at the age of 3 and never stopped dancing. In her teenage and young adult years Sabah focused on ballet. She was hired to work in professional companies including Chicago’s Festival Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Alabama Ballet and Momenta. She received her degree from Columbia College Chicago majoring in Cultural Studies and minoring in Dance with a year abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. There she was also offered a contract to dance on the Nile Pharaoh cruise ship allowing her to hire her own band and troupe of dancers. In 2006, she joined the international dance company Bellydance Superstars and began touring the world performing and teaching workshops highlighting her specialty of combining ballet with belly dance while wearing toe shoes. She moved up in the company from core dancer to principal dancer and became the Artistic Director and main choreographer in 2010. She is seen on many of the company’s DVDs including her own instructional video Advance your Dance with Sabah. Sabah has been teaching both local and international dance and fitness classes since 2000, using her world travels and continuous curiosity in all things dance, has led her to teach all levels, ages and ability. As an Oak Park native and mother of two, Rachel Kuhr Spalliero is happy to share her knowledge of dance through the Park District of Oak Park to anyone willing to try.
A lifelong resident of the Oak Park and River Forest area, Dana is a college student and worker who splits her life between her passions for the arts and human rights. She has mentored with Candace Lee and Kayla King as a teacher's assistant since January 2017, and she participated in the annual PDOP dance performance. She is grateful for the opportunity to have been mentored under both of their teaching styles. This summer, she developed and taught weekly dance classes for kids of all ages and experience levels for the Oak Park Food Pantry's Free Meals program. She has performed and studied dance academically at Sarah Lawrence College, and prior to then danced at Demaira Dance Studios in Oak Park for ten years, where she was also a teacher's assistant for young students. She danced every night, taking ballet, tap, hip hop, pointe, jazz, latin dance, and was part of a contemporary dance competition team. She was also a member of OPRF High School's Orchesis dance company. She has additional experience as a tutor, mentor, and childcare provider for kids of all ages. She believes in a teaching method that highlights technique, creativity, and passion, where students are creatively stimulated and are equipped with a toolbox of skills to be active agents in movement exploration. Creating a welcoming, accepting environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion, where students feel free to be themselves, is of the utmost importance to her. She is ecstatic to be teaching at the park district this fall!
After taking an African class at Danza Viva (Dance of Life) at age 11 with his older sister, Marcus Coleman quickly found his love for dance. Under the direction of director Rebecca Huntman, Marcus became apart of the One World Youth Ensemble for two years where he practiced varying styles such as; Latin, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Mambo and Swing. He became particularly interested in Hip-Hop where he carefully followed the instruction of Sidney McNeal's Saturday Hip-Hop class. He left Danza Viva to be one of the founding dancers in Mo Ni Ijo 'I Am Dance' Epiphany Youth Ensemble under Dunni Cosey Gay where they were given the opportunity to showcase their talent at a variety of venues in the Chicagoland area. After joining Orchesis at OPRF, his favorite piece was performing as Michael Jackson in Thriller. Just as in dance, Marcus believes in doing baby steps while encouraging students whom he tutors/instructs on the journey to success which is ‘knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential and sowing seeds that benefit others’.
Catherine L. Tully
Catherine L. Tully has 45 years of experience in the dance field, and for 30 of those years she has also been a teacher. Catherine has served as the Outside Europe Representative for the National Dance Teachers Association in the UK, and her dance writing has appeared in publications such as Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, youngARTS and Highland Dancer. She is also the owner and editor at 4dancers.org, an online publication that has been serving the dance community since 2009.
Holding a BA in Exercise Science and Fitness Management, Catherine studied dance at Chicago City Ballet under teachers such as Maria and Marjorie Tallchief, Inessa Alexandrovich (Bolshoi trained), and Paul Mejia. She has also taken classes with Claire Bataille and Rick Hilsabeck, as well as other faculty at Hubbard Street Dance Company’s Lou Conte Dance Studio. Her background is most extensive in Ballet, but she has also studied jazz dance and Russian character dance.
In addition to teaching in studios, Catherine has years of experience as a dance instructor in the Fine Arts Department of an all-girls college preparatory school, and as an adjunct professor in the Human Performance Department at a private university in Illinois. She has also taught, choreographed and performed in many places in northern Japan, where she lived for three years in the 1990′s.
Mariah Ghant is a recent grad from Vassar College in upstate New York. where she was a Drama and English major. Outside of the classroom, Mariah spent much of her time playing rugby, working on various theater productions, and dancing. After 14 years of taking dance lessons in her hometown of Schaumburg, she continued studying dance at Vassar with several talented and accredited instructors. Mariah continued to grow as a dancer in hip-hop, jazz, ballet, modern, and tap. She was also a choreographer for two student run dance groups and taught dance to students on campus. Mariah is very excited to begin working as a dance instructor here at PDOP and is looking forward to a great year!
Terry has been dancing for 35 years and interned with Ray Molina of Fred Astaire Studios. He is well known throughout the Chicagoland Latin Dance clubs, Ballroom and Swing communities. He has been inspiring the Oak Park community of children and adults to dance for 15 years. Terry is passionate about changing peoples lives by opening their eyes to something new, helping people find confidence, and providing "fun nights" to spend with other people. His classes are one of Oak Park's popular Monday social events. Terry is a music afficionado whose love of music was sparked by his travels to Rio. He enjoys discovering new music and dance venues throughout the country.
Sharon has been a teaching assistant for 15 years at the PDOP. She began dancing in 2000 as a way to meet new people and discover new cultures. She enjoys the fun and excitement of dancing throughout the Chicagoland Latin, Ballroom and Swing dance communities. She participates in regional dance events around the country from Hawaii to South Carolina. A dance highlight for Sharon was being an audience member on Dancing with the Stars as a personal invite from Evan Lysacek. She is a former flight attendant and was a managing partner with The John Casablancas Modeling Agency in Chicago. Sharon believes dance is great exercise without feeling like your exercising!