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Dance Instructor Bios

Meet the Dance Staff

Candace Lee

candace

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

rachelRachel, 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.

Catherine L. Tully

ctullyCatherine 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.

Terry Zeeman and Sharon Parker

terryzeemanTerry 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 you're exercising!

Jasmine Garramone

jasmineJasmine is a resident of Oak Park and has two energetic boys. She grew up in an urban area of Tokyo, Japan. From the age of 8 she was inspired by Janet Jackson to dance. She trained in NYC at Broadway Dance Center and Tokyo for 2 years at the Mucky Dance Vocational School that focused on Jazz, Hip hop, Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, Bellydance and Tap dance skills. Soon after graduation she started teaching Hip hop-Jazz classes and choreographed multiple dance shows. Jasmine also graduated from Soka University in 2015 as an Economics major.

Deanna Paloian

Coach D, Deanna Paloian, has eaten, slept and breathed cheerleading and dance her entire life. Starting as a cheerleader and dancer at a young age, she developed a passion for the sport and loves to share this passion with her students. Wdeannaith years of experience coaching Recreational, High School ICCA, All-Star and all things cheer, there isn’t a Cheer situation she isn’t prepared for. Her love of the sport inspires her to continue coaching, but what really makes Cheer her life is working with the athletes themselves.

Seeing children grow through sport, make friends, overcome hurdles and gain self worth and confidence through cheerleading is the real goal of any class she is teaching. She’s got spirit, yes she does, and if you take her class, you will too!

Christa Prophete

ChristaChrista Prophete is a recent graduate of Trinity college with a Bachelor of Arts in non-profit management and dance. She is currently a teaching artist with the Red Clay Dance company. Previously, she has worked with the Judy Dworin Performance Project in an elementary school in Hartford, Connecticut to provide a movement class because she believes that arts in school environments are essential to children’s emotional and cognitive development.  She has a strong belief in young people and is a passionate and diligent worker. She hopes to gain experience in an arts or youth development non profit organization in order to work toward opening her own arts non-profit centered around movement workshops for youth.

Sara McKinney

saraSara grew up dancing at the Brattleboro School of Dance and the Windham Regional Career Center in the town of Brattleboro, Vermont. Sara trained in a variety of styles of dance including ballet, modern, tap, jazz, belly dance and ballroom. She pursued dance in college and received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Dance Education and Arts and Education from William Smith College in upstate New York. After graduating from college in 2014, Sara decided to pursue her passion for Latin American studies and the Spanish language and moved to Cali, Colombia to teach English at a public high school. She spent a year in Colombia teaching as well as learning various Latin dance styles such as salsa, merengue and bachata.

Sara moved to Chicago to serve as an AmeriCorps volunteer with City Year, an educational nonprofit organization that works to reduce school dropout rates. Upon completing her year with City Year Sara decided to pursue her passion for dance at the professional level and obtained a work-study position with Hubbard Street and the Lou Conte Dance Studio. Sara became a member of Simantikos Dance Company for the 2018-2019 season and is excited to be teaching dance classes at the Park District of Oak Park.

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