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Dance Instructor Bios

Frances Akwuole

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Frances did not know she was a dancer until senior year of high school when she was asked toc horeograph a cultural (African) dance for their school’s culture night. This event grew the intrinsic spark she had for dance. She joined an African dance team in college and danced all 4 years, eventually serving as their president. Frances cannot stand more than 2 minutes without moving her body or doing a dance move, especially when listening to music. She attended numerous dance classes and was trained by her dance instructor in Baltimore to teach. She started teaching contemporary African dance and hip-hop in college as drop-in events and has now entered into the world of formal dance teaching through PDOP. Fun fact, she’s double jointed!

Erin Coffman

Erin grew up in Maryland training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, pointe, and tap at several dance Erin_Coffmanstudios, thus beginning her love for dance. She continued her education at East Carolina University,  where she graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance Performance. While there she was fortunate enough to gain experience through residencies with many great companies such as: BODYTRAFFIC, Parsons Dance Company, and Koresh. She also spent her summers training with the American Dance Festival, Thodos, and New Dialect. She moved to Chicago in January 2017 to pursue her career in dance, and never looked back. Erin was fortunate to have the opportunity to dance  for Banks Performance Project, a contemporary modern company, for many seasons. During this time she also found her passion for teaching, and has spent many wonderful years teaching dance at various studios in Maryland, North Carolina, and now Chicago. Erin’s favorite food is anything with cheese, and in her free time she loves playing with her cat Babe!

 

Katie Iler

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Katie Iler was born and raised in the Bay Area, California. She began dancing at the age of 5 with Melody’s Dance Studio in Antioch where she danced for 25 years before moving to Oak Park with her boyfriend and 2 cats.  She attended Solano College’s Actors Training Program where she learned to hone her Singing, Dancing and Acting skills and participated in Community Theatre.  Her favorite styles of dance are Ballet and Tap but she enjoys all styles and loves the challenge of learning new techniques.

 

Cindy Johnson

Cindy Johnson moved to Chicago in July of 2019 and loves living in this artsy, vibrant city. She started cindy_johnsondancing at the age of three and has studied Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Traditional Chinese Folk dance, and various other styles over the years. Originally from a small mountain town in Washington State, Cindy received her BFA in Dance from Western Washington University. At WWU she participated in many faculty and student performances, attended the American College Dance Festival, and worked with choreographers such as Nolan Dennett, Leslie Krauss, Pam Kuntz, and Anya Cloud. Cindy has been teaching multiple styles of dance to all ages and is a Zumba instructor. She studied dance abroad in Florence, Italy and worked in Bangalore, India as an intern with Attakkalari Center for Movement Arts. In Chicago she has danced with Identity Performing Arts, Alluvion Dance Chicago, and was founding member of Echo Modern Dance Collective. Currently she is an apprentice with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and is so excited to keep sharing her love of dance with the Oak Park Community.

 

Deanna Paloiandeanna

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. With 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!

 

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. Holding a BA in Exercise Science and Fitness Management, Catherine studied dance at Chicago City Ballet under teachers such 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!

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