Meet our Teaching Staff
Candace Lee, Dance Coordinator
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 and quickly transitioned to Dance Coordinator. She brings over 30+ years of practical dance experience and community organizing 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. Her national understanding of grassroots community organizing, world view of dance education and performance and professional understanding of kinesiology and dance science have propelled the program to reach new standards.
She has trained and mentored with the international stars and master teachers of The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of The American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet (NYC), Mariinsky Ballet, Martha Graham Company and Jose Limon Company. He has studied and danced extensively with Chicago’s premier teachers and companies- Thodos New Dances, Dance Chicago, Spectrum Festival, Arts for Life, DanceLoop Chicago, Instruments of Movement, Beyond Grace, Ginger Jensen Choreography, KCD, Thread Metal Outfit, Nicole Gifford and Choreospace. 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.
Candace continues her journey of kinetic passion through performing, choreography, Yoga, Pilates, Barre Fitness, improvisation, and visual art. Mrs. Candace can be reached at Candace.Lee@pdop.org.
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.
Terry Zeeman and Sharon Parker
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 you're exercising!
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!
Julia Schaeffer began dancing ballet at the age of 12. She was introduced to contemporary, jazz, modern and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Chapman University. She has a background teaching all ages ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, pre- professional and professional adults, people with Parkinson’s Disease and children on the Autism spectrum.
She studied under Dale Merill, Alicia Guy, Jenny Backhaus, Sean Green, Liz Maxwell, and Larry Rosenburg. She has attended summer intensives with Fuse Dance Company and performed in Synthesis II with Fuse Dance Company. Since moving to Los Angeles, she has had the privilege of dancing with Lineage Dance Company and teaching at Center Stage Dance Studio, Newport Dance Teacher, and outreach classes at Lineage Performing Arts Center.
Her teaching philosophy is centered in the belief that each individual deserves to be included and respected, has potential to be pushed as an artist in new ways, and is fully capable of pursuing their passions. In the beginning of each class, she focuses on proper technique to lay a solid foundation, and later incorporate stylized and dynamic movement as well as structured improvisation for further exploration. While her choreography is challenging, she aims to create a safe environment in the class- where each student feels included with their peers and has the confidence to try new things. She has a supportive, encouraging, and positive demeanor to create a wonderful classroom atmosphere for everyone to best connect with dance, themselves, and each other.
Ingrid Ferdinand began dancing in Oak Park, Illinois training in Vaganova, Graham, Humphrey, and Bournonville techniques. She attended The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and The American Ballet Theatre intensives. She traveled to Guatemala with JUNTOS Collective to bring dance to underserved communities. She attended The Chicago Academy for the Arts and Marymount Manhattan College before happily landing at Hubbard Street’s Professional Program.
Ingrid's teaching style is grounded in a strong technique paired with a vast movement vocabulary and a tangible respect and warmth toward her students.
Shalane Walker originally hails from Houston, TX, although she has made Chicago her home these past 11 years. She began cheering at the age of 13 and continued through high school, college and then into adulthood. Her accolades include being one of the first members of Michigan State University's All Girl Team (now called STUNT) as well as co-founding and leading the first Adult 18+ Cheer Team in Dubai (aptly named Cheer Dubai). When she's not practicing back handsprings at the GRC, Shalane is spending time with her 10 year old daughter Leila, and teaching Sunday school to her favorite group of 4 year olds at Park Community Church. Her life motto is "Bloom where you are planted". She recently relocated from South Loop to Oak Park last October and is enjoying this "city suburb" to the fullest.
Kayla is a ballet, tap and creative movement instructor. For 5 years, she has trained dancers of all levels at the Park District of Oak Park. Kayla received a BS from Concordia University Chicago in elementary education and has been an elementary teacher for 2 years. Kayla’s dance training began at a young age and has continued into adulthood. She mentored under notable dancer Valerie Moore at the start of her dance career with the PDOP. Kayla believes that dance should be fun and accessible to all.