Tenisha Miedel – Artistic Director
Tenisha is a Moves alumnus and has achieved great success as a performing artist. She has been a member of SAG & AFTRA for 28 years appearing in 30 National TV Commercials, radio voice over spots, numerous industrial films and TV Series’ such as “What About Joan?”, “Arrest & Trial” and “America’s Most Wanted.” Her professional theater credits include Alice in “Alice in Wonderland; A Musical Circus,” Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” Annemarie Johansen in “Number the Stars” & Marta in “Metropolis,” Music Man, Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol, Pippin. Dance was at the heart and core of Tenisha’s love of the performing arts, she trained intensely with top teachers and choreographers earning her multiple awards in dance performance, all attributing to her theatrical success.
Tenisha is multifaceted and in addition to her performing credits she brings managerial, marketing and training skills to Moves. As a wife and mother of three, she is ready to share her knowledge to enhance and grow the Moves experience for young dancers for years to come.
Carol Davis – General Manager
Not only does Carol have experience in successfully owning and managing businesses, but she has navigated the path towards successful careers in the performing arts for her own three children. Together they have appeared in over 60 national television commercials, two movies, four television series, and numerous professional theatre productions. Carol is thrilled to continue the legacy of Moves Dance Studio.
Bryan Miedel – Business Development Manager
Bryan began his career in the I.T. field. He carried many management positions with big corporations such as NextGen Power Systems, Nextel Communications, Wide Open West, and most recently as the Business Development Manager for Lenovo. Bryan also has a background in upholstery & construction. He from time to time volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. He has always had a love for the arts which only grew stronger when he, his wife, Tenisha and mother in law, Carol, purchased Moves. He left his career in the I.T. industry to assist in the now family business. He handles all new business development for Moves including, internal I.T. management, marketing strategies, outreach opportunities and ways Moves can give back to the community. This year he was excited to use his creativity and knowledge of construction to build several props for this year’s recital. He hopes that each year he can help bring something new and exciting to each show!
Kelsey Zavadovics – Studio Manager
Kelsey is trained in all styles of dance. She is passionate about training and inspiring aspiring young dancers. She was a part of a competitive team for seven years that provided her opportunities to learn from prestigious instructors and choreographers and was frequently awarded scholarships at conventions. She began her teaching career at the age of fifteen. She has taught at dance studios in the Chicagoland area and was invited back to hold auditions and choreograph for her high school dance team. While continuing to dance, Kelsey is currently studying to become an aesthetician. Her love for teaching and inspiring will always live through dance and she is ecstatic to be a part of the MOVES family!
Abbey is a Moves alumnus and a veteran dance instructor who excels at teaching a broad range of dance styles for the recreational dancer all the way to competitive dancers. She loves to work with kids of all ages and levels teaching fun, engaging and structured classes. Her work with competitive dance teams has garnered her choreography, high score, and special awards.
Abbey has trained extensively in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and lyrical. In addition to her training, she spent many years dancing competitively and performing.
Abbey is excited to join Moves and share her knowledge, experience and love of dance with her students.
With her love and passion for dance, Amara Barnes has studied ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, and modern since she was seven years old. She has trained under the direction of Watmora Casey, Nickie Del Re Masino, and Tatianna Mazur at Faubourg School of Ballet and with Sherry Moray and Victoria Born at The Academy of Dance Arts. In 2005, she studied at Lines Ballet in San Francisco and in 2006 received a scholarship to train for the summer at Ballet Austin.
She has been an assistant teacher for River North Dance Company in Chicago and for Carmen Rostratzen at the The Julliard School in New York City. She was also asked to perform with singer Keri Noble that was choreographed for her by the late Terry Fox. At eighteen, she was offered an apprenticeship for Orlando Ballet and asked to perform with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando. She won the Gus Giordano Award at the Carey Rose Winski competition and the Dance Spirit award with Chicago Dance Connection.Amara has won locally and nationally in dance competitions since she was 12. For two years she was invited for the summer to train with Jackie Slight at the Performing Arts Center whose instructors were Mark Meismer, Tina D’Amato, Cindy Ricalde, and more.
Amy Ray’s love for dance began at a young age. She grew up a “competition kid” and as a young dancer, continued her training at MOVES, where she eventually became a member of the faculty. While teaching at Moves, Amy studied ballet and modern dance with renowned teachers at Columbia College, Chicago before moving to Los Angeles in 2004. In the 9 years Amy lived in L.A., she had the privilege of working with several well-known choreographers and performing in countless shows all while continuing her training at Edge, Millenium and Debbie Reynolds. She has appeared in several television shows, commercials, and music videos. Some of her favorites were for Sundance Film Festival, and She & Him with Zooey Deschanel. While continuing to dance, Amy finished her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts with a focus in photography and began teaching dance and art in elementary schools throughout Los Angeles. For the last 7 years, Amy was also on Faculty at Garri Dance Studio, considered “Burbank’s Best” dance academy, where she taught all styles of dance to all ages. Amy is excited to be back home in the Fox Valley area with her husband and new baby girl, and can’t wait to continue sharing her love of dance at MOVES!
Angie Blaser – Director of Outreach
Angie is an experienced “Dance Mom” of 2 girls who spend countless hours at Moves and are members of Moves Dance Company. Angie earned her undergrad and MBA in Marketing and went on to work in Marketing and Product Manager positions at Helene Curtis, Ameritech, and USN Communications. Most recently, Angie worked as an Independent Contractor helping businesses with various marketing and customer building projects. Angie is very excited to help Moves continue to grow and spread the love of dance to the community through marketing and outreach efforts. One of Moves’ biggest priorities is giving back to the community. Angie has worked with numerous schools, libraries and girl scouts throughout the surrounding communities to allow children to experience the art of dance. With Angie’s help, more than 200 girl scouts have earned their dance badge with Moves in 3 months’ time and several hundred kids are scheduled to attend library classes and school ExploreMore Day, Discovery Day and Field Day events throughout the local communities. If you are interested in Moves’ Free Outreach Program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Braeden Barnes, a native from Chicago, Illinois, Braeden received his training under the direction of Watmora Casey, the found and director of Faubourg Ballet; Sherry Moray, founder and director of Academy of Dance Arts; San Francisco Ballet School; and Houston Ballet school. Braeden was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet training program under the directors Alexei Stewart, Amy Hall, and Diana Princeton.
Braeden danced professionally in major cities such as Milwaukee, Portland, Montreal, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas. Among his travels, he has worked with choreographers such as Jose Navas, Matthew Neenan, Sarah Slipper, Ron De Jesus, and Gerald Charles. In 2012, Braeden joined Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) performing in many lead roles in the Nutcracker (Nephew/Prince), Balanchine’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), and James Canfield’s Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio) and worked with many choreographers such as Paul Vasterling, James Canfield, and Andre Kastan during his stay there.
Braeden, an emerging choreographer, has had the opportunity to choreograph not only in Chicago, but also in Las Vegas. Braeden’s work has been featured in Chicago benefits, and also competitive competitions. Braeden choreographed works for NBT that have been featured in their Studio Series yearly program. Chosen among many choreographers, Braeden was selected to choreograph for collaborations with NBT and Cirque Du Soliel, which has been featured on the Mystere stage in Las Vegas.
Brooke began dancing at the early age of two and has been dancing ever since. She has studied many forms of dance including: ballet, hip-hop, lyrical, tap, and her favorite jazz. Brooke completed a teacher-in-training program while in high school, this experience helped shape her into the instructor she is today. She was on the varsity dance team in high school and college, and helped choreograph many of the dances. Brooke’s passion is to share her knowledge of dance and the happiness it brings her, to all ages.
Debbie Skotnicki has experience in performing, teaching, and choreographing various forms of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, contemporary/modern, tap, and musical theater. While attending numerous dance studios in the Chicagoland area, she has performed with multiple dance companies at competitions, concerts, college basketball games, DisneyWorld, and the Bahamas on Carnival Cruises to name a few. She continued her dance studies at the University of Iowa, earning a dance Minor. With over 15 years of teaching experience, Debbie currently teaches and choreographs in the Chicagoland area while also attending regular classes to continue training herself. She is also a certified personal trainer and works at a gym full time.
Eilleen Mallary has been a Culture Shock Chicago dancer for the past 11 years and also serves as Executive Director. She trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and is a former company member with Clear Lake Metropolitan Ballet, where she performed in productions of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Dracula and Coppelia. She also had the honor of serving as the variations assistant to prima ballerina Janie Parker, the first American dancer to win a gold medal in the USA IBC. With Culture Shock, she has performed extensively throughout Chicago, as well as touring the US and Canada. She assisted with and performed a flash mob for Pillsbury with gospel duo “Mary Mary” and was an OfficeMax elf in the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012. She can be seen on film in the “Get Hybrid” mattress commercial and has performed for Adidas-Lallapalooza, Coca Cola, and Nike’s “Let’s Move” campaign launch with First Lady Michelle Obama. Her most recent commercial choreography includes flash mobs for Barcardi, The Thrillist and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. Her students and choreography have won numerous awards and recognition at competitions and the city’s annual dance festival, Dance Chicago. Eilleen is a passionate and dedicated teacher who strives to inspire and create positive change through dance.
Originally from Iowa, Jen started dancing at a young age before beginning a more formal training in the competitive program at Above the Barre Dance Academy. Jen trained in all styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip Hop. During her time at Above the Barre Dance Academy she attended competitions and conventions winning numerous awards and working with top choreographers and dancers. Jen graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2014 with her BA in Movement and Exercise Science. During her time in college Jen choreographed and taught classes for all ages and levels. She also interned with the award winning University of Northern Iowa’s dance team as their strength and conditioning coach. Jen has now been teaching and choreographing for 7 years and wants to share her passion for dance with all her students!
Jessica Velemir began her dance journey at La Danse Academie at the age of 3. There, she studied the fundamentals of Tap, Jazz and Ballet. When she was thirteen, the desire to expand her training in additional styles of dance, brought her to join the competitive team, Encore. Here is where she discovered her unknown love for Hip-Hop and Lyrical. While with Encore, Jessica was a three time scholarship recipient at various dance conventions and competitions. Jessica soon began working as a teacher, choreographing her own pieces for the company’s showcase. She later joined Xtreme Dance Force, where she got to travel throughout the country, performing, competing and learn from the best of the best. Jessica also experienced the opportunity to open up for artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Ciara and Twista, to name a few. Jessica continues to take class and improve her techniques to bring the best available training to her students. Moves is so excited to have Jessica joining their faculty.
Kaitlin is excited to bring her love and passion for dance to Moves. She has been dancing since the age of 3 and competitively danced since she was 9. She has extensively trained in a variety of styles, such as Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Musical Theater, Tap, HipHop, and Pom. She was on Augustana’s Dance Company, performing and choreographing pieces throughout her four years of college. She has been teaching dance for the past 8 years, where her pieces have stood out and have been chosen by competitive judges for best choreography. She cannot wait to inspire the students of Moves with her positive, encouraging, and upbeat attitude!
Karissa is a Moves Alumnus and is happy to be on Faculty with Moves. Karissa served 4 years as a member of the University of Indiana Red Steppers Dance Team performing for professional football games, Big Ten University half times and at the Superbowl XLVI pregame show. Other highlights include performances at Disney, 1st place competition awards and captain of her colorguard team. Karissa received her BA in Journalism with a concentration in Arts Administration from Indiana University.
Kelly’s love for dance and fitness started at a young age. She studied at Columbia College, Chicago. While there, she was invited to join RASA Dance Chicago, a unique interdisciplinary dance company that fuses together classical ballet, modern, African, and urban styles. After a few years of dancing and performing with some of the best in Chicago, Kelly moved to Los Angeles. During her 10 years in LA she was featured in videos, fitness video games, commercials, specialty dance companies and as an instructor in various styles of dance and fitness. She has studied all the hybrids in the industry including, yoga, Pilates, functional fitness, Zumba and kids Zumba. Kelly’s passion will inspire and motivate you!
Lauren ‘Lo’ Santelli
Lauren ‘Lo’ Santelli is a MOVES alumnus. She is a rare professional who has achieved great career success and is known throughout the dance industry as a versatile and gifted dance educator with an exceptional ability to connect with aspiring students. Being in LA for nearly 6 years, Lauren has met and worked with many of LA’s top teachers which allowed her to tour the world dancing and teaching master classes. Lauren has studied and worked with some of the nation’s top teachers and choreographers. Some credits include: assisting and performing in Anthony Thomas’ Rise of The Nation Live Stage Snippet, Natalia Kills’ opening act on tour with Katy Perry, Disney, MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew season 1 with Femme 5, BlackBerry, Hillary Duff, Enrique Iglesias, Hip-Hop International’s 2009 US Gold Medalists with Flos Angeles Dance Crew and Lil Mama. Complimenting her dancing career, in February of 2012 Lauren was certified in Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Currently Lauren is acquiring her Associates Degree while teaching dance and yoga.
Melia Riley took her first dance class at age 3, and instantly loved it. She began serious study a few years later at The Academy of Dance Arts in Downers Grove, Illinois. There she trained in ballet, lyrical, modern, jazz, and tap. Melia performed in numerous academy and area productions and won scholarships to various workshops and intensives throughout the Chicago area. Teaching as well as developing choreography first became an interest at the age of 12 when she was presented with the opportunity to assist in classes for younger students. After moving to Atlanta in 2009, she continued her training by adding hip-hop classes from professional dance studios including Dance 411 and Gotta Dance Atlanta. In addition to performances, Melia began teaching and choreographing for several studios and dance teams, along with working professionals before returning to Chicagoland. Since her return in 2014, she has taught at several studios and schools in the Chicagoland area. She plans to continue her growth as a student, teacher, and choreographer locally, nationally, and abroad.
Mitchell like most boys when they are younger wasn’t all that fond of dancing. Mostly because of his lack of knowledge and shyness to put himself out there. At age 17, he started dancing in is friend’s basement learning to breakdance, and freestyle. He started his formal dance training under Robert Lewis at Lewis Dance Progressions at 18 and was trained proficiently in Hip Hop, Breakdancing & many other street styles. He also competed, winning multiple first overalls and many national titles. Mitchell has had the opportunity to teach at Millennium Dance Complex Chicago and at Millennium Dance Complex Los Angeles. He has danced and choreographed for Millenniums yearly showcase “The Millennium Experience” as well as LA’s Choreographers Carnival. He has also had the pleasure of choreographing and opening up for the Harlem Globetrotters and Rockford Ice Hogs. He currently continues to take classes and to push his training to better himself as a choreographer, teacher and dancer.
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Natalia Alarcon is a dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago where she obtained a BA in Dance Performance. Natalia began her training in ballet and modern in Orlando, FL under the direction of Eliza Harwood-Watson and Leah Marke. Currently, she is a founding member of the Coincidentals, a choreographic collective based in Chicago. She recently collaborated with The Dance COLEctive during their latest performance Reverly. Other recent performances include The Cronus Land by Khecari, Mess Hall by The Coincidentals and works by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Parijat Desai Dance Company and Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago. Natalia’s commitment to education and community engagement is a fundamental aspect of her development as an artist and choreographer. She believes dance should be available to all levels and histories and hopes to inspire her students to have a curiosity for movement, as well as self-exploration so that they can achieve their own individual artistry.
Pierre Ramos aka Big Papa!
Pierre was 5 years old when he discovered his love for dance. He saw Michael Jackson do the moonwalk and was hooked! Unfortunately dance studios in East Chicago, Indiana were nonexistent. Big Papa did not let that stop him. So whenever he could make a trip a couple of towns over Pierre would take a class or two at various studios. He would also record, watch, and learn hip-hop choreography off of music videos. He would compete solos or group pieces at various local dance and talent shows. He also won state on the East Chicago Central High School Step team.
It wasn’t until Pierre moved to college in Illinois that he started professional training on a normal basis at a variety of studios like HipHop Connxion, Xtreme Dance Force. With these companies he has competed and has done special event performances like halftime shows for the Chicago Rush and Chicago Bulls, The Auto Show Chicago, RibFest Chicago, etc.
Pierre also developed a love for cheerleading in college competing at several competitions both collegiate and all-star. From that discovery he has become a stunt and tumbling instructor, also choreographing hundreds of cheer and dance competitive routines for high schools, rec programs, and all-star programs regionally and nationally winning best choreography awards at some of the competitions.
Pierre loves being creative and teaching. He went to college for Digital Video Production. It is still one of many dreams to choreograph and direct music videos.
Victoria has been dancing for over 17 years. She received formal training from the La Danse Academie in the Joliet area and was awarded the opportunity to study Ballet abroad in Italy. Some of her favorite memories come from the time she spent on her high school Pom Squad. While she is familiar with all major styles of dance, she enjoys Hip Hop which is second only to her favorite style: Modern. It has always been a dream of hers to dance but also teach dance to others. She is overly excited to start her next chapter in Dance as an Instructor with MOVES!