Instructors

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Bridget Blake

Owner/Principal Instructor

Bridget is a product of the Dance Connection where she received the bulk of her training under the direction of the previous owners, Pat Foster and Diane Peterson, beginning at age three. Bridget has had her most extensive training in Jazz, Tap, Lyrical and Ballet. Bridget continues her training by attending local Master Classes and Conventions.

With a degree in Small Business Management, Bridget focused her energy on training for her new role as owner and teaching at the studio since 1996. Throughout her career with the studio, Bridget has worked with dancers ages 2 through adult in the disciplines of  Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Lyrical.  Bridget has also been Artistic Director of the award-winning Spotlight Company dancers since 1999 and traveled as a competitor of the Spotlight Company herself to local and international competitions.

Since taking over ownership of the Dance Connection in May 2006 – Bridget has been dedicated to carrying on the Dance Connection’s philosophy of family-friendly, professional instruction for all dancers.  Bridget teaches 2- cute, PreBallet, Combo 1, Combo 2, Combo 3, Ballet 2,  and continues as Artistic Director of  the Spotlight Company at the Dance Connection. She currently lives in Lindenhurst with her husband, their 2 sons and the family pets!

 

Aimee Russon

Ballet 5, Pointe 5/6/7 (Summer Session 2018)

Aimee began her dance training in Cary, IL and continued her training at the Universty of Utah in Salt Lake City, receiving a BFA in modern dance. While attending the University of Utah she had the opportunity to perform works by Sidra Bell, Pamela Geber Handman, and works set by the Martha Graham dance company. While in Chicago, Aimee has participated in the numer-ous summer intensives, and dance instructor trainings with CNADM and Bellamoxi. Aimee has also had the pleasure of performing with the Modern Marvels dance company. With an immense passion for teaching, Aimee continues to teach ballet, modern, jazz, tap and creative movement to students around the Chicagoland area.

 

Amy Bennett

Ballet 4, Ballet 5, Pointe 5/6/7, Jazz 5, Lyrical 3 (Beginning Fall 2018)

Amy is from Waukegan, IL and began dancing when she was two years old at The Dance Factory. While there, she danced competitively for 12 years under the instruction of Lizzie Mackenzie, Nick Pupillo, Mary Cromer, Fury Gold and Penny Knox.  As a child, Amy performed in Ballet Entre Nous’ Nutcracker and was also a member of TJ and Company, performing all over the Lake County Area.

Amy is a graduate of The University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Minor in Anthropology. While at The University of Iowa, she performed works by Armando Duarte and Alan Sener. Amy also studied under the late Linda Crist and Basil Thompson, as well as Charlotte Adams, Eloy Barrigan, Jeffery Bullock, George De La Pena, Deanna Carter, Jennifer Kayle, and Dan Stark. Amy was a 2007 company member of Duarte Dance Works – a Contemporary Dance Company. 

Currently, Amy is in her third season as the Head Choreographer for Six Flags Great America. She has been teaching in the Lake County Area for 11 years and is excited to share her passion of dance with her students.

Dance Centre in Elk Grove Village, and the Dance Academy of Libertyville.Andrea is looking forward to working with all of the talented dancers at Dance Connection, and sharing her love for dance with them.

Jamie

Jamie Hansen

Contemporary, Lyrical 3, Jazz 4, Ballet 4 (Summer Session 2018)

Jamie grew up in Antioch IL, and started her dance training at the Dance Connection when she was 2 years old. Jamie has trained in multiple styles of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Modern dance. Jamie has been a member of our Spotlight Company since she was 7 years old all the way until 19. Jamie also competed with the competitive team locally and nationally.

In 2012 Jamie performed with the Prairie Spirits Dance Troupe and continues to perform when she can. In 2013 Jamie traveled on tour with Dance Olympus directed by Art Stone as a VIP member. She performed works by Brian Santora, and Daniel Walker through out the United States.

Jamie frequently dances with L-Theory Collective directed by Lamayia Lancaster and can be found performing in the Chicago land area. Jamie is currently pursuing a career in nursing and is a student at CLC. She looks forward to sharing her passion of dance with her students this summer!

 

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 Carlye Otten

Ballet 2, Ballet 3, Jazz 5, Lyrical 4/5, Contemporary 6/7, Jazz 6/7, Lyrical 6/7, Spotlight Company Choreographer, Connections Competitive Artistic Director, Theater Dance

Carlye Otten grew up in Grayslake, IL where she started dancing at the age of three.  Carlye trained at numerous studios including three years with Perseverance Dance Company.  Carlye danced on scholarship at the Giordano Dance Center for two summers and attended the  River North Dance Chicago summer dance intensive for five consecutive years.

Carlye graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Arizona with a BFA in dance, where she was the recipient of the 2011 proficiency in jazz award.  While training at The University of Arizona, Carlye performed works by Mia Michaels, Sam Watson, Michael Williams, and Susan Quinn.  In the summer of 2011, Carlye was invited to assist at the Bolzano Danza festival in Bolzano, Italy.

Following her trip to Italy, Carlye moved to Chicago, and began her career with Inaside Chicago Dance.  During her two years with the company, Carlye performed works by Sinead Gildea, Richard Smith, William Gill Sarah Ford and Ashley Burns.  Carlye has also performed in Chicago Takes Off and has been a participant in Thodos Dance Chicago’s production of New Dances.  Currently, Carlye teaches throughout the Chicago land area and excited to start her first season with Dance Connection!

 

AndyAndrew Tomlinson

Hip Hop 1/2/3, Tap 4, Tap 5/6, Tap 7, Boys Combo, Jazz 4, Jazz Funk, Theater Dance

Mr. Andy has been dancing and performing for over twenty years. He has studied under Lane Alexander, Bruce Stegmann, Idella Reed, and Joel Hall and taken master classes from Savion Glover, Sam Weber, Diane Walker, the Nicholas Brothers, and Lloyd Storey. Andy has performed in tap festivals around the world with such dance notables as the Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Hines, and opened for the Pointer Sisters. Andy lives in Libertyville, IL with his wife Sarah , daughter Charlotte and son Dylan.

 

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What’s New

    Registration for our summer session classes will be open to the public on April 23rd!

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