Precision. Empowerment. Passion.
Kym has been dancing for over 20 years. She is equally strong in all areas of dance and has taken many master classes from dancers such as Kenny Ingram, Randy Duncan, Joel Hall, and Kirby Reed. She is a Silver Certificate Ball Room dance specialist and has taught at both the Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray studios. She is also an Assistant Faculty Advisor for the Harper College Dance Company, and as such guest teaches at many High Schools.
Currently, Kimberly is the Director of Dance at many Gymnastics facilities and teaches the team girls and boys to dance and choreograph competition floor routines. She had been teaching for over 10 years to all ages and abilities, including the Engage Dance Theatre Level 2 students, and feels that there is something for everyone to benefit from through dance.
Mandi started taking dance classes when she was 5 years old in her home town, Danville, IL. She studied jazz, tap, ballet, and tumbling at the Laurel School of Dance. At the age of 12 she was asked to be a student demonstrator and by 16 was teaching pre-schoolers to adults. The studio attended several seminars in the Chicago area and won overall high scores every year at competitions.
After receiving her associate's in Arts & Science, she moved to the Chicago area to attend the dance program at Columbia College in downtown Chicago. She is currently teaching Hip Hop and Jazz, rotational classes, and Adult tap.
EDT Dance Instructor
Annia Hidalgo began her training in the province of Holguín and continued at the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana under Professor Ramona de Saa. In 2004, she was awarded the Gold Medal in the International Ballet Competition. That same year, she joined The Cuban National Ballet as a soloist under Alicia Alonso. Her repertoire includes soloist and principal roles in La Fille Mal Gardée, Coppélia, Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Paquita, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Scheherazade, and Prince Igor. Hidalgo has performed as a principal with Media City Ballet and as a soloist at Los Angeles Ballet.
Since joining Milwaukee Ballet, she has danced as Alice in Septime Webre’s ALICE (in Wonderland) and featured roles in Michael Pink’s ballets, including Musetta in La Bohème, Odile in Swan Lake, Lucy in Dracula, Snow White in Mirror Mirror, Belle in Beauty and the Beast and the title roles in Giselle and Cinderella. She also appeared in the winning pieces from Genesis 2013 (Gabrielle Lamb’s Manifold) and 2015 (Garrett Smith’s Mortal Form).
Hidalgo has danced as a guest artist with Rockford Dance Company and was proud to appear in the premiere performance of Refuge Foundation for the Arts. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of classical ballet as a teacher in various summer programs around the country.
Dance Instructor, Competition Crew Coach
Aerial and Tumbling Instructor
Charlee began her dance journey at Summers Academy of Dance when she was just 2.5 years old. After joining the Berkshire Ballet Theatre at age 8, Charlee continued her dance training throughout high school and majored in dance at Loyola University of Chicago. While there, she had the opportunity to participate in pieces by Isadora Duncan, Randy Newsom, and Randy Duncan as well as choreographing her own pieces for the student showcases. After graduating from Loyola, Charlee returned back to her hometown studio, now Engage Dance Academy, and became a dance instructor and competition team coach while working full-time as a Family Support Specialist with Options & Advocacy for McHenry County. She is currently in school for her Masters in Social Work and has a passion for combining both of her worlds into one and using dance as an outlet for stress and all other emotions. She currently teaches ballet tech, contemporary, and K-Pop, and is a coach for the competition team.
Jessica performed aerial silks, Spanish webs, lyric hoop, wheel gymnastics, and as a unicycle flyer with the Gamma Phi circus for four years in college. She is currently performing aerial silks, webs and lyra with the runaway circus and forms in motion, while teaching sixth grade in Aurora as a 6th grade reading interventionist, language arts teacher, cheerleading coach, and poms coach. Jessica also has experience coaching gymnastics, tumbling, and various other circus acts. Jessica has been active in dance, gymnastics, or circus since she was 5, and she is excited to be teaching at Engage Dance Academy!
Alyssa Guzman is a current college student at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She began her dance training at Engage when she was three years old and graduated from the studio in June of 2022. She is majoring in Elementary Education and has been teaching classes at Engage since 2020. She loves being able to take on a staff role at the studio and adores teaching classes to younger students. She hopes to be a positive mentor and instructor for each dancer that she teaches.
Elijah Richardson, originally from San Jose, California, started training with a focus in musical theatre, classical choir, and figure skating throughout his public performing arts schooling. He went onto receive the Musco Scholarship for the Arts and earned his BFA in Dance Performance and a Minor in History from Chapman University in 2018. Supplemental training include intensives at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, BODYTRAFFIC, and Zion Dance Project.
Elijah has had the privilege of originating roles in works by many choreographers including Shannon Alvis, Charissa-Lee Barton, Hanna Brictson, Ron de Jesus, Rubén Graciani, Sean Greene, Will Johnston, Vincent Hardy, Rebecca Huang, Alex Ketley, Joshua Manculich, Stephanie Martinez, Julianne O'Brien, Crystal Michelle Perkins, Wade Schaaf, Bobbi Jene Smith, and Ido Tadmor. Additionally, his repertory includes works by George Balanchine, Alejandro Cerrudo, Christian Denice, James Gregg, Ohad Naharin, Kia Smith, Christian Spück, and Demis Volpi. Elijah was also fortunate to be a rehearsal assistant to Joshua Manculich in new creations and restaging his repertory at Collage Dance Collective in 2019 & 2020.
His choreography has been performed at Chapman University, Evanston Dance Ensemble, Trifecta Dance Festival (Chicago), The Rooted Space (Chicago), South Chicago Dance Theatre, Loyola University Chicago, and Second City Dance Ministry. In addition, his dance films have been screened in many festivals including Flatlands Dance Film Festival, Iowa International Screendance Festival, Inaugural Big Muddy Screendance Fest, and four times at the Mobile Dance Film Festival.
Elijah was recently named "25 to Watch in 2023" by Dance Magazine.
Erica began her teaching career at the age of 17 working with under-privileged children throughout the Chicago area, traveling to schools to teach dance in her free time. She has studied at studios including Gus Giordano, Joel Hall, and Broadway Dance Center in New York. Early in her career, Atlantic Records moved her to their home office in NYC where she worked with such artists as Missy Elliot, T.I., Sean Paul, Lil’ Kim, Kid Rock, Panic at the Disco and Danity Kane, in addition to being an instrumental part of the music videos for the Warner Bros movie release “Happy Feet" among others. Erica has been teaching dance for 15+ years, has choreographed and performed in Off Broadway plays such as Brigadoon and Oklahoma, has performed with the NY Beat Dance Troupe, Brooklyn Performance Center, and Chicago Tech, and continues to be involved in orchestrating and producing music videos for major label artists. Erica has worked with colleges in Chicago, NY, and LA assisting in the development of their dance programs, as a competition choreographer, and as a consultant to students who wish to pursue a career in the entertainment field. Erica produced a nationally distributed talent search show for PBS called Celebration of Music working with the very best dancers, musicians and singers throughout the country. She continues to work in the entertainment world as the Director of Development for Sun and Sky Entertainment, a talent management company and record label distributed by Warner Music Group. Many of Erica’s current business projects in the music/entertainment field overlap into her world of dance, where she is involved in recruiting, casting, and staging talent in addition to running Sun and Sky’s Management Division with clients that include influencers, actors, dancers and musicians.
Instructor Training Program
Engage Dance Academy encourages qualified students to learn the art of dance instruction by allowing them the opportunity to train alongside our experienced staff. Students who show aptitude, interest, and dedication begin their training by assisting instructors in class. As they become experienced, student teachers are given the opportunity to substitute teach as opportunities arise.
Current Student Instructors:
Engage would not function without our administrative staff's hard work and dedication. Thank you!
Marcy Chevalier, Michelle Baumgart, Tricia McCann, Charlee Morris, Samantha Webb*
*Student with EDT