North Shore School of Dance
Our faculty has many years of experience and have worked with well-respected dance companies
Our Professional Dance Faculty have performed with many well-respected Dance Companies such as: Alvin Ailey 2, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago, Dance 2XS, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Atlanta Ballet, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Especially Tap Company, Chi-Town Jazz Dance Company, Inaside Chicago Dance, Thodos Dance Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet, Piel Morena Contemporary Dance, and Chicago Repertory Ballet.
Lisa Gold, Director of North Shore School of Dance, holds a B.A. in Dance from Barat College. The foundation of her dance training was at the Carol Walker Dance Studio, Rory Foster Dance Studio, Joseph Holmes, and Gus Giordano Dance Center. She performed with the Mesa Community Dance Theatre, Zephyr Dance Ensemble, Emergence Dance Theatre, Rockford Ballet and the Barat Repertory Dance Company. Lisa was on the faculty of the Barat Conservatory of Dance for sixteen years teaching ballet and modern dance. Lisa recently received a Professional Award from the Royal Academy of Dance for Adult Teaching Practice. NSSD became a recognized member of the National Dance Education Organization through Lisa’s continued efforts to maintain the highest quality of dance education for her school.
Brook Burkhardt, Director of North Shore Dance Company and Assistant Director of NSSD, is originally from Denver, Colorado. Brook graduated from the Denver School of the Arts where she worked with famed dancers Kim Robards and Cleo Parker-Robinson. Brook went on to study at the California Institute of the Arts where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance. Brook has performed in small projects throughout Chicago but has focused primarily on teaching. She has launched many children’s programs in Chicago and specializes in teaching children ages 2-5 years old, as well as, all genres and all ages of dance.
Born in Flint, Michigan, Greg began his professional career while still in high school,
performing, teaching dance and choreographing musicals for other high schools. He
became a member of the Pittsburg Ballet Theatre and had four successful years
performing and touring as a soloist with the company, performing for professional
summer theater productions, and received a bachelor of business degree on a full dance scholarship. Early in his career, Greg worked with some of the most notable and legendary artists of the famed Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Leonide Massine, Vitale Fokine, Edward Caton, Ruth Page, and Frederic Franklin – a master of the romantic ballets, are only a few of the great teachers he studied with. Solicited by Ruth Page, Greg became a principal dancer with the Chicago Ballet, and was an audience favorite. By invitation, Greg joined the Hubbard Street Dance Company, he is an original performer and was the company’s ballet master; successfully they toured throughout the United States, Europe and South America. For many years, Greg has been a guest teacher for Chicago’s professional dance companies, and is on staff at several of the professional schools in the area. Most recently, hosted by the Chinese Foreign Affairs Office, he traveled to China teaching in the cities of Beijing and Suzhou, at the Guangxi Arts Institute in Nanning, and working with a performance group at the World Expo in Shanghai.
Victoria Dutton received a B.S. in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and a M.F.A from Boston Conservatory. She is a former company member of Atlanta Ballet and has also danced with Portland Ballet Company, Houston Ballet and Moving Theater Images of Sean Murphy. She has taught at Loyola University, Walnut Hill, Festival Ballet of N.C. Texas and Boston Conservatory. She is also a recipient of the Leaman Award for Artistic Excellence.
Christina Fee, originally from Schaumburg, Illinois started dancing at the age of 3 under the direction of Jan Powers. She has completed her BFA in dance at Ball State University. The University has given her the opportunity to take class with multiple artists such as Sidra Bell, David Dorfman, Nan Giordano and Alex Sanders. She has performed with Inaside Chicago Dance’s youth training program along with dancing in River North Dance Chicago’s summer program. Her emphasis in dance are the styles of jazz and tap and aspires to explore the world of commercial dance throughout her professional career. Along with choreographing unique works inspired from her idol, Bob Fosse, she continues to share her love and passion for dance with today’s youth as a dance instructor. She is excited to begin this new chapter of her teaching career at North Shore School of Dance.
Nichola Goss’s dance career started as a youngster with the Southwest Texas Dance Repertoire and Star Search, she continued until receiving a BFA with honours from the University of Texas at Austin. Nichola has danced professionally in Austin, Dallas, and Chicago. Evanston Arts grant recipient, syllabus writer and instructor for Evanston Community Foundation dance program, she has even choreographed for
little ones in Ralph’s World. She holds a professional teacher’s certificate with the Cecchetti Council of America and is currently the Midwest treasure. Nichola has been teaching dance in the NorthShore area since 1995 including Chicago Public Schools to the Joffery.
Rachel Gruber received her BFA in Dance from Barat Conservatory of Dance (Lake Forest), where she studied under Rory Foster and Eileen Cropley. She has been teaching dance for over fifteen years, and she especially loves teaching Pre-Dance where she can enjoy encouraging the love of dance in young dancers. Rachel is a North Shore School of Dance alumni and she is so happy to be returning to the faculty.
Caroline Kuhl graduated from Illinois State University, and has performed with Zephyr Dance Ensemble, The Funny Firm, Pheasant Run Dinner Theatre, Flamingo Hilton Boardwalk Casino (Las Vegas), a tour of Tokyo with magician Luna Shemada, Ameba, and Motivity. She currently takes classes with Julie Cartier.
Info Coming soon
Andy Lawson holds a BFA in Dance from Chapman University in Orange, California, where he was instructed by Jennifer Backhaus, Laurence Rosenberg, Dale Merrill, Sean Greene, Holly Johnston, and Liz Maxwell. His training also includes summer studies through programs at Hubbard Street, American Ballet Theatre, Backhausdance and San Francisco Ballet. Lawson performed with Gallimaufry Performing Arts under the direction of Steve Josephson as part of the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, and has also performed in California as a guest artist with Anaheim Ballet, BARE Dance Company, Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy and Maple Conservatory, working with distinguished artists Mike Esperanza, Sean Greene, Mark Haim, Jennifer Backhaus, among others. Lawson’s previous company credits include: Clairobiscur, BackhausDance, and Hubbard Street 2. In January of 2017, Backhaus Dance partnered with the McCallum Theatre Institute to bring modern dance and classical music into local schools in Palm Desert California. In the summer of 2017, Lawson moved to Chicago, IL. During his time with Hubbard Street 2 under the direction of Terence Marling, Lawson participated in the creations of new works by Peter Chu and Alice Klock. During his time in Hubbard Street 2, Lawson participated in several community outreach programs that brought contemporary dance to local Chicago elementary schools, teaching students about the importance of dance as an art form, sharing insights behind the creative process, and allowing students to participate in contemporary improvisation.
Samantha Lesher received a Bachelor’s of Science, Cum Laude in Dance Pedagogy from Oklahoma City University. While attending college she worked with the American Spirit Dance Company as both a company member and wardrobe crew. Performing in their annual Home of the Holidays performance for multiple seasons. She has also performed as a lead dancer in shows such as Hit the Lights, Applause, and One Night Only. Over the course of her time in school, she taught with such groups as Dance Masters of America, American Dance Training Camps, and the Academy of Ballet Wauconda. She develops classes that challenge her student’s technique and classroom etiquette in a fun and creative environment. Her goal is to impart her knowledge and passion for dance to her students.
Maeghan McHale, named one of Dance Magazine's Top 25 to Watch in 2010, was born in Baltimore, MD. She went on to study at the Baltimore School for the Arts where she performed works by David Parsons, Hinton Battle, David Grenke, and John Clifford. She received a full scholarship to Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she performed with the Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble. While living in New York City Maeghan studied at Steps on Broadway and performed with Extended Dance Company, as well as off-Broadway under the direction of Tony Award winner Hinton Battle. She has also participated in the Jazz Dance World Congress, The Miss America Parade, and Dancers Responding to Aids Benefit. In 2005 Maeghan received a full scholarship to the Giordano Dance School, and in 2006 she became a performing apprentice, performing with the company both internationally and nationally. 2007 marked her first season with Giordano Dance Chicago, and she has enjoyed nine seasons performing in places such as Hawaii, Latvia, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Netherlands, Istanbul Turkey, Guatemala, Rome Italy and Tel Aviv Israel. This coming season will be Maeghan’s tenth season with GDC. You may have also seen her grace the cover of Dance Magazine or in other feature articles for Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Mogul Magazine, inside Dance and La Dancer Magazine. Along with establishing herself as a well recognized dancer, she has also had the opportunity to set her work on the Giordano II company. Maeghan has had her work performed on the Joyce Theater stage, through Dancin’ Downtown at The Joyce, as part of the Dancers Responding to Aids Benefit. In 2011 her piece "Angelica" won the Performance Award and performed in New York City for Central Park Summer Stage, and also won the Performance Award in May of 2013 where the dancers performed again for Central Park Summer Stage sharing the stage with dancers from Martha Graham Dance Company. Her choreography has been recognized with awards such as Critics Choice and Outstanding Choreography/Choreographer. Regional Ensemble winner and outstanding Choreography award at Youth America Grand Prix (2010), and has placed twice in the top 12 Ensemble category at Youth America Grand Prix finals in New York City. Her ensemble choreography had the honor of being part of Youth America Grand Prix’s “Stars of Today meet the Stars of Tomorrow” tour in Virginia and in Pennsylvania. In June of 2014 she had the honor of being on the School Faculty of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson MS teaching the Giordano Technique for two weeks. Just recently in November 2015 she was on faculty for CNADM during their fall Workshop in Illinois.
KESHA MILENKOVIC is originally from Gaithersburg Maryland. She started dancing at the age of nine at Motion Mania Dance Center. For many summers she attended Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive, Bates Dance Festival and many more. She also got the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center under the direction of Debbie Allen in two productions called “Dreams & Pearl”. Kesha attended Columbia College Chicago and got her Bachelor of Arts in Dance. After graduation, Kesha got a scholarship at Gus Giordano Dance school and later on accepted into Giordano second company. In 2010 Kesha got hired as a dancer/vocalist for the Broadway musical Chicago on the largest cruise ship in the world “Allure of The Seas”. Kesha passion has always been to perform but now she would like to expand her knowledge and start teaching/choreographing. She would like to thank her friends, family and husband for always supporting her dream.
Tysh Nelson received a Bachelor of Performing Arts degree from Oklahoma City University where she was a Cum Laude Graduate and also selected "Outstanding Dance Major." Tysh is a vested member of Actor's Equity and has performed in numerous musicals. She has appeared on Broadway and with National Touring Companies of the American classic SHOW BOAT & audience favorite JOESPH....DREAMCOAT with Donny Osmond. Chicago stage credits include The Goodman Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire, and Drury Lane Oakbrook. She was also a featured dancer in a TV Commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Locally, Tysh has taught dance at Lou Conte's Dance Studio, home of Hubbard Street, Columbia College, as well as Giordano's Dance.
Wesley “Wesside” Owens is a dancer, choreographer, and MC. He began his dance career at an early age, and continued it throughout college and beyond. Wes graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Informatics, a cognate in Telecommunications Management, and a minor in Spanish. During his college years, he was the lead choreographer and artistic director of Hip Hop Connexion (Indiana Branch).
Wes has performed and taught across America. He has performed with Big Boi of Outkast, Mike Posner, Jason Derulo, the Cataracts, LMFAO, and Ludacris. He is known for a variety of hip hop styles, such as: Gliding, waving, bugaloo, krumping, footwork, locking, bucking, and popping. Currently he is a featured dancer, choreographer and MC for Monster Entertainment.
JARRETT RASHAD’S CREDITS INCLUDE LION KING THE BROADWAY MUSICAL; RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR; LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO; THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, DEEPLY ROOTED DANCE THEATER, JOEL HALL DANCERS, CLEO PARKER ROBINSON DANCE ENSEMBLE, & DAYTON CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY. HE HAS WORKED UNDER SUCH NAMES AS WILLDABEAST, NAPOLEON AND TABITHA D'UMO; MIA MICHAELS; PAUL MITCHELL; RAY MERCER, HOMER BRYANT, RANDY DUNCAN, MUKHTAR OMAR SHARIF MUKHTAR, KISHEMA PENDU, COMFORT FEDOKE, CARDI B, YUSUF NASIR & MENTOR KIRBY REED. HE HAS BEEN A ARTIST IN NUMEROUS PRODUCTIONS WITH CIRQUE DU SOLEIL INCLUDING THE BEATLES LOVE & VIVA ELVIS, IN ADDITION TO CHOREOGRAPHING CIRQUE’S CHARITY PRODUCTION ‘AMANZI’ UNDER THE DIRECTION OF HASSAN EL HAJJAMI. THE YOUNGEST COMPANY MEMBER IN THE 55+ HISTORY OF GIORDANO JAZZ DANCE CHICAGO, JARRETT IS THE 1ST TO HOLD THE TITLE OF PERFORMING ASSOCIATE. HE WAS ALSO A FEATURED DANCER FOR NIGEL LYTHGOE AND BRIAN FRIEDMAN’S COMPETITION SERIES FOR CHOREOGRAPHERS “EVERY SINGLE STEP”. JARRETT IS A FORMER MODERN DANCE ARTIST IN RESIDENCE FOR UNLV & ON FACULTY AT SEVERAL NATIONALLY ACCLAIMED STUDIOS, CONSERVATORIES, AND PERFORMING ARTS CENTERS. A MEMBER OF THE WILD CARD CREW FOR THE WNBA LAS VEGAS “ACES”, JARRETT IS ALSO AN EVENT PLANNER WITH DARE TO DREAM LV PROVIDING NATION WIDE COORDINATION FOR CORPORATE AND PRIVATE EVENTS. RECENTLY, JARRETT WAS A FEATURED DANCER IN SUN PICTURES’S NEW BOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER “SAKAR” STARRING THALAPATHY VIJAY; PERFORMED WITH NICKY JAM AND STEVE AOKI AT THE 19TH ANNUAL LATIN GRAMMYS; AND A TOURING ARTIST WITH MOLODI EXTREME BODY PERCUSSION.
Pamela Johnson Tanis is a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet (New York City) and also danced with American Ballet Theatre, Maria Tallchief’s Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Illinois Ballet. She was coached in principal roles by Robert Joffrey, Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Leonide Massine, Danilova, Bronislava Nijinska, Jerome Robbins, Rudolf Nureyev, Todd Bolender, and Alvin Ailey, among others. She trained with Richard Ellis & Christine Du Boulay, Robert Joffrey, Hector Zaraspe, and Basil Thompson, and taken classes with Finis Jhung, David Howard, and Maggie Black. She has taught at Gus Giordano’s Dance Studio and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and served on the faculties of Northern Illinois University (co-director), Columbia College Dance Center, Barat College Dance Conservatory (Lake Forest), and the Joel Hall Dance Center. She is a biographee in the Marquis Who’s Who in Entertainment. She has taught master classes in ballet and character at Dartmouth College, Ballet Folk of Moscow (Idaho), Rockford Dance Academy (Rockford, Ill.), Southold Dance Theater (South Bend, Ind.), and for the Cecchetti Council of America at Hope College (Holland, Mich.).
Olga Meyer- Ballet Accompanist
Olga Meyer graduated from the Azerbajian State College in Baku and earned her Masters in Music and Teaching from the State Conservatory. She taught and concertized in Russia before coming to the United States in 1981. She has been an accompanist for Maria Tallchief at the Chicago City Ballet, the Ruth Page Foundation School of Ballet, and the Salt Creek Ballet Company. For over 20 years, Olga has played at Columbia College and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Olga worked with the late Anna Paskevska on Music for Ballet Class, a cd with selections arranged and played by Olga. She was also an accompanist for ballet class in the movie Save the Last Dance.