THE

FACULTY

MEET WILLIAM

Professional Division

William Gill, a Chicago native has danced and taught professionally throughout the nation and internationally for the last 12 years. He started his career with the Joel Hall Dancers and The Bryant Ballet where he was a principal dancer.

He recently moved back to Chicago after touring with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre for the past 8 years. While at Dallas Black he worked with many dance legends such as Donald Bryd, Alonzo King, Donald McKayle, Milton Myers and Chuck Davis, just to name a few. He was proud to be chosen to teach and perform at The Austrian Dance Festival in 2006, in Vienna, Austria where he performed the legendary solo “Ostrich” choreographed by Asadata Dafora.

 

Although he has an extensive concert background, he had the opportunity to work with Hollywood choreographers Otis Sallid and Niesha Folks on the Movie “Hoodlums” with Lawrence Fishburne, Queen Latifah and Cicely Tyson in 1999. He can also be seen in the television show “The Untouchables”.

Recently (2010) he was proud to return to Europe in Liverpool, England with The Joel Hall Dancers where he was a guest artist at the Leap International Dance Festival. William is in demand throughout the Chicagoland area and across the nation for his modern classes (Horton style), which have been said to be “high energy” and “intense.”

 

He is on staff full-time in Chicago at Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center and Joel Hall Dance Center, where he is glad to be working again with his mentors Homer Bryant and Joel Hall. He also teaches master classes at many colleges, studios and dance conventions across the nation.

MEET ANNE MARIE

Professional Division

Anne Marie Loesch began her training in Charlotte, North Carolina. She studied Humphrey-Weidman’s technique under Mary Ann Mee, dancer and demonstrator for Charles Weidman. Katharyn Horne provided Ms. Loesch with a thorough schooling in the methodology of Enrico Cecchetti. It was under these two talented women that Anne Marie began her professional dance career with Dance Central, Kinetyx Dance Ensemble, and Moving Poets Theatre of Dance. Since settling in Chicago she has worked with Paul Sanasardo, Against the Grain, For Dance, and Zephyr Dance. Ms. Loesch currently teaches children’s yoga at JCYS Lakeview, teaches dance at Hubbard Street and Studio North Academy of the Performing Arts, and performs with Momenta and Joel Hall Dancers. She has also been a teaching artist through Jane’s Place, After School Matters, and Urban Gateways.

MEET JULIE

Professional Division

Julie Benirschke began her early dance training in Seattle, WA, and later studied ballet on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School. She graduated with a BS in Ballet Performance from Indiana University in 2004. In addition to performing regularly as a guest artist for various dance groups and operas, Julie has danced professionally with companies including Louisville Ballet and Los Angeles Dance Theater. She was fortunate to tour to China with John Clifford and Warner Bros. Studio’s collaborative musical-dance production of “Casablanca, the Dance”. For the past 10 years she has also enjoyed teaching ballet to students of all ages in Rochester, MN and Peoria, IL where she is currently a principal artist with Central Illinois Ballet and returning company member with Noumenon Dance Ensemble.

MEET LAYNE

Youth Division

Layne Yancey, a native of Chicago has always been a performing artist. She started her journey as a competitive gymnast at age 4, and continued for 11 years. There she learned discipline, hard work, and most of all she learned of her love to perform. In high school she started theatre and voice training. Along with theatre, she also took dance classes and performed in dance recitals. She went on to Belhaven University where she majored in theatre and continued with voice training and dance classes. She continues her study of ballet and jazz at the Joel Hall Dancers & Center, and she has also trained with Noumenon Dance Ensemble in Horton and Cechetti techniques since 2015.

MEET JOSH

Professional Division

Josh Fletcher, owner of JFDA Choreography, is originally from southern Indiana, but has been living in Chicago since January of 2016. He attended the University of Evansville for his Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Miami University for his Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. He has served in the role of Director of Dance at River City Dance Connection, Artistic Director for Vision Dance Company, Assistant Coach for the nationally-ranked Miami University Dance Team, and has been on faculty at numerous studios throughout the Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Georgia regions. He is a former company dancer with the Dancefx Concert Dance Company in Athens, GA, and is currently a company member with Matter Dance Company. He teaches weekly at Glenwood Dance Studio in Rogers Park. His passion for dance has taken him around the country to choreograph routines for studios, performing arts companies, and high school and college dance teams. For more information on Josh, please visit: http://joshualeefletcher.wix.com/jfda

MEET ALIA

Director and Instructor, Youth Division

Alia Simon Montijo graduated from The Ohio State University where she studied with Bebe Miller, Susan Dromisky, and Ming-Lung Yang among many other acclaimed instructors. She has nearly 15 years teaching experience and holds Teacher Accreditation from the Cecchetti Council. Alia has taught at Oakland University, Columbia College Chicago, and dance schools Eisenhower Dance, Joel Hall Dancers & Center and The School of Performing Arts among many others. It is a dream come true for Alia to have her own dance school where her passions for dance education and community advancement pair to create an affordable, accessible, and professional dance space. 

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To learn more about Alia, her experiences and qualifications please visit: www.aliamontijo.com