Julie SimonArtistic Director, Pure Vibe Dance Center & Dance Company/Crew
Julie Simon has an extensive dance background in a variety of dance forms and has worked in a wide variety of dance education centers including dance studios, colleges and has taught master classes and workshops throughout the US. She graduated from Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance Performance; double-concentration in Ballet and Jazz and continued her dance education as a Scholarship Dancer at Visceral Dance Center in Chicago. Previous collegiate instruction experience includes teaching dance technique and choreography at Harper College, Robert Morris University, Northern Illinois University, and Point Park University and in the Chicago Public School system as a Ballroom Dance Instructor through the “Having A Ball” program. Julie’s choreography has won regional and national awards and has been highlighted in the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, IL, at various halftime shows for the NBA Chicago Bulls & WNBA Chicago Sky, in Dance Chicago at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago, IL, as well as various musicals, recitals and regional and national competitions for various dance companies and studios. Her performance experience includes performing at the Super Bowl opening the Pre-Show Party for Katy Perry, as well as with various professional dance teams, contemporary dance companies including B.I.S.I. Chicago Dance Company under the direction of Lynn Arevalo and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater under the direction of Kevin Iega Jeff and Gary Abbott, musical theatre companies, and commercial/corporate events in Chicago, IL including McDonalds, Party City, Swedish Covenant Hospital, Pivot Point and KMS California. Julie is grateful to continue to share her passion for dance with the dancers at Pure Vibe and the opportunity to create a well-rounded dance education center in the Western Suburbs!
Marcella DucsayIllinois Ballet Academy Director
Ms Ducsay was accepted in the prestigious Hungarian dance Academy. During her school years,She was chosen to participate in an exchange to the Vaganova school in Snt Petersburg, Received fullScholarship to NCSA and financial award for advancement. She won 1st place among the girls in the competition organized by the school. Toured in Germany and Israel.She finished with a B.A. in Fine Arts. Her diploma work was based on kinesiology and dancer’s body.She has received her first job from the Hungarian National ballet. First year she has performed demi soloist and soloist roles.She has joined the Texas Ballet Theater for 7 years, from the directorship of Paul Mejia to Ben Stevenson. During this time she has performed principal roles in : Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, Serenade, Who cares, Violin Concerto, Slaughter on 10th ave, Midsummer nights dream.Trey McIntyre has choreographed Aliss in Wonderland on her.Has been the Director of Illinois Ballet Academy for the past 2.5 years.
Marley SchmidtAssistant Director, Pure Vibe Dance Company
Marley Schmidt is a Michigan native and has been dancing since the age of three. In April 2012 she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance from Western Michigan University. In her years at Western she had the opportunity to work with guest artists such as Harrison McEldowney, Autumn Eckman, Lauren Edson, and Nelly Van Bommel. She was also part of the touring company Western Dance Project and performed in several student works. These pieces provided Marley with opportunities to perform at events such as Dance Chicago Festival, Oakland Dance Festival, Eat to the Beat, and ACDFA nationals in Washington, D.C. Her additional training includes a semester abroad studying dance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England. In 2012 Marley moved to Chicago, and trained on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio. She began her performing career as a freelance artist and worked with choreographers including Kalin Morrow, Autumn Eckman, and Rebecca Lemme, performing in several local shows and festivals. Marley has also worked as a company member for Kristina Isabelle Dance Company and Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre. During her time with Kristina Isabelle Dance Company, she danced in two Chicago premieres Non:Op's f(H2T) from here to there and The Floating City, the latter of which was also performed regionally in Columbus, OH. As a company member with Same Planet Different World, Marley performed works by artistic director Joanna Rosenthal Read, Shapiro and Smith, and Israeli choreographers Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor. With SPDW she had the opportunity to perform at the Dance For Life fundraiser in 2015 and Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as travel regionally for a residency at the University of Iowa, and internationally to Israel. In addition to her performing career, Marley has also developed her skills as a dance instructor since moving to Chicago. She has taught students from ages 4-18 at many studios throughout the city and suburbs.
Mariterese AltosinoCompany Choreographer
Mariterese Altosino, a Chicagoland native, received her early training locally at The Academy of Dance Arts and Xtreme Dance Force. She graduated with honors from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Business and Entrepreneurship. While completing her undergraduate degree, she performed in various events around Chicago including Carnival Choreographer’s Ball, The Miss Illinois Pageant, World of Dance, and Dance Chicago. Post graduation, Mariterese danced with Giordano Dance Chicago as a second company member and performing associate for a total of four years. During this time she worked with world-renowned choreographers such as Ray Leeper, Peter Chu, and Marinda Davis and performed works by Ray Mercer, Christopher Huggins, Jon Lehrer and Gus Giordano. Mariterese has performed professionally in Dance for Life Chicago, Harvest Contemporary Dance Festival, Move Dance Festival, and has made TV appearances on Windy City Live and ABC 7 News. Mariterese is now in her first season as a main company dancer with South Chicago Dance Theatre. Mariterese is a veteran instructor with Universal Dance Association (UDA) where she travels across the country teaching high school and college dance camps and working local and national championships. Through UDA, she has taken her passion for dance internationally to teach, judge, and choreograph in Ecuador, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, London, and China. Mariterese continues to choreograph and teach for various studios and schools around the Chicagoland area and is currently the head coach for the Downers Grove South Junior Varsity Dance Team.
Taylor CraverTap Instructor & Company Choreographer
Taylor began dancing in Cleveland, Ohio at the age of four. She grew up in a studio dancing competitively and continued her education at The Ohio State University. She graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts cum laude in Dance Performance and Pedagogy. While at Ohio State, she performed and trained with industry professionals from around the world such as Bebe Miller, Susan Hadley, Sofie Clemmenson, Joshua Manculich and Tine Saling. Participating in both faculty and student choreographed pieces, Taylor has performed across the mid-Ohio region as well as traveled to Costa Rica. In 2016 Taylor moved to Chicago to pursue her professional dance career. She has performed with Alluvion Dance Chicago for two seasons, Visceral Dance Chicago’s “WITHIN”, Dance Chicago’s “Dances From the Heart”, Simantikos “CELE-BRATION of CHICAGO ART”, and Noumenon Dance Ensemble’s “NEW MOVES 2016” “CARNIVAL Choreographer’s Ball 2018” under Andrew Tamez Hull and the 27th year of “Dance For Life” Chicago in 2018 with Hanna Brictson and Dancers. Taylor continued her dance education and training as a work-study at Visceral Dance Center under the direction of Nick Pupillo. She currently dances with Forward. the Movement, a new contemporary dance company that focuses on creative movement collaboration and providing dance education to underprivileged youth.
Joseph A. HernandezContemporary Ballet Instructor & Company Choreographer
Joseph A. Hernandez, a Chicago native, studied at Western Michigan University, where he graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance. He received supplemental training from programs at Springboard Danse Montréal, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Gus Giordano Dance School. Professionally, Joseph has danced with Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, LED Boise, ODC/Dance, Kate Weare Company, and River North Dance Chicago among others. He was most recently seen in the Broadway production of West Side Story at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Joseph has taught at Hubbard Street Dance Center, The Chicago High School for the Arts, Dovetail Studios, Boise State University, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, and DanceWorks Chicago. His work has been formally presented at the NYC Blueprint Dance Festival, DanceChance, College of DuPage Choreography Showcase and Competition, Hot Crowd Dance, and DanceWorks Chicago.
Jen IsaacsonInstructor & Company/Crew Choreographer
Jennifer, a native to Downers Grove, began her training at the age of four. Shortly after high school, she began a professional career which began with dancing for the Chicago Rush. She performed with the team for 4 years and served as a captain her fourth season.During her professional career, she danced and performed in numerous live events and commercial work. Additionally and most proudly, she had the opportunity to travel overseas to perform for our troops. Jennifer has been instructing and coaching dance teams for the past 10 years. A passion for teaching helped her earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She uses her education background in her instruction and classroom management.In addition to teaching at Pure Vibe, Jennifer is the head varsity coach for the Downers Grove North Athenas Dance Team. Coaching and mentoring high school age students at her alma matter is her passion. She feels very fortunate to be able to influence and share a love of dance with her students.
Brittany LattaCompany Choreographer
Brittany Latta, originally from Wheaton, IL, received her BA in Dance at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has trained intensively in ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop, fusing the techniques together to create a unique style. Her Holistic Health Care minor compliments her dance portfolio by providing a unique understanding of movement mechanics in the human body, creating methods in approaching performance through a mind body connection to herself, and those around her. Throughout her undergrad, she was lucky enough to work with renowned dancers and choreographers of different styles, including Gabrielle Lamb and Rennie Harris, as well as WMU faculty members David Curwen and Monique Haley. She furthermore choreographed for a production where she was able to collaborate with composers and poets, which have additionally supported her dance endeavors. Brittany was also a hip-hop performance company member with WMU’s Hip Hop ConnXion Michigan under the direction of Annie Franklin. All of these experiences contributed to Latta becoming a well-rounded dancer and living up to her holistic views on movement. Post grad, Latta has had the opportunity to train as a scholarship student at Visceral Dance Center in Chicago, IL under the direction of Nick Pupillo. Brittany is also currently a company member of Chicago’s newest dance company, Hot Crowd. When she’s not in training or rehearsal, you can find her doing freelance projects and performances around the city, or teaching at local dance studios, striving to use dance as a platform for inspiration and change in the community.
Summer SmithBallet Instructor & Company Choreographer
Summer Smith grew up in South Jersey, where she began dancing at a young age. She began her pre-professional dance training at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. During this time, she received scholarships to study at Orlando Ballet, Ballet Met, and in New York, at American Ballet Theatre. Following highschool, Summer attended The University of the Arts where she received her BFA in Dance and Painting with honors. At Uarts, she was selected to perform works by Ronen Koresh, Christine Cox, Anastasia Babeyeva and William Forsythe. She also had the opportunity to study dance pedagogy and the Vaganova syllabus under Connie Michaels and Eva Szabo. After college, she went on to dance with Ballet 5:8 where she served as a Company Artist, and the production designer. At Ballet 5:8, she performed soloist roles in original works by Julianna Slager, Caleb Mitchell, and Preston Miller. She also devoted a lot of time to teaching and choreographing for Ballet 5:8's Studio Company and Legere Dance Centre. Summer loves working with her students, and has aided many young dancers in becoming finalists at YAGP NY with her original choreography, and commitment to strong technique. Currently, Summer dances with Moonwater Dancer Project, and Winifred Haun & Dancers, where she also serves as Assistant Choreographer. This is her third season at Pure Vibe Dance Center.