Ashley Deets

Artistic Director, Instructor

Elite alumna Ashley Deets is an award-winning dancer, teacher, and choreographer in Chicagoland. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business Administration. Deets is a certified Acrobatic Arts, Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, and Wingman for Dance instructor. When not at Elite, she loves spending time with her husband and son, Hank, and pets. With over two decades of dance and performance experience, Ashley is thrilled to do what she loves each day!

Gina Matsie

Elite Dance Company Director, Instructor

Gina Matsie graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Psychology. While obtaining her Dance degree, she had the pleasure to perform in new works by Tere O’Connor, Earl Mosley, Abby Zbikowski, and Kemal Nance. Gina trained with Kate Kuper in her Creative Dance for Children program from 2014-2016. Alongside her teaching experience, Gina is also a certified M1 Acrobatic Arts Instructor and a program developer for DiscoverDance. She has been a part of the Elite family for the past 5 years now, and this year serving as the Company Director. Gina is thrilled to enter in this new role and help the dancers reach their highest potential! 

Paige Deets

Business Manager, Competitive Division Team Co-Leader, Instructor

Paige Deets is a professional dancer, certified teacher, and award-winning choreographer. She attended Western Michigan University and graduated in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. Paige has since trained on scholarship at Visceral Dance Center and in Kibbutz Ga’aton Israel under the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Deets has danced with numerous companies including Project Bound, Trifecta Dance Collective, Geometry Dance Company, and Canv(us) Movement Collective under the direction of Gerran Reese. She has appeared as a dancer and model in many music videos and live performances for artists including Half the Animal, Niki Black, Mickey Singh, ICON BLU, and Josi Maran. Her choreography has won numerous awards in showcase, competition, and festival settings. Deets has taught in many dance studios as well as private, charter, public, and inner-city schools across the country inspiring her to get her teaching certification in physical education and dance which she received in 2021. Paige now resides in the Chicago land area and is represented by Go-2 Talent Agency.

Laura Witter

Competitive Division Co-Leader, Instructor

Laura Witter grew up dancing in the Boston area and attended Point Park University as a dance major with a concentration in jazz. She relocated to Chicago area in 2000, after receiving a Merit Scholarship to continue her training at the Giordano Dance Center in Evanston. She was one of the founding members of Chicago Tap Theatre, under the direction of Mark Yonally. With CTT, Laura performed locally, nationally, and internationally from 2002-2011. Highlighted events included Jazz Dance World Congress, Lollapalooza, New York City Musical Theater Festival, and multiple tours to the South of France. Laura has been a guest artist for Audible Odyssey, jorsTAP Chicago, Chicago Dance Crash, the MASSIVE, Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances, and for independent choreographers Paul Christiano, Jon Lehrer, and Jay Franke. From 2010-2016, Laura danced as a company member of Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, under the direction of Wilfredo Rivera. With CRDT, she was blessed to dance all over Chicago, including the Auditorium and Harris Theaters, and perform in Barcelona, Spain. As a dance educator, Laura founded and directed the Artistry in Motion Dance Company, housed within the Des Plaines Park District. She is excited for another season on staff at Elite Dance Academy and looks forward to her new role as Competitive Team Co-Leader.

Rebecca Dankovich

Performance Division Team Leader, Instructor

Rebecca graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BFA in Dance. During her time at Illinois, Rebecca trained in modern, ballet, improvisation, West African, and hip hop techniques while also honing in on her passion for choreography in numerous dance composition courses. Rebecca was a teaching assistant for hip hop and jazz dance elective courses at the university and assisted in the CreativeDance for Children program in the Department of Dance, under the direction of Kate Kuper. She has performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in department main stage works choreographed by Jennifer Monson, Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Sheldon Smith, Jessie Young, and Abby Zbikowski. After graduation, Rebecca began teaching dance, working with all age groups and styles of dance. She also is the choreographer for the Nazareth Academy Drama Program. Rebecca recently became certified to teach Pure Barre, and teaches in the Chicago-Downtown locations.  

Jessie Baetz 

Future Stars Team Leader, Instructor

Elite alumna Jessie Baetz began her dance training at the age of 5. She studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. Jessie graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Dance Performance. Since then, Jessie has been teaching dance classes for children 18 months and up at local studios. In 2016, she opened up her own Preschool of the Arts, where creative movement plays a key role in the curriculum. Jessie is thrilled to be back at Elite Dance Academy!

Rhonda Moore

Instructor

Rhonda K. Moore has been a dance educator for over 20 years and has an extensive background in Modern/Contemporary, Tap, Ballet, Pointe and Jazz. She holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. Rhonda is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), Rhythm Works Integrative Dance and DiscoverDance Early Childhood Education. Her professional teaching experience has included positions as Artistic Director for Trilogy School of Performing Arts, Performance Company Director for Elite Dance Academy, Dance Coordinator for Steppin’ Out Dance Studio, Artistic Director for A-Factor Dance Company, Lower School Dance Director for St. Catherine’s School and Instructor/Choreographer for various studios in Illinois, Virginia, Wisconsin and Missouri. She is also a Head Adjudicator for Edge National Talent Competition and the Content Developer/Editor for DiscoverDance, LLC. Rhonda has been at Elite since 2009 and loves the bond she has with all her current and former students and co-workers!

Kaytee Cox

Instructor

Kaytee Cox, originally from Medina, Ohio, graduated from The University of Akron in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education. Kaytee has co-produced three shows in Chicago and has had her work presented at Detroit City Dance Festival, Trifecta Dance Collective’s Festival, Take Up Space, Cleveland Dance Festival, Raw Artist KYL/D Inhale Performance Series, American College Dance Association, The University of Akron Dance Company, and Alluvion Dance Chicago, and was the recipient of the Mark C Ovanich Choreography Award. Kaytee currently works with students across Chicagoland and is the Director of Visceral Dance Center’s Youth Ensemble. Kaytee was the Associate Artistic Director and Company Member of Alluvion Dance Chicago for 2 years and has had the opportunity to perform with Hannah Brictson and Dancers and Visceral Dance Chicago’s Within. Kaytee is currently the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Forward The Movement, a dance company that raises scholarships for local Chicago students.

Lezlie Gray

Instructor

Lezlie Gray was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. She began her formal dance training in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, and Jazz at Delaware Dance Company. After graduating from high school in 2018, she moved to Jackson, Mississippi to further her dance education and danced with Ballet Magnificat! as a Trainee. In 2019, Lezlie joined Ballet 5:8’s professional company and continues to dance with them as a Company Artist. She has taught various dance styles throughout the past several years and is excited to share her passion for dance and expertise as a ballet instructor.

Hayley Midea

Instructor

Hayley Midea is a dancer, choreographer and teacher originally from Wixom, Michigan. In April of 2020, Hayley received a BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University where she has performed works by Jackie Nowicki, Monique Haley, Carolyn Pavlik, Kelsey Paschich, Jeremy Blair, Joseph A. Hernandez and BAIRA MVMNT/PHLOSPHY. Hayley was also a company member of Western Dance Project, under the direction of Whitney Moncrief. Hayley has trained in a variety of styles including jazz, ballet, modern and contemporary. The Michigan Dance Council awarded Hayley the Maggie Allesee Choreography Award for her piece “Dear Larry,” in 2019. Hayley also performed her work at the 2020 ACDA East-Central Regional Conference where she was selected to perform at the National Conference in Long Beach, California. She was also selected to perform at the SoloDuo Dance Festival in New York City, Detroit Dance City Festival, Trifecta Dance Festival, Chi Dance Fest and Simantikos Dance Chicago Choreography Kick-Off. Hayley’s work also won “Best Spoken Word Used in a Film” and “2021 Viewer’s Choice Award” at the inaugural Dance Is Activism Film Festival produced by Earl Mosely’s Diversity of Dance. Hayley teaches dance in the Chicagoland area and is excited to be continuing with South Chicago Dance Theatre as a main company member for the 2021-2022 season. With SCDT, Hayley has performed in works by Kia Smith, Crystal Perkins and Monique Haley. Hayley is excited for another great season at Elite! 

Jodi Tanrikulu

Lobby Coordinator

Jodi has an Associate of Arts degree from Moraine Valley and a Para Professional Certification through the state of Illinois. She has taught preschool for 22 years and currently is teaching at Happy Hands Preschool in Lemont. She has been married to her husband, Dennis for 36 years and has two sons. Joshua and his wife live in Greenville,South Carolina. With Jodi’s amazing 21 month old Grandson, Jack. Andy lives in Homer Glen, and keeps busy selling cars and playing sports. Jodi loves spending time with family and friends and reading (preferably on the beach of course). She loves working with children and nurturing their growing little minds and enjoys the loving family atmosphere here at Elite!

Julia Zic

Service & Support Team, Teaching Assistant

Julia Zic is a current student and soon to be graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. Throughout her dance career in Chicago, Julia has trained in numerous styles of dance including modern, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, West African, improvisation, and dance composition. She has trained and performed with artists such as Keesha Beckford, Zineb Chraribi, Paige Cunningham, and Dardi McGinley-Gallivan. She also had the opportunity to take master classes with members from Merce Cunningham Company, Natya Dance Theater, and Urban Bush Women. Julia is originally from Frankfort, IL where she trained, danced competitively and gained teaching experience in technique and creative movement at The Dance Company. Julia is currently teaching and on the administrative staff at Forevermore Dance & Theatre Arts in Chicago. She is thrilled to continue growing as a dance educator and sharing her love for dance with Elite!

As our Academy grows, so does our need for professional instructors. If you teach any of the forms we offer or something new (yoga, pilates, ballroom, etc.), we are looking to expand.

Please send your resume to: info@EliteDanceIL.com
or mail to:
Elite Dance Academy
12109 West 159th Street
Homer Glen, IL 60491