MEET YOUR 2021-2022 ILLINETTES DANCE TEAM

Meet the talented women who make Illinettes what it is today. As the official dance team of the University of Illinois, we are well aware that we couldn’t have gotten to where we are today if it weren’t for our disciplined and motivated team members and everything we have accomplished in the past. Read on to learn more about the dancers who love representing the University and where they are from and where they are going!

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Senior
4th Year Member
Major: Community Health
Minor: Informatics

Hometown: Tuscola, IL

Olivia Chester

Olivia started dancing at Art In Motion Dance Studio at age three and trained in a variety of styles. At the age of five, she joined the AIM competition team and for 10 years she danced with title-winning groups. At Tuscola High School she was a member of cheer and dance teams and was chosen dance team captain her senior year. She received multiple IDTA awards, including state finalist solos and Rising Star awards.

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Senior
4th Year Member
Major: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Pre-OT
Minor: Speech and Hearing Sciences

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL

Kat Ciannella

Kat has been dancing since the age of three. She trained at Beyond Center Stage for six years, where she competed and attended dance conventions, receiving scholarships, awards, and winning titles. In high school, she was on York's Varsity Dance Team for all four years. Her team qualified for IHSA state all four years, winning the state champion title her senior year. Kat has also been a dance instructor for elementary summer classes, and is so excited for her last year on Illinettes.

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Analia Dama

Analia has been dancing since the age of two and was trained at Dance Motions Inc. for fifteen years. In her senior year of high school, Analia choreographed a number of pieces for the studio's Motions Dance Company. Along with dancing at Dance Motions, Analia was a part of St. Francis High School's Varsity Dance Team for four years. As a senior, Analia had the opportunity to be Captain of her school's dance team. She has worked with many choreographers like Sinead Gildea, Sarah Burney, and Aretese Low. Analia is so happy to finish her dance career and senior year on the Illinettes Dance Team and continue to make memories with the team.

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Emma Dziura

Emma has been dancing since she was three years old. She began training at Lively Arts Dance Academy. At the age of fourteen, she joined the pre-professional hip-hop company Boom Box! under the direction of Trae Turner. In 2015 she competed at Hip-Hop International against international competitors. Emma was a member of Lyons Townships's poms team all four years. During her senior year, the team won the state title from IDTA and placed at IHSA. She was a dancer and choreographer for her high school's Eurythmic Dance Company, where she trained with many choreographers like Randy Duncan, Corey Nagel, and Terry Wethington. This year Emma is looking forward to finishing her degree and cheering on the Illini with her best friends.

Senior
4th Year Member
Major: Advertising
Hometown: Bartlett, IL

Senior
4th Year Member
Major: MCB 
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Brookfield, IL

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*Co-Captain
Senior

4th Year Member
Major: Business
Hometown: Naperville, IL

Bridget Glass

Bridget has been dancing since the age of three at the School of Performing Arts as a member of their competitive dance ensemble and teacher’s assistant program. She was a four-year member of Naperville North’s Varsity Dance Team, serving as Captain her senior year. With her team, she qualified for state all four years and was a state finalist for the last two. Bridget also performed in her high school Orchises showcase during her Junior and Senior Year.

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Senior
1st Year Member
Major: Media and Cinema Studies
Minor: Business
Hometown: Ottawa, IL

Madison Lindenbaum

Madison began dancing at Adagio School of Performing Arts at the age of three, training in various styles throughout the years. While dancing at her home studio, she performed in many shows and competitions which led to her love of performing. She has performed in WeDay, London's New Years Day Parade, and others. During her time at Ottawa Township High School, she joined the pom team her junior and senior year. Madison is so excited to be dancing again and can't wait for all the new memories while on the Illinettes Dance Team!

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Junior
3rd Year Member
Major: Business
Hometown: Naperville, IL

Emma Connelly

Emma has been dancing since the age of three and at the age of ten began dancing competitively for the School of Performing Arts Dance Ensemble. Emma was a four-year member of the Naperville North High School Varsity Dance Team, which qualified for the IHSA state competition all four years. Her senior year, as a captain, she helped lead the team to win the 2019 State Championship. Emma was also a member of Naperville North’s Orchesis Dance club for three years, performing and choreographing for the Orchesis showcase. She cannot wait for another year on Illinettes!

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*Co-Captain
JJunior
3rd Year Member

Major: Kinesiology
Hometown: Lake Villa, IL

Danielle Fuller

Danielle has been dancing since she was eight years old. She trained and competed with Shine Bright Dance Studio in Antioch, IL in a variety of styles under the direction of Courtney Kozlowski. She won many titles, awards, and scholarships during her competition career at the regional and national level. At the age of eleven, she was chosen to be a part of Inaside Chicago Dance’s youth training program directed by Sarah Ford-Hardy. Throughout Danielle’s dance career she has had opportunities to train in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Louisville. She has been a hip hop teaching assistant for Marcus Hardy at several Chicagoland area dance intensives. Danielle is super excited for her third year on the Illinettes!

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Junior
1st Year Member
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Medinah, IL

Bella Gallina

Bella has been dancing since she was three years old. She trained at Lights Camera Dancin early on in her dance career. She continued dancing on Lake Park High School’s Varsity Dance team. Bella was captain of the team her senior year and led her team to a third place finish in IHSA’s state finals. She received the All-Conference award her junior and senior year. She also performed and choreographed for Lake Park’s Dance Ensemble. After high school she trained at various studios in downtown Chicago, such as Visceral Dance Center. She also teaches dance classes at her local park district! Bella is so happy to have transferred to UIUC and to continue her dance career on the Illinettes Dance Team.

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Junior
3rd Year Member
Major: Advertising
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Bridget Hennelly

Bridget has been dancing since she was three years old. She was a member of the competitive dance team and Orchesis at Prospect High School for four years and was chosen as a captain and head choreographer her senior year. Bridget is so excited to continue dancing in college with the Illinettes!

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Junior
2nd Year Member
Major: Kinesiology
Hometown: Libertyville, IL

Kelly Higgason

Prior to dance, Kelly began her gymnastics training at the age of five and started dancing at the age of eleven. Her dance training took place at the Dance Academy of Libertyville where she was a part of the Jazz Theater of Illinois. Kelly was a three-year member of the Libertyville Varsity Dance Team and qualified for the IHSA state competition each of those years. Her senior year she was a captain of the varsity team and received the MVP award of that year.

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Junior
3rd Year Member
Major: Finance
Hometown: Naperville, IL

Calle Mennecke

Calle has been dancing since she was three years old. She spent many of her years with Inspire School of Dance traveling to various conventions and competitions around the country. Throughout her dance career she attended LADM Nationals in Los Angeles and then multiple years in NYC as part of the NYCDA Outstanding Dancer Experience. She was a member of Neuqua Valley High School's Orchesis Dance Company her junior year and choreographed her senior year. She was a member of Studio 8 Dance Company her senior year working with many talented choreographers.

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Junior
3rd Year Member
Major: Advertising
Minor: Business

Hometown: Barrington, IL

Bri Pietrzak

Bri has been dancing since she was three years old. She trained and competed with Denise Sabala Dance Studio and The Dance Loft. In high school, she was a four-year member of Barrington High School’s Dance Team and competed in the IHSA state competition twice. She also participated in and choreographed multiple dances for her school's Orchesis Dance Company serving as their executive director.

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Junior
3rd Year Member

Major: Dance
Hometown: Auburn, IL

Hannah Tharp

Hannah is from Auburn, IL and attended Auburn High School. She began her dance training at three years old. She joined the competition team at her home studio in Chatham, IL, and traveled with them all around the Midwest. Hannah also taught at her home studio where she was able to begin teaching her own choreography. She is a third-year member of the Illinettes and is so excited to continue her journey at the U of I.

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Sophomore
1st Year Member
Major: Advertising
Minor: Business

Hometown: Park Ridge, IL

Nicole Conradi

Nicole has been dancing since she was three years old. She has trained with PUD Dance Studio for the past ten years and has been in a company for six of those years. She’s trained in jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, modern, hip hop, pointe, ballet, pom, kick, and acrobatics. She has also danced for Joffrey Ballet and has received additional training through Studio 22 High Tek. She has also been a dance instructor for two years and has taught classes and workshops at her studio. She attended Maine South High School and was apart of the national winning team, the Maine South Varsity Hawkettes. They became 2019 UDA National Champions for the Large Varsity High Kick category and won many more awards for kick and pom throughout their season at both UDA and IHSA. Nicole is looking forward to her first season on Illinettes and making new memories with her team!

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Sophomore
2nd Year Member
Major: Business Undeclared
Hometown: Libertyville, IL

Megan Graham

Megan has been dancing since she was three years old. She danced with Dancenter North her entire life. She also was on her Varsity Dance Team at Carmel Catholic High School, as well as a Co-Captain her senior year. She also was the President of Carmel Catholic High School’s Orchesis Dance Company her senior. Megan is so excited for her second season and can’t wait to be able to perform this year!

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Sophomore
2nd Year Member
Major: Finance
Hometown: Cary, IL

Eva Hahnfeld

Eva has been dancing since she was two years old, training in multiple styles at CGPAC dance studio. Through CGPAC, she has won numerous awards and received a scholarship from the Dance Masters of Wisconsin convention. She has also been a four-year member of the Cary-Grove High School dance team and has competed in the IHSA state competition twice. Eva is super excited to continue her second year dancing in college with the Illinettes!

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Sophomore
2nd Year Member
Major: Human Development and Family Studies
Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Cassidy Murphy

Cassidy has been dancing since the age of two. She grew up competing in many different competitions, such as NYCDA, and received many different awards and scholarships. She has spent the last eight years dancing at the Academy of Dance Arts under the training of Sherry Moray and Ricky Ruiz. Cassidy is so excited for the new season!

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Sophomore

1st Year Member

Major: Dance

Minor: Kinesiology

Hometown: Lincolnwood, IL

Isabella Saldana

Isabella has been dancing since she was three years old. She received her training at Kaleidescope Dance and Movement Center as a member of their competitive dance ensemble. In high school, she was a member, head choreographer, and Officer for the Niles West Orchesis. Throughout her three years as an Officer, she was able to choreograph and stage direct over nine dances and work with prestigious, Chicagoland choreographers. As a college student, Isabella is continuing her dance education as a dancer major, and has begun teaching at her home studio. She is so exciting to be an Illinette!

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Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Speech and Hearing Sciences

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Caroline Corcoran

Caroline began dancing when she was three years old at various studios, but ultimately danced and competed at Steps Dance Center for four years before entering high school. All of high school, she was a part of the Orchesis dance club at her school, choreographing her sophomore, junior, and senior year. She was also a member of her high school's varsity dance team, qualifying for IHSA State prelims and finals all four years and even winning the state title her sophomore year. While on the team, she was a DVC All-Conference Athlete her junior and senior year and choreographed their competitive dances her senior year.

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Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Communication

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Allie Demay

Allie has been dancing since she was three years old. She has danced at Steps Dance Center for fifteen years, and competed on their jazz and hip hop companies. Allie was also a four-year member of Neuqua Valley’s Orchesis Dance Company. She choreographed on Orchesis for three years and was one of the student directors for her junior and senior year. Allie is so excited to continue dancing in college with the Illinettes!

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Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Social Work 

Hometown: Arcola, IL

Mae Gentry

Mae started dancing at the age of three. She trained at the Mattoon Academy in various styles including jazz, lyrical, contemporary, poms, musical theater, and hip hop. As a seven-year member of the competitive team, Mae and her teammates earned national titles, awards, and scholarships. Her solo numbers earned top place finishes as well. During her senior year, Mae was a Dancer of the Year finalist in three competitions, and she was named the regional Senior Dancer of the Year in St. Louis. She was also selected to participate in a showcase of stars and an exhibition performance with dancers from around the country. Mae is thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to dance as an Illinette!

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Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Communications

Minor: Spanish

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Brenna Hill

Brenna started dancing when she was nine years old. She trained at her local studio Steps Dance Center for five years. She then danced on her high school's varsity dance team serving as Captain her junior and senior year! She got to experience dancing at a Citrus Bowl in Orlando, qualifying for state every year, and ultimately winning state her sophomore year! Brenna cannot wait to dance on the Illinettes! Go Illini!

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Gabriella Manriquez

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Biology

Hometown: Plainfield, IL

Gabriella began dancing at the age of three and danced competitively for twelve years at BDA Dance Company. With BDA, she has won many titles, scholarships, and overall placements for group dances, and as a soloist nationally and regionally. She was on her high school's dance team for four years and was captain her senior year. She was also named All-Conference athlete her junior and senior year and qualified for IHSA state both of those years.

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Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Biology

Hometown: Wood Dale, IL

Rosalie Moraga

Rosalie has been dancing since the age of three. She started her dance career at a local park district, but soon moved to a competitive studio, Dance Xplosion, at the age of seven. During her time there, she competed at several dance competitions and conventions. At conventions such as Nuvo and Radix, she received recognition and several scholarships. After her freshman year of high school, she decided to transition from the competitive dance studio to her high school dance team at Montini Catholic High School. Her team achieved state titles in 1A during both her freshman and sophomore year. Two years later, moving up to 2A, her team received first runner-up, which Rosalie considers a huge accomplishment for both herself and her team. Although she no longer competed with her studio, she still took conventions and traveled to other states, such as California, to take classes with well-known teachers.

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Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Kinesiology

Hometown: Geneva, IL 

Samantha Scolaro

Sammy has been dancing since she was twelve years old. She started competing at Beth Fowler School of Dance for two years before switching to competing in high school. She danced on the Geneva Varsity Dance Team for all four years. Sammy and her team placed top three in the IHSA 2A state finals every year including her senior year when she became a state champion!