MEET YOUR 2020-2021 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!

*Co-Captain

Senior

4th Year Member

Major: Kinesiology

Hometown: Mahomet, IL

Sophie Leskis

Sophie began dancing at the age of three on a competition team where she received numerous scholarships and awards. She trained in multiple styles. She also danced and choreographed on the Mahomet Seymour High School dance team for four years & was a captain her senior year. Sophie has also been an instructor for the Universal Dance Association for the past 3 years where she travels across the country to teach dance to high schoolers.

Molly Tuskey

Molly has been dancing since the age of three. She began dancing at the School of Performing Arts in Naperville and received her training from there. She was a four-year varsity member of St. Francis High School’s Dance Team and captain of the team her senior year.

*Co-Captain

Senior

4th Year Member

Major: Elementary Education

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Ashley Barz

Ashley has been dancing since she was three years old. She trained with Dancewest Ballet, as well as competed with Midwest Edge Dance Company. Ashley was also a three-year member of the Naperville North Varsity Dance Team. This is her fourth year as a member of the Illinettes Dance Team.

Antoinette DelGiudice

Toni has been dancing since she was three years old. She competed and danced at Willow Street Dance Theatre through her senior year of high school. In high school, she was on Carl Sandburg's varsity poms team and orchesis troupe all four years. Toni was the captain for both teams her senior year. She was rewarded all-conference her sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school. 

Senior

4th Year Member

Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Senior

4th Year Member

Major: Advertising 

Minor: Public Relations

Hometown: Orland Park, IL

Senior

3rd Year Member

Major: Advertising

Hometown: Naperville IL

Mickayla Homme

Mickayla has been dancing since the age of three. While she started off dancing at Dance West Ballet, she trained most extensively at The Academy of Dance Arts in Downers Grove under the direction of Ricky Ruiz and Sherry Moray. She was also on the Naperville North Varsity Dance Team where she was captain her Senior Year.

Senior

4th Year Member

Major: Economics and History

Minor: Jewish Studies

Hometown: Nolensville, TN

Johnna Jones

Johnna’s dancing career commenced at the age of three in the 3rd ranked best dance studio in the nation: DC Dance Factory. Through this dance studio, Johnna attained 14 consecutive national championships. Johnna also competed on her high school dance team, a state winning championship team, and was chosen captain her junior year and sustained the role until graduation of her senior year.

Junior

3rd Year Member

Major: Community Health

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 solo and Rising Star awards.  

Junior

3rd Year Member

Major: Interdisciplinary Health, Pre-OT

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL

Kat Ciannella

Katherine has been dancing since the age of three. She has trained at Beyond Center Stage for the past six years, where she has competed and attended dance conventions, receiving several scholarships. 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 title her senior year.

Junior

3rd Year Member

Major: Advertising

Hometown: Bartlett, IL

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 continue her dance career on the Illinettes Dance Team and continue to make memories with the team.

Junior

3rd Year Member

Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

Minor: Spanish

Hometown: Brookfield, IL

Emma Dziura

Emma has been dancing since she was three years old.  She began training at Lively Arts Dance Academy. At the age of 14, 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 teams from all over the world. Emma also was a member of Lyons Townships's poms team all four years. During her senior year, the team won a 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 choreographers like Randy Duncan, Corey Nagel, and Terry Wethington. Emma is looking forward to her academic endeavors as an MCB major. 

Junior

3rd 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.

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Business

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Emma Connelly

Emma has been dancing since the age of 3 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!

Sophomore

2nd 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 11, 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. Daniele is super excited for her second year on the Illinettes!

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Elementary Education

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Bridget Hennelly

Bridget has been dancing since she was three years old. She trained at McDonald Dance Academy and studied various different styles. She also participated in the 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!

Sophomore

2nd 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.

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Undeclared

Hometown: Aurora, IL

Allison Neitzel

Allison started dancing at the age of three. She has trained with many studios in the Chicago and Naperville area, most extensively from Steps Dance Center with whom they competed with the past 7 years under the direction of Rebecca Rosenberg and Carrie Nicastro Ruiz. She was on her Orchesis Dance Company for four years at Metea Valley High School, serving three years as a choreographer, two years as an officer. Allison also had the pleasure of serving the position of President her senior year.

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Elementary Education

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. 

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Accounting

Hometown: Downers Grove, IL

Emily Scehovic

Emily has been dancing since she was three years old. She began her dancing at Midwest Ballet Academy. Emily continued her training at Salt Creek Ballet where she performed for five years and was a company member. She studied ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, and modern. In her senior year of high-school, Emily was a member of Downers Grove South’s varsity dance team. She also choreographed and performed with Downers Grove South’s Orchesis Dance Company. Emily is thrilled to continue dancing on the Illinettes Dance Team! 

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Marketing

Hometown: Oswego, IL

Jess Schatz

Jess started her dance career at Storm Dance Alliance where she competed in all dance styles from age 11-15. She then moved on to dance on the Varsity Dance Team at Oswego East High School her freshman year. While on the dance team she held the role of co-captain her junior and senior year, choreographing routines and assisting in bettering the program. She spent this past winter break in Rome, Italy with four of her teammates and dance coach. In Rome, she danced in the New Years Day Parade as part of the Universal Dance Association’s 2018 All-American Team.

Sophomore

2nd Year Member

Major: Dance

Hometown: Auburn, IL

Hannah Tharp

Hannah is from Auburn, IL, and attended Auburn High School. She has been training in dance since she was 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 sophomore this year and is so excited to be on the Illinettes and to continue her journey as a dance major. 

Sophomore

1st Year Member

Major: Dance

Hometown: Batavia, IL

Sydney Tschosik

Sydney has been dancing since age three. She began dancing at Moves Dance Studio where she joined SoleUnique Dance Company under the direction of Anthony Foster and Victoria Lynn Bunch. She was on the company for 7 years and throughout those years, she attended many competitions/conventions and became an award-winning soloist as well as winning many group awards. Throughout high school and during the summers, Sydney taught and assisted at her home studio, SoleUnique Dance Complex. She continues her dance training with Dance at Illinois and is thrilled to be a part of the Illinettes!

Sophomore

1st Year Member

Major: Psychology 

Hometown: Libertyville, IL

Kelly Higgason

Prior to dance, Kelly began her gymnastics training at the age of 5 and started dancing at the age of 11. 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.

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Undeclared

Hometown: Sycamore, IL

Amanda Veldhuizen

Amanda has been dancing since the age of three. She has been trained in ballet and various other styles of dance as well as competing. She was a member of Sycamore High Schools varsity dance team for three years. Her team qualified for state all three years and placed fourth in the finals her senior year. She was also a member and choreographer for her school’s Orchesis Dance Troupe for four years. In Orchesis Amanda was an officer for three years and assistant student director for one.

Cassidy Murphy

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Undeclared

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Cassidy has been dancing since the age of two. She grew up competing in many different competitions like 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 can’t wait to continue her dance career in college with the Illinettes!

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Psychology 

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

Elizabeth Watson

Elizabeth has been dancing since she was three years old. She danced competitively at Reverie Dance Academy and The Dance Loft where she was trained in various styles of dance. At Hersey High School, Elizabeth was a three-year member of the Varsity Competitive Dance team and competed at the IHSA State Finals. She was also a four-year member of Hersey’s Orchesis Dance Company, where she had many opportunities to choreograph and work with many professional choreographers. Elizabeth is so excited to continue dancing in college!

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

Hometown: Cary, IL 

Eva Hahnfeld

Eva has been dancing for about 3 years now, 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 4-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 dancing in college with the Illinettes!

Freshman

1st Year Member

  Major: Animal Sciences

  Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL

Jessica Cvengros

Jessica has been a competitive dancer since age seven. She trained at Sunshine Dance Company, most extensively under Alanna Nielsen. She has worked with dance photographer Jordan Matter, received numerous scholarships, and won many awards. Jess is extremely grateful for the opportunities she has been given. While she was originally trained in contemporary, ballet, and lyrical, she developed a love for hip hop during her four years on Glenbard West’s Dance Team. After receiving the captain position her senior year, she choreographed all performances, pep rallies, and competition routines.

Lilly Mullaney

 Lilly has been Dancing since she was two years old. She was on a company dance team where she competed until high school. In high school, she danced on The Glenbrook South Titans team all four years. The team competed at State and National levels. Her team won two national titles.

Freshman

1st Year Member

  Major: Food Science Human Nutrition

          Hometown: Glen Ellyn, IL

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Business 

Hometown: Libertyville, IL

Megan Graham

Megan has been dancing since she was three years old at Dancenter North in Gurnee, IL. She also danced on the Carmel Catholic High School Varsity Dance Team for 3 years and was a co-captain her senior year. She was a member of the Orchesis Dance Company at Carmel all 4 years of high school, and was vice president her junior year and co-president her senior year. Megan is so excited to be able to continue to dance in college on the Illinettes!

Taylor Born

Freshman

1st Year Member

Major: Undeclared

Hometown: Downers Grove, IL

Taylor has been dancing since the age of eight. She has trained with many studios in the Chicagoland area, most extensively with the Center For Dance where she danced for 7 years and was a member of their competitive team.  In high school, she was a four-year member of Downers Grove South’s varsity dance team and was captain her senior year. She also was a founding member of Downers Grove South’s Orchesis Dance Company where she performed, choreographed, and was an officer for the club. Taylor is so excited to continue dancing with the Illinettes dance team!

© 2014 by Illinettes Dance Team

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