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We are so excited to bring dancers this incredible training opportunity right here at our studio home. This is an event you do NOT want to miss! The 2nd Annual Dream Dance Intensive is open to dancers age 7 - 18 WITH dance experience. Our Intensive is 20+ hours of instruction, as well as seminars on topics such as auditioning.

Our dance intensive is all inclusive (one price includes ALL classes). There is not an option to purchase individual classes. The full experience and ALL classes are necessary in order for dancers to receive the full benefit of this unique training opportunity. Don't have tap shoes? It's OK! Take the class in your jazz shoes or borrow a pair. Don't take hip hop? Same thing! This is often an opportunity where dancers discover a new passion and a style of dance they may want to start taking regularly. 

The Dream Dance Intensive is open to both members and non-members, but D
DA members will have priority registration

9:30am-2:30pm each day

Early bird DDA member rate $399
Non-DDA member rate $425
DDA Member rate after May $415


July 10-13, 2023

The Dream Dance Intensive

2nd Annual
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Cesar Salinas


Cesar G. Salinas, originally from Portland, Oregon, was named Giordano Dance Chicago’s Associate Artistic Director at the start of GDC’s 60th Anniversary Season. He began his formal studies in dance with Zohar School of Dance, under the direction of Ehud Krauss in Palo Alto, CA. There he was introduced to the classic jazz styles of Gus Giordano, Luigi, and Matt Mattox. He moved to Oregon where he studied at Willamette Ballet Academy under Deborah Higginbotham. Cesar went on to further his training at the University at Buffalo, where he graduated with a BFA in Dance. He received a scholarship to Giordano Dance School in Chicago, IL, in 2004 and 2005. From 2006 until 2011, Cesar joined Giordano Dance Chicago as a full company member performing throughout the United States and Europe. During his tenure, he was proud to be a part of GDC’s educational outreach program, teaching science and health dance classes to 4th and 5th grade students in under-resourced public schools in Chicago. Cesar was honored to be on the cover of Dance Magazine (August 2007) and to teach at the Jazz Dance World Congress in 2007, 2009, and 2012. In 2013, he was chosen as a soloist for BalaSole Dance Company performing “Hunted” in New York City’s Alvin Ailey Citigroup where he received rave reviews: “richly physical performance that drew the audience’s unfettered enthusiasm” – Philip Gordon. Cesar toured the world with Royal Caribbean cruise lines as a performer in the Broadway production of Saturday Night Fever as well as an aerialist. In the January 2018 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine, Cesar demonstrates the Giordano Technique alongside Nan Giordano in honor of the company’s 55th Anniversary Season. Cesar is a certified teacher in the Giordano Technique at the Basic, Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, and Professional Levels of the Nan Giordano Certification Program® (NGCP®). Most recently Cesar returned to the stage at the Auditorium Theatre to perform Gus Giordano’s 1978 iconic solo Wings in honor of Nan Giordano’s 33 years at the helm and 25th Anniversary as Artistic Director for GDC. Lauren Warnecke of See Chicago Dance wrote, “ could almost imagine Gus himself up there performing the piece he made 40 years ago.” He currently teaches master classes and workshops, as well as choreographs for universities and studios across the country.

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Richard Elszy

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Richard Elszy is passionately dedicated to training the next generation of dancers through his technical expertise, and inspiring them with inventive and picturesque choreography. In his current endeavor, Richard has created “Building Blocks of Dance” an online dance technique program for teachers.  BBD provides strategies and tips on how to make complex concepts relatable to young dancers.  This program has successfully inspired teachers throughout the US and across the globe.  However these are not the only online tools he has to offer. Richard has become a teaching sensation, offering online Lyrical Dance Classes, which are featured on and as well has his own “Dance Technique on the Edge” videos available to dancers around the world.

As a Los Angeles based choreographer, Richard’s classes at the esteemed Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles are a popular place for students to work toward formulating technique into artistry. He has presented numerous works of choreography at Club Jeté – LA’s Premier Dance Showcase, as well as coaching and choreographing dance concept videos featuring Nia Frazier of ‘Dance Moms’ titled “Young Love”,  Chelsie Hill and the Rollettes “Be Boundless” and “We Can Together” campaigns and choreographing a TV pilot for TV star and Emmy nominated actress Shanti Lowry of ‘Family Time.’



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Adam Boreland

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Adam Boreland has been a part of the professional ballet world for over 15 years. Proud first student of Sell’s Broadway Dance Company. Adam trained at San Francisco Ballet School & Orlando Ballet School. He held professional contracts at Texas Ballet Theater & Orlando Ballet along with guesting around the United States.


He has been blessed with dancing principal roles in ballets such as Swan Lake, Cinderella, Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Glenn Tetley‘s Voluntaries, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Jorden Morris Productions Moulin Rouge & Peter Pan. Adam was also recently on the NBC show “Dancing with Myself” with Shakira, Liza Koshy & Nick Jonas.


Adam is proud to be the Creator and Founder of Dance Accepts Everyone Facebook Group – a safe, non-judgmental place for all dancers seeking to connect, inspire and love through dance. With almost 400,000 dancers in our Worldwide Community, we are able to dance, love & reach over 267 million people around the globe in 2022 alone.

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Drew Burgess

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Ohio native, Drew made his industry debut on Live with Regis during Amazing Kids Week. Upon relocating to California, he trained at L.A.’s best studios including EDGE, Millennium, Fusion, and the PAC Annex. Drew is highly sought after as a performer, choreographer, guest teacher, dance supervisor, & dance captain.


Drew can be seen on teaching & adjudication panels for: Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Dance Teachers Club of Boston, Leap! Competition, Dance Masters of America Regional Chapters, Dance Educators of America, Encore Dance & the Rhee Gold Company. A former competitor himself, Drew’s regional titles include Master, Junior, and Teen Mr. Dance of Ohio, as well as, Mr. Dance of the Pacific Coast. Nationally, Drew is a former Jr. Mr. Dance of America and Mr. Dance of America. Drew is certified by test to teach through DMA & DEA in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, & Acrobatics and is an active member in both organizations. Drew is also proud to be Acrobatic Arts Certified (M1-M3) & part of their U.S. Division Staff of Course Conductors & Adjudicators. Drew’s passion for dance circles the globe with guest workshop classes, technique clinics, & choreography, year-round. His corporate & live entertainment credits include performances with the Radio City Rockettes, Taylor Swift, & The Baha Men. Drew’s students have accolades including: Teen Miss Dance of Arizona, Male Dancer of the Year, Miss Dance of Ohio, Mr. Dance of America, and one of Radio City’s newest Rockettes!


His National Choreography merits include the Sherry Gold Memorial Choreography Award from DMA & Best Small Group & Production from NexStar. Drew has toured worldwide with Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance as a Swing in Rock the Ballet 2 and Romeo & Juliet. He was honored to serve as the Tap Director for four years at Spisak Dance Academy in Glendale, Arizona; and now resides in Columbus, Ohio and is part of of the weekly teaching staff at Straub Dance Center. Drew has also filmed several episodes of class content at CLI Studios in Los Angeles.

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Star Dixon

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Star Dixon is an assistant director, choreographer, and original principal dancer of world renowned tap company, MADD Rhythms. She has taught and performed at the most distinguished tap festivals in the country including The L.A. Tap Fest, DC Tap Fest, & RIFF Dallas. She’s performed internationally in Poland, Japan, and Brazil to name a few. Performance venues include Jacob’s Pillow, Kennedy Center, and the Lincoln Center. She’s performed as a guest with such companies as Michelle Dorrance’s Dorrance Dance and Savion Glover’s All Funk’d Up. Star is currently on staff at numerous dance studios in the Chicagoland area.


This year will be spent collaborating with musicians to compose and arrange original music. I’ll be creating, choreographing, and recording 5 songs in the genres that have been very influential in my upbringing, later lending to my artistic style. I will then have a listening party where I perform the tracks from the album live with the musicians and some special guest tap dancers.

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Connie Sweeney

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Connie Sweeney has been dancing for over 30 years. She has trained in advanced level mastery in the art of tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, modern and hip hop. She is on staff at Jo's Footwork Studio in Western Springs, IL teaching tap, lyrical and jazz. She is also a choreographer for City Nation – a multi discipline dance company based in Orland Park, IL- and has been for the last 5 years.


Connie attended the NFAA in Madison, WI where she received a "platinum" in tap, and "honorable mention" in jazz. Connie has been on faculty for workshops/conventions such as CNADM, CDC, DMW, and STARQUEST. She has been a member of Matrix Dance Improv - modern, The Kirby Reed Ascension Project - jazz, Instruments of Movement - modern, and Rhythm ISS - an all female tap ensemble. She has performed with her brother, Jay Fagan, in "Sibling Rivalry," and was a member of Same Planet Different World - a modern company- for 9 years.  Connie was also the artistic director of an “all discipline” dance company, Footwork Dance Ensemble, for five years.


She continues to guest teach and choreograph for studios in the Chicagoland area. 

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Mark Yonally

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Mark Yonally (he/him) is the founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Tap Theatre, one of the most critically well-regarded dance companies in Chicago. They perform an annual three-show season in Chicago and tour both throughout America and Europe. Their performances have been chosen as the Top Ten Dance events of the year by the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, SeeChicagoDance and Windy City Media. Their 2016 Time Travel Story Show, “TimeSteps” was selected as the Best New Production of 2016 by the Dance Magazine Reader’s Poll. Mark has developed a national and international reputation as a performer, with solo performances in Chicago, Helsinki, Barcelona, New York, Amsterdam and Paris. He has been blessed to have Sam Weber, Sarah Petronio, Dianne Walker, Bill Evans and Billy Siegenfeld as mentors. Mark has also recorded with live musicians, including an appearance with the Polyphonic Spree on their song “Mental Cabaret” and on stage with them at Lollapalooza.

As a company member of the Bill Evans Dance Company and Especially Tap Chicago (ETC), Mark performed at such prestigious festivals as the St. Louis Tap Festival, the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World Congress and at the Royal Opera House in Helsinki, Finland. Furthermore, Mark has gained the plaudits of major dance critics for his innovative approach to tap choreography. His works have been commissioned and performed by the Bill Evans Dance Company, ETC and Hope College, among others. Mark also maintains a longstanding professional relationship with Valérie Lussac, Artistic Director of Tapage of Toulouse, France and Guillem Alcalay in Barcelona, Spain and teaches annually in both cities. He teaches and judges at conventions and competitions throughout the US, including Ovation Dance Challenge and In10sity. He is especially proud to teach for Mark Goodmans’ Totally Tap.

Mark is a noted educator and has taught at festivals throughout the U.S. and has served on the faculty at Oklahoma City University and Hope College. He is sought after for his multidisciplinary approach to tap teaching, which includes history, basic music theory and an emphasis on jazz music, and has taught in France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the United States. Mark is also a published author, with pieces appearing in Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine. He is also the creator and host “The Tea on Tap”, which features 32 interviews with noted Tap Dancers.

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Julie Chapnick

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Julie Chapnick began her career classically trained in the Cecchetti ballet method. She studied with the Atlantic Contemporary Ballet, American Dance Machine, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Chapnick received a B.F.A. in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and went on to earn an M.A. in Dance and Dance Education with a concentration in K-12 from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education. Working with world-renowned teachers and choreographers alike, Chapnick performed in numerous works during her undergraduate and graduate studies. She danced with the New Dance Ensemble, Second Avenue Dance Company, New Dance Collective, and American Dance Art with whom she performed at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Working in Ohio, New York, North Carolina, and Massachusettes, Chapnick has directed youth summer dance camps and intensives, served as a ballet mistress, and has presented her work in dance festivals and regional competitions. She has taught and choreographed in the privately-owned studio, public school system, and community outreach programs working with youth with disabilities. She was appointed adjunct dance professor for Central Piedmont Community College and Johnson C. Smith University. Chapnick is happy to now call Chicago her home and is excited to be joining the Joffrey Academy summer faculty.

Hip Hop
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Precision Dance
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Laura Jakowenko

Since 2014 Laura Jakowenko has most notably performed as a Radio City Rockette. In addition to The Christmas Spectacular, Laura also performed as a Rockette in the New York Spectacular where she worked with director/choreographer Mia Michaels. Other performance credits include: MTV Video Music Awards, Tony Awards, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan, NFL Half-Time Show ft. Mariah Carey. Originally from metro-Detroit, Laura grew up training and competing in all styles of dance. She toured with Tremaine Dance Conventions assisting Joe Tremaine and went on to work administratively for the convention. She now stays in touch with the competition dance world by working as a judge through Impact Dance Adjudicators. Aside from dancing, Laura also plays guitar and piano and performs as a singer/songwriter. In the off-seasons from performing as a Rockette, Laura works as a CPA with an accounting degree from DePaul University. 

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Luke Pilalis

Luke has been training in all styles of dance for the past 23 years. From elementary to high school, he performed competitively on Aspire Dance Company in Bloomingdale, Illinois. After graduation his dance career led him to compete on America's Got Talent, Season Nine, where he and his dance partner qualified for the Semi-Finals. He has been teaching tap and hip hop across the Midwest in the forms of recitals, intensives, and competitive choreography for the last decade. Currently, he is the head hip hop coach at Center Stage Dance Studio for Aspire Dance Company.

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Megan Long


Megan graduated with a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006. She has been working in outpatient orthopedic for the past 14 years treating athletes, performing artists and general orthopedic injuries. She is a Graston Technique trained clinician as well as specializes in kinesiology taping, and manual therapy techniques. Megan has a passion in treating patients in the performing arts community including traditional dance, competitive dance, gymnastics, ice skating and cheerleading. She has been a dance instructor since 1995 in areas including ballet, pointe and conditioning for dancers. Megan is on staff at Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy in St. Charles, and brings performing arts therapy to the community.

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