Instructor Bios

Jenny O'Brien
Studio Owner and Director, Instructor

Community Image Award 2016, St. Charles Chamber of Commerce

Rainbow Kids Yoga Certified Instructor 

Success Principles Certified Trainer

Founder of Live Your Purpose

2021 Member of the Year, International Dance Entrepeneur's Association

Jenny has been dancing for over 30 years and studied  jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, and musical theater.  She has been teaching since 1999 throughout the Chicago-land area.  

From her first ballet class at the age of 3, Jenny had a passion for dancing and performing.  Throughout her youth, she danced at Palmer’s Dance & Gymnastics and Dorothy’s Dancing Unlimited. Jenny also performed in theatrical productions such as "The Nutcracker" with Pennsylvania Ballet Company and "The Night Before Christmas" with Dayton Ballet. She participated in dance team and Orchesis throughout high school, in addition to continuing studio classes. Jenny was the only freshman accepted as a Company member for Orchesis (dance troupe), which is also where she got her start choreographing. Her start in choreographing sort of happened by accident while recovering from a spinal fusion surgery from '95 - '96.  When she graduated from Lake Park High School in 1999, she started teaching dance under the direction of her former dance instructor and fell in love with teaching. After teaching for two years while earning an associates degree at College of DuPage, she attended Illinois State University and graduated with a BA in Communications. She began teaching again part time when she graduated college. Her full time focus was on her Marketing and Events career that she continued to build and move up in until 2012.

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In 2012 she realized where her true passion was, and that is in the studio with her students. After focusing on a marketing career for 10 years, she decided to pursue her dream of teaching full-time. Jenny formed Dreams Dance Academy – a true life-long dream. She started "Dreams Dance Academy: The Traveling Studio" in July 2012 by renting space at community and fitness centers in three towns, and it skyrocketed from there. DDA reached 85 students in just five months. In August 2013, Jenny obtained her own studio space in La Fox to accommodate the quickly growing program.  And in August 2015, DDA moved to St. Charles to a 3-studio facility which she hopes to call home for a very long time now that we can accommodate our growing program. The current home is truly the dream studio she always envisioned in her mind! In summer 2019 as the studio continued to grow at a quick rate (right before they pandemic!), DDA expanded again and added an additional 1,100 square feet to accommodate an additional dance room.

 

Jenny continues to attend both teacher trainings and studio owner conferences, as she believes in the importance of continuing education to keep the studio, technique, and teaching skills at DDA top notch. Dance is always evolving - so as dance professionals, we must continue to train and educate ourselves. She has written various stories for Dance Studio Life Magazine, and DDA has also been featured in DSL articles such as "Studio Style" - read it here! In August 2016, Jenny became one of the first members of the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association. In 2021, she was named Member of the Year at the annual DanceLife Teacher Conference. She has also been a volunteer for the INCubator program at STC East, providing mentorship to high schoolers in this business program

Jenny is especially passionate about teaching the 9 and under age group. These are critical years in a dancers training and she firmly believes in instilling the proper fundamentals from the star...but in a fun, engaging way that molds young, new dancers into passionate, properly trained performers! 

In March 2020, she began what would be the most challenging chapter in her life as a business owner and studio director. One of the positives that came from the pandemic, was creating a virtual studio program in just a few days. Jenny launched DDA's virtual studio in mid-March and DDA continued to run strictly virtual until early June. During this time, she assisted studio owners across the country with running their programs remotely. She has been a guest speaker a few times during the pandemic for IDEA. 

In January 2021, Jenny became a Certified Success Principles Trainer (teaching the 67 Success Principles founded by Jack Canfield) and founded Live Your Purpose. This was a journey that ironically began in early 2020 so it got put on the backburner due to the pandemic and having to shift all of her focus. As 2021 proved to be a year of reinventing the wheel for what felt like everything, she has had to continue to put a hold on Live Your Purpose. But she has big goals and big dreams...so stay tuned! 

In 2022, she became the Membership Liaison for International Dance Entrepreneurs Association. 

Jenny is actively involved in the community and in her spare time, she can be found crafting, spending time with family and friends, and spoiling Molly the Studio Dog!

Jory Macapinlac

Jory Macapinlac grew up in Bartlett, IL. Having over 30 years of dance experience behind her, she received her training from well-known studios, Youman School of Dance, Goldens School of Dance and the famous Giordano Dance Center. She studied with such notables as Cindy Engel, Ellen Werksmen, Natalie Rast, and Nan & Gus Giordano.

As a competitor, she was one of the first members of the highly recognized Midwest Movement under Ted Jackson. Jory went on to train in the Theater Department of Northern Illinois University, where she studied Ballet, Pointe & Modern extensively.

Her professional credits include one of the choreographers and dancers in the Las Vegas Revue “The Dream King” starring Trent Carlini, whom she also traveled and performed with in Toronto, The Star Plaza in Indiana, The Paramount Theater in Aurora and White Sox Elvis Night. In addition, for many years, she choreographed and danced for the Chicago White Sox special event games such as Classic Rock Night, Elvis Night and more.

Jory has taught multiple forms of dance to all ages since 1999. She shares her strong technical foundation at various studios, teaching Jazz, Jumps/Turns, Lyrical, Stretch & Strength, and Ballet. In addition, Jory is hired as a technique and conditioning teacher for Naperville Central High School Dance Team and guest teaches at other studio in IL. From 2004-2010, she was full-time director of the award winning competitive team Powerhouse Dance Company. After only 2 years on the competition circuit, Dance Teacher Magazine named them as one of the “50 Studios on the Move” in their 2007 special issue of 50 studios with top competition accolades across the country.

Her students have gone on to teach, adjudicate, dance on college dance teams, become cast members at Disney World, and actors/dancers in commercials, movies, music videos and concert tours! She is a veteran in the business, judging since 2001 for competitions such as Starquest, Applause, Bravo, Dance Masters of Michigan Ch. 4, Nexstar, Starpower and Revolution.

Jory is known for her attention to detail and her technical knowledge. She enjoys working with students of all ages and is happy to be a part of Dreams Dance Academy!

Geneva Aboites

Geneva began dancing at the age of six in Phoenix and trained at the distinguished School of Ballet Arizona under Kee-Juan Han. She spent her summers attending intensives at Ballet Magnificat and Texas Christian University. Geneva graduated from TCU in May 2007 as Cum Laude with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance. She was chosen to perform in Japan and at several American College Dance Festivals. Upon graduating, Geneva was hired as the Assistant Director at Devotion In Motion in Fort Worth, TX. In 2009, she got married and moved to Indianapolis where she was on faculty at Expressenz Dance Center. In 2010 they moved to McKinney, TX where she taught at Gotta Dance.

 

She began teaching at DDA in 2014 after moving to Illinois. She resides in Geneva where she enjoys being involved in her community, church, and being a mom! 

Katie Behrens

Katie has been dancing since age nine and has teaching for over 22 years. She spent her younger years studying at the St. Charles School of Dance under the direction of Kelly Delprincipi and Northern IL University dance head, Judith Chitwood. In the spring of 1997 was accepted into the Chicago Academy for The Arts. There she had the honor of dancing under the brilliance of Anna Paskevska and Randy Duncan. Behrens has also studied with Homer Bryant of Bryant Ballet Chicago and Claire Bataille of Hubbard Street dance Chicago.

 

In the fall of '99 Behrens was accepted into Northern Illinois University’s dance program under the direction of Randall Newsome.  Her college experience was cut short due to a medical issue. However this did not stop her and her love for dance. She continued to teach dance for the Saint Charles School of Dance and later became the dance director for the West Chicago Park District. In 2001 Behrens was hired on to teach a few classes at the Geneva Park District and later in 2004 she became the director of the program until December of 2016. Over the course of her teaching  career she has received numerous choreography and special awards. When she is not in the studio teaching young dancers how to plié and battement you can find her at one of the local gyms where she teaches adult group fitness and is a certified wellness consultant. Miss Katie is thrilled to be working with Miss Jenny again, and believes you should always go after your dreams.

Bliss Clark

Bliss Clark began dancing at the age of 5 at a local studio in Aurora, IL. She began intensively training in ballet at the VH Dance center from 2007-2012 and was a part of The Chicago Festival Ballet through out that time. She was honored to have danced many roles in Von Heidecke Chicago Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Giselle, and with Ken Von Heidecke’s original choreography in summer workshops. She also began teaching at the VH Dance center in 2010-2012.

She relocated to Columbus, Ohio after attending Balletmet Columbus Academy’s summer intensive and was invited to continue her dance training at Balletmet Columbus Academy’s Pre-professional/Trainee program under the artistic direction of Susan Brooker in 2013.

She relocated to Houston, Texas in 2014 and in 2016 began teaching at Boni’s Dance and Performing Arts School, continuing to teach there until May 2021. She is excited to have been certified in Progressing Ballet Technique in April 2017 from Marie Walton Mahon as the technique helps dancers to find proper alignment, strength, and flexibility. She has been a founding company member of Open Sky Arts Collective in Houston, Texas since 2018.

She is excited to be relocating back to the Chicago area, and hopes to further the appreciation of ballet and dance with its artistry and values to the next generation of dancers.

Alyssa Decker

Alyssa trained with the Visceral Studio Company under the direction of Nick Pupillo and Laura Wade. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Movement Science on a merit scholarship in December 2018.

 

At Michigan, she performed works by Ohad Naharin, Shannon Gillen, and the University of Michigan dance faculty, among others. During her summers, Alyssa studied with River North Dance Chicago, Backhausdance, DanceWorks Chicago, and abroad in Paris.

After graduating, Alyssa moved back to Chicago to pursue a career in dance and teaching. She was on contract with Inaside Dance Chicago, and is excited to announce a new project, The LAUNCH Chicago, the newest non-profit professional dance company in the Chicagoland area! Alyssa has choreographed musicals, been on Universal Dance Association staff, and taught and choreographed around the Chicagoland area.

Kim Pendzimaz

Kim Pendzimaz is a Chicagoland native and trained at many different studios. Her performing credits include Chicago Rhythm Project, Disney World, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Bring In Da noise, Bring in Da Funk and Dance for Life. She has also released how to videos on Musical Theater through CR Productions. As a seasoned master class teacher and adjudicator, she has worked for Rebel Dance Convention, Cathy Roe Productions, Starquest National Talent Competitions, Bravo Dance Competitions, and Edge Talent Competition.

 

Kim was the owner of Jagged Edge Dance for 13 years (closing it's doors in 2021). During that time her students received numerous accolades and accomplishments, including acceptance into the Chicago Academy for the Art, The Julliard School, Interlochen, National Dutch Ballet, Des Moines Ballet, and Austin Ballet. Her dancers won the gold medal (first place) at International Dance Organization in Poland for ballet and lyrical. Kim's studios won Best Technique, Best Choreography, Industry Dance Award nominations, and highest scoring routine at multiple competitions. Jagged Edge was fortunate to receive the ADCC studio of excellence award in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Now Kim is focused on educating dancers all over the Chicagoland area.

Richard "Tiger" Woods

Born and raised in St Louis, MO, Tiger has had the love for music since as far back as he can remember. Growing up in a very musical family, Tiger was exposed to all kinds of music, instruments and dance. He started dancing at age 6 and knew it was what he wanted to do after watching a Michael Jackson video.

​Tiger went on to enter many talent shows, dancing any and everywhere he could, and winning many dance battles. Tiger toured all over the country with the R&B singing group "Naturally Smooth" as a dancer for two years, including the 1999 Superbowl and the 2002 All Star Game. He then joined the dance crew "The Flyboyz" in St Louis. Tiger was discovered by Artistic Director Ashley Tate of the Ashleyliane Dance Company (ADC) and she asked him to come and study under her direction. Tiger spent 9 years with ADC where he studied Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and other forms of dance. At this time, he started teaching and coaching competition teams. Tiger took his teams to dance conventions all over the country, including the Monsters of Hip Hop. He has been teaching since 2005. His achievements include 6x Grand National Dance Champion in 4 years, and 15 Choreographer awards.

Abbey Mastroianni

Abbey is a veteran dance instructor who excels at teaching a broad range of dance styles for both recreational and competitive dancers. She enjoys working with students of all ages and levels teaching fun, engaging and structured classes.

Abbey has trained extensively in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and lyrical as well as spent many years dancing competitively and performing. Her work with competitive dance teams has garnered her choreography, high score, and special awards.

In addition to her "dance life,", Abbey holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Loyola University Chicago and currently works as an Education Coordinator at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Abbey is excited to be a part of DDA and share her knowledge, experience and love of dance with her students.

Pam Zeidman

A successful and dynamic teacher, and award-winning choreographer with over thirty-five years of experience motivating and inspiring dancers of all ages and levels.  Pam has been an executive administrator, workshop presenter, guest teacher, writer, and adjudicator.  She has been the studio manager for two top dance studios in the Chicago area, and Illinois Program Director for American Dance Training Camp.  As a choreographer, some of her musical theatre credits include "Godspell" (presented at the 2016 Illinois High School Theatre Festival), "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (presented at the 2008 Illinois High School Musical Festival)," "The Addams Family," "Footloose," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "West Side Story," "Beauty and the Beast," "Fame - The Musical," "Kiss Me Kate," "Aida," "Oklahoma," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," "South Pacific," "Damn Yankees," "The Wiz," and "Pippin."  Trained in all areas of dance, Pam specializes in tap, jazz, and musical theatre.  Now her passion is helping artists and dance studios thrive through her Performing Arts Virtual Assistant business where she has meshed her administrative skills with her performing arts experience.  

Brigid Redmond-Mattucci

Brigid is a former DDA student and a graduate of the Leadership Academy. Brigid started dancing at the age of 9 and has loved it ever since. Brigid has trained in many styles of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz and Modern. Although she no longer takes classes at DDA, she loves learning all about the administrative side of owning a studio and helping out where she can, including being an office assistant and substituting classes when needed. Brigid enjoys working at DDA and sharing the passion for dance to all the students she encounters everyday as it combines her love for dance and her future career as a teacher.


Brigid is currently a student at Aurora University where she is part of the executive board for Educators Rising, works as a Peer Advisor who mentor freshmen during their first year of college and is involved in many other things on campus and in her community. At AU, she is currently studying Secondary Education Mathematics with a minor in Spanish and hopes to get her master’s degree soon after graduating from Aurora University. Brigid was inspired to become a teacher through her teachers and the Leadership Academy at DDA as a Student Assistant, subbing her own classes and her teachers at St. Charles North. She loves to help others and believes that teachers create a huge impact in a students life. She hopes to inspire and instill many of the skills she has learned through DDA and throughout her life to her future students. Brigid aspires to make a positive impact in her students' lives just as many of her own teachers (through school and dance) did for her

Kelsey Green

Kelsey has performed in countless productions and competitions across the country. She has been trained in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop and Contemporary. She grew up competing in the Chicagoland area. While living in Illinois, Kelsey not only obtained training as a competitive dancer in all genres, but she also had extensive ballet training from Jill Johnson (of The Julliard School), founder of Studio 121. Kelsey moved on to further her pre–professional dance training at Xtreme Dance Force (Naperville, IL), under the direction of Samuel Renzetti. Kelsey had the honor of working with and was hand selected for routines at her home studio by world renowned choreographers including, Tabitha and Napoleon D’Umo, Kevin Maher, Jesse Lee Santos, Brian Friedman, Marty Kudelka, Sky Hoffman and Mia Michaels among other groundbreaking choreographers.


In May 2011, Kelsey graduated from Elmhurst College with her B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in dance. She was chosen, multiple times, to set pieces on her peers based on her choreography. Kelsey was also chosen to be a soloist performer in each final showcase at college. Her dance experience at Elmhurst College helped her develop a more honed choreographic style and technique. Kelsey has been teaching and choreographing for 17+ years. Her dances and choreography have been recognized in High Point, Overall, and Choreography
awards at competitions along with special judges’ awards. Kelsey’s routines have been awarded highest scoring routines within the Midwest Power Ranking Region, which spans across four states. Her soloists have taken many 1st Overall and Title awards at Regional and National competitions. As well as teaching, Kelsey has been a co-director for Xtreme Dance Force (Naperville, IL) & had the pleasure of being the Studio Director for Legacy Performing Arts (Beaverton, OR). She is honored to have been a guest teacher/choreographer at many
studios. Kelsey loves sharing her passion and joy for dance with everyone that she can.

Samantha DeBenedictis

Samantha DeBenedictis began her training at The Academy of Dance Arts under the tutelage of Sherry Moray and Irina Starovoitova. She has enjoyed a successful professional career with Ballet Arizona, Alabama Ballet, and the Cincinnati Ballet where she was cast in key roles in their productions of Swan Lake, Giselle, Alice in Wonderland, Balanchine’s Nutcracker, Midsummer Night Dream, Sleeping Beauty, Serenade, and Paquita. Samantha was also cast in Speaking In Tongues, an original piece choreographed by Devon Carney of Cincinnati Ballet. She was chosen to perform in B Major an original piece choreographed by Roger Van Fleteren of Alabama Ballet. Samantha was a member of Illinois Ballet Theatre and is certified in Cecchetti Method through Level V. 

 

Samantha was a top finalist in the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition and has received scholarships to The Washington Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Houston, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Samantha has been teaching classes for all ages throughout the Chicagoland area for nine years, and has choreographed for competition teams. In addition she has privately coached students for various ballet competitions. Samantha is a gifted performer and loves to share her knowledge, talent, and love of dance with her students.

Haleigh Hutchinson

Haleigh has been dancing since the age of three. She began dancing at the park district, then went on
to train more seriously at a local studio, and eventually pursued it in college as a dance minor. Haleigh
has enjoyed teaching both recreation and competitive dancers for almost ten years! Beginning in
2014, Haleigh had the honor of teaching under one of her teachers, Katie Behrens, for the Geneva Park
District. In 2016 Haleigh became Co-Director of that same park district program she began dancing at,
the Geneva Park District Sunset Dance program; a position she held until 2019. Haleigh has trained at
esteemed studios from Steps On Broadway in New York City to Pineapple Studios in London, England.
She has trained in ballet with Melissa Sallée, a student of Marie Tallchief, and in jazz with Lisa Biagini,
a student of Luigi. She has collegiate training both from the esteemed Dance Center at Columbia
College of Chicago and North Central College, from where she holds a BA in Musical Theatre and a
Dance Minor. She continues to take class at Steps On Broadway, and believes dancers are never done
improving!


Also a working actress, Haleigh has performed in a variety of professional musical theatre venues in
the Chicagoland area and Connecticut, both big and small, from The Den Theatre to The Chicago
Shakespeare Theatre. Haleigh especially loves being a part of the development of new works of
musical theatre. In addition to performing professionally, Haleigh has choreographed over ten
musicals, including a diverse range of shows from Junie B. Jones to Heathers The Musical. In the
competition dance world, Haleigh’s choreography has won numerous Overall & special judges
awards, both at regional and national dance competitions.
Haleigh is a certified Progressing Ballet Technique instructor. She was inspired to achieve this
certification after healing from her own dance injury and resulting surgery. She is passionate about
injury prevention, creating correct muscle memory, and solidifying healthy dance technique. Through
her teaching, Haleigh passes on her love of continued learning & a strong work ethic to her students
young and old. In the words of Luigi, “Never stop moving,” Haleigh encourages her students not to
aim for perfection but to grow and do better every time, both in dance and in life. Though performing
and teaching are two of her loves, her favorite job is as Mommy to her son Charlie & dog Dottie.

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