Instructor Bios

Jenny O'Brien

Owner, Director & Instructor

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 Mary Pilalis, and fell in love  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 as soon as she graduated.

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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 September 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!

 

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 stories for Dance Studio Life Magazine, including one on young competition dancers -  Read it here! 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 - read more about I.D.E.A. here.

 

Jenny is actively involved in the community, including the Downtown St. Charles Partnership and Chamber of Commerce. In her spare time, she can be found volunteering at Lazarus House or spoiling Molly the Studio Dog!

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 (Hughes) 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.

Jory Bowling

Jory Bowling 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!

Alyssa Decker

Alyssa is originally from East Dundee, IL, and 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, 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. In 2019, she received a contract with Inaside Chicago Dance and is currently in her second season. Alyssa has choreographed musicals, been on Universal Dance Association staff, and taught and choreographed around the Chicagoland area. She is so excited to continue sharing her love of dance with her DDA students!

Megan Rateike

Megan began her dance training at Allegro Dance Theater in Joliet, IL when she was 3 years old. After developing a love for dance, she then later moved to Forte Arts Center where she continued her training and danced competitively for the next 10 years. Megan is trained in many styles including: Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Tap, Musical Theater, and Hip-Hop. At the age of 14, Megan began her pre-professional ballet training from instructor Callie Marik. This led her to competing at Youth American Grand Prix for 3 years and spending a summer with Milwaukee Ballet in 2016. Following her dreams, Megan spent her last year at Underground Allegro Dance Center. While here, she received ballet training from Callie Marik, Katie McLaughlin, and Kaleigh Schock as well as Jazz/Contemporary training from Jessica Brewster.

 

Throughout her dance years, Megan has also taken numerous master classes from top instructors throughout the Chicagoland area.


Outside of dance, Megan is passionate about giving back to the community and is excited to continue to do so at Dreams Dance Academy. Megan is currently a student at College of DuPage, where she is pursuing a degree in Elementary and Special Education. She absolutely adores working with children and is excited to help her students reach their dreams. 

Kim P
 

Kim Pendzimaz is a Chicagoland native receiving her training from all over the Chicagoland area.

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.

Kim has the pleasure to work at Rebel Dance Convention. She also has been a master lass teacher and national’s choreographer for Cathy Roe Productions as well as Starquest National Talent Competitions.

Along with being a guest artist and choreographer, Kimmy is an adjudicator for Bravo Dance Competitions, Starquest Talent Competition and Edge Talent Competition.

For 13 years Kim owned, taught and choreographed Jagged Edge Dance. Throughout the years her students have been accepted to Chicago Academy for the Art, The Julliard School and Interlochen. Also they have been signed to The National Dutch Ballet, Des Moines Ballet and Austin Ballet. Her dancers have won the gold medal (first place) at International Dance Organization in Poland for ballet and lyrical. Kimmy's studio has 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.

In 2021 Jagged Edge Dance closed. Kim is now focusing more on educating dancers all over the Chicago land area. She is looking forward to this new chapter in her life and spreading her knowledge and passion with the dancers at DDA!