Jennifer Gage came to Chicago to full fill a dream in becoming a professional dancer. At 18 years old, she gave up a full college scholarship in Tennessee and under the direction of Joel Hall was awarded full scholarship at his school. A spring board, there were plenty of scholarships in dance from Ballet Tennessee, to the Joffrey Ballet, and Burklyn Ballet Theater. In her 20+ years in Chicago Jennifer has danced with over 15 companies from hip-hop to ballet and everything in between, including starting her own not-for-profit company in 2002 Alliance Dance Company. Through various opportunities she has created over 75 choreographed pieces including 12 productions and 14 full length story works.
Teaching is something that didn’t come right away, she was too busy dancing at first. After attending a CNADM teacher conference in the early 90’s and luckily having some very encouraging mentors (namely Karla Harris and Roberta Pfeil-Begley), she was ready to start taking on adult and children’s ballet and jazz classes. While she has held her share of various jobs over the years, nothing has beckoned her in life like teaching. Sharing the passion and art of dance feels as natural as breathing. While having dabbled in a various styles, if ballet is truly Jennifer’s first love, jazz is definitely a close second.
Jennifer has taught throughout Chicagoland including starting the dance program for GynNasti school in ’97 and through numerous Elementary schools with the Dance is a Language program. She taught at the Joel Hall Dance Center for almost 10 years starting in ’99 (including subbing for Mr. Hall’s classes when needed) while dancing with his company. In ’08 the opportunity to learn and teach Ballroom with world famous Tommye Giaccino and Gregory Day brought on new fun ways of dancing and a whole new level of learning to teach a wider variety of students. But she missed teaching ballet and jazz regularly and when the opportunity came to open a studio of her own, NorthSide Dance Theater, with co-owner Steve House… it was a dream she could not pass up.
Jennifer is a huge believer in age appropriate/level appropriate and enjoys teaching with a positive and constructive philosophy.
After performing extensively in Fort Collins, Colorado with The High Performance Dance Theatre and the Fort Collins Opera, Cheryl decided to move out to Chicago to pursue a dance career in the big city. She attended Columbia College Chicago briefly as a dance major, getting the opportunity to work with such amazing teachers as Darrell Jones, Lisa Gonzales and Kirby Reed. She currently is on a work study training program at Visceral Dance Center training under the watchful eyes of Nick Pupillo, Ricky Ruiz, Lizzie MacKenzie, and Michael Rioux, while also studying English Literature at one of the City Colleges of Chicago. She has performed throughout the city with many companies such as The Laboratory Dancers, Rasa Dance Chicago, and currently with The Esoteric Dance Project and BNW:Dance. She also does much freelance work with independent choreographers throughout Chicago. Now in her 5th year in Chicago, Cheryl now teaches in and around the city and loves every minute of every opportunity that has been given to her to get her to this point, and hopes for many more to come. Aside from her love of dance, she also as a definitive love for SweeTarts candies.
Christine DeAlba was born and raised in Berwyn and studied ballet primarily at Salt Creek Ballet and the Academy of Movement and Music. She went on to get her BA in Dance at Columbia College Chicago. Christine dances throughout Chicago with the Laboratory Dancers and independent choreographers Megan Adams and Stephanie Williams. She loves teaching at NSDT as well as other studios throughout Chicago and Berwyn. She believes dancing is the best medicine and a great way to celebrate life.
Clayton Cross (Midland, TX) received his training from La Petite Dance Co., Coleman Academy, and Midland Community Theatre. He graduated in 2002 with a B.F.A. in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University. Clayton performed in Summer Stock productions as well as in community theatre in such roles as Don Lockwood in "Singin' in The Rain", Riff in "West Side Story"; and the wedding singer in "Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding". Clayton apprenticed with River North Dance Chicago for two summers and for the 2003-2004 season before becoming a company member. Clayton performed
in the company for 8 seasons traveling nationally, and internationally. He currently teaches, and choreographs for M.A. Dance, a Texas based traveling convention circuit. Clayton has taught for M.A. Dance for the past 13 years, and teaches for various high schools and dance studios across the nation.
Shanae Sterba is a 2010 graduate of Northern Illinois University, earning a BFA in Theatre Studies with an Emphasis in Dance Performance. She has been dancing since the age of two, performing and competing across the country, as well as in her hometown of Rock Falls, Illinois. Before NIU, she danced various styles such as clogging and Irish soft shoe, giving her the opportunity to perform at Disney’s Magic Music Days in Florida, The 100th Anniversary of the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, and garnered her an invitation to audition for Star Search.
Shanae is thrilled to be joining Alliance Dance Company for her first season. Beyond Alliance, Shanae is a member of Innervation Dance Cooperative and the touring and outreach company, Innervation Dance Cooperative SPEAKS. She attended the 2009 Rockette Summer Intensive in New York City performing at Radio City Music Hall. She had the amazing opportunity to perform with the Black Eyed Peas for The Oprah Winfrey Show’s 24th Season Kick-Off Party on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois and starred in a web commercial to help launch the UPS Logistics campaign. Most recently, Shanae had the chance to perform in Dance Chicago and at the House of Blues.
Shanae teaches ballet, tap, jazz, and theater and is also a certified ZUMBA, ZUMBATOMIC, and WERQ instuctor. She is the choreographer for Woodlawn Arts Academy, Sterling Public Schools, and Sterling Summer Theatre Academy and has done Aida, Grease, Music Man Jr., Wedding Singer, High School Musical Jr., Hairspray, Cinderella, Curtains, Mulan Jr., Seussical, and Willy Wonka. This summer she will be choreographing Legally Blonde.
Shanae hopes one day to be dancing in Disney World, on Broadway, or achieving her ultimate goal of becoming a Radio City Rockette. She will be teaching Ballet and Zumba at Northside Dance Theatre.
Stephanie Unger began teaching at NorthSide Dance Theater when the school opened in 2010. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Stephanie trained at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and the University of Florida. She taught ballet, modern, jazz and tap at private studios in Florida and was an adjunct dance instructor at FLOARTS/St. Johns River Community College before moving to Chicago to pursue a performance career.
At NSDT, Stephanie teaches all ages (from 5-75+). She believes that dance study is a combination of technique and creative exploration and as a result both her youth and adult classes offer a balance of both. Stephanie listens to students' needs, making sure that dance technique is taught safely and that students feel that their feedback is given genuine consideration.
Stephanie is an active performer, choreographer and director. She is a rehearsal assistant for Alliance Dance Company and the Touring and Outreach Director for Innervation Dance Cooperative/IDC SPEAKS. In Chicago, she has performed with Alliance Dance Company, Innervation Dance Cooperative, Renegade Dance Architects, Matter Dance Company, and Matter of Reaction Movement Project. Her choreography has been seen at Dance Chicago, Chicago Fringe Artists Networking Night, and numerous festivals and concerts. She is committed to providing engaging performances for all audiences, inspiring everyone to use art as a form of expression, and encouraging anyone with desire to dance!
Stephanie is grateful for the opportunities and ongoing encouragement that she receives at NorthSide. Many thanks to Jenn and Steve.
Tiffany Alastanos, originally fromBridgeport, WV, graduated from Ohio University in 2009 with a BFA inDance and a BS in Actuarial Science. She currently teaches Pilates and Xtend Barre at Pilates Center of Chicago, and dances professionally with Piel Morena Contemporary Dance. Tiffany wasexposed to Pilates in college as a way to gain core strength to improve herdancing. After falling in love with Pilates and what it did for herbody, Tiffany pursued mat certification through Power Pilates and hasbeen teaching mat classes in various locations since 2008. From 2009-2010, she served as interim artistic director at Momentum Center for the Arts in Clarksburg, WV where she taught ballet and modern dance. Aftermoving to Chicago in 2010, she completed the Power Pilates comprehensivetraining program and expanded her knowledge to all of the Pilatesequipment. As a teacher, Tiffany loves helping clients change theirbodies, and she strives to empower clients with the knowledge,strength, and flexibility to lead a safe, active, and healthylifestyle.
Following her primary training at Lake Shore Dance and theatrical studies with Don Hoffmann, Christine volunteered for Danceit! Performance Ensemble to benefit non-profit organizations. She expanded her pre-professional experiences to include performing with Danceworks on Tap and Fuel Hip-Hop Ensemble (under the Artistic Direction of SYTYCD finalist Cedric Gardner). Later, while pursuing a Dance BFA at The University of WI-Milwaukee, she attended and performed at the ACDF multiple times via scholarship. One piece advanced to the high honor of a gala performance. After college, she toured worldwide with Warped Dance Company to Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Uptown Performance Series of NYC, The Elan Summer Dance Festival and Dance-Forms Productions concerts. Christine then trained intensely at ADF2011, on scholarship, while contributing to Memory for Movement research under the direction of Dr. Ruth Day of Duke University. She furthered her dance education by attending festivals such as: Point Tap Festival, Midwest RADfest and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater’s Summer Intensive. Christine may be spotted soon in Woody Harrelson’s upcoming movie Now You See Me. She is thrilled to now call Chicago home while performing with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Chicago Tap Theatre!