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Christina Hesslau

Teaches: Company Team Choreography & Technique, Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Acro Jazz, Jazz Funk, Mom & Tots, Little Ballerinas, & Stretching And Conditioning

Ms. Christina Hesslau is the Founder, Director and Lead Teacher of Spotlight Dance Academy of Chicago Ltd. She is a dance educator, choreographer and performer. She is also a current member of the NDEO (National Dance Education Organization). Ms. Christina graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Business Management. Ms. Christina is qualified in diverse dance forms such as: Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap and varied  Hip-Hop styles.

Performance and Choreography Experience: Ms. Christina has varied performance experiences. She began her dance journey at a very young age and after being the Dance Team Captain at Ridgewood High School, Christina ventured out to John Robert Powers for dance, acting and singing education. Dancing under the direction of choreographer, Jeri Slaughter, in Las Vegas where she won the Top 10 Dancer Award at the iPOP Talent Convention. In addition to recreational and competitive dance opportinites, Ms. Christina performed in numerous venues, Chicago Theater being one of them. She was a part of the UDA (Universal Dance Association) and also performed as an All American Dancer, performing in Chicago and in Rome. Ms. Christina has choreographed and performed in numerous Columbia College Chicago dance productions. She has also choreographed and danced in numerous filmed dance pieces with Iconic Arts and with Director Daniel Zúñiga. Ms. Christina is a current Company Member of the, Femme Fatale Dance Company. In addition to being the lead dance instructor at Spotlight, she continues to practice her craft and enrich her professional dance experience with current choreographic and performance opportunities.

Teaching Philosophy: As a dance educator, Ms. Christina believes that in a safe and fun learning environment, dance can reach the many hearts of her young students. With patience, determination, drive, the willingness to grow and of course, a passion for dance, anyone can become the dancer they aspire to be! With the proper training, knowledge, history and right amount of love, her students can soar and develop into beautiful and knowledgable dancers!

Recognizing the individuality, creativity and strengths of each student is a key facilitator to her teachings. Engaging students through the power of dance and movement, she assists her students in becoming their own best teachers and fans. She uses diverse, multi-sensory methods to involve students and encourage their self-expression and self-excellence. She weaves a central theme through each dance technique class, to connect technique and developing their individual and artistic voice. Finding the balance between technical mastery and artistry development is key to a successful class in Ms. Christina's eyes.

She advocates that dance is an outlet that can help students grow and develop confidence both in and outside of the classroom. Ms. Christina believes that Spotlight Dance Academy truly is, "where dance has a home!”

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Lexus Karedes

Teaches: Company Team Choreography & Technique, Tap, Jazz Funk, Pre-Ballet + Tap, & Contemporary

Lexus Karedes from Chicago, Illinois grew up studying dance at a young age. Over the past 19 years, she has trained in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop, as well as attending multiple master classes in various styles of dance. To further her education, she studied at Columbia College Chicago where she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in performance and teaching. As a student, she performed in works by a variety of choreographers including Rennie Harris, Tosha “Ayo” Alston, Peter Carpenter, Pamela McNeil, Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Hope Goldman. Lexus has taught throughout Chicago and is involved with the Chicago dance community and plans to continue practicing her craft in Chicago as a teaching artist, dance maker, and performer. 

Teaching Philosophy: In my classes, students become passionate about learning the art of dance. I focus on challenging students to learn from a specific genre of dance in depth while still concentrating on proper form and technique. A successful dance class happens in an environment where students feel comfortable and confident, while also being challenged to step out of their comfort zone. My class makes students think outside the box when creating movement, and I use imagery to help students understand the movement.

 An education in dance should be available to all, so recognizing various student learning methods is important. One example is presenting material and then breaking it down step by step so the students can focus on deepening their dance experience and learn more than just the basic choreography. 

Concepts in the class should always be approached from a perspective of clarity, form, space, energy, focus, confidence, presentation, and a sense of challenge to push oneself in class. The students gain confidence in dancing and also learn skills that translate well to teamwork. 

My students build on technique while also deepening their experiences with dance in the classroom. Students will find their style and artistry through movement. I truly value positive energy from engaged students in the classroom. Having a great attitude and an open mind leads them to have a memorable experience. I help students make their own discoveries in movement and guide them when applying it to technique in class. 

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Lauren Gutierrez

Teaches: Mom & Tots, Little Ballerinas, Pre-Ballet + Tap, Musical Theater, & Company Ballet

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April Butcher

Teaches: Youth Hip Hop & Adult Hip Hop

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Daniela Termini

Teaches: Jazz & Hip Hop

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Kelly McGovern

Teaches: Zumba