Annie McWilliams has 20 years of experience in teaching dance. She attended Northern Illinois University for dance, studying ballet under Randall Newsom of the Irish National Ballet and studying modern dance Horton Technique, with master classes taken under Frank Hachett and Janice Barringer. Her prior teaching credits include Lead Dance Instructor at YMCA, directing and choreographing for Philharmonic of Naples, West Aurora High School Productions, teaching dance and creative movement with Nido Art Studio and the Artistic Director for A-Factor Dance Company. Annie and her husband Mike live in Aurora with their 3 boys. My dance philosophy is to be a great dancer you have to possess the passion to perform and the drive to apply yourself day in and day out. I strive to help dancers realize their potential while maintaining a respectful learning environment. My expectations for students is to always be applying and correcting themselves to better their technique. In my mind, attitude and effort are two of the most important aspects of learning.
Katie Porcelius studied dance, music and drama at North Central College receiving her B.A. in Musical Theater Performance. She has been teaching the art of dance and choreographing children’s musicals for the past 16+ years. She has been actively involved in many performing arts programs, musicals, drama classes and dance camps. Katie developed her passion for dance at a young age training with several local studios including Love to Dance Studio, the School of Performing Arts, as well as master classes from Lou Conte Dance Studio with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Katie has enquired work while listed with several Chicago talent agencies pursuing acting on camera doing print ads and regional commercials. Katie loves incorporating a variety of training and conditioning elements in class to increase dancer range and versatility. My goal is to encourage my students to chase their dreams no matter how out of reach they may seem. I love seeing them reach the goals that they set in class because every day is a gift and an opportunity to learn a new skill. Katie and husband Nick are proud parents to two young daughters. We are very excited to be sharing the world of dance with them both!
Kim Ayala has been interested in the arts since she was young. In high school she was involved in concert choir, orchestra, show choir and musicals. Since high school she received her degree in elementary education and most recently completed coursework to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction with ESL. She has been teaching for 23 years with experience in all grade levels, including adult education. She has also completed coursework in early childhood development and has experience working with preschool children. She has years of experience teaching child developmental movement classes and loves working with toddlers and preschoolers. She loves to celebrate their milestones and growth with them and their parents. Currently she teaches ESL in an elementary school in Aurora. When she isn’t there she can be seen at the AKA front desk or teaching the parent/toddler class. She and her husband have two teenage daughters, Daylin and Kenna, both of whom dance at the studio and help out with classes whenever they can. It is a family affair!
Jamie Alexander began her dance training at the age of 3 at Richard’s School of Dance in Oshkosh WI. While growing up she also studied at British Dance Academy in Kent WA, and competed at San Diego Dance Center, and Stars Dance Academy, both located in San Diego CA. She is trained in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, poms, and musical theater, excelling in tap and jazz. Her teaching career started as an assistant to her teachers at San Diego Dance Center while in high school and from there went on to teach at Signature Dance Academy in Poway CA. Prior to joining AKA, she was most recently an instructor and choreographer for the Fox Valley Park District. On the side, she also coached Freshman and Junior Varsity cheer at Rancho Bernardo High School, and choreographed for various schools in the city. Aside from teaching, she has performed and choreographed for various sports teams including the San Diego Riptide (AFL), San Diego Wildcats (ABA), San Diego Surf (ABA), and was a proud captain and member of the San Diego Enforcer Girls (NPSFL) for 3 years. She was also a member of touring companies such as Fire and Ice USA and most recently the Chicago Honey Bear Dancers.
Cole Nordbrock, a 21 year old Chicago choreographer started dancing at age 11. He’s trained in various styles such as: ballet, jazz, contemporary and many more . But Cole’s true love for dance lies within the realm of hip hop. He has trained under numerous choreographers and teachers big and small. Through Cole's dance journey he has had the opportunity to dance for the thanksgiving day parade, and being in music videos for Chance the Rapper, twista, The Social Club Misfits Along with many more. Cole had the pleasure of joining Ian Eastwood and The Young Lions on NBC’s World Of Dance Season 1, since then Cole has been traveling and teaching urban choreography to all ages and skill levels. With his easy going personality and intricate style, Cole welcomes you to join him in your newest season
Samantha Eliceche has been dancing since the age of 3. She graduated from Rosary High School and will continue her studies at Waubonsee Community College. Throughout her life she has been part of a dance studio learning all types of styles such as Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary and Musical Theater. She has been part of a competition company since the age of 7 and has also has participated in musicals since the age of 6. Samantha has been teaching dance at Fox Valley Montessori School for 5 years and has assisted classes at the Prisco Center for 3 years and at AKA Dance for 2 years. She has also been grateful to be a part of the Mini Company internship and to teach classes during summer 2018. Samantha would like to pursue her dream of graduating from college with a degree in Criminal Justice all while continuing her dancing career as a teacher and by taking classes. Samantha’s goal for her students is that they have a sense of belonging to a community, also for the children to work their hardest and to be able to transmit her passion of dancing to her students.
Annie holds a degree in Exercise Physiology and has been teaching group exercise classes since 1983. She has been studying Yoga and Pilates since 1995. With a strong background in dance and gymnastics, Annie brings a unique approach to her classes, without straying from the traditional methods. She realizes and embraces the importance of mindfulness and enjoying movement.
Kenna Ayala-Student Instructor
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