Jane MeredithDirector; Academy, Open and Adult Divisions
Jane Meredith, School Director, is a native of Norfolk, Virginia. She received her early training at the Academy of Tidewater Ballet and the Norfolk Civic Ballet. She then continued her studies at the University of Utah, where she was placed in senior and graduate level dance classes upon entry and was a William F. Christensen Scholarship recipient. She joined Ballet West after her freshman year. Read more.
After taking time off to start a family, she joined Ballet Iowa, where under the direction of Artistic Director Kennet Oberly, she danced numerous principal roles, many of them being original works. She also performed with the Des Moines Metropolitan Opera and Wisconsin Ballet Theatre. During her career, she has danced in well-known ballets such as Symphony in C, Konservatoriet, Napoli, Don Quixote Pas De Deux, Coppelia, Cinderella, Swan Lake Pas de Trois and Giselle.
Ms. Meredith has taught in schools in Salt Lake City, UT, Des Moines, IA, Green Bay, WI and Chicago. She helped create a pre-professional program at the Green Bay School of Dance which consistently places students in prestigious schools such as the School of American Ballet, Harid Conservatory, Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Many have gone on to professional careers that include Carolina Ballet, Nashville Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Louisville Ballet, and to Broadway shows such as Young Frankenstein.
Caroline AnglimPrimary, Academy and Adult Divisions
Caroline Anglim is a dancer and dance educator from Knoxville, TN. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Religious Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She has enjoyed teaching creative movement and ballet for the last nine years and during that time has also had the privilege of performing lead roles Read more.
Brittany BeningtonPrimary and Academy Divisions
Brittany Benington began her dance training in Huntington Beach, CA. She later traveled to San Francisco to train with the San Francisco Ballet School in the advanced division. Brittany has also studied during the summers with American Ballet Theatre, School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Houston Ballet Academy. She began her professional career dancing with the City Ballet of San Diego. Brittany went on to dance as a company artist with the Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet Tucson, and Madison Ballet. Read more.
While dancing in Los Angeles, Brittany had the opportunity to dance in the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as well as the television show House.
In addition to her dance training, Brittany has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California San Diego. She has experience working with children in preschool settings including work as a creative movement and physical education instructor.
Becca CainPrimary, Academy, Open and Adult Divisions
Becca received her early dance training in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and at the Minnesota Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet professional programs, Read more.
during which time she completed a teaching apprenticeship and performed lead roles in classical and contemporary works created for the Reif Center Dance Company. She continued training at the Boston Ballet while in graduate school at Harvard before moving to Oxford University to complete her studies. Since moving to Chicago eight years ago, she has been training and performing throughout the city, including solo roles in Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while teaching ballet of all levels to children and adults.
Phoebe CoakleyPrimary Division
Phoebe, originally from Ohio, moved to Chicago in 2013 to attend Loyola University Chicago where she was taught and trained by Sarah Cullen Fuller, Amy Wilkinson, Sandra Kaufmann, and Mari Jo Irbe. Read more.
Jacob FrazierPrimary, Academy and Open Divisions
Jacob Frazier, Giordano Dance Chicago, started his dance training in Ballet, Modern, and Jazz in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Butler Tech School of the Arts in 2012 and attended Point Park University where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance with a concentration in Modern Dance. While attending Point Park, Jacob has had the privilege of training and performing a variety of works by José Limóne, Lar Lubovitch, Dwight Rhoden, Mark Morris, Brian Enos, Jessica Lange, Douglas Bentz, and served as dance/fight captain for Oklahoma! under the direction of Patrick Cassidy. Read more.
In 2014 Jacob attended the Indigenous Dance Residency at the Banff Centre. After attending the residency Jacob returned to Banff as a company member with Red Sky in which he performed as a dancer and choreographer in multiple showcases in Banff and Vancouver Canada. He joined Giordano Second company in 2016 and was promoted to the main company in 2017.
Olivia KarenasPrimary and Open Division
Olivia Karenas grew up in Chicago, IL where her passion for dance first began. She attended several summer intensives at Joffrey Ballet and Ballet Chicago. Read more.
After high school, she worked for Universal Dance Association where she taught and judged dance competitions for high school dance teams. She also worked for the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in Austin, TX after her first year of college where she was able to take classes as well as mentor and supervise young dancers attending. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and International Business with a minor in French from Grand Valley State University. She was also the president of a student-run dance organization at Grand Valley. During her free time, she loves to travel, bike, and spend time with family and friends.
Amanda NewmanPrimary Division
Amanda Newman received her BA in Musical Theatre Performance from Columbia College Chicago. While there, she emphasized training in ballet, studying with Anna Paskevska, Natalie Rast, and Emily Stein. Read more.
Post-college she danced with companies including From the Hip Dance Project, Tikvah Company of Artists, and RASA Dance Chicago. In 2016, she toured nationally with Letters From Home, a tap-dancing and singing duet of 1940’s music. Her theatre credits include A Chorus Line at the Paramount Theatre, directed by Mitzi Hamilton, and Saturday Night Fever at Drury Lane Theatre, directed by Dan Knechtges. She continues to professionally perform as a dancer, actor, and singer.
She began teaching and choreographing in 2009 and has since worked with students and performers of all ages, with a focus on children aged 3 – 8. She received a Grade 1 teaching certification in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet to further her knowledge of instructing classical ballet technique to beginning-level dancers.
Believing that dance offers an endless opportunity for study and growth, she regularly takes ballet classes with Randall Newsom, Wade Schaaf, and at The Joffrey Academy of Dance. As a teacher she aims for her students to find courage to try new things, to gain satisfaction through achievement, and to appreciate the life-long joy that dance can bring.
Claire WillcuttPrimary Division
Claire Willcutt is originally from Denver Colorado. She recently graduated with distinction from the University of Oklahoma and received her Bachelor in Fine Arts in Modern Dance Performance. Read more.
Her performance credits are with Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, including performances in collaboration with Bejing Normal University’s dance department and tours in Honolulu, Hawaii and Barcelona, Spain. Claire has also choreographed a variety of new works and is thrilled to be a part of the Chicago dance and fitness community.