Amanda Nach

Amanda Nach

Amanda is beyond excited to be directing at Rootz in the Fall!  As a full time job, she is a teacher at Half Day School in Lincolnshire.  She has directed in the past for Sarah Hall Theatre Company and Starland for all ages.  You will also see Amanda performing in community theatre shows around the North Shore.  Theatre is one of her favorite activities and this is a dream come true!

Amber Giudice

Amber is from Lake Zurich and started dancing at the age of three. She studied dance through high school at Bataille Academie in Barrington and went on to minor in dance at Elmhurst College. While there she was involved with a growing dance program as well as the dance team, but Amber’s involvement doesn’t stop there! She was active with St. Anne Community Theater starting in 2003 until it ended in 2013. The last three years of the program she worked as a choreographer. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, musical theater dance, and social dance (cha-cha, fox trot, tango, waltz). Aside from dance and musical theater, Amber is also a golfer. She was on both the high school and college golf team where she became the captain senior year. The previous Dance Company Competition Manager at Starland, Amber is excited to bring her dance training and experience to Releve. She is beyond thrilled to be working with so many wonderful kids of all ages. “Live life to the fullest and never look back. There’s always something in the future waiting for you”.
Arianna Rozen

Arianna Rozen

Dancing since the age of 3, Arianna or “ Ari” has been trained in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Broadway, Ballet, Modern, Tap, and Footwork. Arianna has appeared as a dancer in music videos with Chance the Rapper & Elephant Man, and has performed with Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller, Train, Afrojack, and Selena Gomez. She was also part of two Hip-Hop competition teams from 2012-2017, The Puzzle League & CODA, both of which have held #1 championship titles in the Midwest. While Ari teaches dance during the week, she also holds the proud title of owner & MC of Vibe Entertainment, an interactive DJ company providing entertainment for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, school socials, birthdays, and other special events. 

Ashley Lynd

Ashley has taught performing arts on the North Shore for 18 years as director and music director for New Trier’s Performing Arts Summer Workshop, Edgewood Middle School, Wilmette Theatre, and Northlight Theater’s Summer Academy. Most recently, Ashley taught theatre, vocal music, and early childhood classes at Starland. She has sung with The Apollo Chorus of Chicago, is a proud New Trier theater alumna, and has a B.A. in music from Drake University.


Audrey Pam

Audrey has practiced art education and art therapy for over 25 years. She has worked in several settings with many different populations including children with special needs and adults with mental health illnesses. She taught art at Starland for 10 years and is currently working with children in schools promoting creativity, problem solving and healthy self-esteems while using a variety of art materials. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters of Art in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown is passionate about creating memorable experiences at all types of social events ranging from Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and birthday parties with FAMOS! DJ Entertainment. He has been a professional entertainer for over 15 years. Music and dance have been a huge part of his life. He is currently a member of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls Drumlines! Brandon has been teaching private drum and dance lessons for over a decade. His enthusiasm and passion radiates through his style of teaching. Being fit and leading a healthy lifestyle is also very important to Brandon. He has a 2nd degree black belt in a Korean Martial Art. Working with kids has also been a huge interest of his. He was a camp director at Banner Day Camp for seven years. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge and love for music and movement with both kids and adults


Carly Vadnais

Carly began her studio dance training at the age of two and continues to be an avid performer, having studied ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, and musical theatre.

A graduate of Cary-Grove High School, Carly was an active member of Cary-Grove’s Varsity Pom Squad, Cary-Grove’s show choir, and five musicals. Carly continued her performance education at Bradley University in Peoria, studying Public Relations and Theatre. While there, she was a member of the Bradley Bravettes Dance Team and began choreographing for local high school productions.

Carly currently is a freelance dance instructor and choreographer at many studios, schools, and adult and children’s theatre companies throughout the Chicagoland area. Her work for Up and Coming Theatre’s production of Green Day’s American Idiot won her the BroadwayWorld Chicago Award for Best Choreography (Regional Non-Equity). Carly is also currently pursuing her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Bradley University.


Carrie Codell

Carrie Codell is a seasoned educator having worked in a variety of local public schools over the past 30 years. She has a Master’s degree in special education and has taught children of all elementary school ages. She is currently working in the reading program at Bannockburn Elementary School. Carrie is extremely passionate about her work with children and always strives to provide a nurturing, encouraging, and fun setting. Carrie’s other great joy is being the mother to her two grown children, Bryce and Cami. As a life long learner, she is currently taking Italian language lessons. In her spare time, Carrie loves to travel, garden, bike ride, and try new restaurants. She is also an avid walker, reader, and San Francisco Giants fan


Cathy Jacobson

Cathy has been teaching dance and acrobatics throughout the north and south suburbs since the age of 14. She believes it is never too late to start dancing, and most enjoys teaching teens and pre-teens that are new to the dance world. Cathy spent 10 years as a professional dancer in the south suburbs, but has since stepped off the stage to focus on teaching. A former dance and gymnastics instructor at Starland, Cathy joined Relevé in January 2017. She loves everything about teaching.

Christine Benny

Christine Bennie

Christine is a physical therapist and, former competitive gymnast, gymnastics coach, and loving wife and mother to four young children. With a Masters degree in physical therapy and ten years of hands on experience, Christine will surely enjoy using her skills to captivate your children. As a former level ten USGF national qualifying gymnast, Christine will definitely keep your children on the move. Christine also has two years experience in coaching recreational gymnastics with children ages five through 14. Christine is very excited to join Rootz and help develop your child’s love for movement and gymnastics.

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Cindy Godziszewski

Cindy Godziszewski is a phenomenal dancer with experience in ballet, contemporary, jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, lyrical and African classes. A previous Releve choreographer in 2017-2018, Cindy is thrilled to return to the Releve team! She worked at Banner Day Camp during the summers as the Hip Hop Team instructor/choreographer.  Cindy was also a member of the Chicago Blackhawks ice crew and was the main emcee for the ice crew.   A member of the popping company, Electric Samurais, Cindy has won numerous dance battles. Cindy has worked as an emcee, dancer, entertainer, and choreographer at Bizar Entertainment since 2013.  In addition, Cindy teaches teach hip hop/popping classes from beginner, intermediate, to advanced classes. She specializes in teaching real hip hop culture and popping (isolations, robot, tutting, and waves). Cindy believes that not only is it important for kids to learn choreography, but to learn to freestyle as well.

Clarrissa Roco

Clarrisa Roco

Clarrisa has always believed in being a diverse artist. She is a technically trained dancer in jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, character, modern, and hip hop. She started out at Picture Us Different to learn how to adapt to style and expression. As Clarrisa became more serious about her dance career, she trained with the Joffrey ballet school and focused on ballet, modern, and jazz technique. Clarrisa fell in love with jazz and got accepted into the Gus Giordano dance schools pre- professional program. While focusing on different techniques, she enjoyed teaching her knowledge to kids from ages 2-14. Since her last show with Gus, Clarrisa has been auditioning for shows, teaching, and working as an interactive dancer at a DJ Company; Bizar Entertainment.

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David Korzatkowski

David received his BA in Theatre/Speech from Wagner College in Staten Island, NYC where he studied Musical Theater and Writing.

For the past 15 years he has been dedicated to Arts Education: Directing, Teaching, Performing, and Writing for children and their families; including serving as the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Theatre Academy at Forevermore Dance & Theatre Arts, Artistic Associate and Actor with Face to Face Productions, as a company member of Chicago’s Quest Theatre Ensemble; and has also performed with Williams Street Repertory, and Wheaton Drama; and has served as a teaching artist with Windy City Performs, Child’s Play Summer Camp at the Goodman Theatre, and Village Players Summer Theatre Camps.

In that time, David has taught and directed hundreds of kids in over 30 productions – he loves to see his students grow in confidence and self expression.


Jennifer Bartolo

Jennifer has been performing in some capacity since the age of four years old. She has spent many years studying theatre, dance, voice and is thrilled to share her knowledge, love, and passion for performing with the Rootz family. After graduating with a BFA in theatre performance from UIC, Jennifer has performed in numerous theatrical productions, musicals, a rock cover band, and a children’s entertainment company. She also spent ten years working in an elementary school, during which time, she had the opportunity to help choreograph and direct many of the school’s musicals. Most recently, she taught a variety of classes at Starland and had the fortunate experience of working with Relevé. Currently, she performs as a princess for children’s events and is looking forward to meeting and working with the energetic, passionate, and talented students of Rootz.


Jordyn Frelk

Jordyn is thrilled to bring Relevé Dance to Rootz! After 10 years at Starland, many spent as the Director of Dance, Jordyn created Relevé. Relevé is a program where dancers rise to their fullest potential in a nurturing and creative way. Jordyn has been teaching dance for 19 years all around Chicago and danced professionally with Core Project and Irreverence Dance. Jordyn is most proud of her role as “mom” to her two boys, Charlie and Blake.


Katie Gassel Phillips

Katie is thrilled to get back to her “roots” at Rootz. A theatre girl at heart, Katie has performed in, taught, and directed shows for over 20 years. Katie caught the theatre bug when she entered high school at New Trier, having already spent countless hours dancing and singing around her house as a kid – anything from Disney to Sinatra Katie eventually took her love for being onstage to making the productions happen backstage. Later in high school and at the University of Illinois, Katie began to discover her love of directing and choreographing. She has since served as the camp and theatre director for the Wilmette Park District’s Broadway Bound Camp, director and choreographer for multiple Edgewood Middle School musicals, and teacher/director/choreographer at Starland Kids for over five years. In addition to the stage, Katie’s other passion is kids! In 2009 she received her K-9 Master of Education from DePaul University. As Director of Theatre, she promises to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all kids to explore theatre and looks forward to keeping your kids singing and dancing around the house (but saving the volume for the stage).

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Kathy Lahey

Kathy has been a dance teacher for 40 years. She had a studio in the Fox Lake area for 6 years. She then moved to Seattle WA where she was the owner and director of Kathy’s Studio of Dance for 34 years. Before teaching, she studied at two studios, both in Illinois. She studied ballet with Judith Svalander School of Ballet in Crystal Lake IL. Kathy taught dance at many Seattle area Community Centers. She has been a choreographer for musicals, Beauty Pageants, Pom-Pon Squads and Cheerleaders. Kathy is a past member of the “Dance Educators of America” and the “Professional Dance Teachers Association.” Miss Kathy teaches Pre-school Dance, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theater, Lyrical, Tumbling and Kickline. Miss Kathy has worked for 25 years with STARPOWER NATIONAL TALENT COMPETITION as a judge and staff member. She travels with them every weekend February thru May and NATIONALS during the summer. Miss Kathy is an office staff member for “Manhattan Dance Project”. Manhattan Dance Project is a dance convention that travels around the country hosting Classes with Master Teachers from today’s dance world. Miss Kathy is always most happy when she can pass on her passion to dance to children and adults of all ages.


Kyle Sutton

Kyle has been dancing for over 10 years, starting at a studio called Starland, and has been taking hip hop classes since the 3rd grade. Currently Kyle attends Columbia College Chicago while majoring in Live & Performing Arts Management, and minoring in Hip Hop Studies. Kyle has performed in school talent shows, charity events, and college events. Kyle is very into freestyle and holds style, flavor, and creativity highly. Focusing mainly on waving, footwork, and popping, Kyle also has experience in locking, breaking, house, and for the most part all styles under the category of hip hop. Due to his energy inspired dance style, his performance name is Zen. Kyle has been an assistant teacher for 3 years and currently works at an interactive DJ company, Bizar Entertainment.

Lila Turner

Lila Turner

Lila Turner is an experienced competitor, coach, choreographer, and dancer. Lila and her husband have traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe to represent the United States in International Dancesport Competition (ballroom dance). They have performed guest television spots for NBC, ABC, and numerous music videos. Lila has an undergraduate degree in dance education, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, is a Certified Pilates Method Alliance instructor with an emphasis on rehabilitation (studio certification: reformer trapeze table, barrel, chair & mat), and is a certified Dance Master of America.

One of Miss Lila’s favorite sayings is “dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another.”  In her own life she has found that to be true.  Dance is more than just correct technique, it is joy in the freedom of movement.  Lila loves sharing that joy with all of her students and watching them improve and grow.


Marchello “Chello” Lee

“Chello” is an accomplished professional dancer and master instructor who attended Columbia College and Northeastern Illinois University. He has performed across the world where his fusion of Hip Hop styles, break dance, house, jazz, and ballroom were spotlighted. His passion and versatility has led him to many lead roles as an actor and dancer. He has worked with renowned artists across the world including choreography featured in music videos, dance teams/ studio, and Winner of 2005 Chris Brown dance down. Chello formerly was an instructor at Starland and continued his dance teaching with Relevé starting in January 2017.


Pamela Hart

Pamela is so excited to be joining the Rootz team! She has been performing in plays and musicals since a very young age and is looking forward to fostering a love of performing in the students at Rootz . Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s in Literacy Education. She has also studied music and theater throughout the years. Pamela has been teaching for the last 8 years and is currently a kindergarten teacher. When not teaching, she can be found performing on stage or chasing her two cats. Pamela can’t wait to share her love and passion for music and theater to the students at Rootz!

Robin Taxman

Robin taught special education for 10 years before becoming a mother of two and deciding to teach at her daughter’s pre-school. Her love of yoga inspired her to bring the practice to children of a young age. After realizing that she could combine her passion for yoga with her love of children, Robin became a certified children’s yoga instructor through Mini Yogi’s, and continues to grow with every yoga class she teaches. A previous teacher at Starland, she continues her yoga practice with The Movement Junkies.


Sarah Berto

Sarah was born in Durban, South Africa in 1962, and in 1998 moved to Glenview with her husband and three children. She has 27-seven years of experience teaching children in pre-school through third grade. Her commitment to help others feel confident and successful in themselves in whatever they do and wherever they go, led her to open a social and dining manners program called Confidence with Etiquette.
Over the course of 14 lessons, we will learn behavior in both informal and formal settings as we discover how to believe in ourselves and be proud of what we know and can offer the world. The social aspect entails how we present and introduce ourselves, and how we dress, walk, talk, and behave in public. The dining element focuses on how we set, sit, and behave at a table, how to use and treat porcelain and silver tableware, and how to take care of the environment in everything we do. Each lesson culminates in leaving the room in immaculate condition. Sarah’s motto; Believe…Be proud…Be the example.

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Sarah Makkawy

Sarah is a 2015 graduate of Benedictine College, where she majored in Elementary Education and minored in Dance. She has always been very passionate about the performing arts, especially dance and musical theatre, and began her dance training at age three. In college, she performed in numerous plays and was a member of the college dance team. She often spent her free time doing dance improvisation and choreography, and choreographed the premier production of a new play, Pas de Deux. For the past several years, she has been working with young children in various preschool, summer camp, and dance settings, and is now a teacher at Cardinal Bernardin Early Childhood Center in Lake View. She currently expresses her love of dance and theatre by performing in community theatre musicals around the North Shore.


Shellie Kerzner

Shellie began dancing early on and trained at various dance studios in Northwest Indiana. She moved to Chicago in 2007, and attended Northeastern Illinois University where she ultimately decided to major in dance. She successfully graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2011 with a BA in Dance Performance and Teaching. In addition to previously teaching at Northeastern Illinois University’s community program, Shellie has also had the pleasure of learning as a work/study at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Youth Program. Since then, she has taught dance technique and gymnastic skills to students of all ages. As well as teaching, she dances with Reveries In Motion Dance Company, a non-profit organization that donates a portion of concert proceeds to a charitable cause. Shellie previously taught at Starland and continued her dance teaching with Relevé starting in January 2017.