Teacher Bios

Linda Daniels McDonald, Director of McDonald Dance Academy, received her early ballet education from noted instructors such as Anida Sedala, Ruth Page, Gus Giordano, Fernando Schauffenberg, Barbara Copeland and Jerry Bywaters Cochran. Performing with such artists as Edward Villela and Rudolph Nuryev further enhanced her educational experience. Linda received a fine arts degree in ballet from Texas Christian University, was a soloist with the Fort Worth Ballet Company, and danced with the Fort Worth Opera under the direction of Marina Swveltova. She danced in Summerstock with the Music Theatre of Wichita Kansas. She taught at Dance Center North, Northbrook Dance Center and Dance Variations Workshop in Palatine until opening McDonald Dance Academy in Arlington Heights in 1994.Linda is actively involved with Dance for Life in Chicago and a member of C.N.A.D.M. Board of Directors.   Linda directs the Arlington Dance Ensemble, a group she started for those students interested in the opportunity to perform more and share their talents with the community. Linda’s students have gone on to receive dance scholarships, to major in dance at college and to dance professionally. Additionally, Linda has created choreography for many local theatre groups, including four St. James musical productions. Linda lives in Arlington Heights with her husband and three children.
Michael S. Artrip is a professional dancer in Chicago, IL and company member with Inaside Chicago Dance. Michael also does freelance work—both touring and local—with AJA Talent. His previous work includes founding company member of AscenDance Chicago, performing with the Michigan branch of Hip Hop ConnXion, and as a guest artist for productions of the ballets Nutcracker and Cinderella. Starting his training in Kalamazoo, MI, Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Western Michigan University studying ballet, modern, and jazz techniques. While at school, he also had the pleasure of working with such artists as Michal Sayfan of Gaga People, John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow of American Ballet Theatre, and Leslie Young of San Francisco Ballet. While dancing with ADC, Michael’s choreography has appeared in conjunction with Artistic Director Heather Carpenter for ADC’s annual fall benefit showcase, Resilient (2016, 2017) and its premier of Anarchy (Spring 2017). His original piece “Contagion” premiered in ADC’s concert HOPE (Spring 2018). Photo credit: A. Deran Photography.
Jeanette Aylward studied ballet at the University of Illinois while earning her BS. After graduation, she continued her training under Avnun Yakabov.  She has performed with the Full Body Poetry Ensemble, Reverse Live and Enidsmithdance. Jeanette has collaborated with the late Richard Fammeree for the Pont Des Arts Ensemble and Saint Cloud in Chicago. She has worked as a teacher and choreographer in Chicago and the Northwest Suburbs for the past 14 years.
Jen Cobb graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in Dance and French. While in college, she choreographed an honors thesis through the dance department and worked with dance artists such as Terese Freedman, Idan Cohen, Katie Martin, Felice Wolfzahn and Jennifer Weber. Jen is currently completing her K-12 teaching certificate in French at Northeastern Illinois University and is also the head coach of the Saint Viator Poms Team. Jen is an active member of the Chicago dance community as a performer, teacher and choreographer. She recently established Matters of Consequence, a dance collaboration with fellow McDonald Dance Academy alums.
Pat Doyle has taught in the area for the past 35 years. Her training was at Stone Cameron, Gus Giordano, and Anida Sedala. Pat studied with Bruce Stegman and has received her Grade One Cecchetti teacher’s degree. She has choreographed a number of community productions including ones at Morten Jr. College and Stevenson High School  and is the costumer for Prospect High School.  Pat also taught for Stevenson High School’s Odyssey program and is a CDE Lifetime member of CNADM. She is celebrating 20 years as director of Kids Dance Express, Pre-school Creative Dance Program and is the proud co-owner of D & G Dancewear. Pat has received her jazz teacher certification in Giordano Jazz technique in levels beginning through advanced.
Kelly Dziurgot graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Dance and an Entrepreneurship Certificate. Kelly has performed works by renown choreographers Alan Sener, Armando Duarte, and Charlotte Adams and performed a summer series of Duarte Dance Works pieces. Kelly previously danced with Project 606 Company along with other independent works such as JMT/JLS. She was the previous orchesis director at St. Viator and teaches at local area studios.Kelly has taught master classes at CNADM and has received her Jazz teacher certification in Giordano Jazz technique in levels beginning through advanced
Laura Gates grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago. She holds degrees in Dance and Psychology from the University of Iowa where she was privileged to train with many gifted artists. Professionally, she danced with Swallow Cliff Dance Company, Concert Dance, Inc., and several independent choreographers before joining Thodos Dance Chicago in 1999. During her six-year tenure as a TDC dancer, she performed locally, nationally, and internationally and worked with many renowned artists including Broadway icon Ann Reinking. Laura went on to serve TDC for 12 more years as Rehearsal Director, Ballet Mistress, Artistic Associate and New Dances Project Manager. Laura teaches throughout the Chicago area and has served on the faculty of many intensive programs including TDC, CNADM, Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Inaside Chicago Dance, Gus Giordano Dance School, the Illinois State Dance Festival, and the Midwest Cecchetti Council Ballet Workshop. She has been a guest artist at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Riverside Brookfield High School, Evanston Township High School, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. A proud member of the Chicago dance community for over 20 years, Laura is passionately committed to the art of dance and furthering dance education.
Katie Calandra Kritek graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a BS in Dance and Dance Education and completed her M.Ed. from National-Louis University. 2019 marks Katie’s 20th year teaching at McDonald Dance Academy, and she has been an active member of the Chicago dance community as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for more than 20 years. She currently teaches in New Trier High School’s Dance Division. Katie was selected as the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 2019 Dance Educator of the Year.
Caroline KuhlCaroline Kuhl began her training at Hubbard Street and the Gus Giordano schools. Since graduating with honors from I.S.U. with a B.S. in theater and dance she has enjoyed teaching, choreographing and performing. Experiences include: Light Opera Works, Pheasant Run Dinner Theater, Zebra Crossing Theater, Temporary Theater, Motivity, Zephyr Dance, Ameba Dance, Duets for my Valentine, Chi-Town Jazz Dance, several Las Vegas shows and a tour in Japan. A long time teacher on the north shore, Caroline keeps busy taking tap and jazz class with Julie Cartier and Pilates/yoga with Jennifer Alesi as well as chasing after her teenage daughter.
Kara McDonald received her BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University in 2007. While at TCU she had the opportunity to work with renowned artists such as Fernando Bujones, Christian Von Howard and Li Chou Cheng. Since she moved back to her hometown of Chicago, she has enjoyed teaching, performing and choreographing dance for all ages in the Chicago area. She has performed with project 606 Dance Company, JMT and JLS Dance Project and other various independent choreographers in Chicago.Kara has taught master classes at CNADM.  In 2011 she received her yoga certification and currently teaches at Core Power Yoga and is the Assistant Manager at the Roscoe Village Core Power.

Kacey Valentine O’Keeffe graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Dance Education. Her dance training includes Bataille Academie of the Danse, American Dance Festival, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, Visceral Dance Center, Dovetail Studios and Beyond Words Dance Center.

Kacey has choreographed dozens of dance works for high school dance programs and professional dance companies all over the state of Illinois. In addition, she has taught at a variety of dance studios, universities, and intensives all throughout Illinois. Kacey has danced with Rodriguez Dance Theatre, Meraki Dance Company, Outlet Dance Company and Interweave Dance Theatre (Boulder, Colorado). Kacey has most recently performed with The Kate Jablonski Statement in “Dream State” and Dance Chicago’s “Dances from the Heart”.

Her credits include performing for Dance Artists: Lara Branen, Joey Claeyssen, Kate Jablonski, Brittney Kirkpatrick, Jessica Hendricks, Wade Madsen, Laurie Merriman, Julia Pemberton, Joanna Rosenthal-Read, Sara Semonis, Jenny Schiff, Kaitlin Webster and Darby Wilde. Additionally, Kacey has created and grown the dance program at Carmel Catholic High School since 2013. Currently, Kacey teaches dance at Carmel full time and serves as artistic director for the Carmel Catholic Orchesis Dance Company.

Sarah O’Keeffe is originally from Boulder, CO; there she trained in ballet (Royal Academy of Dance method), jazz, contemporary, modern, tap, ballroom, and character at Reverence Academy of Dance. Sarah continued her dance education at the University of Kansas where she received her BFA degree in Dance in the spring of 2016. While at the University of Kansas she had many performing, choreographing, guest artist, leadership, touring, and scholarship opportunities with the Dance Department. Sarah has since moved to Chicago in order to pursue her dance career and has begun her first season as a Performing Apprentice with Inaside Chicago Dance. While Sarah loves performing, she also loves to share her passion for dance through teaching and is very excited to be teaching at McDonald Academy of Dance!
Case Prime , from Lake George, NY, started tap dancing at the age of 4 years old. At age 14, he began his career as a teacher and choreographer at Starlet Dance Works in Queensbury NY. Once he turned 15, Case was accepted as a member of the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap City Youth Ensemble in New York City where he had the opportunity to work under amazing artists such as Michelle Dorrance, Brenda Buffalino and Claudia Rahardjanoto, just to name a few. After high school, Case traveled to Chicago to study Music Composition and Audio Engineering at Columbia College Chicago, as well as start his apprenticeship under Mark Yonnally at Chicago Tap Theatre. After two years with CTT, Case started training, and is now apprenticing with MADD Rhythms under incredible artists and technicians including Starinah Dixon, Donnetta Jackson, Brill Barrett and many, many others. As a student of the dance, Case could not be happier to be a sponge to all that this City has to offer, and is just as excited to share what he’s learned so far with the students at McDonald Dance.
Corinne Sigler started teaching dance and choreographing at the young age of 12. She earned her BFA from the University of Illinois and was a faculty member in the Dance Department. Her choreography was chosen to close the university’s annual Studio Dance II performance for four consecutive years. Corinne’s work wasn’t limited to campus; she taught and choreographed for students at local studios for education and performances. For the past 20 years she has taught ballet, tap, pointe, modern and lyrical to dancers ages three through adult. Corinne has worked with many dance legends, including Debbie Allen, Dianne Walker, Mark Morris, Lynn Simonson, Robert Reed, Sam Weber, Gregory Hines, and Savion Glover. She received scholarships from Dance for Life, Joel Hall Dance, Cal Arts and Melissa Thodos. In addition to performing for U of I and Chicago-based choreographers, she performed in NYC, Minnesota and Disneyworld. She was featured on NBC with the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Corinne’s passion for dance is contagious to her students, and she’s excited to start her first year at McDonald Dance Academy.
Stephanie TinagliaGrowing up in Arlington Heights, Stephanie Tinaglia trained at McDonald Dance Academy and participated in Hersey Orchesis at John Hersey High School. In 2014, Stephanie graduated from the University of Iowa with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Dance. While at the University of Iowa, she studied ballet and modern dance, performed in various productions each year, and traveled to perform as a member of Dancers in Company. Upon graduating, Stephanie began her career as an elementary education teacher while working with Hersey Orchesis as the Assistant Director. Currently, Stephanie is taking a break from elementary education in order to pursue her career as a dancer. Stephanie is in her second season as a company member of Outlet Dance Company and is also beginning her first season as a Performing Apprentice with Inaside Chicago Dance.
Julie Walter Senft grew up in Mount Prospect, IL and trained at Bataille Academie of the Danse in Barrington, IL. Julie graduated with honors receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and a minor in Sociology in 2012 from the University of Iowa. While at Iowa, she performed in faculty and student works as well as Black and Blue choreographed by Louis Falco, restaged by Alan Sener. Julie also had the opportunity to study Samba Dance and Music in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a three week study abroad program in 2011. While Julie has always loved to perform, she also loves sharing her passion for dance through teaching and choreographing. She is very excited to be teaching at McDonald Dance Academy this year. Julie is currently in her second season as a Performing Apprentice with Inaside Chicago Dance and can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!