Raelyn started dance classes when she was 7 years old. She was also a dance coach for many years as well as a preschool teacher. She now has combined the two in her preschool dance classes.
She enjoys running the studio and believes NIDC is a great studio with lots to offer. She loves to see not only her own 2 daughters grow and improve in dance every year but also all the NIDC dancers.
Raelyn strives to make NIDC a home away from home for her dancers and their families. A place for dancers to come to learn and grow in not only dance but also in life. She is proud to offer a variety of teachers who specialize in all different dance genres. Offering a wide variety of teachers helps our dancers grow even further. She loves how dance can help a child’s confidence soar!
Raelyn is also a certified Barre Instructor. She is excited to offer these exercise classes at the studio for the dance parents.
Mattie Hayes – Teacher
Mattie Hayes has grown up in Sycamore her whole life being heavily involved in both dance and volleyball. It wasn’t until high school when she realized dance became something more to her than volleyball ever did. She participated in the Sycamore High School Orchesis Dance Company and eventually gave up her volleyball career to put her full efforts into dance. She took the next step and decided to attend NIU where she then made their dance team on scholarship. She plans to be a Silverette all four years of college while studying rehabilitation to become a geriatric Occupational Therapist.
Kennedy Kunz – Teacher
Kennedy has been dancing since the age of 5 years old and brings her love of dance everywhere she goes. Growing up in Minooka, Kennedy first attended Illinois Dance Academy and then later furthered her dance career at Donna Mueller’s School of dance and then Encore Dance Company. Attending numerous dance conventions and competitions, Kennedy has had a lot of experience with top choreographers and directors. In high school, Kennedy was on the Varsity Pom team all 4 years and the captain of the team her senior year. Dancing wasn’t just yet over for Kennedy after high school, she currently helps out with the Dekalb High School Dance team choreographing their competition and football routines. She also is the choreographer for her sororities philanthropy event, Do it to the Crowd, a dance competition amongst all the Greeks. She is so excited to be a part of Northern Illinois Dance Center and hopes to instill her passion for dance onto others.
Donielle Logan-Richmond is a professional dancer and choreographer currently under contract with Ascension Performing Arts Hip Hop Dance Company in Chicago, Illinois and Outlet Professional Jazz Company of Elk Grove Village. Donielle was formerly under contract with Diva Le Dance Professional Hip Hop Company for four years. Some of Donielle’s most recent achievements include being Lead Choreographer for the Calvin Harris Concert Opener hosted by KISS FM radio at the Aragon Ballroom, performing in Dance Chicago: Urban Movement, FreeSpace Dance Festival, Tales of Herror Art Festival and ABC’s Extreme Make Over Weight Loss Edition. In addition to her choreographic and performance credits, Donielle currently teaches Hip Hop and Contemporary at the award winning RISE Dance Center of Schaumburg.
Donielle has over 11 years of teaching & coaching experience both recreationally and competitively. Donielle has created award winning competitive routines in the genres of Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz and Lyrical. Donielle recently launched her own company ACTIVATE YOUR ARTISTRY that hosts Master Classes and Intensives in the Northern Illinois area to provide dance instruction that focuses on building positivity and passion in dancers. Donielle has been dancing a total of 26 years and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University under the direction of Judith Chitwood, Autumn Eckman, Steven Norman, Paula Frasz and Brian Carey Chung. Donielle was also a three time scholarship recipient in Theatre Dance when she attended Elgin Community College. Donielle is very excited to be back at NIDC this season.
Atlee Mathews – Assistant Director/Teacher
Atlee has been teaching for NIDC since our opening in 2009. She has danced herself since she was three years old and has competed in lyrical, jazz, and tap since age nine at both Summer’s Academy of Dance in Crystal Lake and Dixon Dance Academy in West Dundee. Atlee was on the Sycamore High School Varsity dance team for all 4 years in high school, and she was also the first president of the Orchesis Dance Company. She is also the current Sycamore Middle School dance team coach and helped them win their first ever conference championship during the 2015 season. As a graduate of NIU, Atlee participated heavily in her sorority as chapter president and VP of marketing, as well as being a member of a variety of other campus organizations.
Atlee has had professional training in a variety of styles that brings a fresh aspect to her dance classes. She likes to incorporate new styles, techniques and ideas to create an edge in her routines. Atlee’s classes focus on the importance of strong technique, individual growth, artistic ability/performance quality, and overall dance quality.
Courtney Scott – Special Events Coordinator/Teacher
Courtney has been dancing since the age of three within the Hampshire area. She has studied with some of the nation’s leading ballet and jazz professionals including Natalie Geever, Chris Johnson, Tammy Newquist, Beth Fowler, Kristina Leonard and Sheri Gilpin. While a company member of the Beth Fowler Dance Company Courtney was featured in roles such as the Russian Doll, and Chinese Soloist in the Nutcracker, and the Spring Fairy in Cinderella. She has performed with Pastiche Dance Ensemble of Milwaukee, performing at multiple art galleries, Harley Davidson’s 100th Anniversary, and Summerfest dancing different repertoires including the Matrix. She has danced at a Rock River Raptors Football games and also previously worked with Studio A’s award winning competition dance team. Courtney hopes to continue to share her love of dance with the dancers of Northern Illinois Dance Center.
Rachel Skaggs – Guest Teacher/Choreographer
Rachel Skaggs has been dancing since the age of 2 years old. Throughout her youth she trained at various different studios and companies and danced competitively for many years. Since the age of 14, Rachel has been teaching dance to children and adults of all ages. She has attended many competitions and conventions throughout the world, where she has danced under many prestigious artists who have all helped her to excel in her dance career. She has also danced for professional sporting events and festivals throughout the United States. Rachel has had the great experience of coaching a Pom Team for several years, and has worked on production numbers for different teams in the area. Rachel received her Master’s Degree from Northern Illinois University in Public Administration in December 2012. Rachel has been blessed with the opportunity to share the joy of dance with individuals of all ages, by teaching dance continuously for the last 8 years of her life. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her dance experience and joy for dance with Northern Illinois Dance Center. As a part of the NIDC team Rachel will continue to share her love of dance with the other dancers while also emphasizing the importance of technique and structured training.
Sharon Smith – Ballet Program Coordinator/Teacher
Sharon Smith has been involved with dance, ballet and teaching for over 30 years. Sharon received training in ballet, jazz and modern and also has training as a figure skater and as a gymnast. She completed the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and also received training in Vaganova, Bournonville, Cechetti and Balanchine techniques. She has trained under David Howard, Cynthia Harvey, Kennet Oberly, Wes Chapman and Roger Van Fleteren and danced with companies in Kansas and Illinois. For the past 21 years, she has taught every level of ballet from ages 3 to adults, as well as Pilates and strength and conditioning. She has choreographed for high school musicals as well as dance school performances and was assistant choreographer for the Illini Figure Skating Club. For the past several years, she has worked with developmentally disabled adults and children at Barbara Olson Center for Hope, Milestone, Inc. and Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School culminating in performances.
Currently, Sharon is furthering her education by working towards the following certifications: NETA Personal Training, YMCA Group Exercise, AEA Aquatic Exercise/Arthritis Exercise Program Leader, Healthways Silver Sneakers Chair Yoga and Healthways Silver Sneakers Senior Classic Exercise.
While dancing and teaching, Sharon received a B.S. in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution and a M.S. in Wildlife Research/Ornithology from the University of Illinois, a Legal Assistant Certificate from Wichita State University and a Paralegal Degree from Elgin Community College.
Shelly Tranchita – Teacher
Originally from the Chicago area, Shelly grew up dancing and performing in and around her home town of Worth, IL. With over 20 years of experience, she is very excited to join the NIDC staff. Shelly currently teaches Dance and Fitness at Sycamore High School, where she is the Assistant Artistic Director to the Orchesis Dance Troupe. Shelly enjoys her family, friends, water skiing, practicing and teaching yoga and traveling.
Even further, she is an avid believer in living life to it’s fullest, dancing your heart out, doing what you love.
Eli Wagner – Teacher
Eli started dancing at age 3 for Beth Fowler School of Dance in Genoa, IL. After a few years, he decided to concentrate on gymnastics. He returned to dance at age 17, dancing for Lewis Dance Progressions out of Belvidere, IL. While having some experience in jazz and ballet, Eli’s main focus was hip-hop. Under the direction of Robert Lewis, he had extensive training and won numerous awards and national titles at competitions. During this time he also had the opportunity to perform at many community and professional sporting events.
After Eli’s competition years were over, he began teaching and creating competitive choreography for studios in the Northern Illinois area. His dances have won numerous national titles over the last few years. He has also won choreography awards as well as a most entertaining award at a national competition.
In addition to this, Eli continues to train as much as possible. He enjoys taking classes whenever he can, learning new styles to expand his knowledge and abilities. He has also had the opportunity to travel to New York and Los Angeles to train with top choreographers.
Eli is very excited to be at NIDC. He looks forward to bringing his skills to a great studio and working with amazing dancers and instructors.
Mindy Walker – Preschool Program Coordinator/Teacher
Mindy is our most experienced instructor at NIDC. The students just love her and her exciting class! She teaches all forms of dance at all age and talent levels. She is very knowledgeable about children and all things dance. She has taught and run her own dance studio in the DeKalb area. Mindy is currently working as a pre-school teacher and getting her degree in education.
Abriella also known as Ella has been dancing with NIDC since the 2009-2010 season. She has been dancing since she was three and is now 13. She attends Sycamore Middle School and is a member of the 2017 NCJC Champion SMS Dance Team. She has competed with NIDC for what will be her 7th year this year, and has competed in Jazz, Poms, Musical Theater, Tap, and Hip Hop. Ella also likes to play volleyball.
Ana has been dancing since the age of 3. Now in High School at Sycamore she not only performs and competes with NIDC but is a member of Orchesis Dance at Sycamore High School. She dances Ballet, Lyrical, Hip Hop, contemporary and more.