About NIDC & Faculty

Northern Illinois Dance Center is dedicated to providing you with a premium dance education, but also a memorable experience. Consistent improvement is a top priority, but equally important is ensuring a fun environment that allows for team building and everlasting friendships.

We at Northern Illinois Dance Center value the importance of family. As a family-oriented business we strive to provide not only a comfortable, fun environment for our dancers, but also for their families. Our studio offers wireless internet and a homework lounge, allowing students and their parents a space to work and study while in our studio.

Our dedicated staff, most of which have a background in education aside from dance, offer a unique area of expertise. Focusing on their individual strengths, each member of our staff provides expertise-based instruction to allow for a fun, self-esteem boosting environment.

Please feel free to email us with any questions

Raelyn Joyner – Studio Owner/Director

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 International Ballet Barre Fitness Association Instructor. She is excited to offer Barre Fitness classes at the studio for the dance parents & all interested adults.

Our Instructors

Atlee Mathews – Assistant Studio Director / Elevation Company Director

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.

Kayla Baum – Teacher

Kayla has been dancing since she was three years old and started dancing for Mz. Mindy. Later, she danced at Sycamore Performing Arts Academy until she decided to focus on soccer. Kayla continued to dance in middle school on the poms team and was a four year varsity dancer at DeKalb High School. Kayla played division 2 soccer at the Univeristy of North Alabama before returning home to attend NIU. She is now a member of the Silverettes and is studying pre-physical therapy in hopes of becoming a pediatric physical therapist.

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.

Courtney Scott – Ballet Program Coordinator / NIDC Performance Group Coordinator / Elevation Choreographer

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.

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 – Elevation Choreographer / 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 / Elevation Curtsy Company Coordinator

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.

Gianna Hammers – Teacher Assistant

Gianna has been dancing with NIDC for five years and has been dancing since she was nine. She attends sycamore high school and is involved in the orchesis dance club there. She started competing in jazz with NIDC during their 2018-2019 season. She also dances in jazz and lyrical.

Abriella Joyner – Teacher Assistant

Abriella also known as Ella has been dancing with NIDC since the 2009-2010 season.  She has been dancing since she was three years old.  She attends Sycamore HIgh School and was a member of the 2017 NCJC Champion SMS Dance Team at Sycamore Middle School.  She has competed with NIDC for what will be her 8th year this year, and has competed in Jazz, Poms, Musical Theater, Tap, and Hip Hop.

Analisa Joyner – Teacher Assistant/Substitute Teacher

Ana has been dancing since the age of 2. She is a junior at Sycamore High School, she not only performs and competes with NIDC but is an officer of Orchesis Dance at Sycamore High School. She dances Ballet, Lyrical, Hip Hop, contemporary and more.