MANAGING STAFF

Debra Giunta - Founding Director

Debra Giunta is the Founder and Director of Design Dance.  Debra grew up dancing in the south suburbs of Chicago and has over 25 years of dance experience.  She became director of her first dance education program in her hometown at the age of 16 and has been teaching, choreographing, directing and mentoring ever since.   As a dance educator for over 16 years, Debra has trained students ages 2-70 in a variety of dance disciplines including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and creative movement.  In 2008, Debra founded Design Dance as a way to bring dance education to children in all communities regardless of age, experience level, background and income through partnership with schools and community centers.  Debra is passionate about new ideas and continues to be grateful for the opportunity to explore new ways to collaborate with her peers in the field of arts education. 

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Samantha Witthuhn - Director of Partnerships

Samantha Witthuhn is a partnerships and communications specialist with a unique background in youth education and development. After earning her B.A. in communications from UW-Madison in 2012, Sam began her career as a marketing coordinator in Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL. After three years in the office, Sam rediscovered her drive for engaging and impacting youth while working with middle and high school students abroad. Upon her return to the U.S. in 2016, Sam oversaw after school, summer, and enrichment programming with the YMCA and now has the privilege of directing program and partnership initiatives with Design Dance. Sam champions the positive impact arts education has on every students' social and emotional well-being. You can find Sam collaborating with youth development organizations, school administration, and arts education advocates to spread Design Dance's unique arts programming to students across Chicago.

Christine Rudy-Reed - Director of Programming

Christine Rudy-Reed is a dance educator in Chicago, Illinois who believes in the power of arts education and self-directed learning. She has taught in a variety of settings including PreK-12 schools, community programs, and dance organizations for over 15 years. Christine is delighted to spread Design Dance’s unique mission to bring dance to all students through her position as Director of Programs, in which she builds curriculum and classroom content that supports self-awareness, belonging and dance literacy for all, and empowers Design Dance instructors to do the same! In addition to Christine’s work with Design Dance, she runs a teacher coaching and professional development organization, CReed Dance Ed, is a Founding Board Member of both the Illinois Dance Education Organization and Prismatic, and is a Development Committee Member for the National Dance Education Organization. Christine holds a Master’s of Art in Teaching with endorsements in Elementary Education, Dance, and Social Studies, and a Bachelor’s of Science with concentrations in Business, Dance, and Arts Management.

Abby Williams Chin - Recruitment and Enrichment Coordinator

Originally from Knoxville TN, Abby Williams earned her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography, a BA in Arts Administration, and a minor in Communications from Elon University. In addition, she also trained at LehrerDance Summer Intensive, Parsons Choreography Intensive, Hedwig Dance's Intensive and Bates Dance Festival. She has been teaching since 2008 in studios in Tennessee, North Carolina, and now in her new home of Illinois. Her choreography has been featured in Core Project’s Going Dutch 2015, Inaside Chicago Dance’s Choreographic Sponsorship Event 2015, Dance Chicago’s New Moves Series 2014, North Carolina Dance Alliance 2013, Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble Repertoire among other events. Williams has also had the privilege of performing with The Coincidentals as well as performing works by Jon Lehrer, Randy Duncan, Eleo Pomare, Michael Mao, and Regina Klenjoski. Williams is so excited to be a part of the Design Dance family!

Ali Drumm - Operations Coordinator

Ali Drumm (she/her/hers) is a Chicago based arts administrator, production manager, and event coordinator.  In addition to Design Dance, Ali is also the Producer of Artistic Programs for 2nd Story where she produces 35+ storytelling and community events every season. With a background in theatre, Ali has worked with numerous other arts organizations, including Steppenwolf, The New Colony, the House Theatre of Chicago, the Apollo Theater (with Million Dollar Quartet), terraNOVA at the DCASE Storefront, About Face Theatre, and Pivot Arts.  A proud graduate of Loyola University Chicago in theatre and business, Ali is deeply passionate about uniting communities through art. 

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Stephanie Cantelmo - Community Coordinator

Stephanie Cantelmo is a marketing & design specialist as well as the founder of Project Media. She uses her BA in Digital Arts and MA in Communication Arts to craft visual experiences for Design Dance and The Groove while also assisting in community engagement, web design and office support. Stephanie is delighted to collaborate with the team at Design Dance and The Groove!

 

INSTRUCTORS

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Rae Robeson is extremely excited to be back for her 4th year teaching with Design Dance! A Nashville, Tennessee native and musical theatre “nerd”, Rae began taking dance classes at the age of 12 after discovering choreography rehearsals were her favorite part of the rehearsal process. After continuing training in various styles of dance and musical theatre, Rae graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2015. Since moving to Chicago, Rae has taught dance all over the city in studios, residency programs, park districts, and after school programs. She has taught ages 18 months to high school everything from Ballet, Tap, and Hip Hop to African Storytime, Traditional Japanese Bon Odori, and 1920s Jazz. She can’t wait to get to dancing with everyone this year!

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Misha Woodward is a dance educator and researcher originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with a B.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago, where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, and West African dance techniques, as well as taking a variety of dance studies courses, which have fostered her passion towards researching dance and culture. With Design Dance, Misha has taught a variety of residencies, camps, classes throughout the Chicagoland area. Through her classes, she aims to expand students' creative endeavors and expression, as well as allow their knowledge from various of studies, such as science, history, literature, to integrate into their technical dance training to further a more artistically, well-rounded growth for the future.

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Morgan Dixon is a Chicago based actor, dancer, and teaching artist with Florida roots. She received her BA in Dance with honors from Columbia College Chicago and is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory. Morgan has been teaching dance, circus arts, and theatre for over 10 years. She discovered her love of dance when it gave her the opportunity to connect with music, her peers, and herself all at once and she hopes to create and foster those opportunities for her students as well.

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Jaime Raglow has been teaching Dance and theatre around Chicago for around six years. She has choreographed children's Musicals, danced with Matter Dance Company for 5 seasons, and performed in various musicals around the city. Jaime loves working with kids of all ages and bringing out their creativity and joy of movement in all sorts of class genres and styles in studios, schools and parks!

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Susanna Hostetter has been a lead Teaching Artist with Chicago's finest dance education companies for seven years. She has completed teacher training programs with the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, the National Dance Institute, and Lincoln Center Education in New York. Favorite hobbies include performing, theater-going, and traveling!

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Julia Schaeffer began dancing ballet at the age of 12. She was introduced to contemporary, jazz, modern and trained as a BFA Dance Major at Chapman University where she studied under Dale Merill, Alicia Guy, Jenny Backhaus, Sean Green, Liz Maxwell, and Larry Rosenburg. Since graduating Julia has attended summer intensives with Fuse Dance company and performed in Synthesis II with Fuse Dance Company. During her time in Los Angeles, she has had the privilege of dancing with Lineage Dance Company as a company dancer. Her teaching experience includes Dancer World Productions, Arise Dance Center, and outreach classes at Lineage Performing Arts Center. Since moving to Chicago she has performed with South Chicago Dance Theatre as a guest artist and the Simantikos Choreo Kickoff.

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Del Marie is a Chicago Born Creative and Performing Artist. 

Outside of being great on the stage or tv, you can find her being great in the classrooms. She has been a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors and Design Dance. Her students learn Dance, Song Writing, Rapping, and Poetry.

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Kristin Vollmer began her dance career at the age of 3 at Kehl School of Dance in Madison, Wisconsin. She also trained with the Madison Youth Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet, and Alvin Ailey. In her professional career Kristin has worked with the Joel Hall Dancers performing works by Joel Hall, Paul Sanasardo, Jim Morrow and Jarrett Kelly, in various performances including the Jazz Dance World Congress. She has also danced for Cerqua Rivera, Inaside Chicago Dance, Chicago Dance Crash, in a USO tour in South Korea and performed as a backup dancer in Bollywood film Dhoom 3. Kristin received her Business Management and Dance degree from Northeastern Illinois University, and has served as JHDYC Co-Artistic Director and JHDC Program Manager. She would like to thank her husband Kevin for his unending support in her career as a dancer and instructor while raising their sweet Sammie Joy.

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Shalyn Anderson-Garner is a movement artist from Michigan, and began dance lessons at age 2. Her training continued throughout high school, studying dance styles like ballet and tap. Currently, she is a teaching artist for Design Dance. Shalyn relocated to Chicago to attend Columbia College, where she graduated with a BA in dance and a marketing minor. She studied additional dance styles such as Hiphop, West-African dance, and traditional Modern. Shalyn interned at dance studios, along with teaching various after school programs and in-school residencies. She’s had many performances throughout the Chicagoland area, and also performed for the American College Dance Association. Shalyn’s choreographic experience range from music videos to college-level performances, and she loves to create versatile movements using syncopated rhythms.