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 Reed - Director of Programming

Christine Reed is an educator, dancer, and choreographer in Chicago, Illinois who believes in the power of arts education and self-directed learning.  She has taught in a variety of settings including elementary schools, community programs, and dance organizations for over 10 years.  She is on faculty as the Dance Teacher at Ravenswood Elementary in Chicago Public Schools.  While responsible for directing the Ravenswood Dance Program, Christine also writes and implements arts integrated curriculum, connecting dance content with learning in mathematics, language arts and reading, science, and social studies; serves on the school’s Instructional Leadership Team to design and present professional development for staff; and writes district-wide performance task assessments for dance programs across CPS.  In addition to her work at Ravenswood, Christine is a Mentor Teaching Artist at Design Dance and runs a summer day camp at Steve and Kate’s Camp.  Christine holds a Master’s of Art in Teaching with endorsements in Elementary Education, Dance, and Social Studies, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in General 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.