Welcome to the 36th Season of Jo's Footwork Studio and its 2019-2020 Dance Year!


Welcome to the 35th Season of Jo's Footwork Studio and its 2019-2020 Dance Year!


Since 1984, and in its 36th dance year, Jo’s Footwork Studio offers a wide range of dance technique classes for preschoolers and tots through adult, from beginners to advanced levels with Master/Professional instructors in Mommy & Me, our Twinkle Star program for 2 year old through Kindergarten, Ballet, Cecchetti, Pointe, Demi-Pointe, Tap, Progressions in Tap & Jazz, Leaps & Turns, Jazz, Lyrical, Conditioning//Tumbling, All Star-Pomdance (competition teams), Contemporary Modern, and Hip Hop. Jo’s Footwork is a Technique-based studio, concentrating on dance methodology.


Instructors are either master instructors, professional performers, certified, degreed, or all of the above.  Our dance program is syllabi run.


Jo’s Footwork offers over 130 classes for tots & preschoolers through adults and beginners to advanced levels. Dancers are put in levels appropriate to age, level, and ability.


The philosophy and mission is to provide the best in dance technique instruction in the traditional dance disciplines (Ballet, Pointe, Demi-Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Modern) and to incorporate other dance forms as they warrant interest.  This year, we have Footwork Mini-Ensemble (a performance based youth company for ages 8 thru 10) and our AllStars Poms competition dance teams: Crystal and Platinum Elite AllStars!


Our mission is to have dancers gain self-esteem, encouragement, enthusiasm, and creativity within the dance world, and to challenge their dance to the next level. Jo’s Footwork Studio is a Technique-based studio, concentrating on dance methodology by providing 2 tracks of dance ~ Foundation of dance, and styles of dance, and is Performance based.


Jo’s Footwork is under the direction of Chris, John & Jay Fagan.


Jo's Footwork Studio Office (708) 246-6878, Studio I & II are located at 1500 Walker Street – 2nd Floor, just 1/2 block north of Hampton & Hillgrove (next to the Western Springs Theatre and across from the Western Springs pool). Studio III is on the 2nd floor and Studio IVis in the lower level of the Grand Avenue Community Center (4211 Grand Avenue) on the NE corner of Chestnut & Grand, west of the Western Springs library.

Our Instructors

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Jay Fagan (tap) is a nationally and internationally recognized tap Master, professional dance choreographer, and former co-director of Especially Tap Chicago (ETC). Jay has performed all over the world, and with his sister Connie Fagan in Sibling Rivalry. He spent the 2008-2009 academic year on staff at Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, OK teaching tap, jazz, and musical theater. Most recently, he performed and taught master tap class workshops in Glasgow, Scotland.

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Connie Sweeney (jazz/tap/lyrical) a former member of performance Company Same Planet, Different World, former member of Rhythm ISS, an all-female tap ensemble, currently dances with Jay Fagan in Sibling Rivalry, and is the former Artistic & Senior Company Director of Footwork Dance Ensemble begins her 14th season with the studio. 


Jacqueline Farina (ballet mistress) has had the pleasure of teaching at Jo’s Footwork Studio since 1985. Jacqueline began her ballet training in Mexico. Having studied in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) method she graduated through all the levels. She was the first student to present and pass in Mexico the highest level exam of Solo Seal. She performed in Germany with the “Theatre of Hagen”. Returning to Mexico she performed with the “Compañía Nacional de Danza Clásica de Mexico” where she was exposed to the Cuban Ballet method.  She also danced with “Rhythme et Structure” in Paris, “Venetia Stifler and Concert Dance Inc.” and “Soul & Duende Spanish American Dance Theatre” in Chicago. In 2007 she began studying the Cecchetti method with Karla Harris and in 2008 she began the Cecchetti program at Jo’s Footwork. In 2012 she achieved the Cecchetti Council of America Advanced Teacher Certification.  She is now pursuing the Diploma Teacher Certification.

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Chris Zarate, (Hip Hop Instructor & Director, City Nation)
Former director of Work In Progress, Chris first honed his performance skills working with DJ Too Kool Chris and built his technical foundations under the guidance of Karlo Familiara and Suave at Hip Hop Connxion, Angelina Grima and Karlo Familiara at Design and a variety of instructors with The Puzzle League and the Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance (CODA). In recent years, he has been 1 of the 4 directors to lead the first Chicago based Mega-Crew company to Hip Hop International in Las Vegas, performed at various competitions (including World of Dance Chicago, Prelude, Masterpiece, and more), and has joined the Chicago Branch of "Young Lions" under the direction of Ian Eastwood.

Today, as Director and Owner of City Nation Studios, Chris enjoys sharing his experience across the country with a new generation of dancers as they embark on their own journeys.

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Amanda Freebeck (Twinkle Stars, Tiny Pom, Adaptive Dance for Autistic) has been a part of the studio for over 20 years as a student then teacher. As a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she received her bachelor’s degree in child/Adolescent Studies with a concentration in dance. Amanda’s dance training includes ballet, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and modern, performing with 3 Spot Dance Troupe, providing dance enrichment classes to local preschools, and coaching high school Poms. Her most recently obtained degree in Occupational Therapy has enabled her to pursue her passion of teaching dance to children of all abilities and needs.

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Jean Hartnett(Jazz), started dance at the age of 3 and was one of the first dance students at Jo’s Footwork Studio.  Now entering her 26th year of dance studies and instruction, Jean is an accomplished dancer in jazz, modern, tap and lyrical. 

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Kathryn M. Lahey – “Miss Kathy” Kathy has been a dance teacher for 40 years.  She had a studio in the Fox Lake area for 6 years.  She then moved to Seattle WA where she was the owner and director of Kathy’s Studio of Dance for 34 years.  Before teaching, she studied at two studios, both in Illinois: ballet with Judith Svalander School of Ballet in Crystal Lake IL. Kathy taught dance at many Seattle area Community Centers. She has been a choreographer for musicals, Beauty Pageants, Pom-Pon Squads and Cheerleaders. Kathy is a past member of the “Dance Educators of America” and the “Professional Dance Teachers Association.”   Miss Kathy teaches Pre-school Dance, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theater, Lyrical, Tumbling and Kickline.   Miss Kathy has worked for 25 years with Starpower National Talent Competition as a judge and staff member.  Miss Kathy is also on Staff with “Manhattan Dance Project” hosting classes around the country that are conducted by professional working teachers from today’s dance world.  MDP helps Kathy keep up and be current in today’s dance techniques.  Miss Kathy is always most happy when she can pass on her passion to dance to children and adults of all ages.  

Katy Wenger (Twinkle, Tap, HippityHop, Jazz) is a graduate of Oklahoma City University, with a Bachelor of Science American Dance Pedagogy degree. She has also enjoyed many responsibilities revolving around dance from producing dance shows, wardrobes, choreography, and teaching all levels of tap, ballet, and jazz. 

Lisa Caldwell (ballet, conditioning/tumbling, contemporary) received her training from Ballet Mississippi and the St. Louis Ballet School. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Kansas, she moved to Chicago as company trainee with Thodos Dance Chicago for their 25th and final year. Lisa now performs with Aerial Dance Chicago and has been a company member for two seasons.

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Molly Roche (Twinkle Stars) Has been a student of dance since age 3. Her teaching background includes ballet, jazz, tap, pointe, hip hop, and modern/contemporary. Additionally, Molly has choreographed for competition teams and show choirs.

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Sequoia Rada (Tap, Jazz, Jr. Hip Hop, Mini Ensemble, Elite Poms) Ms. Sequoia is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been dancing since she was three years old and was a student at Jo's for thirteen years. Sequoia started assisting teachers at age eleven and began teaching her own class at the age of fifteen. Along with dancing at Jo’s she has taken various workshops including the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Sequoia was also on the Dance Team at the College of DuPage, while attending COD. While there, she danced mostly Poms, along with Kick Line, Jazz, Tap, and Modern. Currently, Sequoia is the Artistic Director of Jo’s Footwork Mini Ensemble, and the Co-Coach for Footwork AllStar Elite Dance Teams.

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Whitney Courson,  (Twinkle Stars, Mini Jazz), new to the studio and a native of St. Louis, started dancing when she was five years old and continued through college. Graduating from Penn State University in 2006 with a BA in Theatre, moved directly to New York City taking classes at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, studyingballet, tap, jazz and musical theatre styles.  After moving to Seattle, she began teaching ballet (ages 2-5) and tap (ages 2-17) at Dance Elite in Lynnwood, WA. At that studio, she was introduced to the Twinkle Stars dance program and has been teaching it for over 4 years. 

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Zoe Martinkus (Musical Theater-Twinkle Star Dance and Sing, Junior Jazz, HipHop, Director Twinkle Stars), has a Bachelor of Arts-Musical Theatre from North Central College. She has trained in tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, and modern through North Central, Lou Conte Studio, American Dance Center, and La Danse Academy. 

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Annie Pinta (Jazz, Tap, Co-Director Footwork Elite Allstars) has trained in ballet, tap, modern, jazz, and lyrical/contemporary dance since early childhood.  She recently graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in Dance Teacher Education and has a dance teacher certification from the Illinois State Board of Education.  She was on the poms team at Lyons Township High School and was a performing member of Illinois State Dance Theatre while she attended college. She was on the executive board of Dance Association during this time, and was responsible for producing the student-choreographed concert, in which produced three of her own choreographed works.