Welcome to the 35th Season of Jo's Footwork Studio and its 2018-2019 Dance Year!

Welcome to the 35th Season of Jo's Footwork Studio and its 2018-2019 Dance Year!

Since 1984, and in its 35th 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, Contemporary, All Star-Pomdance, Contemporary Modern, 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 is to provide the best in dance technique instruction in Ballet, Pointe, Demi-Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Modern, Hip Hop, and Pom Dance 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 Christine and John 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 IV is in the lower level of the Grand Avenue Community Center (4211 Grand Avenue) on the NE cornerof 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, Ballet Tots, Preschool & Kindergarten, Pomdance, 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. Most recently, Ms. Amanda was named Team Coach for the new Footwork Elite Poms, a competitive team.

April Sirokie (Modern, Ballet, Core Cardio), a native of Indiana, has extensive dance training in Modern, Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet/Pointe, Partnering, Ethnic Dancing and Musical Theater. Her credentials include Choreographer and Performance. She has a BFA in Dance Performance from Ball State University.

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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. 

Heather Arocho (Core Cardio) has been sharing her love and passion for dance for the past twenty one years. She has taught in the styles of Ballet, Hip-hop, Jazz, Modern and Tap to students ages three through adult. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago and has danced professionally with companies Mordine & Company Dance Theater, Lucky Plush Productions, Breakbone Dance Company, The Dance COLEctive, Colleen Halloran Performance Group, Mad Shak Dance Company, Redmoon Theater and Iris Improv Group. Over the years, Heather's choreography has won numerous highpoint and judge's awards at the competition level. Heather is extremely grateful to be teaching her Core Cardio workout class here at Jo's Footwork Studio and delighted to be working with Twinkle Stars dance, tap, hippity hop, and ballet tots (2 year old).

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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, Jr Hiphop, 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.  Katy also teaches at our sister studio, The Dance Workshop, Orland Park

Lisa Caldwell (ballet) 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 to be a trainee with Thodos Dance Chicago for their 25th and final season. Lisa enjoys teaching ballet, pointe, variations, contemporary, and jazz.

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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. Molly has choreographed for competition teams and show choirs and has a competitive background in Cheer and Poms.

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Sequoia Rada  (Tap, Jazz, Jr. Hip Hop, Mini Ensemble, Elite Poms) graduated from Eastern Illinois University with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. Sequoia has been dancing since she was three years old and was a student at Jo's for thirteen years. She has done several different styles of dance including Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Hip-Hop and Poms. Sequoia started assisting teachers with some of their younger classes when she was eleven years old, 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, where she attended school for two years. While there Sequoia danced mostly Poms, along with Kick Line, Jazz, Tap, and Modern. Sequoia is also the Artistic Director of Mini-Ensemble, and Co-Coach and Rehearsal Director for both Footwork AllStar Elite Poms Teams. Poms 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, Junior Jazz, HipHop, Twinkle Stars, and Director of the Dance Workshop Ensemble Company and Footwork Mini-Ensemble), 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.  She teaches Jazz, Musical Theater, Twinkle Stars at our sister studio, The Dance Workshop, Orland Park.

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Annie Pinta
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.  Recently, she has been substitute teaching and choreographing for high school dance programs whenever possible, as well as teaching at the studio.

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Alyssa Smith Studied at Western Michigan University where she recently graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a minor in Event Management. While attending WMU, Alyssa furthered her technical training in a tri-focused Ballet, Modern, and Jazz program. She was a company member of the Western Dance Project from 2017-18, and taught and performed throughout the Chicagoland and West Michigan areas. Alyssa was an active member of Movement Exchange, which allowed her to teach internationally in Panama City, Panama to children in orphanages, elementary schools, and at the University level. Alyssa has also been an instructor with the Universal Dance Association for the past four years, and has traveled throughout the Midwest instructing and heading summer camps specifying in Pom, Jazz, and Hip-hop. She has worked UDA competitions at the regional and national level, and will continue to work and travel abroad for the company this upcoming year, in addition to coaching Footwork Elite teams.

Bailey Murray Academy of Irish Dancing
The Creators & Directors

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Kevin Murray  has been Irish dancing for over 20 years. He has had a successful competitive career being the unanimous North West, United Kingdom Regional Champion, was three time European Champion consecutively, and was in the top 3 of the British National and Great Britain championships. He was also an All Ireland and World Championships medal holder. He then started performing in international Irish dancing shows. Since then, Kevin lit up the stage in over 25 countries, thousands of venues and in front of millions of people from troupe to lead dancer and dance captain. Kevin is also a certified Irish dancing instructor with “An Coimisiun.” 

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Jenny Bailey-Murray  ~ is a certified Irish Dance teacher with “An Coimisiun” for 10 years. She started Irish dancing at the age of five and is originally from Downers Grove, Illinois.  She has placed in the top of her solo and team competitions all over the world. Jenny has held Regional and National titles as well as holding World Championship medals. She has been featured on many television stations and articles all over the world and has toured in international productions as lead dancer.

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Kevin & Jenny
After Jenny and Kevin finished their professional Irish dancing career, they first created and choreographed their own show Celtic Dream which toured the UK and Europe. Jenny and Kevin then started their international school, Bailey Murray Academy of Irish Dancing with locations in the Isle of Man, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and now they are excited to open up in Illinois! Their school has been successful in training their pupils who held Regional, National, and World medals

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Claire Miller has been dancing for over ten years at Jo's Footwork Studio. She has been trained in Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop. Ms. Miller has also been teaching for 2 years and assisting for 5. Claire will be a freshman at Belmont University in the fall of 2019 majoring in Global Leadership and minoring in dance.