2015 Fall Faculty

Alex BlackAlex Black grew up dancing at his family owned dance studio, Dean/Black School of Performing Arts, in Midland Michigan. When he was fourteen Alex was hired to dance with the Minnesota Dance Theatre, where he performed the Nutcracker for two years. Alex won several scholarships and titles, including Mr. Teen Dance Explosion for West Coast Dance Explosion. Alex was also a featured dancer for the Hip Hop choreographer Shane Sparks in Los Angeles at Carnival. Alex began auditioning for Broadway shows and landed a role in the North American tour of the Broadway show Movin’ Out, choreographed by Twyla Tharp. After the tour ended, Alex began dancing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Alex continues teaching master classes and workshops throughout Canada and the United States. Tabitha and Napoleon of NappyTabs, Shane Sparks, John Crutchman, Alan Shirfield and Jamie J. are a few of the most influential choreographers Alex has worked with. Alex has also been a guest choreographer for several competitive dance studios in Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico, Michigan and Canada. Alex’s love for teaching drives him to continue educating dancers of all ages.

Jay FaganJay Fagan, from Chicago, has performed, taught, and choreographed worldwide. He has been trained by the very best tap dancers in the business, including Lane Alexander, Gregory Hines, Henry LaTang, Sam Weber and Savion Glover. His polished performances have been seen by the President of the United States, Kupio Dance Festival in Finland, Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, Canada Windsor Casino Showroom, Las Vegas’s Flamingo, Luxor and Suncoast Hotels, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Third Coast Rhythm Project, Soul To Sole Tap Festival, and more. He has taught all over the Chicago land area for over 20 years and is part owner of Jo’s Footwork Studio and The Dance Workshop. Jay has worked with Dance Educators of America, Dance Masters of America, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Dance Olympus, Starquest, Chicago Dance Connection, Texas Association of Teachers and Dance, British Association of Teachers of Dancing, Sheer Talent and more. A recipient of both the Presidential Scholar Award and the American Dance Award, Jay has danced with AM/FM Dance Company, Especially Tap Chicago, Sarah Savelli/Jay Fagan Project and Sibling Rivalry.

Nan GiordanoNan Giordano, Artistic Director of Giordano Dance Chicago since 1993, was trained by her father, Gus Giordano, who created the world-renowned Giordano Technique. Developer of the Nan Giordano Certification ProgramSM, Nan is the world’s preeminent authority on the continuance of the Giordano Technique. After her performing career, Nan became Associate Director of GDC. Nan teaches master classes throughout the U.S., and has toured internationally as guest teacher in many countries including Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, and more. Nan received the Manford Byrd Jr. Wizard of Oz Award for Outstanding Service from Howland School of the Arts. Nan is Artistic Director of Jazz Dance World Congress (JDWC), an event that draws dancers, choreographers, and teachers from around the world, and has been held at many national and international sites. She served three years on the Illinois Arts Council Dance Panel and also served on the Community Arts Assistance Program Dance Panel for the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs. She currently serves on the International Ballet Competition, National Honorary Committee and the Advisory Board for Dance Magazine.

Niki Pennington GradyNiki Pennington Grady is on faculty at Ann Carroll School of Dance in Franklin, Tennessee, where she has taught ballet, jazz, and tap for 15 years. She started the lyrical program at ACSD in 2003 and has consistently built her lyrical companies competitively and artistically, winning top awards for her lyrical choreography each year. Niki is also the Director of Dance at Battle Ground Academy, where she runs the middle and high school dance classes for the Fine Arts Department as well as coaches BGA’s two dance teams. Niki grew up in Kentucky where she traveled and competed as a member of the River Cities Dance Company in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and musical theatre. While a member of RCDC, Niki also danced in yearly performances of “The Nutcracker”. She earned her degree in Commercial Entertainment from Columbia State, and while there performed in the productions “Fame” and “Working” under the direction of Ann Carroll. Niki travels the country as a guest teacher and choreographer for private studios, schools and conventions such as Southern Association of Dance Masters and Dance Teacher United. She is extremely passionate about helping her students to express themselves freely through the art of dance.

Stacy Joy KellerStacy Joy Keller began her ballet training at the Classical Ballet Center of Tampa with Haydee Gutierrez, and she continued to study ballet in summer programs with the San Francisco Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Point Park University. Keller then received the Ruth Eckerd Hall Youth’s scholarship award. She next joined the Sarasota Ballet and performed in roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy, the title role in Cinderella, Swan Lake (Pas de Trois), Balanchine’s Apollo (Calliope), and Giselle (Peasant Pas de deux). It was afterwards that Stacy was a part of The Joffrey Ballet from 1999 until she retired in 2011. While a part of The Joffrey Ballet, some notable roles Stacy played included Clara in The Nutcracker, Chorito in Joffrey’s Pas Des Deesses, fast pas de deux in Arpino’s Suite Saint Saëns, the Debutante in Offenbach in the Underworld and the American Girl in Parade. She also appeared in Robert Altman’s 2003 film The Company, and has instructed and choreographed for Dancenter North, North Shore School of Dance, Dance Center of Evanston, and Chicago Ballet Arts. Stacy was previously a master instructor/choreographer for CNADM.

Juliana LehmanJuliana Lehman living in Nashville, has danced professionally with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Ballet Theatre of Chicago, Alma Dance Company, The Chicago Ballet, and the Civic Ballet of Chicago, performing in such highlights as James Klauser’s, “Surprise Symphony”, “Swan Lake”, and “The Nutcracker”, among others. While at Northern Illinois University as a part of Northern Dance Theatre, she was invited to perform Paquita Pas de Trois at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. As a member of the Houston Ballet, she performed in many classical full-length ballets, including “Romeo and Juliet.” She was awarded Miss CNADM, a Gus Giordano Scholarship from the Carey Rose Winski Competition and multiple scholarships at the Houston Ballet Academy. Her training includes completions of Cecchetti examinations Beginning through Advanced. She has found her hometown of Nashville inspiring in its dedication to her favorite art form, particularly from her teaching at Vanderbilt University and Dancer’s Edge in Brentwood. Juliana is delighted to bring further understanding to her classes and students Training through Balanced Body and continues her studies in Kinesiology at Lipscomb University.

Jon LehrerJon Lehrer, after only two years of training at the University of Buffalo, was asked to join the University’s highly acclaimed Zodiaque Dance Company. As a professional, Jon has danced with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Paul Sanasardo, John Passafiume Dancers, in Merv Griffin’s “Funderful” in Atlantic City, NJ, and the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. In 1997, Jon was hired into Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago and was promoted to Rehearsal Director and later Associate Director. In 2003, Jon had the honor of receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University at Buffalo’s Zodiaque Dance Company for his accomplishments as a dancer and choreographer, and in 2010 Jon was honored with CNADM’s Artistic Achievement Award for his excellence and artistry in concert dance. In 2015, Jon was given the Distinguished Alumni Award from University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. Most recently, Jon has created his own dance company called LehrerDance, and it showcases his unique choreography and definitive style. Jon’s extensive background in both the modern and jazz dance idioms fosters choreography that is organic, artistic, accessible and often humorous, reflecting life experience and the human condition.

Maeghan McHaleMaeghan McHale, named one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch in 2010, studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts. There she performed works by David Parsons, David Grenke, and John Clifford. While in New York, Maeghan studied at Steps on Broadway and performed with Extended Dance Company, as well as off-Broadway under the direction of Tony award winner Hinton Battle. She has also participated in the Jazz Dance World Congress, The Miss America Parade, and Dancers Responding to Aids Benefit. In 2007 Maeghan started with GDC, making this her eighth season. Her work, “The Winner Is” was performed in Dance Chicago. Her choreography was part of Youth America Grand Prix’s “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” tour. In May 2011 her choreography, “Angelica” was performed as part of Dancin’ Downtown at the Joyce where it received the Performance Award. In May 2013, her work “If” also won the Performance Award. Both pieces were included in Summer Stage in NYC. In June 2014 Ms. McHale had the honor of being on the School Faculty of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS teaching the Giordano Technique for two weeks.