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Rise Alumni

Rise Dance Center has had the privilege of being home to many talented students over the years.  Nothing makes us happier than to see our students develop a passion for dance and to continue to pursue it after graduating from high school.  With so many professional options in the dance world, it is so exciting to see everything that our alumni is pursuing in college and beyond!


Tara Charvat

Schaumburg High School, 2014

Major in Dance, Western Michigan University

Tara Charvat graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BFA in dance from Western Michigan University in 2018 where she trained in ballet, pointe, modern, and jazz styles. During her time there, she had the privilege of performing works by historical and renowned choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Marius Petipa, Antony Tudor, Lew Christensen, Frank Chavez, and Brian Enos. She has recently attended summer training programs with BODYTRAFFIC, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Big Muddy Dance Company, Inaside Dance Chicago, and DanceWorks Chicago. Charvat aspires to perform professionally within the contemporary, jazz, and modern dance genres while expanding her networks and work experience in Chicago or Los Angeles. 



Jordan Colovos

Schaumburg High School, 2011

Major in Dance, Western Michigan University

Jordan is a senior at Western Michigan University and receiving his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Dance. He is working on choreography for various shows including his graduation presentation in the spring. My post-graduation plans include moving to New York to pursue a career as a dancer and choreographer.  He would love to be on Broadway and ultimately join a contemporary ballet company!




Ashley Deran

Schaumburg High School, 2008

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Western Michigan University, 2012

After graduating from Western Michigan University, Ashley co-founded Project Bound Dance, a modern dance collaboration aiming to foster community engagement, dance/technology experimentation, and socially conscious performance. She regularly travels across the nation to teach master classes and to create new choreographic works for students and professionals alike.  Ashley’s choreography has been presented by numerous companies and festivals including Simantikos Dance Company, Glass City Films, Produce, RAD Festival, Fontana Chamber Arts, Inaside Chicago Dance, and Western Dance Project. She was also a recipient of the DCASE Individual Artist Award and Western Michigan's Legacy grant for collaborative art.  Ashley is currently on staff at Chicago Dance History Project, Applause Talent, and loves teaching at her students at Rise!



Chrissy Fee

Schaumburg High School, 2013

Dance Major, Ball State University

Chrissy is currently a junior at Ball State University with a major in dance and a minor in entrepreneurship.  She is continuing to expand her education in dance and wants to pursue her passion for teaching and choreographing. 



Gabby Fentem

Schaumburg High School, 2015

Major in Dance, Western Michigan University

Gabby is so excited to begin her college journey at Western Michigan University and continue on with her passion to dance!  She is currently a freshman and hopes to dance professionally after graduating, as either  a Rockette or in a Contemporary dance company. 


Marisa Grzeszkowiak

Schaumburg High School, 2011

Double Major in Dance and Communications, Western Michigan University

After graduating from high school, Marisa attended Harper College for 2 years, where she graduated in 2013 with an Associate of Arts degree. She then transferred to Western Michigan University where she is currently studying to earn her BA in Dance and Communication.  After graduating in the spring of 2016, Marisa is hoping to pursue a dance performance career.  She plans to apply for the Disney College Program and audition to become a performer in Walt Disney World. She is also open to auditioning for modern, contemporary and jazz companies around the United States.  While performing is one of her top priorities and passions, she also finds great joy in teaching dance.  She also plans on earning a 200-hr yoga teacher certification, which will allow her to teach and share her love for yoga, as well.  



Laura Sue Jensen

Conant High School, 2013

Communications Major, Leadership, Social Change, and Dance Minor, North Central College

Laura Sue is in her junior year at North Central College. At school, she is a member of the dance team which performs as all school and community events.  The team also attends NDA (National Dance Alliance) collegiate national championships in April!  She is also a member of Cardinal Dance Company, which allows students to choreograph dances for their performance.  It has been a blessing for Laura Sue to continue her dance career into college. 




 Kourtney Klemczak

 Conant High School, 2010

 Double major in Dance and Business, Western Michigan Univeristy, 2014

 Kourtney is currently teaching all styles of dance and choreographing for a competitive team. 


Allison Long

Schaumburg High School, 2013

BFA in Dance, Western Michigan University, 2017

After graduating from WMU, Allison moved to Pittsburgh to continue her education. She is currently a comprehensively certified Pilates Instructor at Club Pilates, and a Dance Instructor/Office Manager for DancExplosion Arts Center in Pittsburgh. She has taken all of her knowledge from Rise and WMU to grow DEAC by 50 students in the past year and develop an adult dance program that incorporates fitness into each class! She could not be more thankful for the education provided to her by Rise for her the 21 years of her career.


Jamie Martin

Lake Park High School, 2012

Exercise Science Major, Dance Minor, Western Michigan University. 

Currently as a senior WMU, Jamie is very active in the dance department. She is a student employee in the dance office assisting prospective dance students as well as marketing for the department.  She is an active member of Hip Hop ConnXion as well as Orchesis Dance Society.  After graduation in the spring of 2016, Jamie plans on attending graduate school for Occupational Therapy in hopes of working with children and incorporating dance in her therapy practice.



Lexi Ringquist

Schaumburg High School, 2016

Dance Major, Western Michigan University

Lexi is about to start her junior year at Western Michigan University as a B.A. dance major, soon to add a minor in biological sciences. So far in her college career, she has been involved with Hip Hop ConnXion Michigan and this year will also hold a position on the Orchesis Executive Board. After college, she wishes to pursue a career in performance.


Kelsey Townley

Schaumburg High School, 2011

Double Major, Dance and Dietetics, Western Michigan University

Kelsey is currently entering her fifth and final year at Western Michigan University.  She began her second degree when she realized she had another passion in life, food!  Her plan for post-graduation is to get accepted into an Accredited Dietetic internship with an emphasis in Clinical Nutrition.  After she completes her internship, she will take her RD exam to become a Registered Dietician.  Her long term goal includes getting her master's in the holistic health field, as well as educating herself about nutrition for dancers.  One day, she would love to combine her two worlds, dance and dietetics, to help dancers fuel their bodies as necessary so that they will have long and healthy careers!


Jen Wagner

Schaumburg High School, 2011

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Western Michigan University, 2015

Currently, Jen is teaching at Rise Dance Center as well as pursuing a performance career in Chicago. Her long-term goal is to move to San Francisco to perform and teach as well. 



Lindsay Zavala

Conant High School, 2009

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Communications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014

Following college graduation, Lindsay spent her summer in New York City as a student in Broadway Dance Center's Professional Semester Program. Upon returning home, she became a company member with Valerie Alpert Dance Chicago before auditioning and earning a spot on the Chicago Bulls professional dance team, the Chicago Luvabulls, in 2015. Lindsay enjoyed a successful tenure on the Luvabulls, including earning awards for Rookie of the Year and Veteran of the Year twice over, as well as traveling to Taiwan to perform for NBA China and becoming captain of the team for her third and final season. Currently, Lindsay is teaching dance in Chicago and anxiously awaiting her next dance performance opportunity!