Our coaches will set goals to develop student's talent, commitment, discipline, and team spirit. The Plainfield Dance Academy Instructors are adamant in encouraging students to pursue their dreams in dance as well as in life.
Mommy & Me
Assistant Director/Ballet Mistress
Olena started dancing at the age of 3, at the Kyianochka Choreographic Gymnasium, a special school in her native Kyiv, where she learned diverse art disciplines. She later studied at the Kyiv Choreographic College, where she concentrated on Choreography and received a diploma with honors with a qualification as Artist of Ballet and Teacher of Professional Disciplines. Her Graduate Degree comes from the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, where she received a Master Level in Philology. Olena is also fluent in English, Ukrainian, and Russian languages.
Miss Olena, as the students refer to her, has participated with numerous Professional Ballet Companies as a Soloist and Demi-Soloist all around the world, including the Kyiv National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre, and the Royal Russian Ballet, just to name a few. She also toured around the USA and Canada with the Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker for four years. For two of those years, she was also Audition Director for the Great Russian Nutcracker Children’s Cast. She taught approximately 2,000 children in 40 cities! In addition, she was the Assistant Choreographer to Nataliya Tkachuk for the performance of Seven Deadly Sins, Mankind, and Love.
Emilie Hatzl received her training from the school of the Salt Creek Ballet under the direction of Patricia Sigurdson. Emilie continued her education and dance training at Northern Illinois University where she earned her BFA in Dance Performance on a talented student scholarship under the direction of Randall Newsom, Judith Chitwood and Paula Frasz. At Northern she performed leading roles in classical works such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, and Sleeping Beauty. Upon graduating as the department’s Dean’s Award winner and under the direction of Alun Jones Emilie joined the Louisville Ballet Company for one season as a trainee, followed by two seasons with Frank Galvez and The Lexington Ballet. Emilie became a cast member of Royal Caribbean International and traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean, Canada, all of the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Upon returning to Chicago she performed with RASA Dance Theatre under the direction of Van Collins and later the Chicago Ballet with Paul Abrahamson while teaching throughout the Chicagoland area.
Master Guest Dance Instructor
Maeghan McHale, named one of Dance Magazine's “Top 25 to Watch” in 2010, was born in Baltimore, MD. She studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts where she performed works by David Parsons, David Grenke, and John Clifford. She received a full scholarship to Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she performed with the Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble. 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 2005 Maeghan received a full scholarship to GDS, and in 2006 became a performing apprentice. 2007 marked her first season with GDC, making this Maeghan’s twelfth season as a company member with Giordano Dance Chicago. Along with establishing herself as a well-recognized dancer, she has grown as a teacher and choreographer. Her work set on the Giordano II, 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 2018 YAGP granted her her third Outstanding Choreographer Award; with this recognition comes the opportunity to travel to the prestigious Bolshoi in Russia and set her choreography there.
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. In November 2015 she was on faculty for CNADM during their fall workshop in IL. She is certified in Basic, Beginning, and Intermediate Levels of the NGCP® for the Giordano Technique
Master Guest Dance Instructor
Joseph Morrissey became the Director of Dance at Interlochen Center for the Arts after serving as Director of Artistic Planning and Touring for The Hong Kong Ballet.
Morrissey holds a Master of Arts in Performing Arts Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Classical Ballet from The Jacob’ School of Music at Indiana University. He is a graduate of The Harid Conservatory and furthered his classical ballet training at summer programs including the Royal Ballet School in London and the Houston Ballet Academy. He has danced with the Bavarian State Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theatre, and Boston Ballet II.
Morrissey has twice been invited to choreograph for the Stuttgart Ballet's Noverre Society. He has also been selected to participate in the New York Choreographic Institute, in which he worked with dancers at the School of American Ballet and musicians from The Juilliard School. In 2017 Morrissey was invited to participate in Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet's ChoreoPlan, and his work has been presented with Roberto Bolle and Friends from American Ballet Theatre throughout Italy and Sicily. Morrissey has also choreographed for the Festival Ballet d'Adriatico held in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, and the Inside/Out performance series presented by The School of Ballet at Jacob’s Pillow, a program of which he is a two-time alumnus.
From 2012-2013, Morrissey was the Director of CORPS, a pre-professional classical ballet-training program for high school students affiliated with the Portland School of Ballet in Maine. He has been a guest instructor for Ballet Preljocaj and Spellbound Contemporary Ballet, and completed the Vaganova Methodology Seminar held at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2015, Morrissey was selected to participate in the Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training sponsored by the American Express Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Morrissey currently sits on the jury for the Riga International Choreographic Competition held annually in Riga, Latvia.
Devon is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher originally from Naperville, Illinois. She is a graduate from nationally accredited Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Devon has performed works by Peter Chu, Eddie Ocampo, Rennie Harris, Joseph Hernandez, and international choreographer Ohad Naharin. Devon is currently dancing for Hot Crowd, a nonprofit dance company based in Chicago under the direction of founder and artistic director Emily Ashburn. Devon has performed around the U.S. at various festivals and venues including Washing D.C’s Kennedy Center. Devon consistently teaches throughout suburban Illinois. Between her jazz fundaments, trick turns and leap progressions, her grounded and hard-hitting contemporary movement, and owner of her own dance team consulting business she still manages to travel weekends to judge and teach at various competition organizations. This summer will be her eighth year with Universal Dance Association and her third year as a USASF qualified Legality Official. Her choreography has taken home multiple awards and high placements at both studio and IHSA state competitions. Devon is very excited to be a part of faculty and work with the technical dancers of Plainfield Dance Academy.
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Kathy began her professional dance career at the age of ten with the Chicago Tribune and Ruth Page Foundation, performing in the Nutcracker as Clara. Her childhood training started with legendary Chicago teachers, including Bentley Stone, Walter Camryn, Deloris Lipinski, Larry Long, and the Ruth Page Chicago Ballet. She was later invited to train with the Indianapolis Ballet, performing original choreography from artistic director Dace Dininois.
Kathy continued her education and dance training at Northern Illinois University, where she completed her B.A. in Theatre-Dance Performance. Upon audition was awarded full scholarship. She has performed leading roles in classical works such as Paquita, Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker. She studied under Randall Newsome, Margaret Faust, Melissa Hale, Jere Tulk and Lila Dole. While at N.I.U. she was invited to perform in the gala performance of the American College Dance Festival and received the department’s Talent Award upon graduation. She was also trained in modern dance with emphasis in Martha Graham Technique.
Kathy has been a faculty member of PDA staff for three years.
Arlette "Chelly" Benzinger
With dance roots in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, where she performed as a child for the acclaimed choreographer Sophie Sanfiorenzo, it is easy to see how Chelly got her unique” flavorful” style. She studied the performing arts at NIU, where she concentrated in ballet and modern dance. For over 20 years, Chelly has taught Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip hop, Ballet, Latin Dance and Tap to children and adults of all ages. She has worked for Geneva Dance Academy, Dance Dimensions in Bolingbrook, Center for the Arts in Bolingbrook, the Bolingbrook Park District (as Assistant Director for the acclaimed DanceForce and Manager of the Power Dance Project) and the C.W. Avery YMCA in Plainfield (as Artistic Director/Founder of the Y Dance Ensemble/Thrive Dance Program). Her choreography has been seen at NIU through Northern Dance Theater, Orchesis , Dança Quente (Latin Dance Group) and as a freelance artist in many Chicagoland venues including choreographing for Radio Disney recording artist Amanda Garland. Her most recent accomplishment as a professional dancer was performing and choreographing for recording artist Petra Luna where she also made her debut as a singer/songwriter. Chelly is also a certified yoga instructor and she incorporates that knowledge into her programs. A Plainfield resident, she is also a dedicated, loving wife and mother of two.
Molly began dancing when she was 12 and has been training with Plainfield Dance Academy for 5 years. She is trained in ballet, contemporary, character, jazz and modern. She competed in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) 2 years, dancing ballet variations and ensemble pieces with Wheatland Dance Theater company. Along with competing, she has been in multiple Wheatland Dance Theater performances including, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, La Fille Mal Gardee, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Winter of 2014 she had the amazing opportunity to perform the role of Arabian, alongside the Moscow’s Great Russian Nutcracker professional dancers. Other than training at her local studio, Molly attended Cincinnati Ballet’s Collegiate Intensive, summer of 2019. She studied many new styles there including, musical theater, hip hop and modern (horton technique). She also learned the importance of music and the details of choreography during the intensive. Molly, recently began teaching pre-ballet and tap classes at the studio. She is also teaching ballet classes with the Naperville Park District.
Mommy & Me
Myrria began her dance training at the age of 7 with a focus on ballet, jazz and tap. At the age of 14 she began training under Madame Beata Sorell, formerly of the Paris Opera Ballet. She later became a member of the Sorell Ballet Ensemble, performing as a soloist in works such as Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphide, Aida, Le Pas de Quatre, and others. In addition to performance training, Myrria enjoyed the opportunity to assist in teaching classes.
After several years working as a model and focusing time on raising her children, Myrria returned to dance as a teacher and continues to add new skills and cross-training techniques to her repertoire. She has been sharing her love of ballet in the Chicago suburbs for over 14 years in recreational and pre-professional dance schools inspiring all her dance students to reach their potential with a focus on fundamental technical training for ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern and core strengthening.