MEET OUR STAFF
Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern
Melinda Wilson holds a M.Ed. from DePaul University (Chicago) and an M.A. from the University of Illinois with additional course work at Northwestern Illinois University. She has trained at Lou Conte Dance Studios, The Dance Center of Columbia College, the Joel Hall Dance Center, Moming Dance Center, Pineapples (London), The Dance Works (London), Centre de Danse de Paris (Goube of the Paris Opera Ballet), Batsheva Dance Company (Tel-Aviv), and Centre de Danse du Marias (Paris). Melinda has danced locally with David Dorfman, Urban Bush Women and Timothy Buckley. She has choreographed 15 full musicals, 6 full ballets, 13 dance concerts and over 37 concert dance pieces which have been performed and taught throughout the world. Her awards include the Golden Apple Award, Dance Chicago Outstanding Choreographer (New Voice) Award, three consecutive Suave Performance Plus Teacher Awards, two first place choreographic trophies from Barcelona Dance Grand Prix, Who’s Who Among Teachers, nine Oppenheimer Teacher Incentive Grants, Dance Teacher Magazine’s 2007 Honor Roll for Outstanding Teacher, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers for Exceptional Performance in the Motivation and Empowerment of Today’s Youth, BP+ Educational Grant Award Recipient, Katy Memorial Foundation, and the Successful Strategies Award for Dance Curricula (Volume IV). She is a member of International Dance Council CID-UNESCO, has served as a dance curriculum specialist for the Chicago Board of Education, a test writer for the Illinois Board of Education’s Dance Certification section and a passing score reviewer for the National Evaluation Systems, Inc. She is a presenter for The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and travels throughout the world teaching master classes. Currently, Wilson is a teacher of Ballet, Modern and Jazz at The Lou Conte Dance Studios of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Dance Artistic Director at Curie Metropolitan High School for the Performing and Technical Arts.
Modern, Contemporary, Heels
Ethan Kirschbaum, originally from Oakland, CA, began his dance training under Pamm Drake’s Dance/10 Performing Arts Center, Reginald Ray-Savage, and the San Francisco Ballet School. He continued his training with scholarships to summer programs at Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School, and the Juilliard School. Travelling to New York City to attend the Ailey School/Fordham University B.F.A. program, Ethan graduated summa cum laude with departmental honors in dance performance. While in his junior year, he joined Hubbard Street 2, dancing and teaching workshops around the globe while concurrently completing his degree. He has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, worked with Nacho Duato, danced in the Holland Dance Festival as well as at New York City Center and the Apollo Theater, and been on faculty at The Ailey School and the Lou Conte Dance Studio. In 2011 Ethan moved to Saarbrücken, Germany to dance with Donlon Dance Company at the Saarländisches Staatstheater under the direction of Marguerite Donlon. He is currently on faculty at Lou Conte Dance Studio and in his fourth season performing with River North Dance Chicago.
Latin Jazz, Dance Theatrical
Wilfredo Rivera most recently collaborated with the Goodman on Electricidad during the 2003/2004 Season. He is co-artistic director of the Cerqua Rivera Art Experience (CRAE) and a native of Honduras, Central America. He is a founding member and former soloist of River North Dance Chicago, and was featured in the Emmy-awarded television special Reality of a Dreamer. He has been a featured dancer in music videos for recording artists like Valentina and Jamie Principal and has performed in productions featuring Diana Ross, Oprah Winfrey, Liza Minelli and Ven Green. As a choreographer, Chicago credits include Nagasaki Dust and The Sleep of Reason at Bailiwick; Cabaret, South Pacific and A Christmas Carol at the Metropolis Arts Center; Sing Me a Love Song, The Pajama Game and Cabaret at Columbia College; and various productions at the Ruth Page Dance Center, Chopin Theater and Dance Center of Columbia College, among others. Mr. Rivera is a recipient of an After Dark Award for CRAE’s premiere of American Plan and a Jeff Citation for Bailiwick’s Nagasaki Dust. Mr. Rivera serves as guest artist and choreographer for Springfield Ballet Co., the Pensacola Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet School. Most recent productions include The Fantasticks at the Metropolis, Othello and Composition Notebook at Columbia College and CRAE appearances at the Atheneaum Theater. Mr. Rivera is a faculty member at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and is currently working on CRAE summer concerts at the Dance Center of Columbia College.
Hip Hop & DJ
Chris Courtney has been dancing Hip-Hop style of choreography since the year 2000. He started off as a B-Boy in 1998, and decided to educate himself in other styles of Hip-Hop dance. He began teaching in 2001 with the international Hip-Hop dance troupe Culture Shock Chicago (CSC). He later taught B-Boy breakdance Urban Styles and Forms at Columbia College Chicago, and has been an instructor at the Old Town School since 2002. He has performed onstage with the likes of Stick and Move, Culture Shock Chicago, Life, Five Star Boogie, Formations, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Ce Ce Penniston, Camron, Common, and Kanye West.
Amy has been a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools district for 14 years, and started studying ballet as an adult beginner in 2015. She recently studied at the Royal Danish Ballet School in Copenhagen, Denmark, and performed selections from La Sylphide at the Det Ny Theater in 2019. She studies all over the city, including at the Ruth Page School of Dance, the Joffrey Ballet, Visceral, and Glenwood Dance Studio. She also performs in community showcases and dance festivals throughout Chicago.
Anna Sullivan graduated high school in May of 2020. She is currently taking a gap year and plans to attend the University of Iowa in the fall of 2021. She is planning to study Communications and Social Work. During high school, she was involved in the business crew for the school’s drama club and helped to design flyers and help with marketing. She was also involved in her school’s Bulldog Buddy program, which is a program that involves helping out in the school’s special education classroom. Anna also volunteers at GiGi’s Playhouse, which is the only network of Down Syndrome Achievement Centers. For the summer of 2019 and virtually in 2020, Anna worked as a volunteer at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky assisting with their children’s history summer camps. Anna has been dancing recreationally since she was a child and loves to dance to express herself and just have fun!
Events and Headshots