Zunker is Co-Artistic Director Emerita of River North Chicago Dance Company. From 1990 – 2001 Sherry was an Artistic Director of River North Dance Chicago (RNDC). As Artistic Director she choreographed numerous works for the company, one of them being the signature piece "Reality of a Dreamer," which also became the finale piece for the award-winning televised documentary of the same name. Sherry also commissioned the work of many choreographers to compile the company’s diverse, engaging repertoire. Zunker also created River North Chicago’s dance education program for inner city schools entitled “Street Beat”. This program exposed how trends in American culture affect the ever- changing face of American jazz dance. In addition to the works she created for River North Sherry has choreographed and set her dance pieces on many dance companies including the Joffrey Ballet and Giordano Dance Chicago, and most recently on Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre.
Sherry is also the founder of BeMoved®, a company passionate about sharing the joy of dance with people of all movement abilities. Her belief that movement expressed through dance and music has a transformative power that enriches lives inspired her to create BeMoved. Currently BeMoved has trained over 100 instructors serving communities in 13 states as well as provinces in Canada and the UK. In addition to BeMoved, Sherry’s teaching career spans over 40 years. She has taught for many universities, dance companies, festivals, intensive workshops and predominant dance institutions.
Before taking on the roles of director and choreographer, Zunker had a diverse performance career. She danced with Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, was a principal dancer with Giordano Dance Chicago, worked with Bob Fosse as a soloist in “Dancin',” and also danced under choreographer’s Ann Reinking and Chet Walker in the Goodman Theatre’s production of “Pal Joey.” Zunker has also danced in many musical stage productions, commercials and films including “The Blues Brothers” and “A League of Their Own”.
Elijah Gibson -
Elijah Alhadji Gibson is currently on faculty at Sam Houston State University. Mr. Gibson joined Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago in 2000 where he performed for eight years. He has worked with or performed the works of the late Gus Giordano, Margo Sappington, Christopher Huggins, Jon Lehrer, Mia Michaels, Liz Imperio, Randy Duncan, Tony Powell, Ron De Jesus, and Davis Robertson among many others. He has performed and taught throughout the United States as well as in Germany, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Latvia, Spain, Ecuador, Canada, and Mexico. Mr. Gibson has served on the faculties of the Jazz Dance World Congress, Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Leon Dance Arts NY, Embrace Dance Convention, and Key West Modern Dance just to name a few. Dance companies have performed his choreography nationally and internationally and he has been fortunate to dabble in every aspect of the arts from dance, theater, and film.
Jeremy Finney -
Jeremy (Jwrecks) Finney has been dancing since he could walk. Completely self-taught until the age of 21, he has developed a style all his own. As the lead choreographer for the professional performance group TigerStyle!, his choreography has been seen across the nation. He has choreographed for crews like TigerStyle!, LostBoyz and StyleJunkies, as well as numerous professional and college level dance teams. Jeremy has choreographed for companies like MTV, Radio Disney, Garmin, 95.7 The Vibe, Cumulous Broadcasting Dallas Cowboys,Brisk, Numerous Recording artists, and many others.
He has performed on America’s Best Dance Crew - the Live Tour, MTV, as well as with many major recording artists like Tech N9ne, Talib Kweli, Kris Love, Ace, Pomeroy, Rev Run, Dolewite and Spaceballers. He has been featured in many national commercials including some for NCAA, Garmin,Brisk and Iowa State Lottery. He is an accomplished Bboy and Freestyle HipHop dancer, having won several competitions nationwide. He has been featured in articles in Urban Times Magazine, Dance Studio life Magazine, and along with TigerStyle was selected by Ink Magazine as one of Kansas Cities’ Hottest People Places or Things of 2010.
He is familiar with many forms of dance including Hip Hop, Popping, Locking, Bboying, House, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, and Modern and incorporates these styles into his choreography. He focuses on telling a story, moving inside the music, and presenting a character. His sense of musicality, creative movement, and technical attention to detail makes his choreography stand apart. His seamless transitions and smooth movements give his choreography a flow that is unlike any other. He believes that dance should come from the soul. It’s not always about how it looks, its about how it feels.
James Monroe Števko -
At 18, James discovered dance through musical theater. Dropping his music education major in college, he transformed himself into a dancer in those 4 years, landing his first job in Milwaukee Ballet II. Since then, he’s continued to become a sought after dancer and singer in America’s top musical theater houses, including performing alongside the Rockette’s in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Maintaining a regular performing and teaching schedule, he pushes his students to meld their passion with their technique, drawing from his experience spanning from Balanchine staples to work with Broadway choreographers. jmstevko.com
Ballet Intensive Master Faculty:
Margo Sappington -
Come work with a Master who brought rock and roll to the ballet world! Stretch your ballet technique towards the extreme and learn how to take your pointe work to new and fabulous heights that meet the demands of our distinctive American Ballet World.
Margo Sappington, international choreographer/director, a Texan, began her professional career dancing with the Joffrey Ballet in New York at the age of 17, and her choreographic career at age 21. She has created works for ballet, opera and theater companies throughout the USA and Canada, South America, Europe, China and Kazakhstan. The companies include, Joffrey Ballet, (New York/Chicago), Pennsylvania Ballet, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Ballets Jazz de Montreal. Abroad she has created for Ballet du Capitole, Ballet du Nord, Ballet de Bourdeaux (France), ATERballetto (Italy), Ballet Nuevo Mundo and Rajatabla Danza (Venezuela), and Nederlands Dans Theater. Sappington was the first American choreographer to create a new work for the National Ballet of China (Beijing) and a new full-length ballet for the Abai Opera and Ballet Theater, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Ms. Sappington is known in America as an innovator for the use of popular music for ballet, beginning with her first ballet, WEEWIS, for the Joffrey Ballet to an original score for orchestra and rock group. Her other collaborators have included Prince, BILLBOARDS, William Shatner, COMMON PEOPLE, ZUZU LOUNGE, music by Esquivel and SHED YOUR SKIN, a collaboration with the group Indigo Girls performing live onstage.
She has choreographed for Broadway (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), grand opera, and numerous music videos and commercials. Ms. Sappington served as Artistic Director for the American Dance Machine for the 21st Century from February 2012 through July 2015.
Christopher Constantini -
Christopher Costantini, a native of Milan, Italy, started his dance training at Princeton Ballet School, at the age of 12. After attending summer courses at American Ballet Theatre in New York City, he completed his pre-professional studies at San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship. Upon graduation, he appeared with the Paris Opera Ballet in Maurice Béjart’s Bolero for the company’s 2012 North American tour. Mr. Costantini subsequently joined Oregon Ballet Theatre, where he danced for two years. Mr. Costantini joined Kansas City Ballet in 2014 and has had the pleasure of performing in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Val Caniparoli’s The Lottery, Devon Carney’s The Nutcracker, Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland.
Alexis Borth -
Alexis Borth was born in Minneapolis, MN, and spent her younger years in Australia. After her time abroad, she received training from many instructors over the years including: Paula Weber, Devon Carney, Nadia Thompson, Nancy Bielski, Alexandra Wells, Laura Bernasconi, and Willy Burmann. She graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the Conservatory of Music & Dance at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, which propelled her into her performances with Kansas City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Quixotic, and performances of George Balanchine’s Serenade at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Borth has also performed in many works by: Dwight Rhoden, Aszure Barton, Ray Mercer, and Cindy Salgado of Kidd Pivot.
Her additional training includes Ballet Austin, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Forsythe Improvisation/Choreography Techniques, to name a few. In 2014 and 2012, Alexis had the honor of performing at the National Gala for the American College Dance Festival at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., which honors the nation’s top Conservatory and College dancers.
Alexis has worked with world-renowned choreographers and dancers such as Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson, Artistic Directors of Complexions Contemporary Ballet; Devon Carney, Artistic Director of Kansas City Ballet; Roy Kaiser, Artistic Director Emeritus of Pennsylvania Ballet; Ramona de Saa, Director of Escuela Nacional de Ballet, Cuba; and Joysanne Sidimus of the National Ballet of Canada.
She is currently performing freelance work bicoastal with San Francisco and New York City, as well as around the country. Some of her highlighted credits include performing with Complexions Contemporary Ballet for their season performances in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, at The Metropolitan Opera House for Alexei Ratmansky’s The Golden Cockerel, and at Fort Mason Theater for Dance Theater of San Francisco's 5th season with world premieres.
Whitney Huell -
Whitney Huell trained at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities under the tutelage of Stanislav Issaev and Robert Barnett. She then attended Indiana University, Bloomington where she earned a B.S. in Ballet Performance and Psychology before joining Ballet West in Salt Lake City, UT. In her seasons with Ballet West, she enjoyed performing featured roles in Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Petit Mort and Balanchine’s Jewels. In January 2011 she was featured as one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch and was also featured in the September 2012 issue of Pointe Magazine. In 2014 she joined the Kansas City Ballet becoming only the second African American ballerina to perform with the company in its 60 year history. With Kansas City Ballet, Ms. Huell has performed works by Amy Seiwert, Edward Liang, Val Caniparoli and Jerome Robbins. She has been featured as the Caterpillar in Septime Webre’s Alice (in Wonderland), Moyna in Devon Carney’s version of Giselle, 3rd Theme in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, and Snow Queen in Devon Carney’s production of The Nutcracker.