• paul

  • Paul Abrahamson

    Director, Master Teacher

    Paul received the major part of his ballet training while he was on full scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. He performed professionally with Joffrey Ballet II, American Ballet Theatre, Bejart’s Ballet of the XXth Century, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Radio City Music Hall. After joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in 1986, he choreographed two short ballets, and was asked by Artistic Director, Patricia Wilde to create a new work for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. That request made Mr. Abrahamson the first Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre dancer ever commissioned for its subscription series.

    Mr. Abrahamson’s choreographic talents first gained international attention after winning first place at international choreographic competitions in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1994, Mr. Abrahamson choreographed a three-act version of Robin Hood that premiered at the National Opera House in La Havana, Cuba. The following year, he was the first American ballet teacher to go through the teacher training program and has become an advocate for the Cuban syllabus. Mr. Abrahamson has taught and had his works performed in Spain, Finland, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and throughout the United States.

    Mr. Abrahamson founded the Chicago Ballet in 2001. In 2005, he opened the school of Chicago Ballet in Logan Square.  In 2014, the Chicago Ballet Center moved to Portage Park.

  • Alison Rootberg

    Community Programs Director

    Alison Rootberg is an educator and artist whose primary focus is in dance, yoga and technology. She completed her MFA in Dance and Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts. Rootberg also has a BFA in Dance and a BS in Inter-Arts and Technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed her 200 hour yoga certification in 2011.

    While in Los Angeles, Rootberg developed/initiated new class curriculum for over 60 public and private schools. She also taught art/technology classes at over 30 public and private schools.

    Since returning to Chicago in 2010, she has taught/developed programming for grades PreK-12 for over 100 Chicago Public Schools. Rootberg has also taught/developed workshops for hundreds of students at the Allstate Arena, Mayor Daley’s Book Club Conference, Millennium Park and the Taste of Chicago. Additionally, she has taught at CorePower Yoga, Jewish Child and Family Services, Lurie Children’s Hospital, Rock Solid Health, Roosevelt University, and Zen Yoga Garage.

    Her work has been presented throughout the United States, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Rootberg was selected/attended the Sydney Kahn Summer Institute at the Kitchen in New York, the Music and Dance Exchange at Dartington College of Art in Devon (United Kingdom), and STEIM in Amsterdam (Netherlands) for a residency in the Electronic Performance Arts. She has also been accepted to and presented her work at the Artificial Reproduction Technologies Conference (NY), the Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival (WA), the International Computer Music Conference, the International Digital Media and Arts Conference, the MacWorld Conference, and the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Rootberg has served as a board member of the New West Electronic Arts and Music Organization (NWEAMO) and the Dance Resource Center (DRC).

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  • Shanti Kumari

    Yoga and Ballet

    Shanti Kumari Johnson born and raised in Mexico City has been dancing ballet since the age of 5. Her dancing studies have taken place at Les Grands ballets Canadiens, The Banff Center of Fine Arts, Rossella Hightower School of Dance in Cannes, Ballet Nacional De La Habana, Academia de Ballet de Coyoacan, Les Ballets Russes de Montreal, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Yamini Krishnamurthi in New Delhi, India among others. Some of her ballet master teachers and mentors have been: Isabel Avalos, Olga Lepisenskaya, Vanda Intini-Perrault, Larry Long, Xenia Kosorukov, Ludmilla Chiriaeff, Fernando Alonso, Ana Castillo. Shanti has danced for Ballet de La Ciudad De Mexico, Ballet Neo-Clasico de Latino America, Xing Ballet Company, Rene Highway And Dancers, Ballet Eddy Toussaint Boursieres. She has appeared as dance specialty for the major motion pictures: ‘Interview With The Vampire’ and ‘Hey Babe’ with Buddy Hackett. Her co-choreographic work has been nominated for Chicago Dance Achievement Awards in 2004. Shanti has choreographed over 81 choreographies many include a stron cultural emphasies. Her first published book of poetry was recognized by Forbes Book List as ‘New & Notable’ in 2005. Shanti is a Ceremonial Mexica Dancer and Singer and was a founding member of the Traditional Mexican Music Group: ‘Tarima’ as a foot stomper, singer and jarana (traditional string instrument) player. Shanti teaches yoga which she has been practicing since the age of 5 after her Mother instilled the love for yoga which has been passed on from her Brahmin maternal Grandfather who would rise daily at dawn to practice yoga poses, cleansing, chanting and recite shlokas. Shanti graduated from the Forrest Yoga Intensive Teacher Training and continúes to be inspired by master yoga teachers’ workshops as well as the self studies coming out of the Bihar School of Yoga. In honour of ‘The Year of Soil 2015’, Shanti has founded a programme that she currently teaches to children and adults entitled: ‘Yoga & Planting’ . This new programme encompasses the caring of our internal and external garden through all aspects of yoga as well as gaining knowledge and respect for the Plant Kingdom and the inevitable bio-unity we share through recieveing it’s life force. Shanti’s writings may be found from time to time in the ezine: www.montrealserai.ca For more information you’re welcome to visit the site: www.shantikumari.com

  • Brittany Harlin

    Hip Hop

    Brittany Harlin began her dance journey in Naperville, IL with Jazz. She later switched focus to Hip Hop and has been exploring its movement along with other street styles ever since. She has danced for Hip Hop ConnXion, Boom Crack! Dance Company, 2XS Element, Establish Your Empire, and Chicago’s first Hip Hop International Mega Crew, The Go. She has had the opportunity to work with various local and national choreographers and has had the pleasure of choreographing for various projects including Kiss FM’s Fantabuloso featuring Carly Rae Jepsen. In March of 2014, she founded Chicago Urban Dance Collective, a multidisciplinary professional dance ensemble.

    Her aesthetic combines urban dance styles such as House, Hip Hop, Waacking, and Vogue with Modern Dance movement quality. Brittany continues to train in Chicago and Los Angeles to continue to work on her craft as being a well-rounded performer and choreographer. Her teaching credits include school enrichment programs from River North Dance Chicago and The Chicago Ballet’s Urban Dance Program, UNO Charter School’s Artist in Residence, Visceral Dance Center, The Lab Dance Studio, Establish Your Empire workshops, as well as various master classes and intensives in the Chicagoland area. Her teaching method includes introducing students to intention, history, movement quality, use of space, then technique and applied choreography to create smart, conscious dancers who can then create and express for themselves.


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  • Rosetta-Fair

  • Rosetta Fair

    Early Childhood Development

    Rosetta Fair has been teaching dance and working in CPS for over 5 years. She teaches in dance studios and schools across the Chicago-land area. Known as Ms. Rose, she holds a B.S. in Education from DePaul University, and trained extensively at the Joel Hall Dancers & Center where she studied Urban Jazz, Ballet, and Modern (Horton-based and Graham-based). She’s also studied at workshops and intensives at the Academy of Music & Movement, Hyde Park School of Dance, the Katherine Dunham Technique Seminar, and Deeply Rooted Community Ensemble.
    Rosetta has been a company member with the Joel Hall Dancers, under the artistic leadership of Joel Hall, for the past 2 ½ performance seasons. She has danced with Tamboula Ethnic Dance Company, under the artistic leadership of Daniel Desir, performing Haitian folkloric dance. She has also performed for Khalidah Kali, Artistic Director of North African Dance Experience, as well as various other freelance projects in dance and modeling. Rosetta enjoys working with youth and strives to engage students by encouraging and motivating them to strive to reach their potential. Her patience and passion for teaching allows her to help students challenge themselves and experience success. She is not only concerned with the dancer, but with the development of the whole person.

  • Tiffany Lawson


    Tiffany Lawson: earned her B.F.A. from Millikin University. While at Millikin, Tiffany was a teacher’s assistant for modern dance and movement for actors. She also lived in the Dominican Republic, teaching dance in an orphanage in Santo Domingo. After graduation, Tiffany toured professionally 4 seasons with Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre, for whom she was a director/actor, training assistant and taught in the company’s workshop series. In 2005 Tiffany settled in Chicago and since has taught for dozens of studios and companies in the Chicagoland area, including but not limited to, Talent Forum in Libertyville, Governor’s State University, and Stage Door Fine Arts. She has been ballet coach since 2010 for Buffalo Grove Gymnastics, where her students compete at the highest levels up to Elite/Olympic level. She is dance for musical theatre instructor for Sage Studio, the training program of equity theatre house William Street Rep. Professionally, Tiffany was a founding company member of Innervation Dance Cooperative’s touring branch, SPEAKS, where she was Touring & Outreach Coordinator for 6 seasons. Tiffany was Touring Manager & Ballet Mistress of Renegade Dance Architects for 4 seasons. Now she is Artistic Director of Tiffany Lawson Dance (sponsored by PAL) www.tiffany-lawson.com. Tiffany has been teaching and running the Ballet/Pointe program for Performing Arts Limited (PAL) since 2012. Her students have attended prestigious programs like Ballet Chicago, Walnut Hill Conservatory and Joffrey Ballet of New York.

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  • Deborah

  • Deborah Byczkowski

    Early Childhood Development

    Deborah “Miss Dee” Byczkowski is a Chicago native Dance Teaching Artist who got her start studying the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus. She graduated with a BFA in Dance Pedagogy from Columbia College Chicago where she had the opportunity to assistant teach under Sarah Schafer and Margi Cole. She has worked as a Dance Teaching Artist for Momentum Performing Arts, Center for Community and Arts Partnership, River North Dance Chicago and Forward Momentum Chicago exploring the language of dance through scientific exploration. She is certified to teach both the American Academy of Ballet and Revolutionary Principles of Movement syllabus. She has performed in works by Jennifer Archibald, Michel Rodriguez, Taisha Pagget, Trae Turner, Laboratory Dancers, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, ISH (Chicago residency) and is currently performing with Reveries in Motion Inc. This is her first year teaching at Chicago Ballet Center.

  • Nikki Mahone

    Early Childhood Development

    Niki (Wilk) Mahon has been dancing and teaching professionally throughout the Chicagoland area for over 15 years. Growing up just outside of Chicago, Niki studied dance at the Turning Point Dance Studio, Lou Conte Dance Studio, Joel Hall Dance Center, and Columbia College. She is a former Chicago Honeybear and Adrenaline Rush Dancer and current co-director of Matter Dance Company. Her work and choreography can be seen in commercials, filmed by The Second City Chicago, and on local stages, such as Stage 773. Niki holds a B.A. in Theatre with a minor in Dance from Northeastern Illinois University, and a M.A. in Teaching Physical Education and Dance from Concordia University. Niki truly enjoys sharing her love of dance and activity with students of all ages and strives to create a fun, safe, and comfortable environment where her students can explore the art while developing self-awareness, focus, and drive.

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