INSTRUCTORS/COACHES

Ms. Karen

Founder, Coach

Karen Fitzsimons is the founder and owner of Dance Force Studios and has been in the dance world for over 42 years.  She earned a double degree in Elementary/Middle School Education and Special Education. Her Masters Degree is from Concordia University Chicago.  Karen has been dancing her whole life.  She was a member of her Middle, High School, and College Dance Team. Currently, she is a teacher in District 300 teaching Literature/Language Arts and Intervensions in reading.  She coached middle school dance for 31 years and developed the District 300 intramural dance program, where every girl could be a dancer.  In 2004 Karen opened the doors of Dance Force Studios in Huntley.  Her pom, hip hop and jazz teams hold numerous local, regional, state, and national titles.  Karen’s philosophy is that, “Everyone Can Dance.”  Which is why Dance Force Studios and NISRA, Northern Illinois Special Recreational Association, have joined forces to offer classes and a competitive team for children and adults with special needs.  

Ms Sonia

Coach, Instructor

Sonia started dancing at the age of three with the Beth Fowler School of Dance.  Currently she is a Lovable fot the Chicago Bulls.  She was trained in all styles of dance and was an elite dance company member for four years. A few of her favorite roles was Rose Queen in the Nutcracker, Emerald fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Cha Cha and a Pink lady in the Grease production, and many more. She got the opportunity performed in the Miss Illinois Pageant for two years.  Sonia was also on the Genoa-Kingston Dance Team all of her High school career. Was captain her senior year where they took 3rd place at state. Her most recent training was at the Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles, CA. She was able to work and learn from big artists such as Nick Demoura, Cj Salvador, Nick Lanzisera, King Guttah, Erica Klein and many more choreographers. She has been teaching for three years as she hopes to inspire and share her appreciation for dance and prepare them for a long and successful journey in dance.

Ms. Courtney

Instructor/Coach

Courtney, of Chicago, Illinois, is a recent graduate of Lindenwood University, having received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance.  While at Lindenwood University, Courtney was able to pursue performance through both the University’s Dance Program and 7-Time National Champion Lion Line Dance Team.  Additionally, the University provided her with great off-campus performance opportunities through events such as the American College Dance Association, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, and St. Louis National Dance Week.  Courtney’s choreographic credits include works for Lindenwood University’s 2017 Fall Dance Concert, 2016 and 2017 Winter Dance Concerts, and a variety of both dance studios and high school dance teams.  Most notably, Courtney has had the honor of presenting her work, 41,87, for adjudication at the 2017 American College Dance Association Midwest conference, and most recently, has presented at Inaside Chicago Dance’s 2018 Choreographic Sponsorship Event.  In addition to performance and choreography, teaching has always been a passion of Courtney’s, and she is eager to share her knowledge and passion with the Dance Force community.

 

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Ms. Jay:  

Instructor/Coach 

Jay, from the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Here she trained in various technique and styles of modern dance, ballet, West African, hiphop, jazz, contact improvisation, dancemaking, and teaching. She began dancing at the age of three and has dipped her toes in almost every style. She has trained with the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago, Innovation HipHop Troupe, Movement Revolution Crew, Plainfield East High School Pom Team, Chicago Dance Latin and Ballroom,Gifted Souls, Chicago Bachata All-Stars and Bachata Legacy in Chicago. Some of her favorite performances include Urban Dance United, Carnival Choreographers Ball, THAW, Chicago Salsa Bachata Festival, Orlando Salsa Congress, Salsa Mambo Festival in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Bachata Kizomba Salsa Festival in California. Jay enjoys fusing different dance styles to create choreography that is unique and versatile. She believes her versatility in styles helps train her students to be open to new ideas and body movement as well as helping them become well rounded dancers. She has been an instructor at Dance Force Studios since 2016 and is excited to see what the new season will bring. 

Nook

The Entertainer Xtraordinaire, comes from a highly decorated performance background. Known as MC Nook EX, he's one of the most highly requested MC's in the industry.  Dancing at age 9 with his crew at the Elgin H.S. talent show kicked off his performance career and he started down the path to become a world class entertainer! Nook has rocked more shows than he can count with an overpowering combination of his Dancing, MC'ing, and DJ'ing.  Nook's vast knowledge of music across all genres allows him to adapt to any situation and enhance the experience of all party guests and students! 

 

Across the U.S., there's a possiblity of catching MC Nook opening for an artist, hosting an MMA night, or entertaining at a bar/bat mitzvah.  His most memorable gig was hosting the 8th grade graduation party for the daughter of basketball legend Michael Jordan! Nook has also been seen on stage opening for and/or performing with Ciara, B.O.B., Mike Posner, Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, Method Man & Redman, and LMFAO, to name a few.

 

Not only is he an incredible entertainer, Nook also teaches hip hop & bucket drumming classes and coaches teams throughout the city and suburbs of Chicago. In the past 10 years Nook has won numerous awards including best choreo and crowd favorite. 

 In short, for someone who doesn't eat pork, Nook is known to go H.A.M. (Hard As a Mutha) at every event and class he graces :)

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Ms. Alli:  Coming Soon

Ms. Dawn:  Coach

Dance has been part of Dawn's life for the last 30+ years. Her background ranges from competitive studio dance teams, High School and College cheer teams, and professional dance companies and teams. Dawn has had the opportunity to perform in some of the largest venues/events in the country for both cheerleading and dance. Her extensive training has lead to performing at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, participating in intensive workshops at Broadway Dance Center, and dancing professionally with Sesame Street Live...Dawn has danced and cheered all over the US!

Dawn started coaching right out of high school in Jacksonville, FL and continued to coach while attending college as a Dance Major in North Caroline and while dancing professionally in the Chicagoland area for several years. She jumped into the All Star world in 2012 and started an All Star Dance program at a cheer gym in South Elgin, where she truly found her passion for coaching and building competitive dance teams. 

Over the past 8 years, Dawn has enjoyed working with athletes of all ages and helping to mold them into phenomenal dancers at multiple programs, such as Empire Elite Athletics, Midwest Cheer Elite Illinois and Cheer Extreme Allstars Chicago. When Dawn isn’t coaching and teaching her athletes, she is staying busy with her kids, Ella and Caleb...or just trying to enjoy a relaxing evening with her husband Tony. 

 

Dawn is so excited to join Dance Force Studios and get started with our 2020-2021 teams. 

 

Accomplishments and Certifications

Bachelor of Business Administration

Master of Education- Curriculum and Instruction 

USASF Member Coach (8 years)

USASF Dance and Cheer Regional Advisory Board Member (3 years)

USASF Dance Credentialed- Hip Hop and Jazz

USASF Cheer Credentialed- Level 1-4 (Building and Tumbling)

USASF Cardiac, Concussion and Heat Certification

AACCA Certified

Coach: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 Dance Worlds Bid Recipient (Senior and Open Hip Hop teams)

Coach: 2016, 2018, 2019 Dance Summit Bid Recipient (Youth and Junior Hip Hop and Jazz teams)

Ms.  Mimi:  

Coach/Instructor

Since the age of 6, Mimi has been involved in cheer and dance. Over time, she saw that her love for dance had grown and she decided to leave the cheer world and solely pursue her passion for dance. Mimi started training in hip hop under Dawn Thompson and Kathleen Thongsamouth at Extreme Velocity and Empire Elite from 2014-2017. She also trained with Chris Xayarath at Midwest Edge in 2016. In spring 2017, she joined the urban dance group CODA in Chicago and began training at various studios in the city. She also danced with Boom Crack! Dance Company for 2 years. Mimi is currently dancing and training with a variety of instructors and choreographers in the city and truly enjoys bringing what she learns in her training back to the kids that she works with.

 

Mimi started coaching in 2017 at Midwest Cheer Elite Illinois and coached at CEA Chicago for the 2019-2020 season. She has competed at the Dance Worlds multiple times and all of the teams she has coached have earned bids and attended Dance Summit and Dance Worlds

 

She enjoys working with dancers of all ages and her goal is to help as many young kids as possible to create a love for dance. Mimi is so excited to share her passion for dance at Dance Force.