Who We Are
Victoria has been teaching, directing, and inspiring dancers for over 20 years in the Northern Illinois area. She has pulled her talents as a professional from her own vast experiences through dance. Some of her noted accomplishments include apprenticing with The Milwaukee Ballet, instructing at dance conventions, as well as an elected board member to a non-profit dance organization. She is credentialed to teach by examination ballet/pointe, tap, and jazz through a national and statewide dance organization. Each of these experiences aides Victoria in prepping dancers for what the dance world has to offer. Not only does she enjoy instructing dancers and sharing her passion of dance, but she relishes in nurturing dancers to be amazing individuals in all that they do in and out of the studio atmosphere.
Victoria has a degree in Sign Language Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a Master’s in Social Work from Aurora University. These degrees have allowed Victoria to work alongside individuals and families who have had needs for advocacy, to consult in the public school sector, and deepen her own understanding as she is a parent of a special needs child herself.
Arianna grew up in Las Vegas, NV and currently lives in Chicago, IL. She attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA and graduated cum laude with a BFA in Dance in 2013. Prior to her higher education, Arianna attended Las Vegas Academy of the Arts where she focused in dance. In 2012, she partook in the José Limón West Coast Residency and also attended La Bella Vita Arts summer dance intensive in 2011.
Now, Arianna teaches in the Chperforms around Chicago and is a cofounder of Jamm’n Honey Dance. She has performed works by Camille A. Brown, Kristen Legg, Jason Olhberg, J. Lindsay Brown, Abby Williams, Iyun Harrison, and José Limón.
Courtney started dancing when she was ten she started off with jazz then grew to love hip hop! A few years later she continued expanding her dance knowledge by taking acrobats, ballet, pointe, modern and lyrical, she joined a dance competition team and competed for two years winning first and second place at the Hall of Fame dance competition. She started apprenticing with Michi Barber when she was 13 teaching pre-ballet and pre-jazz classes, she continued her apprenticeship with Andy Tomlinson, teaching hip hop from 6-7 yr olds to high school students and with Donna Lynn Collings teaching pre-ballet to intermediate ballet classes. She has also accompanied Victoria Warren and Laura Thurston as an assistant at The Dance Masters of Wisconsin convention. She danced with Ashly Mari Dance Company for a year where she choreographed dances for mini conventions, and her own solo pieces. By the time she was 18 she was teaching pre-jazz and funk classes and continued teaching for four years teaching all ages of hip hop, pre-jazz, jazz 1, pre-ballet and ballet 1 classes. Courtney has taken a year off from studio teaching and is excited to be teaching with us at Above the Barre!
Christine grew up in Arlington Heights and began dancing at the age of three. She started dancing at Denise Sabala Dance Studio in Arlington Heights. During her younger years she studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and Pointe. In high school, Christine was a member of the Hersey High School Orchesis team. She gained a reputation as being a proficient dancer and was known for her leaps throughout the nearby suburban schools. She served on the class board during her senior year. In addition, she was involved in mentoring and coaching a competitive cheerleading and dance team at the junior high level.
After high school, Christine began dancing at Expressions Dance Academy in Elk Grove Village where she was a dance company member. As part of the company they danced in many competitions and were very successful. One of her special moments was being chosen to play Clara in the Nutcracker at Cutting Hall Theater. She began her teaching career at Expressions teaching the younger students ballet, tap , and jazz. This is when she found her passion for sharing her talents.
In recent years Christine has been PBT Dance certified in Progressing Ballet Technique and is also an instructor for Ballet Barre, Jazzercise, Aerial Yoga, and is finishing up a Pilates certification. Her love for proper movement and technique has expanded into dance and fitness. Also, she is currently teaching ballet, tap and jazz at The Dance Loft in downtown Palatine.
When she is not teaching dance or fitness classes Christine is involved in her other passion of horses. With her horse Chassé, they have competed in Dressage. Dressage is a form of ballet for horses. She also has her own physical therapy business working with equine athletes.
Kaylin is originally from Cary, Illinois where she found her passion for dance when she stepped in the studio at the age of 3. Kaylin grew up in McHenry County taking dance classes, teaching youth athletics and participating in school musicals. Kaylin went to Illinois State University and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and minor in ESL.
While in college, Kaylin continued her love and passion for dance at ISU as she danced on Poise Dance Team. During her time on the team, she held the positions of Fundraising Chair as well as Vice President. Kaylin had the privilege of being able to choreograph for her team as they participated in shows, fundraisers, and events around the Bloomington- Normal area. Kaylin loved being part of a team that was encouraging and supportive where everyone could learn and grow and makes it her goal to bring that to every dance class!
When Kaylin is not dancing, she loves her job teaching 4th grade as well as traveling and photography! Kaylin is honored to be part of the Above the Barre Dance Academy family!
Leilani's dance training has spanned over 14 years in McHenry County studios, was a member of Cary Junior Trojans dance team with 2 IRCA State Championships, has been on 2 performance/competitive dance companies and was a member of the Huntlyey High School Dance Team. She has choreographed both of her award winning solos and choreographed a group piece for Still Inspired (?) Future Artist piece at the Athenaeum Theatre in Chicago in November 2019. Her group piece 'Slide' was also chosen and performed at the Dancing for Dancers fundraising performance at Barrington High School in January of 2020.
Currently, Leilani is a coach and choreographer for HCA in Huntley and her K-2 grade team won a State Championship with IRCA with her choreography. Leilani is attending MCC studying to be a speech and language pathologist focusing on working with children.
We at ATBDA are thrilled to have Leilani on staff leading and choreographing for our ATB Collective Junior Company!
Emily is from McHenry, IL, but currently is about to be a Senior at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. Emily has a tumbling background from tumbling for 9 years at Fox Valley Power Tumblers. She also has been dancing for 9 years between studios and dance teams. Emily was on the McHenry High School West Campus Varsity Dance Team for 3 years until she graduated early. Throughout her time on the Varsity Dance Team, Emily choreographed multiple pom routines and jazz competition routines. Emily's dance teacher was Victoria Warren for 6 years, and during her time with Victoria, Emily gained experience in lyrical, modern, contemporary, and jazz.
Currently, Emily is going on her fourth and final year on the St. Norbert College Dance Team. Her college is a D3 school, and in 2019 they took 2nd in the Pom Division. Besides dance, Emily is a Communication and Media Studies Major. She is also an opinion columnist for the college's newspaper and has several poems published in the college's Graphos book.
Victoria Tucker grew up in Crystal Lake, IL where she trained in gymnastics from 3 -10 years starting in a beginner class and advanced to the level of a team competitor.
Throughout her time as a gymnast, she learned the fundamentals of flexibility and strength, which enhanced her performance in both gymnastics and a variety of styles of dance. Her true passion for dance started around age 12 and flourished over the following years. Throughout her time as a dancer, she took classes in ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, modern and tap. As a student, she was instructed by Victoria Warren, Lindsey Draves, Kirsten Stark and Brook Burkhardt.
When Victoria isn't dancing, you can find her working as a licensed hairstylist, caring for furry friends at her dog grooming job, or enjoying a nice day taking pictures of nature scenes and flowers.
Victoria is excited to combine her creative and artistic abilities as a dance and across instructor at Above the Barre!
Terri Gustafson grew up in the Madison, WI area taking classes and instructing at her family's studio Kehl's School of Dance that has been in the dance business for 140 years strong.
After going to college, getting married and starting her family, Terri took her experiences and started a children's dance program in the NW Chicago suburbs.
With that experience and working in the business world, she was sought after to be a relationship manager working directly with dance studio owners and dance teachers for a costume company on the east coast. While working in the costume and class wear industry, Terri was able to see many facets of dance studio ownership and streamlining the costume part of many studios operations.
We are so honored to have such a resource in Terri being available to our studio to hone into what are the best practices of costuming the very tiny dancers through our most advanced dancers.