Amy DeVries and her husband Dirk have 4 fantastically fun children ages 13-20. Amy’s has been with STEPS Dance Academy at the Taylor Y since 2007 as Director of STEPS Dance Academy as well as teaching dance and tumbling. Amy earned her B.A. at Covenant College in Georgia, in Elementary Education in 1992, and Children’s Literature in 2001. Amy’s favorite dance moments include her time with The Elgin Summer Theatre Group at the Hemmens in Elgin. In 2009 Amy was cast as a “lightening dancer” in the production of Grease. In 2010 Amy was cast as Judah’s wife, and minion, in the production of Joseph.
Amy danced at two private studios in Indiana training in ballet, jazz, tap and tumbling. Amy also trained in gymnastics at the Hammond Indiana YMCA. Amy enjoyed performing in church productions throughout her childhood. This carried on to her involvement as an adult, teaching and running children’s programs at church as well as performing in worship bands.
Amy was a choreographer and Lieutenant on her High School dance team where they ranked 1-3rd at many competitions. Amy also performed and choreographed for her college dance/cheer team. After College she coached dance at Burlington Central H.S. for 6 years taking the team to competitions and earning training certificates through UDA/UCA and NDA/NCA. Amy taught preschool after graduation, and was the department head before starting a family in 1997. In 2001 Amy stepped back into dance at Gould Dance Academy taking as well as teaching dance and tumbling. This led to teaching dance and tumbling at Westminster Christian School in Elgin. Amy came to the Taylor YMCA in 2007 teaching swim lessons, and starting the tumbling program. Amy started as the dance coordinator January 2008 and in 2010 STEPS Dance Academy was officially named. It has been an honor to team up with the excellent staff at the Taylor YMCA . Amy is blown away with the caliber of instructors that God has walked through the doors of SDA! TobyMac sums up, in his song “Steal My Show”, who gets the credit for anything done right at STEPS Academy. Click here: KA_HoEC9ixc
Tristan DeVries has been dancing and tumbling since the age of 4 and later added gymnastics, break-dancing and stunts to his training. Tristan has been teaching Hip Hop at STEPS Dance Academy since 2011. Tristan competed nationally with two dance crews for 8 years, and has multiple NATIONAL, US, and WORLD FINAL titles. Spring of 2016 one of Tristan’s Teams earned DANCE WORLD CHAMPION 1st PLACE at DANCE WORLDS with USASF Dance Association in the CO-ED SMALL GROUP HIP HOP DIVISION, where Tristan was featured. Check it out here: 2016 Vitality WORLD CHAMPIONS. Other accomplishments for Vitality include 2014 earning 3rd place at Dance Worlds. Check it out here: 2014 Vitality 3rd place Champions. April of 2015 Tristan went with 3 teams to Dance Worlds where they placed 5th, 7th and 10th in the world. Tristan made his debut in a Hollywood movie; DREAMS the movie in 2012. He is featured in a few dance scenes. Tristan auditioned and filmed on set in 2010, where he met and filmed on set with Geoffery Owens, “Elvin” from the Cosby show. Tristan danced for 2 years under the direction of Marchello, who played a main character in the movie. Check it out here. Tristan continued his dance education by taking classes and attending dance conventions including, “Monsters of Hip Hop”, Reveal with Scott Forsythe, and Ian Eastwood intensives. Tristan has served in Children’s ministry at his church for 7 years. He has been on multiple service projects such as Feed My Starving Children, mission trips, serving at food shelters, & counseling/filming at youth camps. Tristan helped with Stage productions at The Hemmens in Elgin, & has been involved in various City of Elgin, & Huntley projects. Tristan graduated from E.C.C. with his Associates in Art and Welding. Currently, Tristan is Dancing with Chicago Young Lions and Ian Eastwood. They were featured at World Of Dance Chicago 2017. Check it out here. Tristan is excited to continue training up dancers at STEPS in the art of Hip Hop.
Shelly Johns started dancing at the age of 6 at Rhonda’s School of Dance. “I started off taking dance just because my mother wanted me to, but it did not take long before dance, especially ballet, became something that I loved. As a youth at Rhonda’s School of Dance, I had the opportunity to become a student helper, which then led to becoming a dance teacher, which was something I enjoyed greatly. When Rhonda’s School of Dance closed, I was able to continue my love of dance at Northwest Ballet Academy and my passion for teaching dance at Duet Dance Academy. Throughout my years of dance, I have found my passion to be ballet, but have been able to gain experience with tap, jazz, and lyrical. I took a break from teaching dance to finish graduate school and establish my career as a therapist. I am forever grateful to Amy for allowing me to get back into the wonderful world of dance!”
Chelsea Prokop a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Chelsea began her training in many movement forms at a young age. She began her training at the Abby Lee Dance Company where she danced competitively. Upon entering high school, she decided to pursue a college degree in dance and transitioned to Bodiography Center for Movement. Here, she participated in the College Preparatory dance program in collaboration with La Roche College which enabled her to graduate college in two and a half years rather than the typical four years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Performing Arts from La Roche College and graduated in the fall of 2013. Following two full seasons with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet as a trainee, Chelsea was promoted to apprentice in 2011 then a full time company member in 2014. In 2014, she had the pleasure of working with Gia Cacalano and her company Frameworks in a performance that included learning the skill of instant composition. Since then, Chelsea has danced in Los Angeles where she worked with Lineage Dance Company as an apprentice and Atlanta where she worked on multiple small film projects with choreographer David Norwood. She is now beginning her journey in Elgin with her family and is very excited to be a part of the STEPS Academy family!
Melissa Manganiello started tumbling and dancing when she was 3 years old at Rhonda’s school of Dance. At around 9 years old she joined the Dance Theater of Elgin where her love for tumbling began. Melissa trained in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap. As she continued training, she began assisting at the Dance Theater of Elgin in 6th grade. This turned into her teaching tumbling classes from beginner to advanced levels though out her teen years. Melissa added Cheer and stunting to her skillset in 5th grade. Melissa was a cheerleader for 4 years at St. Thomas Moore, and 4 more years in High School at St. Edwards. In addition to school Cheerleading Melissa auditioned and was accepted into the UCA all-star cheerleading team in High School. Some of their many accomplishments included: performing in Huston’s Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade, for the Lord Mayor of London in a performance as well as a parade, and the New Year’s Day parade in Vienna. Melissa and her husband Mike have 3 daughters and have been active members of the YMCA for the past 4 years. Melissa is very excited to bring her love for tumbling to STEPS Academy!
Mykie Scaletta started dancing at age 3. She studied at Gould Dance Academy for 10 years, after spending 2 years at The Elgin Dance Academy. She took classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Tumbling. Mykie has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. She has always had a passion for dance. As a child she choreographed danced for the younger kids her mom used to babysit. Mykie is beyond excited to be a part of the STEPS Academy team.
Brianna Dowell began dancing at the age of 3, at Dixon Dance Academy. Brianna trained at Dixon through her senior year of school training in ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, lyrical, modern and hip hop. During her years of dance training Brianna taught taught ballet, and was a member of competition dance teams. In high school Brianna danced on the Larkin High School Poms team, freshman-Senior year. Brianna earned her BA at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin where she danced with the Carthage College Red Hots Dance Team. Brianna has volunteered her time teaching dance and subbing classes. Brianna is known for her ballet training which is high in technique. She is a creative choreographer and loves working with kids of all ages. She is excited to be back in the studio regularly with dancers!
Autumn Dobbeck is a student at Elgin Community College and currently working on her associates degree in arts. She began taking ballet classes in 3rd grade at Light and Life Fine Arts Academy, and hasn’t stopped since. Autumn later added jazz, modern and contemporary, even studying ballet and modern under STEPS Academy’s very own Sara Krikau! Autumn studied several types of dance including the Vaganova method of ballet and Horton Modern technique. Autumn is a graduate of the Larkin High School Visual and Performing Arts Academy. She has a love for choreography and is constantly trying out new things. Autumn has spent a lot of her time teaching and working with kids, and she absolutely loves it. She’s completed several dance internships at various studios, choreographed for Bartlett Park District’s musicals and worked as a counselor at Interlochen’s Center for the Arts last summer. She is currently an owner of her own small dance studio and enjoys every moment she spends dancing, no matter where it is. Autumn is excited to join the STEPS Academy and is looking forward to all the wonderful memories she will make here.
Judi DiFulvio started dance classes at age 3. She has attended classes for over 22 years in tap,ballet and acrobatics at many studios in the Fox Valley. She has taught tap dance for private lessons and at various studios for 10 years and enjoys teaching little people and adults. The goal for all of her classes is that they are informative and fun. “Dance, especially tap, can be a life long physical activiy that keeps you healthy and happy.”
Lisa Merigold began studying ballet and tumbling at age 3, with Light and Life Fine Arts Academy, right here in Elgin. Lisa was a part of Larkin High School Gymnastics during high school. Lisa and her husband are the proud parents of 4 children, specifically 2 sets of twins. Lisa has been a member of the Taylor YMCA her entire life, going to Camp Edwards and volunteering. Lisa was hired on in STEPS Academy just before she was awarded the recipient of the YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award for 2013. Lisa loves to encourage and help others. This plays out in her constant involvement and support at the Taylor YMCA. She seeks opportunities to keep STEPS Academy and the Taylor YMCA living out the core values and mission of the YMCA.