Val Lober received her early training at Dance Arts Academy in Traverse City, Michigan. As a member of Company Dance Traverse, she attended the Young Tanzommer Dance Festival performing throughout Austria, Germany, and Italy. In 2010 she received her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Western Michigan University. While in college, Val discovered her love for teaching and has never looked back. In addition to mentoring young dancers, Val performs professionally throughout the city of Chicago. Her favorite project so far has been “Heard” at NavyPier’s Art Expo, wearing artist Nick Cave’s iconic Soundsuits with choreography by William Gill. Val recently served as the Artistic Director of Dance for the Wilmette Park District and is thrilled to continue to share her love of dance education here at the North Suburban School of Dance.
NSSOD Director Emeritus
Joni is the Performing Arts Director Emeritus for the North Suburban School of Dance. She studied ballet with Bently Stone and Walter Camryn and at the Ruth Page Dance Center, jazz with Gus Girodano, and tap with Tommy Sutton. She has danced professionally since the age of eight. Joni has a BA from the University of Illinois with an emphasis in dance. She is a 25+ year member of the National Association of Dance Masters. Joni has choreographed and taught master classes for the GBN Orchesis program and choreographed for several organizations on the North Shore. In 2009, Joni was chosen as the spotlight teacher for a national dance magazine. She has been teaching at the NSYMCA since 1975.
Felicity Nicholson began her training at the Fort Wayne Ballet in Indiana and then went on to receive a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University. During her training she had the opportunity to perform works by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Gerald Arpino, Paul Taylor, and David Ingram. After graduation she came to Chicago where she studied on scholarship at Visceral Dance Chicago and at the Lou Conte Dance Center. She has since been a freelance dancer in the city, doing performances like Thodos Dance Chicago’s New Dances and Schaumburg Dance Ensemble’s The Nutcracker.
Brennen Renteria began his dance training at the age of 10 in Corona, CA. In 2011, he attended the American Academy of Ballet summer intensive & trained with ballet masters David Howard, Sean Lavery, & Galina Samsova. He earned his B.A. in Dance from Cal State Fullerton in 2014 joined Thodos Dance Chicago that same year. While with TDC he worked with choreographers Ann Reiking, Brian Enos, Lucas Crandall, Garfield Lemonius, Brian McGinnis, Kevin Iega Jeff, among others. He also toured around the country and took part in the company’s outreach and educational programs between performances. He joined both Elements Contemporary Ballet and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre in 2017 where he had the opportunity to work with the former co-artistic director for River North Dance Chicago, Sherry Zunker, in addition to performing alongside the renowned Chicago Sinfonietta. For 2018 Brennen accepted the rehearsal director position for CRDT and continues to be an avid dancer, teacher, and choreographer throughout the city of Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Since graduating with honors from I.S.U., Caroline has been having a lot of fun teaching, choreographing, and performing. Some experiences include Zebra Crossing Theater Company, Temporary Theater Company, Pheasant Run Dinner Theater, The Funny Firm, Light Opera Works, Zephyr Dance, Ameba Dance, Motivity Dance, Chi-Town Jazz Dance scholarship program, several Las Vegas shows, and a tour of Japan. A long-time teacher in the north shore, Caroline keeps busy taking tap and jazz with Julie Cartier, along with chasing after her 8-year-old daughter.
Janice has had the pleasure of teaching ballet all over the North Shore for 28 years. She has been teaching adult ballet for 16 years She is currently at the North Suburban YMCA teaching Adult Ballet. "Teaching is my passion and I passionately believe that everyone can and should dance!"
Christine grew up dancing, starting at age 5, right here at the NSYMCA! She continued her training in ballet, tap, jazz, and modern at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. She performed in, and choreographed, numerous musical theater productions such as West Side Story, Hair, A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, and Grease. Christine lives in Arlington Heights with her husband Matt and their two children, and loves moving creatively with the newest generation of dancers.
Rachel began her training at the North Shore School of Dance in Highland Park, Illinois. She spent her early summers training at Interlochen Arts Camp, on scholarship at the Orlando Ballet School, under the direction of Peter Stark and Fernando Bujones, and at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, DC. Rachel received a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University where she performed soloist roles with the Butler Ballet. Rachel also choreographed works for the Butler Ballet’s touring troupe in Moscow and St. Petersburg, where she was selected as a finalist choreographer in the St. Petersburg Conservatory State Competition. Upon graduation, Rachel studied on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, and at the Batsheva Dance Company’s GaGa Workshop in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2012 under the direction of Ohad Naharin. Her choreographic works as an independent artist were finalist selections for DanceWorks Chicago’s Dance Chance Redux at Northeastern Illinois University in both 2012 and 2013. Rachel is currently dancing with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and is enjoying teaching ballet.
J. Lindsay Brown
J. Lindsay Brown started choreographing at age 12 and completed her MFA at the University of Michigan in 2013. Her company, J. Linsday Brown Dance, has produced full length concerts, community events, and performed in festivals and showcases throughout the Chicagoland area. Lindsay has taught in many schools and studios, including River North and Hubbard Street Education programs, Performing Arts Limited, Side Street Studio Arts, Design Dance, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, and, of course, for North Suburban School of Dance. She also plays the cowbell.
Leslie is a proud alumna of the North Suburban School of Dance. She also graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University where she received a BA Degree in Psychology but seemed to spend way more time in the dance studios and on stage, ultimately earning a minor in Theater Dance. She holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education and teaches freshmen at Collins Academy in Chicago. Leslie hopes to instill a love of the theater arts to her high schoolers through after school programming as the Student Activities Coordinator at Collins. However, her favorite part of the week is sharing her love of dance with her young ballet and tap students and choreographing for the NSSOD Dance Company.