Graduate Assistants

Evvie Allison

Teaching Assistant

Evvie Allison

Evvie Allison is a dance artist and advocate whose work asks questions about how we make what we make. She is a 2016 Fellow in Choreography with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been presented by Danspace Project (New York City), Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center (New York City), Movement Research at the Judson Church (New York City), Center for Performance Research (New York City), Brooklyn Arts Exchange (New York City), Bushwick Open Studios (New York City), NYU: Center for Ballet and the Arts (New York City), and American Theater Company (Chicago); has been featured on NOWNESS; and has been supported by residencies at Chez Bushwick (New York City), the Next Festival of Emerging Artists (New York City), Tofte Lake Center (Ely, Minnesota), the Maggie Alessee National Center for Choreography (Tallahassee, Florida), and PLAYA (Summer Lake, Oregon). In addition to her work for the stage, she loves working in film and has appeared in a number of music videos, most notably David Bowie's "Blackstar." In 2016 Allison co-founded FREE ADVICE, a nonhierarchical co-mentorship platform for dance artists that aims to democratize access to information within the dance field. Her writing has been published in Critical Correspondence, the Movement Research Performance Journal, and Dance Magazine. She received her Pilates mat teaching certification from Kinected (the Kane School) in New York City.

Jaylen Clay

Teaching Assistant

Jaylen ClayA native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jaylen De'Angelo Clay is a graduate of Alabama State University and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He trains in ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, hip hop, West African, heels, step, and tap dance. While in college, he performed works by Robert Battle, Gary Jeter, Michael Medcalf, Dinita and Kyle Clark, James Atkinson, Kathryn Swords Thurman, Kavin Grant, DeShona Pepper Robertson, and Sidra Bell. Jaylen was also a part of Eleone Dance Theater and Delaware Mid-Atlantic Ballet. Presenting his own choreography, he has showcased works at the Dance Canvas Emerging Choreographers Festival and the NAACP Martin Luther King Day Conference. Jaylen strives for excellence in the performing arts. He is an Alvin Ailey ambassador and the recipient of the Susan B. Glazer Award, Tim Redovian Scholarship, Harlequin Dance Scholarship, and Live Mas Scholarship. Jaylen is excited to be attending the University of Illinois to continue his studies in dance to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree.

Elliot Emadian

Teaching Assistant

Elliot EmadianElliot Emadian is a gender-nonconforming dance artist operating out of Urbana, Illinois. They began dancing at the ripe age of two, and their love of rolling on the floor and tie-dyed costumes continues to this day. They earned their BS in mathematics in 2017 from Washington and Lee University (W&L), where they performed and choreographed in nine W&L concerts, including an aerial dance performance. They have presented work at the Center for Performance Research in Brookyln, New York; the Boston Center for the Arts; Dogtown Dance Theatre in Richmond, Virginia; American College Dance Association regional conferences; and the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Their work Bravados (2016) was selected for the regional gala concert at American College Dance Association Midatlantic. Their solo Mouth to banana or banana to mouth . . . The gay one? (2016) was selected for both the Richmond Dance Festival and the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival. Elliot was a summer research scholar with Jenefer Davies researching aerial technique and is featured in her book Aerial Dance: A Guide to Dance with Rope and Harness (2017). Elliot investigates the intersections of spatial mathematics, pop media (under their stage name Elliot Reza), gender, sexuality, video, photography, theatre, and dance. Elliot is a teaching assistant pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

William Ervin

Teaching Assistant

William ErvinWilliam Ervin is a native of Franklin, New Jersey, and earned his BFA in dance from Montclair State University (MSU) in May 2017. He trains in hip hop, vogue, house, ballet, and modern. At MSU he performed works by Camille A. Brown, José Limon, Kevin Wynn, Sean Curran, Larry Keigwin, and Earl Mosley. He's performed at the Alexander Kasser Theatre, the Joyce Theatre, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Hearts of Men ensemble. He has presented his solo choreography at the Dumbo Dance Festival, Brooklyn Ballet, and the State Farm Center and group work at the Equilibrium Choreographer showcase and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. In spring 2018 he set his new work Red Lining on Dance at Illinois students and most recently taught hip hop at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He is currently working toward an MFA in dance at the University of Illinois.

Kaitlin Fox

Teaching Assistant

Kaitlin FoxKaitlin Fox is a dance artist and teacher. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College Chicago with a focus in choreography. For the last eight years, Fox has worked in Chicago, New York City, South Lake Tahoe (California), and Denver. Fox is entering her second year of the MFA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received the 2018 Vannie L. Sheiry Memorial Dance Scholarship for outstanding performance and the Patricia Knowles Graduate Travel Award, encouraging her studies abroad at Ecole des Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.

Roxane D'Orleans Juste

Teaching Assistant

Roxane D'Orleans Juste<Roxane D'Orleans Juste is a native of Montréal and of Haitian origin. She won a Bessie Award in the performer category for Outstanding Sustained Achievement. Roxane performed with Eleo Pomare Dance Company (1981–83), Annabelle Gamson Dance Solos, and the Limón Dance Company (1983– 2016), where she served as artistic associate (2001–7) and associate artistic director (2007–16). The Canada Council for the Arts and the Foundation for Creation in Fine Arts continually support her initiative en Solo, a platform for her own choreography and specially commissioned works by internationally renowned choreographers. Roxane is the choreographer-in-residence of Coreoarte, a contemporary dance company based in Caracas, Venezuela. She also serves as co-chair of its board. An active master teacher, she stages and directs José Limón's dances for companies and ensembles worldwide. She also directs the Limón teachers' program in the United States, Europe, and Montréal. She instituted three educational programs: LINKS, Limón4Kids, and Limón4Kids—Saludarte for the Limón Foundation. Juste is a guest teacher for the Tanz Wuppertal/Pina Baush Dance Company in Europe and New York and for Essen University for the Arts. She taught at Marymount College from 2014 to 2017. Roxane graduated with a degree in humanities from Le College Sacré-Coeur and from Toronto's National Ballet School teacher training program.

Mauriah Kraker

Teaching Assistant

Mauriah KrakerMauriah Kraker is a mover, maker, improviser. Her practices are spatial; place walking, installation making, site-specific performing. Her love for precision and wide-open space comes from years competing as an Olympic-level athlete, touring with Pilobolus, and being raised in a family that believed in biking and walking to all destinations. Mauriah has created projects on printing presses in Germany, underpasses in the Midwest, sides of mountains in Italy, outdoor skating rinks in Taiwan, and Bangkok's zombie buildings. She has been awarded the Vannie L. Sheiry Memorial Dance Scholarship for outstanding performance at the University of Illinois and performs with Jennifer Monson/iland. She is located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is working on her MFA in choreography and performance, directing the Creative Dance for Children program, studying Body Mind Centering, and walking the prairie and fields.

Charlie Maybee

Teaching Assistant

Charlie MaybeeCharlie Maybee is a music and dance artist hailing from Woodbridge, Virginia, and an alumnus of the Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble and Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Dance and Choreography BFA Program. He is currently pursuing an MFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he is researching creative processes where tap dance is the central medium of expression and how to further integrate tap dance into the scope of contemporary performance and scholarly study. He has been an adjunct instructor, production manager, space coordinator, and accompanist for the UIUC Department of Dance as well as the director of dance arts for the Champaign Park District. Charlie is also the founder and artistic director of Polymath Performance Project: a multifaceted collective of individuals who embrace the notion of entangling many methods of making to create interdisciplinary performance artwork. Since 2014, his work has been shown nationally at events and venues such as Eden's Expressway in New York City; the Panoply Performance Laboratory in Brooklyn, New York; Links Hall in Chicago, Illinois; the Richmond Dance Festival at Dogtown Dance Theater in Richmond, Virginia; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Illinois; and the American College Dance Association at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas.

Rachel Rizzuto

Teaching Assistant

Rachel RizzutoRachel Rizzuto is a choreographer and performer fascinated by gesture, repetition, inherent autobiography, and text. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with degrees in dance and English, she spent nine years dancing for the Brooklyn-based company Mari Meade Dance Collective/MMDC. For the last three Valentine's Days, she has self-produced an interdisciplinary evening, super sad love scenes (or, love makes us all losers), an entirely non-self-effacing look at the hardships, hilarities, and heartbreaks of romantic relationships. With her project-based company, touche pas, she has choreographed a piece for a Brooklyn park that ruminates on the inner lives of medieval serfs and, most recently, created a work set entirely to the music of the Roche sisters. She has spent the last several years as an editor for Dance Teacher magazine and remains one of its contributing writers.

Danzel Thompson-Stout

Teaching Assistant

Danzel Thompson-StoutOriginally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Danzel Thompson-Stout is an emerging national and international street dance artist, teacher, choreographer, and community activist based in the Philadelphia area. Thompson is well versed in forms such as street dance styles (house, hip hop, popping, locking, etc.), Umfundalai (contemporary African technique), and modern dance techniques (Cunningham, Limón, Graham, and Horton). As an active dancer, he works for artists/companies such as Rennie Harris Puremovement, the Berry and Nance Dance Project, Kariamu Welsh, and Kingsley Ibeneche. Thompson also holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and is pursuing an MFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, he is signed with Clear Talent Group (New York City), is a co-founder/artistic director of D2D: Dare to Dance, and is working on some personal projects. These projects consist of dance on film, collaborative community dance events, and exploring the crossovers between African dance and street dance styles.

Leah Wilks

Teaching Assistant

Leah WilksLeah Wilks is a choreographer, teacher, and performer from Durham, North Carolina. She holds a BA in environmental studies from Vassar College, where she also danced as a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater. While in Durham, Leah performed as a member of Renay Aumiller Dances, real.live.people, and the Department of Improvised Dance, and she directed the multimedia dance company VECTOR with visual artist Jon Haas. She has taught at North Carolina State University, the Carolina Friends School, 9th St. Dance, the Living Arts Collective, the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, Elon University, Purdue University, Montclair State University, and the American Dance Festival. She also dedicated much of her time in North Carolina to helping organize the Durham dance scene. Currently, Leah is a third-year MFA candidate and teaching assistant in the Department of Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She spends her time composing soundscores, using Black Sabbath and Nirvana to exorcise her movement demons, nerding out about teaching, and pondering what it might mean to be a Southern Gothic choreographer.