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(Classical Ballet) graduated from the Professional Classical Ballet School of Cluj, Romania after nine years of study, and became a solo dancer at the Iasi Opera performing in Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Faust and other classical and modern ballets. After completing the program in ballet education at the Bucharest Institute of Choreography (including courses in history of dance, ballet methodology, physiology and pedagogy) she obtained her degree in Ballet Education. She began teaching ballet in 1974, and since 1981 has offered Classical Ballet classes in Highland Park, bringing the Vaganova-Tarasov method to the North Shore.

LILLA MAKKAI DANIELS (Ballet, Pointe, and Pre-Ballet) started her ballet education with Irina Makkai, where she trained Lilla in the Vaganova method. Lilla also has studied with numerous prestigious teachers in Chicago such as Larry Long, Dan Duell and Homer Bryant. For years she was a scholarship student at the Houston Ballet Academy, Joffrey Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. Lilla has performed with Bryant Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Ballet Theater of Chicago and the Lyric Opera in Giselle, Coppelia, and the Nutcracker. Lilla teaches Pre-Ballet, Ballet and Pointe classes, and is the director of BALLET MAKKAI YOUTH COMPANY and BALLET MAKKAI’s annual NUTCRACKER.

SARA BIBIK (Jazz, Tap) is a founding member, and was a principal dancer with the River North Chicago Dance Company. In 1996 she was honored with the Ruth Page Award for a “Season of Outstanding Dancing” presented by Gregory Hines. After ten years of performing she became the Assistant to the Artistic Director, and Workshop Coordinator. In addition to her busy work with River North Dance Company, and our School, Sara is on the guest faculty of Hubbard Street Dance Company. She joined the faculty of the School in 1988, is in charge of and continues teaching Jazz and Tap classes.

RITA OCKRIM (Ballet) Rita Ockrim teaches Classical Ballet technique. From floor barre to pointe, beginning to professional levels with over 30 years of experience including: Barat Conservatory of Dance, Columbia College, Chicago City Ballet, Bryant Ballet, and Joel Hall Dancers. Company Ballet Teacher for Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Cerqua Rivera Art Experience. A former company member of Joel Hall Dancers, United States and European tours. Studies include Chicago: Modern, Jazz, and Ballet with Joel Hall, Joseph Holmes, and Homer Bryant. New York: Ballet with Dance Theatre Of Harlem, Steps Studio with Robert Blankshine, and Jazz at Broadway Dance Center with Frank Hatchett.

ASHLEY BOCINSKY (Pre-Dance, Ballet) joined the faculty of the school two years ago. She studied ballet with Dmitri Ruednev in Chicago, at the Harid Conservatory and was a scholarship student of our school. Upon graduation from highschool Ashley continued her ballet education at the University of Utah. She performed with Dance Alive National Ballet in various roles from The Nutcracker and other classical and modern pieces choreographed by Kim Tuttle and Judy Skinner. In 2013 Ashley returned to the Chicago area and started teaching Pre-Dance and Ballet classes at our school. Students, as well as parents like her very much and we are happy to have her back as one of our talented teachers.

MARY GRAY (Pre-Dance) Mary started dancing as a young child and realized that she had a passion for dance at a young age. She began her ballet education with Dimitri Roudnev, a former soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet, in Chicago Illinois. Soon after, Mary became a student at Irina Makkai Classical Ballet School, where she became a founding member of the Ballet Makkai Youth Company. Upon graduation she attended Illinois State University obtaining a degree in education. In 2012, Mary happily returned to Irina Makkai Classical Ballet School as a pre-ballet teacher.

TYLER SHEETS (Ballet, Pas De Deux) Tyler, a native of Midland, MI, started training at Miss Danielle’s School of Dance at the age of 9. Furthermore participating in summer intensives with, Interlochen Arts Academy, ABT Summer Intensive, Nashville Ballet, New Dialects, River North Dance Chicago, and Inaside Chicago Dance. Attending Alma College, Tyler furthered his training. While at Alma College, Tyler worked with Surfscape Contemporary Dance Company. Upon Graduation, Tyler accepted a position with Nashville Ballet’s Second Company. Deciding to further expand his repertoire Tyler moved to Chicago and accepted a Performing Apprentice position with Inaside Chicago Dance. He joined the faculty of the school in 2014.

LEVIZADIK BUCKINS (Modern) began his dance education at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, under the direction Ethan Stiefel. During his time at UNCSA, he worked with choreographers such as Brenda Daniels, Trish Casey, and Diego Schoch. He has also had the chance to work with well-known choreographers Maurya Kerr, Larry Keigwin, Scott Rink, and Trish Lent. He has performed professionally with the Winston-Salem Festival of Ballet under the direction of Gary Taylor in North Carolina, and River North Dance Chicago under the direction of Frank Chaves. Levizadik currently lives in Chicago, Illinois.