Our Instructional Staff
Mollee Johnson - Dance Coordinator“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion”. Mollee Johnson brings her passion for dance as well as over 30 years of experience to her teaching. Mollee has been a dance instructor and Dance company director for over 17 years. She has a multitude of performance and choreography experience in her portfolio, including performances at Cedar Point Amusement Park, The College Football Hall of Fame, The Orange Bowl Stadium, and Walt Disney World. Mollee has taught both Jazz and Pom Pon clinics as well as having judged numerous high school dance auditions. Mollee was a member of her High School Orchesis and the NIU dance line the Silverette’s where she was an undergraduate leader.
This is Mollee’s eleventh year as Dance coordinator for APA. She is passionate about delivering a quality, technique-based program. In addition to being Dance Coordinator, Mollee also runs a successful Interior Design company, Style 1519. She lives in Lake Zurich with her husband and two children.
Jen Rowley - InstructorJennifer began dancing as a young child and has studied ballet, tap, jazz, African, and modern dance styles. She has been teaching dance for over 19 years. Jennifer has a degree in Dance and Psychology from Denison University in Granville, Ohio. She has also participated in the New York University Summer Dance program in New York City and studied abroad at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in London, England. She has danced professionally and has presented her modern choreography in Washington D.C., New York, and Chicago. In addition to dance, she is also a yoga instructor. Jennifer is thrilled to be able to share her love of dance with her students.
Kristine Blitek - Instructor, Head LBP Instructor, Impulse Co-DirectorKristine Blitek began ballet training at the age of three. At the age of eight, she trained at The Performing Arts of Spring Grove and performed with the Illinois Youth Dance Theater. During High school, Kristine joined the Judith Svalanders School of Ballet where she began as a trainee and worked her way up to Judith Svalanders Company. There She participated in multiple productions of Sleeping Beauty, Copellia, and twenty-plus productions of The Nutcracker. Kristine began performing with the College of Lake County in 2010 where she was accepted into the Prairie Spirit Dance Troop. She continued performing through college and received her Associate of Arts with a focus in dance. In 2013 Kristine became a member of the L-Theory Collective. A collective of North Suburban dancers dedicated to revitalizing modern dance through a unique blend of dynamic athleticism and emotive artistic integrity. She has participated in numerous local outreach programs. Kristine is still an active member of the L-Theroy Collective remaining current in performance and technique. Through teaching Kristine finds great reward in passing on her passion for dance to her students.
Gillian Bourke- Instructor, LBP Instructor, Impulse Co-DirectorGillian began studying dance at a young age in Arlington Heights through their Park District dance program. Growing up she was a member of their dance companies and in high school was a member of the Rolling Meadows Orchesis Performing Dance Company. Gillian began assisting for dance classes in high school and her love and passion for dance and education grew. She furthered her education at Hope College in Holland, Michigan where she graduated in 2019 with a degree in dance education and physical education. While there she was a member of StrikeTime Dance Theater as well as H2 Performing Dance Company. Gillian and other company dancers from Hope had the opportunity to travel abroad to Adelaide Australia to attend, present, and perform at DaCi, an international dance congress. Gillian has had many opportunities to perform and present her choreography from the Oakland Dance Festival, SHAPE Michigan, to New York City and Chicago. She is assistant coaching a local dance team and has choreographed for many dance companies and dance teams throughout Illinois and Michigan. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, afro-latin fusion, and contemporary dance, and is very excited to have found a home at APA where she can spread her love and passion for all genres of dance.
Sam Mazzalonga - Dance InstructorSamantha began dancing at the age of two on Long Island. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, kick line, and pointe at June Claire Dance Center for 15 years. During this time, she worked with some of the most prestigious teachers in the industry and teachers from NYC. While training there she was a part of their JC Lynn dance company and the Long Island Ballet Theater. She was honored to perform in professional shows such as the Oyster Bay Holiday Show and the Father Charles and Laurie Magano Christmas Show.
She then continued her training in dance at the collegiate level and attended the State University of New York at Fredonia. She studied ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, and tap, and attended many guest artist classes in styles such as ballroom, hip-hop, and African to name a few. She graduated with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance and Bachelors of Fine Arts in Psychology with an interdisciplinary studies minor in Dance Studio Administration.
While completing her undergrad, she was fortunate enough to teach at Eclectic Dance Company as a Senior Faculty Member and Technical Supervisor. During this time Samantha taught a wide variety of styles such as ballet, modern, tap, contemporary, lyrical, pom, kick line/character dance, and dance composition. She taught recital classes, technique classes, and solo/duet/trios. She believes that everyone can dance and wants to inspire students to reach their fullest potential.
Emily Mejicano-Gormley - Dance InstructorEmily Mejicano-Gormley is an emerging dancer and choreographer based in the Chicago Land Area. Her choreographic work has been featured both locally and abroad. Emily started dancing when she was eleven years old at her local studio, continuing her dance education at Hope College where she was a part of the H2 Dance Company. Her dance instructing history includes teaching at Soleunique Dance Company, Beyond the Stars Performing Arts, and Dance Images. Emily’s teaching philosophy is based on actively engaging in the class, communicating objectives and goals clearly, planning out the steps that are needed to be taken to reach these set goals, and working to inspire students to engage with the material being taught. She is thrilled to pass on her love of art to her students.
Jenna began dancing at the age of nine. As she grew her focus was on contemporary/lyrical and jazz. Her Junior and Senior year she found her way to and danced with APALZ. After participating in the Assistant Teacher Training Program (ATTP) Jenna started teaching her own classes.
Alaina Fahey began dancing at the age of two. Dancing ignited a passion for the arts which has continued to grow since. Alaina has trained at the Academy of Performing Arts for 10 years taking classes in ballet, pointe, contemporary lyrical, jazz, hip hop, tap, modern, and musical theater. Being a model student and natural leader at APA brought multiple opportunities including participating in the Assistant Teacher Training Program (ATTP) and eventually teaching her own classes. Alaina is also very passionate about and involved in musical theater. In addition to being an Impulse dance company member at APA, she is also a student leader with the local theater company, Cricket Theater. Alaina is also actively involved in the Lake Zurich High School theater program, women’s choir, and show choir, where she choreographed and danced in the "dancing with the bear stars" equivalent with LZHS students and staff. At the age of eleven years old, her talent was recognized and she was asked to choreograph for the local theater group’s summer show. Since then her love of teaching, choreographing, and passing on her passion for theater and dance has continued to grow. Her most recent choreography was showcased in the local rendition of “Descendants” at Lake Zurich High School. She has participated in countless performances and musicals, including Frozen at LZHS which has been one of her most memorable.