Meet our Teachers

Jenny Miquelon

Director, Co-founder

Jenny Miquelon opened Duet Dance Academy in August of 2001.  Having been a lifelong dancer and dance instructor, she changed career paths after attending Northern Illinois University and teamed up with sister, Jill, to dance their own “duet” every day with the opening of this studio.  Jenny felt compelled to not only teach children as planned but to specifically teach them to love dance the way she had grown to.  Jenny has worked with thousands of dancers through the studio, in community outreach programs and classes, and as a youth dance team coach.   As a result, she has enjoyed seeing so many little dancers with big dreams turn into professional dancers, dance teachers, doctors, teachers, pilots, media producers, and so much more.  She is proud to have not only created a successful dance studio with well rounded dancers, but to have also created a place where her students can grow into dynamic adults in any field.  With the creation of D2 Performing Company in 2012, Jenny has had the honor of not only producing additional productions each year and showcasing her dancers’ talents in many unique performances but she has also been recognized numerous times for outstanding choreography and studio leadership at regional and national dance competitions.  She was presented the national director of the year award in 2015 and 2016 for her achievements in producing a consistently top ranked competitive and creative team.  In addition to DDA, Jenny is married and mom to four daughters who also share her love for dance.  She continues to push all of her dancers to new levels as the dance world continually evolves and though she insists on dedication, determination, and focus, she insists the studio classes and teams are run mainly on creativity, passion, and plain old fun.  Jenny hopes that each dancer that steps through the DDA doors knows they are part of an amazing second family.  

Jill Lasota

Co-founder

More info to come!

Rachel Benzing

D2 Performing Company Event Coordinator

Rachel Benzing, a native of Chicago, began dancing in the Fox Valley area studying Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Modern, and training with the Cecchetti School of Ballet.  She has vigorously trained under the instruction of professionals in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and London. Rachel has earned numerous scholarships and awards while attending conventions and competitions across the United States.  Rachel graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and a second Bachelor of Arts degree in History.  She is a recent graduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance of London, England with a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance: Creative Practice.  Most recently, Rachel has performed with Chicago Human Rhythm Project in the reunion concert of the all female Tap group, Rhythm ISS and Tapman Productions.  Rachel is an Apprentice Member to M.A.D.D. Rhythms tap dance company and continues to pursue her own artistic process and creation of work.

Zada Cheeks

Zada Cheeks, a native of Aurora, IL, began his dance training at the age of 10. He became a member of The Cartier Collective and Chicago Human Rhythm Project's "BAM!" while graduating from West Aurora High School. Since then, Mr. Cheeks has also preformed with dance companies such as: Chicago Dance Crash, Civic Ballet of Chicago, Corpo Dance company, Inaside Chicago Dance, Kanopy Dance Company, River North Chicago Dance, The Tapmen, and Winifred and Dancers. He has performed nationally and internationally in China, Italy, Spain, and Venezuela. At the moment, Zada teaches at many dance studios around the Chicago land area, as well as workshops and master classes helping students express their feelings through dance.

Amanda Hickey

Amanda discovered a passion for dance at the age of ten. She began her serious training at Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, and Ernesto Quenedit. Some of her other training includes intensives with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Company, Visceral Dance Company, and Orlando Ballet. She graduated from Butler University in 2014, where she studied on both academic and talent scholarships earning her BFA with honors in Dance Performance. While at Butler, she had the opportunity to spend a month studying abroad in Europe where she trained and performed in Warsaw, Krakow, and St. Petersburg. As a senior, she was asked to choreograph for the study abroad program, exposing her choreography to venues across Eastern Europe . Throughout the years, Amanda has had the pleasure of performing as a guest artist for The Kate Jablonski Statement, State Street Dance Studio, The Dance Factory, Malachi Ballet, and The Schaumburg Dance Ensemble. Upon returning to Chicago after graduation, Amanda joined Nomi Dance Company, where she danced for four years. In addition to being a dancer with the company, she has also worked as a choreographer for three of the Nomi's shows. Currently, Amanda is dancing with Giordano Dance Chicago. Besides performing, Amanda enjoys teaching and choreographing for studios across the Chicago-land area.

Dani Hunt

Dani began dancing at the age of 4 in Elgin and joined Duet Dance Academy when it opened in 2001. Throughout her dancing, she held many top roles in DDA performances and competitions.   She began teaching at Duet in 2011 and has since been honored with several choreography awards. When not at the studio, she works full time as a radiographic technologist. When she isn’t teaching or going to school, you can find her cuddling her cats. 

Megan Long

Megan has been teaching dance at Duet Dance Academy along side her childhood friends since it originally opened. She truly loves teaching and sharing that love for dance with students of all ages. Megan started dancing when she was 4 years old and continued dancing through college and performing with the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble.  Professionally, Megan is a physical therapist with a specialty in dance medicine and treating the performing arts populations including dance, cheer, gymnastics and figure skating. This allows her to bring her passion and knowledge of dance into her profession every day. Megan has studied with Harkness Center of Dance Medicine in New York as well as taken several Chicago based courses. Recently, she was invited onto Sports Doctor Radio to discuss the challenges faced by high performance figure skaters.  Dance has truly become a family affair for her. Megan and her husband have 2 amazing boys who enjoy sharing their dance moves in a variety of classes at Duet. And Megan’s husband, Lance, has become known around Duet for the photographs that he captures of all of our amazing dancers!

Christina Martens

Christina Martens started dancing with when she was 2 and then joined Duet Dance Academy when it opened in 2001. Christina studied all styles of dance but primarily focused on ballet, jazz, and lyrical. Upon graduation, she began teaching at Duet and is honored to share her love for dance with all of her students. Over the last several years, Christina has won numerous choreography awards at regional and national competitions.  When Christina is not working, she enjoys other creative hobbies such as photography and hair & makeup design.

Abigail Stachnik

Abigail Stachnik, originally of Milwaukee, WI, earned her BFA in Dance with Honors from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  After graduation, she traveled to Lille, France and Brussels, Belgium with the university’s “European Touring Ensemble.”  Her early training came from Young Dance Academy. Additionally, she has attended summer intensives with the Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary, Pennsylvania Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Cocodaco Dance Project, and DanceWorks Chicago. Abigail moved to Chicago to train in the Scholarship Program at Lou Conte Dance Studio. She performed as a Mezzo Company member with Cocodaco Dance Project and as an apprentice with Chicago Repertory Ballet. After one season as an apprentice with Cocodaco’s Professional Company, Abigail is joining the main company for the fall of 2018. She is also dancing with Marlene Skog Dance this season. Her choreography has been presented at the University of the Arts, DanceChance, Simantikos Dance’s Celebration of Chicago Art, and various dance studios in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. She is excited to be teaching for a second year at Duet Dance Academy!

Cyx Alan Wynne

Cyx started his professional career with Dance2xs International in Chicago in 2003. In 2007, he along with three friends founded the Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance better known as CODA. In 2009 Cyx joined Hip Hop Connxion and in 2011 was named director of the Chicago branch. Cyx has performed on the Soul Train Music Awards, The Grammys, The American Music Awards, the MTV music awards and the VMAs. Cyx has danced background for Syleena Johnson, B2K, Marques Houston, Missy Elliott, Usher and Omarion. Cyx has also choreographed and performed in China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, England and Austria along with a multitude of cities in the U.S.

Katie Zale

Katie started her dance training at the age of 3 and joined Duet Dance Academy when it opened in 2001. During her early training she studied in various styles such as Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Pointe, Hip Hop, Contemporary and Lyrical. She attended the University of Illinois where she graduated with honors with a BFA in Dance and received the Senior Magnolia Award.  While training at Illinois she was a four year member of the Illinettes Dance Team and held a captain position her final two years. Katie has performed in events such as the Heart of Dallas Bowl in Dallas, Texas, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and overseas in London.  Katie is currently in her 9th year working with Universal Dance Association.  She has toured nationally and internationally instructing, judging, and choreographing for Jr. High, High School, and Collegiate dancers. Katie is currently dancing with Inaside Chicago Dance.  She also serves as the head varsity dance team coach for Barrington High School. Katie is thrilled to be back “home” to Duet Dance Academy to teach and give back to her home studio. She has won numerous choreography awards regionally and nationally. Katie adores her students and works to create a class environment in which each student can expand and explore their dance training.

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Thank you to Lance's Studio Photography for providing such great photos!

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