Meet the Faculty and Artistic Team of the Elements Ballet Summer Intensive / by Joseph Caruana

Mike Gosney (Artistic Director), co-founder of Elements Ballet, has been teaching and privately coaching ballet for over 20 years. In addition to training many of the dancers in Elements Ballet, his students have been accepted into prestigious programs and schools such as American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet School, The Juilliard School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Milwaukee Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Academy, LINES Ballet, Tisch School of the Arts, and many others. As a choreographer, Mr. Gosney’s work has appeared in St. Louis Spring to Dance, The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2010 at Dance Center of Columbia College, The Best of Dance Chicago, Looptopia, Around the Coyote Arts Festival, The Atlas Agenda, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, Evanston Arts Week, On the Prairie at the Chicago Cultural Center, productions with the Evanston Dance Ensemble and Evanston Symphony, and in many other Chicago area festivals and dance performances. In 2015 and 2016 Gosney co-conceptualized and co-choreographed Surge, and AYA, An Aerial Ballet with Elements’ Joseph Caruana and Chloe Jensen and Karen Fisher Doyle of Aerial Dance Chicago. Mike is on faculty at Extensions Dance Center, Dance Center Evanston, and Steps Dance Center, and has previously taught at Visceral Dance Center, Chicago Dance Academy, Joel Hall Dance Center, Lou Conte Dance Center, Gus Giordano Dance Center, DancenterNorth, Eastern Illinois University, and College of Lake County. Mr. Gosney has orchestrated events for Evanston Arts Week and DanceArt Outreach Program, and formerly served as Artistic Director of Koslynn Dance Academy and SASS Productions.

Joseph Caruana (Assistant Director) is a co-founder of Elements Ballet. In addition to his work with Elements, he has performed with River North Chicago Dance Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Sonia Dawkins/Prism Dance Theatre, Haymarket Opera Company, New York Baroque Dance Company, Alchymy Viols,the MasterWorks Festival, Civic Ballet of Chicago, Evanston Dance Ensemble, Ballet Legere, and in numerous trade shows as well as worked in TV and film. He trained on full scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School Professional Division, with The Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles’ apprentice program, and as a private student of Elements' Artistic Director Mike Gosney. Caruana has also attended workshops with the Boston Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and the Lou Conte Dance Center, and studied . As a choreographer, his work has been performed at the McCallum Theatre’s Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival and presented as part of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) DanceBridge program and On the Prairie at the Chicago Cultural Center. Caruana was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship and a Richard H. Driehaus Professional Development grant to develop his original one-act ballet, The Sun King, which premiered in November 2014 as part of DCASE’s SpinOff series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Caruana also co-conceptualized and co-choreographed Surge and AYA, An Aerial Ballet, with Elements’ Artistic Director Mike Gosney and Chloe Jensen and Karen Fisher-Doyle of Aerial Dance Chicago. His most recent collaboration, HUMAN with performing artist ALEXA GRAE, premiered at The Inconvenience's The Fly Honey Show 8 and performed again at the closing night program for Salonathon at Beauty Bar.

Ivan Bruns-Trukhin was born in Siberia, Russia. When he was ten years old he was admitted to the Novosibirsk Choreography College, Russia. He graduated in 2002. Ivan has performed as a soloist dancer with multiple Russian ballet theaters and other foreign dance companies and is currently in his second season working with Elements Ballet. Ivan has also performed in musicals including the Russian productions of "Cats" as well as "Billy Elliot (Chicago). In 2009 he entered the Russian University of Theatre Arts (GITIS) graduating in 2014 as teacher of Ballet. In 2015, after finishing a contract with a ballet company, he decided move to Chicago where Mr. Ivan continues to teach and perform.

Callie Croom  began her training under Barbara Pontecorvo in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating high school, she was accepted to Butler University on an academic scholarship. She received her BFA from Butler University in 2011. Following graduation, she relocated to Chicago, accepting a position with Visceral Dance Center’s Work Study/Scholarship Program. Shortly after, she began dancing with Elements Contemporary Ballet. Since 2012, she has remained a company dancer and choreographer for Mike Gosney. Additionally, Callie is a member of the teaching staff for Extensions Dance Company, Seth Robinson and Jeff Wolfe's TRIBE and Ballet Matters intensives, and has served as an adjudicator for Fire and Ice Talent Competition. This is her 5th season with Elements.

Kristen Evans emerged as a hidden artistic (dance/choreography) and athletic (track & field) talent at Whitney Young High School where she explored many styles of movement and dance including Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Liturgical, African and Pilates, and earned athletic scholarships. Sidelined with a severe injury, Kristen focused on earning degrees in Kinesiology and Business (University of Michigan) and a Masters in Communications (Gonzaga University). She re-entered the movement world with a focus on 3 C's: conditioning, cross-training and choreographing. As a certified Yoga/ Pilates teacher she works with diverse communities ranging from active youth to artistic performers to everyday workers; her coaching / training emphasizes holistic, total-body conditioning for functional performance. Kristen is thankful to have found choreography early in life. Her lens of human storytelling and cultural insight have resulted in choreographic works showcased in the U.S., China, and Italy. Kristen has served on staff at University of Illinois (Chicago), Praize Productions School of Performing Arts, LulaFit and Free Movement Shop as well as guest taught at Oakland University, Concordia University, Northeastern Illinois University, Red Wall Dance Company and national-brand Athleta. Beyond cross-training and choreographing, Kristen owns Strength & Grace Group, LLC. a collection of holistic fitness + wellness brands.

Tiffany McCord is a former Tennessean who cherishes the performance and education of dance. She received her BA in Dance from Western Kentucky University, with a minor in Business Entrepreneurship. With the WKU dance company, she performed and studied at the American College Dance Festival and performed on tour to Civitavecchia and Tolfa, Italy. Tiffany has also studied at Atlanta Ballet’s Summer Intensive and Belhaven University. Tiffany has been a full-time company member with Elements Ballet since 2012, and with Elements has also had the privilege of collaborating as a dancer with Aerial Dance Chicago. In 2014, she was choreographer’s assistant to Joseph Caruana for his original work The Sun King, along with playing the lead role of Lully, presented in Millennium Park. In May 2015, her work Coalesce was presented in the premiere of Elemental Components, and then in Core Project’s Going Dutch 2015. Tiffany’s choreography has also been presented in the 2015 Bonesbare 9, provided by Core Project, and in the New Moves 2015 Choreography Competition, provided by Noumenon Dance Ensemble. Tiffany teaches throughout the Chicagoland area in genres of Ballet/Pointe, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Tap.

Shelby Moran began her early training at Bataille Academie of the Danse and continued at Dance Center Evanston under the direction of Béa Rashid. During her early education, Shelby had the opportunity to perform with the Evanston Dance Ensemble and Elements Ballet. Shelby continued her dance education at The Juilliard School (BFA ‘15). While at Juilliard, she performed repertory such as Jose Limon’s Missa Brevis; William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, reproduced; Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen; and Merce Cunningham’s Biped. She also performed original works by Monica Bill Barnes, Emery LeCrone, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Larry Keigwin, and Danielle Agami. She also participated in summer programs including the Contemporary Program at Jacob’s Pillow, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Shelby began her professional career performing with Thodos Dance Chicago for two seasons. In her time there, she had the opportunity to dance starring roles in director Melissa Thodos' original story ballets including "Anne Sullivan" in A Light in the Dark and "Sono, the Matriarch" in Sono's Journey. In addition, she performed world premieres by Robyn Mineko Williams, Brian Enos, and Kevin Iega Jeff. She also had the opportunity to perform as a soloist in renowned repertory such as Bella Lewitzky’s Nos Duraturi and Melissa Thodos’ original role in her Wheel Trilogy. Most recently, Shelby was an apprentice with Visceral Dance Chicago. This season she will be performing with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. In addition to performing she has taught at several schools in the Chicagoland area including Dance Center Evanston, Extensions Dance Company, Visceral Dance Center, R&B Dance Center, AMA Academy of the Arts, and Alma Dance School.

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 and trained with ballet masters David Howard, Sean Lavery, and Galina Samsova. After earning his B.A. in Dance from Cal State Fullerton in 2014 he joined Thodos Dance Chicago as a dancer and has choreographed for the company’s annual New Dances. There he worked with choreographers such as Lucas Crandall, Brian Enos, Garfield Lemonius, Brian McGinnis, and Kevin Iega Jeff. In 2017 Brennen began dancing with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater and also Elements Ballet. He is currently engaged with both companies for 2018 in addition to his work as a dance instructor.

Seth Robinson is a graduate of Ball State University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Dance. He is currently working on TRIBE Dance, an in-house Intensive designed for dancers looking for an extra push and its now sister company, BALLET MATTERS. Upon moving to Chicago, Seth trained with Visceral Dance Center through the work-study program for a year and performed as a company member with Elements Ballet for three years. Seth is now on faculty with two national touring dance convention circuits, The Streetz Dance Convention & Revel Dance Convention.

Dr. Lisa M. Schoene has been practicing for 28 years and is a Dance and Sports Medicine Podiatrist. She is double board certified and is a Certified Athletic Trainer. She has treated, lectured to, and has written numerous dance medical articles including 2 sports medicine textbook chapters on Dance injuries. She treats all dancers from professional to the aspiring young dancers at two Chicago area offices. She has worked with Elements Ballet for almost 10 years by supporting the company and by lecturing on dance injuries and prevention at the summer intensives. Dr. Schoene’s focus is always thorough evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of every dancer she works with. 

Jeff Wolfe received his training through the Academy of Ballet Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida followed by the Houston Ballet Academy in Houston, Texas, which he attended for two years on scholarship and was accepted into Houston Ballet’s second company. He spent the following four seasons dancing with the A.G.M.A. company BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. Wolfe joined River North Dance Chicago the following season. Wolfe has spent the past six years freelancing around the United States and Canada, dancing with many companies including Elements Ballet, Montgomery Ballet (Soloist), Eugene Ballet Company (Principal), Ron De Jesus Dance, Owen/Cox Dance Group, and Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. In the past 3 years he has taught ballet in conventions such as Epic and Dance Fever and has spent the past year teaching on ballet faculty at ChiArts. Wolfe currently co-directs two national dance intensives TRIBE and BALLET MATTERS and is a regional director for Fire & Ice National Talent Competition.