Academy Faculty

Mary Brennan established the Barrington Dance Academy in 1984 followed by her founding of the Barrington Dance Ensemble (BDE) in 1989. Her dance training includes the National Academy of Dance, Champaign, Illinois, The Royal Academy of Dance, London, the Ellis DuBoulay School, Chicago and the University of Illinois where she earned a theater education degree. She served as drama department chair for the Champaign School District. Ms. Brennan served as Dance Co-Chair for the Barrington Area Arts Council for many years. She also developed dance curriculum for the State of Illinois Public School System and currently serves on the dance panel for the Illinois Arts Council. Her producing, directorial, and choreographic credits include The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Under the Big Top, Graduation Ball, and Peter and the Wolf. Ms. Brennan is an expert in the Royal Academy of Dance training syllabus from pre-school through pre-professional level.


Roberta Pfeil-Begley started her early dance studies in Chicago with Richard Ellils and Christine DuBoulay, performing under their direction with the Illinois Ballet Company. She went on to perform professionally with Ruth Page’s Chicago Ballet, Geneva Ballet of Switzerland, and San Francisco Ballet. Her directing credits include Redwood Empire Ballet Company, and Ballet Theatre North, both accepted members of the Regional Ballet Association. She founded Dancer’s Workshop, her own school and company in California, before returning to Chicago where she continues to teach and choreograph. Her pieces have been featured nationally at Regional Ballet Festivals and throughout the Chicagoland area. Roberta is currently on faculty with the Barrington Dance Academy and Northwest Ballet Academy.


Pamela Johnson Tanis is a former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet (New York) and also danced with American Ballet Theatre, Maria Tallchief’s Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Illinois Ballet. She was coached in principal roles by Robert Joffrey, Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Leonide Massine, Danilova, Bronislava Nijinska, Todd Bolender, Jerome Robbins and Alvin Ailey, among others. She trained with Richard Ellis & Christine Du Boulay, Robert Joffrey, Hector Zaraspe, and Basil Thompson. She has taught at Dartmouth College, Ballet Folk of Moscow (Idaho), Gus Giordano’s Dance Studio, Joel Hall Dance Center, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and served on the faculties of Northern Illinois University (co-director), Columbia College Dance Center (Chicago) and Barat College Dance Conservatory (Lake Forest). She is a biographer in the Marquis Who’s Who in Entertainment. Pam is also on the faculty of North Shore School of Dance.


Karen Janet joined the BDA faculty in 1997. With an extensive training and performance resume in classical ballet, Ms. Janet possesses a sharp and creative eye for choreography, which is second only to her kind and motivating spirit. She received her early training from Ruby Gaba, Joyce Lang, Richard Ellis and Christine DuBoulay. She was awarded a scholarship to travel Europe as a dance member of the Talented Teens performing arts group where she performed in France, Germany, England, Holland and Switzerland. She then became a member of the DuPage Ballet Company under the direction of Lloyd Labit. Ms. Janet trained with Patricia Sigurdson, Artistic Director of the Salt Creek Ballet. Throughout her dance career, Ms. Janet has performed lead roles and ballets including Firebird, Sugar Plum Fairy, Swan Lake, Variations on Rococo Theme and Fledermaus. Ms. Janet assisted in curriculum development at Salt Creek Ballet School. Ms. Janet was the artistic director of the Woodstock Ballet Studio’s company, until joining the staff of Barrington Dance Academy in August 1997. In addition to teaching classes at BDA, Ms. Janet currently serves as a rehearsal mistress for the BDE. Ms. Janet has also shared her choreographic talent with the BDE setting 2 original pieces, Altering Attitudes and Love Letters. Ms. Janet has taken the stage as a performer with the BDE in her roles as the Mother in the Nutcracker and the Fancy Lady in Under the Big Top.


Elizabeth Francesconi began studying dance at the Salt Creek Ballet Company in Westmont, Illinois under the direction of Sergey Kozadeyev and Zhanna Dubrovskya. At Salt Creek, she performed in many classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Alice in Wonderland, and Paquita. McGleam graduated from Butler University in May 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts in Dance Pedagogy. At Butler, she had a chance to perform in classical works such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle, and Cinderella, along with choreographic works by Marek Cholewa, Cynthia Pratt and Tong Wang. She also traveled with Butler Ballet to St. Petersburg, Russia for a month in 2007, where she performed and took various classes throughout the city. She spent the summer of 2008 at BalletMet’s summer intensive, studying with Gerard Charles and Rebecca Rodriguez while performing Serenade, and as a soloist in Colores de Alma. She is extremely passionate about dancing and teaching, and thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge and love for dance with others.


Chelsea McCormick began her dance training at Springfield Dance, Inc. She was a member of the Springfield Ballet Company from 2000-2006 where she performed featured roles in classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Romeo and Juliet. Chelsea continued her training in ballet, modern, and jazz at Illinois State University where she studied with Greg and Laurie Merriman, Sara Semonis, and Darby Wilde. She graduated summa cum laude with B.S. degrees in Dance Performance and Management. At ISU, she was a member of Illinois State Dance Theatre and served as the company’s president. Chelsea has taught students of all ages at dance studios throughout Illinois, and has choreographed for the Springfield Youth Performance Group, Bloomington Ballet, and Barrington Dance Academy. She has studied with River North Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and Visceral Dance and has performed with Matter Dance Company and Innervation Dance Cooperative in Chicago. She is currently on faculty with the Barrington Dance Academy & Barrington Dance Ensemble.


Katelyn Hanna began her dancing career with the Barrington Dance Academy at age 5.  While with BDA she became a BDE company member and performed in several ballets including The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.  Katelyn’s dance career followed her to Harper College where she performed with the Harper Dance Team.  She currently teaches ballet to children at Barrington Dance Academy.


Barrington Dance Academy also hosts Master Classes. Some of our master teachers include: Guillermo Leyva, Randy Duncan, Eddy Ocampo, Winifred Haun, Phillip Ollenburg, Teanna Zarro, and Wade Schaaf.