Rockford Dance Company Staff
Matthew Keefe, Artistic & School Director
Cindy Jo Savitski-Lantz, Executive Director
Pam Parkinson, Office Manager & Graphic Designer
Brittany Keefe, School Coordinator
Ashley Boykin, Outreach Coordinator, School Registrar
Laurie Oliver, Production Manager
Robert Baudry studied in Paris, France at the Academie International de la Danse with faculty from the Paris Opera under the direction of the renowned ballerina Yvette Chauvire. He was a member of the Ballet de Bretange Company and taught extensively in Paris.
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Jenifer began her training at Judith Svalander’s in Crystal Lake, IL. She earned her BA in Dance from Mercyhurst College, with a concentration in Performance. While there she danced with Mercyhurst Dancers and Lake Erie Ballet. She has performed inSleeping Beauty,Giselle,The Nutcracker, Balanchine’sSerende,Cinderellaand at the National College Dance Festival. She also danced with a Chicago modern dance company, Moving Barre Dance Theater. After a break from dance to raise a family, Jenifer has been substitute teaching at Rockford Dance Company and Beloit College. She is thrilled to be back in the dance world again and to have the opportunity to be on staff at Rockford Dance Company.
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Brittany Fridenstine-Keefe was most recently a member of Morphoses in New York City. Brittany has danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet as a school student, and continued her dancing pursuits becoming a company member of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Memphis, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Terpsicorps Dance Theater, Terra Firma Dance Company, Chamber Dance Project and at the National Choreographers' Initiative. She has had numerous international engagements including a solo improvisation show in Germany and Italy staged by Luca Veggetti. Brittany was selected to be an American ambassador at the international dance festival in Cali, Columbia in 2009. Ms. Fridenstine has created a dance therapy program for children with special needs that she has implemented in many cities, and has served as the chair of the dancer council for Dance/USA. Additionally, Brittany is devoted to the health and wellbeing of dancers, and people who wish to feel like dancers, through her certification in the GYROTONICÂ® exercise system.
Matthew Keefe, Artistic Director
Matthew Keefe is proud to join Rockford Dance Company as Artistic Director.
Matthew Keefe has served the art of dance in diverse capacities for over 20 years; as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, administrator, company manager, production stage manager, consultant, board member, and artistic director. He holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Iowa and completed a non-profit management training course from Rutgers University’s Center for Continuing Professional Development.
As a dancer, Matthew has performed nationally and internationally, dancing with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Lynda Martha Dance Company, Fort Wayne Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet II, Louisville Ballet, Ohio Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, the move, Minnesota Opera, the James Sewell Ballet, as well as numerous appearances as a guest artist.
A choreographer of more than forty ballets, Matthew’s award-winning works have been produced by professional dance companies, student ensembles, commercial projects, juried showcases and self-produced performances.
Matthew began his dance training at age nineteen while a student at the University of New Mexico and he continued in Chicago and New York. He counts among his mentors many notable teachers and choreographers in the dance world, including Tim Wengerd, Larry Long, David Howard, Susan Toumine, Bonnie Mathis, Francoise Martinet, Alonzo King and Donald Byrd.
An accomplished teacher of ballet, modern, partnering, composition, and jazz techniques, as well as a creator of numerous community outreach projects, Matthew has served on the faculty of the University of Iowa Dance Department, The University of Louisville Dance Academy, the Louisville Ballet Academy, Minnetonka Dance Theater, the Princeton Ballet School, and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He has taught master classes and workshops across the United States as a guest artist.
Matthew recently completed his tenure on the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA , a non-profit organization serving professional dance in the United States. He served his last term as a Vice Chair and Officer, leading the Trustee Committee and serving on the Executive Committee.
Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Kinderdance, Adapted Dance
Renee began studying dance at Helen Olson School of Dance. She continued her training at Forest Hills Dance Academy where she was a member of the competitive dance team and an instructor. She most recently taught dance at J&J and was also the recreational co-director. Renee also has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is a licensed Zumba Fitness and Zumba Toning instructor.
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After years of wanting to learn to tap dance, Theresa finally stepped into the studio and quickly fell in love with tap. Her infatuation with the dance stemmed from the fact that it was not only a fast-paced and exciting dance, but also a great way to work up a sweat. After years of being a student in the studio learning to tap dance, Theresa finally began to share her love of tap and took over the teaching role in 2010. She loves introducing tap to people who have always wanted to try, and showing them just how easy it can be. She says "I think that tap is great for anyone who loves to dance but hates to exercise - it's a fun way to keep your heart happy and your mind active."
Sharon danced with companies in Kansas and Illinois and has been teaching ballet and pointe and choreographing dance pieces for over 15 years. She has trained under David Howard, Cynthia Harvey, Kennet Oberly, Wes Chapman and Roger Van Fleteren and also has training as a figure skater and as a gymnast. In addition to teaching dance, Sharon was co-coach of the Level 5 and Level 6 Junior Olympic Gymnastics Team at the YMCA in Hutchinson, Kansas and taught gymnastics and dance at the Illini Gymnastics Club and was assistant choreographer for the Illini Figure Skating Club.
She was the former owner of the Center for Performing Arts, Inc. in Lake in the Hills and artistic director of the studio dance company. She also has choreographed for high school musicals.
While dancing and teaching, Sharon received a B.S. in Ecology, Ethology and Evolution and a M.S. in Wildlife Research/Ornithology from the University of Illinois, a Legal Assistant Certificate from Wichita State University and a Paralegal Degree from Elgin Community College. Currently, she is studying to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Lily Wellen has been training at Rockford Dance Company for 12 years. This year she joined the staff after completing the RDC teacher training program. She is currently teaching Modern I and Kinderdance. Lily has recently been chosen to be a Trainee in the Rockford Dance Company. She has performed in many Rockford Dance Company productions includingThe Nutcracker, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Cinderella.