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Meet The Faculty

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Jennie Scheiwe

Jennie Scheiwe (Studio Director & Artistic Director of the Elite Competition Team) is the proud owner and Studio Director of Elite Academy of Dance in South Elgin, Illinois, opening her doors on July 2nd, 2007. Under her direction, Elite Academy of Dance has grown to be one of the largest and most sought-after dance programs and competition teams in the Fox Valley. Jennie recognizes the importance of fostering the growth of her students’ technical abilities and is committed to challenging them to reach their fullest potential. 


Jennie has more than twenty years dance training and competitive dance experience from various studios in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. She attended Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management, along with serving as captain of the ISU Competitive Dance Team. 


Under her leadership over the last seventeen years, the Elite Competition Team has earned numerous high point, top placement, and judges’ choice awards for technique, showmanship, and choreography at both regional and national competitions, including winning Rainbow Dance’s Top Elite Studio and Inferno Dance’s Studio On Fire awards. With numerous national titles, the Elite Competition Team is recognized as one of the most competitive programs in the Midwest circuit.


Jennie thrives on sharing her passion for dance with her students, encouraging them to work hard, believe in themselves, and dream BIG!

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Brittany Gacek-Esterl

Brittany Gacek Esterl (Assistant Studio Director/Ballet, Tap, and Pre-Dance Instructor) has been a proud member of the Elite staff since the studio’s opening in 2007. After beginning her dance training as a young child in the western suburbs of Chicago, Brittany attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance with a Secondary Emphasis in Theatre and Drama. Her pieces have not only won top placements at both regional and national competitions, but have been recognized for her innovative, creative, and imaginative choreography. Brittany's choreography has also been featured in the American College Dance Festival, at the Perry-Mansfield School of the Performing Arts, and in St. Charles East High School's productions of The Secret Garden, Curtains, Once Upon a Mattress, and The Pirates of Penzance. 


Brittany’s passion lies in fostering a love of movement and music in each of her students from their very first dance class all the way through their high school years. She feels it is a privilege to guide her students through their dance education and strives to create a nurturing and positive atmosphere where her students can grow not only in their love of dance, but also reach their fullest potential as dancers. She is continually inspired by seeing the growth in her students from week to week and year to year. Brittany is devoted to instilling a love of dance in all her students and pushing them to be the very best that they can be.


Bree Anast

Bree Anast began dancing at the age of 2, training in ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical at Golden’s School of Dance in Schaumburg, IL. She began competing with Golden’s at age 6, and later competed with Midwest Movement based in Rockford, IL under the direction of Ted Jackson. In addition to her years spent training and competing, Bree’s performance credits include dancing for the Chicago White Sox and traveling across the U.S. and Canada as a dancer for Trent Carlini. As a teacher, Bree has been sharing her love and passion for dance with her students for over 20 years. Nothing is more rewarding to Bree than being able to share the gift and art of dance with each one of her students! 


Darby Anson

Darby Anson began dancing at the age of 2. She became a student at Elite Academy of Dance in 2012, continuing her dance education under the direction of Jennie Scheiwe through her high school graduation. While attending the University of Denver, Darby was also a leading captain of the UD’s Dance Team for two seasons, leading them to both regional and national placements, where she received awards for her commitment and leadership skills. Darby loves teaching and being a part of Elite, and cannot wait to share her love for dance with her students!


Sammy Gonzalez

Sammy Gonzalez began his dance journey after joining his high school’s dance team. After seeking out training at various studios, he became a member of the award-winning Boom Crack Dance Company based in Chicago from 2016-2019. He has also been a member of the Chicago Bulls 312 Crew where he performed alongside Benny The Bull and the Luvabulls in addition to performing at various Sprite-sponsored events. Sammy has also had the pleasure working with many high school dance teams and teaching at various intensives and conventions, including Dance Masters of Wisconsin. Sammy’s dynamic choreography has won numerous awards and accolades in the competitive circut. As an instructor, Sammy loves to share his knowledge and passion for dance with dancers while encouraging them to continuously grow and inspire one another.


Courtney Krachtus

Courtney Krachtus, of Chicago, Illinois, is a graduate of Lindenwood University, having received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Notably, Courtney has had choreographic works presented at a variety of events including Forward The Movement’s Surfaced, Renew, & The Beginning, Trifecta Dance Collective’s Celebration of Dance, Lindenwood University Dance Program, Take Up Space, Detroit City Dance Festival, Eisenhower Dance Detroit’s New Dance Fest, MADCO’s Dare to Dance, Inaside Chicago Dance’s Choreographic Sponsorship Event, & College of DuPage’s Choreography Showcase and Competition. Courtney works with students across the Chicagoland area and is currently a performing artist with Forward the Movement in Chicago, Illinois where she has performed works by Nick Pupillo and Kaytee Cox. Teaching has always been a passion of Courtney’s, and she is eager to share her knowledge and love of dance with the Elite Academy of Dance community.

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Colleen Lullo

Colleen Lullo is a St. Charles native and a passionate dancer and choreographer dedicated to inspiring and empowering students through the art of dance. With years of experience, she’s had the privilege of being both a dancer and choreographer for the Saint Charles North Drill Team, winning four state championships. Her journey in dance then led her to Davenport University, where she competed in hip hop and proudly secured the 1st Runner-up spot at NDA Nationals. Since 2016, she’s been honing her skills and sharing her love of dance at Elite, where she teaches a variety of styles including jazz, hip hop, musical theatre, and dance team preparation. She is excited to dance, dream, and dazzle together with her students!

Olivia Ziesmer

Olivia Ziesmer is an alumnus of Elite Academy of Dance and a graduate of Iowa State University. She began her dance journey at Elite in 2007 when the studio first opened. Olivia went on to join Elite’s Competition Team in 2009 and continued competing with Elite until her graduation from St Charles North High School. While in high school, Olivia was a member of the St. Charles North Dance Team for 3 years and was elected captain her senior year. She majored in entrepreneurship at Iowa State where she was a part of their award-winning dance team for four years. She became a two-time NDA Pom Champion in addition to representing Team USA in the 2022 World Championships, earning a gold medal. Olivia's success is a result of her exceptional talent, hard work, and dedication. She is beyond excited to share her experience and her love of dance with the students at Elite.

Debbie Newman

Jessica Newman

Meet The Office Staff

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