Graduate Assistants

Evvie Allison

Teaching Assistant

Evvie Allison

Evvie Allison believes that choreographing and performing are inherently political acts in that they can reflect humanity, envision utopia, and expand our modes of perceiving and knowing. She makes dance for stage and for camera and is deeply engaged with questions about how we make what we make. Allison is a 2016 fellow in choreography with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her choreography has been presented by Danspace Project (New York City), Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center (New York City), Movement Research at the Judson Church (New York City), Center for Performance Research (New York City), Brooklyn Arts Exchange (New York City), Bushwick Open Studios (New York City), NYU: Center for Ballet and the Arts (New York City), Research Project at OuterSpace Studios (Chicago), and American Theater Company (Chicago); has been featured on NOWNESS; and has been supported by residencies at Chez Bushwick (New York City), the Next Festival of Emerging Artists (New York City), Tofte Lake Center (Ely, Minnesota), and the Maggie Alessee National Center for Choreography (Tallahassee, Florida). In addition to her work for the stage, she loves working in film and has appeared in a number of music videos, most notably David Bowie's "Blackstar." Allison also identifies as an artist advocate and is a co-founder of FREE ADVICE, a nonhierarchical co-mentorship platform for dance artists that looks to transparency and sharing as radical tools for democratizing access to resources in the dance field. Her dance writing has been published in Movement Research's Critical Correspondence. She received her Pilates mat teaching certification from Kinected (the Kane School) in New York City.

Jaylen Clay

Teaching Assistant

Jaylen ClayA native of Atlanta, Georgia, Jaylen De'Angelo Clay is a graduate of Alabama State University and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He trains in ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, hip hop, West African, heels, step, and tap dance. While in college, he performed works by Robert Battle, Gary Jeter, Michael Medcalf, Dinita and Kyle Clark, James Atkinson, Kathryn Swords Thurman, Kavin Grant, DeShona Pepper Robertson, and Sidra Bell. Jaylen was also a part of Eleone Dance Theater and Delaware Mid-Atlantic Ballet. Presenting his own choreography, he has showcased works at the Dance Canvas Emerging Choreographers Festival and the NAACP Martin Luther King Day Conference. Jaylen strives for excellence in the performing arts. He is an Alvin Ailey ambassador and the recipient of the Susan B. Glazer Award, Tim Redovian Scholarship, Harlequin Dance Scholarship, and Live Mas Scholarship. Jaylen is excited to be attending the University of Illinois to continue his studies in dance to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree.

Elliot Emadian

Teaching Assistant

Elliot EmadianElliot Emadian is an artist coming to Illinois after completing his Bachelor of Science in mathematics at Washington and Lee University in 2017. While in school, he danced in the W&L Repertory Dance Company, as well as with Progeny Dance, and worked as a freelance dancer/choreographer. Outside of W&L, his work has been presented at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, New York, the Richmond Dance Festival, and the American College Dance Association regional conferences at Towson University, West Virginia University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. His work Bravados was selected for the regional gala concert at ACDA in 2016. He is invested in the intersection of dance and theatre arts and has choreographed for productions of Dracula (Lexington, VA), Macbeth (Richmond, VA), and The Last Five Years (Lexington, VA). While at W&L, Elliot was a summer research scholar with Professor Jenefer Davies researching aerial dance technique and is now well versed in swinging from a rope suspended from the roof of a building. Elliot is also a member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts, Pi Mu Epsilon, the national honor society in mathematics, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa.

William Ervin

Teaching Assistant

William ErvinWilliam Ervin is a native of Franklin, New Jersey, and will graduate with a BFA from Montclair State University in 2017. He has trained in hip hop, vogue, house, ballet, and modern. At MSU, he performed works by Camille A. Brown, José Limon, Kevin Wynn, Sean Curran, Larry Keigwin, and Earl Mosley. He's performed at Alexander Kasser Theatre, the Joyce Theatre, and BAM with the Hearts of Men ensemble. Presenting his own choreography, he's performed at the Dumbo Dance Festival, Brooklyn Ballet, the Equilibrium Choreographer showcase, the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance's "Choreographer's" festival, and Earl Mosley's Institute of the Arts.

Kaitlin Fox

Teaching Assistant

Kaitlin FoxKaitlin Fox is a dance educator, performer, and choreographer. Originally from north of Chicago, Fox has spent the last seven years performing, creating, and dancing across the country. During her undergraduate studies at Columbia College Chicago, Fox trained in ballet, jazz, modern, West African, hip hop, and improvisation until completing her Bachelor of Arts in dance in 2010. Upon graduation, she worked as an intern for Donna Uchizono Dance Company and Emily Faulkner/WindUp Dances in New York City. Fox worked with Chicago's The Inconvenience on multiple occasions as a performer and choreographer. She has taught children and adults for the last seven years in multiple forms of dance in Chicago, San Francisco, South Lake Tahoe, and Denver. Fox ventured into the world of musical theatre and worked as the sole choreographer on Lake Tahoe Community College's production of Cabaret and Stagedoor Theatre Company's youth program's productions of Elf Jr. and Shrek Jr. in Conifer, Colorado. Fox pursued her thirst for knowledge of the functional body and became an ACE certified personal trainer in August 2016 and works with clients of all abilities under her company KFOX Fitness. She believes that movement is an expression and modality of communication that connects us all and is available to everyone. She invites dancers and nondancers to share in the experience of bonding with one another through movement to grow, understand, and make sense of our experiences in this world. Fox is currently a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is a teaching assistant.

Mauriah Kraker

Teaching Assistant

Mauriah KrakerMauriah Kraker is a mover, maker, improviser. Her practices are spatial; place walking, installation making, site-specific performing. Her love for precision and wide-open space comes from years competing as an Olympic-level athlete, touring with Pilobolus, and being raised in a family that believed in biking and walking to all destinations. Mauriah has created projects on printing presses in Germany, underpasses in the Midwest, sides of mountains in Italy, outdoor skating rinks in Taiwan, and Bangkok's zombie buildings. She has been awarded the Vannie L. Sheiry Memorial Dance Scholarship for outstanding performance at the University of Illinois and performs with Jennifer Monson/iland. She is located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is working on her MFA in choreography and performance, directing the Creative Dance for Children program, studying Body Mind Centering, and walking the prairie and fields.

Charlie Maybee

Teaching Assistant

Charlie MaybeeCharlie Maybee is a music and dance artist hailing from Woodbridge, Virginia. He received his BFA in dance and choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014 and moved to Champaign, Illinois, where he was an adjunct instructor, production manager, space coordinator, and accompanist at the University of Illinois Department of Dance as well as the director of dance arts for the Champaign Park District until 2016. He has since been accepted into the University of Illinois MFA Dance Program, where he is currently researching his own creative process in creating art work where tap dance is the central focus and how to integrate tap dance into the scope of contemporary art.

Rachel Rizzuto

Teaching Assistant

Rachel RizzutoRachel Rizzuto is a choreographer and performer fascinated by gesture, repetition, inherent autobiography, and text. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with degrees in dance and English, she spent nine years dancing for the Brooklyn-based company Mari Meade Dance Collective/MMDC. For the last three Valentine's Days, she has self-produced an interdisciplinary evening, super sad love scenes (or, love makes us all losers), an entirely non-self-effacing look at the hardships, hilarities, and heartbreaks of romantic relationships. With her project-based company, touche pas, she has choreographed a piece for a Brooklyn park that ruminates on the inner lives of medieval serfs and, most recently, created a work set entirely to the music of the Roche sisters. She has spent the last several years as an editor for Dance Teacher magazine and remains one of its contributing writers.

Danzel Thompson-Stout

Teaching Assistant

Danzel Thompson-StoutOriginally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, Danzel Thompson-Stout is an emerging national and international street dance artist, teacher, choreographer, and community activist based in the Philadelphia area. Thompson is well versed in forms such as street dance styles (house, hip hop, popping, locking, etc.), Umfundalai (contemporary African technique), and modern dance techniques (Cunningham, Limón, Graham, and Horton). As an active dancer, he works for artists/companies such as Rennie Harris Puremovement, the Berry and Nance Dance Project, Kariamu Welsh, and Kingsley Ibeneche. Thompson also holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and is pursuing an MFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, he is signed with Clear Talent Group (New York City), is a co-founder/artistic director of D2D: Dare to Dance, and is working on some personal projects. These projects consist of dance on film, collaborative community dance events, and exploring the crossovers between African dance and street dance styles.

Leah Wilks

Teaching Assistant

Leah WilksLeah Wilks is a choreographer, teacher, and performer from Durham, North Carolina. She holds a BA in environmental studies from Vassar College, where she also danced as a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater. While in Durham, Leah performed as a member of Renay Aumiller Dances, real.live.people, and the Department of Improvised Dance, and she directed the multimedia dance company VECTOR with visual artist Jon Haas. She has taught at North Carolina State University, the Carolina Friends School, 9th St. Dance, the Living Arts Collective, the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, Elon University, Purdue University, Montclair State University, and the American Dance Festival. She also dedicated much of her time in North Carolina to helping organize the Durham dance scene. Currently, Leah is a third-year MFA candidate and teaching assistant in the Department of Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She spends her time composing soundscores, using Black Sabbath and Nirvana to exorcise her movement demons, nerding out about teaching, and pondering what it might mean to be a Southern Gothic choreographer.