STAFF

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MELISSA KOPEL- OWNER 
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Having a passion for dance Melissa put her daughter in dance at age one. She has traveled around the world being a dance mom which taught her what students need to succeed and grow. Putting all of that knowledge and experience together has allowed her to open a safe place for dancers to become successful with their career while dancing at Konquer as well as in their future endeavors as a professional in the dance industry.

KAILEY KOPEL-  ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, COMPANY PHOTOGRAPHER, COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER & COSTUME DESIGNER 

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Kailey was born in Chicago, Illinois and started training at the age of 1.5 years old. She has trained with multiple dance teams in Chicago and LA in hip hop, contemporary, jazz, and ballet. Kailey is currently the artistic director of Konquer Dance Company teaching and choreographing over 40 routines each season. Some of these routines have won first place at a national level. This past year she was also blessed to be a judge for Precision Arts Challenge dance competition.

She is also a part of Ipush and assisting/teaching for Activate Your Artistry. Kailey was also picked to be an ambassador for the Bridge Training Program based out of LA. She loves to inspire and work with other dancers. She has found a love for choreography. Choreographing for an Aladdin musical (2017), Calumet City of St. Joseph Dance Team (2017), St, Xavier Dance Team (2018), Perfection Dance Company (2018), Konquer Dance Company (2018-2021), concept videos, wedding routines, half time routines, solos and other poms group routines. She has gotten multiple personal invites/scholarships and been blessed to a part of companies such as Immabreathe, Buildabeast dance experience, Tokyo dance intensive, Nexus dance, etc. She wants to share her love for dance with younger dancers and inspire them with her motto, "Do What You Love!”

 
MONYETT CRUMP- HIP HOP 
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Monyett Crump first discovered his love for dance at the age of 15 after being inspired by dance icons such as Michael Jackson and the Jabbawockeez. Since then, he has trained in Hip-Hop with some of the finest instructors and professional dance studios all over the country. Monyett has had the honor of working with incredible artists and brands such as Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, Chance the Rapper,  NIKE, VANS, NETFLIX, and more . He continues to share his passion for dance around the world and hopes to promote hard work and commitment to aspiring dancers.

JULIAN RAY CARMOLINGA-
CONTEMPORARY, HIP HOP & COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER  
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Julian Ray Carmolinga was born and raised in Chicago, Il and at the age of 19 he moved to Los Angeles, CA to begin his career as a professional dancer/choreographer/teacher. Julian has choreographed and/or danced  for Radio Disney Music Awards, MTV Movie Awards, J Balvin, Ellen, Lil Jon, Jordan Fisher, Big Leap, Ellen, AGT, Monsters Show ’21  and more. 

Julian’s source of passion for teaching/choreography comes from both the freedom, and the discipline involved. The freedom of being able to create/express anything you want as a choreographer using your technique, and the discipline of knowing that you have the power to encourage self-respect, love, and positivity in every single dancer in a classroom.

He is now based in Chicago continuing his work as a bicoastal professional dancer/teacher.

ALYSSA FRANCOEUR- TECHNIQUE, ACRO, PETITE COMBO, BOYS HIP HOP, ADULT HIP HOP, TUMBLING & COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER

 Alyssa was born in Chicago Illinois and began her dance journey as a young adult. She has received awards for advanced technique, intensive tumbling, leadership skills and had the opportunity to be in the Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker. Alyssa has matured into a dedicated dancer who believes when you do anything for the sake of someone else, no matter how you feel physically or mentally,when that work is done out of love; all things are strengthened. Alyssa chooses to show righteousness as a dance teacher and by faith reaps the reward of seeing the kids grow as dancers. Alyssa continues to work diligently, teach with care, and ensure the well being of others. 

NATHAN MATTIX-  
COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER  
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    Nathan was born in Lockport, Illinois and began his competitive dance career at age 11. He has been a Dupree Dance Scholarship Winner and All Star Dancer for three years  holds 5 regional titles and one national title. Nathan has choreographed for the Andrew High School Poms team, other pieces for competition, as well as assisted with Konquer Dance Company’s concept videos. His co-choreographed company routines, “Piece by Piece” and “Missing You,” have received several awards including Highest Scoring Routine at Precision Arts Challenge (Piece by Piece) and 1st overall at Kar, Showstoppers, and Leap (Missing You.) He has been with Konquer from the very beginning and still trains consistently in ballet, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, and modern. His goal is to help students step out of their comfort zones and grow as dancers both in the studio and on stage.

KETURAH COOK- BALLET, PRE POINTE,  POINTE PROGRAM
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Keturah Cook began her early ballet training at the Evergreen City Ballet in Seattle, Washington. She completed her last eight years of training at the Kentucky Ballet Theatre Academy. She has attended summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Evergreen City Ballet, Next Generation Ballet at Patel Conservatory, and Kentucky Ballet Theatre and has taken numerous master classes including special seminars with world renowned Cuban Jewel, Aurora Bosch. Ms.Keturah is also graduate of the Kentucky Governor’s School of the Arts. Ms. Cook was a professional company member with the Kentucky Ballet Theatre and is now excited to continue her professional career with Ballet 5:8, a Chicago-based touring company. She was on faculty at the Kentucky Ballet Theatre Academy and several other local dance schools. Ms. Keturah teaches a wide variety of dance styles to all ages. She is deeply committed and easily adapts to meet the needs of each and every student and has a passion for teaching a strong technique and injury prevention while maintaining a passion for the art of dance

DONNETTA "LilBit" JACKSON- TAP
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Donnetta "Lil Bit" Jackson is a dynamic and versatile dancer whose skill has brought her international acclaim.  She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, IL, where she began dancing at The Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre at the age of 7. At 11 years old, she became one of the original members of the prestigious M.A.D.D. Rhythms tap company and later joined the Chicago footwork group Creation Battle Clique/Creation Global, which led her to the internationally recognized dance ensemble the Chicago FootworKINGz, which resulted in her performing with them on season 6 of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. Later she was a featured dancer for Grammy award winning artist Chance The Rapper’s “Sunday Candy” and “Angels” music videos, and is now one of his choreographers/dancers. She was just recently on the MTV Video Music Awards performing with Missy Elliot during her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award performance. Donnetta is now filming for a role in the tv series “The Big Leap” that will be airing soon. She goes by the motto Respect the dance!!

ABBEY SLUSINSKI- HIP HOP , CONTEMPORARY,
COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER
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Abbey Slusinski was born in Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2003, and began her passion for dance at the age of 9. She has been dancing competitively for 7 years. Prior to her dance career she competed in gymnastics for two years, and excelled in the program quickly. Other than dancing, Abbey loves to choreograph, and takes other classes to gain the experience of many different styles of dance. She currently trains in jazz, hip hop, and contemporary. She has also received awards such as “Most improved dancer,”  “Best hip hop dancer of 2019,” and “The most committed dancer of 2021” (Konquer). She has also won multiple titles in her dance career, and has been teaching multiple classes this year such as contemporary and hiphop. She loves to push individuals out of their comfort zone, and help them gain exposure to other styles of dance. Some of the main talents Abbey has mastered is being able to story tell with her creative movement, and captivating an audience. Since being a part of the Konquer family, Abbey has learned to grow as an individual, and has learned to be more confident in herself.

BELLA LABEDZ- JAZZ,  
COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER &
MINI BALLERINA'S
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Bella started her love for dance at age 3 and continues to grow through all her journeys in life. She attends Andrew High School and is currently on the varsity poms team. She has been competing for 8 years as a competitive dancer in all styles. Bella has trained in ballet for most of her time dancing and has also attended RuthPage dance intensives downtown. “I love dancing because it is my passion, and it shows you that all of your hard work really does pay off in the end.”  Bella loves helping with the younger dancers to see them grow and achieve their biggest goals in dance. Some of Bella’s goals are becoming a professional choreographer and dance teacher. Bella is choreographing some of the competitive group routines and solos for the younger dancers this year and is excited to work with Konquer and achieve her students and her own goals!

NICOLE WANDA-- HIIT, YOGA, BARRE & AERIAL YOGA INSTRUCTOR  
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Nicole is an ISSA personal trainer, group fitness specialist, certified in American Barre Technique and Aerial yoga. Once finding the balance between her own yoga practice and physical fitness, she knew she would have to share the joy and empowerment by instructing high intensity interval training classes as well as the yin yoga to that yang life-style. She strives to encourage others to embrace the mind body connection and accept their unique selves with self-love and compassion.

KING KEMO- FOOTWORK 
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Hello, my name is Kemo Sanders (King Kemo ) I am 32 years old.

I’ve been dancing for 15 years. Teaching for 6 years. I’m one of the original members of a professional ensemble called Chicago FootworKingz. 

As a dancer I have performed on TV shows like Ellen, Take Flight, and most recently Dancing with the Stars Finale. Music videos include artists like Twista and Wiz Khalifa. Performances I have been a part of are Los Angeles Carnivale, Italy summer dance tour, Las Vegas Caesar’s Palace, and different festivals across the United States.

My passion for teaching has brought me to teach at IDA Hollywood, Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio and several other dance studios from Chicago and LA.

 My long-term goal is to maintain longevity for the culture. Teach and spread Chicago Footwork around the world. All while perfecting my craft & paying it forward to the youth through footwork and freestyle.

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HANNAH JOHNSON- JAZZ,
MUSICAL THEATRE &
COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER 
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Hannah began her training at the age of three, and hasn’t taken a day off since! She has trained under numerous renowned choreographers and instructors, and has an extensive education in jazz, contemporary, and musical theater. Hannah has dedicated her life to the arts and loves sharing her passion with her students. She was recently cast in a production of the musical, A Chorus Line, where she was honored to be the dance captain of the show, as well as the role of “Lori”. She also recently had the pleasure of performing at the “Gateway for Cancer” Research Gala in Chicago, where she was a backup dancer for Stacey Kay and Pussycat Doll Chesca Ramirez. Hannah has been happily teaching all styles and levels of dance for 9 years now and continues to find new ways to inspire and push her students in and out of the studio. She also feels incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to see hundreds of dancers on stage every weekend when she is away judging dance competitions! She is so excited to work with all the Konquer dancers and can’t wait to see all they accomplish throughout the year!

STEPHANIE BEHLAND-  
PETITE TAP & BALLET COMBO 
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Stephanie was born in Homer Glen, Illinois and began her dance training at the age of two years old. She began dancing competitively at the age of ten and has trained with professional dance instructors at six different studios to broaden and diversify her dance experience. Stephanie has performed and competed in many different styles of dance, including lyrical, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, and open. Stephanie is a Lockport Township High School graduate and was a member of the Lockport Varsity Dance team, earning all-conference honors and receiving the Porter Pride Award her senior year.  She currently dances on both an athletic and academic scholarship with the University of Saint Francis Dance Team in Joliet, and she is a member of the Competitive Dance Company at Konquer. Stephanie was invited to be a part of the Degas Ballet Society where she had a lead role as a soloist in their ballet production of Hansel and Gretel. She has received many awards throughout her dance journey, having placed numerous times in the top three with her solo and some 1st and grand national wins with group dances at a national level. Stephanie is thrilled to share her love of dance with her students at Konquer.

JIMMY WEEDEN- HIP HOP    
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Jimmy Weeden is originally from Indianapolis,IN where he found his love for dance and began his training in hip hop & many other street styles. In his hometown he competed with a local dance studio, worked as a halftime performance dancer for WNBA fever inferno, and was involved with the local dance community (teaching, learning, sharing personal work). Jimmy moved to LA in 2015 to further his training and career as a dance artist, where he later worked as a dancer (music videos, live performances) & professional teacher. He is a former Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, IDA Hollywood , EXPG LA - faculty member & hip-hop instructor at AMDA Performing Arts College. Jimmy is a world traveling teaching artist. He’s taught in several countries in Europe, United Kingdom and other countries such as: Russia & Peru. Jimmy grew close and got involved with the Chicago dance community during his travels and eventually made his way back to the Midwest, moving to Chicago in late 2019 where he continues his work as a dance artist and teacher of the local community.

ISABELLA VALDIVIA- HIP HOP  
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Isabella has been dancing since the age of three, she is technically trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. At the age of 14 she began training in hip hop learning many different styles of hip hop. As a teacher who has taught all levels of dance to students from all backgrounds, Isabella believes that everyone has the ability to dance and be great. She wants her students to take in more than just steps from her classes. Transitioning from ballet to hip hop, she knows the process of learning to move differently. She uses her technical background in her hip hop training and choreography, she is constantly learning and growing and loves to help her students learn and grow as well.  

KEBRON POPLOUS- SELF DEFENSE, KICKBOXING, BOOTCAMP & PERSONAL TRAINING 
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Kebron Poplous was born in Chicago Illinois. He grew up playing sports all his life from football to basketball. He wrestled all 4 years of high school and 1 year in college at Minot State University. That’s when his passion for martial arts began. His first form of martial arts began with Brazilian jujitsu. He is now an amateur Mma fighter with a record of 1-0 and more to come within the next two years he will go pro. When I teach martial arts/self defense I want kids, teens, and adults to know that Self defense is just not a use of techniques; It’s a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are with defending. Kebron also has aspirations of opening his own jujitsu Academy. 

JAKE GUERRERO-VIDEOGRAPHER 

Jake Guerrero was born and raised on an island...Blue Island, IL

I first started learning about film production in both my junior and senior year in high school, where I assisted in editing, shooting, and being the anchor for our daily school news update. Upon graduating high school, I ventured off into different career paths which included personal/private protection, coaching wrestling, fitness coach, and eventually working within social services. I’ve always had a passion for working both in front of and behind a video camera which allowed me to eventually pursue a career within the film industry.

In early 2015, I was offered the opportunity to help make those aspirations a reality by partaking as an extra in student films and feature films. This led up to booking roles for multiple tv projects such as Chicago P.D. Chicago Fire, Empire, Steve Harvey and much more. A year later I ended up signing with BNB talent Chicago. The most recent project I worked on was a social media ad for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s teremana tequila line. During this time, I began to experiment with working behind the camera. I started by filming my son’s dance videos, as well as his birthday video which was all recorded off my iPhone. I began to receive positive feedback and had a few individuals reach out for video services. From there I began to book work shooting birthday, graduation, fitness, and ultimately dance videos. I then decided to help make my vision become a reality by developing my own brand, freedom films. Eventually I would like to expand and venture off into creating commercials as well as full length films. I hope to continue on this journey that allows me the freedom to capture, create, and ultimately....give back