Susan Gillis (Faculty Advisor)
Susan Gillis received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance from the University of Utah and a Master of Education degree from the University of Pittsburgh. While in New York City she danced with Virginia Laidlaw Dance Theater and the Shoestring Dance Ensemble. Former director and dancer with the Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, Susan has been producing her choreography independently and in collaboration with dancer/choreographer Judy Steel for the past 30 years. She has been the recipient of several choreography and video grants from the PA Council On the Arts, the Pittsburgh Dance Council, the Howard Heinz Foundation and the Pittsburgh Foundation. Her choreography has been seen on Public Television and her article "Developing Skills in Dance" was published in Focus on Dance XII, a 1992 National Dance Association publication. More recently she has developed the "Arts Education Project" which offers multisensory teaching seminars on the history of dance and has created "The Early Moderns" a multi-media CD-ROM on early modern dance history from 1880-1935. Susan's dance history tutorial can be found on the Web at: The Early Modern Tutorial. She is also the 2006 PA State Teacher of the Year for Dance/University level, the 2008 Eastern District Association Teacher of the Year for Dance/University level and her chapter on Introduction to Dance was recently published in "Diversity Across the Curriculum" (May 2007) by Jossey-Bass/Ankor Press.
JoAnna is a senior psychology major with aspirations of becoming a clinical psychologist. She has been dancing since the age of three at Ann Shade’s Dance and Fitness Studio. JoAnna left the studio at age eleven to begin competing with her middle school dance and majorette teams in the Tournament of Bands Tournament Indoor Association. She then danced and twirled with local independent team, Dance FX, from her early high school years into her freshman year of college until the team disbanded after the 2013 competition season. Currently, JoAnna coaches a local competitive middle school majorette team which is her pride and joy. She also thoroughly enjoys choreographing for the Pitt Dance Ensemble. JoAnna is thrilled to pursue her passion for dance and choreography through PDE, and she is honored to be a member of the board!
Tim is a junior at Pitt majoring in pre-education in hopes of pursuing a career in higher education administration. He is originally from Ambridge, Pennsylvania where he danced and studied acrobatics at Doris Singer Dance Studio. Tim is extremely excited and grateful to have become a part of the Pitt Dance Ensemble and looks forward to the many opportunities that are ahead of him because of PDE. He possess a strong passion for dance that he is thankful he is able to live out and share with others while at Pitt. In addition to PDE, Tim is also a member of the Pitt Blue and Gold Society and is a Resident Assistant for the university. Tim would like to thank Susan, the other members of PDE and the executive board, and all those who have impacted his dance journey. Hail to Pitt! Hail to PDE!
Lily Varieur is a junior hoping to major in Rehabilitation Science with a minor in dance. She has been dancing since the age of 3 at Wheaton Studio of Dance in Silver Spring, MD. There she trained in various styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary and taught ballet and tap to young students. She also competed as a soloist and in small and large group numbers throughout the Maryland and Virginia area in high school. Lily performed and competed with Montgomery Blair High School’s Pom Squad for two years where she helped lead the squad as co-captain her senior year. In college, Lily is excited to be continuing and broadening her dance education through dancing with PDE. Outside of PDE, Lily is an active member of the Alpha Zeta chapter of the social sorority Sigma Delta Tau and enjoys teaching Zumba on campus.
Rowan is a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She began dancing at the age of 3 and was a part of a competitive dance team with Miss Tanya’s Expression of Dance for 9 years. In high school she preformed with the Nazareth High School Dance Team and was voted as a captain senior year. Rowan joined PDE her freshman year as a way to continue dancing and fell in love with the club. The ensemble has allowed her the opportunity to meet some of her best friends on campus, as well as to escape schoolwork and keep her sanity through tough classes. Outside of PDE she is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and holds a co-op position at Mine Safety Appliances. She is very excited to be a member of the executive board, to keep dancing/choreographing, and to allow others to share the amazing experience that is PDE. Hail to PDE!