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 fifth year undergraduate student pursuing a Psychology and Communication & Rhetoric dual degree. She enjoys participating in regional college dance conventions, and has participated in the Bates Dance Festival Professional Training Program this past summer. She has also worked as a collaborative mover with local artist David Bernabo in a CSA production at the New Hazlett Theatre. Currently, JoAnna coaches a local competitive majorette team as well as a dance team, which are 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!
Abby Dillaha is a junior majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Dance. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Philosophy with her thesis in Cognitive Psychology. She started dancing at three years old and continued until she was 13. In high school, Abby was on the Plymouth High School Pompon team and was captain her senior year. She is so grateful to be able to keep dance as a part of her life in college. Abby has so much love for PDE and all of the friends she has made through the organization. She is also a member of the Blue and Gold Society on campus. Hail to Pitt and Hail to PDE!!
Tim is a senior 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!
Anna is originally from Dripping Springs, Texas where she began dancing at the age of 2. She has trained in all areas of dance, specifically in Cecchetti. She is currently working towards her masters in Accounting at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. PDE has been her favorite avenue on campus for dancing. H2PDE!
Katie is a Senior in the Communication Science and Disorders program hoping to pursue a a degree in Speech Language Pathology.. She has been dancing since the age of 3 in Southern New Jersey where she took ballet, jazz, modern, and had a special love for tap. Outside of PDE, Katie is an active member of the Pitt Pathfinders as a university tour guide and is also a member of NSSLHA, the student speech and hearing association. Katie has been a member of PDE since her freshman year and is excited and honored to be able to spend another year on the Board!
Lily Varieur is a senior majoring in Social Work and minoring in dance. She is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland where she began dancing at the age of 3 at Wheaton Studio of Dance where she competed locally and studied various dance styles. Lily also performed and competed with the Montgomery Blair High School Pom squad for two years. At 16, Lily began teaching ballet and tap classes at Wheaton Studio of Dance. Lily is also licensed to teach Zumba and Zumba kids. She enjoys teaching Zumba on campus to spread her love of dance and fitness to other Pitt students. Outside of PDE, Lily is also an active member and current chapter president of the social sorority Sigma Delta Tau. PDE has given Lily the ability to continue to pursue her love of dance and experience new styles. She is excited to continue serving on the board and to continue dancing whenever she has the chance.
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!