Miss Connie O’Reel, the director of Southwest Synergy Dance, has 35 years of extensive dance training in jazz, hip hop, ballet, lyrical, and drill team technique. Her mission is to develop the natural creativity, expression, and confidence in youth today through the art of dance. Under the instruction of her mentor, Denise Gurley, she began her dance training at Susan’s School of Dance where her fierce determination, skill, and leadership propelled her from student to assistant instructor at the age of twelve.
She continued her passion as a student at Lockport High School where she led her dance team to four years of excellence ending with a state title. At 19, Miss Connie became a principle instructor at Southwest School of Dance in Orland Hills and helped transition the studio into the competitive world of dance. Beginning in 2007, she has used her experience and talents to choreograph competition pieces for the Orland Hills Wolves, Carl Sandburg High School and Providence Catholic High School.
In 2006, Miss Connie took on the role of Director and has since transitioned the school, now known as Southwest Synergy Dance, to neighboring Tinley Park. Mrs. O’Reel credits her success to her amazingly supportive family, her loving husband Todd, her four children, Deegan, Micaela, Everleigh and Gavin, and to her mentor, Miss Denny. She also attributes her success to her students and staff who give her the strength and confidence to keep going every day. Mrs. O’Reel strives to provide an experience that will inspire each and every student to love and appreciate dance and music. She enjoys the opportunity to impact the lives of youth through her passion for excellence through dance.
Owner & Director
Miss Rae started dancing as a young child, and she has not stopped learning since. She danced competitively for 10 years and went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Dance Studies and Performance from Middle Tennessee State University. While at MTSU, Miss Rae performed with the Dance Theatre, as well as choreographed and directed the Student Gala Performances on campus. She has performed for many noted artists including Jesse Zaritt, Nick Cave, and Christopher Morgan. She has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, and has recently been certified by Acrobatic Arts and Progressing Ballet Technique. This is Miss Rae’s fifth year with Synergy and her fourth year choreographing for the Synergy FX Company. She loves being in class with her students and watching each one progress their artistry. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and reading!
Miss Caitlin has danced for 16 years -- (10 of those being competitive). She started teaching at Synergy two years ago, and she has been a part of the competitive program ever since! She recently became Acrobatic Arts Certified, and she loves seeing how even our youngest dancers push themselves to learn new skills. Miss Caitlin started her training at Dance FX in 2010 when the studio opened, and she is so grateful to have been involved there since it led to opportunities here! Miss Caitlin helps choreograph for the Synergy FX Dance Company, and can't wait to further her teaching career with us. Currently, she is attending North Central college to study Psychology and Spanish. In her free time she watches every sitcom on Netflix!
Social Media Manager
Miss Kayla started dancing at a young age, and her passion continued to grow from there. She trained at Elite Dance Academy in all styles of dance – Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Pointe, and Tap – and she danced for the Lockport Porterettes for four years in high school where she led the team as captain for two years. Miss Kayla graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Dance. While acquiring her degree, she was both a member and a choreographer for the Illini N Motion Dance Team. Currently, she's on staff as the Ballet teacher here at Synergy Dance and she feels blessed to be a part of this dance family! Aside from dance, she is a 5th grade teacher at Trinity Christian School in Shorewood, IL.
Miss Grace grew up dancing in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Through her training at Youth Dance Ensemble, Marius Andahazy Ballet, and Saint Paul City Ballet, she studied ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, musical theater, hip-hop, and partnering. In 2021, Miss Grace graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet and a Minor in Strategic Communication. During her time in Utah, she was fortunate to train at Millennium Dance Complex Salt Lake City in addition to the School of Dance at the University of Utah. Throughout high school and college, Miss Grace spent her summers attending dance intensives around the country and even one in Moscow, Russia. Miss Grace is now dancing as a Second Company Artist with Ballet 5:8 in Orland Park, and she is so excited to teach the wonderful students at Synergy again this year!
Abbey Slusinski was born in Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2003, and began her passion for dance at the age of 9. She has also danced competitively for 6 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 won multiple titles throughout her dance career, along with choreographing contemporary and hiphop pieces that have placed highly at various competitions. Abbey has also received other achievements such as becoming a HEAT Assistant for the 2022-2023 dance season and gaining multiple scholarships to Joffrey, and AMDA in Los Angeles. Abbey really 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 dance community, Abbey has appreciated the opportunities dance has given her, and wants to share her passion with others.
Angie S. Keneipp is a native of Los Angeles who moved to Chicago Fifteen years ago. While in L.A. she was senior member, soloist and choreographer for Jazz Dancers Inc., L.A.’S premiere concert jazz dance company. Angie has also appeared as a featured dancer in several films such as “Staying Alive”, “One From the Heart”, and “I’ll Do Anything”. She has worked and collaborated with the creative talents of Twyla Tharp, Sylvester Stallone, James L. Brooks, Ben Vereen and John Travolta, just to name a few. Her teaching and choreographic talents have taken her all over the globe. She has taught at Paramount Film Studios, Dupree Dance Academy and tours with conventions annually. Angie has performed with Chicago Dance Medium, a prominent Modern Company on the Chicago dance scene and is choreographing for several projects in Los Angeles and Chicago. Angie was honored to choreograph for Dance Chicago's showcase , one of Chicago's largest dance festivals. She recently was honored to have a piece premier at the RDA Dance Festival. Her unique and dynamic style is appreciated by all.
Miss Bonnie is the Event/Birthday Party Coordinator for Synergy. You can contact her for all of your party needs -- she will take care of it all! You can also catch her working the front desk! Miss Bonnie has been at Synergy for a few years, and she's so proud of her daughter, Connie, for making Synergy what is is today!
Miss Hannah is completing her Senior year in High School, but this is her first year behind the desk at Synergy! You can find her there on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Ask her anything!
Miss Summer took her first dance class when she was five years old, and has participated in many performances and competitions ever since! She competed with Legacy Dance Ensemble for many years while studying Ballet, Tap, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, and Jazz. While in high school, Miss Summer danced with the Tinley Park Varsity Dance Team for four years, and she led the team as captain for two. As a captain, she had the opportunity to choreograph all the team's routines for games, assemblies, and other school related events. In the fall, she will be attending Governors State University to study elementary education. In her spare time she loves to cook and listen to music!
Miss Rachael has been dancing since she was 3. She enjoyed taking all forms of dance as a child and began dancing competitively at the age of 10. In high school she was a part of Carl Sandburg Orchesis. Her love of dance has never stopped growing and she especially loves that she gets to watch her daughter grow as a dancer here at Southwest Synergy. Miss. Rachael loves being a part of the Synergy family as Costume Manager and is looking forward to watching everyone sparkle on stage in their adorable costumes.
Miss Abby started dance at the age of 5 and has been in love ever since! She has trained in many different styles such as jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, and lyrical. She is so excited to be back for another great year at synergy!
Nathan began his dance training seven years ago. However, with his grandma being a former dance instructor and his mom coaching the varsity poms team at Andrew High School, dance has been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. He has consistently trained in a wide variety of styles including Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Ballet and Jazz. Along with competing at his studio, Nathan was also a member of the varsity dance team at Andrew High School where he had the opportunity to choreograph their competitive routines which performed at both the local as well as national level. Since beginning his teaching career three years ago, his work has received several regional and national titles. Nathan is currently studying Public Relations at Moraine Valley Community College while he continues sharing his passion for dance with his students. He can not wait to begin his first year at Synergy! In his spare time, he loves reading and trying new coffee shops!
Jess grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and has recently relocated to Chicago from New York City. She started dancing at Miracle Dance Theatre at the age of three and was emerged into the competition world at age 10. Over the years Jess trained with Jason Samuel Smith, Lady Di Walker, former Rockette Angela Kahle, Broadway Dance Centers Doug Shankman and many others. She is an energetic dance professional with over 14 years of teaching experience in multiple disciplines and various ages. Jess is also an adjudicator for Beyond The Stars/Breakout dance competition. She is proficient in in various styles, including, tap, jazz, strength and conditioning, and pom and has extensive experience working with children and adults with special needs.
Miss Caitlin began dancing at the young age of 3 years old at Southwest School of Dance (and continued to attend the studio under Miss Connie’s transition to Synergy), training in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, pom, and hip hop. Miss Caitlin was also a member of the competitive dance team at Synergy. At 14, Miss Caitlin became an assistant, taking the opportunity to work with numerous instructors of various styles of dance. As an assistant, she was able to evolve and learn how to engage, teach, and positively impact those younger than her. At 17, Miss Caitlin became an instructor at Synergy, putting to use all of the knowledge she had gained from Miss Connie and the various teachers throughout the years of her dance training. Miss Caitlin then attended Marquette University in Milwaukee to pursue a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. While in Milwaukee, Miss Caitlin took various dance classes across the city and surrounding area to broaden her horizons and continue to further her own dance education and training. Miss Caitlin has since moved back to the Chicagoland area and is excited to be back at Synergy, sharing not only her love of dance, but now also her passions of human anatomy, injury prevention, health and fitness, and helping students grow into their potentials. When not at the studio, Miss Caitlin works as a physical therapist in ICUs at Chicagoland area hospitals, sprinkling in some dance based exercises when she can.
This is her second year behind the desk, but she's been committed to Synergy ever since her and her daughters came a few years ago! She has one daughter on the competitive dance team, and one who loves taking her favorite classes just for fun! She is also involved in the Company Spirit Club, and is super happy she has found a home for her dancers.