Program Advisor and Studio Founder
Artistic Director and Teacher Christine Rich Studio Dance Academy YAGP.org Contemporary and Ballet Coach and Choreographer
Has coached multiple YAGP medalists and Top 12 soloists.
Choreographed and coached a contemporary duet finishing TOP 12 at NYC YAGP Finals.
Christine Rich, founder of the Christine Rich Studio, author, and dance teacher is a seasoned and skilled professional with over 30 years of a variety of experience that she continually draws from today. Starting from the plains of Central Illinois, she has seen success in the likes of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago in dance, acting, fitness, comedy, choreography for professional dancers, exercise patents and teaching dance students. Always innovating, Ms. Rich continues to expand her talents and develop her students to their highest potential as the CRS Studio Director.
Ashley Thopiah has a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler university. She began her dance training at the Christine Rich Studio Dance Academy. Ashley has performed corps, soloist, and principle roles in ballets including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, La Bayadere, Cinderella, and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments at Butler University.
Ashley has choreographed pieces for Butler’s dance department, including Jyoti and Ekta. Her choreography modern and Bharatanatyam, a form of classical Indian dance to express two distinct but intertwined aspects of her identity.
During the summer of 2018, Ekta was performed in the National Opera House in Warsaw, Poland and then were carried across Prague, Krakow, Poznan, and Bratislava.
She has performed at Dance Chicago in choreography by Christine Rich and has trained during the summer at State Street Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Ashley is now a company dancer with the Oakland Ballet Company in California.
Classical Ballet for Ballet Career or Youth America Grand Prix
Other CRS Faculty
Ballet, Acrobatics, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Toddlers
Miss Becky achieved dance greatness as a child and young adult and now teaches and inspires our students with her considerable talents!
She trained at CRS with Christine starting at the age of 3 and went onto great successes in the field of dance with invitations to every major ballet school such as American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet and more.
Now an incredible teacher and choreographer, her students benefit from her gifts in dance.
Click the link to see Becky dancing…
Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Tap, Hip Hop, Toddlers, and Irish
“Dance is permanently intertwined with my personality, and its lessons of perseverance and hard work are indelible.”
Beginning her dance training at the age of two, Maya studied at the Christine Rich Studio for sixteen years and graduated as valedictorian of her high school. CRS provided her with many outstanding opportunities as a dancer. She looked forward to showcasing her improvements and meeting new challenges at the annual recital and through community performances. During her junior and senior year of high school, she performed the lead role of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and the soloist role of a sylph in Les Sylphides. She was invited to perform at Dance Chicago on five different occasions featuring several pieces—Cowgirls, Roots, Migeon’s Intent, and Scared.
Maya competed in a regional National Society of Arts and Letters Dance Competition Award where she came in fourth place with the Dream Scene Second Variation from Raymonda. In addition to this, Maya performed Scared, a contemporary duet, with her sister in the 2019 Regional Semi-Final Indianapolis competition of YAGP. The performance earned a place in the top six of the Ensemble Category and scored high enough to perform at the 2019 Finals in New York City.
Maya was Valedictorian in Champaign her senior year. She maintains her dance training at Smith College where she is a second-year engineering major.
Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, Acrobatics and Toddlers
“Dancing has always been a passion and a source of joy. It has taught me to persevere, to be confident in my abilities, and most importantly, to achieve balance.”
Sara started dancing at the Christine Rich Studio at the age of two and completed sixteen years with the studio. She was excited to perform at the annual recitals and relished the opportunity to demonstrate what new skills she mastered each year. She had the privilege of performing as the lead in the ballet recitals as the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and a soloist sylph in Les Sylphides. In addition, she also performed in the Champaign-Urbana community at events such as Illini game halftime shows and at Parkland College musicals.
Sara is grateful for the many opportunities that dancing provided. In 2017, she placed third in a regional competition for the National Society of Arts and Letters Dance Competition. In 2019, she performed Scared at the semi-final competition in Indianapolis at Youth America Gran Prix (YAGP) where she and her sister placed in the top six in the Ensemble Category and scored high enough for an invitation to the finals competition in New York City. She is a five-time performer at Dance Chicago, the showcase of young dancers, featuring the pieces—Scared, Migeon’s Intent, Roots, and Cowgirls.
After graduating as Valedictorian, Sara is currently pursuing a degree in engineering at Smith College while participating in dance classes on campus.
Tap, Jazz/Lyrical, Hip Hop/Show Jazz, Acrobatics, Contemporary, Conditioning, and Competition Team Director
Cassie began her dancing career at the age of 3 years, and her passion for dance has continued to grow. Whether it’s Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Hip-Hop, or Contemporary, her love for performing is only surpassed by teaching and choreographing for all of her students.
For over fifteen years, Cassie was involved in competitive dance, winning numerous Regional and National awards and titles. She was a member of various dance companies in the Indianapolis area such as Showtime Dance Academy, Allied Dance Studio, and LA Dance Indy. Through these associations, she has had many opportunities to perform at prestigious venues including the Indianapolis Colts and Pacers games as well as the Indiana 500 Festival Parades.
In addition to her competitive dance experience, Cassie has also been involved in other performing arts groups. For four years, she participated in her high school show choirs as the dance captain, leading the women’s group to their first State Championship in 2011. She continues to share her enjoyment for show choir by choreographing sets and counseling over 800 children at the nationally known Show Choir Camps of America during the summer. Furthermore, Cassie has gained recognition as a performer and choreographer in her roles in the musicals “Aida” and “Footloose”, as well as the assistant director position for “Wizard of Oz” through the Wayne Township Education Foundation Community Theatre. Currently, Cassie is the Vice President for the Illini N Motion Dance Team at the University of Illinois.
She is very honored and excited to be sharing her knowledge, passion, and love of dance with all of her students at Christine Rich Studio!
Brianna Steinfeldt studied on full scholarship at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, which led to her being asked to join the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in 2011. She has also studied on full scholarship in the summer intensive programs at American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and at the Steifel and Stars Dreamcatchers program under the direction of Gillian Murphy.
Brianna Steinfeldt began her training at the Faubourg School of Ballet under the direction of Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, and Ernesto Quenedit. Brianna placed as a top twelve finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix New York in 2008, and also received second and third place at the YAGP Chicago in 2008 and 2009.
Grace Davidson competed in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP.org–the premier competition for rising ballet talent) for 5 years.
In 2010, Grace Davidson was awarded the Hope Award at the YAGP 2010 Chicago, IL Regional Semi-Finals. The Hope Award is the highest honor–beyond 1st place. In 2011, she repeated this feat and was also awarded the Hope Award at the NYC Finals of 2011–a feat rarely seen.
Grace also had the privilege of dancing on the New York City Center Stage in the 2011 Gala – “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” as a soloist. This program included the top ballet principal dancers in the world.
In 2012, Grace was a YAGP New York City Finalist and placed in the “top 12” in the junior category, and was awarded the Grishko Model Search award. In addition in 2013, Grace, at the age of 13, won first place in the Carey Rose Winski Dance Scholarship Contest-a lovely memorial competition held for 13 through 18 year old dancers. Then again in the spring of 2013 at the YAGP NYC Finals Grace placed in the “top 12” as a NYC YAGP finalist, and received a scholarship to and studied with the John Cranko Schule of Ballet in Stuttgart, Germany.
Grace Davidson began her formal ballet training under the direction of Rebekah von Rathonyi at Peoria Ballet at the age of five. Several years later, she began commuting to the Chicago area and then trained at the Faubourg School of Ballet, where she had the privilege of training under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, Ernesto Quenedit, and Vilma Machin, and worked with choreographer and contemporary teacher Camille Turner.
Grace Davidson has performed in numerous student productions with Faubourg Theatre, and has performed in several galas such as the Festival Ballet Theatre’s Gala of the Stars in California and the Indianapolis City Ballet’s “Young Stars Gala.”
As an actress, Grace Davidson also had the privilege of being cast in an American Girl Movie – Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight. She spent a summer in Toronto, Canada filming this project and improving her acting skills.