Gina DeCroix Russell

Gina-DeCroix RussellCurrent Location: Springfield, IL
Hometown: Springfield, IL

UIS Degrees: B.A. 2002 (Communication), M.A. 2003 (Communication)
Other Degree: B.A., Illinois State University

Current Position
Ballet Mistress at Springfield Ballet Company, Instructor/Choreographer at Dance Arts Studio, and Assistant Instructional Professor (Ballet II) at Illinois State University.

Career Highlights 
“I love what I do. Every day is a highlight. Really!”

Memories of SSU/UIS
“My professors at UIS had the biggest impact on me. I will never forget Hazel Rozema, Mary Bolin and Hank Nicholson – they were instrumental in pushing me to realize my full potential and gave me the confidence to venture out into the professional world. Plus, they are just wonderful human beings and I am lucky to have known them.”

How did UIS change or prepare you?
“I am honored to be the ballet mistress for the Springfield Ballet Company; and while that title focuses on my artistic contributions to the organization, the skills I learned in the communication program at UIS are a huge asset. I maintain our website; I design our programs, brochures, ads, t-shirts, direct mail campaigns, etc.; I market the company and our productions; I take photos during rehearsals, outreach programs and community performances – all things that I learned while I was a student at UIS. I am proud to combine my professional and artistic skill sets and work for an organization that I truly believe in.”

People who inspire me
“I am so very blessed to have two amazing mentors in my life. Grace Luttrell Nanavati (owner, Dance Arts Studio and director emeritus, Springfield Ballet Company) and Julie Ratz (artistic director, Springfield Ballet Company) have inspired and encouraged me since I was a child. Grace is the reason I pursued my master’s degree; and they both have been instrumental in making me who I am today.”

Favorite hobby
“I run marathons!”

Posted on July 22, 2014