Executive Director & Artistic Coordinator

Emily Cooke

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 Emily Cooke's diverse and extensive background in the Arts as well as Business make her the perfect fit for the Executive Director and Artistic Coordinator of the Rockford Dance Company. Emily studied at RDC and several other companies in the greater metropolitan area including Ballet Chicago. She attended Weber State University in Utah and Western Illinois University on a dance and choreography scholarship. This provided her with the opportunity to gain backstage experience such as costume design and production management while continuing to study, teach and perform ballet, modern and other styles of dance. Emily received a Bachelor of Business in Marketing Management and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Marketing and International Business. This prepared her for a successful business career in management positions at Fortune 100 companies over the past 15 years. She has extensive experience developing and executing high - profile business symposiums with individuals such as Peyton Manning and Moira Forbes. 

I’m extremely honored and excited to be a member of Rockford Dance Company (RDC). It definitely feels like my career has come full circle and I can’t wait to be a part of this year's 45th season titled Vivid.


Interim School Director & Outreach Artist

Mary Read

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Mary Read trained in gymnastics from age 3 until 16, then transitioned into studying dance. She has trained in ballet, pointe, modern, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, Latin and improv. She has participated in master classes with Hubbard Street, Paul Taylor and Diavolo at College of DuPage, and attended master classes with River North and Alvin Ailey at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Read has also received partial scholarships to dance in summer intensives with Thodos Dance Chicago in 2010 and 2011. Read earned her BFA in dance performance from NIU in 2013. Upon graduation, she received the Dean's Award for the College of Visual and Performing Arts; an award that reflects academic excellence, leadership and artistic versatility. That year she was also voted "Best Modern Contemporary Dancer" by NIU students. She then stayed at NIU to earn her Masters in Education with a focus in Physical Education. Read is now in her fourth season of Meraki, which is a contemporary dance company in Naperville, IL. Her most recent performances with Meraki were July 28 and 29, 2018 at Madison Street Theatre, Oak Park, IL. Besides performing, Read has also taught technique and choreographed for the Élan Dance Company at the Naperville Park District (2012-2015), and is currently teaching dance at College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn, IL). She is excited to start her third year on faculty at Rockford Dance Company!

I’m honored to now have the opportunity to lead the school and teach technique for the Rockford Dance Company.


Office Manager - Patty Parlee


Outreach Coordinator - Sydney Rae Trotter

Sydney Rae has been blessed with opportunities in dance, musical theatre and various aspects of the arts dating back to age 11.  She developed a special passion for dance through years of instruction with professional studios and private lessons, which has shaped her into the dancer and teacher she is today.  She currently teaches several styles of dance, including ballet, modern, contemporary and African, for children of all ages.  In addition, she coaches dance teams which incorporate all styles, including musical theatre. Sydney Rae earned her yoga certification in the summer of 2018, and that fall, was given the opportunity to lead yoga classes at a Hawaiian retreat. 

I am thrilled to be able to direct and organize Rockford Dance Company's Outreach Programming, and help bring our wonderful organization into the Rockford community.