Gene Medler, Artistic Director, founded the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble in 1983. Gene teaches in the Department of Performing Arts at Elon University. His previous teaching credits include Duke University and Meredith College. He is on the faculty at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill and has taught master classes at the St. Louis Tap Festival, the American Dance Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Tap City in New York City, the Saratov Music Conservatory (Russia), Tap Encontro (Rio de Janeiro), The Hot Shoe Show (Vienna), Feet Beet (Helsinki), the Internationales Steptanz-Festival (Berlin) and the Heidelberger Steptanz Festival (Heidelberg). Gene has also taught at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City.
Selected performances include solos in Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker,” Ellington’s “David Danced,” “Rising Stars of Tap” (Colorado Dance Festival), and “The Great Tap Reunion” (Boston) as well as an appearance with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. He has been seen nationwide in the PBS special, “Juba! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance.”
Gene has received grants from the Durham Arts Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Orange County Arts Commission. He has been featured in such publications as Dance Teacher Now, Carolina Alumni Review, Southern Living, and Our State.
Gene has received many honors for his contributions to dance and his achievements as a dance artist. These include: “Tar Heel of the Week” from The News and Observe; an Indy Arts Award from The Independent; the North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award; and the JUBA Award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the Academy Award of the tap dance world.
Gene started dancing at the age of 28 and was quickly bitten by the tap dance bug. He was entranced by the combination of movement, rhythm, and sound. He started the ensemble because he wanted to offer his students more opportunities to perform and wanted to expand his own teaching and choreography. After nearly 30 years, he still loves mentoring young dancers and is thrilled with the journey NCYTE has taken him on.
Rachel Teem, Assistant Director, is a Wake Forest native who graduated in May 2009 from Elon University with a BFA in dance performance and choreography. While at Elon, Rachel was a member of the Elon Dance Company and had the privilege of performing the works of a number of applauded choreographers including Lauren Kearns, Jane Wellford, Linda Sabo, Amy Beasley, Lila York, Rebecca Hutchins, Gene Medler, Nina Wheeler, and Ava Vinisett. In October 2007, Rachel traveled with kearns dance project to assist with classes and perform with the ensemble as part of the North Carolina High School Day of Dance. Rachel has also performed at adjudication concerts at the American College Dance Festival at the University of Mississippi in 2007 and Goucher College in 2008. She was co-director of Elon University’s all tap show, “Tapped Out” in 2008 and 2009 as well as a performer and choreographer.
Rachel has a passion for teaching and inspiring young dancers to reach their potential and realize their full artistic ability. She is on staff at The Dance Attic in Wake Forest where she teaches all styles of dance. Rachel, who joined NCYTE as Assistant Director in 2009, absolutely loves working with the ensemble. She enjoys getting to get to know the dancers, seeing their progress and watching them develop their craft as tappers.