Faculty Profile

Holly Gombita — Dance

NMS Music Theatre Faculty


Holly Gombita is known on Chicago stages for choreography that is “clever and inventive” (Chicago Stage Standard) and that “perfectly fuses” plot and style (Third Coast Review). Ms. Gombita has choreographed for numerous theaters in and around the city, including Theater Wit, Stage 773, Public House Theatre, MCL Chicago, and The Leela Arts Center in Des Plains.

While pursuing her studies of theater and dance at The Pennsylvania State University, Ms. Gombita was given the opportunity to work at The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera as their choreography intern in 2009, working with Broadway professionals such as Hunter Foster and Shoshana Bean on productions that included Into The Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Les Miserables. Upon graduation, she began teaching dance and performing in her hometown of Pittsburgh until moving to Chicago in 2012 where she became a company member and choreographer for Matter Dance Company and the resident choreographer of MCL Chicago.

Ms. Gombita has become an innovator in the Chicago comedy industry as well, incorporating dance and choreography into sketch and improv comedy in ways never done before in the industry.  In 2015, she began designing choreography and dance workshops for improvisers and music improvisers and has been invited to teach the workshops at such prestigious institutions such as The Second City Training Center.  Ms. Gombita is also one of the original company members and a choreographer of The Comedy Dance Collective, a groundbreaking new company that creates “the perfect formula for a successful show” by “combining the best parts of dance and comedy” (Chicago Reader). 

Although Ms. Gombita’s repertoire of dance styles is very diverse, the base of her technique comes from having studied ballet for six years with Mansur Kamaletdinov, who was a Principal Character Dancer, Ballet Master, and Choreographer at the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia, and who studied directly with distinguished Russian ballet teacher Aggripina Vaganova.

Ms. Gombita uses elements of The Vagonova Method, in addition to jazz techniques, in her instruction for dance in musical theater.  She believes strong technique along with character development in performance are the key foundations in students’ growth as musical theater dancers, and she encourages these foundations in her students.  In addition to teaching at New Music School, Ms. Gombita is also a substitute dance teacher in the musical theatre department at The Chicago High School for the Arts.