Laura was born and raised in Muncie, IN where she started dancing at the age of 11. Laura studied Exercise Science at Ball State University in Muncie, IN and continued to work with her high school dance team by choreographing hip hop routines. In 2014 she began working for Inspire @ D.D.S (Dixie’s Dance Studio) where she taught hip hop and jazz classes. She worked closely with Inspire’s competition team by choreographing and cleaning/critiquing solos, hand picking and choreographing for a competitive Hip Hop Crew, working with the studio director on the studio production including 60+ dancers, and traveling to competitions throughout the U.S. In her last semester of school, Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona where she completed an internship with Overcoming U: A Mindful Corporate Wellness, where she helped develop exercise and nutrition courses to be given to clients. She uses this knowledge while teaching her classes to make her dancers stronger and healthier. She continued to teach dance at Bricks Studio in Phoenix while completing her work with Overcoming U. At Bricks Studio, Laura took on the position of Recital Director for their 2018 Spring Recital. She spent her last year at Bricks Studio teaching beginning Ballet and Tap combo classes, recreational hip hop, a competitive Hip Hop Crew, ran the Mini Company rehearsals (ages 5-8), choreographed and cleaned solo routines, worked closely with the Company Director traveling to all competitions, all while ordering 800+ costumes and planning/directing the recital for the Spring. After the recital at Bricks Studio, Laura moved back to the midwest to be closer to family, but is excited to continue her journey in dance and inspiring children to find their love for dance!
Buzzy created/coached/ choreographed for college hip hop team, “Iluzion.” Capable of choreographing hip hop routines and combinations for all ages; he has provide workshops for multiple Studios, Camps, Schools and Teams that gives them a fun but still challenging style of hip hop to learn. Along with teaching dance, Buzzy is a physical education teacher in the Milwaukee Public School District and a current USATF athlete training to make the USA team for the next world and Olympic Games.
Having sung my first solo at age 3 I’ve not stopped with “all things music” since! I obtained a Church Music Degree from North Central University of Minneapolis, MN and was deemed “Music Graduate of the Year” in 1995. Since then I’ve taught piano and voice lessons and have served as choral & worship leader at various churches in the U.S. and abroad. I also held an elementary music teaching position for several years at a mission’s school in Kiev, Ukraine. I have two adult children and have been married to my wonderful husband for 27 years. We’ve lived in Kenosha since 2008. I’m so pleased to be continuing my lifelong pursuit of “all things music” with Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts! I look forward to serving all my students to the best of my abilities!
Mai Claypool was born in Saitama, Japan. She trained at Kishi Ballet studio, The Matsuyama Ballet School in Tokyo, Japan, The Joffrey Ballet School and Steps on Broadway in NYC under the direction of Yoko Kishi, Yoko Morishita, David Howard, Finis Jhung, Michael O’Brian, Francesca Corkle and Eleanor D’Antuono. She has received awards from ballet competitions, such as the Hope Award and Achievement of Excellence. Mai danced with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florida Dance Theatre and Metropolitan Ballet. She has turned her passion for dance towards teaching and spreading the joy of dance. She has been teaching ballet, pointe, variations, modern and contemporary at several schools in New York, Illinois, Florida and Japan. She is currently teaching at Hubbard Street Youth Program and The Joffrey Academy of Dance. Mai is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher in levels Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Hi! Our names are Annie Hackett and Adam Theisen and we are the owners of the Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts. As fine arts professionals, we have performed, directed, produced or choreographed over 100 pieces, and have over twenty-five years teaching experience. While professionally living and working in Chicago, IL, we found that we really wanted to relocate to a smaller community where we could make a bigger difference in the lives of students interested in the performing arts.
We founded the Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts in 2006 to address the need for a full academic dance school in the Kenosha area. Our original location on 75th street was 1600 square feet, had one studio and only 30 students.
In 2008 our enrollment had increased to 180 students and we had 5 dance teachers on faculty. We had outgrown our space and our parking lot! We decided to look for a new location and expand.
In 2009 we opened our current location on Highway 50 in Kenosha. We expanded our programs to add private music. Our location has 4 dance studios and 3 private music studios. Our faculty has grown too! We bring in highly qualified teachers with university degrees and decades of experience. We have currently 15 faculty members. We also employ 6 Professional Desk Hosts to address parents and students needs during class times.
Although many of our students have gone on to pursue both collegiate and professional careers in dance and the arts, the Academy’s philosophy is to enrich the lives of our students by providing a comprehensive fine arts education. Our students range from 2 to 94 years old and welcome the warm, professional environment we have strived to create and maintain. Each year we expand our programs and continually improve facilities.
We love being part of the Kenosha Community and it has become our home. Our favorite part of the school though is watching a new generation experience the joy that the arts can bring for a lifetime!
Aimee began her dance training in Cary, IL and continued her training at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, receiving a BFA in modern dance. While attending the University of Utah she had the opportunity to perform works by Sidra Bell, Pamela Geber Handman, and works set by the Martha Graham dance company. While in Chicago, Aimee has participated in the Thodos summer intensive, dance instructor trainings with CNADM and Bellamoxi, and performed with the Modern Marvels dance company. With an immense passion for teaching, Aimee continues to teach ballet, moden, jazz, tap and creative movement to students around northern Illinois and Wisconsin.
Our names are Annie Hackett and Adam Theisen and we are the owners of the Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts. As fine arts professionals, we have performed, directed, produced or choreographed over 100 pieces, and have over twenty-five years teaching experience. While professionally living and working in Chicago, IL, we found that we really wanted to relocate to a smaller community where we could make a bigger difference in the lives of students interested in the performing arts.
Bio coming soon!
Adam Speck has been performing and teaching professionally since the age of 18. Adam holds a Master’s degree in Music Performance, with an emphasis on guitar performance from Northern Illinois University and Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Ball State University. At Northern Illinois University, Adam was a member of the Classical Guitar Ensemble and jazz combo. While at Ball State University he was consistently in the University’s top Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, and Classical Guitar ensembles. Adam has studied primarily with Paul Reilly (classical guitar), Frank Puzzullo (jazz improvisation, and arranging), David Foley (composition), Les Anderson (Arranging) and guitar icon Fareed Haque (classical and jazz guitar). He has participated in master classes with such names as Rolf Sturm, Celso Machado, Steve Brown, and jazz guitar legend Pat Martino, amongst many others.
As a guitarist Adam has worked as a studio musician, theater musician, and performer in a wide variety of styles and genres. He is also a composer, song writer, and arranger. Some of his works for guitar ensemble, jazz band, and jazz combo have been performed by a variety of groups from the high school, college, and professional levels. Adam’s previous teaching positions included Ivy Tech Community College, Community School for the Arts, along with several other posts in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Currently Adam holds teaching positions with The Kenosha Academy of Dance, Music, and Drama, and The Academy of Performing Arts in Franklin Wisconsin. He is also a regular performer in South Eastern Wisconsin, appearing multiple times a month at Caroline’s Jazz Club in Milwaukee, and also plays lead guitar, arranges, and writes original music for Vocalist Steve Beguhn of American Idol fame. Adam is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society, BMI, and The Guitar Federation of America.
Becky Mikos (Chicago, IL) received her early training from the Judith Svalander School of Ballet in the Chicagoland area. She furthered her pre-professional training at intensives hosted by River North Dance Chicago, The Washington Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company before going on to receive her BFA degree in Ballet and Modern dance from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. Professionally, Becky has performed with Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, WA under the direction of Donald Byrd as well as with Chicago-based companies Chicago Repertory Ballet (Wade Schaaf), LEVELdance (Eddy Ocampo) and Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater (Wilfredo Rivera). In 2012, she took her dance film, Collectors to the Reykjavik International Film Festival in Iceland. Currently, Becky continues to teach and choreograph while working full time in Marketing. This is her first time choreographing the Nutcracker on the Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts.
Annette Thomann received her BFA in Dance Performance, graduating magna cum laude, from Northern Illinois University. Upon graduation, she performed with several independent choreographers and shortly became one of the founding members and Co-Artistic Director of Fox River Dance Company. Eventually, Annette branched out on her own and began producing and directing her own annual dance performance, Freespace, a program in which pre-professional and professional students and choreographers collaborate and raise money for charity. Annette has been teaching and choreographing in the Chicagoland area and Wisconsin for 20 years and formerly served as Ballet Mistress for RASA Dance Chicago and Executive Director and Director of Ballet for State Street Dance Studio. She has worked extensively for NoMi Dance Company, a professional contemporary dance company in Chicago, serving for many years as their Ballet Mistress and artistic advisor. Her choreography has been performed at the critically acclaimed Dance Chicago Festival, Esencia Dance Festival, and Chicago Freelance Dance. Thanks to a strong music background, Annette has had the pleasure of choreographing several musical theater productions for community and youth theater groups throughout Illinois.
Brooke Bloedorn is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. She graduated from the Peck School of the Art’s in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Minor in Somatics. Brooke grew up dancing various styles in the Kenosha area starting at the age of 4 years old. Brooke was a member of the Tremper Trojanette Dance Team and was a captain of the team for two years. During college, Brooke instructed movement in dance studios, fitness facilities, nursing homes, and children centers. Brooke is a licensed ZIN member and certified Zumba® ,Zumba Kids®, and Zumba Kids Junior® instructor. Brooke is focused on promoting health, wellness, and creativity for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds through the art of dance and movement in community settings. She is driven to inspire others to lead healthy lifestyles and embrace the positive aspects of movement.
Kristin Stuckmyer, MT-BC, has played piano since the age of 10 and began teaching music in 1990. She is a board certified music therapist with a B.A. in music therapy earned at Western Illinois University upon the completion of her internship at the Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies in Glendale, Arizona. Kristin is professionally trained in sensory integration techniques under the supervision of Lorena Jean King, OTR, and Sheryl Kelly, MT-BC. She has lived in Kenosha since 2004 with her husband and two daughters.
Carley began her training in Howell, MI where her primary focus was the Cecchetti Method of Ballet. She went on to earn her B.A. in dance from Grand Valley State University where she graduated with honors, and was the recipient of the Marlene Kenneway Love of Dance Scholarship. She has had the honor of working with notable choreographers such as Lauren Edson, Julie Blume, Autumn Eckman, Rebecca Lemme, Anna Liceica, Erica Fischbach, Eddy Ocampo, and Charles Askegard, to name a few. In addition to performing with the Grand Valley Dance Company throughout college she also performed with the The Grand Rapids Opera, and The Plymouth-Canton Metro Shores Ballet Company. After graduating Carley moved to Chicago to start working with LEVELdance, and she continued her training on a scholarship with Aerial Dance Chicago. She is currently dancing with Chicago Repertory Ballet and has enjoyed touring and performing with them the past two seasons. Carley loves teaching and sharing her love of ballet with her students throughout the Chicagoland area, and is excited to teach in Kenosha this year.
Elizabeth grew up in Cadillac, Michigan, where she started dancing at age 3. She studied ballet, contemporary, and other popular forms of dance at Ballet Etc. Dance Academy and The School of the Grand Rapids Ballet. While at The School of the Grand Rapids Ballet she studied under Director Patricia Barker, Michael Auer, and Maria Kowroski. While there, she also performed in several Nutcracker productions and concerts. Elizabeth also studied and competed in Irish dance with the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance. Throughout her teenage years she attended several summer intensives including Ballet Magnificat’s! Summer Dance Intensive, and The Academy of Russian Classical Ballet’s Summer intensive.
After High School, Elizabeth moved to Jackson, Mississippi, to study and train as a Trainee with Ballet Magnificat!. America’s Premier Christian Ballet Company. She spent two years there performing, training, and acting as Head Costume Mistress of her department. In 2014 she moved to Florence, Italy, where she dancing and worked for Gallery 4 Italia, an art gallery that incorporated art, music, and dance. During the year in Italy she taught children’s ballet classes, studied the Italian language, and studied under Ballet Master Victor Litvinov.
In 2015 she moved back to northern Michigan and taught dance for the Landing Dance Academy, and the Northern Lights Irish Dance Academy. In the spring of 2017 she returned to Florence, Italy to work for the Florence Academy of Russian Art. There she helped to start a Classical Russian Ballet program to add to their already existing fine arts academy.
Heather Chenault was born in Bowling Green, KY, where she studied dance at Dance Arts of Bowling Green from the age of 3 until she graduated high school in 2009. She then attended Western Kentucky University where she received a BA in Dance. At WKU she studied Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Choreography, Pedagogy, Improvisation, and joined the University’s dance company. Heather toured Civitavecchia and Tolfa, Italy with the WKU dance company. She studied at The Ailey School in NYC where she was able to perform at their Summer Sizzler Event. After graduating WKU in 2013, Heather joined Sideways Contemporary Dance Company in Atlanta, GA where she performed with the company for the 2013-2014 season. Heather is currently dancing with Jayson Tisa Dance Company in Chicago.
Jenna Jozefowski graduated from The University of Akron with a BA in Dance and a minor in Business Administration. During college, she performed with The University of Akron Dance Company where she was known for choreographing tap pieces for student performances. She is a member of the Midwest Committee of the Cecchetti Council of America and currently holds a Grade IV Teacher’s Certificate. Professionally, she has performed with Joel Hall Dancers II, RASA Dance Chicago and Chicago Dance Crash. She is currently working as an independent performance artist and choreographer; performing and presenting her work in Rebound Dance Festival, Dance Chicago, and Chicago Freelance Dance, and Inaside Chicago Dance’s Choreographic Sponsorship Event to name a few. She finds that getting herself to dance classes regularly inspires her own teaching, and can often be found taking class in Chicago during her free time. In addition to dance, Jenna is a NASM certified personal trainer and an RYT-200 certified yoga instructor through White Lotus Foundation and CorePower Yoga. She loves using her knowledge of anatomy, fitness, and wellness to enhance her students’ dance experience. Jenna looks forward to her 5th year teaching at Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts!
Growing up in a musical family, Kyrri has been surrounded by the arts since birth. Her earliest music studies were at the piano, eventually going on to include flute, guitar, bass guitar, voice, and handbells. Graduating from the Trinity International University honors program summa cum laude with her B.A. in Vocal Performance and Arts Administration, Kyrri’s university work included applied voice with John Hacker; applied piano with Debbie Gillette; handbell choir; concert choir; chamber music; and extensive coursework in music history, theory, and aural skills. During this time, she also studied piano pedagogy and vocal pedagogy with Debbie Gillette and Beth Ann Swinson, respectively. She served as the the Trinity College Concert Choir librarian and alto section leader, and secured several solos during her time with the choir. Having sung in tessituras from alto to soprano, she is flexible in her abilities and understanding. As a performer, she is equally comfortable in both recital and fully staged settings, having performed in She Loves Me , Sense and Sensibility , and The Pirates of Penzance , as well as a wide range of art song, chamber, and choral works. Kyrri is passionate about continued development in music, especially in the area of new art music. As a teacher, Kyrri maintains growing studios in Kenosha, WI and Gurnee, IL, and is passionate about meeting each student where they are and seeing each reach his or her individual potential. Kyrri is currently continuing her vocal studies with Teresa Reynolds.
Liz began her ballet training at Jacqueline’s School of Ballet in Lindon, UT. There, she trained classicallyfor ten years until she was invited at age 16 to be an apprentice dancer with Utah Regional Ballet. Whilein high school, she was the recipient of full tuition scholarships to both Sacramento Ballet’s summerprogram as well as the Craft of Choreography Conference. Upon graduation, she continued to work withUtah Regional ballet and performed professionally for three seasons. During her performing career shehad the privilege to study under and perform works by Alan Hineline, Jacqueline Colledge, Heather Gray,Shayla Bott, and many others. In addition to performing she had the opportunity to choreograph acontemporary piece on the company that received honors at “Choreography Design Project” and waslater performed at the Regional Dance America Festival in Long Beach, CA. Liz is a graduate of UtahValley University where she studied ballet and community health concurrently on both balletperformance and academic scholarships. She has been teaching for the past ten years and loveswatching her students develop into talented artists!
Lynn Schultz holds a BA in Music (Voice) from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO. With more than 20 years of experience teaching individual voice and piano lessons, she particularly enjoys the variety of ages and levels of the students at KAPA. Lynn has sung with the Choral Arts Society of Southeast Wisconsin, which has afforded her the opportunity to sing many of the greatest works in the sacred choral tradition. Lynn has also served variously as music director/accompanist for several churches throughout Colorado, Wyoming and SE Wisconsin. She is currently active in music ministry at the Benedictine Abbey in Benet Lake, WI.
On a lighter note, “Miss Lynn” is an equally avid ballroom dancer and hockey fan (who lives and dies with her Colorado Avalanche!) Watch for her sporting her Avs paraphernalia whenever the team advances to the postseason.
Born and raised in Harrodsburg, Kentucky Mitchell started his dance training at the age of 19 at Morehead State University (MSU). Here he performed with the MSU Dance Ensemble for 3 years, participated in the MSU Colorguard, choreographing for the spring concerts, and earned many awards for his choreography. He also was the lead male dancer in MSU production of “Grease” dancing under renowned choreographer Ron Hutchins. In 2011 he graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration and a Dance Minor. Afterwards he transferred into Western Kentucky University (WKU) to finish out his Dance degree. Here he participated in the WKU Dance Company performing events throughout the state and community, as well as choreographing for student shows. He also performed in the WKU production on “Oklahoma!” In 2013 he graduated with his B.A. in Dance from Western Kentucky University. Mitchell has also had the opportunity to train under the direction of: Carlos Dos Santos (Ailey), Richard Smith, Robert McKee, Laura Wade, Arcos Dance, MamLuft &Co, and Lexington Ballet. Since moving to Chicago Mitchell has received his 200 hour Yoga Certification and started freelance work. Mitchell is now in his 3rd season dancing with Inaside Chicago Dance as a performing apprentice and choreographer. He has also recently joined BISI Chicago Dance Company as a Company member and is a new company member with Jay-Son Tisa Dance Company.
Rae Slager is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with over 15 years of experience as a dancer. She specializes in all styles of tap including street, jazz, Broadway, and her favorite; rhythm. Rae has performed at Fusion Cafe and choreographed award-winning National level competitive routines. She hopes to transfer her love of dance to her students and teach them not just technique, but how to feel the music and become a part of it through their feet.
Robin Nassar started dancing at the age of three, at the Harris Dance Studio in Nevada. She completed her ballet training at the San Francisco Ballet Academy. She has also studied Contemporary, Jazz, and Tap. In 2000 she established the Ramallah School of Ballet and Jazz in Palestine, then in 2006 she opened Elite Dance Center in Amman, Jordan. Her schools have won to honors at the Italian Dance Grand Prix and the Hellas International Dance Competition in Athens, Greece. Her dancers have gone on to the Rock School of Ballet, the Philadelphia Ballet, and the Royal Ballet in Canada. Two of her past students now run their own dance schools. Robin also studied acting and has performed in various commercials and movies including Nine Months, and Jade. She was also a model with Boom Model Management in San Francisco, California. She holds a degree in Communications and recently gained membership to the United Nations Dance Council.
Susan Ojala Myers began her dance training at the Academy of Movement and Music, in Oak Park, Illinois, under the direction of Stephanie Clemens. She performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as Momenta! performing arts company, dancing both new and historic works. Early on in her career, Susan realized that her true passion was teaching. She has been working with dancers of all ages and abilities for over 20 years, on the east coast, as well as in the midwest. Besides teaching in the dance studio world, she runs several outreach dance programs in local schools. Susan began her college studies at CalArts, and completed her BA in dance performance at Northern Illinois University. She is proud to have earned her level two certification in Autism Movement Therapy in 2015. She teaches AMT classes throughout the Kenosha area, including Open Wings Learning Community, where she also sits on the board of directors. Susan and her husband, Eric, live in the Kenosha area with their three children.
Todd Richards is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, keyboards) and musical artist who has been performing and educating in the Midwest for over 20 years. In addition to teaching private and ensemble lessons for both kids and adults in guitar, bass and piano, Todd has taught music and core subjects in the Milwaukee Public Schools and local Montessori schools as well as being the general manager of the School of Rock Shorewood. Todd has performed in a wide array of groups, including Brazzaville, The Tropics, Recycled Future, Dr. Science, the Afro Drum Ensemble, and his eponymous band. He has recorded and toured extensively as a musician throughout the United States and Europe, and has shared the stage with acts such as Dengue Fever, The Roots and The Greyhounds. Todd has performed at music festivals locally and throughout the country, and has appeared with Brazzaville on NPR’s World Cafe with David Dye. Todd produces and engineers for musicians, tv/film and theater, most recently for David Arthur Brown (Brazzaville, Beck), Chris Vos (The Record Company), and Lisa Gatewood. A Milwaukee native, Todd studied at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and holds a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Ms. Hackett is the owner and artistic director of the Kenosha Academy of Dance, Music & Drama, is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and is a former professor of dance at Carthage College. She has also been a guest teacher at Columbia College and Roosevelt University. She and her studio have been featured in Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher Magazine. In her 30 years as a dance educator Ms. Hackett has taught workshops, master classes and at studios in her home state of New York as well as Chicago and it’s surrounding suburbs. Her choreography has been seen at Chicago area theaters. Ms. Hackett’s performing career includes many productions at theaters such as The Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Chicago, IL), The Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre (Chicago, IL), The Drury Lane Theater (Oakbrook, IL) The Drury Lane Theater South (Evergreen Park, IL), and The Fireside Playhouse (Ft. Atkinson, WI).. She has also performed for Carnival Cruise Lines and many industrial shows for organizations like State Farm, Pepsi, Give Kids the World, and Kraftmaid. Ms. Hackett is a veteran of additional regional theatre productions in New York and Florida, and industrial shows internationally. Her company experience includes, The Zodiaque Dance Company (Buffalo, NY), Buffalo Inner City Ballet (Buffalo,NY) and The Greater Buffalo Opera Corps de Ballet (Buffalo, NY). She attended the State University of New York at Buffalo.