Our Teachers and Staff

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Stephanie Mack

President & Creative Managing Director

Stephanie is President and Creative Managing Director of Dance It Up! Inc., and our retail boutique, Sugarplums, which opened in 1996. She holds a B.S. degree in Dance and Physical Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was formerly the owner/director of SMW Dance Studio in North Grafton, MA, from 1977 to 1987.


Stephanie began studying dance with Marlene Francis of Worcester, MA at the age of seven. In her early dance training, she also studied with Virginia Williams of the Boston Ballet, Don Farnsworth and Luigi to name a few.


Stephanie has developed, implemented and taught pre-school and other dance programs in Boston area studios. She co-created and is co-owner of the specialized registered pre-school dance program called Dance ‘N Play®. These classes have been showcased on WCVB-Channel 5 Lifetime Television with Dr. Penelope Lynch, child psychologist, analyzing and promoting the benefits of non-competitive activities for young children.


She holds a Massachusetts Teacher’s Certificate in Health and Physical Education, K-6. Stephanie is also trained in Pilates, both Classical Method and Stott. She is also a Totalbarre™ certified instructor.

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Maureen

Williams

Performance Coordinator, Spring Dance Recital and Our World is Dancing; Director, Dance Jam & Director, Acrobatic Dance Program

Maureen graduated from Dean College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance.


She began dancing when she was five years old. Maureen performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City with the Mike Miller Dance Team. Maureen has studied Ballet, Tap, Theatrical Jazz, Contemporary and various teaching techniques in Modern Dance.


Maureen has been teaching at Dance It Up! since 2010. She teaches some of the youngest dancers starting in Dance 'N Play up through the graduating Seniors. Maureen loves to instill confidence and joy in her students for everything that they accomplish.  

 

In addition to teaching classes, Maureen is Dance It Up!’s coordinator for our Fun ‘N Fancy Birthday parties, our Friday night parties and our Day of Dance parties during school vacation weeks. Maureen assists in managerial and administrative duties as well. 

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Catherine

Rhodes

Artistic Director, Nutcracker Program & Director, Ballet Program for the dedicated dancer

Catherine trained in classical ballet with Boston Ballet dancers Larry and Colleen Robertson, performing with the Seacoast Ballet Company for many years. She continued and supplemented her studies and performance experience in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, acting, and musical theater through Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Wittenberg University, The New England Ballet, University of New Hampshire, and Boston Ballet School. She holds an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, and a BA from University of New Hampshire.  


Catherine has been teaching since 2001, at Dance It Up! since 2006, and has been the Artistic Director of the Nutcracker and ballet program since 2011. She created Dance It Up!'s unique summer workshop, which integrates dance, acting, art, choreography, costume design and creative storytelling into original dance works by students. She also designs many of the costumes for our productions, as well as the artwork for the Not Just Nutcracker series.

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Julie
Fitzgerald

Julie began dancing at the age of 5. At the age of 13, she found her love for classical ballet and started her pre-professional training with Boston Ballet School. At age 15, she continued her training and schooling at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, where she then graduated. Julie also spent every summer on Cape Cod dancing with teachers Skip Warren, former professional of Boston Ballet and former owner of North Atlantic Ballet Company, and Thomas Vacanti, Artistic Director of Pioneer Valley Ballet.


After graduating high school, Julie joined Festival Ballet Company in Rhode Island as a professional ballet dancer. Over the years, Julie has danced many leading roles, such as Swanhilda in Coppelia, Titania in A Mid-Summer Night's Dream, Cinderella, pas de deux in Graduation Ball, and Dew Drop and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker.  Julie trains and dances competitively in International Latin. Julie is Stott Totalbarre certified. 


Julie teaches Latin Ballroom. This is Julie's 4th year teaching at Dance It Up!

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Nora O'Brien

Nora is a graduate of Sacred Heart University and holds a Masters in Secondary Education from Providence College. She teaches Spanish at the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School in Marlborough.


Nora began her dance career at four years of age, with the McInerney School of Irish Dance. She competed in hundreds of Irish Dance competitions and was a champion dancer when she concluded her classroom study of Irish Dance. Nora substitute teaches at the McInerney School.


In addition to the competitive side of Irish Dance, Nora has also enjoyed public performances and has had the opportunity to dance with world renowned Irish performers, such as Cherish the Ladies and The Saw Doctors in beautiful venues including Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA and the State House in Boston.


Nora has been a member of the Dance It Up! since 2010.

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Brendan Foley

Brendan has been dancing and studying Latin styles for over 7 years. During this time he has traveled to Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, New York City, and the Dominican Republic to develop a more authentic understanding of Latin dances. 

 

Salsa has its roots in West African rhythmic complexity, music and dance genres from Cuba such as Son Cubano and Danzon, and Puerto Rican musicians in NYC during the 50’s and 60’s where it went by the name of Mambo. Salsa is a mixture of Latin music genres, as well as a mixture of Latin dance genres with influences from jazz, ballroom, and hustle. Salsa is rhythm. Salsa is energy. Salsa is flavor and spice.

 

Bachata originated from the Dominican Republic, is the offspring of the energy of merengue and the romance of bolero. Bachata is playful. Bachata is relaxed. Bachata is finding your groove. 

 

Brendan's classes will be geared toward creating a fun, energetic, and relaxed environment that mirrors the essence of the dances. Fundamentals will always be prioritized with the hopes of eventually building up to some truly crazy moves.

 

Brendan has degrees from Tufts and WPI, in mathematics and data science respectfully. He has also released several mobile apps geared toward music and dance, following the WPI ethos of creating disruptive technology as a force for good. 

 

He has danced and performed with Raices Latin Dance, and Tumbao Latin Dance in the Worcester area, and you can catch him teaching, performing, and programming with Ricardo Contreras in the Boston area. 

 

During the day you can catch him teaching mathematics for GED/HiSET prep at Quinsigamond Community College. Where the fundamentals are always prioritized, and the hope is to eventually build up to some truly crazy equations.

 

He maintains the ultimate dream, of someday building up the Salsa community in Boston to be competitive with New York."

Christina Fontana-Koleoglou

Emma Furmanick

Bios coming soon!

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Krista
Oetsen

Administrative Specialist

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Bridget
Taverna

Retail Manager, Sugarplums & Social Media Strategist

Krista joined the team at Dance It Up! in 2016. Her daughters have grown up dancing here; enrolling in the Dance 'N Play program in 2005.

Prior to joining the staff, Krista worked as a management consultant specializing in enterprise-wide software implementations. She was also a German to English language translator for a global software company.

Bridget has been the retail manager of Sugarplums since 2017 and has been a member of the Dance It Up! community as a parent, backstage volunteer and participant in the Nutcracker bodice brigade since 2005. 

Prior to joining the staff at Dance It Up! Bridget was a School Programs leader at the Ecotarium in Worcester and a Life Sciences teacher in Holley, New York. 

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Brenna
Meindersma

Brenna Meindersma graduated from Hofstra University with a Bachelor’s in Dance Education. Brenna is currently attending Lesley University where she will graduate with an MA in Dance/Movement Therapy.

Brenna has studied dance since she was three years old. Brenna has studied tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, modern, and musical theatre. She has studied from renowned teachers such as Rachel List, Robin Becker, and Anita Feldman.

 

Brenna has been teaching dance and choreographing since 2014 and has worked for various dance studios and musical theatre companies. Brenna has also worked with children with special needs. She loves to share her passion for dance with her students and build their confidence and love for the arts. 

 

In addition to teaching at Dance It Up, Brenna is works at a school for students with special needs. At this school she uses her knowledge of dance therapy to help students. She loves to help and inspire others through dance and movement.

Brenna joined Dance It Up! in 2021.

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Kat
Scherer

Kat is a recent graduate of the University of Tampa and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. She has studied dance for many years, most recently at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Kat specializes in jazz, contemporary, and theater dance, and has taught previously at Broadway Arts and Dance Academy in St. Pete, Florida. Her approach to teaching dance is a strong emphasis on technique as well as performance readiness.

 

In addition to her teaching experience, Kat is a seasoned performer, appearing in professional musicals in both Florida and Michigan. Most recently, Kat was a performer in The Barn Theatre's 2021 mainstage season and appeared in four of their shows. 

 

Aside from teaching dance, Kat is both a Barre Certified Instructor as well as a Certified Yoga instructor and has taught both types of fitness for several years. She wholeheartedly believes that yoga is an integral practice for dancers as it teaches flexibility, breathing technique, resilience, and self-reflection.

 

Kat joined Dance It Up! in 2021.