Our Teachers and Staff

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.

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. 

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.

Elizabeth

McCarthy

Elizabeth began dancing at an early age and she immediately knew it was something she would be involved in her whole life. Her dance training began in NY under Marya Kennett who inspired her to recover from mistakes and missteps, to learn from failures, and to never give up.

 

Elizabeth continued her dance training and education at Hofstra University, and Hartford Conservatory. She furthered her dance education at the Hartt School, where she studied Graham technique, Contemporary/Modern  and Ballet.

After graduating with a BFA, she performed in Boston with many local performing groups and worked with many different choreographers like Perla Joy Furr, Judy Webber, and Kelly Donovan.

 

Elizabeth genuinely loves teaching and inspiring others to dance. She has extensive teaching experience in contemporary, ballet, beginner and fundamentals of dance, and musical theater. She is also a trained Lead Montessori Teacher and a talented musician. 

Elizabeth has been on the staff of Dance It Up! since 2012.

Tracy

Norton

Tracy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Worcester State College. She holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Framingham State College and is currently teaching third grade at the Grafton Elementary School.


Tracy has been a student of dance since the age of 2, taking classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and Hip Hop.


While attending Worcester State College, Tracy performed in numerous shows with the Worcester State Dance Team and she choreographed many production pieces.


Tracy has been a member of the Dance It Up! faculty since 2009.

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,  Adult Ballet and Total Barre. This is Julie's 4th year teaching at Dance It Up!

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.

Krista
Oetsen

Administrative Specialist

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
Taverna

Retail Manager, Sugarplums & Social Media Strategist

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.