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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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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Christina Koleoglou

Christina has studied ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, contemporary, musical theater and hip hop. As a high school student, she taught ballet, tap and jazz to preschool and elementary school children at the Dance Centre of the Hamptons. She also performed in numerous recitals and charity and competed in regional and national competitions. Christina earned a Bachelor of Arts, Economics and Bachelor of Science, Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.

While attending college, Kristina was a Gold (Advanced) Company Member of the Notre Dame Dance Company where she performed jazz and lyrical dances for Spring Showcases. As the Co-Captain of the Notre Dame Pom Squad, she choreographed jazz, pom and hip hop routines and performed at pep rallies, basketball games and other sporting events as well as community events. She organized events, oversaw treasury operations, assisted with budgeting and supervised social media.

In addition to teaching at Dance It Up!, Christina teaches in ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical styles and techniques in West Roxbury. She enjoys fostering a love for dance in her students while successfully challenging them!

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Brenda 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. 

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."

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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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Lauren
Dempster

Lauren (She/They) has been dancing in a variety of styles for over 25 years. Growing up, she trained at Canty’s Dance Centre under the direction of Erin Canty, Greta Pearson and Kristin Surprise St. Laurent. While Lauren has been trained in styles such as lyrical, jazz, tap, musical theatre, contemporary, hip hop, and ballroom, the primary focus of her training has been in ballet.  Lauren started college at Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) with a major in Psychology, where she had the opportunity to start and lead the first ever dance ministry on campus and take classes at the Dance Studio of Braintree. With the ENC Dance Ministry, Lauren taught dancers of all levels, choreographed various pieces for performances and directed two full length showcases. In 2016 Lauren transferred to Bridgewater State University (BSU) where she added a minor in Dance to her studies and graduated in May 2018. While at BSU, Lauren was a member of Refined Movement, a student lead dance team on campus, who she performed with every semester and choreographed for. Lauren was also in the Dance Department’s spring show Dance Kaleidoscope (2017) and in POPS! (2018), the student directed spring show. While studying dance at BSU, Lauren had the opportunity to take multiple ballet classes every semester under the direction of Jenifer Sarver. These classes included various technique classes, ballet pedagogy and Ballet in the Community.  Lauren has had the privilege of dancing with Safe Haven Ballet (Portsmouth, NH), under the direction of Lissa Curtis, in their Third Annual Be Brave Gala as a guest artist and in their production of The Sleeping Beauty as a demi-soloist and corps de ballet member and plans to continue performing with the company in their upcoming productions.

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Cassandra
Petrovski

Cassandra began dancing with Patricia Brosnihan as a young child. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Framingham State University and an Associate’s Degree in Dance from Dean College.

 

Cassie has been creating challenging choreography and teaching a variety of dance genres including jazz, contemporary, modern hip hop, ballet and tap since 2013. She has won numerous awards for her choreography at national level dance competitions including the Platinum National and Elite National competitions.

Cassie is employed at the Next Generation Children’s Center in Hopkinton where she manages a classroom of 20 young students daily. She is responsible for curriculum development and daily activity logs. She is respected for her energetic, friendly, and professional manner. She takes pride in creating an inviting, fun and positive classroom for all her students!