Alice Williams, Owner and Artistic Director of the Dance Program, has been performing dance & theatre since she was 5 yrs. old. She began here in St. Charles with her mom in Children’s Theatre Workshop and continued with dance and theatre through high school. Alice went on to Butler University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. During and after college she studied and performed with the Maine State Music Theatre, where she performed in various shows. Alice continued on to perform all over the country. She is delighted to have the opportunity to have this studio and help children and adults cultivate a love for dance and theatre like her mom and teachers did for her.
Felicia Lara, Office Manager and Instructor, stepped into her first dance class at the age of 2 and continued with studio dance throughout her elementary years. She has strong roots in St. Charles as she was a member of the St. Charles North award winning drill team and is currently on the coaching staff for the St. Charles East High School Dance Team. Felicia graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Dance and minor in psychology from the University of Texas-Pan American. Throughout her dance journey she has had the privilege of working with several guest artists nationally and from all over the world: Neijla Yatkin, Teena Marie Custer, Maria Bermudez, Kim Karpanty, Karen Schupp, Lisa Smith, Sarah Gamblin, Edisa Weeks, Susan Douglas Roberts, Twitch, Ian Eastwood, Chris Xayarath, and many more. Felicia has participated in several workshops such as the American College Dance Festival and Gala, River North Dance Intensive, Maria Bermudez Flamenco Workshop, Arthur Murray Summer Training Workshop and the UTPA Yoga/Pilates intensive where she earned her Pilates certification. She currently travels to Chicago to continue her dance education at Lou Conte Dance Studio, Visceral, Giordano, and other Chicago studios in her free time. Felicia come with over 12 years of teaching experience with her favorite genre being Modern. Her true passion goes beyond teaching into mentorship where she hopes to have a positive impact on her students and families. One of her first teachers was Miss Alice and she is honored to now assist Mrs. Williams by helping spread the love of dance to the Tri- City area.
About Katy Wenger
Katy attended Oklahoma City University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in American Dance Pedagogy. Katy’s career at OCU provided her with a vast range of opportunities. In addition to her many teaching and performance credits, Katy was able to experience the backstage world of entertainment, fulfilling multiple roles for the American Spirit Dance Company. Most importantly at OCU, Katy was able to learn the art and science of teaching dance from many nationally recognized dance professors, as well as dance with world-renowned faculty and guest teachers. Today, Katy’s passion sores in the classroom where she is able to work with students of all ages, encouraging them to find a love of movement like she has. Currently, she teaches an average of 20 dance classes each week, with students ranging from 3 year olds to adults! As an arts manager, Katy has had the opportunity to direct and produce multiple recitals, lead a dance department, and wear many hats as a dance administrator. She is incredibly excited to be at 3rd Street Dance and Theatre Academy, and is looking forward to her future as a teacher, choreographer, and arts manager.
About Meghan Cox
Meghan began dancing at Copeland Dance Academy from age 3-17, this is where she developed her love for dance, especially Tap and the Cecchetti style of ballet. In High School she won four State Titles with the St. Charles Varsity Drill Team, as well as performed in many theatre productions. She went on to earn her B.A. in Public Communications, Human Relations with a Minor in Broadcasting at Western Illinois University, where she also enjoyed performing on the Western Wrangler Dance Line. After college she went on to pursue a career in television and advertising at The National Broadcasting Company in New York City. A few years later she continued her career in advertising at Leo Burnett USA, Inc. in Chicago. Meghan now lives in St. Charles with her husband and two children. She is thrilled to be back in the dance studio teaching youth dance classes and helping manage 3rd Street Dance & Theatre Academy’s office and Facebook Page.
About Nora Buchler
Nora Stavroplos is our Director of the Ignite Dance Company here at 3rd Street. She has taught at numerous dance programs in the area for 20 years and was a judge at Team Dance Illinois. She has been at Third Street since 2002 teaching every technique and style of dance and has loved each year! Nora began her dance training at 3 years old with Yvonne Brown Collodi at Hinsdale Dance Academy. With the studio’s company, she was selected to tour and perform in England and France. Nora continued her training at Lou Conte, Joel Hall, Gus Giordano, Western Michigan University, and Columbia College, where she received her B.A. in Dance. She performed many original works created by international known choreographers, such as David Gordon, Jan Erkert, and Eduardo Vilaro, and also danced in George Balanchine’s Serenade, the Strauss opera, Die Flerdermaus, and at the international Jazz Dance World Congress. Professionally, she has danced with several companies and choreographers in the Chicago area. Besides dance, she loves spending time with her family, cooking, cheering on her favorite Chicago sports teams, and spoiling her dogs, Johnny Cash and Elvis
About Colleen Hollis
Colleen is from Springfield, IL where she began dancing at the age of two. She continued her dance education at Illinois State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dance Performance, graduating with Magna Cum Laude. While at Illinois State University, Colleen had the opportunity to work with many well-renowned choreographers such as Joshua Blake Carter, Edward Rice, Teena Marie Custer, Jennifer Harge, and Stephanie Pizzo. Colleen also had the opportunity to both perform at and show her own choreography at the American College Dance Association. Colleen has also trained at some of the country’s top commercial dance facilities in Los Angeles, CA such as Millennium Dance Complex, Movement Lifestyle, Debbie Reynolds Legacy Studios, and The Edge Performing Arts. Colleen currently works for Universal Dance Association where she travels to instruct dancers throughout the country. Colleen is ecstatic to have recently moved to Chicago, IL to dance for the NBA Chicago Bulls as a Luvabull. Throughout her dance career, Colleen has discovered her passion for all genres of dance and all of the amazing things they can each offer. Colleen’s aspiration for her dance teaching career is to educate young dancers about all of he facets of dance: concert dance, commercial dance, and competitive dance, and to integrate all of these into a cohesive learning experience in order to develop well-rounded dancers who are ready to potentially take on the professional world. Colleen is thrilled to begin teaching at 3rd Street Dance & Theatre Academy and cannot wait to share her passions with her students.
About Tatiana Bulgarelli
Tatiana is a senior at St. Charles North High School and has been dancing at 3rd Street since she was three years old. She developed her technique from years of contemporary, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop and ballet. She has been part of our performing dance company. Success in the 3rd Street Company led to her being a member of the St. Charles North Drill Team for the past 3 years and co-choreographing a lyrical/contemporary dance that won her team second place at state! Tatiana has been involved with Ambassadors, at St. Charles North, numerous charity and volunteering opportunities and is currently busy deciding on where she will attend college. In the meantime, she is very excited to show her love for dance and work with her former teachers and friends as she joins the staff this year at 3rd Street Dance & Theatre.
About Jessica Wunder
JESSICA WUNDER, a native of Naperville, IL, began her dance training at The Academy of Dance Arts under Sherry Moray. She continued her training attending summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre, The Washington School of Ballet, and Boston Ballet. In 2011, Jessica graduated magna cum laude from Mercyhurst University with a B.A. degree in Dance and World Languages and Cultures. While at Mercyhurst, she had the opportunity to work with choreographers Randy James, Bruce Marks, and Vivi Flindt as well as dancing leading roles in productions of Cinderella, Les Slyphides, and Giselle. Jessica performed several seasons with the Lake Erie Ballet performing in The Nutcracker as Snow Queen and Dewdrop. After moving to Pittsburgh in 2011, Jessica joined Bodiography Contemporary Ballet where she had the opportunity to perform many works in addition to teaching and choreographing. She found her passion in teaching and believes in the importance of cultivating the next generation’s appreciation and love for the performing arts. Jessica is excited to join the faculty at 3rd Street Dance and Theatre Academy and pass on her passion for dance.
Substitute Dance Instructors
About Kelly Rupprecht
Kelly Rupprecht was raised in Wayne, IL. She started dancing at the age of 3 at a local park district. At the age of 7, she began taking classes at 3rd Street. Kelly was involved in the company for 7 years and enjoyed performing at events in the community. Kelly also was a member of her high school varsity dance team. She competed with her team in AAA hip hop and open dance. After graduating from high school, Kelly went on to pursue a career in teaching. During her time in college, she participated in the UIC dance team. Kelly has had the opportunity to perform at Bulls games, college basketball games, and community events. Kelly was thrilled to return to her 3rd Street Dance family as a teacher. She is looking forward to an extremely positive and fun filled year!
About Susan Sanders
Susan Sanders took her first ballet class at the age of eight in a small dance studio in Wheaton, IL. As a teenager, she studied ballet in Chicago with Stone-Camryn and later at Lou Conte. Susan was accepted as a Dance Major at Butler University where she received her BA in Dance and where most of her performing experience was with the Butler Ballet.
After graduation, Susan apprenticed with Dance Kaleidoscope, a professional modern dance company in Indianapolis. After returning to the Chicago area, Susan began teaching dance in Wheaton, Downers Grove and Elburn, while earning a teaching certificate in Elementary Physical Education and a Masters in Education. She taught one year of Physical Education at the elementary level in Buffalo Grove, then moved on to teaching Physical Education and Dance to high school students at Niles North High School in Skokie. There, she created and developed a dance program and directed the high schools dance company Auroris. After five years, she decided to stay home to raise her three children.
Seven years after leaving dance, Susan decided to get involved again, which led her to 3rd Street Dance and Theatre! It feels great to be teaching dance again!
About Stephanie Wisner
Stephanie Wisner began her training in the Chicagoland area under the direction of Gina Dunham, Jonathan Levy, and Judith Chitwood. Stephanie has performed in various ballet productions, which include: The School of Performing Arts', Snow White, the Red Shoes, and the Salt Creek Ballet's Nutcracker, which in 1994, starred world famous ABT Principals Julie Kent and Robert Hill. Stephanie studied her summers with the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Ballet Chicago, Ballet Intensive from Moscow, and the Alabama Ballet. At 14, Stephanie further trained at the Academy of Dance Arts, under award winning teacher and choreographer, Sherry Moray. In 2001, Stephanie won 3rd place in the Senior classical division, at the Youth America Grand Prix Semi-finals in Chicago, where she then qualified to compete in the New York finals with other Academy finalists. In 2003, Stephanie and other Academy finalists competed again in the New York finals, where they placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.
Stephanie decided to continue under Moray’s direction after high school, as an artist with the Illinois Ballet Theatre since its inception in 2001. She then joined the Tulsa Ballet for its '05-'06 Season, where she performed in the company's production of Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker, as well as Tulsa Ballet II's local showcases. With Tulsa Ballet's second company, Wisner performed in ‘Going for Baroque’, set by international choreographer, Val Caniparoli. She also appeared in several contemporary pieces for their premiere in Tulsa, such as internationally recognized choreographer and Tulsa Ballet principal dancer, Ma Cong’s, “In G”.
Currently, Stephanie is pursuing a career in Radiology Technology and resides in Sycamore, IL. She is thrilled to be a part of the dance world again, and is enjoying sharing her gift with students of all ages.
About Julia Pontarelli
Julia has trained all over the Chicagoland area. She started off as a young ballerina, dancing in numerous Nutcracker seasons and Spring Festivals with the Schaumburg Dance Ensemble. Later finding a passion for jazz technique, Julia became the captain of Conant Charelles Pom Team. Loving every second of performing, she lead the team to victory by placing as 1st Place Championship winners. Not only was she captain of her high school Pom team, but was also captain of her competitive dance team, Midwest Movement; and company leader of Hinsdale Dance Academy. In her final years dancing with HDA, she competed in Youth American Grand Prix and had the honor of being invited to the New York City Finals. Julia later attended Point Park University as a dance major. During her two years of study, she trained under Peter Merz, Jim Cooney, Kiesha LaLama, and Shana Simmons. Julia was graciously thankful for the opportunity to perform in faculty showcases and student lead performances. Hoping to finish college with a degree in behavioral sciences and minor in dance, Julia is looking forward to teaching, creating, and sharing her love of dance with her students.
About Francesca Baron
Francesca Baron is a graduate from Lindenwood University where she received her BA in Dance and BA in Psychology. While in school, Frankie had the opportunity to have her work be shown at ACDA (American College Dance Association) and perform with local St. Louis dance company, Leverage Dance Theater under the direction of Diana Barrios. She has performed the works of numerous choreographers that include Larry Keigwin, Becca Lemme, Michael Mizerany, John Jasperse, Ohad Naharin, and Lar Lubovitch. Aside from completing the American Dance Festival 6-week school, Francesca has trained with companies including Visceral Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago and Keigwin & Company.
Currently, Francesca holds a work-study position at Visceral Dance Center where she works and takes class weekly. She is rehearsing for the evening length show, Firstbite, choreographed by Brian McGinnis that is to be premiered in April.