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.
Emma Vacek, is a previous student of 3rd Street Dance and Theatre. Emma grew up in Saint Charles, Illinois. She started taking dance classes at the age of three, with the Park District and then moved to State Street Dance in Geneva, Illinois. There she was a part of their ballet company and performed in their renditions of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty.
Emma has previously danced on Saint Charles East’s Drill Team, for 3rd Street’s Dance Performance Company, and for the University of Kansas’s dance program. Emma continues to study dance and is working her way towards a dance degree. Emma has always had a passion to teach dance and is very excited to share her passion of dance with her students. She is so happy to once again be a part of the 3rd Street Dance and Theatre family and hopes to help her students learn and grow confident in dance.
Journie took her very first dance class when she was two and joined her first competitive company at the age of five. Working with amazing Chicagoland mentors such as Lizzie Mckenzie, Jennifer Grapes, Gil Mata, and Ted Jackson, Journie was the recipient of many scholarships and the winner of several regional and national solo titles.
After switching to an all ballet focus during her teen years, Journie spent four years as a member of Ballet Chicago's Studio Company. During her time at Ballet Chicago, she was lucky enough to perform several Soloist and principle roles in many of George Balanchine's prestigious ballets. After her time at Ballet Chicago, Journie moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and spent the season as a trainee with The Fort Wayne Ballet.
Journie has also studied at the Joffrey Ballet Academy in Chicago as well as with Mike Gosney's Elements Contemporary Ballet.
Recently, Journie has moved back to the Chicagoland area to join the Milwaukee Ballet Training Program and teach throughout the area. She is super excited to share her knowledge, passion for performance, and help promote a healthy mindset within this young generation of dancers.
Valeria Amador started her dance training at Bataille Academie of the Danse at the age of 3. When she entered high school, she knew that dance was not just a hobby but a passion to pursue further in higher education. Valeria went on to attend the University of Iowa where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Due to her diverse dance background, Valeria had the fortune to work with all the established professors at Iowa.
Just in her senior year, she performed in 6 concerts and was selected to perform at American College Dance Association (ACDA). Her most significant year at the University of Iowa was the opportunity be in the department’s Dancers in Company that was created to give back to the community and gain concert level experience. Touring the state of Iowa, Valeria discovered the power that dance has in the community and especially with young children. Valeria wanted to continue to share that life-changing experience after she graduated through teaching. She is more than thrilled to learn and grow with the dancers here at 3rd Street Dance and humbled to be working with this dance family!
Kelly McCaffery began dancing at the age of four in Aurora, IL. She danced in numerous repertoire performances with various Chicago-area studios every year, including the annual Youth Summit for the Arts, and has attended intensives at Inaside Chicago Dance and Thodos Dance Chicago.
In the fall of 2016, Kelly moved to Philadelphia to pursue her
BFA in Dance at the University of the Arts where her passion and knowledge of dance were able to flourish. While at UArts, Kelly performed in works by Robert Battle, Sidra Bell, Paul Matteson, Helen Simoneau, and Jesse Zaritt. She also had the opportunity to travel abroad to Europe and Israel to study with and attend performances by various artists.
Kelly graduated in May of 2020 and is very excited to share her knowledge and love of dance with her 3rd Street Dance students.
Jessica is a native of Naperville, Il and began her dance training at The Academy of Dance Arts under Sherry Moray. She continued her training by 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 the productions 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 pass on her passion for dance.
Director of our Ignite Performance Company, 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.
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.
Sofia Puterbaugh is a graduate of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities with two degrees in Dance (BA) and Human Resource Development (BS). She has a passion for many different aspects of the arts: performance, creating work, and arts administration. Sofia’s biggest aspiration is to change the world of the arts by creating more jobs with better pay and allowing for more diversity and experience within the community.
She has appeared in works by Sidra Bell, Michel Kouakou, Carl Flink, and Angharad Davies. She has studied under amazing mentors including: Erin Thompson, Annie Hackett, Valerie Gonzalez, Amy Wicklund and Holly Stanfield. Sofia’s choreography credits include many musical theatre productions for the Kenosha Unified School District: West Side Story, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. She also has taught at a variety of studios in the Midwest in styles of Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, and Contemporary.
Sofia has had the pleasure of interning and working at of variety of artistic organizations. Her resume features Springboard for the Arts (MN), Northrop Auditorium (MN), and Joffrey Ballet (IL). Along with teaching, she works at Navy Pier in Chicago as the People and Culture Coordinator! Sofia wants to create students who are passionate, compassionate, and creative. She wants to foster a classroom of love of what we do. Sofia is inspired not only promote great dancing, but works to develop thoughtful and driven problem solvers.
Stefani Paladino recently graduated Cum Laude from St. Charles East High School and is currently a student at Illinois State University studying Elementary Education.
Stefani has been a part of the dance community her whole life and is very excited to continue her love of dance with the 3rd Street Dance Family!