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meet youR judges & master class instructors!

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Alice Henrichsen: Judge

Alice Henrichsen is from Houston, Texas and is in her 20th year of teaching dance and directing the Celebrities dance team at Baytown Lee HS. Alice danced at Blinn College for 2 years before finishing her degree at the University of Texas at Austin where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.  She has over 20 years of adjudication and choreography experience throughout the state of Texas. One of her greatest professional accomplishments is being a part of the Lady Gaga Super Bowl halftime show in 2017 with her dancers as well as the pregame flag ceremony with Luke Bryan.   

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Bettina Fields: Judge
 

Bettina Fields has over 15 years of experience working with dance teams and coaches across the nation.  She has served on many professional dance judging panels over the years as well as having completed extensive advanced judging courses and the USASF Dance All-Star Safety Certification. Most recently, she served as the head dance team coach of Eastern Kentucky University. Her teams have been recognized for immense dedication to the spirit program and university. Bettina continues to share her love of dance with others through consulting, cleaning routines, offering team technique, coaching, and judging.  

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Brandi Tucker: Judge & Master Instructor
 

Growing up Brandi trained at Art In Motion Dance Studio in Champaign, IL under the direction of Tricia and Chad Trimble. Since then, she went on to graduate from Louisiana State University where she was a member of the Nationally recognized LSU Tiger Girls Dance team. While in college, she was in both a Disney and a BET music video. Brandi currently travels choreographing and teaching dance teams nationwide. Her choreography has won numerous high score, choreography, and special awards as well as National titles. She also enjoys traveling to assist choreographers such as Dejan Tubic, Zack Venegas and Steve Ewing among others.   

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Carlos de Barros: Judge
 

Carlos de Barros received his BFA in Dance, from the University of Florida/New World School of the Arts performance program. He has also completed certifications in Zumba, Piyo, two children's yoga certifications and his 200 hour yoga teacher training with Haute Yoga. He has taught all levels of jazz, modern, yoga, dance conditioning, and contemporary at summer intensives and has taught master classes and adjudicated for competitions around the country. His love and passion for all aspects of the dance world has lead him to becoming a free-lance dance and yoga teacher, conditioning coach, choreographer, model, and adjudicator. 

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Carrie Nitchoff: Judge
 

Carrie Nitchoff has been part of the dance community for over 30 years. Her interest and expertise include jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical, hip hop, pom, and cheer. In addition to being a certified Colorado Spirit Coaches Association and Colorado High School Activities Association dance judge, she is a staff member for the United Spirit Association. She teaches science and coaches the dance team at a high school in Colorado as well as teaches and choreographs for dance studios in the Denver area. Her choreography and her students have been the recipients of many awards and titles. Carrie is truly honored to make a difference in the lives she touches and cannot wait to share her experience, insight, and love of dance. 

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Cathy Jenkins: Judge

Cathy Jenkins originates from Pittsburgh, PA and has been dancing since the age of three, studying Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Musical Theater. She has choreographed and coached Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, and Pom for over 20 years. She danced at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as being a member of the Dance Alloy Ensemble. After graduation, Cathy was given the opportunity to become the Dance teacher, Dance Troupe Coach and Artistic Director at Chartiers Valley High School. Cathy has won several choreography awards in Contemporary, Hip Hop and Musical Theater. Cathy believes that dance is an art form and a sport that allows each participant to express his/her feelings, artistic expression, athletic ability, and connect with their audience. 

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Courtney Scherer: Judge

Courtney is a well-known Regional and National award-winning Choreographer. From soloists to productions, her pieces are awarded with Overalls, Best Musicality, Technique, Scholarships and National Championship Titles.  Courtney collaborated with Disney for the Inauguration of The Disney Dream Cruise Line, has performed and choreographed for sold-out Musicals, and trains other dance studio Directors and Teachers to help them progress to their highest level. Courtney began her own Professional Dance Company in 2013. Her Company has been hired to perform in Official Music Videos, “IMMERSE”, Fundraisers collecting  close to $1,000,000 and corporate events. Courtney travels Nationwide teaching at dance conventions where she trains her students to be mentally and physically  empowered. When Courtney is judging, she not only looks for the technique aspect of dance but also the emotion and drive behind the dancer's performance.

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Deanna Tetner: Judge

Bio: Coming soon. 

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Donnette Castle: Judge

Donnette is a professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Chicago, IL. She is a co-producer of Carnival-Choreographer's Ball Chicago, part of the Carnival Choreographer's Ball started in LA. Working in both the concert & commercial world of dance, her highlights include performing for the Oprah/Black Eyed Peas Flash Mob performance, Vanity Fair, Taylor Dane, Kellogg’s, DIFFA, and Toby Keith. . Donnette is a former choreographer for Scotland's national dance team as well as the former Head Coach for the nationally ranked UIC dance team. Her choreography has been presented across the country, including the Industry Dance Awards in LA, Alabama Dance Summit, Ballet Tennessee, as well as many dance studios and teams.S Donnette teaches master classes across the country and abroad. She runs a non-profit dance program in the Chicago area & has been a guest faculty teacher at the Alabama Ballet summer intensive for the past 15 yrs. She holds a B.A. in dance and performance from Columbia College Chicago.

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Ebony Johnson: Judge

Ebony received a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Arizona State University, currently holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, and has 25+ years of experience in studio and competitive team dance. She studied tap, hip-hop, ballet, jazz, and modern from the Universal Dance Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago, IL, and Broadway Dance Center in New York, NY. Ebony was also a high school dance team coach in Illinois, studio dance instructor in Arizona, and assistant choreographer for dance teams to Toya Renee Ambrose and Brandee Evans. She continues to train and develop her foundation in dance at Ballet Arizona and as an aerialist. She is the Operations Manager for TRA Choreography, LLC, co-founder of CircleUp Leadership, and is a dance team judge for Dance Team Union, Varsity All-Star, +more competition brands. In the corporate world, Ebony is a strong leader with a demonstrated history of building highly effective teams within higher education for the past 16 years. 

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Jennifer Whitford: Judge

Jennifer grew up in the dance studio and has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and hip hop.  She attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was a member of the Golden Girls Dance Team there.  She later went on to coach that team to several top ten finishes at the NDA College Dance Championships. She is a former Instructor & Choreographer and has traveled the world teaching and choreographing.  Jennifer worked as a Biology teacher and Spirit Coordinator at John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, AL for 11 years.  There she coached the Cavalette Dance Team to 10 years of state championships and three appearances on ESPN as part of UDA's National Dance Team Championships. She has choreographed for junior high, high school, college, and professional teams, and she recently relocated to eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and son.  

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Jennifer Keller: Judge

Jennifer Keller is the Head Coach of the nationally ranked Diamond Gems Dance Team at Temple University, located in Philadelphia, PA. Prior to her time at Temple, Jennifer served as the long time Head Coach of both the Cheerleading and Dance Teams at The College of New Jersey and is also a former Assistant Coach and team captain of the University of Delaware Dance Team. Jennifer has judged for numerous dance and cheer organizations at the state, regional and national level for over 18 years. 

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Jennifer Hodge: Judge

Jennifer has spent the majority of her life either dancing or teaching dance. She began dancing at an early age and has had the opportunity to turn her passion for dance into her career. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance Education and Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Sports Science from Texas State University, where she was a member of the "Southwest Texas Strutters." Upon graduation, she began her dance team coaching and teaching career at the high school level and later moved on to the collegiate level at Texas A&M University for the "Aggie Dance Team." She has opened various dance studios in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Jennifer now continues as a studio owner, consultant, and choreographer for studios, high schools, colleges and professional teams across the US.

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Jennifer Shetland: Judge

Jen Shetland has been dancing since her first tap class back in Detroit Michigan at a very young age. Her passion developed into performing, choreographing, and ultimately coaching & directing at the high school level for 25 + years. She earned her MA in Dance from Cal State Long Beach and recently traded in her coaching “hat” to be a certified Yoga instructor   She currently teaches Dance & Yoga and lives in Long Beach California.

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Jenny Raiche: Judge

Jenny Raiche (MN) has an extensive background both in the studio and dance team arenas. She was the Head Coach of the Eastview Lightning Dance Team for 20 seasons during which the team earned 20 straight Conference titles, 35 Section Championships, and 20 State Championships. She was also an instructor at Larkin Dance Studio from 2007-2015. Raiche is the founder and director of the Miss Dance Team MN solo competition and has trained several Miss Dance Team USA winners. Jenny is the founder and director of the Minnesota Dance Recruitment Combine connecting high school athletes with college coaches across Minnesota and the Midwest. She has been awarded Minnesota Coach of the Year 4 times (2003, 2014, 2020, 2022), was nominated for National Coach of the Year through the NDCA in 2022, is a recipient of the Breaking Barriers award for Minnesota for her leadership in progression of female sports though the National Women & Girls Sports Day, and finally was award the National High School Coach of the Year in 2023 from the National High School Athletic Coaches Associtation.   Providing invaluable opportunities, a commitment to never stop learning and holding athletes accountable to a high standard have been her core values as Jenny has grown as a coach. While the sport continues to change and the world around us does too, without wavering from these principles, she will always seek to do more for the student athletes and the sport that she loves.

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Jessica Denham: Judge

Bio: Coming soon.

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Joni May: Judge

Joni May is an Advertising Professional with a varied background in Dance Team Judging and Coaching. She is the current Co-Director of the National Dance Coaches Association Judging Credentials Program. Joni has authored and taught a judging course in England and Scotland for the British Cheerleading Association and consulted with competitive teams in the UK. She was a founder, former Executive Director, and Academy Director of TeamDance Illinois(TDI), a state competition/education circuit that served youth through collegiate teams. Joni has served as a dance team judge, official and trainer for 25+ years, judging for Dance Team Union, multiple state and competition circuits. She has coached, choreographed and consulted with a variety of teams that all share their own success stories. Joni lives in Scottsdale, AZ, is the mother of four sons, and feels privileged to be a part of DTU.

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Jordan Pierluissi: Judge

Jordan coached the nationally ranked The Villages High School Golden Girls dance team from 2013-2020. Jordan went on to lead The Villages to 7 top 5 finishes in the High Kick Division as well as 6 finalist placements in the Varsity Pom Category at NDTC. In 2020, Jordan’s team was awarded the DTU All Star High Kick & All Star Pom National Titles.  Jordan was a graduate of The University of Central Florida where she served as a member of the competitive dance team. Jordan has been teaching dance for 17 years and served as high school dance techniques teacher and program director for The Villages Charter Schools expansive program of over 600 students during her time there.  

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Julie Price: Judge

Bio: Coming soon.

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Kalee Stapp: Judge

Kalee Stapp was born and raised in Orlando, FL while training in all styles of dance. She attended the University of Tennessee, where she won two Jazz National Championships in 2015 & 2016. While at Tennessee, Kalee was selected to travel to Dubai, UAE to be a performer at the 2015 Rugby 7s event. Kalee graduated from Tennessee with a degree in Advertising and went on to obtain her MBA from UCF in Orlando. She has coached at the high school and college level for several years. Kalee has been judging at the All-Star and school divisions for the past 6 seasons. Additionally, she has choreographed and consulted for high school and college teams across the country. She’s excited to see all the talent and dancers shine on the stage at this event!

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Katie Marsh: Judge

Katie Marsh is an experienced dancer, choreographer, coach, and judge. This is her second season with Dance Team Union, and is an official for the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota State Associations. As the Head Dance Coach at Midland University from 2017-2021, she led the team to one national championship, two conference championships, three regional championships and in 2019, Katie was named the NAIA Dance Coach of the Year. A native of Miami, Florida, Katie was a member of the nationally ranked Coral Reef Dance Team and won multiple titles through UDA and ADA. In her spare time, Katie volunteers for the National Dance Coaches Association as the interim Marketing Director and enjoys spending time at home in Sioux City with her husband, Scott and cavapoo, Ruffles.

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LaTasha Hinex: Judge

Tasha Hinex has been the coach of the Oklahoma City University Dance Team for more than a decade.  She loves to teach and develop students into the best versions of themselves. By using a mix traditional and creative procedures she is able to develop trustworthy and respectful athletes who are champions not only on the floor but in life. 

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Lindsay Starr Dye: Judge

Lindsay is a nationally awarded coach and choreographer with over 17 years of competitive dance experience. Lindsay has coached and choreographed for many championship teams, as well as judged on the National level for the past several years. She worked as Head Coach of Decatur High School Dance Team for the past 15 years, leading them to countless State and National titles throughout her time as coach. She was awarded Dance Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2013 from the Washington State Dance/Drill Coaches Association. Lindsay has recently been working under Tribe 99 as a choreographer and consultant. In addition to her work with TRIBE, she serves as President of the WSDDCA and is pursuing a Law degree. Lindsay continues to enjoy judging, and is excited to help young athletes reach their potential no matter what role she may be serving. 

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Monica Douglas: Judge

Monica is a professional dancer from Severn, MD. She started dancing at the age of six, where she trained and competed in many styles of dance. At age 16, Monica graduated high school a year early and was accepted to Penn State University. While at Penn State, Monica was on the Lionettes Dance Team. Soon after graduating, Monica moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue her dreams as a professional dancer. Since being in LA, Monica has been on television shows such as Girl Meets World, Liv and Maddie, Dancing With The Stars, The Grammy's, The Voice, and many more. She has been in many music videos and has shared the stage with such artist as Justin Bieber, Prince, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Camila Cabello, Jason Derulo, Pit Bull, Becky G, Sabrina Carpenter, and so many more talented artist. Monica is currently still pursuing her career and hopes to teach the younger generation that truly anything is possible. 

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Emma Desiderio: Master Class Instructor

Emma is from the Chicagoland area and is currently a student and dancer at Grand Valley State University. As a member of the GVSU Laker Dance Team, she was a 2x National Champion and a team captain. Prior to college, she trained for 15 years in various styles including ballet, jazz, hip hop etc. and danced competitively for two competition teams. Alongside her personal dance experience, she also coaches a local high school varsity dance team.

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Ramona Kitching: Judge

Ramona has over a 30-year history of involvement with dance team competition at many levels and genres of dance.   She served as a member of her high school Winter Guard, high school Competitive Pom and two college Pom teams.  Additionally, she was a founding member of the Augustana Dance Company before graduating with a minor in Dance. After college graduation, she coached spirit and dance teams in Illinois and California. Since 1997 she has been actively judging for the IDTA, IHSA, TEAMDance Illinois, Varsity Brands, IHSDTA, NMAA and Dance Team Union. She was in the inaugural class of judges to complete the National Dance Coach Association Judge Credentialing program and currently serves as a NDCA Judge Trainer. Ramona received her Masters in Medicine from The Chicago Medical School and currently works as a Physician Assistant in Phoenix, Arizona. When she isn’t working or judging, she is also a wife, a mother of 2 teenagers and a full-time dance mom herself! 

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Ryan Green: Master Class Instructor

Ryan Green is a professional dancer/choreographer based in Los Angeles. Ryan has been in numerous music videos for a variety of different artist including Carly Rae Jepson, Blake Shelton, Tracee Ellis Ross, SubUrban, Jackson Wang and more. He’s appeared in commercials and live shows. Being signed with Bloc, Ryan continues to teach around the country and explore his love for movement and experimental style.

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Sammy Stephens: Judge

Sammy is a Hot Springs, Arkansas native. He moved to Arizona to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at Arizona State University and graduated in May 2010. His undergraduate studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock consisted of theatre, dance, and health science. Theatrical credits include Hair, The Wiz, To Kill a Mockingbird, Spunk, and Revenge of a King. Sammy performed Jose Limon’s The Exiles at ASU and at the Congress on Research in Dance conference in NY.  Sammy has danced and instructed hip-hop/urban dance for over 15 years. He also danced with The Tidwell Project, a modern dance company in Little Rock, AR and founded Floor Rockers, a hip-hop dance company at UALR. In addition to facilitating workshops and master classes in Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona, he taught and co-created Urban Movement Practices at Arizona State University. He also served as dance faculty at Mesa Community College and Chandler Community College. He has served on the judging panel for many regional and national competitions.  

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Sara Fugate: Judge

Sara Fugate is currently the Dance Director at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA where she is the coach of the nationally ranked Presentation Dance Team and director of Presentation Dance Company. She started dance at the age of 2 studying jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop in San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York City. She is a graduate from San Jose State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Dance. She received her Masters in Education from National University and has a single subject teaching credential in Physical Education. Sara is a member of Dance Masters of America as well as National Dance Educators Organization. As a performer she was a member of “The Crew” a percussion movement ensemble that traveled and performed in San Diego County and at Seaworld in San Diego. She was also a featured dancer for three years at Great America in Santa Clara, California. She is an experienced judge with Dance Masters of California and USA Dance/Drill. 

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Shan Stavropoulos: Judge

Shan Stavropoulos’ career includes twelve years as the coach and choreographer for the nationally ranked Millard West Dance Team.  Under her direction the team was crowned UDA National Champions in 2009 and was National Champion Runner-Up in 2011. The team also obtained 8 Nebraska State title awards.  Individual awards for Shan Stavropoulos include: 16 Best Choreography Awards, as well as being a 3-time recipient of the Coaches Leadership Award (voted on by other Coaches) and being named Top 40 Under 40 for 2013. In addition, Shan is an instructor at Nebraska Dance teaching Dance Team Prep classes. She has choreographed for the University of Iowa, University of Nebraska Wesleyan, University of Nebraska-Omaha, and was the Director and Choreographer of the United Football League's, Omaha Nighthawks Cheerleaders and Dance Team.   

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Shannon Bonwell: Judge

Shannon Bonwell grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where she was classically trained for 15 years under Aimee Langlas. Shannon earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Iowa, where she danced under Jenny Eustice on the Iowa Dance team from 2008 - 2012.  As a senior captain, Shannon led her team in 2012 in their best Nationals showing , with two top 10 finals finishes. Post graduation, Shannon began her coaching career in Waterloo, at Columbus Catholic High School. As head coach, Shannon led her team to 4 championships in 3 seasons. In 2015, Shannon relocated to Milwaukee Wisconsin where she began working in the All Star Dance Industry at Brookfield Center for the Arts. During her time at BCA, Shannon was responsible for leading her staff to 4 Summit Championships, and 3 USASF Worlds globes - the first in the 18 year program history. Shannon most recently started a new adventure in the creative arts marketing field, and is back to working with dancer's and programs in her home state of Iowa! 

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Stephanie Yonkovich: Judge

Stephanie graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. She is trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, pom, hip hop and tap. She has performed on  America's Got Talent, Saturday Night Live, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Falling Water, and recently in the film,  Hello Again. She has also danced and modeled for KENZO X H&M, Target, T-mobile, Desigual, and Hermès. She was also a member and captain of the Orange Coast College Dance Team, Coach of the Rosary High School Junior Varsity Dance Team and assistant to the Rosary High School Varsity Dance Team. Both teams were nationally ranked and appeared on ESPN. In 2012, Stephanie was awarded Cheerpros Coach of the Year. Stephanie is currently the Head Coach and Choreographer for the Columbia University Dance Team. She also teaches at Steps on Broadway and Equinox. 

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Steve Chapla: Judge

Steve has coached for 18 seasons at the Allstar & College level. He has judged numerous local/regional/national competitions and auditions for junior high, high school, college and professional dance team events. Steve is also a certified dance judge.

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TJ Jacobs: Judge

For over 15 years, TJ has trained in various styles from fosse to contemporary jazz, with a passion for teaching hip-hop. Jacobs unparalleled passion for the arts prepared him for several industry opportunities including touring with pop sensation Betty Who, work with Wyclef Jean, Showtek, and DJ Lina. His love for the stage continued on with the chance to perform twice at the Kennedy Center, Showtime at the Apollo, perform live in Times Square, Dream Magic Studios LA, Carnival: Choreographers Ball NYC, World of Dance: New York and New Jersey, Wizards Half-Time Show and Internationally. As an Educator, Jacobs is the Founder of Pace Setters Dance, a Renowned Hip- Hop based company for the youth in Washington D.C. Jacob has most recently been featured as a TEDx Youth Speaker in the Nation's Capital Washington D.C., and plans to speak more across the country in the near future. 

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Sara Parker: Master Class Instructor

Sarah is from Louisville, Kentucky and has been dancing since she was 12 years old. She has been a dance teacher for 9 years and counting! Sarah has competed with the Vision Dance Center, the University of Tennessee Dance Team, and the University of Louisville Ladybirds for a total of 9 national championship titles on the all-star and collegiate level. Sarah also travels across the midwestern region teaching technique and choreographing competitive routines. She specializes in lyrical/contemporary and hip hop styles, as well as turn technique. She is a coach at Planet Dance and Floyd Central High School. She hopes to continue her passion for teaching, coaching, and choreographing as long as possible! 

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Alexis Kalantzis: Judge

Alexis has taken many Master Classes with names such as Mia Michaels, Nick Lazzarini, Molly Grey, Robert Roldan, Tyce Diorio, Brian Friedman, Bobby Newberry and Footloose Star Kenny Wormald ; along with many more. She has also worked with Dance Competitions helping adjudicate routines and manage backstage as their backstage manager. She loves connecting with all the dancers before their routines and help get them pumped and ready to perform! She has been a dance teacher for 9 years and a studio director for 3! When she's not dancing she loves to spend time at the local beaches and enjoys spontaneous trips to Disney with her family and friends.

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Drew Geck: Judge

Drew Geck is a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Minneapolis. As an alumni of the University of St. Thomas Dance Team she won back to back National Champion Titles at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) College National Competition. Post college dance team, Drew nationally toured and performed in theaters across the country with “Rhythmic Circus”. Other highlighted professional performances include: the NFL Super Bowl LII, “Cabarave” and “Twin Cities Tap Festival Concert.”  Currently Drew is a member of Ricci Milan’s “Rhythm Street Movement” and has been the “Dance Captain” for all of their original shows. Drew is also an award winning choreographer for dance studios across the country. You can find her locally at Summit Dance Shoppe, Metro Dance Center and Elevé Performing Arts Center.  She loves to share her passion for all things dance!

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Christine Amling: Judge

Chrissy Amling has over 30 years of dance experience, training in pom, hip hop, ballet, lyrical and jazz. Chrissy cheered and danced in high school and competed at the national level in Orlando, Florida. She went on to teach and manage at Dance Force Studios in Huntley, Il. for 10 years. Teaching and choreographing ages 2 to through college level.  Instructing classes in pom, hip hop, ballet, lyrical and jazz. Her All-Star dance teams have competed and won many Illinois state, UDA, CSG and Jamfest National titles over the years.  For 13 years she was the head varsity dance coach for Huntley High School.  Her high school dance team placed consecutively in the top 12 at the IHSA state championship and in 2016 were State Runners up in hip hop. They also competed at the national level with UDA in Orlando, Florida. Her love of dance and helping dancers of all ages carried over to the judging circuit. She has been an IHSA dance official for the past 5 years and has judged all-stars, middle school and high school. She is also a member of the NDCA as an advanced dance judge and loves to provide positive and constructive feedback to dancers and teams of all ages as they grow and develop over their competitive season.

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Ashley Dupps: Judge
 
Ashley grew up in Germantown, Ohio. She started dancing at the age of 4. Her dance experience led her to performing professionally at Kings Island in a live show called “Don’t Stop the Music.” Ashley went on to attend the University of Cincinnati. During her four years at UC, Ashley was a member of the dance team, where they became two Time World Champions and 2014 National Champions in the UDA Division 1A Hip Hop Division. Ashley continued coaching at Wright State University and now continues working with dance teams. 

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Iris Sherman: Judge

Iris has judged for numerous national dance and talent competitions including Starpower, Rainbow, Missouri Dance Team Association, Champion Tours and Events, Contest of Champions, Nexstar, Tremaine, Oklahoma State Dance Team Championship, Americheer, to name a few. Iris also had the honor of judging on the inaugural panel of the 2011 World Dance Championship Series hosted by the Federation of Dance Competitions in Dallas, Texas. Along with judging national dance and cheer competitions, Iris also teaches master classes for studios across the United States. Her stage credits include “A Chorus Line”, Dick Clark’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, ABC’s “New Years Around the World- Millinea Celebration”, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Principal and Corps de Ballet for the American Dance Ensemble, Pleasure Island Explosion Dancers, Kids of the Kingdom, and the World Dancers of Epcot at Walt Disney World. As a professional stunt woman and actress, Iris can be seen in Jeepers Creepers, Out of Time, Bachelor Party 2, Sheena, The Glades and Burn Notice, along with several commercials, industrials, and musical reviews in the United States and abroad. 

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Hutton Peck: Judge

With over 35 years of extensive dance experience, Hutton Peck is eager to join the judging team at Dance Team Union. Hutton grew up as a competitive dancer well versed and cross trained in all styles of dance at several elite dance studios in Phoenix, Arizona. She was a UDA All-Star cheerleader/dancer throughout her high school years. After high school she was awarded a regents dance scholarship to Arizona State University, where she graduated with a BFA in Dance Education. While attending ASU she danced on the ASU Hip Hop Coalition team,  Nebellen Dance Company, Street Jam, and Havik in Hip Hop. After graduating, Hutton became a public school educator who taught high school & middle school dance for six years. Hutton has been on the dance faculties of Marcos de Niza High School, Coronado High School, Mesa High School & Gilliland Middle School. While teaching, she enjoyed being a professional working dancer on Epik Dance Company, Arizona’s premier street fusion company for over eight years. As a teacher/choreographer, Hutton has been fortunate to be on faculty at some of Arizona’s best studios: Dance Connection, Dance Connection Too, Tempe Dance Academy, Arizona Dance Studio, Bodies in Motion Dance & Urban Styles. In addition to her love of being a dance educator and performer, Hutton is passionate about entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for the next generation of artists. She is currently the CEO of One Rhythm Dance Convention/Competition and 1RX Hip Hop Experience. 

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Gina Kowalski: Judge

 

Gina has been involved in dance for over 30 years now. She fell in love with competing while on her varsity dance/drill team at Palatine High School  where she was fortunate enough to experience winning 3 State Championships with IDTA. Shortly after graduating high school, Gina began teaching, coaching and choreographing then soon after became a certified judge for IDTA and Halftime Illinois. Gina was later a founding member of TeamDance Illinois (TDI), co-director of TDI Summer Intensives and Team Dance Youth (TDY). She was a technical dance judge throughout Illinois for TDI as well. She has also judged for Illinois High School Association (IHSA) at the regional and state level, as well as Varsity All Star, and AIA (in Arizona). She has judged at numerous regional, sectional, state and national competitions throughout the country. She is a credentialed adjudicator for NDCA and has also judged for Dance Team Union (DTU). Gina has also enjoyed instructing and choreographing for many Illinois high school teams. Most recently she was the head coach for Fremd High School. Under Gina’s direction, varsity advanced to State Finals, as well as UDA National Finals. She has had the honor of instructing and directing at numerous studios and community dance programs. Additionally, Gina owned Dimensions of Dance and with the help of other talented instructors, she began teaching girls that had little to no dance experience to become award winning competitive dancers. She has always been passionate about dance and loves encouraging dancers and building their confidence! Gina believes dance teaches us much more than just dance skills and proper technique, it teaches important life lessons like discipline, team work, time management, confidence, respect and good sportsmanship just to name a few! 

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Deena Capeilini: Judge

Deena Capellini is a Multi-Award winning Choreographer, Dancer and Singer who started her career in Los Angeles where she performed on stage and in television with artists such as Beyoncé, Trace Adkins and Big and Rich. She can also be seen as a regular dancer on CMT’s “Foxworthy’s Big Night Out” starring Jeff Foxworthy and several National Commercials for popular brands such as Nike. 

As an NBA fan, she was honored to spend two years as a Dancer and Choreographer for the Phoenix Suns.

Currently, Deena lives in Las Vegas with her 3 rescue Chihuahuas. She continues performing and has been in over a dozen shows on the Las Vegas strip. 

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Lane Hettich: Judge

Former member of the National Champion ​University of Louisville Ladybirds dance team. UDA Head Instructor and State Director for Kentucky and Tennessee. Studio choreographer for Dance Alley. Member of the "Releve" Young Professionals Committee for the Louisville Ballet

Fund for the Arts graduate and Current Executive Board Marketing Chair for Kentucky Shakespeare. National adjudicator for numerous dance companies including DTU, UDA, Jamfest, and Crown events. Constantly trying to incorporate the community in arts programming and cultivate engaged young artists

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Jordan Galloway: Judge

Jordan is a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. Jordan has graced the big screen in many movies, television shows and national campaigns. Jordan has worked for artists such as Fifth Harmony, Maluma, Janelle Monae, Jordin Sparks, Keke Palmer, Trina, Tamar Braxton, and Daddy Yankee. She is passionate about sharing her talents as a choreographer and educator of all ages across the country and internationally. She is currently on staff for Tribe 99 and working with high schools, universities, studios, and pro teams offering choreography, routine cleaning services, consultations, masterclasses, and staff education.

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Erica Pecho: Judge

California native, Erica Pecho was born and raised outside San Francisco. She graduated from college with a degree in Business Management and shortly after received her teaching credential. During her time in University she was Captain of her National Award winning dance team for 3 out of 4 years. Erica is currently a Company Director at The Dance House Napa Valley and a dance team coach at Napa High School. As an international guest teacher and choreographer for studios, high schools, and Universities, Erica is most passionate about mentorship and unlocking her students passion for performing arts. 

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Samantha Laster: Judge

Samantha Laster is a Chicago, IL native. She has studied all genres of dance from Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago. Samantha attended St. Xavier University where she was a 4 year member of the competitive dance team. She has over 14 years of experience working with dance teams and coaching. She serves on various professional dance judging panels as well as having completed extensive advanced judging courses from the National Dance Coaches Association. Currently, she serves as the Director of Spirit Teams at Illinois College. She loves to teach and develop students into the best versions of themselves through the art of dance.

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Susan Gehringer: Judge

Sue has been involved in the dance/drill team world for over 45 years. She has directed, choreographed, judged, and coached teams all over the United States. She is a former board member of CADTD (California Association of Dance Team Directors) where she served two terms as president. She developed their Judge’s training program focusing on consistency and recruiting qualified professionals to judge for the California CADTD circuit. She is also a judge for SCSBOA adjudicating parade competitions, and Studio competitions in the Southern California market. Her professional choreography can be seen on TV, stage and industrials. Her past performance credits take her all over the United States and Japan. She continues to choreograph for Southern California teams. Her team choreography has consistently won at the national levels in virtually every year for the past 5 decades. Sue was named “Dance Educator of the Year” by the Orange County Performing Arts Center in both 2002 and 2005. She is heavily involved with curriculum development for the arts all over Orange County and is a visiting team member and chairperson for WASC school accreditation. She was an adjunct professor at University of Redlands in the Education Department. She holds both a Bachelor and Master degrees and 4 teaching credentials. She recently retired as Director of Dance of the Esperanza High School where she has been a teacher for 31 years. 

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Natalie Kaplan: Judge

Natalie Kaplan has over 25 years’ experience as a dancer, instructor, and choreographer. She has been trained in and studied Ballet, Lyrical, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, and Hip Hop. She is a Dance Masters of America certified instructor and has taught at several Midwest dance studios. She has coached and choreographed for competition teams of all levels and genres such as Jazz, Pom, and Lyrical that have won top awards at many regional dance competitions. She continues her dance education by attending conventions, workshops and master classes from some of the nation’s top teachers and choreographers. Natalie is a Marketing Manager for an educational technology company. Natalie is honored to serve as an adjudicator on the roster of dance competition judges with IHSA, DTU, NDCA and WACPC.

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Jamie Minyard: Judge

Bio: Jamie is a Houston native who began dancing at age 10. A Sterling High School graduate and four-year member of the Stars dance team, Jamie served as Colonel her senior year. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor's degree in Sport Management, then pursued a career in business while performing with the Texas Legends Dancers. Jamie returned to her high school roots as Director of the Sterling Stars drill team for four years before transitioning to an assistant director position at Lee High School. A veteran judge for Crowd Pleasers Dance and American Dance/Drill, Jamie is thrilled to join the DTU team.

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Kari Batka: Judge

Kari has been in the competitive dance team business for as long as it has existed in the State of Illinois (1979). She danced in the first ever Illinois State Championship Competition and has been a leader in the state advocating for the sport of TEAM Dance, the student-athletes, as well as the coaches and judges. She brings with her, 40 years of judging experience, 20 plus years of coaching experience and several years of administrative experience as a founder of Team Dance Illinois, an organization that provided Dance Team Competitions in Illinois before it became a full recognized competitive sport by the IHSA. She lives in both Batavia, Illinois and Goodyear, Arizona as a newly retired Coach and Counselor from St Charles East High School. During her tenure in St Charles, the Saints Dance Team earned 13 State Championship between 1993-2005 and 5 top 10 AAA finishes between 2019-2023 She is very excited to now be judging for DTU!  

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Laura Nares: Judge

Laura attended Carlsbad High School and was a four year member of the Lancer Dancers varsity dance team.  Under the direction of Carrie Smith, the team was awarded 1st place National Champions in the Varsity Jazz division for three consecutive years in Orlando, Florida. The team also won the 2002 ESPN TV Challenge and was featured on ESPN. 

Laura graduated from Cal State San Marcos in 2008 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree.  She is currently working towards her teaching credentials, with plans to become an elementary school teacher.  Laura taught several “kid classes” at Carlsbad High School and has choreographed for the Lancer Dancers, CSUSM dance team and the YMCA. She is also a founding member of the Cal State San Marcos Lady Cougars ASI dance team. 

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Alix Plum: Judge

Alix Plum has been an active dance judge for over 40 years. She has judged throughout the United States for Dance Team Union, National Dance Alliance, United Spirit Association, California Association of Dance Team Directors, and other organizations. Alix is the former coach for the Fullerton College Dance Team, winning national championships for several organizations under her direction. She currently serves as a full-time Professor at Fullerton College in Southern California, where she teaches Pilates, Yoga, Swimming, Dance, Stress Management, and she also teaches Pilates at private studios.

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Rebecca Santalo: Judge

Rebecca Santalo has dedicated herself to coaching dance. Her journey commenced at Ballet Concerto, where she delved into Ballet, Jazz, and Flamenco. Graduating with a BFA in Dance Administration from Florida International University, she paved the way for a dance program at her alma mater, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy.  Currently serving as the Activities Director at Coral Reef High School, Mrs. Santalo remains at the helm of both the varsity and junior varsity dance teams. Her leadership extends beyond the dance floor; she held the presidency of the Dade Association for Dance Educators from 2009 to 2018, and presently serves as a board member and consultant.  Throughout her career, Mrs. Santalo orchestrated numerous performances, including the ambitious full-length Nutcracker Ballet with a live orchestra. Her core values revolve around teamwork, unity, and fostering school spirit, instilling a love for dance in her students. Many of her proteges have gone on to become professional performers in both commercial and contemporary realms, while others have initiated competitive dance teams in Miami and South Florida.

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Breanna Griego-Schmitt: Judge
 

Breanna Griego-Schmitt is in her nineteenth year as a coach and choreographer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She trained during high school and college, and danced competitively while finishing her PhD in Early Modern European History at the University of New Mexico. She’s trained in San Diego, Chicago, Edinburgh, Nashville, and Amsterdam. She was the head instructor at a local studio for sixteen years and was responsible for curriculum development, coached two teams, and taught various levels of technique, jazz, and contemporary classes. Breanna is also a professor at UNM and teaches Critical Text Analysis, Foundation Math, and First-Year Learning Communities. She also works for Nevada National Security Site/Sandia National Labs as a training specialist. Breanna is the owner and artistic director of BGS Dance Collective, a small business that brings studio-based technique and dance education to high schools around New Mexico. She serves as the National Dance Coaches Association Executive Board Secretary. Through NDCA, she has also completed the Proficient, Advanced, and High-Level Judging Certification courses as well as training in Inclusion and Engagement. She’s grateful to have the opportunity to interact with so many fabulous dancers and colleagues around the country!

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Toneka Webb: Judge

Toneka R. Webb is the coach of the Varsity Song (Dance) Team at California High School in San Ramon, California. During her 25 years as coach, Toneka has led the team to the National Dance Team Championship, ranking at the national level 20 times. In the late 1990s, Toneka earned her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Chico. She then went on to earn her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Hayward. She currently works as a Licensed Psychotherapist (Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Additionally, she is a School Counselor at The Athenian School in Danville, CA. Toneka has coached California High School’s Dance Team throughout her life (and some of her childhood). She is the mastermind behind the moves- acting as both coach and choreographer, while continuing to do choreography for various events including various dance teams, corporate events, and even weddings. Many of Toneka’s former dancers have gone on to dance on several college teams, including: CSU Fullerton, University of Oregon, University of Kansas, San Diego State University, and St. John’s University. Many of her dancers have also gone on to dance professionally: Dancing with the Universal Dance Association, The Raiderettes, the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Diego Chargers, the Golden State Warriors, and even Broadway (Wicked and Frozen).

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Alyson Lamoreaux: Judge

Alyson Lamoreaux has been teaching dance for the past 10 years, and tumbling/gymnastics for the past 6 years. She has been an assistant coach for the Cedar High School Drill Team, and is a Utah High School Activities Association certified judge, judging at dance and drill team competitions throughout Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona for the past 6 years. She has choreographed for studio routines, solos, and drill teams. She grew up dancing at Tiffany Dance Company in Herriman, Utah, training in jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, tumbling, and production while teaching ballet, technique, and jazz for younger teams. She was a member of the Riverton Silverline Drill Team in high school, serving as a captain during her senior year. She competed in all team routines during her time on Silverline, including Military, Lyrical, Jazz, Kick, Character, and Hip Hop. After moving to Cedar City in 2017 for college, she started coaching gymnastics and tumbling at the Southern Utah Gymnastics Academy, and immediately started judging local studio competitions. In 2019 she began judging for the Utah High School Activities Association drill team invitationals, regions, and state championships. She is the competition director for the Parowan High School Rammette’s Jr Drill Competition. Alyson graduated from Southern Utah University in April of 2022, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Economics, minors in Finance & Marketing. She is a member of the Utah Dance Judges Association, National Dance Coaches Association, and is pursuing a certification in Acrobatic Arts. Alyson has a passion for teaching and choreographing, and in her spare time she loves being outside and exploring Southern Utah!

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Ashley Helm: Judge

Bio coming soon.

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Brett Elder: Judge
 

Brett has been a studio instructor since 1985 focusing on tap and jazz and has choreographed for high school, college, and professional teams throughout the country. He studied dance in Los Angeles for 6 years, was a head instructor/summer camp choreographer for Dancz America summer camps, was a high school dance team head coach for 13 years, winning 7 state titles and had his team nationally ranked by UDA. He is currently a dance adjudicator in Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Indiana and Arkansas, as well as a judge for the Contest of Champions National Dance Contest. Brett has served on the executive board of the Missouri Dance Team Coaches Association since 1997, and currently serves as President, a position he has held for 18 years. He currently is choreographing and staging several middle and high school musicals. Brett is passionate about promoting a positive dance environment for all dancers as well as focusing on the power of positive coaching. Brett was recently inducted into his school district’s Hall of Fame for his service and dedication to students both in and out of the classroom. Brett and his wife Lisa reside in Kansas City, Missouri and have four amazing children.

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Cora Hintz: Judge

Cora (Wittmann) Hintz has spent numerous years in the dance world as a dancer, coach, and choreographer. She danced for Little Chute High School, receiving 6 WI State titles and 8 national titles in her 4 years there. She went on to dance for the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, where she won a national title at the collegiate level. Cora then coached for 8 years in the state of WI, where she won state titles with all three programs she coached: Little Chute High School, Bay Port High School, and Kaukauna High School. She now travels nationwide choreographing for teams in the all star, middle school, high school, and collegiate level. She specializes in pom and kick and has won numerous titles at all levels with her choreography. Cora is excited to now be judging with DTU!

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Dana Venenga-Harper Judge

Dana is from Newton, Iowa where she grew up dancing; both at a studio as well as being a Newton High School Pacesetter. After high school, Dana graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Education from the University of Northern Iowa. While at UNI, she was a member of the dance performance company, Orchesis. In addition to dancing and choreographing for Orchesis, she was also the head instructor for Young People’s Dance Theatre, which taught creative movement in various elementary schools. From 2006 to 2021, Dana was the head coach of the Winterset High School Dance Team (Iowa). During her tenure, the team earned 47 state, regional, and national championship titles in various genres such as contemporary, hip hop, military, novelty, and pom. Additionally, her choreography was recognized with high points and awards. Dana has obtained her teacher certifications in ballet, jazz, and tap from Dance Masters of America. She is a trained and credentialed adjudicator through the National Dance Coaches Association. Currently, Dana is a freelance dance consultant and judges competitions nationwide for organizations such as Dance Team Union, NAIA, The Dance Challenge, and WACPC.

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Dannis Zazueta: Judge

Dannis Zazueta has spent most of her professional career specializing in building, developing, and coaching dance curriculums. Dannis was inducted into the Mountain View High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018 for leading her teams to 20 Division I State Championship titles and 3 USA National titles. As a result she was recognized as one of the top 20 outstanding high school dance/pom programs in the country, as well as a finalist for NHSACA National Coach of the Year in Dance and Pom in 2012 and 2015. Dannis and her students have a broad range of achievements such as Alvin Ailey modern dance scholarships, YAGP ballet/contemporary gold medal distinction winners awarded at the Kennedy Center, “So You Think You Can Dance finalists”, as well as many students who now work professionally in the dance industry. Professional work of some of her students include working for Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, SIA, Nike, The Rockettes, World of Dance, Velocity Dance Convention, and American Ballet Theatre just to name a few. Dannis’s company DanceWorks was awarded many national choreography honors some of which included The Pulse National Choreographers Pick 2010 and 2012, Discount Dance National Choreography Winner in 2013, and Co Dance 2011 National Dance Educator of the Year. Dannis loves being able to mentor children whether it’s in class auditions scholarship opportunities, as well as judging competitions. She feels her greatest joy and blessing in life has been to be the mother of her two sons who have shared her with many.

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Imani Clark: Judge

Imani is a Los Angeles native who has been dancing since the age of 6 years old. She studied Physical Education and dance at Prairie View A&M University. During her time there she was a member of the Classic Dance Ensemble and the Black Foxes Majorette Team. She is well versed in many genres of dance but specializes in jazz, hip hop, lyrical, pro cheer, and majorette. Imani has been a dance educator and coach for 8 years in the Houston area.  Imani spent 5 seasons as a Houston Texans Cheerleader with 2 of those seasons as a line captain. As a Houston Texans Cheerleader, Imani performed with various artists such as T Pain, Flo Rida, and Big Boi from Outkast.  During her tenure she was selected to travel to Poland; Djibouti, Africa; Oman, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, UAE during USO Military Tours for the United States Armed Forces with the Houston Texans Organization. As a retired professional cheerleader, Imani continues to visit various schools to host workshops, inspire the youth, and judge many auditions. Although she is a full time high school dance educator/ director, Imani recently started a new adventure as a performer for the J and D Entertainment Company and a judge for Dance Team Union.

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Joan Gress Stevens: Judge

Joan Gress Stevens is from the south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She is a practicing family law attorney and an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University of Chicago’s paralegal institute. Joan has more than 40 years of dance experience as a performer, choreographer, director, judge educator and judge adjudicator. She was a four-year member of her high school dance team and as a senior, won first place in the Miss Drill Team Illinois state dance competition and went on to place 15 th out of more than a hundred soloists at the Miss Drill Team USA national dance competition in Los Angeles, California. In college, Joan was a four-year member and captain of the Purdue University Goldduster Dance Line and was the featured dancer in Purdue University’s “All American Music Review.” As a dance adjudicator, Joan has judged all levels of dance from “small-stars” to college, from solos and ensembles to large dance/drill teams and flag corps for over 35 years in Illinois, Indiana, New Mexico and now with Dance Team Union. She previously served as judging coordinator for the Illinois Drill Team Association (IDTA) as well as acting as the organization’s legal counsel. Later she co-founded and served as past-president of Team Dance Illinois (TDI). At both IDTA and TDI she helped develop and refine educationally based score sheets, the core of which is used nationally by many competitive circuits. In the concert dance arena, Joan co-founded and served as past Executive Director and Legal Counsel of River North Dance Chicago, a jazz-based, national touring company. Joan has been featured in “Cheer” and “Purdue Alumnus” magazines. Joan is extremely excited to be judging for DTU Nationals for the first time this year!

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Julie Jacobson: Judge

Julie has enjoyed both performance judging and safety judging for over 30 years. She has judged for numerous local, state, national, and international competitions during that time, including events in Australia and New Zealand, and season culminating events such as WACPC JEM, Regionals, State Dance, DTU Nationals, The One, U.S. Finals, Varsity Dance Summit, and the Dance Worlds. She was a middle school and high school dance coach for 32 years and co-
coached the Wisconsin Down Under Teams which competed in Australia and New Zealand for 15 years. Julie earned her performance judge training through NDCA, Varsity Brands, USASF, and WACPC. She completes annual safety training through NFHS and USASF and is a USASF Legalities judge. She also has served on the NFHS Rules Committee. Julie is currently a District 5 Representative to the WACPC Board of Directors where she served as a dance judge trainer and co-coordinator for five years, and is co-coordinator and trainer of WACPC Dance Rules Judges. She also serves on the Recognition, Technical Judges, Dance, and Conference committees. Julie has been a member of NDCA for several years and currently serves on the Membership Team.

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Julie Lozier: Judge

Julie has been a DTU judge since 2019. She has judged for many different competitions for 27years. In 2009 she was awarded judge of the year for WSDDCA. Her background includes 14 years of coaching experience with  Kentridge High School, Kentwood high School, and presently Kentlake High School Dance Team. She is an NDCA Judges Credentialing committee member and trainer. She has adjudicated for 25 years at various State Championships including Utah, Washington, New Mexico, and Oregon. 

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Lindsay Weaver: Judge

Lindsay Weaver is a former University of Missouri Golden Girl and former head dance instructor for Universal Dance Association. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Lindsay was a Jazz and Hip Hop instructor at Columbia Performing Arts Centre (CPAC) and also a Kindergarten teacher while residing in Columbia, MO. She is currently a dance instructor and choreographer at Heart of America Dance Centre in Lee’s Summit, MO and has been for over a decade. She teaches jazz and technique to all ages. She has won awards for her choreography, including multiple national winning routines. Over the past 20 years, Lindsay has judged competition pieces at UDA camps, UDA Staff tryouts, Dance Team Union, and State Championships throughout the Midwest. 

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Patricia Bencomo Amaro: Judge

 

Patty Amaro, a Miami native, boasts a rich background with over 26 years of expertise in teaching, choreography, coaching, and judging within the dance realm. Her journey commenced with early training in various dance styles at Dancer's Point, spanning Flamenco, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop. Holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary arts from Nova Southeastern University, Patty embarked on her career at St. Brendan High School, founding the Sabrette Dance Team. Later, she established the dance and drama program at WR Thomas Middle School, where she also serves as the Activities Director. Beyond her educational roles, Patty contributes as an adjudicator for diverse dance teams and studios in Florida. Notably, she held the position of Vice President at the Dade Association for Dance Educators from 2009 to 2018, actively participating in events such as the Superintendent’s Dance Showcase. Alongside her extensive contributions to the dance community, Patty is Co-CEO of Premier Travel Solutions, an airport concessions company. Thrilled to witness talent on the stage, Patty enters her first year at DTU Nationals, eager to witness dancers' brilliance and passion unfold.

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Regina Owens: Judge

Regina Owens is a studio owner with over 20 years of teaching experience. She has been a member of three professional contemporary modern dance companies and a former professional cheerleader for the Arizona Rattlers. She has had the privilege of traveling the US choreographing and teaching master classes. Regina was also an adjunct faculty member in the Dance Department for various community colleges in Phoenix, Arizona. Regina is a member of the Arizona Dance Education Organization and has been a guest speaker and master teacher for this organization. She is trained in various genres of dance that are technique based to ballroom to gymnastics. She is currently the Head Pom Coach at the local high school in Phoenix. Regina has not only had the privilege of having her dance training in her hometown of Phoenix, AZ but has also had the opportunity to train in New York at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

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Sabrina Benko: Judge

Sabrina is no stranger to the entertainment world starting very early as a Peter Sklar “Beginnings” graduate and apprentice traveling to NYC during her High School Years auditioning for multiple roles and performing in 2 off Broadway shows at the Douglas Fairbanks Theater. She opened her studio outside of Washington DC where she effectively ran as sole studio director, choreographer, and owner. In that time, her studio expanded to 300 students where she paid close attention to technique and foundation building for recreational dancer to the pre-professional level . Sabrina’s enthusiasm and eye for choreography has been seen at the local, national and international level. Keynotes to include, but not limited to: 2010 PAE Kennedy Center Performance, 2012 London Olympics, and 2013 NYC Lincoln Center PAE Performance. Her students have been accepted into Bolshoi Summer Ballet, Joffrey Pre-Professional track, Joffrey Summer Intensive, DancerPalooza in Long Beach CA, and have placed in the top 10 at the Dancer Awards in Orlando 2016. Since selling her studio in 2016 Sabrina is now engaged in dancers from a different point of view adjudicating at the regional and national level. As a Master teacher she is involved in studio choreography, Choreography for High schools and individuals for solos on upcoming performances, auditions, and competitions. Most recently her choreography has been seen at World Ballet, YAGP and multiple auditions for Summer intensives for Ballet/Contemporary programs as well as Dance College Scholarships. Her vast knowledge and plethora for not only Contemporary, but other forms of dance has lend its hand into dancers receiving multiple opportunities not only in the Florida region, but also throughout the entire United States.

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Shawn Zachery: Judge

 

Shawn Zachery graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA in 1987 with a degree in Computer Science. Since receiving her degree, she has spent more than 30 years working for several Fortune 500 companies and currently works in technology with Spin Systems, Inc. headquartered in Virginia. She began her career in dance while at Southern as a Southern University Dancing Doll in 1985. After graduation she continued her dance studies in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop. She performed in local dance troupes such as Gino Johnson’s Planet Funk and Mahogany Dance Theater of Dallas. She also became a certified fitness instructor in 1995 and continues to teach and be an advocate for health and fitness to this day. Ms. Zachery began coaching HBCU dance teams in Washington, DC as Director and Choreographer for Howard University’s Ooh La La! Dancers (1996-1999). She later went on to start the very first  line at Morrow High School in Morrow, GA (2004-2006), and coached the Champagne Dancers at South Carolina State University (2006-2007). After moving to Virginia, she coached the Hot Ice Dancers at Norfolk State University (2008), and the Platinum Divas at Nansemond River High School (2009-2012). She is currently Director of the Black Foxes dance team at Prairie View A&M University (2012 –present), which was featured in the docu-series “March” on the CW Network. Ms. Zachery spends her spare time sharing ideas with other collegiate and high school coaches, which inspired her to create the National HBCU Auxiliary and Dance Directors Association. This organization is dedicated to facilitating networking, training, and mentoring of HBCU Performance coaches and performers, as well as high school coaches that perform the HBCU style. She is a member of Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Society, National Dance Society and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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Teri Rowe: Judge

Teri began her coaching career in 1981 as a college dance coach and continued for the next 30 years at the middle school, high school, college, semi-pro and all-star levels. Along with teaching and coaching, Teri was also a private studio owner. She brought her first team to nationals in 1997 and her team won their first title in 2001. Teri is most known for her work with Eastern Washington Elite Dance (26-time National Champions) and their success as the 2008 USASF World Champions. She sold her dance studio and retired from coaching in 2011. Along with coaching, Teri has worked as a judge for over 30 years. She has judged high school state events and both high school and college nationals. As a private consultant, Teri has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of programs including Team USA Dance, the Ohio State University, Louisiana State, University of Cincinnati, and multiple high school and all-star dance teams. Teri has seen nationals through the eyes of a coach, a judge and consultant. It provides a unique perspective to the long road to nationals. Most recently, Teri has joined the new “Bridge Dance Project” as a founding Board member. As part of this dance initiative, Teri has worked within the NDCA to create the NDCA Dance Safety Credential to certify coaches in dance risk management, safety and injury prevention. Teri was inducted to the NDCA Hall of Fame in 2019. She was previously inducted to the Washington State Dance/Drill Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012 and was named 2016 Official of the Year for the Washington Officials Association, 2016 WSDDJA Judge of the Year and 2003 NFHS Spirit Official of the Year. 

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Valencea Vigee: Judge

Valencea Vigee is from New Orleans, Louisiana and began her dance journey at the age of 5 at The Benjamin’s school of dance and gymnastics. She attended Prairie View A&M University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work. While attending Prairie View, she was a member of the Marching Storm Black Foxes Dance Team and held the assistant captain position for two years.  She became the auxiliary coach at Stephen F Austin High School in Houston,Texas in 2016 as a part time lecturer where she had the pleasure to work with the color guard, twirlers,  and dancers until 2023. While working as an Auxiliary coach, in 2018 she embarked on a new journey by joining  DCBD Dance Academy as the Jazz and Technique instructor for all levels until the end of 2020. In 2021, she began a new journey as the Assistant Director and Dance elective teacher at Humble Middle School where she still currently teaches. She has been honored to serve as a choreographer and judge for the Prairie View A & M University Black Foxes for 7 years. She spends her leisure time hosting private classes specializing in jazz, hip hop, majorette, and contemporary. 

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Jill Lamey: Judge

Jill grew up in studio dance starting at age 4 focusing on the basics of ballet, tap and jazz and then moved into the dance team world as a teenager at Seton High School participating on both their junior high and varsity teams. Upon graduation she immediately transitioned into a coaching position with the Seton youth team and then up to varsity beginning in 2003 as an assistant coach. She became the program director in the Spring of 2019. For the last 17 years she has worked tirelessly to evolve Seton Dance from their drill roots into what they are today which includes 2 varsity national championships in 2018 (pom) and 2020 (hip hop) at the UDA National Dance Team Championships.

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Melanie Anderson: Judge

Melanie Anderson is a Louisiana born and raised dancer who has been involved in the dance world since the age of 2. She worked in the dance industry while in and shortly after high school and has taught nonstop since then. She has grown and coached the nationally ranked Zachary High Dance Team for over a decade and continues to lead the program. She teaches jazz, hip hop, and lyrical in studio, judges dance competitions around the country, and choreographs and cleans for dance teams. Along with her husband, Charles, she has two daughters, 9 and 6, who are competitive dancers and are continuing the tradition.  

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Jordan Jost: Judge

 

Jordan Jost lives in West Fargo, ND. She has danced for studios, West Fargo HS and North Dakota State University.  She coached the West Fargo HS dance team for 12 years. West Fargo won two National Championships at UDA Nationals while she was coaching and 11 state titles. She coached at the collegiate level as well for 2 years with NDSU. Jordan currently provides choreography and clinics to dance teams offering instruction in high kick, jazz and pom.  

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Sarah Adams: Judge

As a dance professional with over 16 years of experience, Sarah Adams is a distinguished instructor, choreographer, and coach known for her expertise in multiple dance disciplines. Her commitment to excellence has been evident in her extensive training, notable achievements, and her impact as an instructional coach in the education sector. Sarah is classically trained in the Vaganova ballet technique, a testament to her dedication to mastering the art of dance. Beyond ballet, she has excelled in competitive training in jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop, showcasing her versatility across various dance genres. Her dance journey has been enriched by collaborations with industry professionals, including Tina Caspary, Dee Caspary, Mia Michaels, and NappyTabbs. Sarah's dance skills extend to the competitive stage, where she has not only captained her Pom line at Mountain View High School to three consecutive Division 1 5A AIA State Titles but has also contributed significantly as the assistant Pom coach, guiding teams to two consecutive National Titles and four Division 1 5A AIA State Titles. In her professional career, Sarah serves as an instructional coach in Tempe, showcasing her ability to apply coaching principles to foster growth and excellence in both students and colleagues. Her commitment to student-centered coaching aligns seamlessly with her values of fair judgment and constructive feedback. Sarah Adams prides herself in bringing a unique blend of artistic finesse and competitive experience to the table when she uses her dance background to evaluate technical proficiency, artistic expression, and overall stage presence in judging.

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