JACK and KATHLEEN VILLARI, Founders and Directors, are a husband and wife team with a distinguished record as performers, choreographers, dance educators and writers. They authored The Official Guide to Disco Dance Steps, a worldwide best seller, published in 8 foreign languages and part of library collections throughout the world. Their work in Broadway musicals, ballet companies, television, movies and commercials provide a vast network of expertise. They have been described as "dance visionaries, who turn dreams into reality." The international publication, Dancemagazine, described them as "a vital force in the world of dance" for their significant role in the development of America's rich dance heritage." Government and business leaders have congratulated them for "generating community and worldwide ties, both on and off stage." Their choreography for the U.S.O. show tour to the Far East earned many awards and their ongoing international dialogue with dance aficionados continues to bring cultural enrichment to the area. They represented the United States as Ambassadors of Dance for the 2010 International Asian Dance Exchange in the Philippines. They are proud of Maria, Brian and Tracey, who are dedicated to the development of the ADC legacy.
KATHLEEN, Ballet Director/Instructor/Professor established a comprehensive ADC curriculum for all ages and abilities, including a Teacher's Training program. These programs continue to serve the dance community. As Master teacher, she has taught workshops, lecture-demonstrations and choreographed shows throughout the Chicagoland area, including Prairie State College, Governors State University and Chicago Conservatory College. She was Director of Dance at the Royal Academy of Performing Arts in New York and was listed in Outstanding Young Women of America for her national and international achievements.
With an emphasis on classical ballet traditions, utilizing English, Russian and Italian methodology, she has trained hundreds of students and choreographed 6 levels of classes into major artistic projects. Notable pieces include: The Magic of Camelot, Asian Odyssey, Visions, The Glory of Spain, Polovetzian Dances- A Story Book Dream, and Degas -The Painter of the Dance. She choreographed full-length original ballets, The Magic Toy Shop with the South Suburban Symphony, Hansel & Gretel, where she also danced the renowned role of the Sugary Witch for 21 years and created original pieces for ADC's Holiday Fantasy for 11 years.
Starting dance classes at the age of 4, her passion for dance continued through college years. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and was recognized as Outstanding Alumni from Butler University. She furthered her training at American Ballet Theater and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in NYC. While on national tours, she studied at major ballet studios including the Boston Ballet, Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Aliley Dance Center.
'Mrs. V' is greatly rewarded to be an instrumental part of so many generations of dancers and continues to teach ballet, while overseeing ADC's full curriculum.
The Legacy Continues
Actively involved in day-to-day operations, the second generation share key positions in the Villari dream.
Husband and Wife team - Brian & Tracey Villari - Managers/ Directors
Maria Villari - Dance Director/Instructor
BRIAN VILLARI, Executive Manager, is responsible for all Dance Center operations with a strong philosophy for family values in every aspect. He has produced all ADC performances for the past decade. Graduated with high honors from Marian Catholic High School, he was recognized as an Illinois State scholar and Presidential Academic Achievement Award recipient. On the Dean’s list in college, he was the youngest person inducted into Alpha Beta Gamma, business honor society. Performing credits include national talent titles, musical productions, videos, fashion shows, and commercials for such companies as: McDonald’s, J. C. Penney, Meijer, and Hanna-Barbera Productions.
TRACEY NOWAK VILLARI, Dance Director, is in charge of all Children, Junior and Teen levels. She has been the coordinator of the ADC teacher training program for over 16 years and created the Core/Strength program, utilizing her training in health, nutrition, injury prevention and kinetic energy, while integrating 'core' values into her classes. Tracey has been part of the ADC team for 27 years teaching the joy of movement with a truly energetic and heartfelt approach. She received a performing arts scholarship to Prairie State College, where she majored in Child Development and Child Psychology. She has danced in several ADC productions, has had numerous professional jobs modeling in Chicago and California, has danced for top musical artists and is a national award-winning All-American Cheerleader recognized by the NCAA. She enjoys managing the business with her husband, Brian and spending time with their 3 children, Austin, Trevor and Elle Marie.
MARIA VILLARI, Dance Director, Faculty
is an award-winning choreographer and instructor with over 30 years experience. Maria started performing in theater and dance productions at a young age, including the role of Annie at Drury Lane Theater, was crowned Miss Illinois National Pre-Teen, Entertainer of the Year and has received numerous state and national dance, vocal and pageant titles. She was a soloist and choreographer for the ADC Company's Holiday Fantasy and Hansel & Gretel and was the Entertainment Coordinator for the Mrs. Illinois America Pageant for 7 years. She has continuously earned the highest awards at the International Dance Festival in California and Best of Show and Teacher's Choice awards throughout the industry. She has performed in hundreds of productions coast to coast and has worked with some of the countries top choreographers, dancers and directors in theatre, industrials and runway fashion shows with such artists as Tony Danza, Hall and Oates, the Pointer Sisters and company members of River North, Hubbard Street and Giordano Dance Chicago. Maria's choreography has been showcased at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Chicago's Navy Pier, Great America, Disneyland, the Dance Chicago series and many corporate and charity events throughout Chicagoland. She is Co- Director of our Junior Performance Team, Radiance, has established ADC Modeling Workshops and frequently books our dancers for exciting dance and modeling events throughout Chicagoland. Maria is actively involved in maintaining the ADC's philosophies and has been a driving force behind the Dance Center's energetic spirit.
The serious American Dance Center student is encouraged to pursue institutions of higher education in dance or related fields. Our pre-college curriculum prepares dedicated dancers to reach their goals.
Many ADC students have graduated as Dance Majors and have received scholarships to:
Arizona State University, Butler University, Columbia College, New York University,
Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Point Park University, University of Iowa,
University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Champaign, University of Nevada,
Tisch School of the Arts, Western Michigan and Wright State University.
We are proud of American Dance Center graduate students who are teaching and dancing professionally throughout the world in prestigious dance companies including:
Alvin Ailey Dance Center, American Ballet Theater, Australian Dance Theatre,
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Chicago Tap Theatre, Cirqua Rivera Dance Theater
Elements Contemporary Ballet, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago,
Indiana Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Joel Hall Dancers, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Up With People,
Norwegian Cruise Lines, Disney World and the Young Americans.
American Dance Center Alumni
RACHEL BORG studied at the American Dance Center for
ten years, where she trained through the advanced levels in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and modern and completed her studies as a scholarship student. She performed with the ADC Company in
Holiday Fantasy, Dance Chicago, Drury Lane Theater, Milwaukee Bucks Half-Time show and other performance venues throughout Chicago. She traveled twice to Los Angeles as part of the Dance Excellence International Company, where the ADC represented the state of Illinois. Rachel continued her dance education at Ball State University, where she received dance scholarships, was a Teacher's Assistant, choreographed for several showcases and graduated with a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Psychology. She also performed for the American College Dance Festival Nationals in New York. Rachel combined her friendly personality and her dance knowledge as our desk manager and continues to share her passion for dance with our students looking to develop their talents.
KELLY COLLETTI NUGENT has been an instructor in the American Dance Center’s Children’s Division since 2010 and loves to share her passion for dance with her students. She studied dance at the ADC for ten years and was a selected member of the ADC Teachers Training Program. Sharing her love of being on stage, dance versatility and vocal skills, she has also choreographed musicals for Crete-Monee's Children’s Summer Enrichment Program for more than 10 years. Kelly received a Bachelors of Science in Speech Pathology from
Eastern Illinois University and a Masters degree in Nursing from
De Paul University. Kelly is excited to continue to pass on her dance and performing skills to the young dancers at ADC.
JACK, Executive Director, enhances the ADC School and performances with his vision and experience. He created, produced and directed the company’s major productions including Hansel and Gretel, Chicago's longest-running original ballet, a tradition for 23 years, followed by Holiday Fantasy, award-winning dinner show for 11 years. As an arts impresario, he contracted well-known theater professionals and negotiated dance soloists from the Stuttgart Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet and worked with the Russian Consulate to commission guest artists from the Bolshoi Ballet to perform with the ADC Company. Jack also arranged ADC dancers to perform at the 1996 Olympics, developed dance class programs for 16 south suburban communities, Governors State University, Prairie State College and Chicago Conservatory College, special programs in conjunction with the Chicago Mayor's office and was named Business Man of the Year by Star Newspapers.
He began his career as a child singing on the radio and moved to weekly TV shows as a teen. He was named,“The Jack of Hearts” by fan clubs, D J's and agents and set out for New York City, where he worked in night clubs, movies, fashion modeling, commercials, print advertising, recordings, light opera and Broadway musicals. Jack holds a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Communications from Governors State University. His work in the commercial field received the Silver Award of Excellence from the International Film Festival. He is listed in Cambridge, England publication of International Leaders in Achievement and America’s Who’s Who in Entertainment.
KATIE COLLETTI started dancing at the age of three, began her studies at the American Dance Center at age seven and continued her training in jazz and ballet throughout her high school years. She is a graduate of the ADC Teacher Training Program and has been an instructor in the Children’s Division since 2010. Along with Katie's love for teaching dance, she also has choreographed and designed musicals for the Crete Monee Musical Theater program for over ten years. Katie is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with Bachelors Degree in Adult and Community Education. In addition to teaching dance, she is a project manager for a construction firm. Katie loves working with children of all ages and feels privileged to be able to share her love of dance with her students. She will be joining our Performance Team staff as Co-Director of Radiance this year and looks forward to sharing many exciting events with the dancers.
KYRA LASTER studied at the American Dance Center for 15 years where she trained in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary and Hip Hop. She was a member of our Senior Performance Team where she performed in numerous venues including Disneyland, Dance Excellence, Harlem Globetrotters Half-Time Show, Six Flags and Navy Pier's Winter Wonderland. Kyra is a graduate of Western Michigan University where she received a BFA in Dance and a BBA in Marketing. During her time at WMU, Kyra participated in numerous Department of Dance concerts where she performed works choreographed by faculty, peers and by guest artists, BAIRA and Mike Esperanza. In 2019, she became the Artistic Director of Hip Hop ConnXion Michigan, a branch of the professional hip hop company based in Chicago. Kyra is currently a company member with Dance in The Parks Chicago and Hot Crowd Dance and her choreography has been showcased in Detroit Dance City Festival and Alluvion Dance Chicago Choreography Festival. Additional training includes Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Intensive, University of Illinois Summer Intensive and Ruth Page Choreography Intensive. She loves to share her friendly personality, dance knowledge and passion for dance with anyone looking to develop their talent.
Kyra excited to come full circle with her ADC family as Co-Director of our Senior Performance Team, Vibrance, and as our new ADC Manager.
SARA NOOR grew up in Rochester, NY where she began dancing competitively at the age of 7. She continued her theater and dance education through college, while she started teaching at 17 years old, and choreographing and performing on three of Rochester's professional dance teams. Her career began to blossom when she moved to Myrtle Beach, SC to work in the Vegas-based show, Legends In Concert as a singer/dancer and was a featured impersonator for Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. Sara was selected to study at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco for their intensive classes with emphasis on contemporary and Shakespearean acting. With her love of travel and gaining experience, she relocated to Chicago, IL in 2010. Since living here, she has worked as a lead singer with several bands in the area, including Too White Crew, Joey Midnight & the Fleshtones, It Takes Two, Sealed With A Kiss, Cosmo and most recently Sugar Riot. Through all of her stops, she has always found her place at a dance studio, having taught multiple age groups and levels in tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, and hip-hop. Sara is currently a competition judge with Rising Star Talent, while sharing her talents with her students at ADC.
JILLIAN COLLETTI began as a student at the American Dance Center at age 5 and continued her training through the Advanced levels. During her High School years, Jillian was a member of two competitive show choirs in which she served as Dance Captain and was recognized at the National Show Choir Competition as the Best Performer. She was also involved in musical theatre, performing in and choreographing many productions including, Grease, Little Shop of Horrors, Anything Goes and Hairspray. Throughout college, Jillian coached her sorority’s dance team and choreographed award -winning competition routines. Jillian graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Utilizing her understanding
of the healing aspects of movement , she recently created a therapeutic dance program for adults with disabilities at the Helping Hand Center and is also active in supervising programs at the South Suburban Special Recreation Center. Jillian loves working with young children
and feels privileged to be able to share her love of dance with them.
MAGGIE O'GORMAN trained at the American Dance Center for
15 years, where she studied Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz and Pointe. Maggie was a member of ADC’s Performance teams and performed at numerous venues, including the Chicago Cultural Center, Navy Pier, Disney World, Six Flags and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.
She traveled with a select group of ADC dancers, twice, to Los Angeles, California, where she attended the Dance Excellence International Dance Festival and was chosen to be a DE Company member her Senior year. Maggie was on the Varsity Poms team at Marist High School for all 4 years
and has returned to become their competitive jazz choreographer for the
past four years. Maggie recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a BFA in Dance, where she also received the Iowa Center of the Arts scholarship. At Iowa, she performed for many choreographers including Shannon Alvis, Todd Rhoades, Armando Duarte, Eloy Barragan, Thomas Defrantz and toured throughout Iowa with the University of Iowa Dance Company. Outside of her training with ADC and U of I, Maggie has studied with Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Waterstreet Dance Milwaukee and Elements Dance Chicago.
She is currently dancing with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater for their 2023-2024 season. Maggie is very excited to be back at ADC and can't wait to share her dance knowledge and passion for dance with her students.
ELLE VILLARI began her dance journey in 2007 with such a personality for dance and has been dancing with ADC for 15 years.
She had the pleasure to dance with "Dance the World” performing at DisneyWorld, dancing down Main Street USA. She has performed with ADC Performance Teams, Radiance and Vibrance, in numerous production pieces. Elle attended Lincoln Way East high school and James Madison University, graduating in 2022 with high honors and a career diploma in Child Care. She performed with LWE’s Poms team and was chosen to choreograph a routine for their half time showcase.
She has danced in six ADC Student Showcases and had her final performance in 2022. She completed the ADC Teacher Training Program and loves spreading her love of dance and life in ADC’s young students. Elle is now a Florida resident and teaches at Nicole Cote School of Dance in Palm Bay. She continues to be part of the ADC family when she returns back to Chicagoland.
RACHEL NEWTON trained at the American Dance Center and was a member of their Excel Performance team in her early years, where she performed at Dance Olympus, Dance Chicago and Six Flags Great America.
She continued her studies at Salt Creek Ballet under Vaganova-trained Sergey Kozadavey and Zhanna Dubrovskya, as well as well as contemporary with Eddy Ocampo, where she was voted ‘Hardest Worker’. Rachel danced principal roles in The Nutcracker, Flower Festival and Alice in Wonderland. She also performed corps and soloist roles in La Bayadere, Paquita, The Nutcracker, Harlequinade, Le Corsaire, and Sleeping Beauty. She also attended and performed annually at Regional Dance America. Currently, Rachel is working on her BFA in Dance from Fordham University/Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City, directed by Melanie Person and Tracy Inman. She trains in Ballet, Pointe, Horton, Graham, Contemporary, Improvisation, Composition, Jazz, Partnering and Repertory.
She has performed works by Tina Bush, Sarah Wingo, Helen Simmoneau, and Winston Dynamite Brown. She has spent summers with Visceral Dance Chicago, Common Conservatory and Joffrey Ballet Chicago. Rachel is eager and excited to share her knowledge and passion with her students at ADC.
LAUREN JANNEY is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with a music minor from Michigan University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Lauren trained in many styles of dance including ballet, modern and jazz with the faculty from WMU. During her time there, she worked with renowned guest artists such as Mike Esperanza, Jackie Nowiki, Brian and Shana Baira and Brendan Deggan. She also spent two weeks training and dancing in residency with Yin Yue and Peridance Contemporary Dance Company from New York. After graduating, Lauren moved to the Chicago suburbs to continue her dance journey. She joined Alluvion Dance Chicago as a Performing Apprentice in November 2021. During her time in the company, she has performed in pieces choreographed by Johnny Huntoon, Morgan Cutler and Jessica Miller Tomlinson, as well as opportunities to be part of the company dancers choreography. Lauren has researched anatomy and kinesiology to understand how the body moves as a dancer and to find new approaches to teaching and choreography. She also has the background of theater and music to thank, for it has played a huge part in her life and heavily influenced her knowledge in the arts. Lauren is looking forward to sharing her talents with her Contemporary and Acro students this Fall and is excited to be
Co-Director of our Senior Performance Team, Vibrance.
JOSEPHINE (Joey) CASTILLO is originally from Dallas, Texas and started her dance education under the direction of Kirt and Linda Hathaway at Hathaway’s Academy of Ballet and The Collin County Ballet Theatre. Joey continued her education at George Mason University in Virginia where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2019. At GMU, she had the opportunity to work with renown artists Donald Byrd, Doug Verone, and Yin Yue. She came to Chicago after college and has danced with companies throughout the city, including Alluvion Dance Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater and Identity Performing Arts. She loves teaching dance and is excited to share her art with the next generation of dancers
as our Ballet Mistress in our Intermediate and Advanced levels.
ELA OLARTE is a Chicago-based choreographer, teacher, performer and member of AGMA. Ela has danced with The Lyric Opera of Chicago (Jules Massenet’s Cendrillon), Hanna Brictson (Dance For Life 2018 & 2020, Chicago Ideas), Purus Motus Cinema, Jessica Miller Tomlinson (Harvest Dance Festival, NewDANCEfest Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Midwest RADFest, COD Showcase), Cocodaco Dance Project Professional Company, AJA Talent, Thodos Dance Chicago (New Dances 2016 & 2018), Noelle Kayser (Visceral Dance Chicago’s Within 2015), Brian McGinnis, Jon Sloven, Monique Haley, and Tiffany Krause amongst others. As a choreographer, Ela created work for Dance in the Parks’ 11th season. She was awarded First Place for her piece, “Nocturnal Detail” at the College of DuPage Choreography Showcase & Competition in 2017. Additionally, Ela has presented pieces for DanceWorks Chicago Dance Chance, Cocodaco Dance Project, College of DuPage, Detroit Dance City Festival, Foster Dance, as well as produced independent dance films. Ela holds a BFA from The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. She also accredits her achievements from former training received from American Dance Center, The Joffrey Ballet, Visceral Dance Center’s Professional Scholarship Program, The Dance COLEctive and Hip Hop Connxion.