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. 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 American Dance Center 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. She continues teaching ballet at the Homewood ADC and coordinates the ADC Production Dancers and the Dance Excellence International Festival in California.
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. 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 23 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, ADC Productions Director, Faculty
is an award-winning choreographer and instructor with over 30 years experience. Maria started performing in theater and dance proudctions 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 ccontinuously 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 pieces have been showcased at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Chicago's Navy Pier, Great America, Disneyland and the Dance Chicago series. She 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.
JENNIFER GARCIA started her dance studies with the ADC at age 6, trained through the advanced levels in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz and modern and completed her studies as a scholarship student. As member of the ADC Company, she danced the role of Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, performed at the '96 Olympics in Atlanta and was part of the Dance Excellence International Company in Los Angeles. Jennifer received a dance scholarship to Northern Illinois University and danced lead roles in Giselle, Nutcracker, Paquita and Don Quiote. As part of the group that traveled to the ACDFA competition, she performed in Washington D.C, at the Kennedy Center. She graduated with a B.F. A. in Dance Performance and received the Dean's Award. She was guest artist for the Rockford Dance Co. and Ballet Concerto, Texas and has choreographed and danced in professional theater productions. Jennifer has also choreographed numerous musicals for several high schools as well as coached and choreographed for numerous pom groups. She has also worked for Parkland College's Cheer and Dance team. Jennifer enjoys passing on her love of dance at the ADC and choreographing Art In Motion 's nationally ranked competition team in Champaign, IL. She and her husband, Dave, are proud parents of their daughters, McKenna and Macie, who are also taking dance classes, following in their mother's footsteps.
KARA LOZANOVSKI was born in Crown Point, Indiana and started dancing at age of three with the Indiana Ballet Theatre North West. She continued to train and perform until high school graduation, where she had many lead roles in their productions. Kara also competed as a soloist with Crown Point Dance Affiliates winning many dance titles. Kara continued her studies at Butler University where she received her BFA in Dance Performance. While at Butler, Kara performed many lead roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Copellia, Giselle, Midwinter Dance Festival, George Balanchine's Serenade, and Anthony Tudor's, Dark Elegies. After graduation, she moved to Chicago and was a scholarship student with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Kara has had many professional performance opportunities including back-up dancing with Beyonce, guest teaching, competition judging and working with many Chicago production companies. Other than dance, Kara was a level 8 gymnast, plays the viola and is a certified Pilates instructor. As Kara continues to train and perform, she looks forward to spreading her love of the art to the students of ADC.
CHRISTEN MAYER MCKENNA started dancing as a child in Schaumburg, IL. She continued jazz and ballet training through high school, where she was a cheerleader and member of the school’s dance group. She attended Harper College and danced with the college dance company. Christen continues her training at the ADC, served as a cheerleading coach for the Tinley Park Bobcats and was a gymnastic coach at United Gymnastics Academy and Gymkinetics. She has two daughters, Jenna and Kaylee, who also attend the ADC. Christen is a graduate of the ADC Teacher Training Program and is proud to be on the ADC staff for her 14th year, teaching ballet, tap, jazz and tumbling in the Junior Division.
CARLICIA LAYOSA trained in all styles of dance at the American Dance Center. She performed and competed with the Lincoln-Way East dance company, Orchesis, for four years, where she was also Dance Captain and Vice President. Continuing through college, at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she danced for five years with the Hip Hop dance group, Primo Dance Troupe. Primo is an acronym which stands for Pretty, Real, Intelligent, Moves, Original which describes the group's dynamic style and versatile dancers. She competed in various competitions on and off campus, won the first place title in the African Idol talent show and performed as a background dancer to local Chicago Hip Hop artists. She has trained with many industry choreographers including Justin Timberlake's choreographer, Marty Kudelka, Ian Eastwood, Brian Puspos, Gigi Torres and Lizzie Wicks. She currently works as an Application Engineer at MiSUMi USA and is proud to share her enthusiasm and passion for Hip Hop with her students.
JON SLOVEN was born and raised in Denver, Colorado.
He earned a B.A. at Colorado College in Economics and Business, with minors in both Music and Dance. His dance career ignited at the University of Arizona, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in choreography and performance and received the Most Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Jon's professional career has spanned from Denver to Kiel, as a company member with Thodos Dance Chicago, Same Planet Different World and Watson Dance. His time with Kim Robards Dance allowed him the opportunity to perform at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Jon is an internationally recognized dance educator throughout the USA and Germany teaching at universities and elite dance academies as well as a flourising, award-winning choregrapher. Jon joined the faculty of the College of Du Page in 2014 teaching ballet, jazz, modern and dance theater. In addition to choreographing and teaching all over the Chicagoland area, Jon regularly teaches at Visceral Dance Center, Joffrey Academy of Dance and has been on our ADC faculty since 2008.
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,
Disney World and the Young Americans.
American Dance Center Alumni
DANIELLE LATORRE started teaching at the American Dance Center in 1998. After a few years away to start her family, she returned to teach in the children’s division in 2005. She is currently the Director of our Junior Performance Group, RADIANCE. She holds an Elementary Education degree from St. Xavier University and is currently working towards her ESL endorsement. She currently teaches Kindergarten in Orland Park and has worked as the Director of Orchesis and Poms Coach at Stagg High School in Palos Hills from 1992-2014. She performed with a selected group of dancers for the World Cup Opening Ceremonies in Chicago and has directed and choreographed award-winning material for various performance groups for the past 24 years. She and her husband, Rocky, have two children, Alyssa and Joseph. Danielle is a graduate of the ADC Teacher Training Program and brings her love for children and lively attitude to her teaching.
RACHEL JONES 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 combines her friendly personality and her dance knowledge as our desk manager at both ADC locations and continues to share her passion for dance with the young students looking to develop their talents.
ABBY KEEFE started dancing at the ADC when she was 3 years old and continued training in all styles of dance throughout her high school years. She performed in numerous ADC showcases and events including Disneyland, as an Illinois Delegate at the International Dance Festival in Los Angeles, in the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker for two years and was active on the Lincoln-Way Centrals poms team. Abby continued her studies at Grand Valley State University and was on their dance team. She is a graduate of St. Francis University, with a Bachelors in Social Work. While there, she enjoyed performing with the St. Francis Spiritline dance troupe. She now works as a Behavioral Therapist for children with autism. Abby's kind and nurturing side shows in her love of working with the young children of the ADC.
JENNA MCKENNA trained at the ADC for 15 years and has studied through the advanced levels in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary and hip hop. She was an ADC EXCEL Dancer since its inception, bringing her many exciting performing experiences, including the Half-time Show at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Dance Chicago, numerous Holiday Fantasy productions, Chicago Bull's pre-game events, Great America's Dance Fests and Mrs. Illinois America Pageants. She was the Captain of the Lincolnway North Poms team and was also a Level 5 gymnast. Jenna participated and competed in several summer dance conventions, winning Gold Championships every year with the ADC Dancers. Jenna completed the ADC Teacher Training program, is continuing her studies in Child Psychology and now passes her love of dance in our Junior Dance programs.
KELLY COLLETTI 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. During all four years of high school, Kelly was involved in Musical Theater and performed in competitive show choirs, where she was Dance Captain during her Senior year. 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 the last six summers, including Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Pippin. Kelly is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelors of Science in Speech Pathology and is excited to continue to pass on her dance and performing skills to the young dancers.
TAYLOR FOYTIK started her training at the American Dance Center at the age 5 and continued through our Advanced levels in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Modern and Contemporary. She was selected to join the Accelerated Artist ADC EXCEL program. As an EXCEL company member, she has performed in numerous Holiday Fantasy productions, Chicago Bulls pre-game events, Great America and Mrs. Illinois America pageants. She attended and competed in numerous dance conventions with the ADC and received scholarships from the Dance Olympus. She was chosen by audition to travel across the country, as a Dance Olympus V.I.P. dancer and faculty assistant. Throughout high school, she was the captain of Lincoln-Way Central’s poms dance team and choreographed award-winning routines. Taylor enjoys sharing her passion for dance and love of children by teaching our Junior dancers at the ADC.
ANDREA KALCHBRENNER is an American Dance Center alumni scholarship recipient and former company member who has been teaching at the ADC since 2001. She has performed for the Chicago Bulls pre-game events at the United Center, Great America and numerous Holiday Fantasy and Dance Chicago productions. In addition, she has participated in many specialized dance workshops, most notably the Radio City Rockette Summer Dance Intensive program in Los Angeles. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Xavier University, with a bachelor's degree in English Education and earned her Reading Specialist Masters degree from Olivet University. Andrea enjoys being a Junior High Language Arts teacher while still having the opportunity to share her love and knowledge of dance with all students at the ADC.
BECKY PODOWSKI returns to the American Dance Center with a decade of experience teaching children the joy of dance. She studied dance at the ADC for fifteen years, performing in a number of productions as an advanced dancer. Becky has been part of several award-winning dance events including numbers featured in state competitions in Champaign, Illinois and national competitions at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Becky completed the American Dance Center Teacher Training Program. She is a graduate of the distinguished UIC College of Nursing and has worked in the hosice field for over ten years. She and her husband have two wonderfully energetic chicldren, Miles and Cora. Becky is excited to rejoin the ADC family and share her passion for dance.
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 nite 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.
ELA ORLATE was was born in Davao, Philippines and raised in Chicago, IL. She received a B.F.A in Choreography from The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago in 2012. Throughout college, Ela had numerous opportunitites to work with world-class guest artists at The Dance Center stage and danced as a company member for the former Hip Hop Connxion Chicago. She received additional training from the American Dance Center and Visceral Dance Center's Professional Scholarship Program, as well as the summer intensives of River North Dance Chicago, Choreoraphic Initiative, Ballet Lab Chicago, Same Planet DIfferent World,The Dance COLEctive and The Joffrey Ballet. As a freelance artist, Ela was featured in dance films Spectrum and Continuum. Other professional credits include Thodos Dance Chicago New Dances 2016, Canival Choreographer's Ball, Choreographic Spnsorship Event 2014/15 and Visceral Dance Chicago's, Within 2015. Ela shares her talents with the ADC family teaching modern and ballet.
GENEVIEVE GARCIA began her training at Indiana Youth Ballet at the age of five and has been hooked ever since. She has trained all over the Chicagoland area, New York, San Diego and Mexico and holds a BS in Dance from Northwestern University. As a performer, Ms. Garcia danced with several companies and choreographers, including Striding Lion Performance Group, Jeff Hancock, Nora Chipaumire, Joel Valentin-Martinez and performed in The Snow Queen at Victory Garden. She has had her choreography presented across Illinois, Georgia, Texas, New York and California. Her work is currently performed in the repertory of Boomshaka, which has toured nationally and in Canada. Genevieve has enjoyed teaching classes and workshops at the Joffrey Academy, Northwestern University, Dance Center Evanston, Latin Street Dancing, Dance Arts Center of Wisconsin, and Dance and Music Academy in Glenview. She is thrilled to be working with the beautiful movers and minds at ADC.
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. She performed all four years of high school with the award- winning Crete Monee Faces and Cavaliers competitive Show Choirs and has contributed to winning outstanding visual, vocal, choreography and Grand Champion awards. Katie was also active in Musical Theater productions including Into the Woods, The Wiz and Hairspray and has choreographed musicals for a Children’s Summer Enrichment Program for the last six summers. Katie is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with Bachelors Degree in Education. She loves working with children of all ages and feels privileged to be able to share her love of dance with her students.
BRIDGET DELAURENTIS started dance at the age of three, became a ADC dancer at the age of seven and continued training at ADC throughout her high school years. She performed in multiple ADC productions including two performances at the Mrs. Illinois America Pageant and Holiday Fantasy. Bridget was also a member of Faces and Cavaliers, Crete Monee's award- winning Show Choir for four years. Having also performed in numerous musicals, Bridget is able to express her love for the theatre through creating choreography. To date, she has choreographed seven shows for Crete-Monee's Summer Theatre Enrichment Program and Spring Musicals including, Cats, Annie and Beauty and the Beast. Bridget Is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelors in Education. She has been teaching Pre-dance through Beginner levels at ADC since 2011 and loves sharing her passion for dance with her students.