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Dance Instructors

Oswegoland Park District dance instructors have extensive training in many forms of dance. Some have been a part of A Step Above Dance Company and have voluntarily assisted dance classes before becoming lead instructors.

Ally Gorecki is a dance instructor teaching all ages at both recreational and competitive levels. While she has trained in jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, and poms throughout her dance career, tap and musical theater have always been her passions. In college, she choreographed and performed for a company affiliated with Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI for 5 years. Upon moving back to the Chicagoland area, began teaching with the Park District and has been happily doing so for the last 4 years. She has two bachelor degrees from Marquette University and currently works in education. Miss Ally is a proud founding member of A Step Above Dance Company, where she coaches Dream. Their team has won awards locally and has taken home various judge’s choice awards over the years. Miss Ally strives to instill pride and self-confidence in all of her dancers. She hopes each child walks away from her classes with a passion for dance and an appreciation for all of the hard work they have put in.

Carly Lucas instructs summer dance classes. She began her dance training at Gold Star Academy of Dance, where she danced both recreationally and competitively for ten years. During her last two years of high school, she was a member of the Aurora Central Catholic Varsity Dance Team, placing 4th at IHSA State in 2016, and 8th in 2017. Additionally, her choreography has been featured in three Aurora Central Catholic Drama Club productions. Carly has just recently completed her first year at Ball State University, where she is pursuing a double major in Dance and Human Resources Management. Through the university, she has participated in master classes with artists such as Channing Cooke, performed in three dance concerts, and volunteered for Prism Project, a fine arts program for special needs children. As an instructor, Carly intends to inspire young artists with her passion for dance and choreography.

Bella Mahoney teaches various styles and ages and assists with A Step Above Dance Company’s, Believe group. She has been dancing since she was two years old, and began competing at the age of four. She has been trained in various dance styles including but not limited to, ballet, pointe, lyrical, contemporary, modern, and musical theater. She has been named an ISHA All Conference Dancer in 2017 as well as 2018. Isabella has choreographed for numerous musicals around the Oswegoland area at many different levels of experience. Her goal as an instructor is to help students grow in their creativity, confidence, strength, and broaden their dance spectrum in a lighthearted environment.

Liv Neitzel instructs weekly classes and assists A Step Above Dance Company’s Inspire group. She has focused her training in the genres of ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and contemporary. She has competed both locally and nationally, and danced for Oswego High School Varsity Dance Team. When competing, Olivia placed first individually and was awarded scholarships to train over summers. She will be attending Grand Canyon University in the fall to major in Dance Education. Aside from her own training and competitions, Olivia has choreographed for local youth theater. Olivia wants her students to never limit themselves or think they can’t do something. She believes the “can do” attitude sets them up for success not only as dancers but in life.

Rachel Moffett is a preschool dance and pre ballet instructor. Previously, she has taught jazz, pom, and hip hop to dancers at various ages and levels. Rachel attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College, where she was a member of the show choir, The Macombers. Her dance training began in elementary school and has continued since then. She has studied styles varying from ballet to ballroom to hip hop. Rachel believes that you are never too old or too young to begin to dance. To her, dance is a fun way to be active and to express yourself in ways that you never expected.

Breda Murphy is an Irish dance teacher. She began Irish dancing when she was 4-years-old with the Foy School of Irish dance in Chicago where she earned championship rank. Breda is an English teacher at Oswego East and Oswego High School. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in journalism and earned a Master of Arts in teaching from Dominican University. At U of I, Breda taught Irish dance through the YMCA and Champaign Park District. Outside of dance classes, Breda enjoys singing, reading, and playing with her beagle, Chloe. She has travelled the U.S. and Ireland to compete winning numerous awards, and she has performed at countless community events; the most memorable was a performance with the Irish Rovers. Breda loves teaching younger students about the history of Irish dance and bridging modern and traditional steps to showcase at recitals.  

Sheila Paulino is pre ballet, ballroom, swing, Latin, and wedding dance instructor. She has been teaching for the past 12 years. In those 12 years she has taught all ages at three different studios. In 2005, she received her professional certification with DVIDA in ballroom and Latin dance and re-certifies every year. Her ballroom and Latin dance students have received numerous awards in multiple competitions. Sheila enjoys taking the pressure off brides and grooms on their big day and strongly believes anyone can dance. 

McKenna Potter has been dancing for the past 14 years, nine of those being at Gold Star The Academy. She has experience in the following styles: Jazz, Poms, Ballet, Hip Hop, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Tap, with both Contemporary and Hip Hop being her favorites. McKenna has competed for four years with Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Hip Hop style dances and was a part of the Performance Troupe for three years. Throughout her dance path, she has performed at various places and events including the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She has attended many dance conventions, including Monsters, where she took a class with Phi from the Jabbawockeez. As a child, McKenna loved theatre and took part in several plays and musicals. McKenna helped initiate a dance team at her school where she held a Captain position. She participated in the dance team for two years where they advanced to State Finals placing top twelve. Her focus on teaching will be Hip Hop, however she hopes she can branch out and teach more styles of dance. McKenna will be attending Aurora University where she will be studying Health Sciences. After she graduates, she will transfer to obtain her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She hopes that dance will always be a part of her busy life.

Rockie Veverka is the Recreation Supervisor who oversees the dance department for the District and currently teaches hip hop classes. For the past 12 years she has taught ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and poms to ages 3-14 and created A Step Above Dance Co., the District’s competitive dance team. She began her dance training at La Danse Academie in Crest Hill, IL., and in 2017, travelled to Italy to perform in various cities. Rockie received a BA in Communications from Aurora University where she was captain of the University cheer and dance team. Above all, Rockie believes that dancers should have the opportunity to learn and express themselves through dance regardless of age or experience level.

Dawn Walts is a dance instructor teaching various ages and levels. She began her training in Southern California at the age of four, studying several styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and modern. In high school she was on her school’s Varsity Yell squad while she studied at the Ballet Arts of Long Beach and took her exams with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Her summers were spent doing intensives with Long Beach Ballet Arts, Bournonville Ballet at UC Irvine, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet before majoring in dance at Mercyhurst College in Erie, PA. She has performed with Oklahoma Festival Ballet and Dafmark Dance Theatre. She is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. Dawn loves teaching all forms of dance, especially whatever she happens to be teaching at the moment.

Abby DePaul is an assistant dance instructor and substitute dance instructor assisting and instructing various disciplines, ages, and levels. She started dancing at the age of 2 years old, in baby ballerina classes, and has studied/is currently studying jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, poms, ballet, lyrical, and pointe! Abby attends Oswego High School. When she is not at the studio, she is dancing on her high school dance team and studying. She has competed as a part of the A Step Above Dance Company for 4 years and has been a member of the team Inspire for all 4 years. Abby loves helping out with all dance classes, especially lyrical and tap! She hopes to continue dancing through college, and to continue teaching as she gets older.

Ally Whittenhall