Musical Theatre, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Ballet
Director of RSPA
Juliann studied dance at Turning Point Dance Academy for 11 years and was a member of the local company Point Dance Ensemble for three years. Her performances included collaboration with UW-Stevens Point in the 2003 production of ‘The Nutcracker’, as well as being a guest performer for the Air Project's Dance For Cancer benefit in 2004. She was an active member of her school's music program, performing in many concerts and musicals. In 2003 she had the pleasure of performing as Fantine in her high school's production of "Les Miserables".
After graduating from high school, Juliann attended UW-Milwaukee and graduated in 2008, with honors, from UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While in Milwaukee, she studied under UWM's outstanding faculty, as well as numerous companies including the Milwaukee Ballet Company, Danceworks, Your Mother Dances and Wildspace Dance Company.
While attending UWM, Ms. Engum performed in many student and faculty choreographed productions, including work set by Luc Vanier, Janet Lily, Ed Burgess, Simone Ferro and Darci Wutz. Ms. Engum was cast as Rosalia in the university's production of “West Side Story”, and Liz in “Cell Block Tango” from the musical “Chicago”. Juliann’s talents were further recognized as she was cast to perform in New York contemporary choreographer Ron K. Brown’s premiere piece, and in Laura Dean’s recovered production of ‘Skylight”.
Juliann has attended two American College Festival conferences, on scholarship, while attending UWM and attended the Dancelife Conference in Orlando, Florida in 2009. She has been teaching dance and theatre since the age of 15 at numerous dance studios and high schools statewide, and continues to work with local company Point Dance Ensemble. Julie fell in love with the Wisconsin Rapids community, and is thrilled to share her love of the performing arts with all of her students. She can't wait to watch them grow into incredible artists and young adults.
Miss Jessica is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. While a student at the University, she was actively involved in the Theatre and Dance Department productions as both a performer and choreographer, working with many guests in residency, in addition to beginning her teaching and freelance choreography career. Since graduation, she has continued her studies under the mentorship of Tom Terrien (Choreograher Emeritus, KIDS from Wisconsin) and through the Dancelife Teacher Conference with well-known professionals such as Joe Tremaine, Bill Evans, Gregg Russell and Rhee and Rennie Gold to name a few.
Professional performance credits include work at the Lawrence Welk Resort Dinner Theatre in Escondido, CA. Jessica was a featured singer/dancer in the 6th Annual Welk Musical Christmas; Oklahoma, performing the role of "Dream Laurey", West Side Story, cast as tomboy character, "Anybodys", and CanCan. Ms. Foley toured nationally with VEE Corporation as the lead role, ' Jenny the Music Teacher' in Sesame Street LIVE's production of Everyone Makes Music.
In 2001, Miss Jessica returned to her hometown of Wisconsin Rapids to pursue her passion of teaching and choreography throughout the region. She specializes in Tap, Jazz, Modern and Musical Theatre. Non-studio choreography and teaching credits include the KIDS from Wisconsin (1998-2014), UWSP Musical Theatre and Dance Camp (02-03), Dance Faculty at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI (2003-2004), and numerous seasons with Point Dance Ensemble. Miss Jessica is a sought after choreographer for high school show choirs and musicals throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Jessica is absolutely thrilled to be joining the faculty at Rapids School of Performing Arts as she continues to pursue what she loves most: watching students develop a love for the art of dance, theatre and music in a positive, upbeat, safe and encouraging environment. "Watching students gain a strong sense of self confidence and showmanship is so fullfilling". Miss Jessica strives to instill self-discipline, proper technique and personal integrity in her students.
Nerissa Nelson is originally from Chicago and moved to Stevens Point in 1998. For several years, she taught ballet at Turning Point Dance Academy. She continues to substitute teach at local dance studios in the Central Wisconsin area. She is also an artistic advisor for Point Dance Ensemble, a local non-profit dance company for young dancers. Her dance background includes performing with the Boston Ballet, Chicago City Ballet, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is trained in Balanchine technique and studied with Maria Tallchief, Suzanne Farrell, Melissa Hayden and other dancers in New York, Chicago and Boston. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors as the Legislative Liaison for the Arts Alliance of Portage County. She is also Librarian/Associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Nerissa holds a M.A. in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a M.A. in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.A. in Journalism from Columbia College in Chicago. In her spare time, she does freelance writing for Hoopla, a local arts and entertainment magazine, and is part of a creative writing group.
Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern
Tara Koch is a 2007 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts and Dance. She co-presented a research project based on peer evaluation through dance at the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) in 2005 and student directed and choreographed for the 2006 season of Afterimages. Tara's choreography was presented at the American College Dance Festival (ACDFA) in 2007. She has 14 years of teaching experience in a variety of ages as well as styles of dance. Tara presented at the Wisconsin Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD) convention in 2008 and was elected the middle school/high school dance chair for the following year.
The past 11 years Tara was the community coordinator for a non-profit health coalition in her hometown entitled Be Healthy in Pittsville (Be HIP!). That program reached hundreds of students during the summers encouraging artistic growth and increased physical activity through dance. Tara is Mat Pilates certified through NETA and a Zumba certified instructor. She has choreographed for the Auburndale High school show choir for the past 8 years and enjoys choreographing father daughter and first dances for weddings. Along with her passion for dance Tara is also employed in the Wisconsin Rapids School District working in Special Education.
Tara is so passionate about dance and cannot wait to share that with the students at RSPA!
Ballet, Tap, Jazz
Jenna Dove graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Dance and Journalism, and a minor in Communications. While at the University, Jenna performed at the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), and performed the works of such choreographers as George de la Pena, Alan Sener, Deanna Carter, and Louis Falco, several of which featured her in ballet solos and duets.
As a dancer, Jenna has had the opportunity to dance professionally at corporate events, parades through downtown Minneapolis, and at a MN Twins game. She has also performed in a corporate music video for Thomson Reuters and has been in several national commercials as a dancer for the company, Big Lots. She was a member of the Minneapolis Jazz company, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, for 3 years from 2014 until 2017.
As an instructor, Jenna was the Associate Director for the Waconia Show Choir for 3 years which combined her love of dance, singing and acting. She currently teaches tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, gymnastics and musical theatre to dancers of all ages, and choreographs for musicals and musical theatre camps.
Jenna recently moved to Wisconsin Rapids with her husband and is a new mom to her beautiful baby boy, Brayden! She is so excited to teach at RSPA where she hopes to share the joy of dance with her students.
Ballet, Tap, Jazz
Kayla Dziak is a BA graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Dziak has studied under the direction of Joan Karlen, Jeannie Hill, Michael Estanich, Pamela Luedtke, and Jodi Flatoff. While attending UWSP Dziak performed in a number of faculty choreographed pieces for Danstage as well as student choreographed pieces for Afterimages, one being her own. Dziak also performed in an excerpt from Bob Fosse's "Rich Man's Frug" choreographed by Jeannie Hill for a UWSP outreach concert, Arts Bash. Dziak took many master classes offered at UWSP from choreographers Andrew Murdock, Bob Audy, Eddy Ocampo, Luc Vanier, and Mindy Meyers.
Throughout college Dziak worked outside of the studio, choreographing competition routines for high school dance teams in the style of Pom, Jazz, Kick, and Hip Hop. Dziak also choreographed Musical Theatre pieces for her high school's production of "Bye Bye Birdie" in 2014 including "The Telephone Hour" and "The Shriner Ballet." Along with these choreographic experiences Dziak was asked to create a hip hop piece for Pointe Dance Ensemble, a youth company, in 2014 and again for the 2018 production.
During Dziak's Senior year of college she was asked to be a member of the Transcribing Dance Company, under the direction of Charys Hess, and is now in her sixth year with the company. Dziak has performed with the company annually as well as at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Air Project's Project Dance Them Free 2013, and Saint Michael's Hope is Building campaign.
Recently, Dziak co-directed The Nutcracker, Jazzed Up and has been asked to accept the title of Director for future Nutcracker productions. Dziak has been involved with The Nutcracker since the Stevens Point productions began in 2013, creating the Transformer routine, staging the Battle Scene, and assisting in rehearsals for Sugar Rum Cherry.
Above all things, Dziak enjoys teaching and has been teaching for 9 years in the styles of ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, tap, and hip hop. She is excited to continue sharing her knowledge and passion for dance with her students.
Alicia has been dancing for 9 years and is currently an advanced level dancer. She has been a dance student assistant for three consecutive years with a variety of dance styles. She has taken numerous dance classes including Ballet, Pointe, Jazz/hip-hop, Modern and Musical theatre. She has also worked with The Radio City Rockettes on a few occasions. Alicia enjoys working with children and is looking forward to pursuing her love of dance and teaching.
Ballet, Tap, Jazz
Piano and Voice Instructor
Katie is thrilled to be on staff at Rapids School of Performing Arts.
Born and raised in Central Wisconsin, her musical studies began at the age of 10 with piano lessons from a local teacher. Throughout middle school and high school, she continued her studies by adding flute, oboe, and voice into the mix.
After graduating from Stevens Point Area Senior High in 2005, Katie continued on her musical journey at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. While there, she participated in several Opera Workshop courses, concerts, and recitals. In the Spring of 2008, she had the opportunity to study abroad in London, England, experiencing the different cultures and music the world had to offer and even having the opportunity to sing in Mitchelstown Caves in County Cork, Ireland!
After college, Katie took an opportunity to move to Florida to begin a career in Opera. On her first professional audition, she was accepted into the Palm Beach Opera Chorus. After completing her season with them, Katie decided to move back to the Central Wisconsin area and begin teaching. She has been teaching out of the Central Wisconsin Children’s Theatre in Wausau, Wisconsin for nearly three years and is excited to be joining the staff here. Katie still performs actively in the area and has directed, musical directed, and choreographed many productions throughout the area.