A Step Above's Faculty
Tamra Bisbee McKittrick, Director
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Hip Hop
Tami grew up in McFarland, WI and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography and Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her training in ballet, jazz and tap at Madison Performing Arts and continued to study here at A Step Above adding lyrical and pointe to her training. Tami has attended The Pulse, Tremaine, Company Dace, NYCDA and LA Underground conventions and has taught ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical to all levels throughout the Madison area for over 14 years. In addition to her experience working with high school dance teams, Tami has traveled to London and New York to appear in holiday parades.
At the University level, Tami added modern, ballroom, African, Asian-American, composition and improvisation to her training. She has worked with Li Chiao-Ping, Jin-Wen Yu, James Sutton, Marlene Skog, Sean Curran, Gloria McLean, Lori May, Claudia Melrose, Frank Hatchet, Kirby Reed, Tyce Diorio, Mia Michaels, Dave Scott, Doug Caldwell, Chris Judd, Joe Tremaine as well as with several guest artists through master classes and seminars including American College Dance Festival. Tami's choreography has been showcased in several UW Dance Department Student Concerts, in local recitals, in local high school musicals, and at several regional competitions.
Tami became the director of A Step Above in June 2004. Tami continues to further expand her knowledge of dance through classes and seminars. She believes that a diverse dance education is what makes a dancer successful in life as well as in dance. She has made teaching dancer her lifelong commitment and looks forward to a long career of helping her students build confidence and love for the arts through dance.
Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical
Ted Ballard began studying dance at A Step Above Dance and Music Academy in 2002, at the age of eight. Originally, he thought he would focus on tap, but after his first ballet class he was hooked! Since then, Ted has studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary dance at A Step Above. He was a member of the studio company, A Step Beyond, from 2004 to 2007 and from 2011 to 2012 and his company teams won many awards in the ballet and lyrical categories, as did his duets (2008-2011) and his contemporary solo piece, On My Way (2012).
Ted also trained at the School of Madison Ballet under W. Earle Smith and has performed in many of Madison Balletís productions including The Nutcracker (2003-2008) where he danced the parts of Party Boy, Fritz, Soldier, Nutcracker Prince, Siamese, and Rat; Cinderella (2005, 2007) as Timekeeper, Page, Herald, and Ball Guest; and Peter Pan (2008), where he danced and flew the role of John. He was also a member of the ensemble in the Childrenís Theater of Madisonís co-production with Madison Ballet of Degasí Little Dancer.
In 2009, Ted danced the roles of Spanish and Angel of Courage Pas in the Wisconsin Dancers and Friends Holiday Benefit co-production with A Step Above, and in 2011 premiered the role of Bryce in A Step Aboveís benefit for Project Ladybug: A Lifetime of Christmas. In the summer of 2011, he was asked to choreograph an original classical ballet piece for Point Dance Ensemble, a pre-professional community dance company in Stevens Point. His piece, Don Carlo, Opera Le Ballet de la Reine, "La Peregrina," was debuted at their annual Swing Time Social performance in the spring of 2012.
Ted is honored to be offered the opportunity to share his love of dance with A Step Above students.
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, and Hip Hop
Marsden is currently a junior at the UW-Madison studying speech pathology. She considers dance a major part of her life since she put on her first pair of ballet shoes at the age of six. After studying ballet at the Makaroff School of Ballet in Appleton, WI for several years, she joined her high schoolís dance team. Marsden and her teamís four year commitment and dedication to developing individual and team skills in the areas of jazz, hip hop and pom culminated in a first place finish at nationals in Orlando, FL.
Throughout high school, Marsden relished opportunities to mentor, choreograph and to teach you dance skills while working as a dance teacher at a local dance and cheer studio in Appleton. She is excited to utilize her knowledge and experience as well as her love of dance and children as she joins the A Step Above family.
Jessica M. Duplessis
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theater, Conditioning, and Hip Hop
Jessica grew up in New Hampshire. Starting her dance career at the age of four, Jessica's passion for the art never stopped growing. She began her education with the Jenkins School of Dance and Gymnastics and eventually became a member of their faculty. Jessica's teaching experience didn't stop with Jenkins; she continued to teach through an artist residency program at the Sunapee High School, coached two college teams and also began professionally judging cheerleading and dance competitions.
Graduating from Keene State College in 2004 with a degree in Theatre Dance and Film Education with a specialization in Dance Education, Jessica continued work with the KSC dance team moving from team member and captain to coach. Jessica enrolled the team in their first competition in 2004 and they were an unstoppable force ever since. They have won over 8 first place regional titles, four grand champion titles and were also named the 2007 Reach the Beach National Champions. Jessica says the one thing she misses more than family in NH is her dance team.
Jessica teaches all styles but favors contemporary, jazz, and hip hop. While attending KSC, Jessica danced in numerous student and faculty works and had the chance to work with many choreographers such as Paul Tayler, Sean Curran, Sarah Parson, Momix and Pilabolous Dance Theatre.
Jessica also works as a judge for the American Cheer and Dance Academy judging competitions up and down the East Coast. Her favorite competitions are the ones hosted in Ocean City, MD.
Jessica is excited to be involved with the theatrical and dance community in Madison and is extremely happy to be with A Step Above.
Kelly moved to Madison from Rochester, MN where she taught piano lessons at the Hovland Jost Conservatory of Music. From a very young age, Kelly has performed in front of congregations with voice and piano. During her high school years she was actively involved with the drama team and many vocal groups. She has traveled to many summer camps teaching drama, voice, and various instruments to children of all ages. Throughout Kellyís college career, she directed her church choir and helped the college choir during their tour. She has performed in Sweet Adalines, Kingís Choristers, Adoration, and Praise Bands. She has also accompanied many choirs and soloists as well as played for church services.
Kelly has graduated cum laude with a Music Major at Crossroads College in Rochester, MN. She continues her education in the Madison area in the areas of teaching and performance. She has been teaching piano now for 10 years. Kelly is excited to be a part of A Step Aboveís Faculty and looks forward to encouraging her students to develop their abilities.
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical
Katie is currently a junior at UW-Madison studying kinesiology along with a dance certificate. This continues to be her 19th year dancing; studying at varies studios across the Midwest.
She started her training in Rockford, IL at her familyís studio, Edwards Dance Center. There she studied jazz, ballet, and tap. Going to numerous dance conventions and getting the opportunity to dance at Walt Disney World for two years, she added a lot of experience to her resume at such a young age. She began her teaching career here at the age of 12 and hasnít stop teaching since.
Shortly after, she moved to Wausau, WI where she began studying at the Dawn Troyer Dance Studio adding lyrical, modern, and contemporary to her list. There, she began her choreographing experience with the competition team and also continued to teach regular classes.
Katie was also a part of her high schoolís varsity dance team where they competed at state competitions and finished first at multiple competitions. Her hard work paid off her senior year when she was titled as captain of the team and landed a spot on the WIAA WACPC Division 1 All State Team.
Now Katie continues to study dance and choreograph through UW-Madisonís Optima Dance organization. Katie is very blessed to have this opportunity with A Step Above and excited to share her passion of dance.
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theater
Danielle is currently a senior at UW-Madison, where she is studying History and International Relations. She began dancing at age two in Houston, Texas under Barbara Rhodes, before moving to Wisconsin, where she studied under Chelsea Parsons and Pamela Larsen at Mirror Image Dance Academy in Appleton. Danielle has studied many styles of dance, including jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical and modern, but focused her training on ballet and pointe. Throughout high school, Danielle was a principle member of a multi-style dance company, and had principle and soloist roles in various ballet productions.
When a serious back injury prevented her professional career, Danielle began sharing her knowledge and love of dance with students through teaching, and found that this was her calling as a dancer. Danielle has been teaching dance since 2006, and has continued to teach all styles to students ages two and up. She loves teaching all students, regardless of skill level or age, and is excited to bring her passion for dancing to A Step Above!
Gregg was raised in Cottage Grove, WI. He is a graduate of Monona Grove High school and then studied music at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music in Ohio. There he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano and Organ Performance. For most of his working life, Gregg has participated in a variety of musical activities, including teaching, accompanying, performing and church music. Currently Gregg served as a musician for the Olivet Congregational Church. He also accompanies in the choral program at Glacial Drumlin Middle School. Gregg also enjoys singing in the Madison Symphony Chorus and playing the piano in soirees.
Gregg is very excited to be a part of A Step Aboveís faculty and hopes to pass on his passion for music to his students.
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theater, and Hip Hop
Sara trained at many Twin Cities dance studios, including Zenon Dance Company, Ballet Arts, Stage Door Dance for Performing Arts, The FIRM, Dance Spectrum, The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts and the UW-Madison Dance Program.
She danced for the Fairbault high school dance team which is a team that has taken 1st place in the state competition almost every year since 1997. She danced with and was captain of Augsburg College dance team and then stayed on for four years as coach. Sara started the Ascending Star Dance Team in 2004 and was the director and dancer for 3 years. Sara taught for Just for Kix summer camps and hosted workshops with the Augsburg College dance team. She has dance professionally for various events and was a member of the 2007 Swarm Performance Team. Recently, Sara has danced with the Diamond Dancers from the Milwaukee Brewers and The SweatShop Hip Hop Crew out of Madison. Sara is the artistic director for Madison Contemporary Vision Dance Company.
Sara is the owner of Ascending Star Dance, an internet dance magazine. Her goal is to connect dancers and give them the opportunities and training to succeed.
Sara has studied with Marlene Skog, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson, Brian Friedman, LaurieAnn Gibson, Chris Judd, Joe Tremaine, Dave Scott, Tyce Diorio, Napoleon and Tabitha Díumo, Tony Meredith, Melanie LaPatin, Doug Caldwell and Nick Lazzarini.
She has taught dance and choreographed for many dance studios and dance teams including college and professional dance teams as well as dance companies. She is excited to join the faculty at A Step Above.
Ballet and Modern
Brienna began her dance training at the Markaroff School of Ballet in Appleton, WI where she studied under Juanita and Jeanette Markaroff for ten years. She was a member of the Youth Ballet Theater for five years, through which she had the opportunity to perform various community theaters and schools. At age 15, she was accepted into the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she intensively studied ballet under renowned instructors. After completing high school at the UNCSA, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Oklahoma on scholarship. There she was a member of both Contemporary Dance Oklahoma and Oklahoma Festival Ballet. She performed many works including The Nutcracker, Coppelia, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, A Midsummerís Night Dream, Swan Lake, Oklahoma!, Roma, Jean Erdmanís Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, and Vastus Silva. Brienna had the privilege to work with choreographers Dudley Williams, Betty Jones, Nancy Allison and Fritz Ludin among others. She developed her own choreography and repertoire including an African/Modern piece selected for the Young Choreographers Showcase.
Throughout the years, she also studied on scholarship at Milwaukee Ballet, Joffery Midwest, Boston Ballet, Ballet Magnificat!, and Ad Deum. Brienna is currently performing with Kanopy Dance Company in Madison and studies the Graham Technique under Lisa Thurrell and Robert Cleary. It is her continuing passion to develop studentsí technical foundation and strength to facilitate their freedom of movement and artistic expression in dance. Brienna is excited to be a part of the A Step Above Faculty.
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, and Musical Theater
Sara began her dance training at A Step Above in 1995 at the age of six. She has taken classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap and lyrical through her senior year of high school. She was a member of A Step Beyond Dance Company for 10 years where she performed and competed in solo and group dances in the Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago areas. She also performed in the Peter Rabbit Ballet with the Wisconsin Dance Ensemble.
She has attended Tremaine, NYCDA, Chicago Dance Connection and other dance conventions, seminars and workshops each year. Sara has worked with Joe Tremanie, Doug Caldwell, Mia Michaels, Keri LaGrand, Derrick Schrader, Desiree Robbins, Wade Robson, Leslie Browne, Gil Stroming, and other guest teachers and choreographers.
Sara began assisting with classes at A Step Above in middle school and became a substitute teacher in high school. Sara was instrumental in implementing a summer dance program within the Cottage Grove Recreation Department and taught classes to children ages four to ten for four summers. Sara began teaching at A Step Above in 2009. In 2011, Sara became a choreographer and teacher for the A Step Beyond Dance Company.
Sara graduated summa cum laude from the UW-Whitewater with her degree in Early Childhood Education in December 2011. She has a dual licensure in special and regular education for birth through third grade. She continues to further her dance education by taking dance class at the studio, attending conventions, workshops, seminars and taking classes at the university level. Sara is dedicated and committed to being a life-long learner and believes it is important to continue to grow as an educator. Sara loves being a part of A Step Aboveís Faculty.