Our Staff

Professionally-trained instructors for all ages

Center Stage Dance Academy offers some of the most professionally-trained instructors in the area. Our staff members have decades of cumulative experience teaching dance in all genres including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary/lyrical. Having learned from masters, danced across the country, and collaborated with famous acts, we look forward to sharing our passion and enthusiasm for the art of dance each time your child attends one of our classes.

Each of the instructors at Center Stage live and breathe dance. Dance is in their souls and they are eager to pass their knowledge and excitement to the next generation of aspiring dancers. Our instructors have been in the world of dance most of their lives, have studied professionally, and danced around the globe and have worked with famous stars of their field. It is our pleasure at Center Stage to offer this caliber of trained professionals for your dancers.

Debbie Nowotnik

Owner/Artistic Director

Debbie began dancing at age 4 and was performing on stage by the age of seven. Upon completing her first dance recital, she knew she had found her niche in life. Debbie studied ballet, tap and jazz at Golden’s and Youman’s School of Dance. Debbie’s training led her to participate in numerous dance competitions and conventions in the Chicagoland area.

Debbie Nowotnik

Owner/Artistic Director

Debbie began dancing at age 4 and was performing on stage by the age of seven. Upon completing her first dance recital, she knew she had found her niche in life. Debbie studied ballet, tap and jazz at Golden’s and Youman’s School of Dance. Debbie’s training led her to participate in numerous dance competitions and conventions in the Chicagoland area.

Alvin Ramirez

Alvin Ramirez, Co-Director of Envision Dance Company, was born in the Philippines and lived there for his first ten years. He now resides in the Chicagoland area where he earned a credited bachelor’s degree in Human Geography from Elmhurst College. Alvin trained in hip hop, contemporary and breakdancing since the age of 17.

Alvin Ramirez, Co-Director of Envision Dance Company, was born in the Philippines and lived there for his first ten years. He now resides in the Chicagoland area where he earned a credited bachelor’s degree in Human Geography from Elmhurst College. Alvin trained in hip hop, contemporary and breakdancing since the age of 17.

Alvin Ramirez

Amanda Hickey

Amanda discovered a passion for dance at the age of ten. She began her serious training at Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, and Ernesto Quenedit. Some of her other training includes intensives with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Company, Visceral Dance Company, and Orlando Ballet.

Amanda Hickey

Amanda discovered a passion for dance at the age of ten. She began her serious training at Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, and Ernesto Quenedit. Some of her other training includes intensives with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Company, Visceral Dance Company, and Orlando Ballet.

Kristin started dancing at age 4, performing and competing in several dance studios in the Chicago suburbs. She deepened her love for dance in high school, taking classes at Inspire School of Dance in Naperville.

She got her BA in dance performance and choreography from Hope College, in Holland Michigan. During her time there she danced with their jazz and tap company, a modern dance company and traveling teaching company. She had the opportunity to perform twice with Chicago Tap Theatre in their Holiday show, and attend the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Intensive in New York.

Kristin Nelson

Kristin Nelson

Kristin started dancing at age 4, performing and competing in several dance studios in the Chicago suburbs. She deepened her love for dance in high school, taking classes at Inspire School of Dance in Naperville.

She got her BA in dance performance and choreography from Hope College, in Holland Michigan. During her time there she danced with their jazz and tap company, a modern dance company and traveling teaching company. She had the opportunity to perform twice with Chicago Tap Theatre in their Holiday show, and attend the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Intensive in New York.

Lorie Holtey

Lorie Holtey is originally from Yakima, Washington where she owned a successful studio for 16 years. Not only herself, but her students have won numerous awards and scholarships thru the years. Dancing since the age of 6 she is trained in all areas of dance such as Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Baton, and gymnastics – she is a diverse and well rounded dancer.

Lorie Holtey

Lorie Holtey is originally from Yakima, Washington where she owned a successful studio for 16 years. Not only herself, but her students have won numerous awards and scholarships thru the years. Dancing since the age of 6 she is trained in all areas of dance such as Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Baton, and gymnastics – she is a diverse and well rounded dancer.

Maggie, a Chicago area native, began dancing and tumbling at the age of four at the Dance Theatre of Elgin. Under the direction of world renowned Power Tumbler coach Linda Laaker, Maggie achieved the status of a Level 10 (Advanced) competitor with the USTA and USAG organizations. Maggie received many 1st place regional finishes and placed within the top three nationally for many years.

Maggie Schroeder

Maggie Schroeder

Maggie, a Chicago area native, began dancing and tumbling at the age of four at the Dance Theatre of Elgin. Under the direction of world renowned Power Tumbler coach Linda Laaker, Maggie achieved the status of a Level 10 (Advanced) competitor with the USTA and USAG organizations. Maggie received many 1st place regional finishes and placed within the top three nationally for many years.

Miguel Villagomez

Having danced for only five years, Miguel Villagomez packed in as much training and knowledge as possible. Beginning his training under Robert Lewis owner of Lewis Dance Progressions and featured on America’s Best Dance Crew, Miguel made sure he got the strongest possible start to his training. Miguel also trained under Trae Turner of Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago.

Miguel Villagomez

Having danced for only five years, Miguel Villagomez packed in as much training and knowledge as possible. Beginning his training under Robert Lewis owner of Lewis Dance Progressions and featured on America’s Best Dance Crew, Miguel made sure he got the strongest possible start to his training. Miguel also trained under Trae Turner of Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago.

Nicole Paukovits

Nicole performed in her first dance recital at the age of 3. She found a home at Port Jefferson Dance Academy, in Port Jefferson Station, NY at the age of 8 and began studying dance seriously. Nicole spent her first year at Port Jefferson studying ballet and jazz. By her second year at the dance studio she was studying jazz, tap, ballet, and modern. In 1997, Nicole began her competitive career.

Nicole performed in her first dance recital at the age of 3. She found a home at Port Jefferson Dance Academy, in Port Jefferson Station, NY at the age of 8 and began studying dance seriously. Nicole spent her first year at Port Jefferson studying ballet and jazz. By her second year at the dance studio she was studying jazz, tap, ballet, and modern. In 1997, Nicole began her competitive career.

Nicole Paukovits

Rachel Faller

Rachel began dancing at the age of 3 and continued dancing throughout her teenage years with Krupinski Academy of Dance in St. Louis, MO studying ballet, tap and jazz. During her teenage years with Krupinski she was a competitive dancer. Rachel was a member of the American Dance Troupe as well as traveled with the company to California for dance conventions.

Rachel Faller

Rachel began dancing at the age of 3 and continued dancing throughout her teenage years with Krupinski Academy of Dance in St. Louis, MO studying ballet, tap and jazz. During her teenage years with Krupinski she was a competitive dancer. Rachel was a member of the American Dance Troupe as well as traveled with the company to California for dance conventions.

Sin Van V

Sin Van V has been dancing since the age of six. She studied jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, ballet and hip hop. She danced for professional companies within Illinois and Wisconsin and has been teaching in the Chicagoland area since 1991.

Sin Van V has been dancing since the age of six. She studied jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, ballet and hip hop. She danced for professional companies within Illinois and Wisconsin and has been teaching in the Chicagoland area since 1991.

Sin Van V

Sky Nowotnik

Sky Nowotnik is a Chicago native who began their dance career at the age of three. They trained most of their life with Envision Dance Company at Center Stage Dance Academy but also had the opportunity to travel and train as an apprentice with LA Dance Magic. Their first professional debut was as a company member and soloist with Nōmi Dance Company in both their shows “Instrumental” and “Reminiscence”.

Sky Nowotnik

Sky Nowotnik is a Chicago native who began their dance career at the age of three. They trained most of their life with Envision Dance Company at Center Stage Dance Academy but also had the opportunity to travel and train as an apprentice with LA Dance Magic. Their first professional debut was as a company member and soloist with Nōmi Dance Company in both their shows “Instrumental” and “Reminiscence”.

Phone: 847-669-2510
Email: [email protected]
10631 Wolf Drive
Huntley, IL 60142
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Debbie Nowotnik | Owner/Artistic Director

Debbie began dancing at the age of 4 and was performing on stage by the age of seven. It was then she knew she found her niche in life. Debbie studied ballet, tap and jazz at Golden’s and Youman’s School of dance. Debbie’s training led her to participate in numerous dance competitions and conventions in the Chicagoland area and around the United States. Debbie is proud of her several first place awards earned at Nationals in Las Vegas and New York.

Debbie’s experience as student director for her high school’s orchesis team her sophomore, junior and senior years is where she discovered her passion and love of choreography and teaching. Debbie also provided choreography for her school’s musical productions. Debbie started teaching dance in the studio setting at the age of sixteen and has been ever since.

Debbie continued her studies in jazz, ballet, tap and modern at Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. She has studied under master teachers such as Sam Watson, Nan and Debbie Giordano, Randy Duncan, Kenneth Green, Frank Hatchett, Lou Conte, Kirby Reed, Tom Evert and Meribeth Kisner. She also had the privilege of attending several level five jazz classes taught by Gus Giordano himself – a truly unforgettable experience as he is known as the “Father of Jazz Dance in Chicago”.

After high school, Debbie went on to attend Illinois State University on a dance scholarship where she earned her bachelor’s degree in dance education and performance. She was a member of the UDT Dance Company for five years performing in jazz, ballet, tap, folk and modern dance. Two of Debbie’s student choreography works were selected for the American College Dance Festival and an additional choreographic piece was selected and highlighted in a Levi Jeans fashion show. Debbie also earned her certification to teach aerobics, step and toning classes.

Upon graduating from ISU, Debbie was offered the head coach position for the Schaumburg High School Orchesis program. She also taught and did choreography at various Chicagoland dance studios and gyms. After having three children of her own, Debbie decided to follow her life-long dream of opening her own dance studio which has become Center Stage Dance Academy. Debbie has earned many prestigious Top Studio, Owner/Director awards and Choreography Awards since launching the Envision Dance Company in 2007. Debbie also enjoys traveling around the United States as a Competition Judge.

Debbie takes great pride in providing an unmatched dance education program in our community. Her latest joy is being the first in our area to launch a “concert dance” based company called the Envision Dance Collective. Debbie, along with her son Tyler, are thrilled to provide this unique experience for her dancers that want to pursue dance beyond high school.

Alvin Ramirez

Alvin Ramirez, Co-Director of Envision Dance Company, was born in the Philippines and lived there for his first ten years. He now resides in the Chicagoland area where he earned a credited bachelor’s degree in Human Geography from Elmhurst College. Alvin trained in hip hop, contemporary and breakdancing since the age of 17. Through his performing/competition and training years, Alvin lived in the competition world winning numerous overall first place awards and earning scholarships throughout the country. He has performed and opened up for several top recording artists such as Ciara, Ludacris, Soulja Boy and Twista.

Alvin has also been showcased in top shows in Las Vegas and recently was a choreographer for the internationally broadcasted MLS All Star Game Half-time Show featuring top recording artist Lupe Fiasco on ESPN. He has also choreographed for the NBA Detroit Pistons dance team Automotion, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as well as Western Michigan University dance team.

Alvin continues teaching all over the country while he sets award winning hip hop routines for numerous dance studios and companies. Alvin is currently working on choreography with brand new up and coming recording R&B artist Stevie Brock who was recently signed with Mosley Music Group/Interscope Records. Among all this, Alvin is on faculty for Tokyo’s Move Dance Intensive. Alvin was also on MTV’s Season 2 of America’s Best Dance Crew. He was the main choreographer and co-mentor of Xtreme Dance Force crew. Alvin is currently self-training through different movements and executions and continues to search for more knowledge.

Amanda Hickey

Amanda discovered a passion for dance at the age of ten. She began her serious training at Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, and Ernesto Quenedit. Some of her other training includes intensives with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Company, Visceral Dance Company, and Orlando Ballet.

Amanda graduated from Butler University where she studied on both academic and talent scholarships earning her BFA with honors in Dance Performance. While at Butler, she had the opportunity to spend a month studying abroad in Europe where she trained and performed in Warsaw, Krakow, and St. Petersburg. As a senior in college, she was asked to choreograph for the study abroad program, exposing her choreography to venues across Poland and Bratislava. Throughout the years, Amanda has had the pleasure of performing as a guest artist for The Kate Jablonski Statement, State Street Dance Studio, The Dance Factory, and The Schaumburg Dance Ensemble. Amanda has been dancing with Nomi Dance Company since 2014.

Kristin Nelson

Kristin started dancing at age 4, performing and competing in several dance studios in the Chicago suburbs. She deepened her love for dance in high school, taking classes at Inspire School of Dance in Naperville.

She got her BA in dance performance and choreography from Hope College, in Holland Michigan. During her time there she danced with their jazz and tap company, a modern dance company and traveling teaching company. She had the opportunity to perform twice with Chicago Tap Theatre in their Holiday show, and attend the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Intensive in New York.

Since her time at school, Kristin has been teaching, performing and choreographing in and around the city of Chicago. She recently got her Tap Teaching Certificate from The Chicago Human Rhythm Project.

Kristin is very excited to be apart of the Center Stage Dance Academy family!

Lorie Holtey

Lorie Holtey is originally from Yakima, Washington where she owned a successful studio for 16 years. Not only herself, but her students have won numerous awards and scholarships thru the years. Dancing since the age of 6 she is trained in all areas of dance such as Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Baton, and gymnastics – she is a diverse and well rounded dancer.

Lorie has traveled all over the country, Canada and London, working for dance competitions and conventions sharing her love, passion and knowledge for dance. She toured with Hoctor’s Dance Caravan for 6yrs, working with, assisting, and performing with some of the greats in the dance world! Now in her 19th year with Starpower National Talent, she has seen thousands of dancers grow up on the stage into the professional work place.

Lorie is on staff for All American Cheer and Dance and works the Pro Bowl Pre game and Halftime shows in Hawaii. She has choreographed, coached, and worked with several high school cheer squads, dance teams, and Colorguards. Lorie also does judging and choreography for opening numbers and individual routines for pageants. She has been a featured dancer with such artists like Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Sugar Ray, Lifehouse, Goo Goo Dolls, Enrique Iglesias, Cierra, & Jennifer Love Hewitt, just to name a few.

Maggie Schroeder

Maggie, a Chicago area native, began dancing and tumbling at the age of four at the Dance Theatre of Elgin. Under the direction of world renowned Power Tumbler coach Linda Laaker, Maggie achieved the status of a Level 10 (Advanced) competitor with the USTA and USAG organizations. Maggie received many 1st place regional finishes and placed within the top three nationally for many years.

As a dancer, Maggie participated in the children’s cast of the Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker performance for three years where she performed the roles of the mouse and Polichinelle.

During high school, Maggie attended Larkin High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy where she received instruction from Kelly Tonge-Hill and Margaret Palmer (Holt). These instructors are two of the founding members of River North Chicago Dance Company. Maggie also trained at Lou Conte Dance Studio which is home to Hubbard Street Dance Company where her jazz/contemporary instructors included Jeff Hancock, Harrison McEldowney, Wifredo Rivera, Eddy Ocampo, and her ballet instructors included Claire Bataille and Birute Baradicaite. It was during these formative high school years that Maggie found her love of teaching while interning as a dance instructor for at-risk elementary children. Upon graduation she received the Senior Dance Award and Scholarship.

Maggie continued her dance education at the University of Arizona in Tucson where she graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance. While in college Maggie studied under several dance masters including Sam Watson, Susan Quinn, James Clouser, Amy Ernst, Michael Williams, David Berkey and Melissa Lowe. Maggie also assisted in coordinating the university’s annual dance festival “Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase (AJDS)”.

Maggie is looking forward to many years with Center Stage Dance Academy and hopes to share her love of dance and tumbling with our students.

Miguel Villagomez

Having danced for only five years, Miguel Villagomez packed in as much training and knowledge as possible. Beginning his training under Robert Lewis owner of Lewis Dance Progressions and featured on America’s Best Dance Crew, Miguel made sure he got the strongest possible start to his training. Miguel also trained under Trae Turner of Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago. To further expand his training, Miguel traveled to Los Angeles to train with some of the best choreographers at Millenium Dance Complex, Movement Lifestyle, and Edge Performing Arts Center. After spending time competing under Lewis Dance Progressions and assisting and teaching for Robert Lewis at Beth Fowler School of Dance, Miguel was able to perform at the Miss Illinois Pageant. Since then, Miguel displayed his knowledge by teaching at Beth Fowler School of Dance where he has own competition team. The hip-hop team has gone undefeated and placed first overall at Legacy National Dance Competition. Most recently, Miguel has begun dancing and performing professionally with AQ Dance Center. Known for his ever-expanding passion for dance, enthusiastic personality, and challenging classes, Miguel hopes to share his knowledge and passion with as many people as possible.

Nicole Paukovits

Nicole performed in her first dance recital at the age of 3. She found a home at Port Jefferson Dance Academy, in Port Jefferson Station, NY at the age of 8 and began studying dance seriously. Nicole spent her first year at Port Jefferson studying ballet and jazz. By her second year at the dance studio she was studying jazz, tap, ballet, and modern. In 1997, Nicole began her competitive career. Nicole competed in several forms of dance at local competitions on Long Island and in New York City. Over the next 9 years, as part of the Port Jefferson Dance Academy Company, Nicole competed in jazz, tap, hip hop, modern, and lyrical. The company also performed at local nursing homes, rehab facilities, pre-schools, and festivals. The company also traveled to perform several routines at Six Flags Great America in New Jersey. While performing and competing at Port Jefferson Dance Academy, Nicole found another passion in the field of dance. Nicole began student teaching in 2000, and realized that sharing her love of dance with others and watching young dancers grow was truly an unbelievably rewarding experience. From 1999 – 2005, Nicole taught young dancers from ages 3 – 16, jazz, tap, and ballet.

Nicole was also a competitive cheerleader in junior high and high school. As a freshman, Nicole made the varsity cheerleading squad for Comsewogue High School. The next three years, Nicole choreographed the half time and competition routines for the team. Under Nicole’s direction, Comsewogue Varsity Cheerleading went on to take 3rd overall on Long Island during Nicole’s senior year.

Rachel Faller

Rachel began dancing at the age of 3 and continued dancing throughout her teenage years with Krupinski Academy of Dance in St. Louis, MO studying ballet, tap and jazz. During her teenage years with Krupinski she was a competitive dancer. Rachel was a member of the American Dance Troupe as well as traveled with the company to California for dance conventions. She continued her study of dance at Lamar University in Beaumont, TX. In 2007 she began working at Turning Pointe Dance as an instructor, choreographer, stage manager and office work including registration and costume ordering. She began teaching for Rush Studio of Dance in 2015 and in 2016 she took over their Youth Company and founded the Mini Company to teach 4 and 5 year olds the foundation of what it takes to be part of a dance company and more structured classes.

Rachel was also the head teacher for Kinderdance in St. Louis. Rachel’s true passion and expertise is working with dancers ages 2 – 9. She truly enjoys that age group and gives them the energy, focus and encouragement needed for dancers to be successful. Rachel’s husband took a job transfer which is moving them to the Chicago area and has led her here to Center Stage. She is really excited to start teaching at Center Stage Dance in the fall to share her love and passion for dance with your children and she looks forward to meeting everyone!

Sin Van V

Sin Van V has been dancing since the age of six. She studied jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, ballet and hip hop. She danced for professional companies within Illinois and Wisconsin and has been teaching in the Chicagoland area since 1991. Sin regularly attends workshops and conventions in order to keep current on the latest dance trends and techniques. She has studied under well-known artists and choreographers such as Robert Wells, Savion Glover, Gus Giordano, Homer Bryant, Luke Creswell, Van Collins, Eddie Garcia and Joel Hall. Sin is extremely proud to help people grow into talented dancers and her teaching style is energetic, exciting and entertaining.

Sky Nowotnik

Sky Nowotnik is a Chicago native who began their dance career at the age of three. They trained most of their life with Envision Dance Company at Center Stage Dance Academy but also had the opportunity to travel and train as an apprentice with LA Dance Magic. Their first professional debut was as a company member and soloist with Nōmi Dance Company in both their shows “Instrumental” and “Reminiscence”. Sky had also experienced success while featured as a Russian soloist with the Moscow Ballet in “The Great Russian Nutcracker” and at the International Dance Forum in Chicago. Sky through their more recent ventures performed in Los Angeles based company Kairos Dance Company’s show, “She Speaks,” as a guest soloist expanding the conversation on women’s rights and gender. Sky's commercial performances include ABC’s Christmas Spectacular in Walt Disney World Florida and fashion company Parthenon Clothing Chicago. They premiered in an episode as part of Purus Motus/Mad Motus Production’s Season 2 Finale, “Perfect Imposition,” summer of 2019. Sky’s choreography debut on film was their feature in Ricardo Bouyett’s short film, “FLWRS 2019,” which within days had been featured on Film Shortage’s Daily Picks. At the age of eighteen, Sky successfully organized their own professional performance company, The Dancepack, in which they performed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Carnival Chicago, and the F.A.M.E. Awards. Sky was also commissioned to choreograph for Larkin Dance Company in which they delved into the relations of dance and literature. As a pioneer of their craft they successfully spearheaded a pre-professional program, Envision Dance Collective, in which their dancers have performed concert work at Dance Chicago, the Chicago Youth Dance Exhibition, Illinois State University, Trifecta Dance Chicago, and Inaside Dance Chicago. They continue to flourish and further expand their craft through new and innovative ways of moving and thrives seeing the joy and growth from the dancers they so happily gets to share their knowledge with!