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…

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.

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. She graduated from Butler University in 2014, where she studied on both academic and talent scholarships earning her BFA with honors in Dance Performance.

LisaMarie Woody

LisaMarie Woody is a seasoned dance educator, choreographer, and performer with over three decades of professional experience in various genres and is renowned nationwide for her acrobatic expertise. She grew up in San Francisco Bay Area dancing for the award-winning Dance Connection of Palo Alto’s Performing Company and began dancing professionally at the young age of nine.

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. She graduated from Butler University in 2014, where she studied on both academic and talent scholarships earning her BFA with honors in Dance Performance.

LisaMarie Woody

LisaMarie Woody is a seasoned dance educator, choreographer, and performer with over three decades of professional experience in various genres and is renowned nationwide for her acrobatic expertise. She grew up in San Francisco Bay Area dancing for the award-winning Dance Connection of Palo Alto’s Performing Company and began dancing professionally at the young age of nine.

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..

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sky Nowotnik

Sky Nowotnik is a Chicago native who began her dance career at the age of three. Her dedicated in-studio training was with Envision Dance Company at Center Stage Dance Academy, enhanced by a traveling apprenticeship with LA Dance Magic. 

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 and Regional Director for National Competition Company.

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 daughter Sky, 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. She graduated from Butler University in 2014, 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 and Krakow, Poland, and St. Petersburg, Russia. As a senior, she was asked to choreograph for the study abroad program, exposing her choreography to venues across Eastern Europe. Throughout the years, Amanda has had the pleasure of performing as a guest artist for Élan Artists, The Schaumburg Dance Ensemble, and more. Upon returning to Chicago after graduation, Amanda joined Nomi Dance Company, where she danced for four years. Her professional choreography credits include works on Nomi Dance Company, The Ballet Theatre of Indiana, The Ballet INitiative, and Giordano II. In 2018, she joined Giordano II, and is currently dancing in Giordano Dance Chicago’s main company. Besides performing and choreographing, Amanda is passionate about teaching and is certified in all five levels of the Nan Giordano Certification Program®.

LisaMarie Woody

LisaMarie Woody is a seasoned dance educator, choreographer, and performer with over three decades of professional experience in various genres and is renowned nationwide for her acrobatic expertise. She grew up in San Francisco Bay Area dancing for the award-winning Dance Connection of Palo Alto's Performing Company and began dancing professionally at the young age of nine. LisaMarie studied at San Francisco State University, the Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her professional credits include both state & screen and has had the opportunity to work with dance greats such as Debbie Allen, Jackie Sleight, Joan Walton, Savion Glover, Joe Tremaine, and Mia Michaels, and Marcea Lane. As a choreographer, LisaMaries's routines stand out with top scores and undefeated seasons. Outside of the studio, she is a devoted pet parent with a mini zoo of misfit animals and she volunteers for local animal rescues. LisaMarie is excited to join Center Stage Dance Academy for the 2022-2023 season.

 

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.

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.

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 her dance career at the age of three. Her dedicated in-studio training was with Envision Dance Company at Center Stage Dance Academy, enhanced by a traveling apprenticeship with LA Dance Magic.

Sky’s professional credits include Nōmi Dance Company, the Moscow Ballet, the International Dance Forum of Chicago, Kairos Dance Company (LA), the Dancepack, and ABC television.

Her most recent accolades include Purus Motus/Mad Motus Production’s Season 2 Finale, “Perfect Imposition,” screened at the International Dance Festival in Chicago and at InMotion in India. Other film credits include features in Ricardo Bouyett’s short films, “FLWRS 2019,” and, “So Many Little Deaths 2020”.

In addition to teaching dance, she is motivated by holistic well-being and is certified in The Kaivalya Yoga Method.

Sky is soon to graduate as a student of Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University, with plans to pursue her PhD in Clinical Psychology.