Our faculty shares a common philosophy: to bring each student the benefits of performing arts training - healthy lifestyles, alert minds, self-discipline, the spirit of team work and a love for the arts.
LOREN LOMASTRO SPECHT
Loren LoMastro Specht (Director) has worked as an instructor and choreographer throughout Illinois and Indiana since 1997. She is a member of the Cecchetti Council of America from which she holds her Associate IV Teaching Certificate, a member of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, a certified Rhythm Works Integrative Dance instructor, a graduate of the NFHS Coaches Education Program and a graduate of the American Tap Dance Institute’s Teacher Training and Certification Program, the world’s foremost training program for professional tap dance teachers. During the 2001- 02 season she attended company classes and trained with River North Chicago Dance Company. She has performed at Dance Chicago, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, Dance For Dreams, Ela Festival of the Arts and Tango 21 (Ravinia Festival). She has danced in works by renowned choreographers Claire Bataille, Frank Chaves, Paula David, Jeff Hancock and others. From 2001-08 she was the dance instructor/coach of the Lake Forest H.S. Varsity Poms Dance Team leading them to win 4 consecutive State Championships and 2nd place at UDA Nationals. From 2002-07 She was the director of Euphony Tap Ensemble and Prelude Dance Theatre. From 2008-18 Loren choreographed/coached the Loyola Academy Varsity Poms/Dance Team. Loren has choreographed works for many Chicago area dance companies, CenterStage Theatre, and Lake Forest H.S. She has received choreography awards from the Chicago Dance Connection, Dupree Dance, and Universal Dance Association. Loren was a guest faculty member of the National Tap Ensemble's "Spirit of Tap"Conference. Loren is a member of the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association and Dance Studio Owners Association. In addition to being the director/founder of LoMastro Performing Arts Academy, she is the creator of Dancing Tots, an early childhood dance program used by dance instructors throughout the US and Canada. Loren lives in Lake Forest with her husband Brian and son Leo (8).
Originally from Greenwood, Indiana, Shannon received her training at Butler University and the University of Utah. She began her career with the second company of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, then going on to dance and perform professionally with HSDC for nine years. In 2009, Shannon went on to further her growth as a dancer at Nederlands Dans Theater under the direction of Jim Vincent and Paul Lightfoot. During her time in Chicago and Europe, Shannon toured internationally dancing works by many world renowned choreographers such as: Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Jorma Elo, and Crystal Pite. After taking time away from the stage to focus on the birth of her daughter, Shannon began sharing her artistry once again with the Chicago community. She has appeared in seven productions at the Lyric Opera including Rob Ashford's Carousel, Susan Stroman's The Merry Widow, and Les Troyens w ith Helen Pickett. Shannon teaches around the city and has been on faculty at the Joffrey Academy, Interlochen School for the Arts summer faculty, and Visceral Dance Center. She is very happy now to be exploring her creativity through works of her own, and has choreographed for Visceral Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, DanceWorks Chicago, The Big Muddy Dance Company in St. Louis, the University of Iowa, and was a recipient of the Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Work’s Choreographic Competition. She feels very fortunate for every one of these opportunities, finding inspiration in the things that she loves, and most recently completed an MFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia w ith continued commitment to the power of dance.
Shannon is an adjunct member of our faculty.
Nicole Cederberg was born in Highland Park, Illinois. She has trained at several studios in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap and hip hop since she was young. From 2012 to 2020, she trained and competed with LoMastro Performing Arts Academy. While in at Highland Park High School she choreographed multiple pieces on her peers, From 2017-2020 Nicole taught dance classes through a volunteer program called Working Together. Nicole is currently working toward degrees in Dance and Communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Most recently she co-choreographed a piece for the Kloepper Concert. Nicole is currently teaching, performing, and choreographing. Nicole is thrilled to be an Associate Teacher on faculty at LoMastro and share her love for dance with her students!
Bennett began his dance training in the suburbs of Chicago, and continued training at the University of Iowa. He has previously danced for The Big Muddy Dance Company where he has performed work by Brian Enos, Kirvan Douthit-Boyd, and Prince Lyons. He has also had the privilege to perform works choreographed by Ohad Naharin, Shannon Alvis, Ramon Flowers, Stephanie Miracle, Sarah Olson, Marc Macaranas, Eloy Barragan, Jennifer Kayle, Armando Duarte, and Meredith Stapleton. Additional training includes Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensive, Gibney and Bates Dance Festival Connect winter intensive, Threads Dance Project summer intensive, DanceWorks Chicago summer intensive, and The Cambrians summer intensive. Bennett is currently a Company Artist with Visceral Dance Chicago.
Kara is originally from Boston, Massachusetts received her ballet training at The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in CT. She spent her 4 years under the direction of Sharon Dante and Victoria Mazzerelli. Kara had many mentors such as Alexei Tchernichov, Eleanor D'Atuonno, Kirk Peterson and Tim Melady. There she performed lead roles as The Sugar Plum Fairy, Raymonda, Paquita and Odette. After graduating from the pre-professional program she went to dance with Enigmatic Contemporary Dance in Cambridge, MA as an original member. Kara continued to dance with her local ballet company Dance Prism in Concord, MA. She became a company member in 2008 and performed many featured roles including Giselle and The Sugar Plum Fairy. In 2011 Kara made her way across the country to join the Missouri Ballet Theatre in St. Louis, MO. Snow Queen, Dew Drop, Arabian, and Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream are just a few lead roles she performed as a soloist. Kara was also the Youth Cast Coordinator/Ballet Mistress for MBT. This year Kara was certified as a PBT instructor and is looking forward to teaching her students new ways to strengthen their ballet technique.
Chelsie Jackson has been a professional choreographer, dance educator, and performer for over a decade. She first started her dance training near Detroit, Michigan at the age of three. While growing up she participated in many conventions, master classes, performances, and competitions in all idioms of dance. Chelsie graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Dance from Western Michigan University. During college she trained with faculty members as well as guest artists including Derrick Evans, Eddy Ocampo, Willy Shives, and Ron De Jesus. She has also taken her training to various parts of the country such as The Edge Performing Arts Center, The Paul Taylor Dance Intensive, ACDF, Dance Masters of America's Teacher's Training School, Lou Conte Dance Studio, Visceral Dance Center, and Detroit Dance Collective. Chelsie has danced professionally for Chevrolet, Nabisco, Lisa Lamarre and Dancers, Tapestry Dance Company, and A. Deran Dance as well as many independent artists and choreographers. Her passion for teaching has given her opportunities to be on faculty at Illinois High School Dance Festival and Raw Energy Dance Competition, as well as many studios throughout the Midwest. Chelsie is certified in Acrobatic Arts, Zumba and ABT's National Training Curriculum in Pre-Primary through Level 3.
Jessica Lynn graduated from The Youth Performing Arts High School as a Dance Major. After a short stint performing nationally in regional theatre, she then moved to Los Angeles California. There she danced for the artists Blu Cantrell, Nelly Furtado, Beyonce, toured overseas with the reggaetón artist Adassa, and also Fantasia Barrino. Over her career Jessica has appeared in Film, Industrials, Television, Music Videos, and on Stage. Jessica worked with many great choreographers including Wade Robson,Toni Basil, Jamal Sims, Frank Gatson, Brian Friedman, Claude Thompson, and Matt Cady. She was also a member of Winifred R. Harris modern dance company “Between Lines”. In addition, Jessica was featured in the book, (BOOK ME!) How to become a successful working dancer in Hollywood. An established teacher and choreographer in her own right, Jessica Lynn has taught Guest classes throughout the United States, Italy, and Guam. Jessica's passion lies in teaching. She was on faculty at the famed Musician's Institute in Hollywood CA for seven years and has also taught at the Millennium Dance Complex and other studios in the Los Angeles area. Currently Jessica resides in Chicago. She has served as a Competition Director for three studios. She was also the Artistic Director for her own Youth Dance Company, JLynn Productions. Jessica presently is a rehearsal director, teacher, and choreographer. She enjoys being a guest instructor and sharing her passion for dance while working towards her degree in Education.
Gloria Mattero has always had a passion for working with children. After raising her three daughters, she helped create a Tot Camp program for preschoolers in Highwood, IL. The program’s objective was to incorporate learning through movement and play. For the past 11 years, she has been coaching recreational gymnastics in Highland Park. This has given her the opportunity to work with children of all different ages with various skill sets. In the parent-tot classes she was able to facilitate parent and child bonding through activities that created a special connection between learning and play. In her work with preschool aged children, she encouraged the children to develop skills and gain confidence in basic tumbling tasks. She takes pride in teaching more complex tumbling while the children learn body awareness, gain strength and flexibility. She loves to teach new skills using creativity and games that encourage self-confidence and growth. She is enthusiastic and passionate and loves to praise each and every child on their individual development. As a member of USAG, she is always encouraged to learn new and innovative ways to keep the children striving to reach their best potential. She was born and raised in Highland Park, IL, where she continues to live with her husband of 35 years and their Shih Tzu. In her spare time she enjoys going on walks, spending time with family and doing home improvement projects.
Devon is from Toronto, Ontario and has been dancing since a young age. He has had the opportunity in choreographing for such events as The Toronto Film Festival as well the tap scenes in the movies; Honey, Universal Pictures and Save The Last Dance 2 MTV. He’s appeared in music videos for such artists as: Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, and many more. Devon has also performed on TV for shows such as: the Billboard Awards, the VMA’s, the BET Awards, Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and on Chris Brown’s Carpe Diem Tour. He has also appeared in commercials for Marshall’s, Cali-Max, and Milk-Canada. He now resides in Chicago and is still teaching choreography and workshops across Canada and the U.S., passing on his skills to younger generations of dancers.
Matt Pospeshil grew up dancing, singing & performing theater in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and got his start dancing professionally in high school with Especially Tap Chicago (dir. Julie Cartier). He furthered his education at Western Michigan University; received a bachelor’s degree in Dance, with concentrations in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Musical Theater. During his college summers, Matt was performing at Six Flags Great America - Gurnee, IL. After college Matt returned home to dance with Inaside Chicago Dance (dir. Richard Smith), Chicago Tap Theatre (dir. Mark Yonally), Chicago Human Rhythm Project - BAM! (dir. Lane Alexander), and Chicago Human Rhythm Project - Stone Soup Rhythms (dir. Dani Borak). Some of his memorable performances are Dance for Life (2015, 2017, 2019), Dance in the Parks (2017), The Fly Honey Show (2017), Audible Odyssey (2015, 2016), and The Green Mill Poetry Slams (2013-present). Matt currently is a Judge for Starpower Talent Competition. He has previously adjudicated for Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America, Dreamstar Dance Competition, Edge Talent Competition, and has taught for the Wild Dance Intensive - National Touring Convention.
Abby Rossiter is thrilled to be back at LoMastro where she performed as a Next Step company member. Abby grew up training and competing in dance throughout the Chicagoland area. She was selected as an NYCDA Studio Showcase Dancer and recipient of the Dupree Dance Convention Advanced Ballet Scholarship. She also performed as a Patriette and Concert Company dancer at Stevenson High School. Abby graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Miami where she studied Motion Pictures, Dance, and Sociology. Favorite opportunities while there include The New York: Invitation to Dance summer program (attended on scholarship), The Frost School of Music Dance Department and Composers Collaboration (selected choreographer and soloist), and Dancing With the UMiami Stars (1st place, Standard division). Additionally, Abby was part of the Miami Motion Dance Team as a performer, student president, and coach post-graduation. Abby loves sharing her passion for dance with eager students and enjoys choreographing musical productions as well. Choreography credits include: Masque (University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL) Willy Wonka, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Little Mermaid (Area Stage Company in Coral Gables, FL) and The Wiz, 13, High School Musical, and Legally Blonde (Northbrook, IL).
Jessica Sawyer started dancing at the age of 3. She has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and modern. She holds her B.A. from North Park University where she was a member of the dance team. She has choreographed for a variety groups including dance studios, theaters, dance teams and show choirs. Her choreography has received numerous accolades, including top scores at various dance competitions and national titles. Jessica is an active member of the National Dance Educators Organization and has served on their Honors Society adjudication board. She is also a certified Progressing Ballet Technique instructor. When not working in the studio, she can be found directing and choreographing theater. Some favorite credits include: Sweeney Todd, Spring Awakening, Heathers and Into the Woods. Jessica currently teaches in the Chicagoland area, sharing her love of dance with students. She loves the freedom and expression that dance provides and strives to make her classes an experience that will bring out the best in each individual dancer.
MEREDITH ANN SEELEY
Meredith trained in Rochester, NY at the Orcutt/Botsford School and the Draper Center for Dance Education. She received further training from the Hartford Ballet School, Pennsylvania Ballet School, Chautauqua School, and the NYSSSA Program. At a young age, Meredith joined Timothy Draper’s Rochester City Ballet as a soloist dancing leading roles in productions including The Nutcracker, Firebird, Don Quixote, and Cinderella. She also performed with Rochester’s modern dance company, Present Tense Dance, directed by Anne Harris Wilcox. Later, Meredith joined Gen Horiuchi’s Saint Louis Ballet, where she originated the leading role in his production of Beauty and the Beast and danced numerous pieces by resident choreographer Francis Patrelle. She later went on to perform with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Dallas Opera, Civic Ballet of Chicago, Chicago Festival Ballet, and many others. Meredith loves helping students of all ages and abilities develop a true connection to their bodies. She has a passion for teaching dancers how to cultivate healthy and sustainable movement patterns both in dance and in everyday life. She enjoys sharing skills that help students regulate their bodies for optimal learning and performance and to help boost confidence. Learning how to move well and be well is essential for building and maintaining robust whole-body health. This philosophy has led Meredith to explore and study many other styles of movement and somatics beyond the dance realm including Pilates, Restorative Exercise, natural movement, aikido, climbing, parkour, Somatic Experiencing, and nervous system regulation. Meredith is a Certified Restorative Exercise Specialist (CPT-RES) through Nutritious Movement, a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher (NCPT), and a movement teacher and coach. She graduated summa cum laude from Saint Mary’s College of California’s LEAP program and holds her BA in Performing Arts.
Abigail Stachnik was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She began her dance training at the Young Dance Academy under the direction of Sandra Young. Abigail became a faculty member at the Young Dance Academy in 2010 and has continued to teach and choreograph since then. In 2015, Abigail earned a BFA in Dance with Honors from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has trained in the Scholarship Program at Lou Conte Dance Studio, apprenticed with Chicago Repertory Ballet, and performed in the Mezzo Company with Cocodaco Dance Project where she eventually joined the main company in 2018. Additionally she has performed as a guest artist with Marlene Skog Dance and performed at Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival in works by Jessica Miller Tomlinson and MitchellMovement Collective. Abigail is currently dancing with Moonwater Dance Project and Symbiosis Arts, and one of her choreographic works “Windmill” has been commissioned by Simantikos Dance Chicago for their 2020 season! Abigail was honored to present her choreography at the Athenaeum Theatre, the College of DuPage, and the “Take Up Space” festival this past year. Her choreography has also been performed at the University of the Arts, DanceChance, Simantikos Dance’s Celebration of Chicago Art and Choreo Kick-Off.
Mikki Stotter grew up in Skokie, Illinois, where she began dancing at the age of 2. She has trained in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, lyrical, and musical theater. She was a member of the Auroris Dance Company and Theatre Troupe 113 at Niles North High School and was an avid musical theater performer. She also participated on a studio competitive team, where they were national champions at major competitions such as Showstoppers Dance Convention and Dupree Dance Convention. She studied at Loyola University Chicago, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Dance. During her time at Loyola, she studied under Deborah Goodman, Amy Wilkinson, and Sarah Cullen Fuller, focusing on ballet and Doris Humphrey’s modern techniques. Mikki also participated in the first annual Chicago Inclusive Dance Festival. She began her teaching career as an assistant teacher at the age of 14 and has continued to grow as a teacher ever since. She is passionate about helping any individual to thrive in their movement styles and sharing her passions with students.
Alana is thrilled to be an Associate Teacher on faculty at LoMastro and share her love for dance with her students!
Blair Vaudelle was born in Houston, Texas. Her training began at the Houston Ballet Academy and later continued her studies with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet School and the Atlanta School of Ballet. She was invited to attend ballet class at Northern Illinois University, at the age of 14, while training and performing with the Rockford Dance Company. She studied ballet at the University throughout her high school years and went on to receive her B.F.A in Dance Performance there after graduation. Professionally, Blair has worked with Ballet Nouveau (Colorado), Ballet Deviare (NYC), the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, and guested with the Civic Ballet of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, the Faubourg Ballet, State Street Dance Studio, and Alma Ballet. She currently lives in Chicago and has been teaching and choreographing for over 15 years. Most recently she worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois University, teaching ballet and setting contemporary ballet works.