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 actively serves as an Ambassdor for the National Dance Week Foundation. 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 continues her studies through master classes, seminars, and festivals. Loren lives in Lake Forest with her husband Brian and son Leo (6).
Emily grew up dancing in Minneapolis and obtained her B.A. in dance with distinction from the University of Minnesota. She has been performing professionally for 11 years with companies such as Buckets and Tap Shoes, Chicago Tap Theatre, Flying Foot Forum, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and Keane Sense Of Rhythm. She has also performed in work by Kenna Cotton, Karla Grotting, Erinn Liebhard, and Kaleena Miller. As a choreographer, Emily has twice had her work featured in the annual show Rhythmically Speaking at the Southern Theater. Emily's true passion is dance instruction and she has been teaching dance for a period of eight years. In order to expand her knowledge of dance pedagogy, she regularly attends professional development trainings for dance instructors. She is thrilled to be working with the students at LoMastro Performing Arts Academy!
Blair Burkhalter 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.
Mallory was born and raised in Lake Forest and was a member of the Varsity Pom Squad (now known as the Dance Team) for all 4 years of high school. Her years on the team were critical in helping LFHS make a name for themselves at Nationals, her senior year being their first to place top 5 in Pom. She continued on to the University of Kentucky, where she danced on the Official Dance Team, and helped bring home a National Championship title for the school her sophomore year. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Kinesiology: Exercise Science, Mallory has centered her career around body movement in the form of exercise. Her focus has primarily been in Pilates, but she also has experience teaching many other forms of fitness, ranging from big gym group classes to boutique style barre and cycling classes. Mallory is thrilled to bring dance back into her life in a way that she holds so dear to her heart. “I cherish my high school years and all the time I got to spend dancing with the members of the team. I’ve maintained many of those friendships still to this day!”.
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.
Katrina Delgrosso is a graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, with a BA in Dance. She studied under Doug Bentz for three years, learning contemporary movement, ideas and concepts that inspire her everyday as a modern jazz dance artist. She has worked with other well-known artists such as Keisha Lalama-White, Susan Stowe, Ron Tassone, Whitney Moncrief, and Richard Rein. She performed seven original works and two full-length productions with the Playhouse Dance Company while in Pittsburgh. As member of I Love Dance company she performed full length floor shows in Las Vegas. As their Show Director, Katrina traveled nationwide with I Love Dance directing dozens of competitions. Katrina was original company dancer and choreographer for Enigmatic Contemporary Dance in Cambridge, MA from 2009-2012. She has been a company member of Dance Prism (Concord Ma) since 1995 and continues to annually perform in their summer Kaleidoscope show. She has been featured in such roles as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Morgana in The Magic of Merlin, the title role in Peter Pan and many others. She has taught up and down the east coast for the past 15 years. Since living in Chicago she had directed and co-choreographed The Nutcracker presented by LoMastro Performing Arts Academy. She is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. She has choreographed and rehearsed countless groups, solos, and duets for LPAA and has received numerous staging and choreography awards for her dances. LoMastro’s students, families, and faculty have become like a family to her and she is so excited to create and inspire for a whole new season!
Dannie Kray has been taking classes in all forms of dance since the age of 3. Growing up Dannie danced competitively in Lyrical, Jazz, and All-Star Pom. When LoMastro Performing Arts Academy opened in 2007, she continued her training under the direction of Loren for 5 years. Dannie attended Stevenson High School, where she was on the pom team for 4 years. Competing in lyrical and high kick, the Varsity team made it to the State competition all 4 years. Her senior year, the team was the State Champion in Lyrical and the Runner-Up in Kick. Her college career started at the University of Iowa, where she was on the Diamond Cut Dance Company through the University of Iowa Dance Club. After 2 years, Dannie transferred to DePaul University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in March of 2017 in Early Childhood Education with an endorsement in English as a Second Language. Since 2015, she has choreographed routines and coached the All-Star Pom teams at LoMastro, where they reached top rankings at both competitions! Last year, she choreographed for the Loyola Academy JV Ramblerettes, where they placed first at their Sectional competition. Dannie is a Preschool Teacher at Lake Bluff Elementary School and she looks forward to sharing her passion for teaching with the talented students at LoMastro!
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.
Matt Pospeshil grew up dancing, singing & performing theater in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and got his start dancing professionally with Especially Tap Chicago (dir. Julie Cartier). He furthered his education at Western Michigan University; got a BA in Dance, and performed Musical Theater. After college, Matt returned home to Chicago. He danced with Inaside Chicago Dance (dir. Richard Smith), & began to manage his family’s dance studio Kristina’s Studio of Dance. KSD has now evolved into Pospeshil Performing Arts Academy of Dance, Voice, Music & Acting. Post dancing with Inaside he returned to tap dance professionally. Matt had the pleasure to work with Chicago Tap Theatre (dir. Mark Yonally) and The Cartier Collective. Matt's convention teaching credits include Dance Masters of America & Wisconsin. He has judged at DMA & Dreamstar Dance Competition. He currently is dancing with Chicago Human Rhythm Project's resident company, BAM! (dir. Lane Alexander). He also directs the youth dance company, Heart of Dance Ensemble, based out of KSD. Matt also produces an annual concert of Song & Dance called Fuse & Explode, presented by his ensemble, Troubadour Dance Theatre. He is currently an adjunct member of our faculty.
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).
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 for the purpose of cultivating the healthiest movement patterns possible in both dance and in everyday life. Learning how to move well and how to move more is essential for robust whole-body health. This philosophy has led Meredith to explore and study many other styles of movement beyond the dance realm including Pilates, Restorative Exercise, natural movement, aikido, and parkour. Meredith is a Certified Restorative Exercise Specialist through Nutritious Movement, a Certified Pilates Teacher through the Pilates Method Alliance, and a movement teacher and coach. She is completing her BA in Dance Performance through Saint Mary’s College of California’s LEAP program.
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 December 2015, Abigail earned her BFA in Dance with Honors from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; then she traveled to Lille, France and Brussels, Belgium with the university’s “European Touring Ensemble” for two weeks in 2016. Additionally, she has attended summer intensives with the Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary, Pennsylvania Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Cocodaco Dance Project, and DanceWorks Chicago. Abigail moved to Chicago to train in the Scholarship Program at Lou Conte Dance Studio. She performed as a Mezzo Company member with Cocodaco Dance Project and as an apprentice with Chicago Repertory Ballet. After one season as an apprentice with Cocodaco’s Professional Company, Abigail is joining the main company for the fall of 2018! Her choreography has been presented at the University of the Arts, DanceChance, and Simantikos Dance’s Celebration of Chicago Art.
Daniel Williams, or “Coach D” as his students call him, is founder of MAD FOR NO REASON crew and co-founder of Purus Motus. Daniel prides himself on helping students young and old become self sufficient. Top 16 world of dance (WOD) finalist two years running he's propelling himself forward in the whole era of hip hop itself regarding his movement as "in the now and unsolicited." Well versed in bboying, popping, house, and locking, Daniel considers those styles to be in the blueprint of intuitive motion. Pairing up with his partner Katie Carey to produce Purus Motus, Daniel has performed for independent movie premieres, willow creek church, and has taught multiple workshops and intensives nationally and internationally. Setting pieces for Dansteps in Alajuela Costa Rica and Majorie Jones in Columbus Ohio, Daniel invokes self creativity allowing for improvisation to be the forefront of his choreography. Daniels side hobby in videography under Purus Motus and AUX CORD CALL OUTS open styles tournament presented by MAD FOR NO REASON has excelled him to multiple projects the viewer can find through Facebook, and other social media outlets. Watching students, to private clients become everything they already were, and more, is why Daniel continues teaching whoever he can reach.