2022 Faculty

Wendi Isaacson-Director

Wendi Isaacson holds her degree from Brigham Young University, where she graduated with University Honors in English and Dance Education.  While at BYU she was an original member of the tap company “Foot Poetry” under the direction of Colleen West. She was a performer in World of Dance and Homecoming Spectacular each year, as well as Christmas Around the World as a member of the BYU Folk Dance Team.  As a senior at BYU, she was one of 3 dance students selected to represent BYU at the National Dance Festival in Tuscon, Arizona.

While Wendi lived in Louisville, KY, she was asked to take over the school's struggling dance team.  That year, they took 1st place at the Regional competition for the first time in 30 years.  Wendi also placed in the top three in the teacher’s freestyle division every year.

Wendi is the Founding Artistic Director of Rhythm Nation Tap Company, and Time Bomb Tap Company, both based out of Utah.

She has trained under tap greats including Savion Glover, Diane Walker, Chloe Arnold, Jason Samuels Smith, Bril Barrett, Rusty Frank, Ayodele Casel, Mike Minery, Anthony Morigerato, Ivery Wheeler, Jared Grimes, Melinda Sullivan.

 

Wendi was the Founder and Director of the Dance Makers Studio for 10 years. Her team and solo choreography has won many awards at the state as well as national level. Wendi is a highly sought-after teacher and is on tap faculty at Brigham Young University, The Dance Club, Center Stage, and Millennium Dance Complex SLC. She is faculty and director for the Utah Tap Fest, and guest faculty at LV Tap Fest and Nashville Tap Experiment. Wendi is committed to teaching the highest level of technique, and inspiring her students to achieve personal bests every day.

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Sam Weber

Sam Weber is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed performing artist, master teacher and choreographer who regularly appears throughout the world.   A protege of Stan Kahn in San Francisco, Sam Weber has appeared with such tap legends as Charles "Honi" Coles, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines and the Nicholas Brothers.  Sam's versatility has led him to performances in musical theater and television, where he has worked with such stars as Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, Andy Williams, Pat Boone and Sara Vaughn.  Sam co-starred in the award-winning German short film "Zwei Im Frack," directed by Christian Stahl in September, 2000.  Sam has also performed with the San Francisco Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Peninsula Ballet Theatre and Smuin Ballets/SF.  Sam Weber was frequently seen on PBS's "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" television show and is featured in the documentary "Juba! Masters of Percussive Dance" on Public Television. Sam is one of the few tap dancers in the world currently performing Morton Gould's "Tap Dance Concerto" and was the first tap dancer to receive a "Bessie" award, presented in New York City in 1993 in recognition of outstanding creative achievement.  In addition to his solo tap dancing career, Sam has toured internationally since 1986 as a principal dancer and choreographer with the Jazz Tap Ensemble.  


Sam Weber has performed and taught at tap dance workshops and festivals worldwide.  These have included the Chicago Human Rhythm Project as well as tap festivals in Boulder, CO, Portland, OR, St. Louis, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, B.C., Atlanta, Houston, Austin, Boston, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Prague, Kiev, Heidelberg, Freiburg, Wuerzburg, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Duesseldorf, Zurich, Helsinki, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Rio De Janeiro, San Antonio, TX, Gainesville, FL and the San Francisco Tap Festival. Sam has taught in the dance departments of UCLA, Cal State University, L.A., Long Beach City College, Cal State Fullerton and San Francisco State University.

 

 Sam Weber frequently performs the work of German composer/violinist/tap dancer Andreas Daenel.  The two dancers have performed Daenel's compositions for tap dancers and orchestra "Kontralog" and "SignADiapunktur," which premiered in the U.S. with the San Francisco Bay Area's Peninsula Symphony Orchestra in 2005.  


Sam is the recipient of several awards, including the "Hoofer Award," from the American Tap Dance Foundation, the "Legacy Award," from San Antonio's "Third Coast Rhythm Project," the "Giant Steps" award for his lifelong contribution to the development of tap dance in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he has also received the prestigious "Juba" award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the art of tap dance. He is on NY Times critic Brian Seibert's list of the 25 most important tap dancers of the 20th century. In July of 2021, Sam recieved the Legacy Award from the Orange County Tap Festival. 

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Dante Lara

Dante Lara is a California based tap dancer, teacher, and choreographer who continues to explode onto the new tap dancing scene.  A graduate of Chapman University with a BA in Theater Arts, Dante earned his SAG card at age 7, and has been performing professionally ever since.  His passion for tap dancing has kept him on the wood his whole life. He has been a member of professional companies LA Ironwooks, under direction of Steve Zee, Chloe Arnold's Apartment 33, the Here's 2 Lyfe company, and The Nitty Grittyz with Christopher Anthony Scott.

As a tap soloist, Dante has been seen at The Big Apple Tap Festive, The Inspire Campaign, Orange County's Shark Club, and Boulevard 3 in Hollywood.

His television appearances include The Nikki Show (WB), Dance Revolution (CBS), The Talk (CBS), World of Dance (NBC), and many commercials.

Dante's goal as a performer and teacher is to spread the love and joy of this musical art form to everyone, and to give students technique and tap vocabulary that they can take and share in their own improvisations and choreography.

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Rusty Frank

Rusty began her dancing career at the tender age of six, when she saw her first Shirley Temple movie ("I wanna do that!"). She started with tap dancing, studying with many of the great tap masters, including her mentor, Louis DaPron, as well as Fayard Nicholas, Brenda Bufalino, Steve Condos, Gene Nelson, Miriam Nelson, LaVaughn Robinson, Bob Scheerer, Lou Wills, Jr., Leonard Reed, Dorothy Toy, Glenn Turnbull, Katherine Hopkins Nicholas, and Jon Zerby. 

She has tap danced professionally over the years with The San Francisco Tap Troupe, Six Feet (Wayne Doba, Rodney Price), Pedal Extremities (Walter Freeman, Mark Mendonca, Michael Rainey), Tapology (Patti Meagher), The Rhythm Rascals (Walter Freeman), Mulligan and Whitmore "Tops in Taps" (Chester Whitmore), The Rhythm Pals (Alfred Desio), Greg Gast, Mark Marchillo, and Betty de la Torre.

Rusty Frank is a Tap Dancer and Lindy Hopper, producer, choreographer, writer, and dance preservationist. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955, the producer and choreographer of the stage revues "Swingin' The Century - The Big Band Show" and "Jazz Tap." Rusty is the producer of the in-production documentary, "TAP! Tempo of America" (recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant).

Jenefer Miller

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Jenefer is a native of Michigan and is a tap dancer, teacher, choreographer, director, writer, and producer.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in the Performing Arts from Oakland University and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix.  Jenefer recently performed with the MusicaNova Orchestra and was commissioned to interpret and perform Morton Gould’s Tap Dance Concerto at the Musical Instrument Museum  in Phoenix.  Ms. Miller was also featured in a short film by Screenvision Media’s Corner Stories which aired in movie theatres across the United States. She has appeared on stage with Tap 24.7, Mike Wittmer’s Scuff'd Up, Especially Tap Chicago, the Detroit Tap Festival honoring the legendary Nicholas Brothers, Dance Chicago, Sesame Street Live,  and Oakland Dance Theatre. Mentored by Dianne Walker and the late Robert Reed,  Jen has performed in shows with legends such as the Nicholas Brothers, Ben Vereen, Debbie Allen, Savion Glover, Chloe Arnold, Sarah Reich,  Jason Samuels Smith, Dianne Walker, Jimmy Slyde, Barbara Duffy, Robert Reed, Prince Spencer, Harold "Stumpy" Cromer, and Heather Cornell. 

Faculty credits include American College Dance Festival 2020, Arizona State University adjunct faculty, Motor City Tap Fest, Phoenix Tap Fest, St. Louis Tap Festival, Las Vegas Tap Festival, Portland Tap Fest, Tapapalooza, Circle City Tap Fest, Wing It Tap Challenge, Oakland University, Nexus Dance Conventions, Tap Into the Network,  and more!  JMill is the producer of the Phoenix Tap Fest and Just West of Broadway, and owns JMill Productions LLC, producing arts education events all across the nation.  Her choreography has been featured at Cornell University for the American College Dance Festival, featured in Tap 24.7  original shows,  and has also been aired on ABC, AZTV7,and 3TV. Jenefer is a resident choreographer for the professional tap company Circle City Tap Co in Indiana.  In 2015, Jenefer was the proud recipient of the  Oakland University MaTilDa Award for Alumni Lifetime Achievement in Dance.  Jen was a founder and co-artistic director for Tap 24.7 for many years and is the co-founder of the AZ Tap Club.  In addition, Jen has teamed up with long time friend and colleague, Denise Caston-Clark, to form the Tap Educators Intensive, an online training program to help dance studio owners form and level up their tap programs!

Jenefer was a full time theatre teacher for over 10 years and directed more than 40 plays and musicals including Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray, 13 the Musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Grease, Into the Woods, The Outsiders, Sweeney Todd, and many more.  She has adjudicated for organizations such as Spotlight Dance Cup, Nexus Dance Competition, and the National Forensics League.  Locally, you can find her on faculty at several dance studios and performing live at the Jazz Jam with Pete Gitlin on a regular basis.  

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Brendan Kellam

21-year-old AZ native, Brendan Kellam, has been trained in jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, and ballroom; but his heart lies with tap. Brendan is a professional tap dancer who has traveled all over the U.S. to study with many masters, including Jason Samuels Smith, Nico Rubio, Aleksandr Ostanin, Jason Janas, Lady Di'Walker, Sarah Reich and the late Professor Robert L. Reed. 

Brendan has been on faculty for Wing It tap intensive, Phoenix Tap Fest, and Motor City Tap Fest. He has also been seen performing with the Phoenix-based tap company, Tap 24.7 since 2012.

At age 14, Brendan began his journey as a choreographer, and his work has been selected to perform in the Big Apple Tap Festival in New York City, and the Motor City Tap Festival  in Detroit. He currently choreographs for multiple studios across the country, and his work can be seen at many competitions, awarded numerous high accolades. Most recently, Brendan was seen competing at the World Tap Championships in Riesa, Germany, where his choreography placed 4th in the world.

Currently, Brendan is attending the University of Arizona as a dance major/Music Production Minor

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Lynnette McIntire

Lynnette Mcintire was born and raised in Boston, MA, and now lives in Oxford, MA, with her son and husband. Lynnette's dance journey started when she was 5, watching Arthur Duncan on The Lawrence Welk show. However, her dance education had to wait until she could pay for it herself starting in 1980.

 

Lynnette studied with Dianne Walker and Leon Collins. She also studied with Savion Glover, Brenda Buffalino, and the late Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, Lavaughn Robinson and  Pam Raff (all now deceased). Lynnette also studied with Boston greats Julia Boynton, Josh Hilberman, Brian Jones, and many other Beantown tap dancers. She performed in students/faculty performances at Jeannette Williams Dance Studios as a member of Julia Boynton's reportoire class and around Boston at City Hall, and The Emerson Majestic Theater among other venues. Lynnette also worked as a choreographer for many years for The Women's Service Club's 464 Community Workshop. This organization put on shows to raise money for scholarships and to send inner city children to summer camp. This was a very fulfilling experience. Lynnette was also a member of the late Carlton Jones' Street Funk dance company called The Rainbow Tribe.

 

In 1995 the jazz tap style was new to Central Massachusetts, so she taught at many local studios there including Denise Day Dance Center for 5 years, Boucher School of Dance for 13 years, Sally MacDermott Dance Center off and on for 10 years, Canty Dance Center for 5 years and Aspire Dance Center for 5 years. Lynnette teaches all levels and ages from toddlers to seniors. Her oldest student was 92! She teaches choreography for dance competitons, competition level production numbers, groups, and solos, duets and trios. Lynnette continued as a guest teacher at many studios in Massachusetts and Connecticut right up to the COVID pandemic.

 

In July 2016, Lynnette lost her right leg below the knees due to diabetes. However, Aspire Dance Center asked her to remain on their staff. She started with an assistant from her wheelchair for her beginner level classes. For all the higher level competition classes she was on her own. These students were very familiar with her style and demonstrated for her as needed. When she began rehab she taught with a walker, then a cane. When she was fitted for her prosthetic Lynnette had custom made taps and continued as before. In 2017 at a competition, Lynnette won an award for her choreography for her dance PA-65000. I hope that the dancers on stage who saw a one legged tap dancers win an award for choreography taught them not to give up on their passions, no matter what. In 2019, at age 59, Lynnette participated in the Spartan Race at Fenway Park where she received a medal. This was on her bucket list.

 

Lynnette has been a dance educator for 41 years and plans to teach for at least 41 more, because DANCE = LIFE!!

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Mary Wall

Mary Wall has studied and taught dance in a variety of settings: small studios, park and recreation programs, colleges, and professional studios. As a teacher, she is able to combine her experiences from all of these environments to provide adult tap dance students with training that is appropriate for their age and ability and in a setting that is comfortable, supportive, and non-threatening.

 

At the age of 5, Mary began her formal dance training at Miss Lynn’s School of Dance in Buffalo, NY, where she studied tap, ballet, jazz, and gymnastics. When it became evident that Mary would not be tall enough to be a Rockette, her parents redirected her interest in the performing arts towards the world of theatre, and she began taking acting classes at the Studio Arena Theatre, also in Buffalo, NY.

 

Mary earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with an emphasis on acting and theatre management from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. After completing her degree, Mary spend many years working in the computerized ticketing industry. During this time, she lived in Los Angeles and New York, which allowed her to continue her dance training at a variety of studios, including the Dupree Dance Academy in Los Angeles, CA, and the Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in New York City. In 1991, Mary, her husband Scott, daughter Teagan, and son Geoff moved to the Phoenix area. She began teaching dance in 1998 at MBBC Dance in Tempe, AZ. In 2002, she was hired as an adjunct faculty member for Maricopa Community Colleges where she taught Tap Dance and Musical Theatre Dance at Mesa, Scottsdale, and Chandler-Gilbert Community Colleges. At Mesa Community College, she was the director of their Tap Ensemble, MCC On Tap, from 2003 – 2015. While teaching at the community colleges, Mary discovered a love for teaching adults and developed a tap dance curriculum designed for adults with no previous dance experience.

 

In 2013, Mary opened Wall-2-Wall Tap Dance Center in Tempe, AZ, an all tap dance studio for adults. The studio offered multiple levels of tap dance classes which ranged from classes for total beginners (Never-2-Late Tap Dance) through intermediate level classes. The schedule often included classes that were specific to various styles and pieces of traditional tap dance choreography, including soft shoe, time steps, the Shim Sham Shimmy, the B.S. Chorus, the Copesetic Chair Dance, etc. Wall-2-Wall Tap Dance Center was also the home to the HeartBeat Tap Ensemble, an all adult performing tap group that made appearances at various events in the Phoenix area, including parades, charity events, nursing homes, Phoenix Suns games, and tap festivals, including the Phoenix Tap Fest and the Las Vegas Tap Festival.  In 2019, her studio won Sceenvision Media’s National Corner Stories contest, which honors one small business each year with a short feature film that is shown nationwide as part of the pre-movie entertainment. Wall-2-Wall Tap Dance Center was closed in 2021 due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Oleksandr Ostanin

Aleksandr Ostanin currently lives in Boston, but is from Odessa, Ukraine.  He is a 4 times World Tap Dance Champion, Winner of So You Think You Can Dance Ukraine, Season 1, Top 10 boys for So You Think You Can Dance USA (Season 16), and the coach of the National Tap Dance Team in 2018 and 2019.

He is the director of the Odessa Tap Festival, and the founder of Ostanin Dance Centre.