Meet Our Staff!

Miss Kate - Studio Director, Instructor

Kate started dancing at the age of 9 in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. She studied Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Modern in the Milwaukee area. She moved to the La Crosse area to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology. While in college, she performed with UW-L's Kinesis Dance Theatre. Miss Kate is a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and Dance Masters of Wisconsin. She is a Certified Master Dance Educator (MDE) through Chicago National Association of Dance Masters where she is on the Board of Directors. Miss Kate is also certified and licensed in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT). She enjoys attending dance conventions and dance training schools throughout the year. Kate has been teaching dance throughout the Coulee Region since 2010 and is currently a performer and Rehearsal Director with Affinity for Dance, a semiprofessional dance company based in La Crosse. She has experience teaching all ages and abilities and hopes to inspire her students to love dance as much as she does.

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Miss Hannah - Instructor, Company Coordinator

Miss Hannah started dancing at the age of 5 in Oregon, Wisconsin. She studied Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and Musical Theatre. Miss Hannah began assisting classes at the age of 10, learning teaching techniques from a variety of instructors and began to teach her own classes shortly after graduating high school. She moved to the La Crosse area to attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology. While in college, Miss Hannah continued to dance in productions of The Nutcracker Ballet back home and also started performing with Affinity for Dance, a semiprofessional dance company based in La Crosse. Miss Hannah is a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Hannah began teaching at Applause in 2015 and hopes to help all of our students find the joy in dance whether they plan to continue their dance education after high school or just use it as an extracurricular to get moving and have fun! During the daytime you can find her working as the Exhibit & Group Coordinator at The Children’s Museum of La Crosse. In her free time Miss Hannah enjoys hanging out at home, spending time with her husband, Peter (who was also a dancer and is someone you will probably see from time to time helping out at the studio or recitals).

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Miss Nicole - Instructor

Miss Nicole was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and began her dance training at a young age, studying ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, contemporary, and theatre dance. In high school, she performed throughout Wisconsin and Illinois with Midwest Connection Dance Company and was a featured dancer for Radio Disney. After earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Arts Administration/Dance from Viterbo University, she continued her dance education at various conventions and master classes throughout the country. Her choreography and teaching credits include Anita's Dance Center, A Leap Above Dance, Verona Youth Ballet, Madison Contemporary Vision Dance Company, Dane County Hawks Dance Team, La Crosse Area YMCA, Appleseed Community Theatre, and currently Applause Dance Academy. She is a member of Chicago National Association of Dance Masters (CNADM) and is on the scholarship committee for Dance Masters of Wisconsin (DMW). Nicole is the Artistic Director of Affinity for Dance, a nonprofit dance company connecting dancers in the Coulee Region in order to produce creative, collaborative, cause-driven performance art. She is ever grateful to Charmaine Ristow, Natalie Nemeckay, Jeannie Hill, Nikki Balsamo, and Tammy Schmidt for molding her into the dancer and teacher she is today.

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Miss Kelsie - Instructor

Miss Kelsie began her passion for dance at Encore Dance Academy in the Twin Cities area. She took part in Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. Her family moved to Appleton, WI where she continued studio dance, but also was part of the Appleton East Dance Team in high school, competing in Pom, Hip Hop, and choreographing for Friday night basketball and football games. Miss Kelsie was also part of the Theater Department throughout high school, showing her involvement in dance core as well as lead roles throughout the years. She was involved in forensics (competitive speaking), which took up most of her time during the competitive season. Once she graduated high school, Miss Kelsie attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She graduated with a double major in Public Administration and Sociology with an emphasis including urban policy and juvenile reform. During her time at UW-L, she was also part of the LC Hip Hop Dance Team, leading the team as Captain for three years. They performed at college basketball games, community events, and local dance marathons, as well as hosting an end of the year show to raise funds for local charities. She is currently pursuing her interest in obtaining a Doctorate in Education Administration while working as the Administrative Assistant at North Woods International School in La Crosse.

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Miss Liz - Instructor

Miss Liz started dancing at the age of four in Nekoosa, Wisconsin. She studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Hip Hop, and Modern. After dancing for many years, her favorite dance partner remains her younger sister. Throughout high school, Miss Liz danced and choreographed for Nekoosa’s Dance Team and other community fundraisers. Currently a student at Viterbo University, Liz is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Biology with minors in Dance and Sports Science. Someday she hopes to blend her loves for dance and kinesiology through working in injury prevention for dancers. Liz continues to perform in the Coulee region with Affinity for Dance, a semiprofessional dance company based in La Crosse. Miss Liz is very excited to be a member of the the Applause family and to work with wonderful dancers!

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Jessica Chaffee - Desk Assistant

Jessica grew up in Tomah, where she danced at Marilyn School of Dance and was on the middle and high school dance teams. Following high school, she attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV/Film with a minor in Psychology. She was also on the UW Oshkosh Dance Team and worked in the Academic Advising office. Jessica currently works at WKBT News 8 as their Sales and Public Service Coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee, going to Skillet concerts, and spending time with family, friends, and animals.

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