MEET OUR STAFF
Sara is a singer/dancer who got her start at the Artistic Dance Academy in Wisconsin. As a young performer, she appeared in the ballet A Christmas Carol, and was a featured ballet dancer in The Wizard of Oz. Sara continued her arts training through college where she studied classical, musical theatre, and jazz voice, as well as piano, flute, alto saxophone, and percussion. On a scholarship, Sara continued her dance training at Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago, and was also privileged to attend masterclasses at the Broadway Dance Center in New York. Sara obtained her B.A. in Music from Elmhurst University (summa cum laude) with an emphasis in voice and music theory. Sara’s professional credits include Chicago Keys, Six Flags Great America, Heart & Soul Chicago (music director), the Spirit of Chicago Cruise Lines, the Gaslight Club, Broadway in Chicago Concert Series, radio spots, video game soundtracks, and stage and pit for such musicals as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cabaret, The Drowsy Chaperone, and The Wedding Singer.
Sara had the wonderful opportunity to study Speech Level Singing with Jeffrey Skouson in Las Vegas, NV, and shortly after, she began teaching privately. Sara taught private voice and piano lessons at Rising Stars and Grayslake North High School before opening Beyond Center Stage with Brynn Arseneau in 2009.
In addition to teaching privately, Sara is also an accomplished music arranger, composer, producer, clinician and adjudicator, and has been working with middle school and high school show choirs around the country for over 16 years. Sara continues to perform as a dueling pianist when she can, and arranges music for nationally renowned show choirs each season. She also enjoys playing and recording music with her incredibly talented husband, Brandon, and teaching piano lessons & solfège scales to her son, Desmond!
Ms. Jen has been dancing for over twenty years and is an experienced student, teacher, choreographer, and performer. Growing up in Elmhurst, Jen competed with local dance studios in jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, and musical theater for nearly ten years. In addition to competing regionally and nationally, Jen also became captain of her state finalist high school dance team. Jen has had the opportunity to train with Emmy-winning choreographers, Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, and Travis Wall, among others. She has also performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and with the American Ballet Theatre. Jen also had the opportunity to train with New York City’s Broadway Dance Center. Jen attended Western Michigan University where she was a dancer and choreographer for their dance team for three years. She received the “Most Valuable Dancer” award her sophomore year on the dance team for her talent, hard work, and dedication.
Jen received her B.S. in Special Education and M.S.Ed in Literacy and ESL, but continues to teach dance as it has always been a huge part of her life. Jen is the Director of the BCS Company and has received various awards for her choreography, including a National Championship and Highest Overall Score. She is also the director of the Beyond Barriers program at BCS. She loves to share her passion for dance and looks forward to working with and meeting new students.
Jan Augustine is a seasoned instructor and performer who has danced for Chicago Festival Ballet, SSPA Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago and DuPage Opera Theater. She has danced as a principal dancer, soloist and in the corps de ballet in various operas including La Traviata, Carmen, and The Merry Widow. She has also choreographed Amahl & the Night Visitors and Cosi Fan Tutte for DuPage Opera Theater. In addition to ballet and opera, Jan danced as a soloist for Broadway Dances and Franklin Avenue Dance Company. She has performed in more than 30 musicals, including West Side Story for Theater at the Center, Chicago for Buffalo Theater Ensemble and as Charity in Sweet Charity. Ms. Jan has choreographed numerous productions for Wheaton College Opera Music Theatre, most recently Rodgers & Hart, A Celebration. She has taught at Academy of Dance Arts, School of the Salt Creek Ballet, and Gotta Dance Studio, and currently teaches at Von Heidecke Ballet School, The Dance Centre, and Beyond Center Stage!
voice, piano & violin instructor
Anna Brown is so excited to be teaching for BCS! A life-long Chicagoland resident, Anna has studied music and theatre for over 15 years. She is a recent graduate from Carthage College, earning her BA in Music Theatre and has performed in a variety of venues across Chicagoland, including the Goodman Theatre and Six Flags Great America. While at Carthage, Anna served as music director for the co-ed music fraternity as well as an accompanist for various recitals. She has taught private music lessons for over 5 years now and has previously worked as a Music Theatre teacher for CYT Chicago.
Anna has also competed in several voice and acting competitions, placing 3rd in both the 2019 and 2020 Chicago NATS Music Theatre competitions as well as a semi-finalist for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition through the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. As a teacher and active performer, Anna is always looking for new ways to learn and share her passion for the arts and always strives to create a fun and educational atmosphere for all students!
Kassi Bosco is an accomplished performer, teacher, and choreographer from Columbus, GA. Kassi is a graduate from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance. At VSU, Kassi was a 4-year member of the award-winning dance team, The Valdosta State Red Hots. On the team, she was a two time NDA All American. During her senior year as captain, she led the team to a National Championship in the Hip Hop Division.
While in her major at VSU, Kassi was a member and featured soloist of the SWAdance company performing at several conferences such as ACDA and The Modern Atlanta Dance Festival. She's trained with several company directors such as George Staib, of Staib Dance, and Kristin O'Neal, of Core Dance.
Kassi is a former dance and Head instructor with the Universal Dance Association (UDA), where she traveled the southeast instructing Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Pom, and Kick dance to students of all levels. Kassi still choreographs for numerous Dance Teams across the southeast.
Kassi spent the last 3 years as the Assistant Director and Competition Director at Academy Dance Center located in Columbus, GA. While at the Academy, Kassi was the Contemporary, Hip Hop, and Dance Team Director. As Competition Director, Kassi led her teams through many fun-filled successful seasons packed with Numerous Choreography Awards and Judges Choice Awards. While in Columbus, Kassi also coached St Luke School's middle school dance team and was a Pro Dancer for the Alzheimer's Associations Dancing with the Stars Columbus Chapter.
Kassi is a new resident of Chicago and is excited to start her journey with BCS! She hopes to show her BCS students her dedication to their individual growth and innovative techniques to guarantee a fun class environment!
Zachary L. Gray
acting & dance instructor
Mr. Zach so happy to be teaching at Beyond Center Stage! He spent the last few years in Seattle earning his MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. As a director/choreographer, he works around the country and proudly calls Chicago home. Local credits include work with Boho Theatre, Victory Gardens, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakes, and The Performer’s School, as well as directing the 2019 world premiere of Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish at The Greenhouse Theater. Zach also has a BA in Theater Performance from Columbia College and is a member of Actors’ Equity.
Sydney Jones, originally from Westmont, is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She began her training at the Center for Dance under the direction of Jan Forster. As a part of their competition company for six years, she earned multiple awards including Third Runner-Up to Miss IDC at the International Dance Challenge Nationals in 2013. She attended the Chicago Academy for the Arts for high school where she worked with teachers and choreographers such as Randy Duncan, Nick Pupillo, and Lizzie Mackenzie. She graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in jazz dance from Point Park University, where she worked with choreographers including Aszure Barton, Kiesha Lalama, and Colleen Hooper. She has choreographed five concert dance pieces, two of which were presented at the Inaside Choreographic Sponsorship. Most recently, she choreographed for New Dances 2020 with Thodos Dance Chicago and DanceWorks Chicago. This year, she begins her first season as an Emerging Artist with South Chicago Dance Theatre and is teaching and choreographing all around the Chicagoland area. She is so excited to be teaching at Beyond Center Stage!
Kristina is an active member of the voice acting community. She can be heard on the radio, TV and digitally in spots for ComEd, Fisher Nuts, BrightStar Care, SpeedWay, TopGolf, and many more. Under a psuedonym, she has narrated over 75 audiobooks, from romance to mystery, young adult to non-fiction. Kristina, a trained actor, worked in professional theater for a decade. She’s studied under JoAnna Akalaitis, Patrick Fraley, Andi Arndt, Sean Allen Pratt, and Richard Corley, among others. She attended the British American Drama Academy, and she graduated from Bard College, with a BA in Liberal Arts majoring in Theater.
dance & tumbling instructor
Cheryl Leahy has studied acrobatics, tumbling, jazz, tap, ballet, drama and voice from various instructors . She was a professional acrobatic/contortionist for over 10 yrs where she appeared on NBC as well as other telethons & television shows. She has been teaching for over 25 years at a variety of locations in the northwest suburbs including 10+ years of having her own Competitive Dance & Tumbling Teams. Cheryl also is a certified group ex instructor & certified in Zumba & WerQ for adults & children. She is a mom of 2 daughters, working part time as a nanny. She adds a new approach to her classes from her variety of experiences.
Lucia has been trained in dance for over twenty years with experiences in performing, teaching, and choreographing. As a child, Lucia began her dance journey in the northwest suburbs where she trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, and hip hop, which continued throughout high school. She competed on multiple dance companies throughout her childhood, and competed on her state championship high school dance team, the Lake Park Lancettes, where she became one of the captains her senior year.
Lucia continued her education in dance at the University of Iowa. She was a part of the University of Iowa Dance Club, one of the biggest clubs on campus, where she choreographed multiple dances, along with performing at school functions and benefit shows. Some of the teachers she has learned from throughout her career include award winners Sonya Tayeh, Travis Wall, Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, and Yanis Marshall. She has also learned from local Chicago teachers Trae Turner of Boomcrack Dance Company, Suavé of Hip Hop Connxion, Avnun Yakubov, Homer Bryant, and Watmora Casey. As she graduated college with a BA degree in Communication Studies, she choreographed state winning routines for the Lake Park Lancettes, and taught around the Chicagoland area.
Lucia continues to pursue her dance career as a member of the 21 plus dance company “DSP” out of Schaumburg, IL. She takes classes from multiple choreographers, and also has opportunities to choreograph for the company. She is excited to share her passion and knowledge of dance and looks forward to meeting and teaching new students!
voice, piano & musical theatre instructor
Amy is super excited to find her way to Beyond Center Stage! She holds a BA in musical theatre from Illinois State University, and for the past 10 years has been seen as an actress and musician all over the Chicagoland area. Amy was a company member at Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences for many years, and has also worked as a character performer in Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Recenly, Amy performed as a back-up singer in a Carpenters band, touring across the nation. Amy is also a singer/songwriter and enjoys playing in cabaret venues in Chicago. She began teaching, singing and acting all over the suburbs 7 years ago, and she loves every second of it. Children give her inspiration and energy to help them be the absolute best performers they can be and have fun doing it!
Tatyana Mazur was trained at the world famous Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg. Following her graduation from the Vaganova Academy she danced with the Odessa Opera in Ukraine and the Moscow Ballet where she enjoyed international touring to India, Ceylon, Jordan and Egypt.
After the termination of the Kiev Theatrical University and Kiyevo-Mogilyansky Academy of dance, Tatyana became the head of the choreography department of the Kiev’s School of The Arts, where she staged many classical ballets as well as her own choreography for the classical ensemble or the “Yaroslavna” ensemble. She served as Artistic Director for 10 years where she led tours to Germany, Israel, France and Poland.
After relocating to the USA, Tatyana worked for 5 years as a professor at Akron University, teaching their highest-level students. She moved to Chicago on 2002 forwork as the Ballet Mistress of Faubourg Ballet. From 2017-2019 she served as a key ballet teacher at Salt Creek Ballet.
Tatyana’s students have gone on to countless ballet companies across the United States, Canada and Europe.
Tatyana has prepared many students for participation in the prestigious competition Youth America Grand Prix where her students in 2005 and 2011 became winners in the Ensemble category and in 2011 one of her students was a winner at the New York finals. Tatyana was awarded the prestigious honor of “Best Ballet Teacher” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 by YAGP.
Tatyana has staged and set various classical ballet’s and variations including Swan Lake, Snow Maden, Snow Queen, Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Cippolini, Coppelius, Shopeniana.
Ms. Emma is a native of Elmhurst and has been an active member of the community. For the past five years, Emma has coached and led various youth sports programs, while also attending Benedictine University. She is studying her undergrad in business and working toward a career in Human Resources. While Emma often works behind the scenes of BCS, she also enjoys the performing arts and attends all dance competitions and nationals with the BCS Company. Emma is excited for the expansion of BCS and looks forward to meeting new families and students.
voice, guitar, ukulele & bass instructor
Emily Popli is an active performing vocalist, pianist and guitarist currently residing in Chicago, IL. She attended Millikin University, where she studied Commercial Music with an emphasis on vocal performance. During this time, she sang with numerous touring musical acts such as the Millikin University Choir (3 years) and the university’s flagship vocal jazz group, OneVoice (3 years) as well as singing with the school’s jazz band. Emily also grew her arranging and composing career at Millikin, releasing two full length albums, and having a song featured in a made-for-TV movie. After receiving her Bachelor of Music, she continued her performance career by playing live all over the Midwest, releasing two more records, and eventually picking up dueling pianos. She also began teaching private lessons, and completely fell in love with it. Performing so often is a constant reminder of how important proper technique is throughout the lifespan of a musician, and she loves having the opportunity to share that knowledge and experience with others. Emily looks to promote long and healthy musical careers for her students, regardless of where their musical journey takes them!
guitar, ukulele & bass instructor
Brandon Schreiner’s love of music began when he was grounded in grade school for throwing a pencil on the school bus! Wishing he could be outside playing basketball, he flipped on the radio and began his love affair with music. Brandon studied Music at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he produced an album with his band, If Then Else. Upon graduating, he participated in a national tour with the band Charlemagne, playing his original music. Currently, Brandon is an accomplished drummer and guitar player who frequently performs for musicals in the Chicago area. Brandon’s recent guitar credits include "American Idiot" (ECC), "Rent" (SPA), "Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Leader of the Pack” (Big Noise Theatre), “Annie” (Big Deal Productions) & "Godspell" (SFHS & COD). His recent drum credits include “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (Summerplace Theatre), “The Wedding Singer” (Big Deal Productions) and “The Drowsy Chaperone” (Big Noise Theatre). Bass credits include "Grease" (COD), & "Little Shop of Horrors" (SFHS). Currently, Brandon enjoys recording tracks with his wife, Sara, and playing in his bands, Optical Distortion and Overboard.
voice & piano instructor
Aimee Stuart-Flunker, a native of Oceanside, California, received her M.M. in Vocal Performance and Literature at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019 where she studied with Yvonne Redman, and her B.M. in Vocal Performance from Wheaton College in 2017 where she studied with Dr. Sarah Holman. Her past opera roles include: Mimì in La Bohème (University of Illinois, 2018), Gretel in Hansel and Gretel (University of Illinois, 2017), First Lady in The Magic Flute (Wheaton College, 2017) and Mrs. Jaffett in Noye's Fludde (Wheaton College, 2016).
Aimee has competed in the Chicago area, receiving second place in Chicago NATS 2019 competition and third place at the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Chicago NATS competition. She also was awarded the Stotler Fellowship for her time at the U of I, which included a full-tuition scholarship and stipend.
Aimee has a variety of music and non-music teaching experience. She has taught voice lessons, directed a children’s choir, and taught Public Speaking at the U of I. She loves to work one on one with students to help them see their potential and to encourage them to be the best they can be. She knows that without the influence and care of her past teachers that she would not be able to achieve what she has, and she wants to give back and do the same for her students.
Aimee lives in Wheaton, and when she is not doing anything music related, she loves to cook, bake, travel, explore new coffee shops and restaurants, do puzzles, read, hang with friends, relax, and exercise.