Meet Our Staff
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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 went on to study vocal technique with renowned instructor Jeffrey Skouson in Las Vegas, NV. She taught private voice and piano lessons at Rising Stars and Grayslake North High School before opening BCS 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 show choirs around the country for over 18 years. Sara continues to perform as a dueling pianist when she can, and arranges music for nationally recognized 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!
competition team director, BCS Company director
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.
Elevation Team Director
Ms. Alayna has over 16 years of dance academy training in the following genres: jazz, ballet/pointe, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and tap. Alayna has instructed, choreographed, and served as a teaching aid for several different dance courses. Additionally, Alayna was selected as the lead role in her company’s annual production on several occasions. At that time, Alayna was the youngest dancer in the academy’s history to be awarded a lead role. Alayna also modeled for dance photography that was featured in several exhibitions and appeared in Chicago Spirit magazine. Alayna’s passion and talent for dance led her to dance competitively where she successfully competed for 6 years at various dance competitions and conventions, often earning top scores and placing high in individual and group categories. In high school, Alayna went on to participate as an IHSA All-Conference Dance Team member and captain of the Varsity Dance Team and was named UDA All American dancer. Alayna went on to study dance at Western Michigan University while she performed and competed as a Division 1 student-athlete on the WMU Dance Team. As a dance team member, Alayna was awarded Rookie of the Year, Rising Star, Vet of the Year and was voted by her peers and Coach to serve as Dance Team Captain.
Alayna graduated from Western Michigan University in May of 2021 with a degree in Public Relations, a minor in Dance and a minor in Event Management. Alayna is currently involved with a non-profit organization that promotes mental health and personal development in children/adolescents. She is very excited to share her knowledge and skill set with the BCS dancers and encourage them to achieve their best potential.
voice, piano, violin & acting 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!
dance instructor, BCS Alumni
Ms. Kat has been dancing for 18 years and began competing at age 12 with Beyond Center Stage. She trained in jazz, hip hop, ballet, contemporary, and lyrical, performing several group numbers, duos, trios, and solos. She was awarded first place awards and convention scholarships, as well as the highest score of an entire competition. Throughout high school, Kat was a four year member of the York Community Varsity Dance Team, winning the IHSA Competitive Dance Class 3A State Champion title her senior year. In college, Kat was a four year member of the Illinettes Dance Team, the official dance team of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in which Kat and her team performed at every home football and basketball game, as well as community and special performances. Kat had the opportunity to dance at the 2019 Bowl Game in San Francisco, California as well as the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland. Kat held leadership positions including fundraising chair for two years, as well as squad leader her senior year. Kat also choreographed several pieces including jazz, hip hop, and pom sidelines, features, and halftime routines. Kat was nominated by captains and the Big Ten Spirit Program staff for the Big Ten All Conference Dance Team, as well as awarded All Big Ten Academic. Kat was also a member, club officer, and choreographer of the club Mindful Movement on campus, where dancers choreographed combinations for other college-aged students in a low-stress, no performance atmosphere.
Kat received her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences and is currently attending Rush University Medical Center for her doctorate in occupational therapy. Kat is excited to continue her love of dancing through teaching at the studio that trained her to be the dancer she is!
Zachary L. Gray
Mr. Zach is so happy to be teaching at BCS. He loves leading drama class because it is a great foundation for building life skills. As a director/choreographer, Mr. Zach 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 is a member of Actors’ Equity and has an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University, a BA in Theater Performance from Columbia College, and will soon have a BS in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago.
J’Nae Howard is originally from Nashville, TN and recently moved to Chicago to pursue her career as a professional dancer. Prior to her move, she received her BFA in Dance from Southeast Missouri State University where she spent four years diligently training, studying and choreographing in dance! Throughout her college career, she has worked with numerous guest artists and has had multiple choreographic opportunities that have shaped her into the artist she is today. In addition to joining the team at Beyond Center Stage, J’Nae is also excited to begin her journey as an Emerging Artist with South Chicago Dance Theatre!
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!
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.
acting & tumbling instructor, admin, BCS Alumni
Alexa Petrando is super excited to be a part of the BCS staff. Alexa developed a love for the performing arts when she was two years old at her mother’s summer show choir camp, Rising Stars. Alexa is proud to have trained with Ms. Sara at BCS for over 9 years (voice and piano). She also took a variety of dance classes at BCS through the years, and she is now a proud staff member since summer 2021. Alexa is currently studying Choral Music Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she enjoys singing in the choir, participating in student musicals, and having fun in social activities through her sorority and on campus. Alexa is grateful for the opportunity to continue her BCS journey and can’t wait to meet new students and families along the way!
voice, piano, 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!
tumbling instructor, studio associate
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
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.
virtual customer service
Bio coming soon!
virtual customer service
Bio coming soon!