• Kirsten Uttich
  • Jennifer Pfaff Yonally
  • Kurt Schweitz
  • Aimee Chase
  • Isaac Stauffer
  • Sterling Harris
  • Molly Smith
  • Ali Calamoneri
  • Bailey Caves
  • Heather Latakas
  • Zoe Lesser
  • Alexander Pasker
  • Case Prime
Kirsten Uttich

Kirsten Uttich

Company Member, Rehearsal Director

Kirsten began training with the Jensen School of Performing Arts at the age of 3 in her hometown, San Jose, Calif.  She came to Illinois by way of college, receiving a BS in Fitness and Sport and a Minor in Dance at Millikin University.  Since her move to Chicago in 2009, she has danced with Cartier Collective (dir. Julie Cartier) and joined in multiple works with Dance Chance Chicago, Audible Odyssey, and Jump Rhythm Jazz Project (dir. Billy Siegenfeld).  Her favorite part about living in Chicago is the abundance of opportunities to support other dance companies and fine arts organizations on a regular basis.  Kirsten enjoys traveling to take class at festivals all around the states including the Twin Cities Tap Festival and LA Tap Fest, where she has had the pleasure to work with Brenda Bufalino, Sam Weber, Nicholas Van Young, Dianne Walker, Jason Samuels Smith, and more.  This is Kirsten’s tenth year as a performing dancer and her fifth year as Rehearsal Director.  Some of her favorite shows include We Will Tap You, Liaison, Tightwire, Changes, and Sweet Tap Chicago.  She has choreographed a number of pieces for CTT over the years, recently “Superstar” and “Wanna Be Cool” for the 15th anniversary season, a trio of New Year’s celebration dances for Tidings of Tap, and most recently “The Guys’ Groove” for Sweet Tap Chicago.  Thanks to my family for never missing a show and simply being the best!

Jennifer Pfaff Yonally

Jennifer Pfaff Yonally

Company Member, Business Manager

Jennifer Pfaff Yonally (Woodbridge, VA) fell in love with dance at the age of 7.  Originally aspiring to be a ballet dancer, Jen trained intensively under Ann Boyle at Dance Etc. School of the Arts.  The wealth of the arts in the Washington DC area afforded her the opportunity to take master classes & residencies from many well-known ballet companies that toured through the area.  She even had the opportunity to perform on the Kennedy Center stage!  Fascinated with all aspects of dance, Jen decided to learn the ins and outs of running a dance organization by receiving her B.S. in Dance Management from Oklahoma City University.  This is where Jen discovered the uniquely expressive abilities of tap dance to tell stories, covey emotions, and conjure beautiful rhythms. Upon graduation, Jen moved to Chicago and became a founding dancer of Chicago Tap Theatre, and as Business Manager, has been an integral part of the company’s development.  She was also integral in successfully developing the dance program at the Beverly Arts Center, serving as Dance Coordinator from 2004-2010.  Not content to keep her feet still, Jen recently received her MBA with a Certificate in Accounting from North Park University and is excited to continue pushing CTT to the next level of innovation and excellence.

Kurt Schweitz

Kurt Schweitz

Music Director

Kurt Schweitz has become one of Chicago’s most sought after bassists, “whose handsome tone anchors a billowing technique”, as stated in a recent review by Neil Tesser, author of “The Playboy Guide to Jazz”. While best known as a jazz bassist, Schweitz is a multi-genre multi-instrumentalist and composer having been playing various musical instruments since age 4. After moving to Chicago to pursue a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Chicago, Schweitz quickly become an active member of Chicago’s burgeoning music scene and has also performed internationally on stages in London, Paris, NY, at the Aberdeen Jazz Festival in Scotland, and Beijing, China. Back home, his schedule has included over 2,500 performances at venues such as the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Jay Pritzker Pavillion at Millenium Park, the South Shore Jazz and Heritage Festival, Meet the Composer, Chicago Humanities Festival, Asian-American Jazz Festival, and Milwaukee Jazz in the Park Festival. Locally, he can regularly be found at Chicago’s many jazz clubs and on dozens of local jazz and rock recordings. Schweitz regularly performs with jazz, rock, and classical groups, and his music uses these influences to contemporaneously unfold the deep roots of these musical genres into a cohesive whole. He has received an Individual Artist grant from the Illinois Arts Council and a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events to write, perform, and record original music.

Aimee Chase

Aimee Chase

Company Member

Aimee Chase began dancing at the age of 4 at Miller’s Dance Studio in Aurora, Colorado.  During her years there, she competed and performed all around the country and on cruise ships.  She had the opportunity to train in a variety of styles from many incredible mentors, but one of her favorite experiences was Michael Minery’s tap intensive, Slide.  After high school, Aimee studied Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and was a member of the CU Express Dance Team for 2 years.  After graduation, she suffered from what some might call a ‘quarter-life crisis,’ and decided to move to Chicago for an adventure.  She was anxious to immerse herself in the Chicago dance community and was immediately inspired by Mark Yonally and Chicago Tap Theatre and their ability to tell stories through intricate and technical tap steps.  This is Aimee’s 6th season in Chicago Tap Theatre, and she is thrilled to have found such a wonderful dance family and dance alongside such exceptional talent!  Thank you to my family and friends, both near and far, for their constant love and support!

 

Isaac Stauffer

Isaac Stauffer

Company Member

Isaac Stauffer, from the green fields of Iowa, grew up dancing since the age of 4.  His childhood training took place at Stairway to the Stars with Aerial Energy, who brought in many guest artists and working with Tyler Haydon of Tap Dogs really solidified his interest in tap for the future. He furthered his education at the University of Iowa where he worked with many award winning choreographers and received his BA in Dance and Elementary Education.  After his time at Iowa and a dance tour to the Dominican Republic, Los Angeles, and Chicago, he fell in love with the city and arrived permanently to pursue his tap dream.  Chicago Tap Theater’s innovative and advanced rhythmic style really intrigued him.  In 2004, he received the honor to guest artist in CTT’s LoveTaps and hasn’t looked back.  The thrill of performing to live music with CTT’s unique approach to concert tap has brought him back time and time again as he begins his sixth season with Chicago Tap Theatre!

Sterling Harris

Sterling Harris

Touring Apprentice

Sterling, a Chicago native, fell in love with tap at the age of six and hasn’t stopped dancing since. At age 11, Sterling joined Studio One Dance Theatre where he was exposed to other styles of dance and acting—all while continuing to tap. After enrolling at Northwestern University in 2014, Sterling joined Tonik Tap, Northwestern’s premier tap group, and remained a member throughout his collegiate years. He had the privilege of serving as Artistic Director of Tonik Tap his senior year under the mentorship of Billy Siegenfeld. Sterling graduated from Northwestern in June 2018 with a B.A. in Neuroscience and is currently a research assistant for the Center for Community Health in the Feinberg School of Medicine. While he has a wide array of interests in the arts and healthcare, tap has remained at the forefront of his passions. Sterling has had the opportunity to choreograph and perform in a variety of shows, concept videos, and independent projects ranging various dance styles, but he particularly enjoys bringing tap to new audiences. Sterling is excited to have the opportunity to continue to learn and grow as he starts his second season with CTT and couldn’t be more grateful to be able to continue doing what he loves.

Molly Smith

Molly Smith

Touring Apprentice, Company Manager

Molly Smith grew up dancing at Dance Productions in Charlotte, NC, where she trained in various styles including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, and hip hop. Molly had the opportunity to attend tap conventions and workshops throughout the country and train with many artists including Mark Goodman, Lisa LaTouche, and Aaron Tolson. She continued her studies at Oklahoma City University, where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Dance Management and performed and stage managed with the American Spirit Dance Company and the Spirit of Grace Dancers, graduating Summa Cum Laude and with Honors. Molly is so excited for her second season with CTT, and she is so grateful for her family, friends, teachers, fellow dancers, and Mark and Jen for believing in her.

Ali Calamoneri

Ali Calamoneri

Apprentice, Social Media Coordinator

Ali Calamoneri is brand new to the Chicago area from Hillsborough, NJ. She began tap dancing at the age of three under Kathleen Cirioli, and quickly culminated a passion for it. She is a 2018 Cum Laude graduate from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in Dance with concentrations in Performance, Choreography, and Education. At Muhlenberg, Ali studied under Shelley Oliver, where she had the opportunity to tour the Allentown area for two years with a JazzTap Ensemble that focused on community outreach for public schools and assisted living homes. She was also fortunate enough to travel abroad to Arezzo, Italy for a semester, where she studied various forms of dance. She was an Apprentice under The Lady Hoofers in Philadelphia, and is thrilled to have found herself in Chicago Tap Theatre for the 2019-2020 season. Ali thanks her parents for their unyielding support for her to pursue her passion!

Bailey Caves

Bailey Caves

Apprentice

Bailey started her dance career at the age of two at Dancentre South in Woodstock, GA under the direction of Annie Day and Marcus Alford. She trained and performed a variety of styles at DCS such as: tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary, African, and musical theatre.  While training at DCS, she performed at the Nutcracker of Cherokee County, BalletFest, Jazz on Tap Festival, Disney World, the Panoply Festival, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Having found her life passion in dance, she attended Oklahoma City University to pursue dance as a career. Bailey is a 2017 Magna Cum Laude graduate with a B.S. in Dance Management. She performed as a company member of the American Spirit Dance Company, directed by Jo Rowan as well as the OCU Pep Dancers, directed and led by Alana Martin. Bailey is ecstatic to be back with Chicago Tap Theatre for her 3rd season!

 

Heather Latakas

Heather Latakas

Apprentice

Heather began dancing at Dance Academy of Antioch at the age of four under the direction of Amy Hunter. Her love for dance quickly blossomed into a lifelong passion. Although she trained in a variety of styles, including jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and musical theatre, tap was always her favorite. Heather expanded her tap training by attending Chicago Human Rhythm Project and taking classes through their Youth Tap Ensemble Conference. Heather pursued a career in dance by attending Oklahoma City University, where she attained a BPA in Dance Performance and expanded her knowledge of teaching and choreographing, while performing in several shows with the American Spirit Dance Company. During her collegiate years, she had the opportunity to spend a summer interning for Chicago Tap Theatre and performing as an Evil Henchperson in their reproduction of Changes (2016). Having fallen in love with the company and the work it produced, Heather is extremely thankful to be a part of Chicago Tap Theatre and work alongside of so many talented people!

Zoe Lesser

Zoe Lesser

Apprentice

Zoe Lesser, originally from Los Angeles, began tap dancing at 7 years old, when Alfred Desio noticed her watch his class every week and invited her in. In the following years she was mentored by Hiroshi Hamanishi, Denise Scheerer, and Melinda Sullivan. She has performed at the San Pedro Arts Festival, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Zipper Hall and is a former member of the Colburn Tap Ensemble. She graduated from Skidmore College this past year with degrees in Theater and English. She currently works at Steppenwolf Theatre Company as the LookOut Producing Apprentice. She is incredibly grateful to be a part of the CTT community and looks forward to learning and growing under Mark’s guidance.

Alexander Pasker

Alexander Pasker

Apprentice

Alexander Pasker was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, where he studied dance under Brenda Paulsen. In 2019, Alexander graduated from Hope College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Hope College, he trained and performed under Sharon Wong, Jason Janas, Steven Iannacone, and Mark Yonally. Alexander now lives and trains in Chicago where he is excited to spend his first year with Chicago Tap Theatre!

Case Prime

Case Prime

Apprentice

Case Prime, from Lake George, NY, started taking tap at the young age of 4 years old. Eventually he went on to study ballet, contemporary, and modern dance.  At age 14 he began his career as a teacher and choreographer at Starlet Dance Works in Queensbury NY. Once he turned 15, Case traveled to New York City and was accepted as a member of the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap City Youth Ensemble where he had the opportunity to work under amazing artists such as Michelle Dorrance and Brenda Buffalino. Case is currently a freshman at Columbia College Chicago, studying Music Composition and Audio Production, and is very excited to be starting his apprenticeship with Chicago Tap Theatre.