Danceworks On Tap (DOT) is a collective of dancers dedicated to sustaining tap dance as a recognized art form. Through education, performance and by making tap dance accessible to the community, DOT hopes to contribute to the preservation of this truly American dance form.
Danceworks On Tap was founded in 2000 by Amy Brinkman-Sustache and Patrick Kendall. Since then, the goal has been to sustain tap dance as a recognized art form through presentations, performances and community outreach events.
As a founding member of Danceworks, Amy Brinkman-Sustache has a long history with the organization as an instructor, choreographer, and administrator. Danceworks was established in 1992 and in 1998 Amy became the first Studio Director. She now serves as the Education Director for the organization. In her role, Amy oversees studio and outreach faculty and develops programs and curricula. Danceworks 50+ program, School Day Off Workshops and Summer Creative Art Camps are a few of the programs that Amy implemented over 25 years ago that still impact hundreds of participants each year.
Amy has developed and implemented creative movement-based programs for older adults that take place in the community. After years of working with older adults in the Milwaukee area, Amy was invited to present on the importance of movement for adults with a range of cognitive conditions at a conference for staff and family caregivers at an Alzheimer’s conference in 2004. In 2012 she was invited to present on the benefits of movement for aging adults for the Milwaukee Public Television series; Community Conversations. Recognizing a growing need for programming for active older adults on-site at the studio Amy developed Danceworks 50+ Initiative program which gained recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts. This program currently offers two levels of ballet and three levels of tap dance each week as part of Danceworks’ adult class offering.
As a performer, Amy has an extensive background in both dance and musical theater and has the opportunity to perform throughout Europe, California, Florida, and the Midwest.
As an educator, Amy developed a dance curriculum for Pius XI High School Theatre Arts program where she taught and choreographed concert dance and musical theatre from 1992-2000. She has had the privilege to serve on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, Dance Masters of Wisconsin and Chicago and has been on faculty at Danceworks since helping to found the organization.
Amy has dedicated much of the last 30 years toward sustaining tap dance as a recognizable art form through education and performances. In 2000 Amy founded Danceworks on Tap (DOT), Danceworks resident tap company. Amy was thrilled to have the opportunity to integrate tap dance into one of Danceworks largest programs to date, Mad Hot Rhythm (formerly known as Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap.) She has also served as the state representative for the International Tap Association.
Kelly Kotecki-Escorcia is a founding member of Danceworks On Tap. She attended UW-Milwaukee earning a BFA in dance with a K-12 certification. She has been on faculty at Danceworks since 2000 teaching and working in many roles throughout the organization. Currently, Kelly is also starting her 15th year teaching in the MPS school district at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts sharing her love of dance with young creative minds.
Annette Smedema is a dancer and physical therapist who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance/Choreography and graduated with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2018. Currently, she works in inpatient rehab at the Milwaukee VA medical center. She incorporates as much dancing as she can with the veteran’s she works with and (typically) they love it just as much as her! She has been tapping and choreographing with Danceworks On Tap since 2010 and is so happy to be tapping again this summer. In addition to being a tapper, Annette has a modern dance background and has performed with Elizabeth Johnson’s company, Your Mother Dances.
Victoria “Tori” Isaac is a dancer, educator, and creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A dancer of 18 years, Tori began cultivating her training under the mentorship of Yesenia Valverde at the Valverde School of Performing Arts in Southern California. Relocating to the Midwest, she then continued under Cait Jones of Transcendance Dance Studios in Oak Park, Illinois before pursuing dance collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Sociology. Tori has performed extensively throughout the West Coast and Midwest and has taught dance and movement education in a variety of settings, including primary schools, youth detention centers, and collegiate institutions. She is currently an outreach teaching artist with Danceworks MKE and a company member of Danceworks on Tap and Panadanza Dance Company. She is also a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Holly Heisdorf has been a part of Danceworks On Tap since 2012. She completed her BBA in finance and BA in dance from the University of Iowa and recently obtained her MBA in Finance from Concordia University Wisconsin. Holly is currently employed as the Finance Director at GMR Marketing and is also a faculty member at Nancy Dianne Studio of Dance. Additionally, Holly serves as the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Dance Masters of Wisconsin.
Kate Krause-Blaha first performed with Danceworks On Tap as a guest artist in the summer of 2016, and officially joined as a company member in 2017. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Journalism (double major) in 2009, and Masters in Library and Information Science in 2015. Kate taught for Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm (formerly Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap) for 7 years, and now spends her days as the Lead Youth Services Librarian at the New Berlin Public Library where she gets to share her love of dance, movement, and physical literacy to children in a different atmosphere!
Rachel Payden is a music, movement, and poetry lover. She first connected with Danceworks in 2006 as a student, staff and teaching faculty member, and remains a part of the Danceworks on Tap performance company! She received a Master of Divinity degree with a Concentration in Chaplaincy Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2020 and she values communities where story-sharing and creative expression support person-centered care. Rachel is currently the Manager of Student Formation & Community Engagement at Chicago Theological Seminary.
Nikki Platt has been dancing since the age of two at many of the most prestigious dance studios around the mid-west and east coast. Nikki attended Columbia College Chicago, where she studied musical theater and dance. In 2001, she made her way to NYC under scholarship and attended Broadway Dance Center where she obtained her expertise on the Broadway stage. She had the honor and privilege to work and dance with some of the hottest choreographers in “The Big Apple.” Nikki credits her tap skills to Lane Alexander, Mike Minery, Savion Glover, Michelle Dorrance, the late Gregory Hines and many more! Nikki has also directed and choreographed numerous musical productions with local groups in Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine, and the Chicago area.
Gabi Sustache, a Milwaukee native, is a performer, choreographer, and dance educator. A recent graduate from UW-Milwaukee, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the program in the Spring of 2020. She is currently a member of Danceworks On Tap, Danceworks’ resident tap dance company, and Danceworks Performance MKE. Gabi also enjoys performing with various Milwaukee-based hip hop crews, including S.A.I.N.T.S. She has had the opportunity to perform at events such as the 2019 Milwaukee Sports Awards and Summerfest. Her choreography has been featured at Milwaukee Bucks halftime performances, for several high school musical theater productions in and around the Milwaukee area and was selected in 2019 to be adjudicated at the American College Dance Association’s North Central Conference. In addition to being on the faculty at Danceworks, Gabi is also an instructor in the dance departments at Marquette University and UW-Milwaukee.
Angela Weidner began dancing at the age of three and hasn’t stopped since! She is versed in many styles, but she primarily focuses on jazz, tap with past foci on hip hop and dance team. Angela trained in the Madison, WI area for 15 years, competing at regional and national levels. In 2013, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Economics from UW-Milwaukee, minoring in Actuarial Science, Math, and Business. She is a proud alumni of the UW-Milwaukee Panther Dance Team, and she professionally danced for both the Milwaukee Brewer’s Diamond Dancers and the Milwaukee Buck’s Dancers. She has been choreographing, teaching, and coaching for numerous Milwaukee-based studios and high school dance teams throughout Wisconsin since 2010. In more recent years, Angela has been grateful to be a member of the Danceworks faculty in various capacities: Development and Programs Coordinator, Studio Faculty, Mad Hot Teaching Artist, Performer in the Ignite Hip Hop and Danceworks on Tap showcases, and member of Danceworks Performance MKE from 2019-2022. She especially loves sharing her love and passion for dance, as well as the lessons/values/healing it can instill, throughout the MKE community.
Tina Wozniak attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she earned her BFA in dance in 2001. She was the director of the Pius XI High School dance program in Milwaukee from 2002-2010 and the Bradford High School Dance Department in Kenosha, WI from 2010-2019. She is currently the Assistant Principal at Grandview High School in Milwaukee, WI. Tina has been a member of Danceworks On Tap since 2003.
For information on Danceworks On Tap, contact Amy Brinkman-Sustache, Artistic Director, at 414.277.8480 x6002 or via email.