A fresh new take on dance competitions. Our mission is to provide dancers of all levels with a fair and positive venue to showcase their talents. These weekends should be about so much more than a trophy; it’s about an experience where feedback and growth are just as important as a score. We are here to inspire and ignite your passion and love for dance!

More Than Just a Trophy
About Us

Welcome To Act 1 Talent

a fresh new take on dance competitions. Our mission is to provide dancers of all levels with a fair and positive venue to showcase their talents. These weekends should be about so much more than a trophy; it’s about an experience where feedback and growth are just as important as a score. We are here to inspire and ignite your passion and love for dance. To remind dancers that even though we come from different cities and different studios we are still a community. A score and a trophy are not here to define us as dancers. Instead they should be used as a guide intended to inspire growth and encourage hard work. By offering classes in the middle of a competition weekend we create a safe and positive environment where we can all share our true passion, dance!

We are thrilled to be partnered with top conventions, workshops, choreographers, educators, and dance agencies in the industry to provide you with even more opportunities this season. Our friendly staff, attention to detail, and passion for education will set us apart from the rest. Don’t miss your opportunity to take class and learn from our professional panel of judges & teachers. These professionals are the top in the industry and will help your dancers take the next step in their journey. We are grateful for your continued support and look forward to sharing an even bigger & better event with you.

The Staff
  • Katie Rustowicz
    Katie Rustowicz
    President & Founder
  • Scott Howard
    Scott Howard
    Technical Director
  • Dayna Minniti
    Dayna Minniti
    Road Manager & Registration Specialist
  • Kaeli Carr
    Kaeli Carr
    Team Lead & Tabulator
Katie Rustowicz
President & Founder

Katie Rustowicz is a Michigan native who grew up winning top awards in the competitive dance world.  After graduating she moved to California to continue her training under Joseph Malone at the Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles.  Her television credits include Boston Legal, Joan of Arcadia, Tracy Ullman’s “Live & Exposed” / “State of the Union” Seasons 1, 2, & 3, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Bunheads, Growing Up Fisher, and Broad City.  Katie has worked with Lily Allen, N.E.R.D, Beyonce, Herbie Hancock, Adam Levine, and more.  Commercial credits include Smithfield Ham & Gameworks.  In addition to being a working dancer in TV & Film Katie’s stage credits include productions of Evita, Peter Pan, South Pacific, a skeleton crew for Lennon the musical, American Choreography Awards, Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Boston & Providence), and numerous shows around Los Angeles.

In addition to her career as a professional dancer Katie has had numerous opportunities teaching and choreographing around the country.  Katie was thrilled to choreograph her first webisode series this past year based off the Richie Rich series.  She was a featured teacher in the Dance Spirit Convention & Competition issue.  Katie has enjoyed sharing her experience & expertise with multiple conventions & competitions as a guest judge across the country and in Canada.

Katie has been lucky enough to assist one of the industries top master teachers and educators Jackie Sleight.  She has assisted Sleight on numerous jobs, master classes, shows around Los Angeles and on her convention L.A. DanceMagic.  Katie is thrilled to step into her new position as COO of L.A. DanceMagic.  In addition she has enjoyed directing Final Cut & the LADM National Finals Banquet for the past 5 years.

In 2015 Katie started Act 1 Talent because she felt there was something missing in the competitive dance world.  To fill that void she set out on a mission to provide dancers, teachers, choreographers and parents with a positive and fair environment for dancers to showcase their talent and hard work.  A venue for dancers from around the country to come together as a community and learn alongside each other.  By hiring top industry professionals Katie hopes to provide industry insight to new generations of dancers.  She is a true believe that with hard work and passion anything is possible.

Scott Howard
Technical Director

Scott started his performance career at the age of twelve performing in numerous community theatre productions. He continued to perform through high school when he also began to develop a passion for technical theatre. This transitioned into a job at a repertory theatre in San Diego where he continued to develop his craft. Now a part of the Act 1 team, Scott has combined his experiences and taken on the role of both technical director and emcee. More than anything, Scott’s most cherished role in life is that of Katie’s husband. He has been thrilled to watch Act 1 Talent grow and watching his wife’s dreams come to life. Scott’s favorite part of the weekend is seeing our dancers receive their awards for all their hard work.

Dayna Minniti
Road Manager & Registration Specialist

Dayna began her dance training at the Ludovici Dance Academy in New Castle, PA, however it wasn’t until she reached The Pennsylvania State University that she realized dance would be such an important part of her life. After graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology, Dayna moved to New York and immediately immersed herself in the NYC dance scene and continued her teaching career as a faculty member for reputable studios outside of the city, where she directed the hip hop programs. She has traveled with NYLA Dance Convention and Competitions as a faculty teacher and judge. In 2009 Dayna took her career to Los Angles, CA and brought her teaching expertise to competitive studios in Orange County. After moving back to the east coast in 2014, Dayna was the Studio Manager and on faculty at The Edge of Dance in Mount Kisco, NY. She now lives in North Carolina with her family and is excited to watch her daughter develop her own love for dance.

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: Sour Patch Watermelons & Peanut Butter M&Ms

Favorite Act 1 Memory: Creating a Team A1T dance routine in the green room to “Wannabe” by The Spice Girls.

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: All of the wonderful friendships I have with my fellow team members.

Kaeli Carr
Team Lead & Tabulator

Born and raised in Southern California, Kaeli has extensively trained in dance for over twenty years. Kaeli has trained at many exclusive summer programs such as American Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, and Complexions Contemporary Dance. Select regional theatre: Memphis, the Musical, In The Heights, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan (Peter Pan), The Little Mermaid (Ariel), A Chorus Line (Kristine), Seussical (Mayzie). TV/Film: Law and Order SVU, Bunheads, Hannah Montana, Shake It Up, CBS’ Movie of the Week The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited dancing alongside Mary Tyler Moore, and the Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards with the Pussycat Dolls. She performed with Stiletto Entertainment aboard Holland America Line touring all around Alaska and South America. Kaeli now lives in New York pursing her Broadway career and is currently the Associate Choreographer for the new musical Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical.

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: Circus Animal Cookies

Favorite Act 1 Memory: Being the unicorn babysitter during class!

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: I love how much we all laugh, poke fun at one another, and genuinely have fun while working! We’re always looking to help one another and just make it a smooth, enjoyable weekend for not only our clients, but the staff as well!

  • Patrick Sheck
    Patrick Sheck
    Technical Director
  • Brett Michael Davenport
    Brett Michael Davenport
    Emcee
  • Shannon Lemieux
    Shannon Lemieux
    Team Member
  • Hannah Fozkos
    Hannah Fozkos
    Team Member
Patrick Sheck
Technical Director

Patrick began dancing at three years old in Los Angeles at his parent’s studio, The Performing Arts Center. He trained in tap and ballet, but upon graduating high school set his sights on attending UC Santa Cruz. After receiving his B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, he moved back to L.A. and has been able work professionally on various jobs including the Latin Grammy Awards, Cee Lo Green’s “Cry Baby” music video, and many live shows with Rhythmatic Tap Company (under the direction of Nick Young) and Tap Sounds Underground (under the direction of Gregg Russel). Now he’s in the process of taking over his family’s business and currently teaches tap, ballet, and jazz at the PAC.

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: Peanut Butter M&M’s

Favorite Act 1 Memory: The brief moment in time when I was emcee. When we had a technical issue I asked the dancers to “remove themselves” from the stage, something that I’ve never been able to forget!

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: I love how much I laugh when I’m around the Act 1 Team. We’re a big goofy family!

Brett Michael Davenport
Emcee

BRETT MICHAEL DAVENPORT is a film, television and theatre actor based in Los Angeles. He has appeared on several network television shows including Blue Bloods (CBS), Bull (CBS) and I Love You…But I Lied (LIFETIME). His theatrical work includes the Off-Broadway production Odysseus DOA (Lion Theater) and A Spot on the Wall at the New York City Fringe Festival. In addition, Brett is the writer and producer of Infirmary, a short film which explores the complexities of relationships.

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: Trail Mix and Limoncello LaCroix

Favorite Act 1 Memory: Act 1 Team Talent Competition

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: The people I work with.

Shannon Lemieux
Team Member

Growing up in Los Angeles surrounded by the arts, Shannon was inspired to turn her love for dance into a career. She is proud to call herself an alumnus of Edge Performing Art Center’s Scholarship Program, where she was mentored by staples in the dance industry including Bill Prudich, Terri Best, and Adam Parson. Some of her credits including projects such as Paula Abdul’s Straight Up! Paula Tour, The Price is Right, Splash House, and Broadway to the Rescue’s Big Fat Christmas Show. She is currently signed with Go2 Talent Agency and is living the dream. As she continues to pursue her career as dancer, Shannon also is pursuing a research-based academia career. Shannon graduated summa cum laude from Oregon State University with her B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. She has worked for the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the National Parks Service, and is currently the Student Affairs Committee Co-Chair for The Wildlife Society Western Section. With dedication and passion for both of her careers, Shannon hopes to push the boundaries both in the field and on stage. Shannon is thrilled to join the Act1 Talent team for another amazing season!

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: M&M Cookies

Favorite Act 1 Memory: Sunday A1T Team warm-ups on the stage!

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: The word team takes on a whole new meaning. You have an entire team behind your back, at all times, for whatever you need.

Hannah Fozkos
Team Member

Hannah is a Texas native and began dancing at the age of three. She recently graduated from Chapman University where she trained in jazz, ballet, modern, ballroom, and hip hop while earning a B.A. in Dance and B.S. in Kinesiology. Hannah currently resides in Los Angeles and works as an office assistant for LA Dance Magic dance convention and competition. Hannah is also in her rookie season as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team. This is Hannah’s first year with Act 1 Talent, and she is so excited to be a part of this amazing team!

  • Luke Jacobs
    Luke Jacobs
    Emcee
  • DeAnne Catterton
    DeAnne Catterton
    Team Member
Luke Jacobs
Emcee

Luke Jacobs began his arts journey sitting in the back of auditoriums and theaters watching his older sister compete in dance competitions. He was THAT kid with his nose buried in his Gameboy, peeking into rooms he shouldn’t be. He’s now a professional theatre artist going on 15 years, working predominantly in Southern California as a singer, dancer, actor, choreographer, and director. Luke believes that arts education and involvement is integral in building character and self-esteem, and loves seeing the INCREDIBLE talent onstage from these young artists at Act 1 Talent competitions. See you on the road!

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: Cheez-Itz!!

Favorite Act 1 Memory: Practicing the Dirty Dancing lift with team members Hannah and Kaeli during load-out at 1AM

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: Not every work environment has a team that absolutely busts their buns to get the job done AND have a great sense of humor about it. The Act 1 Team has the most unique on-the-job sense of humor on the road – I guarantee it!

DeAnne Catterton
Team Member

DeAnne was born and raised in Southern Maryland and has been dancing since she was 4 years old. In 2018 right after high school, DeAnne packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a professional dancing career. Within two weeks she was accepted into the Edge Performing Arts Center’s Scholarship Program. After training under the industry’s best such as Helene Phillips, Adam Parson, and Terri Best for one year, DeAnne graduated from the scholarship program with two agency offers. She is now signed with Clear Talent Group and has been working in the professional entertainment industry for 3 years. During this time she has been in movies, TV series, music videos, live performances and commercials as a dancer, model, and an actress.

 

Favorite Green Room Snack: Mini Sour Patch Kids packets

Favorite Act 1 Memory: Creating a handshake and dance for our Sunday morning Act 1 Team dance party!

What I Love Most About Being A Member Of TEAM A1T: The feeling of family and unity as we travel the country together working on this AMAZING dance competition!

More Than Just a Trophy