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 Minniti 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, and continues to set choreography now on both coasts. 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 is now living in North Carolina with her family and will be entering her 9th season with Act 1 Talent as an Administrative Assistant and Road Manager.

Kaeli Carr
Team Lead & Tabulator

Born and raised in Southern California, Kaeli has extensively trained in dance for over twenty years being mentored by Joe Malone at The Performing Arts Center. Kaeli has trained at many exclusive summer programs such as American Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, and Complexions Contemporary Dance. Kaeli also grew up in a children’s educational musical theater program (MET2). She began as a student, became a participant in the Student Teaching Program for many years, before eventually being hired as the Assistant Director/Assistant Choreographer to Alison Bretches. 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). TV/Live Performance: 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. She is so excited to be back for her 6th season traveling with Act 1 Talent!

  • Brett Michael Davenport
    Brett Michael Davenport
    Emcee
  • Shannon Lemieux
    Shannon Lemieux
    Team Member
  • Hannah Fozkos
    Hannah Fozkos
    Team Member
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.

Shannon Lemieux
Team Member

A southern California native, Shannon Lemieux loves the constant hustle of Los Angeles. After graduating top of her class from Saugus High School, she decided to switch gears and pursue her dream of becoming a professional commercial dancer. She is proud to call herself an alumni of Edge Performing Art Center’s Scholarship Program, where she was mentored by staples in the dance industry including Bill Prudich, Denise Leitner, and Adam Parson. From working with choreographers such as Michael Rooney and NappyTabs, to working on sets such as The Price is Right and Paula Abdul’s Straight Up Paula! Tour, Shannon is living the dream. On the other side of the industry, she is currently a staff member at LA Dance Magic, where she gets to bring her passion for dance full circle. Shannon has also had the honor of becoming an assistant to Jackie Sleight, the “Queen of Jazz” herself, and the incomparable Terri Best, both of which have become life-long mentors. Shannon’s love for academics also has her pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences at Oregon State University, in hopes of one day being able to have a dual career dancing while also researching ecology. Shannon is thrilled to join the Act1 Talent team for another amazing season!

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!

More Than Just a Trophy