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 hereto 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 a part 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. Now entering our 5th season, we are grateful for your continued support and we 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
  • Jamie Huhta
    Jamie Huhta
    Registration Specialist
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 6th season with Act 1 Talent, a national touring competition, as an Administrative Assistant and Road Manager.

Jamie Huhta
Registration Specialist

Jamie spent her years growing up as a competition dancer.  She enjoyed the competition experience and took away with her even a greater love of dance.  She has studied with master teachers from across the country and believes that dance should be part of every child’s life experiences.  Working with children is definitely her forte’.  Jamie graduated from CMU with a BA in Recreation, Parks and Leisure with a focus on Outdoor and Environmental Education and a BS in Earth Science as well.  Jamie is married to Matt and has a young son, Ryan, who keeps her busy.  She is currently a Naturalist at the Lewis E. Wint Nature Center, in Michigan, where she develops programs and teaches and engages kids of all ages.   Jamie always has a smile on her face and laughter in her heart.

  • Zackeri Landry
    Zackeri Landry
    Team Member
  • Stacey Zielinski
    Stacey Zielinski
    Team Member
Zackeri Landry
Team Member

My name is Zackeri Landry but I go by Zac for short. I’m 23, originally from a small town in south Louisiana. I as of June 2018 moved to LA where I plan farthing my dance career. One fun fact about me is that probably 9/10 times Ill have a smile on my face!

Stacey Zielinski
Team Member

Born and raised in Michigan, Stacey began her training at a young age in many styles including ballet, jazz, lyrical, kickline, hip hop, and modern. She graduated from Marygrove College in 2017 with a double major in Business and Dance. During college, Stacey trained under Jordeen Ivanov-Ericson, former principal dancer at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, among many others. After graduation, Stacey became a member of the first ever Detroit Lions Cheerleading team. She was a two-year captain and represented the team at the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl held in Orlando, Florida. She has been a part of ConteXture Dance Detroit, a contemporary company based in the heart of the city. Stacey enjoys sharing her passion for dance through educating children and young adults.

More Than Just a Trophy