Meet the DancEncounter Staff

TRACY ADAMS, Artistic Director, Owner

Tracy Adams has a long history with all forms of dance and theatre, having studied in her native England from the age of seven, to become a member of the International Dance Teachers Association. She has performed in many shows including “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Chicago” & “Damn Yankees”. After her transatlantic move Tracy joined the teaching staff of “Nanette’s DancEncounter” in 1994, working with children of all ages. Tracy is proud to own and serve as the Artistic Director of “DancEncounter, Ltd.”. She has taught at GymNasti and co-ordinated dance programs at various park districts  and local theatreswhere she has a reputation for her choreography, working on many area productions including “Guys ‘n’ Dolls”, “The Music Man”, & “A Chorus Line”, "Drowsy Chapersone" as well as using her professional make-up artist talents on many theatrical and fashion shows. For the Glen Ellyn Park District she helped develop a theater program, choreographing the children’s productions of “Grandma’s Attic” , “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Annie”. Also, she was an instructor at Waubonsee Community College, specializing in dance for the young child and as choreographer for their musical theatre courses under Dr. Maria Bakalis . Tracy has also choreographed for many local area school district stage productions including many years for Batavia High School under Dominic Cattero's direction, Glenbard South's High School under Laura Samper and Geneva High School under Roxanne Curtis.

KATIE GUTH, Instructor

Kaitlyn Guth started dancing at the age of two. She performed the Nutcracker and Cinderella with the prominently known studio, Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet. She was an assistant teacher at the studio. She competed with her high school Aurora Central Catholic dance team, where she was on the varsity all four years. The dance team went down state every year where they won first, second or third place. She participated in competitions with Passion Dance Project. Kaitlyn graduated with a B.F.A. in dance at Northern Illinois. She is well diverse in all styles of dance such as ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, hip hop, and tap. She has choreographed for Northern Illinois, Naperville Central’s dance team, The Nutcracker, and Competitions. Kaitlyn wants to spread her passion and knowledge in dance with others.

KYLE DONAHUE, Instructor

Kyle Donahue brings with him an extensive background in theater and dance. He is a graduate of Rockford College with a BFA in Musical Theater Performance. His history includes traveling the world as a performer with training in all areas of dance, voice and instruments! He has directed such shows as "The Secret Garden" and "Grease", has choreographed for CoD, GHS, BHS and performed at Drury Lane Stage in Oakbrook in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". He has served as the Performing Arts Supervisor for the Fox Valley Park District and continues a similar role in Arlington Heights, although the favorite role is Dad to his four young children. 


Takara danced and competed in ballet in her native Japan, before studying further in London, England at the Central School of Ballet and then the Princess Grace Academy of Monte Carlo in Monaco.  She received many awards and accolades during her competitive dance years being invited by the Shanghai Municipal Government to their International Ballet Competition in 2016, and taking 1st place in the World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix in Indianapolis in 2015. She danced professionally with Mikkahlovsky Ballet of Russia before moving to USA and joining Kentucky Ballet Theatre where she both danced and taught multiple levels and ages.  Takara is also certified in the Kniaseff Floor Barre Method.

JENNY DONAHUE, Sub/Choreographer

Jennifer Donahue holds her BFA in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. She began dancing at a young age under the instruction of Bonnie Ardelene. From there, she studied with the Milwaukee Ballet and was also accepted as a VIP for Dance Olympus. While at Northern, she studied with Randall Newsom and Judith Chitwood. She has danced with NDT in numerous performances such as Coppelia, Les Sylphide, Paquita, and The Nutcracker. She was also a member of SoFlo Ballet Company in South Florida. Since moving back, her most recent performances were with In Flight Dance Company and Free Space. Jennifer and husband Jeff have 2 daughters and a son.

Samantha Gough, Instructor

Sami has danced from the tender age of three and studied ballet, tap, jazz as well as contemporary, lyrical, Hawaiian dance and other styles. She has been very active on the competitive dance and convention circuit as well as performed such ballet roles as Clara, Snow Queen, Mirlitons and Trepak, to name a few, in Nutcracker as well as numberous group, duet and solo Company dance pieces. Sami attends CoD as well as continuing to pursue her own dance practice and  training.

Josie Holly, Instructor

Having danced from a young age at her local park district, Josie continued to study ballet and pointe under Ms. Jeni Seas and Ms. Jenny Donahue and earn the roles of Arabian and the coveted Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker.  She has actively taught dance for several years and been a dedicated behind the scenes administrative staff member and substitute teacher at DE too, while also juggling college life at Waubonsee and now Elmhurst College.