Dancer & Teacher of the Year

2017 Dancer Of The Year

Hannah K.

Hannah has been dancing at the Kenosha Academy of Performing Arts since the age of three. She is currently taking ballet, contemporary, and jazz. Hannah is beginning her third year with the Performance Company and her fourth in the Nutcracker. In addition to dance, Hannah is involved in the National Junior Honor Society of Dance and the National Junior Honor Society at her school. She plays the flute, participates in volleyball at Bullen Middle School, and is a Transition Coach to help sixth graders transition into middle school. Hannah will be forever grateful to Miss Annie, teachers, staff, and the amazing friends that have become family. This experience has been more than Hannah could have imagined and she looks forward to her future at KAPA.

2016 Dancer of the Year

Lily D.

Lily began dancing at Kenosha Academy of Dance when she was three years old. She has taken ballet, jazz and contemporary. She has also been in the Performance Company for four years. Her favorite type of dance is jazz because it is powerful and upbeat. Lily had the honor of dancing as Clara in in the inaugural Nutcracker performance, and as a soldier, Russian and snow this past year. She will be attending the Med Science Academy at Indian Trail High School this fall. In addition to dance, Lily plays the oboe and is involved in KUSD Theater. She loves dance because it allows her to push her limits. She is grateful to the teachers, staff, and Miss Annie for providing a great place to dance, as well as a loving and caring family.

2016 Teacher of the Year

Mitchell Haley

Born and raised in Harrodsburg, Kentucky Mitchell started his dance training at the age of 19 at Morehead State University (MSU). Here he performed with the MSU Dance Ensemble for 3 years, participated in the MSU Colorguard, choreographing for the spring concerts, and earned many awards for his choreography. He also was the lead male dancer in MSU production of "Grease" dancing under renowned choreographer Ron Hutchins.

In 2011 he graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration and a Dance Minor. Afterwards he transferred into Western Kentucky University (WKU) to finish out his Dance degree. Here he participated in the WKU Dance Company performing events throughout the state and community, as well as choreographing for student shows. He also performed in the WKU production on "Oklahoma!" In 2013 he graduated with his B.A. in Dance from Western Kentucky University. Mitchell has also had the opportunity to train under the direction of: Carlos Dos Santos (Ailey), Richard Smith, Robert McKee, Laura Wade, Arcos Dance, MamLuft &Co, and Lexington Ballet.

Since moving to Chicago Mitchell has received his 200 hour Yoga Certification and started freelance work. He has also recently joined BISI Chicago Dance Company as a Company member and is a new company member with Jay-Son Tisa Dance Company.


2015 Dancer of the Year

Talia L.

I have been dancing with the Kenosha Academy of Dance, Music and Drama for about 10 years now. It has been such an amazing ride. Being the first one to receive the Dancer of the Year Award was so exciting. This award came with a scholarship to our dance team, Company K. Without that scholarship I would never have started different styles of dance. I had always done just ballet and tap. I never thought I would be able to do other styles such as contemporary or jazz. But with the help of some amazing teachers I have improved so much. I truly love dancing and I can honestly say it's my passion. I hope to keep dancing with KAD for the next 3 years, then eventually go to college for it to further my dance career. I have so much to thank Miss Annie Hackett and KAD for a great dance education.

2015 Teacher of the Year

Annette Thomann

Annette Thomann received her BFA in Dance Performance, graduating magna cum laude, from Northern Illinois University. Upon graduation, she performed with several independent choreographers and shortly became one of the founding members and Co-Artistic Director of Fox River Dance Company. Eventually, Annette branched out on her own and began producing and directing her own annual dance performance, Freespace, a program in which pre-professional and professional students and choreographers collaborate and raise money for charity. Annette has been teaching and choreographing in the Chicagoland area and Wisconsin for 20 years and formerly served as Ballet Mistress for RASA Dance Chicago and Executive Director and Director of Ballet for State Street Dance Studio. She has worked extensively for NoMi Dance Company, a professional contemporary dance company in Chicago, serving for many years as their Ballet Mistress and artistic advisor. Her choreography has been performed at the critically acclaimed Dance Chicago Festival, Esencia Dance Festival, and Chicago Freelance Dance. Thanks to a strong music background, Annette has had the pleasure of choreographing several musical theater productions for community and youth theater groups throughout Illinois.