Our board members and staff are dedicated to the growth of the arts in the community and our youth. We believe in the power of the arts and that art is your power.
Dillon has been directing plays for as long as she can remember. As a kid, she recruited her siblings to act in living room productions. Growing up in Ojai, California, a community of artists, Dillon found a wealth of mentors to support her performing arts passion. In addition to styles and methods, her early teachers instilled in her a work ethic that continues to serve her today.
Out of high school, Dillon began building her directorial tool kit. She first moved to Los Angeles where she joined a professional performing arts group called the Young Americans. With YA’s, she trained as a professional musical theater performer. Next, Dillon was accepted to the University of California, Santa Barbara where she received her bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts. She traveled abroad after graduating to start a theatre program for a prep-school in Nottinghamshire, UK. With this accomplishment, she moved back home to design a multipurpose theater center and performing arts program for the renowned Ojai Valley School. Dillon’s work at both institutions increased enrollment and helped rejuvenate the schools’ summer programs.
After years of working with children and families, Dillon became increasingly moved by the therapeutic power of performing arts. With mental-health in mind, Dillon moved to Boston where she earned a master’s degree in Social Work form Wheelock College. During this time, she directed for the award-winning Watertown Children’s Theater and interned at an organization called, Playmakers. At Playmakers, a Life is Good-sponsored nonprofit, she trained caregivers to help children with trauma. In Boston and California, she also worked as a therapist for middle and high school-aged students.
When Dillon got back into theater full-time, she found her clinical education allowed her to create a uniquely transformative environment for performers. Dillon has lived in Boulder with her two boys since 2012. Locally, she worked as a director for The Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids and The Actors Academy for the Performing Arts before starting the Spark. Dillon sees The Spark as both the culmination and beginning of her life’s work—an ethical performing arts space where invigorating and wonderful things happen.
Marla has had the pleasure to work as a director and choreographer for various theaters and films across the country. Her work explores the boundaries between dance and scene in musicals as well as plays, expanding the function of dance as a production element. Her research has seen practical applications in shows such as Adding Machine and Everyman at the University of Colorado-Boulder in collaboration with directors Dr. Cecilia Pang and Dr. Will Lewis respectively. Most recently her thesis production of Next to Normal enjoyed a sold out run in the Charlotte York Irey Theatre. Marla acted as both director and choreographer using movement to explore mental illness and trauma as it relates to the body. Other notable past productions include: Mary Poppins (Artisan Center Theatre), Peter and the Starcatcher (University of Colorado-Boulder), the Off-Broadway premier of A Pie Rat’s Tale (Three Act Theatre), and the Motif Awards Opening Performance (Walt Disney Concert Hall). Marla Schulz is currently completing her MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. As co-founder and treasurer to The Spark, she brings her administrative and management experience that was most recently seen as the Assistant Program Manager for the Northwest Conference of the American College Dance Association in 2018, which hosted over 500 guests at the CU- Boulder campus.
Raymond Jaramillo McLeod has just returned from his fourth production at NSMT (Zorba, Christmas Carol, Annie). Mr. McLeod has appeared in 6 Broadway shows, making his debut with jekyll & Hyde. He has also sung with the Metropolitan Opera and many others. You can hear his dulcet tones on hundreds of movie soundtracks including 5 Disney movies (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Nightmare Before Christmas, Pocahontas) and appeared in many TV episodes including Law and Order, One Life to Live and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Mr. McLeod teaches voice in NYC and at Universities across the country and is the Education Director for Angel Fountain Education Endowment, Inc.
Mr. McLeod holds a Masters degree from the University of Texas in Vocal Performance.
Nikki Weber is returning to the performing arts after making magic at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. She began her work in youth theatre with teaching and stage managing at Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids and The Actor's Academy for the Performing Arts. After collaborating with talented professionals focused on a thorough, healthy approach to youth performance in her younger years, Nikki was inspired to pursue a double major in Business Administration and Theater at Eckerd College with the goal of working on the education and management side of theater. Her senior year, she produced and directed a play for V-Day, a global movement committed to fighting domestic violence, the proceeds of which were donated to victims of abuse. Nikki spent a semester studying drama in London, England, and then went on to perform around Florida -- most notably in Saint Petersburg City Theatre's Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene) and Saint Pete Shakespeare's Hamlet (Barnardo). Other recent credits include Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Debra in Kimberly Akimbo. Nikki is beyond excited for the opportunity to work with such passionate and innovative artists!
Mary Beth Ward comes to The Spark community with 20 years experience in professional theater management and program development. In pursuit of the arts, education and a desire to inspire others to explore perspectives is at the fore front for this artist. Their work in youth development programs creates the most satisfying parts of their resume: Production Manager at GC Dance in San Diego; Program Manager at Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids in Boulder/Denver; Production Stage Manager at TADA! Youth Theatre in NYC; Theater Arts Program Director at Camp Cedarbrook and Arts Program Consultant for the Association of Cedarbrook Camps. It is with enthusiasm to continue sharing a passion for the arts that Mary Beth joins The Spark team.
Originally from Nebraska, Vivian is a choreographer, dance educator, company director, and teaching artist currently based in Boulder CO.Vivian received her B.A. in Dance from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in2014, and, most recently, with her MFA in Performance and Choreography with a secondary emphasis in the Alexander Technique from the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) in 2018. Throughout her time in academia, she has had the opportunity to perform and train under Jenna Reigel, Kendra Portier, Rennie Harris, Larry Southall, Helanius J. Wilkins, Gesel Mason, Nii Armah Sowah and many others. Since graduating from CU Boulder, Vivian has joined Moraporvida Contemporary Dance Company, Rennie Harris Grass Roots Training Group, and the Cindy Brandle Dance Company. She is an adjunct dance instructor at the Red Rocks Community College (RRCC), where she also acts as the Artistic Director for the RRCCPre-Professional Dance Company. Additionally, Vivian is a guest artist teaching Jazz dance technique at the Denver School of the Arts. More recently, Vivian is now Founder and Co-Director of VisKosity Dance Collective based in Boulder, CO. Vivian’s very excited about sharing her knowledge of Hip Hop history, culture andt echnique with the students at The Spark!
Raised in a disciplined classical world, Jeremy Kurn became a lifelong student of composition, improvisation, jazz, classical and musical theater. He took an unconventional journey to find authentic musical inspiration sourced by years of travel, spiritual practices, experimental music, mountain climbing and martial arts. Jeremy now works as a professional composer, arranger, producer and music director. He has completed three original musicals debuted locally and abroad, his arrangements have been played by orchestras and big bands throughout the country and he has worked locally with the DCPA, Town Hall Arts Center, DL Parsons Theater, Aurora Fox Theater, and others.
Stefanie Raccuglia is a licensed mental health provider, a dance/movement therapist, and choreographer based in Denver, CO. Stefanie received her BA in Dance and Theatre from Manhattanville College in NY, and her MA from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. Stefanie has over 15 years experience teaching and leading movement and dance groups to children and adults with varying physical and cognitive abilities; and has been working as a dance/movement therapist for the last 5 years, both in community and private agencies. She has performed and choreographed off-broadway in NYC, in community musical theatre productions in Denver, and has dedicated much of her time to studying musical theatre dance, improvisational dance and physical theatre dance both nationally and internationally. Currently, Stefanie owns a psychotherapy private practice and movement studio in Denver, CO.
Sydney, first being raised in Boulder Colorado, grew up loving everything about musical theatre and started her training in dance, acting and singing when she was 4 years old. Throughout her time in Boulder, Sydney trained extensively in dance and movement arts, participating in The Shift Dance Collective, Imagination Circus Arts and Perry Mansfield's Professional Program. After leaving Colorado she moved to California and was casted as a dancer/performer at Disneyland resorts, during this time Sydney also won 3rd place for her choreography in the San Diego National Fringe festival at 17 years old. She then relocated to Chicago to study Dance and Musical theatre at Columbia College Chicago. Since school Sydney as been a Choreographer, dance teacher and Director in studios all over the San Diego area. Most recently being the Artist Director and choreographer of GC Dance Company's Ballet of The Beauty and the Beast. Sydney teaches, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Modern, contemporary, Hip Hop, and Dance Improvisation. she is a firm believer in the power of the arts and all it can teach you, her top teaching priority is to create a safe, encouraging space for all dancers to go on their own dance exploration. Sydney in the past 5 years has found a true love for choreography, she has choreographed many performed pieces, including even full length shows, but she is particularly excited about Matilda. It's one of her favorite shows and when she hears the music she can't help but groove, for this show she envisions strong jazz funk and hip hop influenced movement with of course, childlike innocence. She encourages everyone to listen to the music and let the beat inspire rhythmic grounded movement.
Claire began her dance studies early in her life, starting at The Academy Program at Spectrum Dance Theatre in Seattle under the direction of Donald Byrd. Studying multiple techniques, from Contemporary to African Dance, her training has been extremely diverse. She was accepted to Hubbard Street’s intensive, studying under the influence of artistic director Glenn Edgerton, learning company repertoire.
Ever since the beginning of her journey with dance, emotion and storytelling have been incredibly influential. She took her passion to the theatrical stage, performing in multiple shows at Studio East such as Into the Woods, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz and many more. Under the mentorship of Artistic Director Lani Brockman, she was selected as dance captain for multiple shows and traveled to New York with the studio for professional workshops at Circle in the Square.
After being admitted to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), she studied under multiple professors such as, Ray Virta and Stacy Lee Tilton. Graduating in 2019, Claire entered the professional world of New York City, starting as an assistant choreographer for Eugenio Contenti at the Argyle Theatre. After working with both Contenti and the cast for several months throughout the rehearsal process, she was hired as the swing for their production of The Full Monty.
Claire has always been drawn to theatre and the performing arts, committing herself to a career in the industry at an early age. The performing arts brings people together creating a beautiful community, something she believes everyone needs a little bit more of right now. She’s looking forward to sharing her knowledge and contributing to others’ training. Returning to Colorado, she is honored and thrilled to work with The Spark and looks forward to the next step in her years of training and performing.