Our board members and team 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. For the past seven years, Dillon has lived in Boulder with her two boys and served as the primary director for The Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids and The Actors Academy for the Performing Arts. 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.
Alaina de Bellevue is a freelance pianist, vocal coach, and music director. She has recently re-established herself in Boulder after living in Germany and Switzerland, where she collaborated with numerous vocal and instrumental artists as a coach and recitalist. Previously she served as a coach at Colorado State University’s Ralph Opera Center, James Madison University's German Singer Sommer in Freiberg, Germany, and Opera Colorado. Alaina is also active as an orchestral pianist, having appeared with Fort Collins Symphony, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, and Front Range Chamber Orchestra. Alaina received her Master of Music in collaborative piano from CU Boulder in 2015 and is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in vocal coaching. In her free time she enjoys cycling and learning to play fiddle and accordion.
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!
Alex is recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas earning his BFA in Acting and Directing. His most recent notable acting roles include: Jason (Sweat) and Warren Straub (This is Our Youth). This past Spring he and his partner Ga'brielle Charlòt competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Competition and were named the Region 6 Irene Ryan National Runner Ups. During his time as an undergrad he also had the opportunity to direct two student productions: Crazy Eights by David Lindsay-Abaire and Transferring Kyle by Johnathan Cook. Alex was a player and Vice President of SFA's only improv troupe Improv Strike Back! where he studied, performed and taught improv to students across the campus. This past summer he worked as an intern and creative arts teacher at Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids in Boulder where he taught improvisation and stage combat.
Rachel Stauffer made her stage debut at the tender young age of three and there have been lights in her eyes ever since. Rachel’s lifelong passion for music, theatre, and dance has given her an eclectic collection of performance experience. This experience was gained through many hours and performances in schools, universities, prisons, coffeehouses, senior care facilities, teacher conventions, tiny theatres, dinner theatres, large auditoriums and even a world arena. She has had the express pleasure of taking dozens of masterclasses with top flight artists and companies like ABT, Martha Graham Company, Ailey II, Peridance, and Ballet Magnificat! to name a few. Rachel has also had some wonderfully unique experiences like studying mime with Mime Samuel Avital; longtime student of Marcel Marceau,and riding sanitation trucks in Barcelona Spain with Fork lift DanceWorks.Rachel holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance with a minor in theatre from the University of Colorado Boulder. In her time at CU, Rachel got to flex her creative muscles many times as choreographer with the most rewarding project being her thesis research and work with male dancers. Rachel’s areas of teaching specialties are Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and Choreography/Composition. As a performer, Rachel loves performing for musical theatre best because it calls upon her large and varied cache of skills. She firmly believes that a dance education is integral to the success of any performer. As an educator, Rachel is passionate about classical and contemporary training, sequential growth curriculum, and cultivating radically inclusive and life giving classrooms. In her ‘free’ time Rachel continues her research and work with male dancers, and is currently pursuing certification with Boulder non-profit Turning the Wheel as an arts facilitator. Rachel is so excited to be a part of the team at The Spark and hopes to share with her students the rewards of a life made full through art. Rachel currently lives in Longmont,Colorado with her husband Ron, and their five children.
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.