Performing Arts Staff
JCC Performing Arts Director
Esther Katz was trained at The Professional Children’s School in Philadelphia, PA. She has also studied at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Koresh Dance, University of the Arts, and Temple University where she was on a dance scholarship. Her ballet training includes both the Cecchetti & Vagonova methods. Her modern dance background is in Graham, Anthony, & Horton. Esther was a member of many independent dance companies in Philadelphia. She demonstrated for Philadanco company classes under Pat Thomas and taught ballet and modern dance at The Professional Children’s School for 7 years before moving to Omaha. She previously danced with UNO’s The Moving Company and was a founding member of Tbd. Dance Collective. Esther taught in the OPS Special Ed. Program before starting as the Dance Director at the J in 2006, although she been teaching ballet at the J since 2004. In 2018 she was the recipient of the Jody and Neal Malashock Award for Professional Excellence.
JCC Performing Arts Assistant Director
Jessica Westerlin received early dance training in Seattle. She continued with Ballet Omaha, the Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance and JCC Omaha. Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. She has performed with the St. Olaf modern dance company, Companydance, the St. Olaf liturgical dance troupe, Leap of Faith, Omaha Dance Project, and the Omaha Theater Ballet’s The Nutcracker. She previously danced with UNO’s The Moving Company and Tbd. Dance Collective and actively participates in Dance Chance Omaha. Jessica began teaching at the J in 2009, and became the Assistant Cultural Arts Director in 2013.
Courtney Baker got her dance training from the JCC and will be beginning her 12th year teaching here. She was a founding member of the JCC Dance Training Company. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Education from UNO.
Domanic is beginning his 6th year as an instructor at the JCC. He is also the assistant director for South High School’s dance company – La Fuerza.
Alyssa Donley (Grimsley)
Alyssa grew up dancing in Omaha. She was dance team captain for two years in high school. She also joined Omaha South High School’s dance program and became a member of La Fuerza Dance Company for 3 years. She has continued her dance education at UNO with a minor in dance while dancing with the UNO Moving Company. This is her third year at the JCC.
Madeline Koesters holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography with an emphasis in ballet and modern dance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. She begins her 2nd year as an instructor at JCC, and her second season as a dancer at American Midwest Ballet.