National Championship
Judges & Instructors

  • Jean WenzelChairwoman of JudgesA long standing judge on the competition circuit, Jean judges exclusively for Headliners and is one of the most respected judges in the dance community. Originally, from Minneapolis, Jean attended the University of Minnesota and performed with the Minneapolis Ballet Company. She continued her professional career performing with major entertainers such as Jimmy Durante, Wayne Newton, Juliet Prowse and many others. Upon settling in Massachusetts, Jean founded and operated a large dance studio for 13 years. She is currently a faculty member at Dean College Palladino School of Dance. In her 31 years there, she has taught tap, choreography, musical theater and has choreographed many musicals and dance company pieces. Jean has been representing Dean College by presenting scholarships at Headliners Nationals for the past several years. More than $1.5 million has been awarded, allowing many dancers to continue their education in this prestigious dance program. Jean continues her studies by attending workshops as well as teaching at several of the events. She is past president and a permanent board member for Dance Masters NE chapter 5. Jean loves judging for Headliners so that she can share her knowledge with aspiring dancers. In addition to adjudicating competitions nationwide, Jean has been the American judge for the World Tap Championships in Germany. Look for her advice in Publications of Dance Studio Life magazine.
  • Brandon PorterJudgeA native of Detroit, MI, Brandon began his dance training at the age of 14. In addition to his studio training, he attended summer programs with Cecchetti Council of America and Point Park University. Brandon holds grade VII ballet certification in Cecchetti method. After high school, Brandon attended Point Park University on scholarship where he had the experience to perform choreography by Balanchine, Robert Battle, Douglas Bentz, Ron Tassone, David Parsons, Jim Vincent and others. After college, Brandon joined the tour of Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” directed by Ray Roderick playing the role as Darius Lyons while understudying the role of Winthrop. Brandon has danced, choreographed and assisted for: Nick and Aaron Carter, Glen Packard, Brian Thomas, Rasta Thomas, Adrienne Canterna, Amy Yakima in “The Nutcracker” role as The Prince, “Twister Moves Perpetual Tour” for Hasbro the toy company, Toys R’ Us, New York Musical Theater Festival production of “Petrouchka” role of Little Boy, off Broadway Crazy Head Space, Crunch Fitness, and so on.  Brandon’s favorite industrial experience was as stage manager, choreographer, performer with the “International Motorcycle Show” also known as “IMS Tour” where he had the pleasure to work directly with UFC Organization, 2Wheel Tuner Model Search, Leo Vinci, Ducati, BMW, Bike Week, and more. He has had the opportunity to work in the administrative, marketing, operation fields with such companies such as Arias Dance NYC, Broadway Dance Center, and several competitions.  Brandon teaches and choreographs full time at the internationally known Allegheny Ballet Company in Pennsylvania, as well as for several local dance studios. Besides his dance background, he also is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do where he represented Michigan for the U.S. Junior Olympics. Brandon also teaches classical violin (Suzuki) and has extensive visual merchandising experience with companies such as American Eagle Queens, Quiksilver TS, DC Shoes Soho, Joe Fresh 5th Ave.
  • Juan SanchezJudgeOne of America’s most sought after ballet instructors. His exciting and elegant style makes learning easier while building the foundation for all performing arts. Juan has danced with such leading companies as The Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey Repertory Company, Connecticut Ballet Theatre, Eglevsky Ballet. He has also performed in Europe and Canada with Frankfurt State Opera Ballet and the Ontario Ballet Theatre. Juan is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the teacher training intensive in Primary through Level 7 and Partnering with the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Juan has been the Director of Education for DEA’s teacher training programs and continues to coach and teach nationally and internationally.
  • Brandon GirouardJudge & Master Class: TapBrandon is a highly in-demand international choreographer, teacher, dancer and talent manager. He resides as Guest Faculty at Broadway Dance Center NYC, Studio Harmonic in Paris, is faculty to many dance conservatories on Long Island, NY, and has worked with such noted choreographers as Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Robert LaFosse, Tiffany Mills, Gregory Hines, Brian Thomas, Debbi Dee, Frank Hatchett, Jared Grimes and Charles O. Anderson. Brandon was awarded “Most Promising Performer” by Art Stone Dance, featured in Dance Spirit magazine in October of 2003 and 2004, and awarded “Dance Teacher of the Month” and “Video of the Month” by Dance Teacher Magazine. Brandon served as Assistant Choreographer for Broadway Bares and Broadway in Cape Town South Africa and named co-choreographer/ director of the 2014 Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies with Shannon Lewis. Brandon is the Founder/Director of the Quest Intensive – The cutting-edge ‘in-studio’ classroom tour working with the industry’s biggest leading names in Broadway, Concert Tours, Professional Dance Companies, Talent Representation and Casting Directors.

    For more information on Brandon & The Quest Intensive visit his website at or
  • Lauren RenckJudge & Master Class: JazzLauren Renck is a professional dancer, teacher, and adjudicator based out of New York City. Originally from Pennsylvania, Lauren was a scholarship student at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts. She continued her dance education at Elon University and earned a B.F.A. in Dance Performance & Choreography. Lauren has studied at various training programs including the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the Rockette Summer Intensive, Code 3 with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and the American College Dance Festival. As a member of the Elon Dance Company she spent her undergraduate career performing in various companies and festivals across the U.S. and in Europe including the North Carolina Dance Alliance, NC Triad Choreographers Showcase, and Les Semaines de la Danse. She appeared on the HBO drama Vinyl, directed by Martin Scorsese. During the holiday season Lauren performs as a Rockette in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She has also worked with Tony Award-winning choreographer, Warren Carlyle, in the preproduction of The New York Spring Spectacular and with Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels' of The New York Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to performing Lauren holds a position at DanceMedia, publisher of Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, Pointe, and Dance Retailer News.
  • Roman BacaMaster Class: BalletRoman Baca is a Marine Iraq War Veteran and the Artistic Director of Exit 12 Dance Company.  Mr. Baca has choreographed several major works which communicate the experiences of people in conflict, and inspire visions of a better world. As a Teaching Artist, Mr. Baca has traveled to work in Erbil, Iraq and in NYC public schools teaching young adults how to express their experience through choreography and non-verbal expression.  Mr. Baca has conducted Veteran/Civilian movement workshops that provide tools to aid veterans in the workplace, and to bridge the civilian-veteran divide. Roman was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2015 and graduated Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of CA with a BA in Performing Arts. Mr. Baca is a 2015 Veterans 4 Diplomacy Fellow, a NYC Service Platoon Member with The Mission Continues, a Leadership Fellow with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a 2014 Art and Healing Network Awardee, a recipient of a 2012 Fellowship from The Mission Continues, a 2009 producing and presenting grant from AjkunBT, a 2010 Access Dance USA Scholarship from DanceNYC through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Brian Tippen Memorial Scholarship and the Connecticut Wartime Veterans Medal.
  • Kevyn JonesMaster Class: Hip HopBorn in Alaska, Kevyn is a sought after performer in his community. He got his start dancing for the Aberdeen High School dance team, winning State and National titles. After graduating he was signed as a dancer and choreographer to One Way Entertainment. Jones danced on the Believe Tour in Baltimore City, the Heritage Day Parade in Washington D.C., and the Scream 5 Tour. He has opened for the Temptations as well as Regina Bell and appeared in Step Up 2. After choreographing the opening show for R&B singer Mario at LOVE Night Club in Washington D.C. Jones appeared in the movie Step Up 3D, as well as television and video performances including: TV Pilot episode “Gotham”(Fox TV), “SK Energy Drink”(commercial for 50 Cent), “Hard Energy Drink”(commercial), and Caspa Narks “Fitted 2 Da Side, (music video). In September 2013, Kevyn brought home the Bronze Medal for the USA at the World Dance Sport Federation Hip Hop Championship in Kaohsiung Taipei, China. Kevyn is currently on staff with several competition studios in the Mid-Atlantic states.
  • Olivia CeceMaster Class: ContemporaryRaised in Rhode Island, Olivia trained in all forms of dance with Atwood Performing Arts Center under the direction of Bette Ann Rossi. She assisted Victor Smalley and Angel Armas of the hit TV series "Dance Moms Miami" as a member of their company "Artistic Freedom." Currently a professional assistant for Artists Simply Human the convention, Olivia has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine (2013) as their "Legs for Days" girl and as a Semifinalist for the Cover Model search (2014). She was featured in a new music video for Ricky Rude featuring Scarface for MTV and was featured as a top 30 finalist from "So You Think You Can Dance!" She currently attends Pace University in NYC and is a member of the BFA Commercial dance program. Olivia is a fitness ambassador for FitFuelPlus where she promotes healthy eating and dieting plans, and will soon open it into the dance world. She has performed in NYC on nymerous occasions including the Michael Schimmel Theatre, and the Joyce Theatre for NYCDA's annual Destiny Rising showcase. In 2012, Olicia earned the title of National Miss Headliner and has spent the last two summers teaching and choreographing across the U.S. at over 40 different studios.

Nationals 2015

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