Julie L. Pentz, Founder, CEO, and President

Julie’s contributions to the dance field have traveled in the international dance community and her credits include guest teaching and performance appearances at the Theatro Libero in Rome, Italy, Taiwan, Chinese Cultural University, National Taiwan University of the Arts, Tsoying Performing Arts, Koahsiung Performing Arts, the Interdansa in Banyoles-Girona, Spain and the National Theatre of Ghana, the Dagra Music Center in Ghana Africa and several locations in Kuwait City, Kuwait.  Julie has been teaching at Kansas State University for 18 years.  In that time Julie has mentored 27 undergraduate students in research and has completed three research students with her community outreach program Tap To Togetherness Across Populations.  The program has published 8 peer reviewed articles and 4 books.  In 2024, a new international book will feature the Tap To Togetherness Across Populations physical literacy research, published by Cambridge Publishing.

Julie is a full professor of dance in the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.  She is active in the National Dance Educators Organization serving on the advisory board directing students and now serves on the Executive Committee as the organizations Recording Secretary.  In 2019 Julie accepted a position as a Global Goodwill Ambassador and Human Peace Ambassador, she is a national judge for dance competitions and is a trained HealthRhythms facilitator.  Julie has performed with The National Tap Ensemble out of Washington, DC and worked with master tap teachers that include Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, and Brenda Buffalino. 

Julie’s current research is examining and enhancing family relationships, measuring physical movement, and looking at Parent perceptions/enjoyment/and parent-child connectedness and how they relate to physical activity.  She uses her program Tap To Togetherness Across Populations to foster this research.  Tap To Togetherness Across Populations holds close partnerships with Parents as Teachers, K-12, senior populations, and the homeschool networks.  The Tap To Togetherness Across Populations program is one of 15 community engagement partnerships for Kansas State University’s Carnegie Foundation Community engagement Reclassification.  The program has two published children’s’ books Tap Tap Tap Your Toe  and Tap Tap Tap Like a Rhinoceros.  Pentz has multiple articles published with the Journal of Dance Education, Dance Education In Practice, Arts Education Policy Review, The Ambassador, UCED, Childhood Education, Journal of Extension, E-Source for College Transitions, Association of College and University Education, and the Ambassador.  In February of 2021 Pentz released her text book Dance Appreciation, published with Human Kinetics Publishing, out of Chicago, IL.  In November of 2021 Pentz became a Cambridge Scholars author and contributed to a new book, Diverse Learning in 2020 and Beyond.  She is a reader  for the Association of College and University Educators, working with college and university faculty across the United State and most recently she is continuing her work and research in the area of Parkinson’s Disease .  Pentz is trained in Dance for PD (Parkinson’s Disease) and currently offers classes across the region. 

Janice Schroeder, Vice President and Co-Founder

Janice is a lifelong Kansan, being born and raised near the small town of Powhattan. She attended Powhattan Schools, then went on to attend Washburn University, Kansas State University and finally a short stint at the University of Kansas.  She received her BS in Horticulture from Kansas State University.

 Janice is currently working with the Abilene School District as a parent educator.  She began her working career when she accepted a position as a Parent Educator with the Manhattan/Ogden school district.  She worked for the district 27 years before retiring to spend more time with her aging parents.  She began working for Abilene School District part time several years ago.

Janice has been influential in growing, promoting and supporting Tap To Togetherness Across Populations since its inception.  The program was first introduced as a group connection for the families enrolled in the Parents as Teachers program as a way to help families build the parent child relationship.  It continues to do that as the program reaches across populations to include all ages in the community.

Katelyn Milleson, Treasurer

Katelyn graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in Accounting, MA in Accountancy, and a dance minor. She is a financial analyst and CPA with Phillips 66 out of Houston, Texas. Katelyn started her career with the company in February 2021. In her time at the company, she has worked as an invoice processing analyst working to resolve discrepancies between purchase orders and invoices and maintaining strong relationships with vendors. In April 2022, she was promoted to group coordinator. In this role, she more thoroughly developed her problem-solving and analytical skills since her sole responsibility was helping the various invoice processing analysts with any discrepancies they didn’t know how to resolve. Finally in September 2022, she was promoted to her current position as team lead. This position has allowed her to interact more with upper management and other groups within the company. During her time as team lead, she has helped spear-head three major transitions for the company – transition to a new accounting software, acquisition/consolidation of a company, & outsourcing the company’s accounting work to India.

Katelyn also works as a dance teacher. She started teaching while in college at Tiptoz, now Kanvas Dance Company, in Council Grove & Wamego, Kansas. At Tiptoz, she taught ages 3 to 18 years old in a variety of styles, including Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and Pointe. She also choreographed routines for their competition team. Since graduating college and moving to Houston, Katelyn has begun teaching at the studio she grew up taking at, Carol Ehler Dance School. Here she teaches ages 5 to 18 years old. During the school year, she teaches Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Drill Team Prep, and Jumps/Turns Technique, and over the summer she teaches a summer program which includes Jumps/Turns Technique, Contemporary, and Jazz. She has also choreographed solos for students who compete with their high school dance team.

Katelyn’s involvement with Tap to Togetherness Across Populations began while she was in college at Kansas State University. Katelyn was part of Julie Pentz’s Tap Ensemble which performed at various events and functions throughout the year. With being in this ensemble, Katelyn had the opportunity to be part of Tap to Togetherness.  She was able to work with families and the elderly population within Manhattan, Kansas throughout the years. Katelyn is excited to continue to be part of this organization, and she cannot wait to see the various populations that will be impacted.

Gabrielle Dupree Fogle, Secretary

Gabrielle Dupree Fogle’s life has been a symphony of military service, dance, and a profound commitment to fostering community. Born with a natural inclination for movement, Gabrielle’s journey began on the dance floor in Hawaii as a child where she began her dance studies learning Hula.  

Gabrielle’s educational pursuits brought her to Kansas State University, where she not only obtained her degree and commissioned into the Air Force, she found herself stationed in various locations across the United States, each stop becoming a chapter in her dance story.

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, Gabrielle joined the parks and recreation adult dance program, where her passion for dance found a new outlet. Becoming an assistant teacher for tiny tot combo classes. Her dance journey continued in Lompoc, California, where she delved into ballet classes. Upon her transfer to Los Angeles Air Force Base, Gabrielle continued her dance education at a local studio, taking lessons at the same studio as her daughter who was also enraptured by the world of dance. Again she had the opportunity to substitute teach for tiny tot combo classes, where Gabrielle demonstrated her commitment to nurturing the love of dance in young hearts.

In Colorado Springs, where her daughter embraced competitive dancing, Gabrielle resumed her own dance education with adult ballet and tap classes. Her rhythmic journey took her back to Kansas State University for her final military assignment, where she not only rejoined the dance community but also assumed leadership roles. Serving on the K-State Dance Advisory Council and eventually becoming the President of the K-State Music Theater & Dance Advisory Council, Gabrielle dedicated several years to supporting and enriching the dance program.

After retiring from the Air Force in 2018, Gabrielle’s dedication to dance did not waver. She continued to support the K-State dance program and pursued her passion for tap dancing. Joining the board of Tap To Togetherness Across Populations, Gabrielle found a new purpose in bringing the joy of tap dance to diverse communities.

Cammie Landry-Hadley, Board Member

Cammie Landry-Hadley, a native from the vibrant states of Texas and Louisiana. Cammie’s journey is a tapestry of artistic pursuits and community engagement, underpinned by a lifelong passion for dance and theater.

Her educational odyssey commenced at Kilgore Junior College, where she delved into the intricacies of dance and theater. This early exposure laid the foundation for her future in the performing arts. Continuing her academic pursuits, Cammie further honed her skills at Stephen F. Austin University, where she expanded her repertoire and nurtured her artistic talents.

Cammie’s love for dance ignited at a young age and manifested itself in various forms. She was not only a participant but also had the privilege of attending the esteemed Al Gilbert camp. Her youthful enthusiasm and talent in tap dancing propelled her into the world of pageantry, where she showcased her remarkable skills. Tap dance became her forte, and she dazzled audiences in the Imperial Miss pageants, where she undoubtedly left a lasting impression. As her journey evolved, Cammie not only performed but also transitioned into the role of a judge in local pageants. Her firsthand experience and keen eye for talent made her a valuable contributor to these events.

Yet, Cammie’s involvement in the world of the arts was not confined to the stage or pageants. From a tender age of 8, she graced the community theater scene, beginning her acting career with a memorable performance in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Her commitment to the world of theater and her innate acting abilities were evident even at this young age.

Cammie Landry-Hadley’s story is a testament to her enduring love for the performing arts, her lifelong dedication to dance and theater, and her active engagement in her community. Her journey from the heartlands of Texas and Louisiana to Manhattan, KS reflects her unwavering passion and commitment to the world of the arts.

Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox, Board Member

Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox is a dance educator, choreographer, teacher, and retired prima ballerina.  

​Ms. Cox is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 5 of the American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum and is on the Board of Directors and the current Treasurer for theLanguage of Dance Center USA, and former Board Member and Treasurer of National Dance Education Organization, two leading U.S. organization of dance educators.   Ms. Cox is Certified in Progressing Ballet Technique.

​Ms. Cox has a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, and Omicron Psi Honor Societies. She has danced and performed internationally in Mexico and England and was the first American ballerina to be chosen to partner ballet superstar Irek Mukhamedov, Royal Ballet Principal Artist, and International Grand Prix Awardee for his premier tour of United States.  They received rave reviews for their roles in “La Bayadere” and “Tarantella.”

Ms. Cox is currently Guest Artist/Adjunct Faculty for Ballet Program at Florida Southern College, and has taught at the University of South Florida, LaRoche College, Armand Hammer United World College, and California State University, Los Angeles.  She has staged ballets for Pacific American Ballet Theatre, Phoenix Ballet, Ballet Arts of Tucson, Colorado Ballet, and Ballet Theatre International as well as for many private conservatories.  Her students have attended with scholarship, apprenticed, or performed with: Kirov Ballet Academy, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Boston Ballet, Ballet West, Atlanta Ballet, Nutmeg Ballet, CPYB, Ballet Austin, Washington Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, North Carolina School for the Arts, Interlochen, Jacobs Pillow, Gus Giordano, Miami City Ballet, and Houston Ballet.

​As prima ballerina with Ballet Theatre International, Ms. Cox performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., for the first annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Cinco De Mayo Celebrations in the critically acclaimed ballets that she helped create, “Winter War”and “Proud Heritage.” Both ballets were recipients of The Irvine Foundation and prestigious National Endowment for the Arts awards.

Cory-Jeanne co-founded an arts-in-education program for Los Angeles Unified School District for high-risk disadvantaged youth.  Following the 1992 Los Angeles (LA) riots, she was appointed to the Rebuild LA LEARN and Arts and Racial Harmony Task Force by LA Mayor Riordan. For her work in arts and multicultural organizations, Cory-Jeanne was named a 2000 Scholar Fellow to the renowned Aspen Institute.

Ms. Cox is currently a credentialed Teaching Artist & Adjunct for Florida. CJ is an award-winning choreographer to include “Llegada de Las Mariposas” for Central Florida Choreographers Collaboration 2020. She is a Guest Teacher and Choreographer for Blake Performing Arts High School and has also been a Guest Teacher for the Florida Dance Education (FDEO”) Performing Arts Assessment. Ms. Cox travels extensively as an Adjudicator for dance and ballet competitions.

Lauren Bruna, Social Media Specialist and Board Member

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences from Kansas State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, a testament to her academic dedication and passion for the biological sciences. Currently, she is pursuing a degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she is deepening her knowledge and skills in helping individuals achieve optimal functional performance.

During her undergraduate studies, Lauren became actively involved with the innovative “Tap to Togetherness Across Populations” program as a researcher. This involvement not only allowed her to explore the intersection of dance and therapeutic practices but also to contribute significantly to the field. Her commitment and insights led to an opportunity to present her research at the prestigious International Education Symposium in Puerto Rico in 2023, where she shared her findings and experiences with an international audience, highlighting the program’s impact on community health and cohesion.

Lauren was a vibrant member of the Kansas State University tap dance ensemble, choreographed by Julie L. Pentz. Her participation in the ensemble was marked by her enthusiasm and skill, further demonstrating her dedication to combining her love for dance with her academic pursuits. Lauren’s journey reflects a blend of rigorous scientific training and a deep commitment to using the arts as a medium for healing and community engagement, positioning her as a promising future leader in occupational therapy and community health initiatives.

Mary Komarek, Board Member

Mary Komarek is a dedicated and accomplished professional, celebrated for her extensive experience in service management and support. She retired as a Manager of Service Desk and Desktop Support at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, having built a reputation for her expertise in Incident and Problem Management.

Mary’s educational background includes an associate degree from Barton County Community College. Beyond her professional endeavors, Mary has a rich personal life filled with community and family activities. She was an enthusiastic dance mom, actively supporting her daughter in tap, jazz, and ballet recitals. Her commitment to the arts extended to being a regular spectator at the annual Tremaine Dance Workshop in Kansas City, where she cherished the energy, technique, and passion of the instructors and the readiness and excitement of the dancers.

In her retirement, Mary enjoys being a “swim grandma,” participating in aqua exercise, and spending time with her beloved Golden Retrievers. Her fondest memories include watching rehearsals for dance recitals and competitions, celebrating the achievements of all participants with smiles, applause, and flowers at the grand finale. Today, Mary continues to contribute her wisdom and experience as a board member, guiding and inspiring others with her dedication and passion.

Katie Wallace, Board Member

Katie Wallace serves as an influential board member for Tap To Togetherness Across Populations, bringing over two decades of expertise from her career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. She has a Communications degree, with a minor in sociology from Emporia State University. Katie effectively combines her professional insight with a lifelong passion for dance. Her experience in competitive dance, including competing in Kansas City with the renowned Tremaine dance company, enriches her contributions to the organization.

Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Katie’s roots are deeply embedded in her community, influencing her dedicated approach to fostering connections and wellness through dance. As a devoted wife and mother, she supports her son in his endeavors as a competitive swimmer, mirroring her own competitive spirit and commitment to family. Katie’s multifaceted career and personal life exemplify her commitment to enhancing community well-being through the arts, health, and family engagement.

Liz Kritikos, Influencer

Liz Kritikos started dancing at age 3 when her mother enrolled her in a tap class. She fell in love with tap and eventually embraced all forms of dance, continuing at W Dance Studio until she was 13. In high school, Liz shifted her focus to Musical Theatre, temporarily setting aside tap dance.

After high school, Liz pursued Theatre and Dance at Kansas State University, where she met Julie Pentz. Inspired by the Tap Ensemble’s performance, she joined and danced with the Ensemble for nearly three years. With Julie’s encouragement, Liz also took Jazz and Musical Theatre classes, performing in several concerts. During this time, she joined the Tap To Togetherness Across Populations research team and engaged in Undergraduate Research, creating materials for the children they taught. Julie became a significant support system for Liz during her college years.

Despite worldly challenges, Liz continued performing and graduated in 2020. Staying connected with Julie, Liz learned about the plans to transform the nonprofit organization and is eager to be involved. Now back to Illinois, where she works in Theatre and Dance at her local Park District and serves as the Administrative Assistant for the Theatre and Dance Departments, as well as a Technical/Theatrical Director at Harold L. Richards High School. Liz now serves as an Influencer for the Tap To Togetherness Organization