A little about us

For more than 35 years, The Dance Company has provided the Greater Green Bay community with family-friendly ballet performances. Under the artistic direction of company founder Shirley Van, The Dance Company creates its own works, including choreography, costumes and set pieces. The shows are designed with children in mind with speaking parts and characters dancing through the audience. The story is told through many forms of dance, including ballet, jazz, contemporary and gymnastics.

In addition, The Dance Company’s goal is to communicate through dance to all people, including those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience this art form such as the physically, economically or mentally challenged.

The Dance Company consists of more than 40 members ranging in age from 8 to adult and representing more than five local communities in the Greater Green Bay area. These dancers are the heart of the company and the inspiration behind the choreography.

The Dance Company founder Shirley Van performing. Shirley Van with Carrie Wielgus, show director.

Artistic Staff

Shirley Van

Artistic Director

Shirley Van has been instrumental raising the visibility of the art of dance to the Greater Green Bay area. In addition to her own dance studio, Shirley founded The Young People’s Ballet Company, known today as The Dance Company, and was co-founder of the Green Bay Chapter of Adventures in Movement. For nine years, Shirley acted as the choreographer and director of the Green Bay Packers cheerleaders and spent six years at St. Norbert College as an instructor in Movement and Dance in the Theatre Department. She was recognized with the Fort Howard Paper Company John P. Cofrin Award for her contributions to the artistic life in our community. Shirley studied classical ballet at Stone and Camryn Ballet School. She also studied under the direction of Gus Giordiano, Luigi, Joe Tremaine, Matt Mattox and Fran Scanlon.

Carrie Weilgus

Show Director

Carrie has more than 40 years of dance experience, including more than 25 as a dance/gymnastics instructor. She is a 35-year member of The Dance Company, serving 19 years as Dance Captain. She also competed in rhythmic gymnastics and was an All-American gymnast in vault at UW-La Crosse. She choreographed Bay Port High School musicals for five years.

Jami Suring

Assistant Show Director

Jami performed in her first Dance Company show as a guest dancer at age 4. At 9, she became a member of The Dance Company and over the years has performed in many productions. Jami’s 20+ years of dance experience also include being a member of the West De Pere Dance Team from 2001-2006, competing in the State competition all four years and capturing two state titles. In 2009, she returned to the WDP Dance Team where she has helped the team qualify for the state dance competition every year, winning one state title.

Mike Palubicki

Acting Director

Mike was a principal dancer with The Dance Company from 1979 to 1986. Since then, he has returned to perform with The Dance Company as a guest dancer. He also has an interest in theatre both as an actor, director, and set designer.