Annie (D’Anna) Kennedy

Title: Director, Head Coach

Contact Info
E-mail:  Annie10900@aol.com
Phone :  (410) 984-7747

Ann Marie was born into the D’Anna twirling family. She marched in her first parade when she was only two years old and has never put a baton down since then.   Her first teachers include: Jack DeVenny, Sharon Campbell, and Alan Kramer. She finished her twirling career under the instruction of Sherry Vignoli. Her most notable accomplishments as a twirler included winning the Juvenile Miss Majorette of Maryland title at the age of ten and Senior World Open Strut Champion at seventeen.   Annie’s first love was ballet and she pursued a dancing career at a young age. She was classically trained in ballet, mastering the eight year Kirov Ballet/Vaganova syllabus.  Her credits include performing as a member of the San Francisco Ballet and Santa Barbara Ballet on the west coast and the Washington Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  Despite her commitment to dance, she remained a competing member of Wheaton, attending every National Championships from the age of six.   After retiring from a professional dancing career, she returned home to coach twirling, gymnastics, and dance full-time. During the 1980s, she became Co-Director of the Wheaton Majorettes alongside her mother, Evelyn D’Anna.  By the 1990s, Ann Marie Kennedy became the official Director of The Wheaton Dance/Twirl Teams.  Under her direction, Wheaton has won more World Championship Team Titles and National Championship Team Titles, and produced more Miss Majorette of America Title winners as well as Grand National Champions than any other twirling organization.  They have represented the USA, winning gold, in Italy, England, France, Holland, and Belgium.  
In 1998 Annie also returned to her alma mater to coach The University of Maryland Feature Twirlers, and then became the University of Maryland Dance Team coach in 2000.  She loves sharing her passion for both dance and twirling and feels fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing athletes, coaches, and families.

 

Vicky (D'Anna) Kark

Title: Coach

Contact Info
E-mail:  wheatondtteams@aol.com

Vicky has been a part of Wheaton since its inception. She began twirling at the age of four under the instruction of a neighbor, June Oliveri. She also was one of the first Wheaton twirlers and participated in numerous parades and corps competitions. At age ten, she was coached privately by Jack DeVenny in Olney, MD. From the age of 12 to 16, she twirled under the instruction of Sharon Campbell. From ages 16 to 18, she was coached by Alan Kramer in Pittsburgh, PA. Vicky first began attending nationals in 1966. She twirled with the senior team members at a very young age and was team leader by 1968. At the 1968 nationals, held in Syracuse, she led a large military corps team and drum line with color guard. That same year, Vicky began her Wheaton coaching career, teaching the team with her older sister, Kathy.  In 1967 and 1968, she attended Don Sartell’s camp of the Dells for twirling champions. From 1969 to 1971, Vicky was a member of the world champion twirling corps team. In 1971, she retired from twirling in order to attend nursing school, but still continued to teach part time for Wheaton.  After graduating from the Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing in 1974, she returned to coach Wheaton full-time, while working towards her BSN, which she received from the University of Maryland in 1978, and her MSN in cardiovascular nursing and nursing education, which she completed in 1981. She has served as a nurse for 36 years, held academic appointments at the Georgetown University School of Nursing and Columbia Union College, and led two different cardiac surgery teams who have earned the title of “Best Nursing Team” for the region. She currently works as a Nurse Manager Mentor and is a syndicated columnist for Advance for Nursing.

 

Juli (Grobosky) Duda

Title: Coach, County Class Programs Director, Costume Coordinator

Contact Info
E-mail:  zipjld@aol.com
Phone:  (240) 422-6789

Juli Duda began twirling around the age of 5 with the Brentwood Majorettes under the instruction of Sharon Campbell. During Juli’s twirling career, she was also coached by Joe Rowe, Anita MacDonald, Christine Radi, Bonnie Baxter, Andrea Birdcreek, Billy Bruce, Alan Kramer, and Annie Kennedy. She is a former Maryland State Twirling and Strutting Champion and former College Miss Majorette of the East (1987). Juli joined Wheaton at the age of 14. Her most notable performance as a Wheaton team member was in the Show Corps production of Clue, where she played Mrs. White who juggled knives in the kitchen. During her college years, Juli was a University of Maryland Feature Twirler.

Juli began coaching during high school. In 1988, Juli experienced her first success, or “Midas Touch”, as a coach when her student, Chrissy Kuegel, won the title of National Intermediate Tiny Tot Pageant Winner. In 1989, Juli helped take a team to national competition for her first time, and they won the Grand National Tiny Tot Extra Large Dance Twirl Team title (Lollipop). Juli has coached numerous athletes to become state, regional and national champions on all levels, Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced, for more than 25 years. Former students have reached successes such as Grand National Twirling Champion, Miss Majorette of America, and have been members of Team USA representing the United States at the World Championships since 1996. Juli has won Coach of the Year award for three consecutive years (2007, 2008, and shared with Gina Hutchins in 2009) at Twirl Mania. Since 1986, Juli has overseen our county classes and county summer camp program. In addition to coaching, she now also fills a role as a baton mom of two elite level twirlers.

 

Kristi (Moore) Hartig

Title: Coach, Facility and Finances Coordinator

Contact Info
E-mail:  UMDTwirlGurl@aol.com

Kristi became an official member of the Wheaton teaching staff in 2002. She began twirling at the age of six through the Montgomery County Recreation Department and joined the Wheaton family that same year. At the age of eleven, Kristi truly embodied the meaning of MVP by becoming the first and only twirler in the history of Wheaton to compete on all four team age levels (tiny tot, juvenile, junior, and senior) in one year. In 1996, she was a member of the USA Senior Dance Twirl Team, which won the Gold Medal at the NBTA World Championships in Milan, Italy. Kristi’s passion to create innovative 2-baton and duet routines emerged at the age of eighteen when she first started constructing 2-baton routines and duets for her teammates and students. During her college career, she was a feature twirler at the University of Maryland- College Park for three years. In 2004, she had the opportunity to teach baton in Switzerland and travel to Peru, where she served as a Twirling Ambassador. In 2006 and 2009, Kristi coached students competing in the NBTA World Championships held in the Netherlands and in Ghent, Belgium, respectively. Kristi’s favorite part about teaching is having the ability to explore the creative process and being able to watch students grow from beginner twirlers to elite level athletes. Outside of baton, Kristi manages a wedding planning business called GLOW Wedding & Events.

 

Rachel Kark

Title: Coach
 
Contact Info
E-mail:  rakark11@gmail.com
Phone:  (314) 749-0366

Rachel joined the Wheaton coaching staff in the Fall of 2007. She began her twirling career with Wheaton at the age of three. As a young twirler, she had the opportunity to perform at the MCI center in D.C.; travel to World Championship events in Italy and England; and perform several times in the America's Youth on Parade Big Show exhibition as a member of the Grand National Twirling Corps championship team. Rachel was the team captain for the Beginner Tiny Tot Team from 1993 to 1994 and the co-captain for the Advanced Junior Team from 2000 to 2001. In addition to baton, Rachel has studied ballet, tap, modern, and jazz. Her initial dance training began at the age of three at Mary Lou Peter's Studio of Dance under the direction of Mary Lou Peters. For several years, she studied Vaganova method ballet with Irena Prochotsky at the Chesapeake Studio of Dance before returning to Mary Lou Peter’s Studio of dance under the instruction of both Mary Lou Peters and Danielle D’Anna. During her undergraduate studies, she danced at the Center for Contemporary Arts (COCA) dance studio in St. Louis, Missouri. While at COCA, she studied classical ballet under Norma Gabriel and Kathleen Radke, rhythm/street tap under Tracy Dupre and Maria Majors, and contemporary jazz under Lee Nolting and Maria Majors. Rachel graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies and a minor in Biology. In 2009, she earned her Masters in Public Health degree with a specialization in Maternal and Child Health at the George Washington University. In 2009, Rachel developed Wheaton’s “Baton Twirling for Girl Scouts” program in an effort to provide young girls with an opportunity to learn about the sport of competitive baton twirling. 

 

Krissy Connolly

Title: Coach

Contact Info
E-mail:  wheatondtteams@aol.com

Krissy has been coaching Wheaton's Senior and Junior Advanced level teams since the fall of 2008. Her twirling career began at the age of three in a recreation program taught by her mother. Prior to joining Wheaton's Elite Junior Team in 1999, she was a former student of Joyce Perrone, Leesa Csolak, and the late Alan Kramer. Krissy went on to compete on Wheaton's Elite Junior and Senior Teams from 1999-2008, and was the Senior Team Captain in 2007 and 2008. She is a two-time NBTA World Champion, having successfully competed as a member of Wheaton's Senior Team in two consecutive World Championships, which were held in Marseilles, France (2003), and Eindhoven, Holland (2006). Notable accomplishments from her 15-year twirling career include: winning a Gold Medal at the Junior Olympics; traveling to Peru as a Baton Twirling Ambassador; and earning numerous state, regional, and national titles. Originally from Philadelphia, Krissy relocated to Maryland in 2004 to attend the University of Maryland College Park, where she was a Feature Twirler with "The Mighty Sound of Maryland" from 2004-2008. Krissy graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2008 with a B.S. in Marketing as well as Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain Management degree. In addition to teaching for Wheaton, she is currently working in Washington, D.C. , for Feld Entertainment, the world’s leading producer and presenter of live family entertainment.