The American Company of Irish Dance is the region’s only independent, nonprofit professional dance company whose mission is
- to increase awareness and appreciation of traditional and progressive Irish dance,
- to continue to elevate Irish dance as an art form, and
- to educate the public about the cultural value of Irish dance.
This new, not-for-profit, Irish dance company fulfills a demonstrated need for a year round cultural presence for professional Irish dance in the region and beyond. This professional performing arts group will give all energetic and experienced performers, regardless of where they trained, the opportunity to showcase their talents to an ever-increasing audience as well as provide the community with greater access to one of the most captivating performing art forms available.
To fulfill its mission, the dance company board sought the best possible artistic talent. In working with the local Irish cultural and dance communities, the board was introduced to Paula Goulding and Shane McAvinchy. Paula and Shane are former Riverdance stars and founders of the professional Irish dance training program known as Take the Floor.
The board of directors of the American Company of Irish Dance share in Shane and Paula’s energy and passion for this inspiring art form. Paula and Shane bring a tremendous recruiting platform and professional network to assist the American Company of Irish Dance in our anticipated growth.
With touring opportunities and the chance to perform new choreography, the American Company of Irish Dance seeks to further the experiences and careers of local Irish dancers.
The American Company of Irish Dance is predicated on giving an opportunity to all members of every local, Milwaukee-area Irish dance school to tour and demonstrate the art form that they love and to expand their horizons as artists and individuals.
These same, rare opportunities will be available to members of the Irish musical performance community as well. It is the goal of the American Company of Irish Dance to showcase Milwaukee as a cultural center in the United State for Irish dance, the Irish arts, and the preservation of Irish heritage.
Milwaukee will be one of few communities in the country that will offer the opportunity to young Irish dancers to tour, perform, and grow through this unique not-for-profit artistic endeavor.
Milwaukee has a rich and vibrant performing arts community. The American Company of Irish Dance is pleased to join this group and looks forward to living up to its high standards and to preserving and enhancing this unique art form.
The American Company of Irish Dance Board of Directors
Joan Rudnitzki, President
Joan has been accredited as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) since 1996. The CRFE accreditation is considered to be a premier designation in the fundraising and development fields. Joan has achieved and maintained this status by combining 27 years of philanthropic experience with formal education in business management in order to utilize the best practices from both fields. Throughout her long career, Joan has worked with not-for-profit organizations in furthering their missions while ensuring the public trust. She achieves these ends through keeping the best interest of donors as a priority and with careful adherence to the Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethics and the Donor Bill of Rights.
As a development executive, Joan has demonstrated success in all aspects of fund development including annual, capital and planned giving campaigns. From this, she has raised millions of philanthropic dollars for the not-for-profit community in Southeastern Wisconsin. During her career, Joan has been employed by a wide variety of organizations whose annual operating budgets ranged from $350,000 to $12,000,000 and whose areas of focus include the environment, social service, and arts and culture. Joan has also created successful first time development programs for four different not-for-profits. She has been elected to numerous boards of directors and currently also serves as the Treasurer for the Wisconsin Public Radio Association. Additionally, she is the chairperson for the annual donor appreciation event for the West Bend Community Foundation. Professionally, Joan is the primary counsel for Rudnitzki & Associates where she provides consulting services to not-for-profit entities on issues relating to resource development and organizational management.
Paul Larson, Vice President
Paul Larson is President and Owner of TAYLAR Development, with offices in Milwaukee and Chicago. Under Paul’s direct management, TAYLAR specializes in providing cost effective development and marketing campaigns to the not-for-profit arts industry. TAYLAR has fundraising, marketing, or consulting relationships with over 70 not-for-profit entities and is responsible for raising $4.7 million annually for 25 different arts and culture organizations nationwide. Paul obtained his BBA in Marketing and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1998. As the head of TAYLAR, Paul draws on a background in finance and operations as well as his for-profit experience to create and execute progressively more successful fundraising and marketing campaigns for TAYLAR’s clients. In addition, Paul has spoken at and led training sessions within the performing arts industry on various topics surrounding annual fund, donor relationships, and fundraising strategies.
Kelly Schwartz, Treasurer
Kelly has been working in the not-for-profit sector for the past decade, helping organizations to raise between 300k to over 13 million dollars annually. Most recently she served as an Executive Director for a small organization dedicated to finding a cure for ovarian cancer. She brings both nonprofit and fund development experience as well as social media marketing and integrated fund raising efforts to the American Company of Irish Dance. She holds her MS in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. Kelly loves the arts and once raised over 1 million dollars to support an arts fund in less than six months!
Ryan Rudnitzki, Secretary
Ryan Rudnitzki has had a 15 year career at Waukesha Engine (owned by GE from 2011-2018), in a variety of technical and commercial roles. He is currently a new engine sales manager for the North American region, a position he has held for 3 years. Ryan has a bachelors and masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and strategic management. Ryan has been a fan of Irish dance for over two decades and is thrilled to contribute to such an exciting and collaborative organization in the artistic community.