Christina Onusko, School Director
Aloe Lui, Guest Artist
CHRISTINA ONUSKO, School Director
Christina began her training in her native Pennsylvania. She performed with the Hartford Ballet and principal roles with Ballet West Virginia including Cinderella and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. For five years she served as the Assistant Artistic Director at Ballet West Virginia. She has been a classical ballet instructor for over 35 years. She was trained in the pedagogy of the Vagonava method, studying with John Barker, during her tenure as an instructor at the School of the Hartford Ballet where she also served as the school director for one of two branch schools of the Hartford Ballet. Christina has also taught for Ballet West Virginia and the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet. She spent a fulfilling 15 years as a core ballet instructor and choreographer for Ballet Arts Minnesota. Using her design and costuming skills, she has created costumes for many different Twin Cities and national dance companies. During her time at Ballet Arts she created most of the costumes, including those for the City Children’s Nutcracker, which was a joint collaboration between Ballet Arts Minnesota and the Minneapolis Parks Recreation Program. Christina also created and directed the Maypole Dances for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for 13 years.
LEANNE CAMPBELL-NOONAN, Teaching Artist - Ballet
Leanne has been a dance educator for over 25 years. She currently teaches at Dance Works Performing Arts Center in Lakeville and previously at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Before moving to Minnesota, she taught in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Leanne has a special interest in sharing ballet movement with adults of all ages.
SIRI DRONTLE, Teaching Artist - Ballet and Creative Movement
Siri began her ballet training at age thirteen at Saint Anthony Park School of Dance. She received training in the Russian-method of ballet, as well as jazz, character, and sacred dance under teachers including Wilor Bluege and Gabriela Komleva. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biblical studies from Trinity Lutheran College, and a Master of Education from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Siri has performed with Saint Anthony Sacred Dance, Saint Paul City Ballet, Continental Ballet, and Omaha Dance Project. Siri trained under Mary Coats at SPB in the BrainDance curriculum created by Anne Green Gilbert and then attended the Creative Dance Center’s Summer Institute for teachers in Seattle. Siri has taught the joy of dance to toddlers through adults since 1995, with an emphasis on preschool teaching and beginning levels. She currently teaches at several Twin Cities’ area dance studios. She lives in Saint Paul with her husband and daughter.
PENELOPE FREEH, Teaching Artist - Ballet and Composition
As a dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer Penelope Freeh dismantles antiquated modes of how ballet is taught, languaged, applied in research terms, and expressed physically, intellectually, performatively, and at the gut level. Through her practice of expanding the terms and exploding the tropes of ballet, she aims to meaningfully connect with a diversity of collaborators, colleagues, students, and audiences. Freeh is a two-time McKnight Fellow for Choreographers, McKnight Fellow for Dancers, and Sage awardee for Outstanding Performer. She danced for James Sewell Ballet for seventeen years, serving as Artistic Associate from 2007-11. In addition to St. Paul Ballet, she is faculty at the University of Minnesota, the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, TU Dance, and Zenon Dance School. She holds a Dance MFA from Hollins University.
LAURA GREENWELL, Teaching Artist - Ballet and Character Dance
Laura is trained in classical dance from Ballet Arts Minnesota, under the direction of Bonnie Mathis, Christina Onusko and Lirena Branitski. She continued her studies with the Butler Ballet, the dance department of Butler University in Indianapolis. For more than ten years she has been teaching Vaganova-based Russian ballet and pointe, and has been creating classical and contemporary ballet works for various dance schools. Laura is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level Seven of the ABT(R) National Training Curriculum. She is also a designated Project Plié ABT ballet teacher, with the ability to identify promising young dancers in order to expand racial diversity and inclusion in the classical ballet community. Laura was a Sage Awards panelist for the Twin Cities community from 2013-2014, guest taught for the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and danced as a company member with St. Paul Ballet. In addition to ballet experience, she has extensive character dance training, and has been privately coached by Lirena Branitski. She focuses her teaching of ballet and character dance on the unique combination of proper technique, artistry and passion for dance.
ROSE HARTNETT, Teaching Artist - Ballet
Rose studied classical ballet and contemporary dance with Ballet Arts Minnesota and Minnesota Dance Theatre for over a decade, where she began assistant teaching during her training. She continued her study of ballet and expanded her modern dance training by earning her BFA in Dance at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Rose graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rutgers University, where she was the student director of the University’s performing dance company and instructed dance in high schools in the New Jersey area. She has trained in a wide variety of modern dance techniques, and has also trained with Miami City Ballet School and Zenon Dance School. She has performed works by Jessica Lang, Chien-Ying Wang, Keith Thompson, George Balanchine, Lirena Branitski, Julia Sutter, Jeffery Hankinson, and Loyce Houlton. Rose has been teaching in the Twin Cities area since 2016.
HELEN HATCH, Teaching Artist - Ballet
Helen Hatch is a dancer, choreographer and director based in Minneapolis. Named as one of Minnesota Monthly’s “10 Artists to Watch” in 2012, Helen was a member of Minnesota Dance Theatre from 2011-2017, dancing an eclectic range of repertory while also creating her own work. Since then, she has worked with various artists in the Twin Cities on projects as a performer, choreographer, and producer. Helen is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program where she was awarded Dance Departmental Honors. Her choreography has been presented at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, the 2011 Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival, 2014 MN Fringe Festival, The Southern Theater, throughout Mexico and Guatemala by the Juntos Collective, and commissioned by Minnesota Dance Theatre, Saint Paul Ballet, Penelope Freeh, Aveda, and The Cowles Center. Helen is the Founder and Director of Hatch Dance, whose debut performance Isotope was named a “2018 Top Ten Twin Cities Dance Performance” by the Star Tribune. In 2022, Helen was in residency at University of North Carolina School of the Arts Choreographic Institute. Helen has taught extensively throughout the Twin Cities and is a teaching artist at Saint Paul Ballet and Community Movement Collective.
ALEJANDRA IANNONE, Teaching Artist - Ballet and Modern
Alejandra was classically trained in the Cecchetti method and obtained her B.F.A in Dance performance from the Fordham University/ Ailey School. She is an ABT® Affiliate Instructor who successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Levels 6, 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Alejandra is certified in Balanced Body Pilates (Mat 1 and 2)., IM=X Pilates, and Leap ‘N Learn Creative Movement. She also holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Temple University. She has had the honor of performing at venues throughout the United States and abroad. Her favorites have included The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, Jacob’s Pillow, the Versace Mansion, and The Armory, where she got to be part of Jennifer Lopez’s Super Saturday Night during Superbowl LII. Alejandra is thrilled to be joining the Saint Paul Ballet faculty this year! Prior to this position, Alejandra was a member of the faculty at Minnesota Dance Theatre and The Ailey School in New York City. She has also had the pleasure of guest teaching at private and public schools throughout the U.S.A. and in Argentina. When she isn’t at Saint Paul Ballet, Alejandra serves as the Creative Director of Minneapolis-based immersive theatre company Sparkle Theatricals, as a member of the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s Board of Directors.
ANTHONY JONES, Teaching Artist - Ballet
Originally from Minneapolis, Anthony Jones began his early ballet studies at the Minnesota Dance Theatre & School followed by professional training at Canada’s National Ballet School and ultimately The School of American Ballet, where he studied on full scholarship under Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramarevsky, and Richard Rapp. He joined Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet and was promoted to soloist after three seasons. At PNB, he performed a broad repertory that included the works of Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, August Bournonville, Glen Tetley, Jerome Robbins, Lar Lubovitch, and Kent Stowell, among others. After his performing career, he graduated from New York University, became director of The Huntington Ballet Theatre, and worked as an acquisitions associate at the Frick Collection in New York City. He subsequently joined the faculty of the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden (The Palucca School and University of Dance) in Dresden, Germany, as a professor for classical ballet and was the children’s ballet master at the Semper Opera Ballet of Dresden. Since returning to the United States, he has served as school director of Oregon Ballet Theatre School, Ballet Arizona, and the Minnesota Dance Theatre.
JILL LILE, Teaching Artist - Ballet
Jill began her training in Omaha NE with teacher, Valerie Roche and continued her studies in summer programs at Banff and San Francisco ballet schools, the Royal Academy of Dancing in London and in various schools in New York City. She has a BFA and an MFA in dance from and Texas Christian University and the University of Illinois. She has danced with a variety of companies in both ballet and modern including Ft. Worth Ballet, Ballet Omaha, Madison Ballet, Illinois Dance Theatre, Ballet Arts Minnesota, and Beverly Blossom and Company. She has worked with Anna Sokolow, Sally Wilson, and has danced in many of the classic ballets and in Tudor works. Ms. Lile has taught at Ballet Arts MN and University of Minnesota/Mankato, University of NE/ Lincoln, and Creighton, and is currently teaching at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Macalester, and MDT. Ms Lile is also a practicing chiropractor and acupuncturist specializing in the treatment and prevention of dance injuries.
ALOE LUI, Guest Teaching Artist from CAAM Chinese Dance Theater - Ballet
Ao (Aloe) Liu, Dance Artist, Choreographer, Dance Instructor from Yunnan Province, China Ao Liu graduated from Denmark International Youth leader Education graduate program and holds a Bachelor of Dance Performance degree from Yunnan Arts University and a Master of Education from Renmin University in China. She performed professionally for 8 years in China’s famous dance company founded by Yang Liping, known as the “Peacock Queen” in China. Since then she continues to professionally perform, choreograph, and instruct dancers of all levels. She has founded her own dance studio, developed multiple curriculums for children including “Awakening the Artist Within Me” and “Physical Play”, and taught at university level for Yunnan Arts Institute. Dancing since age 4, Liu has performed in more than a thousand shows and was the principal dancer in several well-known dance drama productions such as “Dynamic Yunnan”, “A Shangri-La Spectacular”, ” Beautiful South “, as well as modern dance dramas “Bed” and “Lost”. In addition, she has performed at large-scaled national events such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo. She has choreographed and directed many contemporary dance dramas, including ” Lost in Dream “, “Hidden Emotion “, ” It will pass ” and “You”. Between 2018 and 2021, she was invited as a guest artist to various international art festivals including “Over the Cloud International Live Art Festival”, “MIPAF Macau International Live Art Festival” and “Up On International Live Art Festival”. Recently, she held a Liu Ao Personal Contemporary Art Exhibition “Feed” at the Kunming Kong Space Art Museum.
JENNIFER MACK, Teaching Artist - Ballet
Jennifer’s 20+ year career in dance includes receiving several notable roles, awards & grants for her work as a dancer/performer, choreographer, instructor and adjudicator internationally in dance, theater, opera, music, film, and commercially with numerous companies, competitions, festivals, schools, studios and universities. Favorites include: Alternative Motion Project (founding dancer), Collide Theatrical Dance Co., Continental Ballet, Curio Dance, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, James Sewell Ballet, Kim Robards Dance Co., Live Action Set, MN Opera, Offleash Area, St. Paul Ballet, Szeged National Ballet, Vox Medusa Dance Co., Deborah Thayer, Dwight Rhoden, Jodi Melnick, Rosy Simas, Vanessa Voskuil, Aby Wolf, Cathedral Dance Festival, Harvest Contemporary Dance Festival, Milwaukee & MN Fringe Festivals, Rhythmically Speaking, Twin Cities Film Festival, Ballet Academy Youth Ensemble, Children’s Dance Theater, Phipps Art Center & Dance Co., Rochester Dance Company (former Assistant Director), St. Paul Conservatory for the Arts, Zenon Dance Co. & School, Aveda, Best Buy, Cost Cutters, Sherwin Williams Paint & Target. She holds a certification in Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), a BFA in Dance, BS in Arts Management & International Studies with minors in Art, Music & Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from UW-Stevens Point under a Bukolt Scholarship. She also studies Alexandra, Freldenkrais, Gyrotonic, Pilates and Yoga movement philosophies and trained under Alonzo Lines Ballet, BDC, Ballet Arts, Colorado Ballet, Cunningham School, Pittsburgh & Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Peridance, Janet Lang Dance Studio, Milwaukee Ballet (full merit scholarships), ODC, Robert Moses Kin, Rochester Ballet School, Steps, Traffo, Trisha Brown and Zenon. Most recently her choreographic work appeared in MN Opera’s Flight at the Ordway (Feb ’20) and was awarded a Cowles Center Generating Room Residency (’20-21). Besides teaching for SPB, she dances & choreographs for An Opera Theatre & Christopher Watson Dance Company, is Ballet Program Director & a Ballet/Contemporary instructor for Danceworks Performing Arts Center. She resides in North Minneapolis with her fiancé and 7-year old daughter who greatly inspire her. She believes dance can be a very transformative and powerful tool for individuals/communities to participate in and enjoys watching where it takes those who do.
BENNY OLK, Teaching Artist - Cunningham Modern
Benny (he/him) is a performing artist and teacher based in Minneapolis with an interest in contemporizing and contextualizing American modern and post-modern dance. As a member of Lucinda Childs Dance Company, he performed reconstructions of pieces such as Dance and Available Light. He performed in reconstructions of Crises and Suite for Five among others by Merce Cunningham, and has premiered works by Moriah Evans and Anthea Hamilton. Benny holds a BFA in Dance from NYU and an MA in New Performative Practices from Stockholm University of the Arts.
HANNAH PIERCE , Teaching Artist - Ballet
Hannah (she/her) is a dance artist and educator based in Saint Paul, MN. She grew up dancing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and attended Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating with her BA in dance in 2013. She has had the pleasure of dancing professionally with folks like DANCE ELIXIR, KWENTO Dance Theater, AXIS Dance Company, and Garrett Moulton Productions, among others. She loves working youth of all ages and is so happy to be a part of Saint Paul Ballet.