skip navigation

Faculty

Laura Greenwell, SPB School Manager and Ballet Instructor  |  lgreenwell@spballet.org
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 eight years she has been instructing 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 has extensive character dance training, and has been privately coached by Lirena Branitski. Laura has most recently danced as a company member with Saint Paul Ballet. She focuses her teaching on the unique combination of proper technique, artistry and passion for dance. Outside of the dance world, Laura enjoys cooking Italian food, attending arts events, and spending quality time with her husband, son Eugene and family.

Christina Onusko, SPB Artistic Advisor  |  conusko@spballet.org
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. During her time there 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.  She has also been a guest instructor at many Twin Cities area dance schools including Saint Paul City Ballet.  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 is a certified Pilates instructor. And she created and directed the Maypole Dances for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for 13 years.

Brittany Adams, Ballet Instructor  |  badams@spballet.org
Brittany began her dance training at The Boulder Ballet School at the age of eight. At Boulder Ballet she studied under Ana Claire, Peter Davison, Barbara Demaree, Becky Jancoscko, Rob Kuykendall, and Kathryn Elliot and performed as an apprentice to the company in the 2008-2009 season. She has attended many summer programs including Kansas City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet,  Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. Brittany attended  Colorado State University and graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Dance. There, she studied under Carol Roderick, Chung-Fu Chang, Jane Slusarski-Harris, Judy Bejarano, and Corey Seymour. She was selected to work with guest choreographers Viktor Kabaniaev, Gabriel Masson, Kathryn Elliot, Judy Bejarano, Tommy Parlon, and Richard Wacko. Her senior thesis was a twenty minute piece which premiered in an evening length show, Humanum, in 2013, which she co-directed. Upon graduation, Brittany was given The Faculty Award for Sustained Achievement in Performance, Choreography, and Technique. She then became an intern at Boulder Ballet under Director of Development, Lee Stern.

Mary Coats, Young Children’s Instructor  | mcoats@spballet.org
Mary studied dance at Luther College, Decorah IA, graduating in 1984. Mary has studied at the Summer Dance Institute in the Brain-Compatible Dance Education developed by Anne Green Gilbert and is certified in yoga. Mary also uses the Kodaly method of music education. This is her 12th year at SPB and hundreds of young dancers have been introduced to music and movement as a means of expression and group interaction for their physical, emotional and social well-being. Not only has Mary worked in the studio classroom, but also preschool environments, workshops and festivals, churches, junior high and senior high schools, and camp settings.

 

Laura Daugherty, Ballet Instructor  |  ldaugherty@spballet.org
Laura Daugherty began her training at Dancers’ Workshop in Jackson Hole Wyoming, before moving to the area and studying at St. Croix Ballet and Andahazy School of Classical Ballet. She then studied at North Carolina School of the Arts, Classical Ballet Ensemble in Denver, the University of Utah, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Her performance career includes The Nutcracker with the Dance Theatre of Wilmington, Western Symphony with Colorado Ballet, Aida with the Manitoba Opera, and The Nutcracker, Paquita, Cupid and Pysche, and Romeo and Juliet with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and The Golden Bough with St. Paul Ballet. Laura has completed teacher training courses with Carol Roderick and Bonnie Mathis and has been teaching for 17 years. She is passionate about teaching students classical ballet and providing a well-rounded education that dance students can take with them in any endeavor they pursue.

Siri Drontle,Young Children’s Instructor
Siri Drontle began her ballet training as a teenager at Saint Anthony 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 the Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle, and a Master’s of Education from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Siri has performed with Saint Paul City Ballet, Continental Ballet, and Omaha Dance Project. 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.

Anna Goodrich, Ballet Instructor
Originally from Minneapolis, Anna started her training with the Andaházys and Minnesota Dance Theater. She has over 25 years of teaching and performing experience from the Midwest to Boston. She studied jazz at the Lou Conte studio in Chicago and the Luigi studio in New York. She currently performs with Saint Anthony Sacred Dance Company. Anna has continued ballet training in the Vaganova syllabus with Carol Roderick and Gabriela Komleva.

Zoé Emilie Henrot, Ballet Instructor and SPB Company Artistic Director  |  zhenrot@spballet.org
Zoé graduated summa cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 2012 with a B.A. in Dance and Biological Sciences. Zoé received her early dance training at The Boulder Ballet School, becoming an apprentice with the company in 2007. She has also trained with Kansas City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet and has worked with prominent choreographers such as Peter Davison, Ana Claire, Jim Coleman, Terese Freedman, Rose & Charles Flachs, Kinsun Chan, and Diane Coburn-Bruning. In November 2012, Ms. Henrot was invited as a guest choreographer in the Five College Dance Department in Massachusetts to restage her work ‘Becoming Undone’. Her most recent work, ‘Gray Matter’, premiered at the Southern Theater as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2013. Zoé was named the Artistic Director for the 2014-15 SPB Season.

Maj-lis Jalkio, Ballet Instructor
Maj-Lis began her dance training with the Andahazy’s and received her degree in theater at the University of Minnesota. Maj-Lis performed in a Minnesota Centennial Showboat production that was chosen for a USO tour of Germany. She has performed Off Broadway at Equity Library Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and Henry Street Settlement,choreographed numerous productions and toured on the Windmill Dinner Theatre/Country Dinner Playhouse circuits. She was in several productions at Virginia Museum Theatre and has performed at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. From 1986-2010 Maj-Lis taught at Boston Ballet School. She was featured as the choreographer in the WGBH La Plaza “The Making of Don Gato” a special Boston Ballet program featuring City Dance children. She taught at the School of the Richmond Ballet for four years and also taught at the prestigious Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA and at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge. She was a substitute teacher for Pennsylvania Ballet School and was co-director of Dance Heights Center in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to teaching dance for several public school programs, she managed the children’s fitness program based on Nicholaus Technique for Riser Fitness Company in New York. Maj-Lis particularly enjoys teaching Level 2 students and developing their technique and love for dance.

Antonio Lopez, Ballet for Athletes Instructor

Antonio began his training with Ballet Repertory Theater of New Mexico in the fall of 2011 and continued as a company member until 2013. After completing his first season with the New Mexico Ballet Company he studied under the direction of Marcia Dale-Weary at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet until summer of 2016. Throughout his training he attended various summer intensives such as Joffrey Ballet NYC, Walnut Hill, CPYB and most recent, Alonzo King Lines Ballet. During his training at CPYB, Antonio performed works by Alan Hinline, Mathew Powell, Kelly Anne-Sloan, Price Suddarth, Malinda Howe, Balanchine’s Nutcracker and Western Symphony.

Andrea Mislan, Ballet Instructor
A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Andrea’s performance career has spanned over 2 decades on stages throughout North America, Europe and South East Asia. Having trained with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) Professional Division, Andrea graduated with distinction as a recipient of both the Prince Edward and Arnold Spohr Awards. Classical ballet credits include (RWB): Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Serenade, Giselle, La Bayadère, Don Quixoté, John Neumeire’s Nutcracker, RWB original Nutcracker, guest soloist Tivoli Gardens Denmark. Andrea also trained at the Henny Juriens Foundation in Amsterdam and was a 3-time scholarship student at the Bartholin International Seminar in Copenhagen, Denmark. Other professional stage credits include: Celine Dion’s A New Day…, North American and International Broadway tours ofChicago the Musical (June/Velma and Mama Morton u/s), Cirque Du Soleil’s Viva Elvis (lead dancer/ensemble/lead character). US regional theatre: White Christmas (Judy Haynes, Ensemble, Dance Captain), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily, Dance Captain). TV credits: Oprah, Ellen, The TonightShow with Jay Leno, World Music Awards, Jerry Lewis Telethon, Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Eve Live, A&E’s Biography, Inside the Osmond’s, The Toy Castle. Andrea has taught ballet, contemporary and musical theatre master classes throughout the US, Canada and Singapore and was recently the guest adjudicator at Thompson Festival of the Arts. She has choreographed for regional productions of White Christmas, Grease, Peter PanCirque Risquéand her classical and contemporary choreography has been recognized at numerous national dance competitions. She most recently led the advanced ballet program at Kickit Dance Studio in Winnipeg and is a certified yoga instructor. Andrea is thrilled to begin her new journey with her family in the Twin Cities and to be a part of the artistic faculty at St. Paul Ballet.

Deborah Nettell, Ballet Instructor
Deborah comes to St Paul Ballet with 30 plus years of teaching experience. She began her study of classical ballet with teachers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and later the Aments from Romania. She knew in these early years that dance would always be part of her life. For 28 years, Deborah had the privilege to study, train and be coached under Bonnie Mathis first at Minnesota Dance Theater and then at Ballet Arts Minnesota. At Ballet Arts Deborah taught in all levels, coached and choreographed for the school. Deborah credits Bonnie Mathis and Lirena Branitski for instilling high standards and excellence. She has performed with Bonnie Mathis, Lirena Branitski, Martine Van Hamel, Chris Onusko, Robin Stiehm and many others. For several years, Deborah was the head children’s rehearsal coach for the Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker, head of the dance program at The Children’s Theater Company, and created Young Audience outreach projects supervised by Marcia Chapman. In addition to dance instruction Deborah currently does Balance-conditioning-strength and body alignment and is studying Thai bodywork.

Anna Roehr, Ballet Instructor  |  aroehr@spballet.org
Anna began her dance training at the age of seven with Ballet Nouveau Colorado. She studied there under Julia Wilkinson Manley, Richard and Jennifer Grund, and Marie Jose Payannet. Following that, she studied the R.A.D. vocational levels through high school while spending summers with Ballet Magnificat and Colorado Ballet. Anna was accepted to the dance department at Colorado State University in 2008. She studied with Carol Roderick, Chung-Fu Chang and Jane Slusarski-Harris as well as guest artists Viktor Kabaniaev, Judy Bejarano, Katie Elliot and Andrew Skeels. Anna was a member of the CSU touring student company as well as CSU’s ballet repertory ensemble. She choreographed her senior thesis, Black Ink, Blue Lines, which was showcased in an evening length production in 2012. After receiving her B.A. in performing arts with a minor in business, Anna began teaching ballet and pointe technique for The Studio Company in July of 2013. She is excited to continue with her passion for dancing in her first season with Saint Paul Ballet as well as teaching for the Saint Paul Ballet School.

Preston Stockert, Modern Instructor  |  pstockert@spballet.org
Preston is a twin cities dancer, choreographer, and educator who has been teaching since the age of fifteen. His experiences in education began in North Dakota under the studio in which he received training himself.  While receiving his BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota, he continued educating through workshops and intensives throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.  Preston has instructed dancers regularly at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy, Dancin on Broadway, and Saint Paul Ballet, and has worked with other dance schools and institutions through his own freelance work.  Preston is looking forward to the possibilities this next teaching season has to offer, and is proud to be instructing at Saint Paul Ballet School.

Julia Sutter, Ballet Instructor
Julia brings an outstanding background in dance and arts education. She did her undergraduate work in Ballet and Modern Dance at State University of New York at Purchase, and also received an M. Ed. in Child Development and Education from Loyola University, Chicago. Her extensive teaching has included many years at The Bockman School of Dance, Chicago, three years at Minnesota Dance Theatre working with Loyce Houlton, and eighteen years at Ballet Arts Minnesota teaching ballet and modern dance, as well as choreographing student works. From 2006 to 2014 she has taught and choreographed for Minnesota Dance Theatre and The Dance Institute. Julia has also served as a lecturer in Movement and Dance for the Young Child at Loyola University of Chicago, Erickson Institute of Chicago, and the Greater Minneapolis Day Care Association. While at Ballet Arts Minnesota she also was an instructor of dance for “Young Audiences”, an outreach program for Minnesota Public Schools, as well as a guest teacher for the Minnesota Orchestra Education Program.

Open Professional Classes Faculty

Lirena Branitski
Lirena was born and trained in the former Soviet Union. She was first soloist of the Kiev State Theatre of Opera and Ballet and a frequent guest performer on the stage of the famed Bolshoi Theatre. She has performed on stages throughout Europe, Canada and South America and has a vast performance repertoire of soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets performing under all the master Russian choreographers, including the world-renowned Peter Gusev, Vakhtang Tchabukiani, Raisa Struchkova and Alexander Lapauri. After emigrating to the U.S. in 1980, Ilrena taught at her own school as well as Minnesota Dance Theater. From 1989 to 2006 she taught and choreographed at Ballet Arts Minnesota. At Minnesota In 2012, she was the recipient of the Special Citation at the 2012 SAGE Awards.

Jeffrey Hankinson
A South Carolina native, Jeffrey began his dance studies at the Carl Crosby School of Dance in Aiken.  Jeffrey is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem North Carolina.   Jeffrey was a principal dancer with the Des Moines Ballet and Ballet D’anlego.  He later joined the Alvin Ailey Repetory Ensemble directed by Sylvia Waters and danced for the Ailey organaization for three wonderful years.  He has danced with the Elisa Monte Dance Company, the Joyce Triscler Dance Company, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and has toured throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.  Jeffrey was also ballet master at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center under the direction of the late Denise Jefferson. Broadway credits:  “The King and I” (starring Lou Diamond Phillips), “Little Me” (starring Martin Short), “Ragtime”, “Jerome Robbins Broadway” (starring Tony Roberts), “Damn Yankees” (starring Jerry Lewis), “Follies”, and Susan Stromans “A Christmas Carol”. Jeffrey has appeared in film and television and wrote his first short film “Obedience,” which made its world premier at the New York International Independent Film Festival in September 2002 and has been screened at 6 major festivals around the world. After leaving New York and moving to Minneapolis, Jeffrey worked as a manager for Chef David Fhima, and also was assistant general manager at Chambers Kitchen, located at the Chambers Hotel downtown Minneapolis with acclaimed Chef Jean George Vongerichten. Jeffrey then served as the school director for the Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute under the artistic direction of Lise Houlton from August 2009 until June 2011.  Jeffrey is now owner operator of two Dunn Brothers coffee shops in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Maureen Haworth
Maureen always wanted to be a dancer, but after a knee accident, being practical, she decided to be the best teacher she could be.  Studying privately with Muriel Tweedy and Nina Hodgson she achieved the highest qualifications.  She is an Advanced Member of the Royal Academy of Dancing in Ballet.  Maureen was the youngest candidate ever to be elected by her piers as a Fellow of UK’s National Association Teachers’ of Dancing, International, in ballet, tap and modern dance. She is an Associate member of the I.S.T.D in National Dance gaining an unprecedented Distinction from the President. Adjudicator, choreographer, examiner, lecturer and teacher.  Registered and licensed by the RAD since 1985.  Maureen has owned and directed Dance Schools in Manchester, London and Frankfurt, Germany. She was an actress, director, producer and founder member of the Frankfurt English Speaking Theatre, Germany. Maureen moved to Minnesota 26 years ago and has worked on the faculty of Ballet Arts Minnesota and Minnesota Dance Theatre.

Marianne Raub
Marianne is happy to be back living in the Midwest with her family after years on the East Coast. Marianne spent much of her performance career with Ballet Iowa rising to the position of principal. She has also danced with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and the Lexington Ballet and appeared as a principal guest artist with the Virginia Ballet Theatre and Ontario Ballet Theatre. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Butler University and is also happy to have trained with Wilhelm Burmann of Steps New York, Diana Cartier of ABT and Constance Walsh of Ballet Nova. Marianne is also an accomplished floral designer and proud mother of Eveline.

Barbara Weinstine
Barbara received her training with the Andaházys and is dedicated to the rich tradition of the Russian method, on which she bases her teaching. Barbara has studied with artists including Gabriela Komleva, Luba Gulyaeva, Marina Stavitskya, Alla Sizova, Vladimir Davidoff, Jurgen Schneider, and Carol Roderick. Barbara performed in classical ballets and original works including, Les Sylphides, Pas de Quatre, Scheherazade, Los Seises, Vivaldi Concerto and Miraculous Stag. She is proficient in knowledge and implementation of the Vaganova Syllabus.

Musicians

Franco Holder, Head Accompanist
Franco enjoys working with musicians, dancers, artists, and children a like. He has collaborated on performances for the Schubert Club, Kenwood Symphony Orchestra, New Age Art Salon, Nimbus Theater and is a past winner of the Artistic Ambassadors Competition. Franco also regularly performs for the MNKINO Film Festival which brings filmmakers, composers, and musicians together to create new short films with original scores that are performed live with orchestra. He has directed music for many musicals–most recently Nunsense, Into the Woods, and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Currently, Franco is working on a solo album featuring arrangements of the music of composer, George Walker to be released later this year. Franco is organist at Crown of Glory Lutheran Church.

Shane Allen
Bio to come.

Bill Cermak
Bill Cermak has a MA in music from the University of Minnesota. He has instructed music theory and piano at Metropolitan State University. As a dance accompanist he has formerly played at the Children’s Theater School, Ballet Arts Minnesota, St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Artists and the Barbara Barker Center for Dance at the University of Minnesota. Bill currently works with the St. Paul Ballet, the Minnesota Dance Theater, Woodbury Dance Center and Ballet Royale Minnesota in Lakeville.
Richard Erickson
Richard studied music at the University of Minnesota, Royal Academy of Music in London, and the Guild Hall School of Music in London. He has composed, produced and performed for the London Percussion Contemporary Dance Theatre School, The Stratford Circus, London, Royal National Theatre, London and for “Hooper the AHippo”, cartoon pilot and “Richard and Joanna” Children’s Music Show pilot for BBC television. Richard led the “Accentricity” jazz band in venues across London and was co-founder, director and music therapist for residential care homes providing therapeutic group and individual musical therapy, activities and instruction for the mentally ill. Also included are many performances, compositions and recordings done in the U.S. and Europe. Richard has accompanied dance for James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre,Zenon Dance Company, company class Saddlers Wells Theatre, London, Mark Morris Dance Company, Bill T Jones Dance Company  and workshops with Alvin Ailey and Harlem Dance Theatre dance companies.
Sally Reynolds
Sally Reynolds has been a private voice and piano teacher and piano accompanist in the Twin Cities for many years.  She is the staff accompanist at Community of Peace Academy School in Saint Paul as well as an accompanist for the Dancing with Parkinson’s program run through the Capistrant Center in St. Paul. She leads two children’s choirs as Director of Children’s Music at St. Clement’s Episcopal Church. In the summer, she serves as the Music Specialist for the Friends School of Minnesota “Imagine That” arts camp.Sally enjoys collaborating with other artists and has performed with numerous theatrical and musical organizations such as the History Theatre, Ex Machina, and Concentus Musicus.  She also plays keyboard and flute with the local rock group, “The Backseat Boogie Band.”
Melanie Safar
A lifelong musician, Melanie began her piano training at the age of seven.  She has been accompanying in the space that is currently a home to St Paul Ballet for nineteen years.  It is her great joy to be part of the artistic journey of so many dance students!  Melanie also enjoys singing and is a part of the music program at Macalester Plymouth United Church.
Jessica Shao
Jessica has been a private piano teacher for over ten years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Rutgers University and a Diploma in Piano Performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She has been a pianist for church choirs and worship services for over ten years and has been invited to teach piano accompaniment and improvisation workshops for church musicians. Jessica moved to the Twin Cities four years ago from New Jersey, where she was a ballet accompanist for the Princeton Ballet School and Rutgers University’s Dance Department. She currently serves as the choir accompanist at CityLife Church.

Staff

Laura Greenwell, School Manager  |  lgreenwell@spballet.org
Andrea Lane, Administrative Assistant  |  alane@spballet.org
Kelly Craig, Administrative Assistant  |  kcraig@spballet.org
Nicole Brown, Administrative Assistant  |  nbrown@spballet.org

Photographers

Lori Gleason
Chas Jensen
David Trayers
Caroline Yang