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Artists As Leaders.  The dancer of the future—artist and entrepreneur.

St Paul Ballet is proud to have artists who balance a myriad of perspectives and bring a wide range of education in other disciplines to their art. They possess strategies for managing both the creative and business aspects of their careers and bring resources to connect their art to our lives. They cross boundaries and infuse their art with a desire to make a difference in the world.



Brennan Benson began his dance training at a small ballet studio in South Dakota at the age of ten. He has attended summer training intensives with Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet West, Cecchetti Council of America International Summer School, Brigham Young University, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He was a featured dancer on PBS’s South Dakota Symphony Young People’s Concert. He represented the United States at the Cecchetti International Classical Ballet competition in 2014. At the age of sixteen, Brennan was awarded a full scholarship and spent two years training full-time at CPYB. There, he studied under Marcia Dale Weary, Alan Hineline, and Simon Ball. He was selected to work with guest choreographers Price Suddarth, Shayla Bott, Simon Powell, and Simon Hoke. Brennan also worked as a guest artist for the Virginia Youth Ballet. Some of Brennan’s favorite roles have included performing as Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty, Franz in Coppelia, and Sugar Plum Cavalier in The Nutcracker. This is Brennan’s second season with Saint Paul Ballet.
Photo © Rosalie O’Connor, Courtesy of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet

Jarod Boltjes obtained his B.A. in dance and art from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.  Coming from a small farm town in Southern Minnesota, he didn’t discover dance until college where he danced and trained with the Dance Repertory Company.  While in college he also studied abroad where he trained and performed in the U.K. and Ireland. He has also worked with such artists as Gerri Houlihan, Richard Chen-See, Sara Procopio, and “Lil C” from So You Think You Can Dance.  After completion of college he has danced with Continental Ballet Company, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and Threads Dance Company. This is Jarod’s fifth season with St. Paul Ballet, he is the Technical Production Manager.


Nicole Brown began her training at Dance Works Performing Arts Center and later at Ballet Royale Minnesota. Nicole has studied with Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Kansas City Ballet, and Alonzo King Lines Ballet on scholarship. She joined St. Paul Ballet as an apprentice in the fall of 2013, later accepting a company position. She has been privileged to dance a number of soloist roles, including The Capitano in Peter Davison’s Bella Luna, Arabian in Clara’s Dream, and most recently “Lise” in An American in Paris. This is Nicole’s fifth season with Saint Paul Ballet, she works as the Company PR Assistant.



Zoé Emilie Henrot graduated summa cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 2012 with a double major in Dance and Biological Sciences. Having grown up in Boulder, Colorado, Zoé received most of her dance training from Boulder Ballet, becoming an apprentice with the company in the 2007-2008 season. In addition to her training in Boulder and at Mount Holyoke College, Zoé has trained with Kansas City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet. Working with prominent choreographers such as Peter Davison, Ana Claire, Jim Coleman, Terese Freedman, Rose & Charles Flachs, Kinsun Chan, and Diane Coburn-Bruning has very much influenced her artistry and choreography. In 2011 she started choreographing ‘Becoming Undone,’ her largest work, which premiered in March 2012. In November 2012, Ms. Henrot was invited to be a guest choreographer for the Five College Dance Department in Massachusetts. ‘Gray Matter’ premiered at the Southern Theater as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival in August 2013 followed by, ‘Nadine’ in 2014. ‘Locked Key’ performed by the entire SPB company during The Work in February 2016 is her most recent work. This is Zoé’s fifth season with St. Paul Ballet serving as the Artistic Director.


Antonio Lopez 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. This is Antonio’s first full season with St. Paul Ballet.


Michelle Ludwig graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of St. Thomas with B.A’s in K-12 education and Spanish, as well as a dance minor from Macalester College. She began her training under the direction of Juli Mickelson, studying a variety of styles including jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, modern, and classical ballet. Other training includes summer intensives with Joffrey New York, Magnus Midwest, and Milwaukee Ballet.   Michelle began her professional dance career in Minnesota with Saint Paul Ballet and Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota where she had the opportunity to perform many soloist and principal roles including: Mouse Queen and Dew Drop (The Nutcracker), Noelle and The Can Can Doll (Enchanted Toyshop), Spring Fairy (Cinderella), and Beauty in Twin Cities Ballet’s original production of Beauty and the Beast. She has also been featured in a variety of contemporary works choreographed by: Ted Sothern, Allison Dougthy-Marqueson, and Zoe Henrot. Most recently Michelle has danced in Denver with Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company. There she learned a variety of repertoire including: Christopher Wheeldon’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Michael Pink’s Dracula, and George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco. During this time she also had the opportunity to perform with the Studio Company for Student Outreach Performances. Michelle is excited to return for her fifth season with St. Paul Ballet.


Anna Roehr began her training at the age of 7 at Ballet Nouveau Colorado. She studied with Julia Wilkinson Manley, Richard and Jennifer Grund, and Marie Jose Payannet. Following that, Anna studied and passed the R.A.D. vocational levels and exams training under Vera Stephenson and Sheree Reed. She was accepted on scholarship to the dance program at Colorado State University in 2008. At CSU, Anna trained with Carol Roderick, Chung-Fu Chang and Jane Slusarski-Harris as well as guest artists Viktor Kabaniaev, Judy Bejarano, Katie Elliott and Andrew Skeels. Anna was a member of the CSU touring student company as well as CSU’s repertory ensemble. Her senior thesis, Black Ink, Blue Lines, was showcased in an evening length production in 2012. After receiving her B.A. in performing arts, Anna began dancing with the Company at St. Paul Ballet in 2014. During her time in the company, she has trained with and performed works by Zoé Emilie Henrot, Lirena Branitski, Laura C.C. Greenwell, Kinsun Chan, Katie Elliott, Joseph Morrissey, Diane Coburn-Bruning, Jamie Johnson and Peter Davison. This is Anna’s fourth season with the company also serving as the School-Company Liaison.


Elaina Sutula, of Brookfield, Connecticut, began dancing at a small studio in her hometown before continuing her training at Mercyhurst University on scholarship, where she graduated magna cum laude in May 2016 with a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Pre-Nutrition Studies. Under direction of chairperson Tauna Hunter, she performed ballets such as Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deux,Pas de Quatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the title role in Little Match Girl. She also performed contemporary works choreographed by Kerry Wagner Skuderin, Rick McCullough, and Hannah Baumgarten, and was invited to appear in New York City at the final competition of Youth America Grand Prix. She spent her summers training at programs such as The Nutmeg Conservatory and Tulsa Ballet, working with internationally recognized instructors including Eleanor D’Antuono, Kirk Peterson, Victoria Mazzarelli, Pia Russo, and Stephanie Murrish. This is Elaina’s first season dancing with St. Paul Ballet, where she will also serve as Development Committee Manager.



Wesleigh Dichter began her ballet focused training at Ballet Royale in Minnesota. She spent high school training year-round with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.  After graduation, she spent a year dancing in New York City. There she was able to study at the Conservatory Program at Steps on Broadway as well as with the French Academie of Ballet where she had the opportunity to perform soloist roles such as Snow Queen in “The Nutcracker” and a variation from “Paquita”. She has also trained and professionally danced at Master Ballet Academy/Phoenix Ballet in Scottsdale, Arizona under the direction of Slawomir Wozniak. She most recently danced and performed with American National Ballet. Wesleigh feels very fortunate to be dancing with St. Paul Ballet for the second half of their season.


Rosa Prigan is a native of Columbus, Ohio and a recent graduate of Butler University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance. Rosa began her training at BalletMet Columbus under Susan Dromisky and Dmitri Suslov. She has trained at various summer programs including Ballet Chicago, Cincinnati Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in New York City, and American Ballet Theatre. She has had the opportunity to perform works abroad in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. In 2015, Rosa was awarded a Collaborative Grant from the Jordan College of the Arts as well as the Director’s Award for Choreographic Excellence in 2017 and was the recipient of the Margaret S. Rosenblith Scholarship in 2016. This is her first season with SPB.



Molly Winker is from Bloomington, Minnesota and began dancing at age five under the instruction of Juli Mickelson. At age eighteen, Molly moved to Salt Lake City to be a part of the ballet program at the University of Utah under the instruction of Calvin Kitten, Michael Bearden, James Ady, Maggie Wright Tesch, Jan Fugit, Jay Kim, and Melonie Buchanan Murray, among others. She has performed in works by Katie Scherman, Shayla Botts, Jay Kim, Rene Deluvy, and Brent Schneider. Molly graduated in May 2017 with a BFA in Ballet and minor in Health from the University of Utah. This is her first season with SPB


Production Staff

Jacob Edholm (Stage Manager/Lighting Designer), a Bloomington native, has been working with several dance and theatre companies in the Twin Cities for the past decade. He has spent most of his time with classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia and Swan Lake. In the past, Jacob has also worked on many musicals including Hello Dolly, Cabaret, Company and Guys & Dolls. In addition, he was Stage Manager of a world-premier musical at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. This is his third season with St. Paul Ballet, having stage managed for Bella Luna, Clara’s Dream, SPB at the Cowles, Student Showcase and our Minnesota Fringe show Persons Unknown. Other Stage Manager credits include shows with Cities Classical Dance Ensemble, Ashley Ballet Arts Academy and CBC. In his professional day career, he is a Systems Analyst for a worldwide retailer.

Barbara Torkelson (Assistant Stage Manager) has worked with several local ballet organizations including touring a repertoire across Minnesota & Wisconsin. In her Assistant Stage Manager role with SPB, she can be found backstage ensuring the overall consistency of the show including the sets, props, masking and scene changes. When she’s not backstage, she works full time in aquatics and enjoys teaching swimming lessons to children with special needs.