June 12 – September 3 | Summer Session
July 17 – 21 | Camp Zenon
August 18 & 19 | Zone Summer Showcase
September 5 – 9 | Fall Open House Week
September 11 – December 17 | Fall Session
March 21 – 25 | Spring Open House Week
March 27 – June 4 | Spring Session
UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS.
June 12 – September 3 | Summer Session
July 17 – 21 | Camp Zenon
August 18 & 19 | Zone Summer Showcase
September 5 – 9 | Fall Open House Week
September 11 – December 17 | Fall Session
“Your love for and belief in the power of dance was so evident.”
-Performance Art Examiner
MEET THE FACULTY.
Allison Rubin Forester
Allison Rubin Forester is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher of dance and mathematics. Ali first studied ballet, jazz and modern in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, at the studios of Gus Giordano and Lou Conte (Hubbard Street Dance). She received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1987, while studying and performing as a full-time student in the dance department. Ali also taught and choreographed at the University of Oregon while simultaneously working toward her Master’s in dance and secondary education. Ali is now teaching junior high math and dance at Clara Barton Open School for the Minneapolis Public Schools. Locally, she has studied and performed with Chuck Davis’ Babu’s Magic; The Umoja Ensemble; 10,000 Dances; and several independent choreographers. Ali teaches a strong technique-based class that blends modern influences with strong classical jazz elements— and lots of energy and sweat!
Ariel Linnerson began her ballet training at Minnesota Dance Theatre and graduated with a BFA in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2003. Ariel teaches pole dance, modern dance, ballet, pilates, barre, yoga, flexibility/mobility training, cardio dance, HIIT, and TRX. She believes that consistency and sustainability are the keys to a lifetime of health and fitness, so her goal is to make each class fun, engaging, and just the right amoung of challenging for every student! In addition to dancing and teaching, Arie co-owns and operates MinneappleDV, a full-service video production company specializing in dance documentation, with her husband Will.
Arturo Miles is originally from Mexico City and began dancing in Minneapolis in the late 90s. Arturo specializes in hip-hop, house, waacking and modern dance styles. Formerly a curator at Patrick’s Cabaret, his work ranges from variety style shows, experimental theater, and short film. Arturo is a founding member of Collective Hip-Hop Dance Company and has lent his talents throughout the years with Deborah Jinza Thayer, Three Dances Company, Penny Freeh, B-Boy J-Sun and The Lovemelts. His work has been showcased at Bryant lake Bowl, The Southern Theater, The Varsity Theater, and The Cowles Center.
Benjamin Johnson was a professional ballet dancer for twenty years, portraying characters and making abstract works come alive on a regular basis. He performed regular seasons with James Sewell Ballet, Dayton Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, Ohio Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. His guest appearances stretched from Tampa’s Bay Ballet Theater, Fort Wayne Ballet, Lakeville City Ballet, Minnetonka Dance Theater, and Wisconsin’s East Shore Ballet Company to the Miss Kentucky Pageant, and performances with the Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati Operas. Benjamin performed dance works by James Sewell, George Balanchine, David Parsons, Anthony Tudor, James Kudelka and others, and brings what he learned on the stage into the classroom to be passed along to his students. He has taught regular and master classes in ballet, modern, and juggling around the country, as well as regularly in the Twin Cities at various schools. He taught for two years at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in Saint Paul. A choreographer as well, Benjamin has had works performed at the Minnesota Fringe Festival; The Southern Theater; The O’Shaughnessy at the College of St. Catherine; Collective Soles Dance Festival in Tampa, Florida; the James Sewell Ballet Choreographic Workshop sponsored by the Jerome Foundation; and by ballet schools in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. He is a licensed and certified Massage Therapist, and has a private practice focusing on injury rehabilitation and the particular problems of performing artists.
Native to St. Paul, Minnesota, Berit Ahlgren gained her foundational dance training from Minnesota Dance Theater and received a BFA in Dance from St. Olaf College, where she also studied biomedical studies. Ahlgren was a founding member of TU Dance under the artistic directorship of Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, and performed with the company between 2006—2016. Receiving Metropolitan Regional Arts Council’s Next Step Grant in 2011, Ahlgren had the opportunity to study the Gaga Movement Language in Tel Aviv, and moved to Israel to pursue teacher certification between 2011-2012. Ahlgren earned her MFA in Dance from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts in 2016, and has since been on faculty at the University of Minnesota and Winona State University, performing with independent choreographers between Minneapolis and New York, and choreographing her own growing body of work for both stage and camera under her organization HoneyWorks. Ahlgren has had the great pleasure to work with Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Netta Yerushalmy, Gregory Dolbashian, Dwight Rhodan, among others. Ahlgren co-choreographed and performs in Ashwini Ramaswamy’s Let the Crows Come (hailed by the Washington Post as one of the best dance performances of 2021) and co-created the event “Live @ The Shed” with Helen Hatch which has premiered both bolerobolero (“A heroic work, a spectacle for our time”, 2020) and LDV (“an exuberant work [of] whirling gusto”, 2021). In addition to her work as a performer and choreographer, Berit teaches classes in the Gaga Movement Language regularly in the Twin Cities, as well as guest teaching nationally and abroad.
Learn more at www.deanmagraw.com/biography/
Dustin Haug began his dance training in the mosh pits of rock concerts at First Avenue. The visceral physicality and reckless abandonment of those experiences within the throb of pounding, energetic music continue to influence his movement choices. He is indebted to the dance department at St. Olaf College for encouraging him on his journey and to KT Niehoff (Seattle) for imbuing a fierce artistry in his heart. His lively classes encourage individual expression, dancing with the group, improvisation, moving into and out of the floor, horizontal space, and lots of zany, good-times laughter. Beyond dance, Dustin aspires to be a semiprofessional brewer, a makeshift cook, a random handyman, a loving husband, and a caring father. He is thankful for the support of his family, without whom he could not continue to do what he does, and humbled by the passionate students he’s had the pleasure of working with at Zenon over the years.
Erin Thompson began her dance performance career in 1970 with the Minnesota Dance Theatre and continued in New York City in the companies of Nina Weiner and Bebe Miller. She received a New York Dance and Performance award, “BESSIE,” in 1986 for her dancing in Nina Weiner’s Enclosed Time at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Erin moved back to Minneapolis in 1990, dance with Zenon Dance Company for two years, and founded 45 Chartreuse Dance Company with her husband, Byron Richard, in 1992. They received choreographer’s fellowships from the McKnight Foundation (1993) and from the National Endowment for the Arts (1994, 1996). Since 1992, Erin has been on the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Theater Arts and Dance as well as at Zenon Dance School where she continues to provide advanced professional contemporary/modern dance training for the Twin Cities dance community. In the past five years, she has appeared in the work of choreographers Joanie Smith, Judith Howard, Penny Freeh, Sharon Picasso, and Deborah Jinza Thayer. Erin received a SAGE Award for Outstanding Dance Educator in 2008 and the City Pages Best Dancer Award in 2016. She is an ATI certified Alexander Technique teacher, and the recipient of a 2019 McKnight Dancer Fellowship.
Hannah Gonzalez (she/her) is a longtime dancer, music lover and aspiring educator from Ithaca, NY. She danced with Armstrong School of Dance in Ithaca for 15 years, where she cultivated a strong love for rhythm and tap dance. She attended Northwestern University, graduating with a BS in Journalism with minors in Spanish and Portuguese. At Northwestern, Hannah was a member of TONIK Tap for four years, going on to serve as Co-Artistic Director of the club in 2021-2022. With TONIK, Hannah was able to choreograph and collaborate on many rhythmic pieces, exploring themes of community, love and happenstance. She recently moved to Minneapolis and hopes to find more welcoming dance and movement communities like Zenon.
HIJACK is the Minneapolis-based choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder. HIJACK is the confluencce and clash of two independment compositional/kinesthetic impulses. Their dances embrace juxtaposition. Their dances house unlikely intimates and question “who is the enemy?”
Van Loon and Wilder each grew up in Chicago, met at Colorado College, and established their collaboration in Minneapolis in 1993. HIJACK’s roots in a liberal arts setting isolated in the mountains laid the foundation for expirimemntation, invention without precedent, and making dancce our of everything but dance. Their teaching is fuled by their choreographic research as well as ongoing study and collaboration with improvisation/contact improvisation inventor and inovators including Lisa Nelson, Steve Paxton, Jennifer Monson, Karen Nelson, and others. HIJACK teaches Contract Improvisation and Composition at the University of MN and hosts/curates FUTURE INTERSTATES – the sporadic series for dance improvisation. They have created and performed over 100 dances over the last 27 years in the United States and Internationally. HIJACK has enjoyed long relationships with Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Zenon Dance School, Red Eye Collaborations, and the Walker Art Center. In 2013, Walker Art Center commissioned “redundant, ready, reading, radish, Red Eye” to celebrate twenty years of HIJACK and Contact Quarterly published the chapbook “Passing for Dance: A HIJACK Reader”.
Jennifer Glaws is a Minneapolis-based interdisciplinary artist who is steering innovative, interactive performance experiences that push notions of space, time, and human connection. She is interested in the social and developmental rewards of the arts evident in her work as a dance artists, educator, director, and photographer. Jennifer’s research delves into the relationship of dance with cognitive science, and the view that the practice of choreography enhances critical thinking skills in dancers and non-dancers alike. Jennifer holds a MFA in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a BFA in dance and photography from Arizona State University, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in photography from Minneapolis Colleges of Art and Design. She teaches dance in settings as varied as private studios, public education programs, and colleges. She has served on faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College, Rochester Community and Technical College (Rochester, MN), and is the current school and communications director for Young Dance (Minneapolis, MN). Jennifer has resided in Minneapolis since 2004, producing in museum, theater environments, and public spaces with commissioned dance pieces created for Gustavus Adolphus College, ACDA-Midwest, Alternative Motion Project, metro-area middle and high schools, and UW-Milwaukee, among other private institutions. Jennifer’s work has been show in Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado, and New York.
Joanna Lees (she/her/hers) is a dance artist and administrator who believes in the transformative power of dance to build community. She has used these beliefs as a foundation for building a contemporary dance company, Alternative Motion Project (AMP), with Co-Artistic Director, Kristin Howe. Since 2012, Lees has co-produced 13 full-length shows, choreographed numerous new works, created 4 Screendance films, and worked with 50 different Minnesota based artists. With AMP, she has organized and taught educational residencies and classes, developed audience engagement initiatives, cultivated community building events, received multiple grant awards and
regularly commissions new work from Minnesota choreographers. Lees’ work and teaching is rooted in curiosity and collaborative practices that often explore a range of physicality, endurance, presence, momentum, and spatial relationships. Her research interests currently intersect identity, popular culture, feminism and movement. This includes cultivating empowerment in the choreographic process through physicalizing the female superhero (i.e., applying narratives, ideas, and physicality to choreographic concepts). She relishes in opportunities to work in concert with other artists and organizations to come together for a purpose greater than ourselves.
Kendall Kramer is a dancer, choreographer and educator interested in experimenting with the differentiation between props-venues-audience and performer. Born in Minneapolis, she trained at Minnetonka Dance Theater and School, and performed in the Minneapolis Fringe Festival and the Studio 4A project. Kendall graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University (TX) in 2010 with a dual degree in Dance Performance and Spanish Language. In Texas, Kendall worked with organizations and individual artists including Leslie Scates of Lower Left, Psophonia Dance Company, Young Audiences of Houston, Jacquelyn Doe, and Danny Buraczeski. Kendall has set choreography on Psophonia Dance Company, at the Nasher Sculpture Garden, for 3D film, and the Houston Comedy Dance Festival, among others. Since returning to Minneapolis, Kendall has performed at the Future Interstates Dance Improvisation Festival, and delved deeper into dance film. Kendall has received reviews for noteworthy performances in the Houston Press, and her work GLOW received the honor of Best New Dance Work of the Houston Fringe Festival in 2016.
Lisa Erickson is a dancer, teacher and choreographer of over 30 years. She trained first in MI where she danced with the Christopher Ballet, then IL where she attended both National Academy of Arts (HS) and the University of Illinois on scholarship before moving to MN to train and dance with the MN Dance Theatre. She performed in a variety of works including Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, Knoxville, Summer of 1915 and Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, as well as contemporary classics, including Glen Tetley’s Mythical Hunters and Loyce Houlton’s Carmina Burana. Lisa has taught and choreographed on children and adults and is known in the studio for instilling confidence and crafting classes that naturally guide students in fine-tuning their technique, moving effectively and efficiently, and “having fun” doing so-one of the rules of her classroom! Her ‘eagle eye’, as students describe it, enables her students to excel and attain impeccable placement.
Mary Willmeng is an independent choreographer, teacher, and dancer living in Minneapolis, MN. She danced professionally in Chicago, IL with Mordine and Company Dance Theater, the 58 Group, Breakbone Dance Company, Adriana Durant Dance, and Ayako Kato before relocating to Colorado in 2009. During her time in Colorado, she performed with Cindy Brandle Dance Company, Mary Wohl Haan, and Rachel Oliver Young. Her own work has been presented at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, the Colorado Conservatory of Dance, the Dance Center of Columbia College, Links Hall, the UIC Theater, and Stage 773. She has set her work on Simantikos Dance Chicago, Trifecta Dance Collective, and the students at Zenon Dance School. Her duet, Walk With Me, was chosen as a commissioned piece by Simantikos Dance Chicago and was presented in their company show. In 2019, she was chosen as a choreographer to collaborate in the creation of a new work with flutist Hope Rogers for Trifecta Dance Collective’s Summer Engage Artist Lab. Her work, Open Field, was chosen as a commission by TDC and was set on their professional company. Most recently, she produced a show, Little Pieces, as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. She is thrilled to be teaching little dancers Creative Movement at Zenon as part of the Youth Program!
Pianist Pat Lyles has been accompanying ballet classes in the Twin Cities for over two decades for MN Dance Theatre, Ballet Arts, Macalester, St. Paul Ballet, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, TU Dance, and Zenon. She loves attending dance performances, playing for ballet, and the dancers and teachers themselves. For her, being involved in dance is transporting — to a place of beauty and reflection.
Penelope Freeh is a contemporary ballet dancer, choreographer, and educator who dismantles antiquated modes of how ballet is taught, languaged, applied in research terms, and expressed phusically, intellectually, performatively, and at the gut level. Through her practice of expanding the terms and exploding the tropes of ballet, she aims to meanifully connect with a diversity of collaborators, colleagues, students, and audiences. Freeh is a two-time McKnight Fellow for Choreographers, McKnight Fellow for Dances, and aSage awardee for Outstanding Performer. She danced for James Sewell Ballet for seventeen years, serving as Artistic Directer from 2007-2011. In addition to Zenon, she is faculty at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Ballet, the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and TU Dance. Freeh holds a Dance MFA from Hollins University.
Roxane Wallace has been active in the arts as a performer, instructor, choreographer and teaching artist since graduating with a BA in Philosophy a minor in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley (93). She was seen nationally and internationally as a principal artist with Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater Company for 15 years and has performed in works by Meredith Monk (Quarry, Mercy), Vincent Mantsoe (Kutu), Marciano Silva Dos Santos (Motiro) and Shawn McConneloug (She Captains) as well as in numerous works by Leah Nelson, Morris Johnson, Laurie Carlos and others. She was awarded a Minnesota Sage Award for Outstanding Performer, voted “Best Dancer” in the City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities”, and holds the honor of being named a McKnight Artist Fellow in Dance. Mrs. Wallace has been working with Paula Mann as a member of TimeTrack Productions for over ten years and also currently provides inspiration and dance instruction through Zenon Dance Studio and School and as a teaching artist for the VocalEssence WITNESS Program and the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts. As an independent creative, she choreographs original, socially conscious works for school groups, independent organizations and herself.
Sofia is a dancer and fulltime scientist who recieved her training in Italy and the US. She gained her passion for teaching in high school after assisting with various Zenon youth classes, and graduated college with her Dance Certificate annd Bachelors of Science. She is actively involved in multiple styles of dance and believes it is important to teach her students the histroy behind each style covered in her classes. Sofia is currently a part of the Yirií Salsa Fusion Team and has performed onstage with Borealis Dance Tehater and Ballet Co. Laboratory, in Confluence with Dance Project and the Don Giovanni Opera at the Pablo Center for the Arts, and on camera for Blake Nellis’ ‘Mad Minute Films.’ Her goal is to help others understand that dance is all about self expression and individuality, and that there is no right or wrong way to do a step, as any variation is just a new movement.
Tina Anderson Wallum has had an extensive career both performing and teaching for over 40 years. She has performed with Minnesota Dance Theater, Ballet Arts, Ballet Minnesota, Ballet of the Dolls, Continental Ballet, The American Contemporary Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Savannah Ballet. She has over thirty years of teaching experience with a focus in Classical Ballet, and her work is enriched by her vast knowledge of somatics, and mind-body centering. In 2022 she became certified in somatic yoga. She has been teaching at the University of Minnesota for 23 years and is currently at studios all over the Twin Cities.
Xan is happy to call Minnesota home after moving from Kansas where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from Wichita State University. She has been totally captivated by the booming theatre and arts scene, friendly people and eclectic pockets of creativity. Recent choreography credits include Godspell (Paul Bunyan Playhouse) and the Princess and the Pea (Old Log Theater). She has also served as Dance Captain for Bare: A Pop Opera (The Wildwood Theatre) and Escape to Margaritaville (Old Log Theater). Other credits include working professionally as an actor, choreographer, and educator with the Guthrie Theater, the Children’s Theatre Company and Minnesota Fringe. Her time at WSU gave her the opportunity to work closely with Daxton Bloomquist (Book of Mormon on Broadway) and several time Broadway National Tour artist and dance captain, Bradley Alan Zarr. She draws inspiration from being deeply engrossed in her hometown’s community theatre from a young age. The following beliefs were instilled in her; creativity is a collaborative and enriching cultural experience that teaches young people and community members to be more engaged, open-minded, well-rounded individuals and that has been her operating belief thus far. Teaching at Zenon has been filled with the utmost joy! xanmattek.com