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We pride ourselves in providing instruction for dancers of all genders, orientations, abilities, and levels of experience. All are welcome here.
UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS.
“Your love for and belief in the power of dance was so evident.”
-Performance Art Examiner
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!
Arturo 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 St. Olaf College (’05), 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 the years of 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 a teacher certification between 2011-2012. Upon return to the United States, she began offering Gaga/dancer and Gaga/people classes regularly in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as guest teaching nationally and abroad. Ahlgren moved to New York City in 2014 and obtained her MFA in dance from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts in 2016, continuing her work in Gaga at both Gibney and Mark Morris Dance Centers. Returning to Minnesota in late 2016, Ahlgren has been teaching independently and collegiately, choreographing for stage and camera, and performing between Minneapolis and New York City as a freelance artist.
A Minneapolis native, Dorian Brooke has been dancing since she was three years old. She began competing at the age of four, particularly enjoying tap. In 2008 and 2010, Dorian achieved the title of “1st Overall Champion” in her division for her tap solos. After high school, she went on to receive her BFA in musical theatre and acting, with a minor in dance, from the University of Mississippi. Since graduating, Dorian has been teaching, choreographing and performing professionally throughout the Twin Cities, working with companies such as Theater Latté Da, Old Log and Artistry.
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.
Edna Stevens is a choreographer, performer, and teaching artist who has taken her craft locally, nationally and internationally. She has performed and offered instructional dance presentations and performances in New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Korea, Japan, and Nigeria, as well as led gospel devotions in Senegal. She instructs annual classes, workshops, and residencies at various locations in the Twin Cities. Born in Liberia and raised in New York, Edna’s unique style blends both her African roots and American flavor. Edna is the founder and artistic director of Universal Dance Destiny (UDD), a pioneer nonprofit dance company that specializes in traditional and contemporary styles of West African dance. Her goal is to continue connecting people of all communities through the history, meaning and movement of dance. Edna believes that creativity is limitless and enjoys teaching dance to people of all ages and experience.
Erin Thompson’s dance performance career began 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.
Erinn Liebhard is a dance artist making opportunities for people to experience the connective and reflective power of groove through performance and education. Having grown up dancing socially at her dad’s rock band’s gigs, she discovered young the exhilaration of experiencing groove alongside others. Guided by this inspiration and a fondness for jazz and American social dance ideas and their shared elements of groove, interaction and improvisation, Erinn has worked with creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artist Rennie Harris and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers Appalachian clogging company. In performance, she makes and performs new staged works and presents those of others through her company Rhythmically Speaking, is a member of Afro-Brazilian contemporary company Contempo Physical Dance, and performs as self-created character “Nerdette” for St. Paul Saints Baseball’s Entertainment Team. In education, Erinn is an active jazz dance residency artist in higher education and for professional dance companies, works on the Teaching Artist roster for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and is faculty at Zenon Dance Company and School. She’s also an active writer and conference presenter. Erinn is driven to help connect people to themselves, one another and the moment through rooted and innovative embodiment of groove.
Gabrielle (Gabby) is thrilled to join the teaching staff at Zenon! A South Minneapolis native, she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2017 where she earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in dance and theatre. Since graduating, she has had the privilege of sharing her work as both a teaching artist and performer with several companies in the Twin Cities. Some of Gabby’s favorite memories have come from working with companies such as Flying Foot Forum, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Artistry, Theater Latté Da, Wonderlust Productions, Children’s Theatre Company, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and Guthrie Theater. When she isn’t rehearsing herself, she spends her time choreographing for the theater departments of Spring Lake Park School District 16, Anoka Middle School for the Arts, and SOAR Regional Arts in St. Michael, MN. Gabby is so excited to combine her love of movement, performance, and community in this musical theater jazz class!
HIJACK is the choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder. 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 experimentation, invention without precedent, and making dance out of everything but dance. HIJACK has taught and performed in New York (at DTW, PS122, HERE ArtCenter, Catch/Movement Research Festival, La Mama, Dixon Place, Chocolate Factory), Japan, Russia, Central America, Ottawa, Chicago, Colorado, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, at Fuse Box Festival in Austin Texas, and Bates Dance Festival in Maine. In Minneapolis, HIJACK enjoys long relationships with Bedlam Theatre (as regulars at Romps), Red Eye Collaborations (as part of their Critical Core), Zenon Dance School (since 2000), and Bryant Lake Bowl (HIJACK’s 1996 “Take Me To Cuba” was the venue’s first ever dance concert). HIJACK questions where and for whom contemporary dance is performed, gigging regularly in both social settings and concert settings. HIJACK manipulates context by employing a site-specific approach to every performance and toying with audiences’ expectations. In 2013, celebrating 20 years of HIJACK, they premiered “redundant, ready, reading, radish, Red Eye” at Walker Art Center. HIJACK was also the recipient of a 2013 McKnight Choreographer Fellowship.
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.
Jenn Pray is a Twin Cities-based dancer, creator, and teaching artist. Originally from central Iowa, Jenn is a 2012 summa cum laude graduate from the University of Iowa, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and international studies. Her teaching and performance credits span the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Since moving to the Twin Cities, Jenn has had the honor to work with many choreographers and companies, including Threads Dance Project, STRONGmovement, Live Action Set, Ballet Minnesota, and Penny Freeh. She is currently a company artist with Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT). While on national and Minnesota tours, she’s had the opportunity to lead residencies, workshops and classes as part of SPDT’s innovative model of community engaged art. In addition to performing, Jenn has presented her own work at Tanzwerkstatt Europa in Munich, at the Henny Jurriëns Stichting in Amsterdam, and the Southern Theater in Minneapolis. She has created commissions for Threads Dance Project, Iowa Dance Theatre, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and at festivals, galleries and museums throughout the Midwest. Jenn loves teaching movement to people of all ages and experience levels. She has been on faculty at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy since 2013, and regularly teaches yoga throughout the Twin Cities.
Karla Grotting is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She is a founding member, principal dancer, and artistic associate in her 25th year with The Flying Foot Forum. She has performed with companie, Jazzdance: by Danny Buraczeski, MN Jazz Dance Co, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Off-Leash Area, and Combustible Company. Karla has been on faculty with the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance and a visiting guest artist and instructor at St. Olaf College. Her awards include the U of M Student’s Choice Award for Outstanding Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts, a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers, and a 2010 Sage Nomination for Outstanding Educator. Her project, “Lost Voices in Jazz: The Choreographers of the Minnesota Jazz Dance Company” was recognized with the Sage Award for Outstanding Performance and Karla was named a City Pages’ Artist of the Year in 2015. Karla creates her own dance works which blend the unique styles of her tap, jazz, modern and percussive dance experiences. She has set original works on the Flying Foot Forum, The Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Macalester College, St. Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, UW-Whitewater, Southwest High School Dance Program, Keane Sense of Rhythm Social Club, and LiRa Dance Theatre.
Kelli Miles is a Minneapolis-based dancer and choreographer. Her training began at Central Wisconsin School of Ballet, leading her to attend Interlochen Arts Academy while in high school. She has spent summers training with Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, TU Dance, Alonzo King LINES Contemporary Ballet and most recently, Nashville’s contemporary dance company New Dialect and DanceWorks Chicago. Kelli graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in dance and a minor in leadership after having spent a final semester dancing in Israel. During her collegiate career she trained in ballet, modern, jazz, African, improvisation, composition, somatics, and Gaga. She has created numerous works of her own, as well as performed works by nationally renowned artists Joanie Smith, Carl Flink, Martha Graham, Luciana Achugar, Angharad Davies, Uri Sands, Matthew Prescott, and Anne-Rene Petrarca. Additionally, Kelli co-produced “Work Sighted: Emerging Dance, Heightened Research,” a showcase for emerging choreographers, and interned with arts organization, Springboard for the Arts, on their leadership team. She also performs with Threads Dance Project under the direction of Karen L Charles.
Non Edwards has been in the Twin Cities scene since 2009, having previously spent two seasons with the 940 Dance Company in Lawrence, KS; earned a BA in math from Grinnell College; and survived 17 years in rural Iowa. A freelance dancer, Non has had the pleasure of working in many styles with several choreographers, such as HIJACK, Mathew Janczewski, Valerie Oliveiro, Kerry Parker, Deborah Jinza Thayer, Morgan Thorson, and Laurie Van Wieren. Her dancing interests include improvisation, the phenomenology of dancing, and site-specific choreography. Non has performed in small, DIY, and non-art spaces as well as the Twin Cities’ Fitzgerald, McGuire, and Goodale Theaters; on the East Coast at Jacob’s Pillow and as far west as the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. She has produced and made work parallel to her performing career, presenting under the moniker Unspeakable Dance from 2010-2013, and with Missa Kes for Super-Mad-Body-Jack, Giantessence, and the 10-week residency Monkey Bar—an improvisational dance series for Bedlam Lowertown. Other notable works include Bausch, Bull, Edwards, Gastineau, Hansen, and Hay (2012) co-produced with Emily Gastineau; The Thank You Videos (2016-2017) a 27-video series; Repressed Midwest (2017); Scarlet Gesture (2018); and Habitat (2019). In addition to dancing and making dances, Non is a GYROKINESIS®️ Method Apprentice Trainer, a freelance writer, and Editor for DanceMN. Headshot by Jake Armour, courtesy of ARENA Dances.
Rayna Howard was born and raised in the Twin Cities. She started dancing at a young age and quickly fell in love with it. She is a self-taught hip-hop dancer with some professional training, and has been an active member of Energy Dance Collective for two years. Rayna has performed all over the Twin Cities as well as in Philadelphia. For a little over five years she has dedicated her life to youth work with in local schools. Rayna’s passion for helping youth and her love for dance drives her to use her creative powers to help build community through love and movement.
Co-founder of the award-winning dance company Buckets and Tap Shoes, Rick Ausland began dancing at the age of three at Larkin Dance Studio. Rick has worked and studied with Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Michele Larkin, Geno Forletti, Molly Larkin, Ted Kivett, Michelle Lucci, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Bril Barrett, Joe Chvala, Lane Alexander, Joe Tremaine, Tice Diorio, Brenda Buffalino, Tyler Erickson, Jon Ferguson and many more. Rick’s professional highlights include the role of the tap-dancing cowboy named “Billy” in Chanhassen Dinner Theater’s production of Crazy for You, and being featured tap dancing on the radio with his brother on Garrison Keilor’s second to last broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul. For two decades Rick has produced, performed, and taught master classes in many of Minnesota’s top music, dance and theater venues as well internationally in Austria, Ecuador, Finland, Russia, and Malta. Rick has choreographed for, and taught master classes and workshops at most of the dance studios in MN including Zenon, Lundstrum Center for Performing Arts, Four Seasons Dance, Ballare Teatro, Larkin Dance, Studio 4, Victoria’s Dance Productions, Dance Shoppe, Children’s Theatre, Main Street School for Performing Arts, Perpich Center for Arts Education, and the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts.
Roxane Wallace is active in the arts as a performer, teacher, dancer, and choreographer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy with an ethnic studies minor from the University of California at Berkeley (1993). She is a teaching artist for the Vocal Essence WITNESS program and a dance instructor at the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts and Zenon Dance School. In addition to this, she was a member of Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater Company for over ten years. Constantly engaged in her field, Roxane has worked with choreographers and directors of regional and international acclaim. In 2004 she was named “Best Dancer” in the City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities.” In 2006 she wrote, choreographed, directed and produced “Evolution of a Soul Sista.” She was presented by The Red Eye Theater in 2007 with her production “REvolutionary Soul Sistas” and that same year, received a 2007 Minnesota Sage Dance Award for Outstanding Performer. In 2008, she was greatly honored to be named a McKnight Artist Fellow in Dance. Roxane feels blessed to be doing what she loves. Working with diverse communities and age groups, engaging all aspects of her artistry and her humanity, she continues to appreciate and enjoy what her work brings to her life.
Scott Stafford is a native of Detroit, Michigan, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University. He enjoys life as a performer, teaching artist, and dancing person — currently sweating, loving, and creating in Minneapolis. His choreography and collaborative efforts have been presented at The Walker Art Center, The Southern Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, The Red Eye Theater, and Fresh Oysters Performance Research. Much of Scott’s movement research practice is conducted on dance floors across the world — transforming collective oneness, via the rhythm, into disco poetry. He views expression as vital to every individual — accessible to every body, and necessary to every lifestyle. Scott’s work is founded in our infinite capacity of expressive range — made manifest in forms of softness, hardness, celebration, transcendence, radical oops-ing, and transcending again.