The Xchange Program is Zenon’s work-study program that allows students to volunteer in exchange for dance class credit.

Zone is a non-professional, intensive program aimed at dance students who are looking to deepen their dance experience.

Camp Zenon is an opportunity to sample a variety of styles and instructors over the course of week.


March 21 – 25 | Spring Open House Week

March 27 – June 4 | Spring Session

“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!

Anna Pinault

Raised in the Twin Cities, Anna has been living in New York City for the past 10 years working as a dance artist and educator. In the summer of 2022 she moved back to the Twin Cities once again to pursue the next season of her creative work. Her work as an educator includes Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Neighborhood Playhouse
School, Daya Yoga Studio, and the NYC Public School System, among others. In Minnesota she will be adding Zenon Dance School, Hothouse Minneapolis, and TU Dance to the list. In MN she dances with Alternative Motion Project, and is a collaborator for the trio of Ashwini Ramaswamy, Alanna Morris, and Berit Ahlgren. She also continues to work with the NYC-based Rovaco Dance Company. Her current personal work explores the repetitive translation and transmutation of our universe’s intrinsic languages. In addition, Anna practices Thai bodywork, and has worked as a Physical Therapy Aide for the past 3 years. Her passion for bodily education spills into both her teaching and artistic work.

Ariel Linnerson

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

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.

Averie Mitchell-Brown

Averie has always found ways to entertain herself through art. After first dancing on stage at the age of 11. She strived to make any aspect of dance her life, taking classes in ballroom, West African, break dancing, jazz and contemporary. Averie Mitchell-Brown is a University of Minnesota – Twin Cities graduate aspiring to touch as many lives as possible with her love, light, and talent.  She has worked with well known artists like Al TAW’AM – The Twins as a crew member for Best Ensemble Sage Award winning group S.H.E – She Who Holds Everything. As well as working with Kenna Cottman in Voice of Culture drum and Dance company, Aneka McMullen in Epitome No Question, Bboy J-Sun, Leah Nelson, and many more. “Working with other artists and dancers of different styles helped her improve as a dancer holistically and helped her become more knowledgeable about the origins of the dancing community here in the twin cities.  She is lives her life as a multidisciplinary artist with a focus in dance. When not dancing, she is touching the lives of many as an educator and traveling with her family.

Ayumi Shafer

Ayumi Shafer is an educator, choreographer, and mover currently active in the Twin Cities ad greater area. Originally from California, Ayumi has now been teaching for over 16 years in various cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Eugue, and Minneapolis. She earned a BA in Dance ad Choreography from Sanf Francisco State University (2009), as well as a MFA in Dance from the Univtersity of Oregan (2013). As she continues tot teach in both public and private institutions, Auumi has focused on collaborating with hlocal artists in both dacnce and other disciolines. In 2014, she co-founded DanceBABRN Collective with dancner partner Molly Johnston. DanceBARN is a nonprofit organization committed to creating dancne opportuninties for artists, perrformers, educators and audience members in rural communities. Ayumi is also immersed in the community at Jeté Dannce Center in Rogers MN, working as Assistant Director with youth of all ages in may genres from Musical Theatre to Improvisation. 

Recently, Ayumi had the opportunity to preset her work at Inbox@Artbox, The Cowles Center, 6X6 Solos, annd the Candy Box Festival. When Ayumi is not teaching or working, she enjoys time with her husband and two kids. 

Benjamin Johnson

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.

Berit Ahlgren

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. 

Dustin Haug

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 Ditmarson

Erin Ditmarson (she/her) is a mover and educator from Minnesota. She has been dancing and exploring for most of her life from studios and schools, to working with local choreographers through the years. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and has spent most of the last decade working within her community at various nonprofits and social service organizations. Erin is now a certified yoga instructor and runs her own business where she provides yoga and movement services as well as death and grief services. She is passionate about movement and the ways in which we can heal and build community through it.

Erin Thompson

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.

Eliana Durnbaugh

Eliana is a multidisciplinary dancer, researcher, and educator living on the ancestral lands of the Dakota and Anishinaabe. She holds a BA in Dance and Microbiology from Carleton College, and while there, performed in works by Stephen Koplowitz, Darrius Strong, HIJACK, Judith Howard, Herb Johnson III, and Emma Marlar & Leila Awadallah. Since the age of six, Eliana has trained in Bhratanatyam Classical Dance and Graham Modern techniques, touring with Kallanjali Dance Company in Mumbai, Chennai, ad Hyderabad, India in 2015. Currently, she is a Teaching Artist with Heart of Dance MN and Zenon Dance School. Eliana adores personal somatic inquiry and developed her undergraduate dance thesis around the sanctity of the stage. She is a fierce advocate for the radical empathy-building power of movement and the way dance shapes individuals into compassionate members of community.


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

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

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 Edstrom

Kendall Edstrom (she/they) is a movement artist and educator from Minneapolis, MN – Mni Sota Makoce. She attended Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and went on to attain a BFA from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2019. After graduating, they lived in Brussels, Belgium and studied at Charleroi Dance and TicTac Arts Center. They currently work as a special education support professional and teach dance classes at Midwest Youth Dance Theater and Zenon Dance School. At the moment she is most interested in using her body to run, wiggle, play and tune into the quiet details around her.

Lisa Erickson

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.

Penny Freeh

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

 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.

Ruby Josephine Smith

Ruby Josephine Smith is a contemporary dance artist and choreographer from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She fell in love with modern dance at the age of 10 and began to train more intensively after leaving the US when she was 19, traveling around Europe and participating in a wide variety of workshops and festivals. Eventually, she landed in Tangier, Morocco, where she worked with contemporary dance as an emerging art form in the city. Ruby lived in Tangier for 7 years, and still maintains a professional base there. She taught regularly at several studios, performed and choreographed for local institutions, and collaborated with local and international artists to create new work. Her choreography has been sponsored by the US Embassy of Morocco, l’Institut Français, and the American Language Center Network, among others. She has also taught masterclasses at international schools in Paris, Mumbai, Chennai, and Ho Chi Minh City.  Now that she is back in the Twin Cities, Ruby has reintegrated into the local dance scene, working as a freelance artist. She teaches at Zenon Dance School and Circus Juventas, has choreographed for CollabArts Twin Cities, and is currently in residency with the Threads Dance Project Tapestries Choreography Program. She has performed in pieces by Kendall Kramer and Jennifer Mack, and is now dancing with Analog Dance Works. In all of her work, Ruby believes in the power of dance to tell stories, explore emotion, and form strong connections across boundaries and borders.  

Shannon Dolan

Shannon Hartle Dolan is orignially from Des Moines, Iowa. She graduated high schoole early to attend the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary program in NYC. She then attended the University of Iowa, graduating in 2019 with a BFA in Dance, a Minor in Communication Studies, and a Certificate in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship. During her time at Iowa, her studies included an emphasis in ballet pedagogy and she taught at the University of Iowa Youth Ballet. Now located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Shannon is the Development and Volunteer Coordinator and a Coach at Circus Juventas. Shannon is a professional dancer and has performed work throughout Iowa, Chicago, NYC, Virgina, Missouri, and more. She currently is a company member of Threads Dance Project in Minneapolis and a freelance performer throughout the Twin Cities. Additionally Shannon is the Co-Director of the International ScreenDance Festival.

Sofia Arisian

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 camer for Blake Nellis’ ‘Mad Minute Films.’ Her goal is to help others understad that dance is all about self expression and individuality, and that there is no right or wrong way to do a step, as anny variation is just a new movement. 

Xan Mattek

Xan Mattek is a graduate from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Performance. She is new to the Twin Cities and has been having a blast getting to know the scene; taking class, auditioning, and meeting inspiring creators! Recent performance credits include Once Upon a Mattress and Escape to Margaritaville where she served as Dance Captain (Old Log Theater) and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie Theater). She is currently choreographing Princess and the Pea at the Old Log. One of her favorite gigs was interning at the Lovewell Institute for the Creative Arts, where she assisted students in writing, choreographing, directing and overall performing a full scale musical from scratch in three weeks. 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. Along with her work in theatre Xan is passionate about community arts engagement. Projects include “Final Fest Music and Arts Festival”, “R Sound Presents: Poetry and Music Open Mic”.

Spring Session | Mar 27 - Jun 4SCHEDULE
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