March 20 | ZenONLINE Virtual Open House
March 22 – May 31 | Zenon Spring Session (Hybrd and Online)
UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS.
September 12 | ZenONLINE Open House
September 14 | ZenONLINE | Start of Fall 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!
Anne Lentz grew up in Minneapolis and trained at Ballet Arts Minnesota with Bonnie Mathis. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she studied dance with Viola Farber. Professionally, she studied directly with Merce Cunningham at his studio in NYC as well as with other master teachers including Jackie Villamil, Christine Wright, and Jocelyn Lorenz among others. Anne has over 15 years of professional performing and teaching experience in NYC, Europe and Asia. She was a company member and rehearsal director with Pam Tanowitz Dance in New York City for 14 years. Anne was awarded a Bessie Award in 2009 as a performer in Be in the Gray With Me. Anne currently teaches Ballet at Zenon. Her classes focus on exploring the interplay between rigor and ease through the ballet idiom. She is most interested in cultivating a sense of clear authentic movement in her students.
Ariel Linnerson has been teaching Yoga, Pilates, TRX, Barre, Zumba, dance and dance-based fitness classes since graduating with a BFA in Contemporary Dance from North Carolina School of the Arts in 2003. She believes that consistency, sustainability, and variety are the keys to a lifetime of health and fitness. To encourage those crucial elements, her goal is to make each class fun, engaging, and challenging for every single student, whether that class is your first… or five-thousandth! In addition to teaching, Ariel 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 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.
Dorian Brooke, a Minneapolis native, 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.
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.
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 Sheppard is a perfomer from Minneapolis. Her choreography has been seen throughout the Twin Cities, including the MN Fringe Festical with the remount of 2012’s Twin Cities Horror Festival show Bump in the Night. She teaches youth dance classes at Zenon Dance School and has a passion to make dance performance entertaining to all audiences. Erin brings her diverse dance background to her students, sharing a variety of Hip-Hop techniques to young dancers.
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.
José A Luis
José A Luis was born in Veracruz, Mexico. Raised in Racine, Wisonsin. Having lived in Milwaukee, Chicago, and now Minneapolis, moving has been part of José’s identity. Considered a “late-dancer,” formal training began at UW-Milwaukee, where he graduated with a BFA in Dance. After graduation he continued to perform locally before moving to Chicato to dance with REDance. José has presented his works in festivals throughout the Midwest. As a solo choreographer and often hid own dancer, he is attuned to his body and artistic vision change through time – influencing his works. José is currently in residence at Zenon as a choreographer for Zenon Dance Zone.
Karkla Grotting is a dancer, choreographer and educator. She is a founding member, principal danccer, artistic associate with the Flying Foot Forum, since 1990. She has performed with companies, Jazzdance: by Danny Buraczeski, Keane Sense of Rythm, Off-Leash Area, Combustible Company and MN Jazz Dance Co. Karla has been. on faculty with the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre and Dance from 1998-2020 and has been a visiting guest artist and instructor at St. Olaf College from 2014-2021. Her awards include the UofM Student’s Choice Award for Outstanding Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts, a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers, and a 2019 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 and has set original works on the Flying Foot Forum, The Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Rhythmically Speaking, MN State University-Mankato, Carleton College, 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, LiRa Dance Theatre, and others. Mos trecently, Karla has been perrfomring in several short films by the Flying Foot Forum. Our film, COOKAPHONY was selected for a variety of film festicals including Sedona Film Festival, the Door County Film Festival, and Parist Shot Film Festival.
Kelli Miles is a Minneapolis-based dancer, teacher, choreographer and arts administrator. Her training began at Central Wisconsin School of Ballet, where her passion led her to attend Interlochen Arts Academy during high school. Throughout this time she has had the delight of training with Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, TU Dance, Alonzo King LINES Contemporary Ballet and most recently, Nashville’s premiere contemporary dance company New Dialect and DanceWorks Chicago. Kelli graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in Dance and minor in Leadership this spring of 2018 after having spent a final semester dancing in Israel, currently one of the world’s leading hubs for contemporary dance. She has created numerous works of her own, as well as performed works by nationally-renowned artists: Joanie Smith, Martha Graham, Angharad Davies, Uri Sands, Mathew Prescott, Ohad Naharin and Anne-Rene Petrarca. Kelli has danced with Threads Dance Project and is currently moving and grooving with Rhythmically Speaking, Borealis Dance Theater and other freelance projects. Alongside performing, Kelli is the Managing Director of Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES. Kelli finds joy, strength and inspiration in this art form in its ability to evoke visceral empathy and intellectual conversation.
Kendall Kramer is a dancer, choreographer and educator interested in experimenting with the differentation 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 Sutdio 4A project. Kendall graduated manga 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, Youg 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 Festical, among other. Since returning to Minneapolis, Kendall has performed at the Future Interstates Dance Improvisation Festival, and delved deeper into dance film. Kendall has recieved reviews for noteworth performaances in the Houston Press, and her work GLOW recieved the honor of Best Neew Dance Work of the Houston Fring Festical in 2016. Kendall is passionate about working with young dancers and teaches youth ballet at Zenon Dance School. Kendall is currently in residence at Zenon as a choreographer for Zenon Dance Zone.
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.
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.
Originally from California, Orxane Wallace earned a BA in Philoshophy with a minor in Ethnic Studies form the University of California at Berkely in 1993. She has been active in the arts and performance ever since as a performer, teacher, dancer, and choreographer. Constantly engaged in herfield, she earned the “Best Dancer” title in the 2004 City Pages “Best of the Twin Cities,” a 2007 Minnesota Sage Award for Oustanding Performer, and the honor of being named a 2008 McKnight Artist fellow in Dancce. As a creator of original, socially conscious work, Wallace wrote, choreographerd, directed and produced “Evolution of a Soul Sista” in 2006 presented by The Red Eye Theater in 2007 with her “REvolutionary Soul Sistas”. Wallace was seen nationally and internationally as a principal artist with Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater Company for 15 years and has also performed in works by Meredith Monk (Quarry and Mercy), Vincent Mantsoe (Kutu), Marciano Silva Dos Santos (Motiro), Shawn McConneloug (She Captains) as well as in numberous works by Paul Mann, Leah Nelson, and Morris Johnson among others. As a teaching artist, Wallace facilitates classes and workshops and creates original choreography for all ages in the Twin Cities and beyond. She provides inspiration and training through the Vocal Essance WITNESS program, the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and as a dance instructor at Zenon Dance School.
Ruby Josephine Smith
Ruby Josephine Smith is a contemporary dance artist and choreographer who grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Drawn towards movement and performance from an early age, she pursued her love of theater throughout her childhood and began exploring contemporary dance at age 10. Eventually, her curiosity and passion launcher her into a life of travel, continuing her self-driven training at studios, workshops and intensives across Europe. She finally landed in Tangier, Morocco, where she has been based for the past 7 years until very recently reolcating back to the Twin Cities. In Morocco, Ruby was teaching regular classes to local and internation students in English, French and Arabic, creating and performing works and engaging with fellow movement artists in the community to push forward contemporary dance as an emerging art form in the city. Her choreography and performance has been comissioned and sponsored by the US Embassy of Morocco, l’Institut Français de Tanger, the American Language Center Network in Morocco, and the American Legation of Tangier. Ruby spent her time in Spain and France collaborating with other international dancers, and offering residencies and dance program consulation to the American International School network. Ruby believes strongly in the power of dance and movement to tell storeis, explore personal processes, and form strong human connections across boudaries and borders. Ruby is currently in residence at Zenon as a choreographer for Zenon Dance Zone.
Sarah Bartlett began her dane career in her homestown of Orono, Minesota. Growing up beside her dad who raan the Southern Theater in Minneapolis for almost 30 years, she has been surounded by dance since before she could walk. Sarah followed in the creative footsteps of her beloved Grandmother and artists in her family. Sarah studied with Ballet of the Dools, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater and School. As a professional, Sarah returned to Ballet of the Dolls as an apprentice. She later performed her first flamnenco show Zorro in 2012. She has also perfomed in Garden of Names and What the Moon Sees under the creative direction of Susana di Palma, Las Flamencas directed by Deborah Elias, Sacred by Lisa Conlin, and Not so Suite by Myron Johnson. Sarah now focuses on giving back to the dance community she learned from by teaching litlle ones ballet and yonga through classes and the YMCA and Zenon Dance School. Sarah holds and Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Minneapolis Community and Technical College and is activley owrking on yoga certification.
Stephanie Shapso is a Twin Cities based dance artist, teacher and choreographer. She has been teaching youth and adults at Zenon since 2001 and got her start at the Zenon Dance School. Stephanie began her dance training as a hip-hop dancer in teen night clubs and was inspired to pursue a career. She specializes in Belly Dance and Hip-Hop, while intensively continuing her training in ballet and other styles at Zenon and MDT. Stephanie has choreographed for the Vikings Cheerleaders, commercials for Best Buy, Plato’s Closet, and an international buisness meeting for General Mills.