ZENON DANCE SCHOOL.

ZENON PROGRAMS.

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.

UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS.

March 26 | Spring Open House

March 28 | Spring Classes Begin

“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!

Anne Petrich

Born and raised in Minnesota, Anne started dancing at Hopkins Dance Center being trained in tap, jazz, lyrical, musical theater, ballet, and pointe. With much passion for ballet, Anne joined the Hopkins Youth Ballet for 8 years where she performed productions of Swan Lake, Giselle, Dracula, and the Nutcracker. Anne went on to assist and teach for 2 years while attending the University of Minnesota. She earned a degree in dance and sociology. She has also trained at TU dance, Daara dance, Arena dances and interned at Ballet Co.Laboratory. After college she continued teaching at multiple dance studios in the twins cities and fulfills her passion for the arts through educating the next generation of dancers. 

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.

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. 

Dorian Brooke

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

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

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.

Erinn Liebhard

Erinn Liebhard (MFA University of Colorado, BFA University of Minnesota) is a dance artist making opportunities for people to experience the reflective and connective 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 playfully experiencing groove alongside others. Guided by this inspiration and a fondness for jazz and American social dance ideas, she’s worked with creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artists 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 my 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. She also creates new works for professional dance companies. Her creative works emphasize groove, interaction, and improvisation, and are inspired by both social and concert dance movement while often driven by jazz music. In education, in addition to her work at Zenon, she is an active jazz dance residency artist in higher education, works as a Teaching Artist for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts and serves as a member of their Advisory Council, and is faculty at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and Winona State University. She is also an active writer and conference presenter. She’s driven to help connect people to themselves, one another, and the moment through rooted and innovative embodiment of groove.

Gabby ‘the Baddie’ Abram

Gabrielle Abram a.k.a. Gabby The Baddie, is a Gary, Indiana native, and a 2020 Momentum New Dance Works Fellow. She is a self-taught, multi-lingual Hip Hop artist and has received training in Ballet, Modern, West African, and Jazz at The Perpich Center for Arts and Education, TU Dance Center, and received a scholarship to attend the ARENA Dances Summer Intensive. Abram attended Columbia College Chicago for one year then returned to the Twin Cities to work as a professional Dancer, Choreographer, and Producer. She has performed works by local and international choreographers Mathew Janczewski, Alanna Moris-Van Tassal, Orlando Hunter, Marciano Silva Dos Santos, and Nildinha Fonseca (Brazil). She has danced at The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, The Southern Theater, and The Cowles Center for Dance & Performing Arts. An active artist in the Twin Cities’ Hip-Hop community, Abram has danced in productions, Mixtape Volumes 1-5, and Rooted: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening. Abram made history as the first black woman to teach American Jazz dance at the University of Minnesota in September of 2020. 
Gabrielle is a member of STRONGmovement, directed by Darrius Strong, and Atlantis13 Dance Collective, directed by Peace Madimutsa and Johnathan Van Arman. In 2018 Abram co-produced Listen., at The Lab Theater–a collective of 9 choreographers sharing Pan-African perspectives and personal stories of black identity. In November of 2021, Abram made her choreographic debut with “Release” set on The Threads Dance Project as A Tapestries Choreographer. Gabrielle along with business partner Rayna Howard created BGC Productions; a Film and Media Production company dedicated to creating, collaborating, and producing art that elevates and inspires black and POC Artists. Abram continues to produce, dance, and create work in the Twin Cities.

Hannah Pierce

Hannah is a Minneapolis based artist and educator. She grew up dancing in Oklahoma City and attended Middlebury College. Before coming to Minneapolis, Hannah spent many years living and working in San Francisco. In addition to teaching, Hannah has worked with DANCE ELIXIR, David Herrera Performance Company, KWENTO Dance Theater, AXIS Dance  Company, and Garrett Moulton Productions, among others. Hannah has enjoyed getting to know and sweat alongside members of the beautiful Twin Cities arts commuinties and is looking forward to continuing teaching at Zenon.

HIJACK

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”. 

Javan Mngrezzo

Javan Mngrezzo (he/him) recently relocated to Minnesota by way of Portland, OR. He graduated from Western Oregon University in three years, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Dance and Sociology. Javan currently dances with Black Label Movement and Analog Dance Works, and has been a company dancer with Threads Dance Project, BodyVox, and Rainbow Dance Theatre. He has also had the privilege of performing as a guest artist for numerous companies such as Heidi Duckler Dance, Cynthia Gutierrez’s Company Movimiento, and Dar Vejon Jones Dance Ensemble [DJDE]. Javan has taught at dozens of Oregon studios, including at Bodyvox, Northwest Dance Project, and Shaun Keylock Studios, and is a certified instructor of The Ellové Technique®. Teaching is one of his greatest passions and he hopes to both provide growth through challenge yet also create spaces where anyone can access and share in the love of dance!

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.

José A Luis

José A. Luis was born in Veracruz, Mexico. Raised in Racine, Wisconsin. 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. Having worked with most of the faculty, guest artists, and graduate students, he continued to perform locally before moving to dance with REDance in Chicago. Interest in dance collaborations led to undergraduate and post-undergraduate pieces being presented in festivals throughout the Midwest. As a solo choreographer and often his own dancer, he is attuned to his body and artistic vision change through time – influencing his works. An evening length show lies on the horizon for José. For now he continues to stay open and available for all opportunities. 

Karla Grotting

Karla Grotting is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She is a founding member, principal dancer, and artistic associate with The Flying Foot Forum, since 1990. She has performed with companies, Jazzdance: by Danny Buraczeski, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Off-Leash Area, Combustible Company and MN Jazz Dance Co. Karla has been on faculty with the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance from 1998-2020 and has been a visiting guest artist and instructor at St Olaf College from 2014-21. 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 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. Most recently, Karla has been performing in several short films by the Flying Foot Forum. Our film, COOKAPHONY was selected for a variety of film festivals including Sedona Film Festival, the Door County Film Festival, the Spring Grove International Film Festival, and the Paris Short Film Festival.

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.

Kendall Kramer

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 and modern at Zenon Dance School.  

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.

Margaret Ogas

Margaret Ogas (she/her) is a Minneapolis-based dancer and choreographer who makes funky, spunky, socially engaged performances.

Her choreography has been presented in spaces throughout the Twin Cities, including the Walker Art Center, the Cedar Cultural Center, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, Bryant Lake Bowl, Center for Performing Arts, and on sidewalks in South Minneapolis. She is a recipient of the 2021 Naked Stages Fellowship at Pillsbury House + Theatre. As a dancer, she has performed with Taja Will, Chris Schlichting, Laurie Van Wieren, and Jennifer Glaws. Margaret is a teaching artist at Young Dance, Zenon Dance School, and serves on the board of Language Attitude, a group developing culturally relevant, arts-based programs in the fields of education, media, and communications. She holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

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.

Philip Hommes

 Philip Hommes is a movement artist, dance instructor, and musician originally from Two Harbors, MN. His dance training began at Duluth Dance Center in Duluth, MN and continued for 12 years, where he trained in contemporary, ballet, tap, and jazz styles. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2021 with a BFA in dance, where he had experiences working with and learning from multiple dance artists, both local and international, including Pramila Vasudevan, Eko Supriyanto, Annie Hanauer, and Alito Allesi. As a choreogeographer, his work has won choreography awards at competitions, and a piece he created in college was selected as an alternate for American Collegiate Dance Association. His choreographic work is often influenced by ideas relating to natural environments, environmental justice, and self-reflection through movement. With over five years of teaching experience, he always strives to promote supportive, thoughtful, and positive learning environments for students of all ages and levels of experience.

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.  

Stephanie Shapso

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.

Tina Wallum

Tina Anderson Wallum has had an extensive career both performing and teaching for over 40 years. She has performed with the 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, mind-body centering. In 2022 she was 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.

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