Did you know that a dance degree is not required to open a dance school? It is not even a requirement to be a teacher. This is a fact, but we feel that to provide the best education to our students, our instructors should be well-educated themselves. We only hire teachers holding a degree in dance, or those who have had comparable professional training and experience. Our instructors have extensive experience working with children and present class material in a developmentally appropriate, nurturing and positive manner.
Artistic Director, Instructor,
Kirstin earned a BFA in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, in addition to studying at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Milwaukee Ballet and Gus Giordano. She has 27 years teaching experience including the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Zenon Dance School, and The Conservatory for Creative Expression in Stevens Point, WI. Kirstin has performed in a number of faculty & student productions at UWSP, including reconstructed works by Doris Humphrey, Ruth St. Dennis, Charles Weidman, Yvonne Rainer & Debra Lowen. She has also performed at the American College Dance Festival, and with Ed Burgess & Lonne Moretton. She has also performed as a Zenon scholarship student and with several Twin Cities choreographers. Kirstin’s choreographic work includes Deuxmensions Dance Theatre & Junior Dance Theatre, many student productions at UWSP, and commissioned works for performance by the Amadeus Dance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Artistic Director, Instructor,
YPC & JPC Choreographer
Michelle earned her BFA in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and trained at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City. Michelle has been teaching for 30 years at various dance schools throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as UWSP and Zenon Dance School. Michelle has performed in numerous productions at UWSP, the American College Dance Festival, Indianapolis Ballet, and Central Wisconsin Community Theatre’s production of the Nutcracker. In the Twin Cities, she has performed as a member of the Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble, Zenon Dance School’s scholarship program, and various local choreographers. Michelle choreographed for several productions at UWSP and had her work chosen to represent UWSP at the American College Dance Festival. Locally, she has choreographed for Deuxmensions Dance Theatre & Junior Dance Theatre, and shown works at the Minnesota Dance Festival, MDA’s Choreomania, and several of Zenon Dance School’s Block E concerts.
LAURA K JOHNSON
Laura recently received her BA in Dance from Gustavus Adolphus College, where she was awarded the Distinguished Dance Student Award. Originally from Rosemount, MN, she began her training at Betty Jo’s Dance Center. In high school, Laura was introduced to modern dance and hasn’t looked back since. During her time at Gustavus, Laura worked with choreographers Melissa Rolnick, Philip Flickinger, Jill Patterson, Sarah Hauss and performed multiple times at the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA). She also spent her summers supplementing her study at intensives such as the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Zenon Summer Intensive and TU Summer Intensive. Laura is extremely passionate about dance because she believes it is essentially the art of being alive. As someone who struggles with being present in daily life, Laura finds herself most content when she lets her mind and body sync together while dancing. She is excited to see where her passion takes her in life.
Elly Wagnild started dancing at the age of three. She received her training from Fergus Falls School of Dance and St. Olaf College, where she earned her B.A. with majors in dance and a course of studies through St. Olaf’s College of Integrated Studies called Body/Mind: Wholeness Through Movement. She also earned a concentration in Women’s Studies. Elly has always wanted to use her love of dance to help others live fuller lives. Teaching dance is the perfect way to do that. Elly likes to focus on correct alignment and technique in her classes, as well as building confidence and community with her dancers. She is happy to be at a studio that shares her passion.