Creative Director, Teaching Artist, Educational Liaison
Frances is a dancer and teacher with extensive knowledge of American vernacular jazz and swing dance movements. She has performed, choreographed, and competed with TC Swing’s Rhythm & Swing, the St. Paul Swingcapators, and the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. Frances has also choreographed for other professional and amateur dancers, including St. Olaf’s Theater Department, Cinema Ballroom, Beyond Ballroom Dance Company, and numerous wedding couples. She believes that anyone can learn to dance and loves teaching beginners.
Heather Johnson, Lead Teaching Artist
Heather is a skilled dance instructor and choreographer who has extensive experience working with youth of varying ages and abilities. Heather completed her teaching artist residency training at the Dancing Classrooms headquarters in New York City. She has also been trained at the National Dance Institute (NDI) with a focus on specialized teaching techniques of middle school students and holds a dance teacher certification in all styles of couples ballroom dance from Fred Astaire Studios.
Drew Anderson, Teaching Artist, Educational Liaison
Drew is a photographer and artist who studied at the Savannah College of Art & Design and the Columbia College of Art & Design. Music is one of his many passions and he has an extensive history of musical theater. Drew enjoys bringing out the best in people as a certified strengths coach and leadership vision consultant. He is a passionate learner and finds great joy in working with children. Drew believes one of his greatest assets is his ability to "speak kid," which has contributed to his success as a counselor to physically and mentally handicapped children. He loves using his "language" skills at Heart of Dance!,
Hannah Bakke, Teaching Artist
Hannah is 3 shots of espresso with a dash of nutmeg. As a Twin Cities-based actor and teaching artist, she is on a mission to help everyone (herself included) run full tilt towards their joy. Hannah holds degrees in theatre art and philosophy from Concordia College, plays mandolin and guitar, and has recently taken to the sky on the aerial hoop. Hannah has worked as a teaching artist and director locally with Drama Kids of Hennepin County and Merrill Arts Center. Around the country, she has performed and taught with Missoula Children's Theatre. An avid swing dancer, Hannah believes that anyone can learn to dance and loves anything that brings art to new communities.
Shannon Butler, Teaching Artist
Shannon is fluent in French and grew up dancing. Having learned from family, she understands the importance of positive role models and a welcoming learning environment. Since 1997 she has worked with audiences of all ages and abilities. Sought for her knowledge of 20th century dances, she has taught, competed, judged and performed at some of the top national and overseas swing events. She believes in the health and emotional benefits of social dancing, striving to inspire creativity, foster respect and build communication skills while bringing people together through dance.
Rayna Howard, Teaching Artist
Rayna relates well to her students in the Dancing Classrooms because she taught herself to dance at a young age through music videos and dance films. She has attended Hollywood Studios and studied under Dance Educator Tamiko French at the Energy Dance Collective. Rayna has taught classes in yoga, dance and hip hop for various for youth programs including Youth Hip-hop and Urban Heels at Zenon and finds movement to be a spiritual/ healing practice. Obtaining a degree in Dance Therapy, creating a traveling youth dance program, and expanding the film production company she co-created are just a few of the goals she has set for herself.
Maeve Donahue, Teaching Artist
Maeve has been a dancer all her life and has trained extensively in ballet, modern, contemporary, tap, jazz, urban street styles, and more. She is currently teaching for Midwest School of Ballet and is a resident choreographer for PiM Arts High School, her alma mater. Maeve has performed frequently around the Twin Cities and is starting her second season with Borealis Dance Theater. She loves teaching and helping others expand their appreciation for the art of dance. Maeve is excited to teach a new batch of eager faces each semester in Dancing Classrooms!
Danielle Kiminski, Teaching Artist
Danielle is an actor, writer and creator in the Twin Cities, and she recently returned from Scotland where she completed her Master's in acting from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Danielle Is also a Crisis Intervention Actor and she is super excited to have found Dancing Classrooms as it combines her love of dance with her love of teaching empathy, rapport building, and understanding different perspectives. When she has down time, she can usually be found snuggling her dog, Ender.
Leslie Koepke, Teaching Artist, Educational Liaison
Leslie enjoyed teaching Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout for many years, along with teaching cardio, yoga and other exercise classes in her free time. She took tap and ballet as a child, has been a social dancer in the Twin Cities, and takes ballet classes at St. Paul Ballet. She has participated in Salsa and West Coast Swing dance competitions, and enjoys all styles of dance. After volunteering at Heart of Dance as a Classroom Assistant, she wanted to be a Teaching Artist. Leslie credits her parents for instilling in her the power of the arts to transform and inspire lives!
Andrea Kuzel, Teaching Artist, Educational Liaison
Andrea has been ballroom dancing and competing on a national level for over 15 years. After taking her first ballroom dance lesson, she went on to compete, and after winning several national competitions, Andrea turned professional. She trained, taught and became one of the top teachers in the Wisconsin Fred Astaire Region. She opened the Superior Ballroom Dance Studio (Duluth) in 2012 and is most proud of being known as the loudest and most fun studio at all the competitions her studio attends. She truly believes that ballroom dance has the power to improve everyone's lives and loves watching it happen.
Sam Miller, Teaching Artist
Sam is a teacher and performer at heart, having taught improv and performance, youth swimming, and working for the Spanish government teaching English as a second language. Being the singer in a rock and roll band and the member of a roller derby team are just two of their eclectic interests. Sam loves teaching with Heart of Dance and feels very connected to this program. They've been inspired by how quickly students overcome fear and forge respectful relationships through Dancing Classrooms.
Esther Ouray, Teaching Artist
Esther has been creating, performing, celebrating, and teaching the performing arts for 40 years. As dancer, puppeteer, actress, director, and choreographer, she has engaged with communities locally, regionally, and internationally. She is a Core Associate Artist with In the Heart of the Beast Theater and production manager of Zamya Theater Project. Esther has cavorted with numerous other performance companies in the Minneapolis area. She has taught in a myriad of schools, arts programs and communities. She has been the recipient of grants from the MN State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Rimon, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, and Arts on Chicago.
Jessica Restivo, Teaching Artist, Educational Liaison
Jessica began her passion and her career as a certified ballroom dance instructor over 10 years ago after a long stint in the radio industry as a news reporter and commercial producer. As a dance teacher, she has taken students to several national competitions and choreographed hundreds of routines for various occasions. She continues to see how ballroom dancing can change people’s lives for the better and believes the Dancing Classrooms program is a fantastic way to show young people how to treat others with the respect and compassion that is often missing from our daily lives.
Mariana Rocio Petersen, Teaching Artist
Born and raised Argentina, Mariana relocated to Minneapolis after living in Los Angeles and Buenos Aires. She completed her studies as a musician (piano and voice) at the Conservatory of Music of Buenos Aires and dance (jazz and ballet) at the Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte . She has taught piano, English, Spanish and theater to children and adults. She was a bilingual musical theater performer in the children’s theater company “The Performers” and traveled around Latin America in recent years. Mariana loves teaching and is thrilled to bring her knowledge and enthusiasm to the Heart of Dance team!
Erin Ross, Teaching Artist
Erin is a dancer and teacher. She grew up in a family of accomplished musicians and started her dance training at a young age in the Minnesota Dance Theater ballet school. She apprenticed with the company through high school, and went on to professionally dance in contemporary ballet companies in San Francisco, Denver, and Miami. Since returning to the Twin Cities, Erin has begun teaching dance and loves helping people of all ages experience the joy of dance.
Lori Weissman, Educational Liaison
Lori is an attorney with a passion for dance, education, and children. She enjoys interacting with young people of all ages, and has been working and volunteering with students in pre-school through high school settings for over twenty years. Lori is licensed to teach Zumba, Zumba Kids, and Zumbini, and is a regular participant in hip hop and urban pop dance classes. Lori views the performing arts as a critical supplement to mainstream curriculum because she has witnessed their positive impact on child development. She is overjoyed to be part of the Heart of Dance Team bringing dance into the school day!
Christopher Yaeger, Teaching Artist
Christopher is a seasoned dance educator, performer and has taught throughout Minnesota and as far away as China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, Norway, and South Korea. He is the Artistic Director of Dance Hall Days Interactive, a performing company that showcases American Dance and Music from Ragtime to Rock and Roll. With more than 30 years of research and training in social and world dance styles he actively shares this knowledge of dance in a variety of movement and thematic workshops. Dancing Classrooms gives him great joy as he is passionate about teaching others to develop a positive attitude toward world dance and music forms.
Shannon Young, Teaching Artist
Shannon is an experienced classroom teacher and dancer. She discovered ballroom dance at St. Olaf College where she joined swing and ballroom dance clubs and the salsa performance group. Shannon has competed in dance but prefers the social connections and learning found in local dance communities. She speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently, is fiercely curious, loves learning, and enjoys self-expression through music, rhythm, and movement. Delighted in joining the Heart of Dance team, Shannon anticipates great connections with this year’s group of young dancers!
Want to be a Teaching Artist? Join our Team!
Dancing Classrooms Teaching Artists are: actors, dancers, and individuals who can move with rhythm; people with excellent interpersonal skills who love kids, are able to work in a team and work in a classroom; people with a generous spirit, sense of humor, sense of language and rhythm, and willingness to travel within the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. Teaching Artists will be required to undergo a background check upon employment. Ballroom dance experience is not necessary.
Applicant must be available to attend training prior to working in a classroom. Training consists of one week of 8-hour-a-day training. Travel, hotel, meals and a small per diem will be provided, but an hourly wage is not. Training commitment is non-negotiable. Please do not apply if you cannot attend the training.
Applicants must commit to a ten-week residency of 2-5 days per week, in up to three different schools during school hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) for at least two sequential semesters.
We encourage applicants of color or multilingual speakers to apply, as we serve a highly diverse student population.
Applications are welcome at any time for future training sessions. Visit our Careers Page for dates and times of upcoming auditions and training dates.
Email your resume, cover letter and two references (with email addresses and/or phone numbers) as a Word document to: email@example.com.