Nikki Balsamo – Artistic Director, Owner, and Instructor
Nikki Balsamo trained and taught at La Crosse Dance Centre. Nikki graduated Summa cum Laude with a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 1999. While there she was incredibly fortunate to have worked with such amazing instructors and choreographers as Doug Varone, Ralph Lemon, Joanie Smith and Daniel Shapiro, Erin Thompson, Zoe Sealy, Lise Houlton, Danny Buraczeski, Gail Gilbert, Bebe Miller, and Douglas Nielsen. At the U of M, Nikki performed as a member of the University Dance Theatre, and studied modern, jazz, and ballet technique, as well as dance composition, dance history, dance pedagogy, dance kinesiology, and various other courses, preparing her for a career in dance education. In the summer of 1998 she was one of six women in the country to be accepted to attend the Choreographing Jazz Workshop at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, where she studied on scholarship. Since graduation, Nikki has performed as a guest dancer with “JAZZDANCE!” by Danny Buraczeski, works by Christine Maginnins, Cyndi and Brad Garner, and Emily Johnson. Nikki directed the Jazz Dance Program at DanceWorks Performing Arts Center in Lakeville, MN for three years and choreographed for the Lakeville High School Players. She directed the dance program at the Arizona Bridge Project, an after school arts program for at-risk teenage girls in Minneapolis and served as a dance specialist in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Her choreography was chosen to be performed at the American College Dance Festival and Choreographer’s Evening at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Nikki moved back to the La Crosse area in July of 2001 to become Artistic Director of La Crosse Dance Centre. She has choreographed for the Summer Stage program at Onalaska High School. She has attended the Florida Dance Festival, the Boston Summer Dance Festival, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project’s Summer Intensive, the Jazz Tap Center’s “Tap Experience” in New York City, and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. Nikki has studied intensively with Broadway tap legend Ted Levy. Nikki taught at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and is currently the Dance Coordinator in the Theatre & Music Theatre Department at Viterbo University, where she has choreographed “Pirates of Penzance,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “A Day for Dancing,” “Sound of Music,” and “Secret Garden,” among other shows, for Viterbo’s Bright Star Season. She also choreographed the production of and performed the role of Anna II in “The Seven Deadly Sins” and choreographed “Dames at Sea”, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, and worked as a collaboative creator of the movement piece, Sarah Kane’s “4:48 Psychosis” at the Sister Marie Leon La Croix Black Box Theatre at Viterbo. Nikki is the recipent of the 2011 Wisconsin Dance Council Recognition of New Leadership Award. Nikki studies Alexander Technique with Diane Foust, and she is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Servant Leadership at Viterbo University.
Erin Balsamo – Ballet Instructor
Erin began studying ballet at age seven. She later began studying tap, jazz, and modern in addition to her ballet. Erin has attended various summer workshops, including Great River Festival of the Arts Summer Dance Workshop, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Summer Program, and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, where she studied on scholarship. She attended American College Dance Festival in 2010 and 2011. She also studied dance at Viterbo University. Erin taught ballet, tap, and jazz to various ages from 1998-2000. Erin has danced the roles of Soldier, Rat, Party Girl, Snowflake, Flower, Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian, and the lead role of Maria in LDC’s “Nutcracker Ballet.” Erin also choreographed for LDC’s 2005-2011 “Nutcracker Ballet.” Erin danced the role of Head Bird in LDC’s “Paper Bag Princess,” choreographed and danced in LDC’s “Common Space: Dances that Celebrate Humanity,” and most recently choreographed for LDC’s “Some Call It Oz nd An Evening of Dance” in 2012. Erin is also on faculty at Viterbo University. Erin graduated cum laude with a BS in Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences from Winona State University and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. She works at the YMCA. This is Erin’s 10th year on LDC faculty.
Jen TeBeest – Young Dance Artists’, Jazz, Tap, and Ballet Instructor
Jen started dance training at age four and continued to study ballet, jazz, modern and tap at La Crosse Dance Centre. She served as a dance instructor at LDC in 1999-2000 before going on to study modern at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She continued to study dance at Viterbo University in La Crosse where she graduated cum laude in 2005 with a B.A. in English Writing and minor emphases in Dance and Art-Graphic Design. Jen attended the Miami Dance Festival in the summer of 2001; the American College Dance Festival in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012; the PULSE workshop in Minneapolis in 2008 and 2009; the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project Summer Intensive in 2010, and was fortunate enough to work with Broadway tap legend Ted Levy through his work with La Crosse Dance Centre in 2006 and 2007. Jen was on staff at Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts in Winona, MN from 2005-2010 and choreographed for MCA’s Dance Repertory Company in 2008 and 2009. Currently, she is enjoying her sixth year as an instructor at Viterbo University, her seventh year of teaching at Winona State University and also serves on faculty at Saint Mary’s University in Winona. She has choreographed numerous musicals throughout the area over the last twelve years, including “Oklahoma,” “L’il Abner,” “King and I,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “42nd Street;” “Suessical the Musical” for Appleseed Community Theatre in 2009; and the annual summer musical with Home and Community Options of Winona from 2006-2012. This is Jen’s eleventh year teaching at LDC.