Faculty

Cheryl Lerner (Director) comes to the Omaha Academy of Ballet after many years of experience as a dance teacher and program administrator.  A former dancer with the Omaha Ballet, she served as Dance and Performing Arts Director at the Jewish Community Center, where she continued to teach for many years after leaving that post.  She received her early dance training with Tibor Zana in Madison, Wisconsin, later training with Maria Vegh and performing with the Marin Ballet in California.  She also danced on scholarship at the Houston Ballet and Ruth Page Foundation in Chicago.  She has worked as a program administrator for several non-profit organizations and has served as a panelist for arts councils in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.

Juliette Henning is a former member of Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Omaha and Cincinnati Ballet. She has danced professionally in classical, neo-classical and contemporary styles with such dance legends as Suzanne Farrell and Frederic Franklin. She has taught ballet and pointe for more than 15 years.

Penny Michonski is a graduate of Creighton University with a degree in music. She has taught at the Omaha Academy of Ballet for ten years and has successfully completed exams in the ISTD system through the Advanced I level. She has performed with many local dance and theater groups.

Sheila Nelson received her training at the Omaha Academy of Ballet and at Creighton University under the direction of Valerie Roche. She has performed with Creighton’s dance company and served as a faculty member in its dance department. She was selected by the Nebraska Department of Education as a team member for Frameworks, a program which brought dance education to Nebraska schools. She has completed many exams in both the RAD and ISTD systems and holds full membership status in the Royal Academy of Dancing.

Lynne Nevin began her dance training in Lincoln with Flavia Waters Champe, and later continued her studies in Omaha with Valerie Roche. She received a BA degree in art history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She holds the Associate Diploma through the ISTD Professional Teaching examinations, and has studied the Alexander Technique (a method for analyzing and improving movement patterns.) She teaches dance at UNL, and serves as a teaching artist for Lincoln’s Arts Are Basic Artist in the Schools program.

Roxanne Nielsen served as choreographer and director of education and outreach for the Omaha Community Playhouse and currently is a free-lance choreographer and dance instructor.  Roxanne has received numerous awards for choreography and performance and has worked at many local theaters and schools. She has many years of teaching experience and has taught for the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Creighton University, Omaha Dance Teachers Association, The Moving Company, and the Omaha Dance Project.

Elizabeth Shefter recently moved to Omaha from Chicago. She has trained at the Ithaca Ballet, University of Iowa, the Champaign Ballet, the Ruth Page School, and the Walnut Hill Academy and Boston Ballet summer programs.

Erica Snyder holds a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Lake Erie College. After obtaining her degree, Erica continued dancing and performing with Cleveland State Modern Dance Company and well as teaching at various venues in the Cleveland area. Erica relocated to Omaha in 2011, where she continues to perform, dance, and teach.

Patti Zukaitis received her BFA degree in dance from Creighton University in 1974 and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in dance in 1986. She has performed with The Omaha Ballet, Creighton Dance Company and various choreographers in New York City and Omaha. Patti has been a teacher at OAB and a faculty member in the dance department at Creighton University since 1991. She holds the Associate Diploma through the ISTD Professional Teaching Examinations.