Sheila Nelson (co-director) 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.
Patti Zukaitis (co-director) 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.
Ashley Durst, born and raised in Lincoln, NE received her Bachelors and Masters degree in dance from Oklahoma City University. While in Oklahoma she performed with the American Spirit Dance Company, as well as teaching and choreographing for various dance studios in Oklahoma and Nebraska. Ashley recently performed on Carnival Cruise Lines as a Production dancer and is happy to be back home teaching dance in both Lincoln, Omaha, and Creighton University.
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.
Anna Koehn studied at the Omaha Academy of Ballet, and in 2012 acquired her BFA in ballet from Friends University, where she also studied music. She has trained in Cecchetti and Balanchine styles and has performed in classical, neoclassical and contemporary works.
Danielle Laurion holds a master’s degree in dance/movement therapy & counseling from Columbia College Chicago. Throughout her professional dance career, she performed with companies such as David Dorfman, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, Ko Thi, and Hip Hop Connexions, and studied with companies including Gus Giordano’s Jazz Company, the Pulse Tour, the Broadway Dance Center, and Edge Performing Arts Center. She is a member of the National Dance Educators’ Organization and the American Dance Therapy Association. Danielle has choreographed for show choirs, musical theater productions, youth companies, dance teams, studios, and universities.
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.
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.
Stephanie (Darr) Tepox, raised in Newtown, PA, began her ballet training at the age of four. She went on to study at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. Here she would remain for the next ten years, training & performing with the company. In the fall of 1992 she joined Tulsa Ballet Theatre, and in the fall of 1994 moved on to join Ballet Omaha. Ms. Tepox began her teaching career in the fall of 2001. Now, after relocating back to Omaha, she is very excited to join the faculty at OAB .
Sara Mau (guest teacher) completed her formal dance education with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Professional Division. Accepted into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, she quickly moved up through the company, performing soloist and principal roles internationally. In 1994 she moved to American Ballet Theater, which allowed her to work with the dance world’s most knowledgeable dance coaches and choreographers, perfecting numerous roles and touring the world.