Staff and Faculty   



 Jessica Kennedy, Executive Director 
Prior to joining OAB in 2017, Jessica represented The Wolfsonian – Florida International University (Miami Beach, FL), where she served as Assistant Director for Education and Public Programs. Jessica’s expertise is in nonprofit arts management, arts programming, and education. With over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and arts education, she has also worked for the Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach, FL), Oregon College of Art and Craft (Portland, OR), The Arts Council of Southern Indiana (New Albany, IN), and The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL). She holds graduate degrees in art history, law, and teaching.

Juliette Henning, Artistic Director

Juliette grew up in Akron Ohio. She received her training from the Dance Institute of Akron, Ballet Excel Ohio, Canton Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, and North Carolina School of the Arts. She performed in children's roles with the New York City Ballet and Atlanta Ballet as well. Her professional career took her to Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Omaha, and the Cincinnati Ballet Company. Favorite roles include The Nutcracker’s Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy and Balanchine's Serenade, under Suzanne Farrell. She has also danced in music videos and with Opera Omaha. Juliette has taught advanced ballet and pointe for more than 20 years in Omaha. Since 2013, Juliette has served as the Artistic Director of Omaha Dance Project. In 2022, Juliette was promoted to the full-time Artistic Director position at Omaha Academy of Ballet.

Elizabeth Dauner, Academy Manager

Elizabeth joined OAB in 2017 with over 15 years of retail management experience. She also owned and operated her own photogrpahy business in the greater Omaha area for seven years. She specializes in management, accounting, and business organization. In her free time, Elizabeth likes to spend time with her husband and their three children. 


Liz Alford is a former dancer with the New York City Ballet and a recent arrival to Omaha. She received her early training in St. Louis and Louisville, KY, and as a student she performed with the Louisville Ballet. She attended summer study at the Chautauqua Ballet School, the School of American Ballet, the Houston Ballet Academy, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet school- all with scholarship. At age 16 she was invited to stay as a year round student at the School of American Ballet in New York City, the official school of the New York City Ballet. Liz was featured in the Columbia Pictures film, Center Stage. In November of 1998 she received her apprenticeship with the New York City Ballet. After retiring from her professional ballet career, Liz received her Bachelors from Gordon College then moved to China with her husband. During her 10 years there she taught, choreographed, and performed in various venues. Liz has taught students of all ages walks of life including teens living at a homeless shelter, adult students at the local gyms, dance studio students, and students at international schools. One of Liz’s greatest joys was teaching dance to victims of human trafficking living in safe houses. Learning how to dance was a healing part of their holistic recovery from abuse. While in China Liz was the first place winner of the 2006 Beijing TV “Arts in our Land” competition in Southwest China. Liz loves ballet and teaching and is thrilled to share this passion with the students at OAB.                    

  Rachel Bielstein graduated from Creighton University with degrees in Musical Theatre and Theology. While at Creighton, Rachel studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and the theory of teaching dance to children. Her performing credits include shows with Creighton's Theatre and Dance programs, as well as local productions in the Omaha area. Rachel's teaching experience includes working at her childhood dance school, Entenman Studio of Dance, and teaching voice, piano and theory at Miss Jen Music Instruction. In addition to teaching, Rachel auditions for performing arts companies in hope of someday performing full time.  

 Stephanie Huettner is an Omaha based dancer and choreographer. She has studied and performed various dance styles for over 35 years and is currently the co-director of tbd. dance collective. The creation of the group came out of an organic desire to grow dance in the Omaha community. Since the inception of the collective, Huettner has performed and choreographed with the group in a wide variety of styles in many disparate venues. Her favorite collaborations include work with local musicians, filmmaker Nik Fackler, and the Movement Series at the KANEKO art gallery. Huettner spends her days saving the world as the Assistant General Curator, Curator of Birds, and sustainability co-coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.   
Cheryl Lerner has 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 and Director of Omaha Academy of Ballet. 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.
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. Sheila was Co-director of OAB from 2008-2014.
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 is a member and registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dancing, London. Lynne has studied the Alexander Technique, a method for analyzing and improving movement patterns, in which she is preparing for International Certification. She teaches dance at UNL and has served as a teaching artist for Lincoln’s Arts Are Basic Artist-in-the-Schools program. In addition, she is a teaching assistant for “Dancing Classrooms”, a program of The Artery. Her choreography has been presented through the dance departments of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Creighton University and by OAB’s Omaha Dance Project.
Allyson Pfortmiller recieved her dance training at Creighton University, where she studied modern, tap, jazz, lyrical, pedagogy, and performed with the Creighton Dance company.  She currently choreographs and performs in the Omaha area.
Mary Royer is a graduate of Creighton University with a degree in Social Work and a minor in dance. She performed in multiple ballets and shows with the Creighton Dance Department and took classes in modern, ballet, tap, and jazz. Mary has continued her dance education by taking classes at Omaha Academy of Ballet.
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 and served as Co-director of OAB from 2002-2014.