Janet M. Johnson fell in love with dance at the age of three when her parents enrolled her in class at Evelyn Knight’s School of Dance in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. All things ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and later high school dance team, filled her life. Janet received her B.F.A. degree in dance performance, emphasis ballet, from the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota. After a variety of teaching experiences in the region, Janet established Allegro School of Dance in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1989. As Allegro grew, Janet acquired the Rochester Ballet School in 1999, merging the two organizations. Building the 9,600 square foot studio on Superior Drive NW in 2003 offered the Rochester community four state of the art dance studios along with music instruction. A lifelong learner, Janet promotes continuing education, not only for herself, but also for students, faculty and Allegro’s leadership team. Affiliations with Beverly Spell, creator of the Leap ‘N Learn whole child approach to young dancers, Lisa Howell, creator of Perfect Form physiotherapy and author of the Ballet Blog, and Leslie Scott of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance, add to Allegro’s sound foundation. Janet is among the fifteen founding members of the More Than Just Great Dancing (MTJGD) organization. In 2018 Janet was the recipient of the Positive Action Award presented by Misty Lown, founder of MTJGD and owner of Misty’s Dance Unlimited in Onalaska, Wisconsin. Janet is pleased to uphold Allegro within the nationwide network of 225 like-minded dance studios. Dedicated to providing a classical yet progressive music and dance education, Allegro is in its 29th year of business. Solid curriculum balanced with creative opportunity, positive role models in faculty and staff, connection with families, and building community both within and beyond the studio are the driving influences for Janet and her leadership of Allegro.
Danielle Anderson began dancing at age three and quickly discovered that classical ballet was her passion! Growing up in Rochester provided Danielle with opportunities to study ballet and to perform. Some of her favorite roles were Sugar Plum Fairy in Allegro’s Nutcracker and Belle in Children’s Dance Theater’s Beauty and the Beast. Danielle also spent summers at ballet intensive programs such as Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Sarasota Ballet School in Florida. Danielle attended college at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. She also recently earned a master’s degree in business administration from Augsburg College. In addition to teaching ballet at Allegro, Danielle works for Mayo Medical Laboratories. In her free time, Danielle enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids, renovating her house, reading, and dancing (of course!).
Tom Burson has a bachelor of music degree in piano pedagogy and a bachelor of music education degree from Bradley University. He earned a master of music degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois. He has taught music, including band instruments and ensembles, in many public and private schools. Tom has played piano as a soloist and in many jazz, classical and pop groups. Tom is currently organist and praise band director at Evangel United Methodist Church. At Allegro, in addition to piano and band instrument instruction, Tom also plays accompaniment for the advanced ballet classes and has played for many dance performances.
Jennifer Campbell is the mother of three children, a daughter and twin boys, as well as an assistant principal at an elementary school in Rochester. Jennifer was a dance minor in college and worked in a dance studio all through high school and college. She loves education and dancing, which makes Allegro a perfect fit. You are never too old to do what you love! Jennifer teaches tap, ballet and creative movement.
Kathy Chase began her dance training at the age of six as a tap student and baton twirler. She continued with dance and theatre through high school where she performed with a national touring company for three years. Kathy graduated from the College of St. Teresa in 1987 with a B.A. in dance and a minor in psychology. She continued her dance training, began teaching with Continental Studio, and danced professionally with the Continental Ballet Company from 1987-1992. She has been an artist in residence in the Red Wing and Rochester Public schools. In addition to award winning dance choreography for competitions and other dance venues, she has choreographed more than twenty theatrical shows in the Rochester area over the years. Most recently, she was choreographer for the musical productions of Addams Family last spring and Once Upon A Mattress Jr. and Legally Blonde Jr. this summer. Last summer, she was certified in the Leap ‘N Learn curriculum. This summer, she became a YPAD Certified teacher. Kathy has been a devoted dance educator and faculty member at Allegro School of Dance and Music and the former Rochester Ballet School for more than twenty-six years. This season, Kathy will be teaching ballet, tap, jazz, creative movement, and acro jr., along with involvement in our Allegro Dance Performance Company.
Taryn Cherrier is in her third year of teaching at Allegro. She grew up dancing and always wanted to teach classes. Taryn lives in Rochester with her husband and two cats. In her spare time she likes to read and be outside (even if it's cold). Taryn is excited to dance and grow this year! She teaches creative movement, tap, ballet and modern.
Katie Cook is in her thirteenth year of teaching at Allegro, where she created Allegro's original holiday production of Believe! The Polar Express. Katie has directed, choreographed, performed and instructed for numerous organizations in Rochester over the past decade, including Rochester Civic Theatre, Honors Choirs, Children's Dance Theatre, Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, RCTC and Lourdes High School. She holds her dance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and received additional training and performance opportunities in Australia (Sydney Dance Company), New York (Mark Morris Dance Group), Chicago (CNADM) and Minneapolis (Zenon and the Ray Terrill Dance Group). Two of Katie's career highlights include performing with Tonic Sol Fa and dancing on the Oprah Winfrey Show season 24 premiere (working with Michael Gracey, director of The Greatest Showman). Although she loves sharing her passion for dance with her students and the community, her greatest love is her family. This season Katie will be teaching tap, creative movement and contemporary lyrical.
Jeanette Cunningham started tapping at the age of five in St. Paul at Phil Alesso’s Studio. As a teen, she performed solo acts at numerous Minneapolis and St Paul events. Jeanette continued her dance training until she married and started a family. In Rochester, she taught tap for two years at the Rochester Academy of Theatre Dance before she began teaching with Janet Johnson in 1988. Jeanette teaches adult tap and enjoys being able to see her classes grow, improve, and develop wonderful routines from year to year.
Carol Engel graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a B.S. degree in music education and a concentration in piano. She had additional studies from UND and St. Thomas. She retired from teaching music in the East Grand Forks, Minnesota, public schools so that she and her husband John could be closer to family. Besides teaching piano lessons out of her home for many years in East Grand Forks, she also played for church, concerts, contests, musicals, weddings and funerals. She joined the staff at Allegro in the fall of 2008. Currently, she plays keyboard in the Rochester Big Band, plays piano and organ for various music programs and church services in town, and helps out on the keyboard for musicals with the Rochester Civic Theatre. You can find her teaching piano lessons here at Allegro two days a week.
Sarah Fenander graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2017 with a B.A. in dance and arts management. She began her formal training at the age of two at Academie de la Danse in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, under the instruction of Marlene Turbin-Weldon. From there, she studied with Pam Jennings, Tara Koch, and Steph Mathews at Dance With Pam in Wisconsin Rapids. She continued her collegiate training in ballet, tap, modern, jazz, and composition with Joan Karlen, Michael Estanich, Jeannie Hill, and Pamela Luedtke at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. During that time she performed in multiple works that were both student and faculty choreographed. As a two-year member of the UWSP Afterimages Directing Team she honed her producing and directing skills. Sarah has trained with Minnesota Ballet, Now Next Dance directed by Adrianna Durant and Ashley Thorndike-Youssef, as well as master classes with Rennie Harris Puremovement, Max Pollak, Eddy Ocampo, Ballet Hispanico and Visceral Dance Chicago. She is a certified Balanced Body Pilates Mat instructor, as well as a Pure Barre teacher. Sarah is enjoying her first year here in Rochester and at Allegro, where she is involved in Performance Company and teaches jazz, modern, hip hop and tap.
Karin Jarvise lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where she began her training at En Avant School of Dance. She also danced at various other studios including Diamond School of Dance, Minnesota Ballet, Ballet Arts Minnesota, and Minnesota Dance Theatre's Dance Institute. Karin attended Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, graduating cum laude with a B.F.A in dance. This summer, Karin completed her dance teacher training with More Than Just Great Dancing in Onalaska, Wisconsin, and was very excited to continue to advance her skills as a dance educator. She also acts as a guest choreographer with En Avant School of Dance and is currently in her third season dancing with Alternative Motion Project, a modern dance company in Minneapolis. Karin is completing her yoga teacher certification at Latitude 44 Yoga Studio in Eau Claire and will be certified in February. She is in her second year teaching at Allegro and currently teaches Ballet 4, Modern 2, and is an assistant teacher with Acro 1 and 2.
Allison Kocak took her first ballet class at age five, but truly invested in the art at age eleven. For the following six years she studied classical ballet, musical theater, modern, lyrical, classic jazz, point, and hip hop at a private dance school. Allie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in elementary education and a minor in dance education. While at UWRF, she danced with the campus company, River Falls Dance Theatre. Studying under director Karla Zhe, Allie danced abroad in Japan and with various Twin Cities choreographers. Through UWRF DT, she attended four years of the American College Dance Association Conference. Previously, she taught movement at the FAIR public arts school in downtown Minneapolis and the Roseville School of Dance. Allie will be joining Allegro for her third year teaching the Leap ‘N Learn and Acro Dance curriculum to young dancers. In addition to her involvement with Allegro’s Performance Company, she teaches move with me, creative movement, acro, ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop.
Brynn Llewellyn-Boyd is a Wisconsin native who has been living in Rochester with her husband and three children (8,5,2) for eight years. She holds a degree in choral music education from University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She spent nine years as a choir teacher before deciding to stay home with her children. Her local positions were at Stewartville Middle School and Rochester Lourdes High School. Brynn has been teaching at Allegro for the past six years and has taught both dance and music lessons. Brynn is teaching Acro this year and looks forward to meeting new students and catching up with former students this season!
Austin Meinholz, recently a student at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point majoring in dance and arts management, brings to Allegro his studio and college experience plus four years of teaching experience at Innovative Dance Studio in Burlington, Wisconsin. In addition, Austin was active in the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point cheer and stunt team, and has taught gymnastics, tumbling, trampoline, and acrobatics. An externship at Wisconsin Conservatory of Music adds to his art and dance background. Austin is teaching ballet, tap and acro.
Nikki Naik is an Arizona native who began dancing at the age of three. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and theatre, and participated in her studio's performance company team and her high school’s advanced dance team. After working as a student assistant, Nikki began teaching at the same studio where she began dancing, teaching tap, ballet, jazz, and hip hop. Nikki attended Arizona State University where she was captain of the university's nationally competitive Bollywood fusion dance team, ASU Andaaz, performing in traditional Indian styles in a 10 minute routine that included costume changes, large sets and dialogues. Consistently high finishes earned the ASU Andaaz team entry into the national championship, Bollywood America 2015. Nikki’s participation on her collegiate dance team opened many doors for her professionally, including involvement with Desi Dance Network, Inc., the nonprofit that hosted the competitions. She was one of the founders of the annual Desi Dance Convention, where she served as co-director as well as steering/programming chair. Nikki graduated from Arizona State University in May 2018 with a degree in journalism and mass communication along with an international studies certificate. She moved from Phoenix to Rochester in July 2018 after accepting a position with KTTC TV as their Social Media and Digital Content Manager. In addition to teaching tap and creative movement at Allegro, Nikki is also excited to be the Performance Company Director for the 2018-2019 season.
Jesse Schmitz-Boyd is a Twin Cities based dance artist and educator. Teaching throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin since 2003, his artistic philosophy is grounded in the belief that dance is a catalyst for growth and understanding. Jesse’s classes are high energy and rewarding while maintaining an emphasis on technique, physical awareness, performance quality, and a masterful mind. Jesse spent five years as a company member with Alternative Motion Project. Locally he has performed with Off-Leash Area. Jesse is also the founder and Artistic Director of Rogue & Rabble Dance. The Minnesota Fringe Festival, Rochester Ensemble of Dance (R.E.D.), Zenon Dance Zone, The Ritz Theatre and Movement Arts Day (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) have presented Jesse’s choreography, which fuses dance, imagery and theatre. Currently Jesse teaches at studios throughout Minnesota, including Zenon Dance School, TU Dance Center, Children's Theatre Company, Ballare Teatro and Allegro School of Dance. He holds a B.A. in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a minor in anthropology. At UWSP, Jesse danced featured roles in Susan Marshall & Company's Other Stories and Billy Sigenfeld's God of Dirt. After graduation he had the joy of touring with Chicago based RE|Dance Group and performing The Lonely Visitors at the inaugural Chicago Fringe Festival. In his free time, Jesse enjoys science fiction television, gummy worms and pinball. This year Jesse is involved with Allegro’s Performance Company in addition to teaching jazz and lyrical/modern.
Laura Skold grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. She trained at School of Classical Ballet and Dance and performed with Ballet Des Moines before spending her final year of high school at Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Laura earned her B.F.A. in ballet at the University of Utah. Laura has danced principal and soloist roles including both Swanhilda and the Dawn variation in Coppelia, Ma Cong’s Passion There, Summer Fairy in Cinderella, and featured roles in La Bayadere and Swan Lake. She has performed abroad in Seoul, South Korea, and Zaragoza, Spain. Laura spent the 2015/2016 season with Ballet Nebraska. She then returned to the University of Utah to complete a M.S. degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. While completing her degree she performed with Municipal Ballet Company and Mountain West Ballet. Laura is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Laura recently moved to Rochester with her fiancé and is very excited to have the opportunity to teach ballet at Allegro.
Emily Winn grew up in Georgia and performed with Ballet Savannah and Columbia City Ballet while she was still a student. She also attended summer intensives with Alonzo King's LINES, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. She graduated summa cum laude from Georgia Southern University at the age of eighteen with her B.A. in writing and linguistics. After graduating, she went on to dance with Greensboro Ballet, and then studied modern and ballet at Belhaven University in Mississippi. Emily performs with Twin Cities Ballet, and was a member of Borealis Dance (a modern company in Minneapolis) from 2014 to 2017. Emily is starting her fifth year as an instructor at Allegro, where she is also the director and choreographer for the 2018 production of The Nutcracker. Previously, she directed The Nutcracker in 2016, and has choreographed several original works for the Rochester Ensemble of Dance (RED). Emily lives with her husband Bennett, their dog Sadie, and their cat Sierra. She teaches ballet and jazz and is involved with Performance Company.
Allegro Office Staff
Ronda Anderson-Sand holds a B.A. in English from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with additional studies in secondary education and library science. Her previous experience includes arts management, healthcare marketing, and banking. Ronda has been very active in community theatre and has served on various local boards and committees. She and her husband have two grown daughters and live north of Rochester. Ronda joined the Allegro staff this summer as Project Manager. She is very excited to be working with the dedicated and talented staff at Allegro and looks forward to meeting and serving the families of Allegro.
Stephanie Nash is a recent graduate of Winona State University where she earned her B.S. in accounting. Stephanie has been with Allegro for more than four years and has a variety of rolls. Currently she is the Business Manager. She enjoys working with all the families at Allegro. Stephanie resides in Chatfield with her two children, Lydya and Ayden, who both dance at Allegro. Outside of Allegro, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, either at sporting events or on the golf course.