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Nicole Lechner - Owner/Director | dance@nsdcmn.com

Nicole is an accomplished dancer in all fields of dance.  She began dancing at 5 years old in Minnetonka, MN.  Nicole continued her training through college and experienced many classes at conventions with industry professionals.  She began teaching at 13 years old and signed with KMA agency her senior year of high school as well as being invited to study with Myron Johnson and his dance company, Ballet of the Dolls.  She also taught with Grant Whitaker, associated with Ballet of the Dolls, teaching international conventions and master classes through the Twin Cities.  Nicole is best known for her unique and exciting choreography.  Her students have earned many successes including, numerous title awards and scholarships at competition and conventions.  As a teacher, Nicole combines technical expertise with artistry, using a precise method of training based on the Russian method.  Nicole has taught at numerous distinguished dance studios around the Twin Cities area.  In 2014 Nicole Lechner, Owner and Creative Director, dared to make her dreams come true by opening her own studio.  Nicole's passion for dance, teaching and mentoring children and young adults has laid the foundation for her successes in the dance industry. 

HER THEORY

As a teacher I feel my job is to inspire, to give dancers the tools they need to be successful at whatever level of dance they want to achieve, to push dancers to their limits with discipline.  I believe no matter what age or level a dancer is, they are there to grow and have fun.  Whether it's a dancer aspiring to be a professional or a dancer who comes once a week, each one has his or her own personal goals and ambitions.  We, as teachers, are here to take the time to teach and share our knowledge to young dancers on their way up. 

Jessica Alstad | Ballet Director | dance@nsdcmn.com

Jessica Alstad is excited to begin her 2nd year at Northstar Dance our primary ballet/pointe instructor. She began her training at Southwest School of Dance, Marshall, MN. During her high school career, she competed at the regional and national level for Dance Olympus and Statewide Dance Competitions in ballet, jazz, tap, musical theatre, lyrical, and modern dance. She received several elite titles in solos, duets and small groups at Dance Olympus Nationals. Highlight performances included coveted roles as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara in the school's annual Nutcracker production, which she performed alongside professional company members of Minnesota Dance Theatre, Duluth. While on a Dance Management scholarship to Oklahoma City University, she completed a two-year tenure and performed with the OCU Spirit Dance Company and Liturgical Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Jo Rowan. Coursework for her dance minor was completed at Minnesota State University, Mankato where she performed with MSU's Theatre and Dance Department in their bi-annual student showcase. Currently, Jessica continues her dance education at Zenon Dance Company, as well as performs, choreographs, and teaches at Fine Arts School of Ballet, Mankato. Her choreography has been performed at the historic Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul and displayed in productions of the Nutcracker, Miracle on 34th Street The Ballet and multiple community-based stage shows. Jessica believes ballet is the root of all dance genres and strives to instill in her students the importance of controlled technique, strong dance vocabulary, and appreciation for classical artistry.

 

 

Megan Marcy

Ms. Megan, native of Anoka, MN started dancing at a young age at Stage Door for Performing arts in Coon Rapids, MN. She joined their completion lines in 2006 until she left in 2011. Ms. Megan also attended Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artist focusing in Modern dance and Musical Theatre. At SPCPA she has the opportunity to work with many working artist in both theatre and dance, including TU Dance Company. In 2012 she moved to Mankato, MN to peruse her undergraduate degree in k-12 Dance and Secondary Social Studies Education. In her time at MNSU- Mankato she has traveled all over the Midwest attending the American College Dance Association conference every year, taking classes and workshops from dancers and choreographers from across the country. As well she has had the opportunity working with Zenon Dance Company, Stewart Pimsler Dance Theatre, Shapiro and Smith Dance Company. This summer she will be traveling to Luca, Italy to participate in Dance Italia summer intensive. Ms. Megan looks forward to working with all of the amazing and talented students at Northstar Dance Company.

 

 

 

 

Alexis Heruth

Graduated from Mankato State University with the honorable distinction of cum laude. In the spring of 2014, She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. While at MSU Alexis traveled to St. Olaf College, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Milwaukee, and hosted the American College Dance Festival, where she was the assistant to the director. She performed in several Gala concerts, including Daniel Stark's Crash, which was selected for the Kennedy Center. During her time at school she had a opportunity to dance in works by Zenon Dance Company, Stuart Pimsler, Alan Sener, Mary Davies Stark, Jeffrey Petterson, Penelope Freech, Gabriel Anderson, Lynn Andrews, Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry, and Daniel Stark. At Mankato, she was the student choreographer for two main stage shows, the musical, Spring Awakening, where she received recognition from the Kennedy Center and Carmina Burana, the first collaboration between the theatre and dance department along with the music program. Alexis hopes to continue her journey creating other choreographic material. She received the Bunny Just Musical Theatre scholarship two years in a row, along with several outstanding performance awards. Alexis currently dances with Alternative Motion Project.

 

 

 

Shannon Mehrkens|

Shannon comes to Northstar Dance with a passion to help others express themselves through dance as she as for the last 20 years. At the age of 3, Shannon began her dance training at Woodbury Dance Center. She has grown up competing in all styles of dance, but fell in love with tap at a young age. On top of competition dance, Shannon attended the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, where she majored in musical theater. During high school, school and studio dance was not enough tap for her, so she was also performing with a local tap company, Keane Sense of Rhythm. Shannon took her summer after graduating high school to travel and study tap with numerous tap masters from all over the world. Shannon attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. While in Duluth she continued to study dance on top of earning her degree in psychology. She also spent her evenings in college teaching at a local dance studio choreographing and teaching the competition tap teams. When looking into careers, she knew that it must involve kids and young adults. Shannon is currently a chemical dependency counselor for Hazelden at their adolescent facility. She truly believes that the happiness, structure, and support you get form dance will help you become the best person you can possibly be.

 

 

 

Rick Ausland |

Rick Ausland is a graduate of Larkin Dance Studio in Maplewood, Minnesota and holds a diploma from the Perpich Center for Arts Education (Media Arts Major). He has performed in over 30 of the 50 states and internationally. Rick has had the pleasure of choreographing and teaching dance throughout Minnesota (Lundstrum Center for Performing Arts, Larkin Dance Studio, Main Street School for Performing Arts, Perpich Center for Arts Education, and the St. Paul Conservatory) and abroad (Austria, Ecuador, Finland, Malta, and Russia). Rick is also the co-founder of Minneapolis-based dance and music company Buckets and Tap Shoes (MN Fringe favorite 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014; Minneapolis City Pages “Best Dance Performance 2005”). He was also nominated for a 2013 SAGE Award for “Outstanding Performer.”Rick and his brother, Andy Ausland, were most recently featured tap dancing on Garrison Keilor’s second to last broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.  See videos at www.bucketsandtapshoes.com