Meet the Staff

Sue Arnold

Sue is the owner of St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics. Dance has been a part of Sue’s life since the day she was born. Sue and her mother have blessed the St. Cloud area with their love of dance for over 65 years. Sue continues to bring dance into the hearts of our children. She gives everything she has to her students and does it with a smile on her face. Her kind words and love for all the children that are part of the studio can be felt daily. Sue is always there for words of encouragement and to wipe away any tears. Each and every child has a special place in her heart.

Becky Quinn

Becky was born dancing, being an active part of the family owned business since she could walk. She was on the nationally ranked University of Minnesota Dance Team and has been teaching students for over 25 years. As an innovative choreographer, Becky has won Top High Point Awards and Top Choreographer Awards at regional and national competitions.  Becky holds a Masters Degree in Education  and is passionate about teaching and curriculum development.  She ensures her knowledge and ability to teach is spread throughout the studio by acting as a mentor to the rest of the staff. Becky has 4 daughters that all dance, and treats the thousands of dancers that she has taught over the years as if they were her own!

Mandy Abfalter

Mandy has been a part of the family business since before she can remember!  She studied all styles of dance and competed on her high school kick and jazz teams. She was also a member of the nationally ranked St. Cloud State University Dance Team. Mandy has her Master’s Degree in Special Education and teaches Special Ed in Monticello. She has a passion for working with our younger 1 Day & 2 Day Competition Teams. Mandy’s patience and dedication with her students shows through at dance competitions.  Her students have won top awards and beam on the stage.

Alexandra Hawkins

Alexandra, is a resident of St. Cloud, who is currently being trained under Deborah Nettell, who trained at Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Aments from Romania, and Jeffrey Hankinson who was a Ballet Master at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.

Alexandra has performed in several Nutcracker performances.  She has also performed repertoire from Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, and Paquita.  Alexandra enjoys choreographing her own pieces and her choreography has been selected to be performed twice – Once in the fine Arts Council of St. Michael-Albertville Spring Variety Show and an Award Ceremony.

Alexandra has had the privilege of training under many talented professionals including Ms. Karen Paulson-Rivet from Saint Paul City Ballet, Mr. Luke Tucker, who received his training under Ms. Anna Penny who was a graduate of the Choreographic College of Ballet, Ms. Kimberly Norberg, who holds a BFA in dance, and Marcia Keegan, who has trained under Rosslea Hightower and Hy Somer.  In addition, Alexandra has participated in training by the following guests: Mrs. Stephanie Heston, former principle dancer with Eglevsky Ballet, Mr. Casey Juul, who was a dancer with Continental Ballet, and Carol Roderick who is an instructor, coach and trainer for professional companies in the United States, Japan, and Europe.

It is Alexandra’s wish to encourage others in their love of ballet and to provide a fun, stress free environment.  She likes to focus on correct placement, musicality, artistry, and proper muscle engagement during class.

Angie Smith

Angie is excited to join our team this year!  She trained as a gymnast for 14 years.  With Angie’s passion for gymnastics, she is thrilled to not only get back in the gym, but also work with our students.   She is eager to help her students develop both their skills and love for the sport of gymnastics.

Brittany Cashman

Brittany has been coaching gymnastic students of all levels for over 15 years.  She has achieved several awards and accolades as a competitive gymnast when she was a member of the St Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics Team, St Cloud Tech High School Team and the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh Team.  In addition to her extensive gymnastics background, Brittany was a competitive dancer for 15 years and a member of St Cloud Tech Tigerette Dance Team.  Brittany has also been recognized throughout MN and WI for her gymnastics choreography.

Brittany is also a Certified Athletic Trainer with a degree in Strength and Conditioning.  Her extensive experience as a gymnast, dancer and coach along with her education provides a very unique well rounded perspective that yields phenomenal results.  Brittany is very passionate about dance and gymnastics and she enjoys sharing her passion with all of our dancers and gymnasts.

Brittany Noble

Brittany has been dancing on her High School Dance Team, the Tigerettes since 7th grade.  She was crowned Miss Dance Team MN as a freshman and junior! Brittany was nominated to the 2016 St. Cloud Times All-Conference Dance Team.

Brooke Critchley

Brooke is a senior at St. Cloud State University where she graduates in December of 2017. She’s majoring in Elementary Education and is currently student teaching in a third-grade classroom. Brooke danced at Southwest Minnesota School of Dance in Marshall, MN (now known as Marshall School of Dance). She is trained in lyrical, tap, ballet, pointe, jazz, modern contemporary, and dance-acro. After moving across the state her junior year of high school, she spent her last two years of high school on the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton High School varsity jazz and kick dance teams where she was most valuable dancer both years. She also danced on the Minnesota all-state dance team her senior year!

Brooke is excited to be teaching dance at St. Cloud School of Dance where she can combine her love of teaching and dance to help dancers learn and love the art of dancing!

Caitlin Gillet

Caitlin comes from a wide range of dance training. While being on the Simley High School dance team for six years, she was honored to be a captain and earned All conference, All State in jazz and was also able to compete for four years at the MN State High School League competition. Caitlin is a junior at St Cloud State University majoring in Sports Medicine and is also on the Dance Team where her team won the 2016 UDA nationals in pom. Caitlin loves to watch dancers work hard and being able to share her love of dance with them.

Christian Moore

Christian was a late bloomer in dance, starting at 19 years of age.  he studied ballet for 3 years at River Valley Dance Academy and Zenon School of Dance.  During this time Christian attended college at North Central University where he studied modern dance as well as a multitude of other styles.  He also branched out in his studies at Zenon and began studying Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, and Improv Theory.  Christian was given the opportunity to start studying alongside St. Paul Ballet’s Professional Company during their morning technique classes.  This training even allowed him to take a few additional classes in New York City and Los Angeles.

In addition, Christian has become an award winning dance photographer and has been hired by many companies, studios and dancers all across the United States to capture priceless moments of a dancers career.

Christian was hired at The Awakening School of Dance and Gymnastics in 2014.  He taught a variety of classes including acrobatics, leaps, turns, ballet technique, and cleaning solos for different competitive studios.  He was also given the opportunity to start choreography at Larkin Dance Studio for their soloists.  Christian was hand selected to teach strength and flexibility for the LOVE NO HATE Dance Convention in New York City.  He was also hired to teach workshops all over Minnesota and the Chicago area.

In 2016, Christian was hired by Northland School of Dance and St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics.  He is continuing his training with St. Paul Ballet and Zenon School of Dance, along with continuing his passion for choreography and photography.

Jamie W.

You will find Jamie’s smiling face in our office ready to assist with costumes, trying on shoes, and helping answer question on the programs offered.

Jenna Grand

Dancing since the age of two, Jenn’s passion and love for dance continues to grow year after year.  She has danced for the top competition line at St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics and was two-year captain for the St. Cloud Tech Tigerettes Dance Team.  Receiving All-State dancer awards in Kick and Jazz, Jenna looks forward to continue sharing her passion with all of our dancers.

Jessica Motzko

Jessica has been teaching students of all ages for ten years!  She trained at Debra Millers and was a member of the St. Cloud State University Hip Hop and Jazz teams. Jessica is thrilled to be part of St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics.

Kristin Goddard

Kristin began dancing at Music General Studio in Brainerd, MN and received numerous awards both regionally and nationally.  Kristin helps choreograph many of our competitive line tap dances.  You’ll find Kristin backstage at all performances helping the dancers get ready as her other passion is hairstyling.

Lauren Julian

Lauren comes from a wide variety of training in both gymnastics and dance.  She was a gymnast for many years and has been a coach for 5 years now.  She coaches kids of all ages and levels, from 2-year-old’s to level 8 team.  She has worked with many different children over the years.  She also danced for 4 years when she was younger, and has worked with many different teams and students around the cities specializing in cleaning and spicing up routines.  This is Lauren’s second year at St. Cloud State University where she is double majoring in English and Biology in hopes to become a veterinarian one day.  She also is on the Track and Field team competing in all the throwing events.  Lauren loves to work with all kids and help them gain the skills they need to succeed.  She is very excited to work with new students and can’t wait to see what everyone accomplishes each year.

Lexi Theis

Lexi started dancing at St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics when she was 3 years old, and has been dancing ever since.  She loves both the athletic and artistic aspects of dance.  Lexi has been teaching here for 2 years and loves working with the kids in both dance and gymnastics.  She is currently a junior at St. Cloud Technical High School and was apart of the Tech Tigerettes Dance Team for 4 years.  Lexi loves being apart of the St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics family and looks forwards to many more years!

Lori W.

Lori is excited to be part of the office staff helping behind the scenes to make everything runs successfully for our families.  She handles student registration and accounts.

Melissa Ritter

Melissa joins our team with a background in dance and musical theatre.  Her teaching experience includes over 10 years as a musical theatre camp instructor.  Melissa is very excited to share her love of dance and music with all of the students at St Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics.

Sarah Hellman

Sarah has been dancing for 29 years, teaching for 19. She grew up studying tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical and pointe at Debra Miller’s World of Dance and hip hop and ballet technique at Zenon in Minneapolis.  However, of all styles, Tap is her absolute favorite. Sarah participated in competitions both at the regional and national levels throughout her school years.  She also was an assistant teacher for many other classes at the studio.

Throughout the years she has taught for many local studios that included the following: choreographing tap routines for competiton lines, teaching recrational classes, organizing community recreation dance programs for Fridley and Columbia Heights, and for 5 years owned and operated Contempo Dance Centre. She takes conventions from time to time and has recently has taken convention classes with Ryan Lohaff, Gregg Russell, Angela Carter, Sarah Reich and Cathy Wind.

Over the years she has choreographed solos that have taken special judges awards, high point and choreography awards.  Although dance is the love of her life, she participated in pageants as well. She has held numerous talent titles, America’s Miss Teene 1999 and two time National Ideal Miss (2000 & 2002).

We are excited to have Sarah join us this year!  She is excited to bring her passion of dance with her while she teaches Tap technique and choreography to our students.

Sydney Breden

Sydney has been a figure skater for 14 years, competing at novice level regionally.  She’s a sophomore at St. Cloud State University where she currently studies geography and economics.  Sydney is also a sprinter for the St. Cloud State Track and Field team.  She’s excited to be working for the St. Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics, offering a lot of knowledge on strength and flexibility for the dancers and gymnasts.  She enjoys challenging the kids and seeing how much stronger they will become over time.  Her favorite groups are the young ones because they are always excited to try new things and are the quick to learn.  We are excited to have her this year!

Tina Eichers

Tina L. Eichers has an associate degree in dance from Valencia College where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honors Society, Black High Achievers Club and Valencia Dance Theater (VDT). Tina is a choreographer and dance instructor. She was director of the “Arts-Us” dance program in St. Paul for 4 years.

Tina has choreographed for many artist and venues such as the opening act for the “Onyx Awards”, Tpt Television Network “Feel Better Minnesota”, Radio Disney Tour, Lil’ Wayne, Pastor Troy, Rhianna, Hillary Duff, Jennifer Hudson, Ricky Martin, TGK from the movie “The Guardians” featuring B5. She has choreographed and danced in several music videos. Tina has also choreographed a music video for the Disney channel called ‘Gotta Get Up”. She is currently on the dance team at Mystic Lake Casino.

Tina has won national awards in both individual and group competitions. The University of Central Florida did a documentary of her life entitled, “Born to Dance”. Tina is the director/choreographer of EYESEEIMAGES HYPE (Hip-Hop dance company). HYPE has performed at the Walker Art Center’s Choreographers’ Evening, Mall of America, Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, The Guthrie, Target Center and many other venues throughout the twin cities and nationally. Tina was selected to dance in the opening act with “Diddy” in (MTV) Video Music Awards in Miami. Tina lives and loves dance. She is excited to be a part of the St Cloud School of Dance Ultimate Gymnastics family.

Meet the Guest Instructors

Alyssa Ness

Alyssa Ness found her love for dance at the age of two when she began her dance career at Northland School of Dance in Champlin, MN.  It remained her home away from home for the next sixteen years while she studied and competed in all forms of dance, including ballroom.

In 2008, Alyssa had the opportunity to perform with her dance school at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.  When she was not traveling with her studio, Alyssa attended ballet summer intensives such as American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet and the Joffrey ballet on partial to full merit scholarships.

In 2009, she was offered a full scholarship to attend the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia as well as a place in the Joffrey Ballet school in NYC.  Deciding it was in her best interest to train at her home studio, she attended Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in St. Paul, MN, adding Modern and African dance to her training.  She continued to earn numerous titles and scholarships at dance competitions and workshops and in 2011 she was awarded West Coast Dance Explosion’s National Teen Elite Dancer.  That same year she was also a finalist in Dance Spirit Magazine’s Cover Model Search.

In 2013, Alyssa was awarded New York City Dance Alliance’s National senior Outstanding Dancer, Toured with the faculty and assisted classes on their national tour, and was awarded a full year of classes to Steps on Broadway and Peridance in NYC.

Throughout the years, Alyssa has had the opportunity to perform in Capezio’s 125th Anniversary Celebration hosted by Nigel Lythgoe, NYCDA’s Bright Lights Gala honoring Mikhail Baryshnikov, Liza Minnelli, and Catherine Zeta Jones, as well as assist the top choreographers of the nation.  Alyssa is currently calling New York City her home as she attends Marymount Manhattan College on scholarship, studying for her BFA in dance and minoring in business.

Danielle Maas

Born and raised in Plymouth, MN, Danielle started dancing at the age of 2.  She was a competitive dancer in MN until the age of 15, and did additional ballet training at Minnesota Dance Theater in Minneapolis.  While dancing in Minnesota Danielle traveled monthly at the age of 9 for further ballet training to New York City and Las Vegas.  She attended the summer programs of School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theater in NY.  She gained a great amount of her training by working privately with mentors such as, Francois Perron, director of Manhattan Youth Ballet in New York, Susan Jaffe, from ABT, Tara Foy, from the Royal Ballet, Karin Averty, from the Paris Opera Ballet, and Elizabeth Parkinson, from Joffrey Ballet School.

She then moved to New York City at the age of 15 to continue her ballet training.  She attended Manhattan Youth Ballet (Formally Studio Maestro) under the direction of Francois Perron, for 3 years, and in 2008 became a member of The Company of MYB.  Danielle has also attended the Youth American Grand Prix regional and finals competitions for 3 years and has placed in the top three in both classical and contemporary divisions at multiple regionals and also being invited to compete in the NYC finals all 3 years.

Danielle’s recent performances include those with Imagination Entertainment, The Company of Manhattan Youth Ballet and the Broadway Dance Center’s 25th Anniversary Gala in NYC.  You may have also seen her in TV shows, “Royal Pains,” on USA, “Kings,” on NBC, and “Mobbed” and “Glee,” on FOX, along with the 2012 “Back to School” Commercial for Scheels.  She has also done print work for Leos Dancewear, Katrina Wear, and Donna International Magazine.

Gigi Zirbes

Gigi was born and raised in Maple Grove, Minnesota and received her initial training at Butterfield’s Gallerie of Dance.  She was immersed in many genres, but found Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Jazz and Acro to especially resonate with her artistic style.  Upon graduating from high school, Gigi moved to Los Angeles to further her education and her dance training.  While in L.A. she trained with some of the industry’s best choreographers at EDGE Performing Arts Center and Millennium Dance Complex.  When Gigi returned to Minneapolis she joined Poetry in Motion Dance Company, a Minnesota based Contemporary Company.  With Poetry Gigi was given the opportunity to travel to Poland for performances and further training.

She has choreographed and danced in performances for MPLSTV, Aveda Institute, 3M Company, Drop the Mic! and many more.  Gigi has received a number of choreography awards at some of the industry’s top competitions and conventions.  her dancers also consistently score in overalls and receive top honors.  She has developed a reputation of training well-rounded dancers with both strong technique and an established sense of artistry.  Although she is now based in Minneapolis, Gigi still enjoys traveling around the country as a guest choreographer and master teacher.

We are thrilled to have her work with our dancers!

Jaana Singh

Jaana Singh, the owner and founder of The Awakening LLC studio, specializes in helping competitive dancers learn acrobatics, gain flexibility, and develop strength training to enhance acrobatic mastery. She has an eye for technique and is a stickler for professional execution concerning dance form. Jaana is passionate about helping kids and teens grow in confidence while teaching them life ethics. The Awakening is based in Plymouth, MN. Jaana not only has a gymnastics background, but also has taught classical ballet.

Katie Johnson

Katie Johnson received her BFA in Dance form the University of Iowa, where she was the recipient of the Iowa Center of the Arts scholarship.  She studied at The Butterfield School of Dance, Mark Morris Dance Center, and the Beijing Dance Academy in China.  Katie has worked with Tania Perez-Salas, the Joffrey Ballet, Duarte Dance Works, and Ballet America.  She has performed works by Jiří Kylián, Dwight Rhoden, Louis Falco, Elisa Monte, Hope Boykin, George De la Pena, Emery LeCrone, Wynn Fricke, Loyce Houlton, and Lisa Houlton.  She is a 2011 SAGE Award nominee and a 2012 SAGE Award winner for Outstanding Performer.