Marguerite Luksik
Artistic Director

Marguerite Luksik, a native of Johnstown, PA, is the founding Artistic Director of Central Midwest Ballet Academy in Middleton.  Ms. Luksik danced professionally with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Chicago Ballet, Peoria Ballet, and Madison Ballet. She performed works by choreographers such as Stanton Welch, Thaddeus Davis, Paul Gibson, Ben Stevenson, Steven Mills and Terrence Orr as well as dancing lead roles in Balanchine’s Who Cares, W. Earle Smiths’s Dracula and Nutcracker, and Peter Anastos’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has served on faculty with the UW Madison's Dance Department, Madison Ballet, and Children's Dance Theater of Rochester, MN.  Ms. Luksik worked with the Overture Center of the Arts in both their Arts Integration and Jerry Award programs, managed Education and Outreach for Madison Ballet, and guest teaches with other local and regional dance academies. She has choreographed classical and contemporary ballets including co-creating Pineapple Poll, a one- act comedic ballet with Michael Knight.  

 

Kendra
Thompson
Director of Operations

Native Madisonian and University of Wisconsin - Madison graduate Kendra Thompson moonlights as a middle school playwright and drama director.  She has also directed for Upstart Crows Productions, Madison Shakespeare Company and Falconbridge Players.  Dry-twig flexible and graceful as a three-legged, two-humped camel, she can’t explain what it means to have a sickled foot.  That said, Kendra’s years spent as a bank manager and mortgage lender trained her well for running CMBA’s books.  Furthermore, her years as mom to a pre-professional ballet daughter taught her how to navigate parenting a ballerina.  So, reach out to Kendra at kthompson@cmballet.org if you ever have billing or ballet-mom questions.

 

Juliana
Lehman
Faculty

Juliana Lehman, originally from Nashville, TN, has danced professionally with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Ballet Theatre of Chicago, Alma Dance Company, The Chicago Ballet, and the Civic Ballet of Chicago, performing in such highlights as James Klauser’s, “Surprise Symphony”, “Swan Lake”, and “The Nutcracker”, among others. While at Northern Illinois University as a part of Northern Dance Theatre she was invited to perform Paquita Pas de Trois at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. Prior to her midwestern ventures, she trained and danced in Houston, Texas. As a member of the Houston Ballet, she performed in many classical full-length ballets, including “Romeo and Juliet” which the company toured abroad. While in Fort Worth Texas in concert with Ballet Concerto, she performed Luis Montero’s “Bolero”.  She was awarded Miss CNADM (Chicago Association of Dance Masters), a Gus Giordano Scholarship from the Carey Rose Winski Competition and multiple scholarships at the Houston Ballet Academy.  Her training includes completions of Cecchetti examinations Beginning through Advanced.  

Christina
Dennis
Faculty

Christina Dennis began her training in Minneapolis, Minnesota at Minnesota Dance Theatre. She trained at North Carolina Dance Theatre, Madison Ballet with Molly Luksik, Boston Ballet, and the Dutch National Bournonville Program with Dinna Bjørn. She was a trainee with Joffrey Ballet Chicago under Ashley Wheater where she performed in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella. She spent two years in Milwaukee Ballet’s second company where she performed in Michael Pink’s Nutcracker, Mirror Mirror, Beauty and the Beast, Swan lake and La Bohème, in Kathy Posin’s Scheherezade, August Bournonville’s La Sylphide and in contemporary pieces by Garrett Glassman and others. Once she joined the main company, she performed in Michael Pink’s Dracula and Nutcracker, Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and performed in contemporary pieces by George Williamson, Kenneth Tindall, and Enrico Morelli. She is currently studying at UW-Madison.

Livia
Konishi
Faculty

Livia, originally from Brazil, started Ballet as an additional training tool for her Synchronized Swimming career. When her family had to relocate she was faced with the decision to continue her training or not. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance exams in 2006 and danced professionally until 2009.She trained under the Ballet Maitre Toshie Kobaiashi and attended summer intensives at Festival de Danca de Joinville & with the Cia de Ballet do Rio de Janeiro. Alongside her technical training Livia has also focused on attending teachers training who have improved her knowledge and supported her teaching abilities. She's passionate about teaching the love of classical dance, as well as helping her students develop lifelong important tools such as work ethic, determination and responsilibity. 

Maelanie Kuzma
Junior Division Principal

Maelanie Kuzma trained with Milwaukee Ballet, Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet before receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she studied ballet and modern in the UW Dance Program.  For 9 years, she owned and directed a private studio with over 500 students on Madison's east side, including a competitive performance student company.  After the birth of her second child, Maelanie sold her studio and joined the faculty of Madison Ballet, teaching for the school, rehearsing the children’s parts in their annual production of the Nutcracker, as well as facilitating their outreach programs in Dane County’s Headstart Preschools. In 2009, Maelanie became a faculty member at Storybook Ballet, and in 2014 she created “The Second Story Program” for children aged 7 and up.  

Michael Knight
Faculty

Michael began his training in Green Bay, WI at NEW Fusion Dance and Performing Arts. He dances professionally with Madison Contemporary Vision Dance where he is also the Associate Artistic Director. He has taught at companies throughout the country and internationally. At the age of 21, Michael was invited to instruct for an international collegiate education program at Sichuan University, China. In 2016 Michael started the Transcendence Dance Company, a pre-professional competitive training program. He has been honored to receive numerous choreography and technical execution awards for his pieces, including the Youth American Grand Prix Outstanding Choreographer award.  His goal as an educator and artist is to help dancers achieve control of the mind and body, and develop a strong respect for ballet. 

Miye bishop
Faculty

Miye trained classically in Sendai, Japan and Bellingham, Washington with Northwest Ballet Theatre, where she performed roles such as Cinderella, Clara in the Nutcracker, Peasant Pas in Giselle, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Ballerina Doll in Petrushka. She attended summer intensives  and workshops at American Ballet Theatre, St. Petersburg Russia’s Dance Open, International Ballet Academy, and Kirov Ballet Academy. After college she danced with Bellingham Repertory Dance for four seasons. As a guest artist, Miye has performed in Ballet Bellevue's  Les Sylphide, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Rodeo and Northwest Ballet Theatre's Dracula.  She has been a guest choreographer and dancer for Seattle Opera and Skagit Opera. Miye has taught and choreographed at several dance schools including; Northwest Ballet Academy, NW Dance and Acro, Camano Dance Academy, Transcendence Dance Company, Dance Wisconsin, and Monona Academy of Dance. Miye has recently coached dancers in Washington and Wisconsin for Youth American Grand Prix, where her students have been placed from top 12 to first place. Miye is also a certified yoga instructor who works to strengthen and prevent injuries for dancers.

Celia Braker
Faculty

Celia grew up in Monona, WI and started dancing at the age of three at Monona Academy of Dance. She studied summers on scholarship at Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Midwest, Orlando Ballet, and Ballet Hispanico. She danced professionally with the Milwaukee Ballet performing in several of Michael Pink's works including Dracula, Swan Lake, Scheherazade, and Nutcracker and also with The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). She has been teaching for over 14 years and has taught at Monona Academy of Dance, the Milwaukee Ballet School, in the Milwaukee Area Public Schools, in a demo-video in the Milwaukee Children's Museum, MSCR Programs, at DCDC Dance School, in the Dayton Public Schools, and Dance Academy LTD in Elm Grove, WI. She has also hosted a Summer Dance Camp at Cambridge High School choreographing for their dance team; as well as choreographed for the non-profit Dance Wisconsin. She graduated from Edgewood College with a B.S. in Business in 2010 and with an MBA in 2013. Currently, Celia is working for the University of Wisconsin Systems and is very excited to be part of the CMBA Dance family to share her love of dance and teaching.

Maritess
Escueta
Faculty

Maritess Escueta began her dance training at the Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey under the instruction of Viorica Stampfel, Jennifer James Church, Nicholas and Shayne Mishoe, and Bridget Denise Trochiano. After a year as a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Maritess received her BA in dance and sociology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. As a dancer, Maritess has the privilege of performing works by Stefanie Batten Bland, Andrea Schermoly, Emery LeCrone, Peter Anastos, George Balanchine, and Gerald Arpino. She is a recipient of the Creative Arts Achievement Award in Dance and the Lily Dreyfuss award. Since moving to Madison, she has performed with Kanopy Dance and is a founding member of the Isthmus Dance Collective. 

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Company Information

2831 Parmenter St. Suite 290

Middleton, WI 53562

Phone: 608-422-2003

Email: contact@cmballet.org

© 2021 Central Midwest Ballet Inc.  All rights reserved.

Photo credits -  Kat's Photography, Amandalynn Jones Photography, Karly Jo Photography, Bella Blue Photography