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.
Community Outreach Coordinator / 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.
Lexie Ehmann grew up in Holland, Michigan, where she began her classical ballet training at Turning Pointe School of Dance. Upon graduating high school, she trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in their Graduate Program where she had the opportunity to perform alongside the company. She then joined The Sarasota Ballet, dancing in the corps de ballet for three seasons. Her repertoire includes: George Balanchine’s Jewels, Stars and Stripes, and Apollo, Sir Fredrick Ashton’s The Two Pigeons, La Fille mal Gardee, Scènes de Ballet, and A Wedding Bouquet, Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda Act III, Anthony Tudor’s Gala Performance, Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides, and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto. Lexie currently dances professionally with Magnum Opus Ballet in Madison. She has experience teaching beginning through pre-professional levels and loves encouraging students to work to their fullest potential.
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.
Karen McShane-Hellenbrand, M.F.A., is a Faculty Associate with the UW Madison Dance Department where she teaches a wide range of classes. In addition, she serves the Dance Department’s Outreach and Recruitment efforts. She is a Certified Instructor of the Zena Rommett Floor-Barre technique. Karen is also an active choreographer and performer. Her lifelong professional goals have been to promote access to dance education for children and adults and to embody professionalism as an artist/educator.
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.
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.
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.
Starting at age 10, Lillian received her ballet training from well known teachers and schools throughout the United States and Canada. In high school she attended the full time program at the North Carolina School of Fine Arts. She went on to study in the scholarship program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada and then was accepted into the apprentice program with Les Grande Ballet Canadian. She has studied with David Howard, Maggie Black and Zenna Rommett in NYC, as well as Laura Alonso of the Cuban National Ballet. She joined the Alberta Ballet Company quickly rising to a principle dancer where she danced the leading role in Allegro Brilliant, Coppelia, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker. When she retired from the stage, Lillian opened her own school where she taught all ages and levels for 13 years. She has taught at various schools including Ballet Madison, Madison Professional Dance Center, Madison Ballet as the first ballet mistress, and the KP School of Dance. She has attended many teacher training courses at the National Ballet in Canada where she learned the Irene Dowd strengthening series for dancers.
Louise Taitz, a Chicago Resident, emigrated from South Africa where she trained with R.A.D Major Examiners Reina Berman and Joyce Myroff under whom she obtained her R.A.D Advanced Ballet Diploma. She studied at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then with Kathryn Wade at the Royal Ballet School in London. She then danced professionally with the Israel Classical Ballet Company, performing the classics and works by Balanchine, Hans van Manon and Spoerli. Ms. Taitz then opened her first studio in South Africa and is currently the owner and Artistic Director of “On Your Toes Academy of Dance” in Chicago. Louise has been the recipient of many choreographic and outstanding technique awards and has judging experience in the USA, Japan, Portugal and Israel with American Academy of Ballet, Addiction Dance competition, and That's Entertainment Performing Arts Competition. Louise is the co-founder of “Dance Teachers Forum”, a training program for teachers looking to enhance students’ skills. In 2019 she joined Icon Dance Awards as a dance educator.
Niki Hofslien graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Dance, a certificate in Pilates, and completed the coursework for Pre-Physical Therapy. During her time at UW, Niki performed in works by both faculty members and numerous student choreographers. She was fortunate enough to perform in the American College Dance Association’s adjudicated concert and Gala performance, at World Dance Alliance—Americas in Puebla, MX, and at Detroit Dance City festival in Detroit, MI. During her undergrad, Niki worked with Performing Ourselves, an organization whose mission is to empower underserved youth through dance. She taught at two community centers in Madison, WI: Allied Learning Center and Elver Park Neighborhood Center. In 2017, Niki attended the Dance Education Laboratory's summer intensive, in New York City, on full scholarship. She also worked in the UW Dance Department’s Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space as the Assistant Technical Director, where she still works occasionally. Currently Niki is applying to grad school for physical therapy while working in Madison, serving at Maple Bluff Country Club, teaching Pilates, and teaching creative movement in Preschool classrooms. She is excited to be at CMBA working with the Pre-Pointe students, mixing her passions of Pilates and dance together to help the students work on their strength and flexibility.