Matthew Carter, Owner/Director
Mr. Carter began his dance training with Sharon Filone at the Lake Erie Ballet School and Sandra Barnett at Little's Dance Studio
in Erie, PA.  He went on to study on full scholarship at North Carolina School of the Arts, Miami City Ballet School, and the
Chautauqua Festival Dancers.  Mr. Carter has worked closely with illustrious teachers such as Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble,
Luigi, Nancy Raffa, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.
He began his professional career as a dancer with Ohio Ballet, and went on todance with the Lake Erie Ballet, Omaha Theater
Venezuela, Holland, England, and Austria.  Mr. Carter has performed as a guest artist with Hawaii Ballet Theatre, Neglia Ballet
Artists, Ballet Tucson, and over a dozen civic ballet companies around the country.  He has performed leading roles in works by
renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Donald Byrd, Heinz Poll, and Laura Dean.
As a teacher, Mr. Carter has served on the faculties of the Lake Erie Ballet, the Dance Institute of the University of Akron,
Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance, True Dance Academy, and Little's Dance Studio.  He
has been a guest instructor for Mercyhurst College, Lincoln Midwest Ballet, Walnut Hill School, Brandon Ballet,  the Erie Dance
Conservatory, and the Omaha Theater Ballet.
Mr. Carter has choreographed numerous concert works that have premiered at institutions such as North Carolina School of the
Arts, Lake Erie Ballet, Omaha Theater Ballet, First Night Erie, Villa Maria Academy, Mercyhurst College, and the Chautauqua
Institution, and Ballet Nebraska, among others.
During his time in Pennsylvania, Mr. Carter was not only a Principal Dancer, but also served as Assistant to the Director, and was
the founding director of their Arts-In-Education outreach program.  He currently serves as Ballet Master for Ballet Nebraska.
Susan Chowning, Owner/Director
Susan Chowning began her dance training at North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC.  Upon graduation, she
continued her studies as a scholarship student with the Harkness Ballet of New York.  While in New York, she embarked on her
dance career and danced professionally with  Ballet of Contemporary Arts, Harkness Dance Theatre, Westchester Dance Theatre,
Joffrey II Concert Group, Festival Dance Theatre, American Repertory Ballet, Metropolitan Opera of New York City, Connecticut Ballet
and Ballet Omaha.
She also danced with internationally renowned artists such as Merrill Ashley, John Meehan, Eleanor D'Antuono, and Gelsey Kirkland.
Ms. Chowning has an extensive background in teaching dance from preschool to professional levels.  She has been a teacher for
Harkness Ballet, Rahway Ballet Theatre, True Dance Academy, Omaha Academy of Ballet,  Nebraska Dance, Connecticut Ballet,
Omaha Ballet and Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance.  In addition, Ms. Chowning has been a guest teacher for the professional
dancers of the Omaha Theater Ballet and was a former Ballet Mistress for the Lincoln Midwest Ballet in Lincoln, NE.
Ms. Chowning has been devoted to sharing her talents and experiences in order to provide professional instruction and knowledge
for over 30 years.  She is dedicated to allowing all of her students to experience the joy of dance.
Kristin Goeringer
Kristin Goeringer began her dance training as a young girl in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Kristin went on to study ballet at the University of
Utah, where she completed her BFA in Ballet Performance with a Business Minor, under teachers such as Conrad Ludlow, Sharee Lane,
and Maureen Laird.  Kristin has spent several summers teaching at the Academy of Dance Arts in Rapid City, and has also served as their
Stage Manager.  Kristin has performed for the last three years with the Omaha Theater Ballet, and danced the role of Aurora in Julie
McFarland's
The Sleeping Beauty.  She has also been an instructor at the Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance and has taught in
numerous Metro area elementary schools as part of the Rose Theater's outreach program.  Kristin enjoys teaching dancers of all ages and
watching them grow in their love of dance.
Natasha Grimm-Gregory
Natasha has trained and performed in several genres of dance and is a versatile dancer/instructor.  She has studied on scholarship with
Kansas City Ballet and Manhattan Dance.  Her professional dance career began at the age of 19 with Omaha Theater Ballet, and she is
currently a dancer with Ballet Nebraska.   She has performed the role of "The Sugar Plum Fairy" in
The Nutcracker, "Titania" in A
Midsummer Night's Dream
,  "Mina" in Winthrop Corey's Dracula, and the title role in Erika Overturff's Cleopatra.  Natasha enjoyed her
professional choreographic debut in 2012 by presenting her ballet "Cycles" in Ballet Nebraska's
Momentum.   Natasha has had
noteworthy reviews in the
Omaha World Herald and the Examiner, which stated that she was "one of the most lithe and physically
appealing dancers to grace the stage."  She has also performed with the Omaha Symphony and Opera Omaha.  She has taught ballet,
jazz, lyrical, tap, hip-hop, contemporary dance, and is certified in both Pilates and Zumba Fitness.  Natasha is a founding member of Ballet
Nebraska.
Mary Makdissi
Mary comes to us from Massachusetts.  She began dancing at age 3 and has had many years of training in tap, jazz, and performance.  
Mary studied with various masters of Middle Eastern dance after falling in love with the art form in 1996.  She toured for 6 years as a soloist
with Mirsa Near East Ensemble, perfecting the techniques of Egyptian, Lebonese, and Middle Eastern Folkloric dance and props under
York, and Providence.  Mary has been teaching belly dance for 12 years and continues to study and participate in workshops.  Mary has
also performed with Daughters of Nefertiti dance troupe, under the direction of Sanet Halck.  Mary is very excited to be teaching the Cabaret
and Folkloric styles of belly dance at M41 in Omaha.  She is the Director of Troupe Udjat, in residence at Motion41.
Jackie Robinson
Jackie has an extensive background in dance that spans over 25 years.  A native of Colorado, she has worked for and been on the faculties
of Arvada Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Children's Chorale, Colorado Ballet, Loretta Height's Collage, Country Dinner Playhouse,
and others.  Jackie has also been a fitness instructor throughout Denver ran her own dance program for daycares in Colorado (Jackie's
Jellybeans.)
She moved to Omaha in 1999 and embarked on a teaching career that included programs such as The Rose Theater, Omaha Theater
Ballet School, the Jewish Community Center, Artistic Academy, Miss Tammy's School of Dance, Iowa Western Community College, as well
as her own studio, Jackie's School of Dance.  Jackie is certified in Pilates, Zumba, Personal Training, and is a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Shirley Nickel (Registrar)
Judy Leppek
Ms. Leppek received her dance training from the Irene Fokine School of Ballet and the School of the Hartford Ballet.  She went on to dance
The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Romeo & Juliet and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as leading roles in contemporary ballets by Kurt
Joos, George Balanchine, Peter Martins, Dwight Rhoden, Agnes DeMille, Paul Taylor, and others.  Ms. Leppek has performed all over the
U.S., as well as in Central and South America.  She has been a teacher with the School of Ballet Arizona and Mid-Atlantic Ballet School,
among others.  Ms. Leppek is also certified by the American Council on Fitness and in Group Fitness Instruction for Zumba, Zumba Gold,
and Zumbatomic.  
Katie van der Mars
Katie began her training in classical ballet at the Corvallis Academy of Ballet in Oregon, and spent her summers studying at American Ballet
Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, and Ballet West.  Katie holds a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts - Ballet Performance from the University of Utah.  Katie
other classical and contemporary works.  Katie is also a dancer with Ballet Nebraska.  Omaha audiences have seen her in featured roles in
ballets such as
The Nutcracker, Kennet Oberly's Alice In Wonderland, and Matthew Carter's Bacchanale Variations.  She is excited to be in
Omaha and to share her talents with the dancers in the community.
Vanda Botaletto
Vanda attended the University of Hawaii on a dance scholarship, and was also a member of the Rainbow Dancers.  She has been teaching
dance for over 25 years and also owned and operated her own dance studio in Michigan, where she lived prior to moving to Omaha with her
husband and two sons.  Vanda works as a Para Educator in the Millard Public School System, and was a certified substitute teacher in
Michigan.  She also holds a B.A. in Sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit.
Claire Goodwillie
Claire Goodwillie began her training at Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance.  She spent summers training with the renowned Pacific
Northwest Ballet and Ballet Austin.  Claire has also studied dance in Banff, Canada.  She appeared in numerous Omaha Theater Ballet
productions, including
The Nutcracker, The Firebird, Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia.    Currently a professional dancer with Ballet
Nebraska, her favorite roles have included the evil Rat Queen in Erika Overturff's
The Nutcracker, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream,
and the Red Queen in Kennet Oberly's
Alice In Wonderland.  Claire has also performed with Opera Omaha and the Omaha Symphony.
Tiffany Rocz
Tiffany has devoted her life to the art of dance.  She began dancing as a child and has stepped into the field of choreography and teaching,
winning numerous awards at competitions throughout the country.  Tiffany also studied at number of conventions, including Nuvo, Jump,
Westcoast Dance Explosion, Youth America Grand Prix, New York City Dance Alliance, and The Pulse.   She has been teaching all levels of
dance for several years, beginning as an instructor at Synergy Tech Performing Arts in Omaha.  Tiffany is currently studying at Midland University,
where she is earning her BSBA.  She enjoys  teaching and working with the dancers of Motion41's Dance Force competition team.
Kelsey Scwenker
Kelsey hails from Colorado, where she received her ballet training with Ballet Nouveau Colorado and danced with its student company under the
direction of Julia Wilkinson Manley.  She spent summers studying with Kansas City Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop,
and Paul Taylor Dance Company.  Kelsey holds a BFA in Ballet Performance, graduating summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma
under Mary Margaret Holt, Donn Edwards, Steve Brule and Jeremy Lindberg.  Currently a professional dancer with Ballet Nebraska, she has
performed leading roles in
Swing, Swing, Swing!, Erika Overturff's The Nutcracker, Winthrop Corey's Dracula, Kennet Oberly's Alice In Wonderland,
and Matthew Carter's
Bacchanale Variations.
Maggie Valenzuela
Maggie has been dancing for over seventeen years and has studied with reputable teachers throughout the Midwest.   A competitive dancers, she
was crowned Miss Showbiz three times, along with Miss Fire and Ice, Miss Celebrity, and Miss Bravo.  Maggie was a part of the Adrenaline Dance
Crew and won the Celebrity Dance Down.  She has choreographed for many dancers and dance teams in Lincoln and Omaha, and looks forward
to sharing her talents with the Dance Force competition team at Motion41.
Teaya Smith
Teaya graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a Bachelor in Arts degree in Dance.  She studied with instructors and guest
artists such as Jan Van Dyke, Jenna Riegal, Jeff Curtis, Susan Levine, Pilobolus, Heidi Latsky, and more.  Teaya also danced in Master Classes
of the American College Dance Festival where she not only performed but presented origianl choreography in concert in her final year.  Teaya
has been an instructor with Edmonson Learning Center, Arts for All, AWC Dance Ministry, Life Gym, and others.