Current Faculty & Staff
Ms. Breanna Dvorak, Academy Director & Instructor
Ms. Dvorak is a professional ballerina and instructor in the greater metropolitan Minnesota area. She has received her ballet training in the Vaganova method, from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. Completing their courses and graduating as the 2nd American in 250 years, Breanna received her diploma as a Ballet Artist.
Breanna has received training from well known instructors such as Vladilen Semenov and Irina Kolpakova both of which are former Principal dancers with the Kirov Ballet, St. Petersburg, Russia and currently instructors for the American Ballet Theater. Dr. Marina Leonova, Dean of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow Russia and former Prima Ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet. Dr. Irina Syrova, Acting Professor, Deputy Chair of the Classical Female Dance Department of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow and soloist of Perm Opera. As well as many others.
Breanna’s training consisted of Women’s Classical Ballet, Repertoire, Partnering (Pas de Deux ) , Acting, Music, Character (Folk dance), Contemporary Dance, Historical Dance, as well as the History of Dance, History of Theatre, Theatre Make-up, History of Choreography and Russian Language.
Breanna has performed repertoire from many classical ballets such as LaCorsaire, Paquita, Lafille Mal Garde, Don Quixote, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Giselle, as well as danced in many contemporary pieces.
After graduating, Ms. Dvorak danced as Soloist with the St. Paul Chamber Ballet, and started instructing various ages. Ms.Dvorak has taught and choreographed for several studios around Minnesota, as well as various award winning dance routines for a prominent color guard. She has trained Jazz & Kick highschool & college dance teams, gymnasts, has taught body strengthening and flexibility classes for children and adults, Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet classes, “Mommy & Me” classes for toddlers and the Pre K age group as well as ballet & on-ice private lessons for competitive figure skaters and gymnasts. Ms. Dvorak has worked with current Bolshoi Academy students as well as professional dancers training them in technique & performance. Ms. Dvorak has also trained students for national and international competitions (Winning 1st place & Top 12 multiple times).
Ms. Dvorak has restaged Swan Lake, Giselle, Raymonda, Paquita, Le Corsaire, Les Sylphides, & Peter & the Wolf, as well as four original productions. For the past three years, Ms. Dvorak has acted as Artistic Director & Choreographer for North Ballet Youth Company's production of The Nutcracker performed in front of thousands of audience members annually.
Ms. Dvorak's students have been accepted into prestigious dance schools & intensives such as Kirov Academy (with Merit Scholarships), Bolshoi Academy (with scholarships), Ellison Ballet, Harid Conservatory, American Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet West (Full Scholarship 2 years in a row), Ballet Idaho, BYU, Joffrey Ballet (with full scholarship-2 years in a row), Washington University Dance Program, Ballet Arizona, Canada National Ballet and San Francisco Ballet (full scholarship), Washington Ballet School, and Kaatsbaan Ballet Program (only 40 students selected nation-wide), Pennsylvania Ballet Full Scholarship, Boston Ballet (Full Scholarship), and the Royal Ballet School in London!
Ms. Dvorak's teaching style is more traditional with a focus on traditional Vaganova technique which results in a more refined dancing style. She likes to keep each class upbeat and enjoyable. She prides herself on being an actively involved instructor.
Ms. Jennifer Bicknese, Administrative Director
Jennifer Bicknese resides in Otsego, MN along with her husband and two children. Together they enjoy the outdoors and love spending summer weekends traveling and adventuring in their camper. Jennifer enjoys being a part of her children’s activities including Ballet, Baseball, and Fishing.
Although Jennifer did not grow up dancing, she has always enjoyed and appreciated the arts. At the age of five, her daughter asked to study Ballet, and together they found North Ballet Academy. It didn’t take long for both Jennifer and her daughter to fall head over heals for the art of Ballet and for the North Ballet community!
After 15 wonderful years in Public Education as a fifth-grade teacher, Jennifer decided to pursue new dreams which lead her to a position on staff at North Ballet Academy. Her experience as a North Ballet parent over the years lended itself well to a transition into a staff role. As the Administrative Director of North Ballet Academy, Jennifer will be able to continue to use her organizational and administrative skills acquired during her years in Education. Jennifer is also pleased to be able to continue to work with and inspire the next generation of leaders and artists through her interactions with the dancers of North Ballet.
Mr. Jeff Dvorak, Business Director
Mr. Dvorak grew up in St. Cloud, MN where he met Ms. Dvorak. Ms. Dvorak opened the door into the ballet world for Mr. Dvorak who has developed a deep appreciation for the art of ballet. Mr. Dvorak’s dance experience is limited but he is always learning!
Mr. Dvorak’s background includes six and a half years in the U.S. Marine Corps, leaving the reserves as a Sergeant. Mr. Dvorak has a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management, a business degree, and is currently working on a Masters in Applied Economics, both from St. Cloud State University.
Mr. Dvorak is excited to be a part of the North Ballet team and looks forward to working with students, parents, and faculty to ensure that North Ballet Academy maintains its position as a top tier ballet academy as well as continuing to grow in reputation as the region’s best choice for Vaganova style ballet!
Ms. Breanne Lunemann, Swan Squad Director
Breanne Lunemann started dancing at the age of three! She continued to love dance and in High School she, along with some friends and their mothers, started the Rogers High School Dance Team in 2005!
Upon beginning her college endeavors, Breanne thought her days of dance were behind her. But dance proved to be engrained in her life and she became very involved with dance on her University of Minnesota, Morris campus. While at UMM, Breanne was a dancer and board member or the Dance Ensemble and was on the Performing Arts Committee. Upon Breanne’s arrival to the UMM campus, Dance was only offered as a Minor program, but Breanne worked with the University to develop the Dance Major program now available through the UMM. While at Morris, Breanne was also involved in the Academic Showcase participating as a dancer, working with Professors and Guest Choreographers, and later becoming the Stage, Technical, and Production Manager. In 2009 she was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for her piece called “Purgatory” as well as for her work & development of the Dance Major program. During this time Breanne was also studying and teaching dance at a local dance studio!
After college, Breanne again thought her days of dance were done, but dance continued to call and she accepted a position as the Head Coach for the Monticello High School Dance Team, which she held for 5 years. In 2014 she began coaching dancers at the College of St. Benedict, holding that position for 4 years. She continues her work there as a Consultant.
Dance has been and continues to be an integral part of Beanne’s life and career. She is thrilled to be joining the North Ballet Academy team as the Director of Swan Squad, North Ballet’s elite competitive team.
Ms. Jadyn Reddy, Ballet Instructor
Jadyn Reddy graduated from the University of Arizona's School of Dance on a Fine Arts scholarship. She was a featured performer at UA Commencement and was awarded the "Future In Dance" graduate scholarship. UA's triad of ballet, modern and jazz prepared her for Principal roles in several exclusive UA commissioned works including Ben Stevenson's, "Four Last Songs" and Jerome Robbins, "Antique Epigraphs.” Ms. Jadyn’s training is comprised of several intensive programs including American Ballet Theatre, River North Dance Chicago, Ballet X, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet.
Jadyn Reddy began her professional career dancing with James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis, MN from 2016-2018. Summer of 2017, she performed with Convergence Ballet in Phoenix, Arizona. Most recently she has worked with Visceral Dance Chicago, and completed a European tour with Sweetbird Productions Rock The Ballet X choreographed by Adrienne Canterna. A major highlight in Jadyn's career was the opportunity to perform "Killer Pig" and work with Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar of LEV Dance Company. Her journey as an artist is to continue to research and explore movement and share her passion with the world. When she's not dancing, you'll find her in a yoga, pure barre or pilates class, challenging and growing in body, mind and soul. Ms. Jadyn is very excited to be joining the staff at North Ballet Academy and to pass on her knowledge to the students of North Ballet Academy!
Mr. Jacob Walters, Ballet Instructor
Jacob Walters resides in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. He first began his ballet training at the age of nine at North Ballet Academy in Rogers, MN under the direction of Breanna Dvorak, owner and artistic director of North Ballet Academy completing all 8 Levels in the Complete Classical Ballet Program. In 2016, under the coaching of Breanna Dvorak he placed in the Top 6 Men (Top 12 Category) in the Youth American Grand Prix Competition in Las Vegas. Mr.Walters was selected and participated in several of the nation’s best Summer Intensive Programs to include Joffrey Ballet, San Fransisco Ballet, & Ballet West (2 years in a row)- all on full merit scholarship!
In Summer of 2018, Mr. Walters was selected to participate in Ballet West’s Choreography Workshop in Utah where he performed with company members and trainees at the Gallivan Center in Salt Lake City.
Jacob Walters performed leading guest soloist roles in several professional companies in the Metro area performances of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and the Nutcracker. He has also been in lead roles in performances with North Ballet Academy such as Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, Peter and the Wolf, Paquita, Raymonda & Les Sylphides. He will be performing in North Ballet Youth Company’s performance of the Nutcracker Ballet for the 8th year as the leading role of Cavalier among many others.
He is excited to be a part of North Ballet Academy again this year, to work with students in the Young Dancer Division and Complete Classical Ballet Program.
Ms. Emilie Freiberg, Ballet Instructor
Emilie Freiberg first discovered ballet at the age of eight while taking ballet class at a homeschool co-op in Evansville, Indiana. Her instructor, Jennifer Kassler saw Emilie's Talent and gave her a full scholarship to take regular ballet class at Kay's Dance Studio. When Emilie's family moved to Ogilvie, Minnesota, her mom searched for a new ballet school that would have a high standard of integrity, and found North Ballet Academy. The family made the 50-mile drive each way for Emilie (and later, her siblings) to attend classes; Emilie started out in the Explore Ballet Homeschool program, and was then moved to level two in the Complete Classical Ballet Division. It was during those classes that Emilie realized she wanted to pursue classical ballet.
Over the next several years she advanced through the class levels and participated in many of North Ballet Academy's performances including Spring Shows, Summer Intensive performances, productions of The Nutcracker and Coppelia. She has received instruction from many teachers including Breanna Dvorak, Kimberly Norbert, Ingrid Lozano, Dr. Kenneth Bello, Krista King-Doherty, Katherine Hesterberg, and Maylu Pena.
At the age of 14 she began assisting with the Young Dancer Division classes, and at age 15 advanced to teaching Creative Movement and Dance Foundation classes herself. As the second oldest of 12 children, Emilie has for most of her life been her Mother's "right hand" helper and has grown accomplished at engaging young children. She further developed those abilities while working as a teacher's aide for St. Johns Child Development Center in Seward, Nebraska. Emilie is thrilled to be back at North ballet Academy and very excited to share her love and passion for ballet with the Young Dancer Division.
Ms. Lily Conforti, Contemporary & Jazz
Lily Conforti is an artist from the twin cities, currently pursuing degrees in Dance and Physiology at the University of Minnesota. Lily has 13 years of dance training from Escalate Dance and Theater Studio where she competed both locally and nationally. Since then, Lily has performed and choreographed many works around the twin cities. Most recently, she choreographed and danced in a nine minute piece for a show at the University of Minnesota that incorporated the use of paint and visual art into dance. She has performed works choreographed by Carl Flink of BLM dance company, Kjara Wurst, and other local dance artist. As an artist, Lily is interested in articulated movement. Seeing and feeling the groove is an important aspect of her work.
With the combination of Lily’s experience and education in dance, Ms. Lily is excited to join the North Ballet Academy Family and bring a fresh approach to her teaching that will allow dancers to investigate new possibilities while learning how to operate the human anatomy efficiently.
Ms. Laura Wilkerson, Resident Substitute Instructor
Having been in the dance world for almost 30 years Ms. Laura brings Knowledge of all aspects pertaining to dance. She grew up competing on her studio's top teams, as well as performing on her high school dance team at football games. After graduation Laura was an Assistant teacher later becoming a lead teacher at Studio One Dance for both recreational and competitive divisions.
Laura also has experience in Customer Service working at a local dance costume company, Kelle Company. She has worked with many local and international customers helping place orders, register accounts, and help in the creative process. Laura has been selected to attend Trade Shows in New Jersey, Illinois, and Georgia, as well as work behind the scenes for photo-shoot help.
Laura's excited to share her knowledge with all things dance with North Ballet Academy!
Ms. Katie Kocinski, Founder
Ms. Kocinski is originally from Plymouth, Minnesota. Throughout Ms. Kocinski's life she has been drawn to the art of classical ballet as well as to the education and development of children. Ms. Kocinski was privileged to study classical ballet for nearly ten years at The Minnetonka Dance Theater and School under the instruction of Marianne Simmons.
During her training, she was a member of the Youth Ballet Company. Her experiences at The Minnetonka Dance Theater and School nurtured a lifelong love for the art of ballet.
As a parent, Ms. Kocinski recognized the need for high quality classical ballet in the Rogers, Otsego, St. Michael communities. In response to this need, in 2009 she successfully founded North Ballet Academy, followed by the North Ballet Youth Company 501(c)3 in 2010. The surrounding community positively and eagerly responded to the addition of classical ballet to the local area, and as a result the Academy and the Youth Company have grown each year since the foundation of North Ballet. She feels very grateful to have had the opportunity to welcome high caliber ballet professionals to the North Ballet community and to watch the students grow not only in their ballet ability but in their lifelong character as well. Ms. Kocinski remains eager to see the continued development of exceptional ballet in this community for generations to come.
Guest and Past Instructors
Ingrid F. Lozano, professional dance educator, award winning choreographer and former professional dancer has been teaching and inspiring students for over 25 years. She specializes in the Vaganova Method and holds a Masters of Education in Dance & Theater from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. She trained at the prestigious Royal Winnipeg Ballet with a scholarship and with the Cuban Ballet of Alicia Alonso. Ms Ingrid danced professionally as a soloist with companies in the United States including Fort Worth Ballet in TX, Bristol Concert Ballet in VA., South America, Europe, Canada and in Mexico with the National Classical Ballet Company. In 2012, Ms Ingrid joined the faculty of Allen Ting Ballet in China where she serves as international guest teacher and choreographer for a Youth Company in Nanchang. She has been dance professor/assistant director at Virginia Intermont College and Texas Tech University. She has served as artistic director, owner, professor, ballet mistress and guest teacher with professional companies, universities and dance schools all over the world. North Ballet was privileged to grow under her leadership during the 2015-2016 season.
Ms. Ingrid Lozano
Mr. Alexander Smirnov
Alexander Smirnov is originally from Russia and graduated from the famed Vaganova Academy in Perm, Russia in 1995. Upon graduation he was invited to perform with the Saint Petersburg Academic Theater and Saint Petersburg Ballet Theater where he rose through the ranks and eventually became a Principal Dancer. In 2000 Smirnov joined the Ballet Oficial de la Provincia de Cordoba, Argentina, also as a Principal Dancer and four years later, he moved to the United States to join Ballet Internationale of Indianapolis.
Ms Karen Paulson-Rivet
Karen Paulson Rivet began her training at the Andahazy School of Classical Ballet and later danced with the Andahazy Ballet Company. Ms. Paulson Rivet was on staff with Minnesota Dance Theatre/The Dance Institute for 15 years and performed in The Nutracker Fantasy for 14 of those years. Ms. Paulson Rivet has participated in teaching conferences in Minnesota, Illinois and recently in St. Petersburg, Russia at the famed Vaganova Academy. She has also augmented her training with Carol Roderick, Gabriela Komleva and Marina Stavitskya.
Ms. Stephanie Heston
Ms. Heston is originally from Topeka, Kansas. She began her professional career with the Eglevsky Ballet of New York in 1995 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1998. Ms. Heston then joined Ballet Internationale of Indianapolis where she had the great honor of working with world renowned ballerinas, Irina Kolpakova and Tatiana Pali. As a teacher at the Academy of Ballet Internationale, Ms. Heston was privileged to learn from, and work under, the directorship of Vladelin Semenov, former Principal Teacher for the Kirov Ballet.
Mr. Nathan Powell
Nathan Powell is from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he received his early dance training. Mr. Powell completed professional training at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division, where he was trained in the Vaganova style of classical ballet.
Ms. Carol Roderick
Carol Roderick has taught, coached, and trained teachers and dancers for professional companies, universities, and prestigious schools in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe. She received her early training in Boston, and later at Butler and Indiana Universities. Her formal pedagogical training was received from the late Jürgen Schneider (Bolshoi Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, American Ballet Theatre) and Gabriela Komleva (Kirov/Maryinsky Ballet). She was Principal Teacher at AIS International Ballet in Japan, and a member of the professional division faculties of Boston Ballet School and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.
Ms. Arolyn Williams
Arolyn Williams is originally from Rowe, Massachusetts and is currently a Principal Dancer at Ballet West in Utah.
Ms. Krista King-Doherty
Krista King-Doherty is a nationally recognized and award winning teacher and choreographer. Krista coaches and choreographs for national and international level competitors and has won numerous overall high score, technical and choreography awards. Since 2005, Krista's students have qualified in both solos and ensembles for the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Her students and choreography have repeatedly won the Youth Grand Prix award, the Hope Award, and overall awards in contemporary divisions at YAGP.