Our Faculty

Christa Smutek

Artistic Director

 

Christa studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and received her B.S. in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology graduating with distinction and University Honors. Christa has performed professionally with companies including ArtLab J Dance, SueMo Dance Company, and Danceworks Performance Company. Additional performances include the Wisconsin ESPY Awards on ESPN, the Purple Veins Prince Tribute Tour, Urbanite, and World of Dance Chicago.

In addition to dancing, Christa has been teaching and choreographing for 10 years. Her contemporary choreography has been showcased at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, Detroit Dance City Festival, Detroit Dance Film Festival, Motor City Choreographer Collective, Brighton Dance Festival, Dance Canvas, RADfest Midwest, Milwaukee Fringe Festival, Columbus Arts Festival, Indiana Dance Festival, Spring to Dance in St. Louis. Her piece, Architect of the Mind, was the winner of Milwaukee’s “Dance MKE” competition in 2017. Her choreography was a finalist in the American Choreographic Festival 2018. She set choreography for US International Ballet in Wilmington, NC. She is the former Associate Artistic Director and resident choreographer of Water Street Dance Company in Milwaukee, WI. She has received numerous choreography awards and IDA nominations for her competitive choreography. Christa has also taught master classes and set guest work in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Georgia, New Jersey, Canada, and the Virgin Islands.

In 2016 she established herself as Christa Smutek LLC. She is currently the Artistic Director of Artistic Edge Dance Centre, Director of the Collective Movement dance intensive, and continuing her freelance work throughout the country. Most recently, she is the proud mother of Eli Antony, born January 27, 2018.

francesca milwaukee dance

Francesca Morris

Ballet/Pointe Instructor

 

From Spring Grove, IL. Francesca Morris has been been dancing since age 3 and trained under the direction of Alyce Keaggy-Brinkmann from age 7 to 17. During that time she placed in Youth America Grand Prix semi finals and competed in finals for YAGP and Valentina Kozlovas International Ballet Competition in NYC.

Francesca also performed with Regional Dance America in a piece choreographed by Eddy O’campo that premiered at USA IBC in Jackson, Mississippi. She was awarded full tuition scholarships for summer intensives which she attended at Alabama Ballet, Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory New York, and Orlando Ballet. At ADC IBC she received a full tuition traineeship with Orlando Ballet and was promoted the following year to second company.

After attending Milwaukee Ballet’s summer intensive she was accepted into the MBll program for the ‘18-‘19 season and the ‘19-‘20 season. In completion of those two years in the second company, she was offered a company contract and will be dancing as a company artist with the Milwaukee Ballet for the ‘20-‘21 season.

Francesca Morris

Ballet/Pointe Instructor

 

From Spring Grove, IL. Francesca Morris has been been dancing since age 3 and trained under the direction of Alyce Keaggy-Brinkmann from age 7 to 17. During that time she placed in Youth America Grand Prix semi finals and competed in finals for YAGP and Valentina Kozlovas International Ballet Competition in NYC.

Francesca also performed with Regional Dance America in a piece choreographed by Eddy O’campo that premiered at USA IBC in Jackson, Mississippi. She was awarded full tuition scholarships for summer intensives which she attended at Alabama Ballet, Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory New York, and Orlando Ballet. At ADC IBC she received a full tuition traineeship with Orlando Ballet and was promoted the following year to second company.

After attending Milwaukee Ballet’s summer intensive she was accepted into the MBll program for the ‘18-‘19 season and the ‘19-‘20 season. In completion of those two years in the second company, she was offered a company contract and will be dancing as a company artist with the Milwaukee Ballet for the ‘20-‘21 season.

francesca milwaukee dance
melissa milwaukee dance

Melissa Delzer

Teacher

 

Melissa started dancing at age 3 and spent her childhood under the direction of New York City Ballet Dancers Todd Bolender, Una Kai and Diana Adams at the Kansas City Ballet School. She started performing with the Company at age 9, as Clara in The Nutcracker. Melissa was a member of the Corps de Ballet and some of the works she performed include George Balanchine’s Serenade, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Firebird, Symphony in C and Tarantella.

At age 13, Melissa received full scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, School of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, School of American Ballet (New York City Ballet school) and Chicago City Ballet School.

She attended both SAB in NYC and Chicago City Ballet’s Summer Intensives throughout high school. Her teachers included NYC Ballet dancers: Jacques D’Amboise, Melissa Hayden, Allegra Kent, Violette Verdy, Jonathan Watts, Suki Schorer, Alexandra Danilova, Paul Mejia and Maria Tallchief, as well as Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison and Mercedes Ellington. She had the privilege of performing with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Peter Martins, Heather Watts, Judith Fugate, Daniel Duell and with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

For the past ten years Melissa has enjoyed sharing her wealth of knowledge, experience, and her passion of Classical Ballet with her students by teaching the Balanchine style of dance. Training in Balanchine technique allows dancers to utilize more space in less time, so that speed, spatial expansion and a syncopated musicality are enhanced.

Kelly Anderson

Teacher

 

Kelly Anderson, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Social Psychology. During her time at WMU, Kelly had the privilege of performing professional works by Aszure Barton, Kyle Abraham, Brian Enos, and Rennie Harris. Kelly was a member of the WMU dance touring ensemble Western Dance Project under the direction of Whitney Moncrief in which she toured the Midwest performing and engaging in outreach.

She has performed works by faculty members Jeremy Blair and Carolyn Pavlik while also being involved in Monique Haley’s graduate thesis Encounter and 2017 National Choreography Competition winner Brendan Duggan’s work HAUNT. Kelly has attended ADF’s New York Winter Intensive, DanceWorks Chicago’s DanceForce and ChoreoLab, and Houston METdance’s Professional Summer Intensive.

She served as the President of Orchesis Dance Society – a student organization within the Department of Dance at WMU – and was a part of Movement Exchange in which she shared dance with local children in preschools and after-school programs as well as internationally in Panamá at orphanages and underserved schools. Since moving to Chicago in 2019, Kelly has danced professionally with Peckish Rhodes Performing Arts Society and Banks Performance Project, while teaching and choreographing at local competitive dance studios. Kelly is thrilled to begin her first season with South Chicago Dance Theatre in the fall of 2020. Kelly believes in the powerful ability dance has to bring people together and loves sharing this with her students. Kelly believes in the powerful ability dance has to bring people together and loves sharing this with her students!

Kelly Anderson

Teacher

 

Kelly Anderson, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Social Psychology. During her time at WMU, Kelly had the privilege of performing professional works by Aszure Barton, Kyle Abraham, Brian Enos, and Rennie Harris. Kelly was a member of the WMU dance touring ensemble Western Dance Project under the direction of Whitney Moncrief in which she toured the Midwest performing and engaging in outreach.

She has performed works by faculty members Jeremy Blair and Carolyn Pavlik while also being involved in Monique Haley’s graduate thesis Encounter and 2017 National Choreography Competition winner Brendan Duggan’s work HAUNT. Kelly has attended ADF’s New York Winter Intensive, DanceWorks Chicago’s DanceForce and ChoreoLab, and Houston METdance’s Professional Summer Intensive.

She served as the President of Orchesis Dance Society – a student organization within the Department of Dance at WMU – and was a part of Movement Exchange in which she shared dance with local children in preschools and after-school programs as well as internationally in Panamá at orphanages and underserved schools. Since moving to Chicago in 2019, Kelly has danced professionally with Peckish Rhodes Performing Arts Society and Banks Performance Project, while teaching and choreographing at local competitive dance studios. Kelly is thrilled to begin her first season with South Chicago Dance Theatre in the fall of 2020. Kelly believes in the powerful ability dance has to bring people together and loves sharing this with her students. Kelly believes in the powerful ability dance has to bring people together and loves sharing this with her students!

Nate Ramos

Teacher

 

Mr. Nate Ramos started dancing when he was just a toddler on the Southside of Milwaukee, WI and has been teaching, training and competing in hip hop dance since 2014.

Growing up with his siblings and his single mom, who worked two jobs at a time, he learned to dance, watching countless hours of music video choreography and award show performances, ultimately performing them for his classes and talent shows at school. His love for dance intrigued him and led him to join Revamped Dance Company, a hip hop crew out of Milwaukee, in 2014 and he was introduced to the world of training. Since then, he has traveled around the country to train with some of the best in the business: Willdabeast, Anthony Thomas, Luther Brown, Phil Wright, Ian Eastwood, Twitch, Antoine Troupe, Josh Williams and many more.

Quickly growing as a dancer, Nate had the opportunity to compete in various competitions in Milwaukee and Chicago and perform twice at the Wisconsin Sports Awards broadcasted on ESPN. He accepted his first teaching job in 2017 and has been teaching all ages ever since.

After spending some time in L.A.,Nate decided to move back home to share his knowledge, hoping to contribute to the hip hop community in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas. He believes that an educator’s job is to teach beyond the material and his goal as an educator is to inspire people to be courageous in doing whatever drives their spirit.

jes huber milwaukee dance

Jes Huber

Teacher

 

Jessica Huber has been dancing since the age of 3. Originally from Michigan, Jessica moved to Illinois in 2007 and began dancing at Laura Coté School of Dance in Wilmot, WI at the age of 9. She has attended summer dance intensives on scholarship at Inaside Chicago Dance Summer Intensive, Ballet Lab Chicago, Dancewerks, and Fuzion Dance Camp.

She has also attended the Lou Conte Teen Intensive, Visceral Dance Center and Gus Giordano Dance to further her training. She was a competitive dancer for 13 years and also performed in several seasons of The Nutcracker while living in Michigan. Along with competing, she performed with Midwest Dance Collective, a pre-professional dance company, in Barrington, IL for 4 years.

Jessica has had the opportunity to perform works on stage and featured parts from guest choreographers with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago and Inaside Chicago Dance. She has performed live with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in their Magical Holiday Concert for several seasons. She has won numerous Overall First Place Awards, Title Awards, Scholarships and Special Awards such as Most Entertaining, Highest Scoring Routine and Excellence in Dance for her competitive solo performances.

Jessica attended the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and had the privilege of performing works set by Stefanie Batten Bland, John Heginbothom and Keisha Lalama. Jessica is focusing on choreography and has won numerous Choreography Awards, Overall Awards and Special Judges’ Awards for her dances. Jessica’s passion is to perform, choreograph and teach and feels blessed to be able to share her love of dance with others.

Jes Huber

Teacher

 

Jessica Huber has been dancing since the age of 3. Originally from Michigan, Jessica moved to Illinois in 2007 and began dancing at Laura Coté School of Dance in Wilmot, WI at the age of 9. She has attended summer dance intensives on scholarship at Inaside Chicago Dance Summer Intensive, Ballet Lab Chicago, Dancewerks, and Fuzion Dance Camp.

She has also attended the Lou Conte Teen Intensive, Visceral Dance Center and Gus Giordano Dance to further her training. She was a competitive dancer for 13 years and also performed in several seasons of The Nutcracker while living in Michigan. Along with competing, she performed with Midwest Dance Collective, a pre-professional dance company, in Barrington, IL for 4 years.

Jessica has had the opportunity to perform works on stage and featured parts from guest choreographers with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago and Inaside Chicago Dance. She has performed live with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in their Magical Holiday Concert for several seasons. She has won numerous Overall First Place Awards, Title Awards, Scholarships and Special Awards such as Most Entertaining, Highest Scoring Routine and Excellence in Dance for her competitive solo performances.

Jessica attended the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA and had the privilege of performing works set by Stefanie Batten Bland, John Heginbothom and Keisha Lalama. Jessica is focusing on choreography and has won numerous Choreography Awards, Overall Awards and Special Judges’ Awards for her dances. Jessica’s passion is to perform, choreograph and teach and feels blessed to be able to share her love of dance with others.

jes huber milwaukee dance
dani milwaukee dance

Dani Westphal

Teacher

 

Dani started dancing at age 3 in Oak Creek, WI and trained in all styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Funk, Pom, and Tap. Dani was awarded many titles and scholarships throughout her regional and national competitive dance career including ‘Overall Highest Scoring Jr. Soloist’ at Applause National Dance Competition, and Universal Dance Association’s ‘National Dance Alliance College Dance Team Recruitment Scholarship.’

Dani continued training in Brookfield, WI and quickly learned that above other genres of Dance, she had a passion and an understanding of Tap that she had to pursue.

She began teaching Recreational and Competitive dance at age 15. Soon after, she became Tap Program Director at a studio in Wales where she rapidly grew the program. Her Tap choreography brought the team multiple 1st place awards. For the next 7 years Dani was the Co-director and Lead Choreographer for a competitive Dance Company in New Berlin, Wi.
Her passion and love for dance earned her several ‘Best Overall Choreography’ and ‘Judges’ Choice’ awards in Tap and Contemporary.

Her Tap foundation is based on The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, with a focus on precise technique and formations. She has taken intensive workshops with Tap Legends Laurie Johnson, Mike Minery, and Anthony Morigerato.

Dani loves working with kids and helping them perfect their craft, and she is very excited to join the Artistic Edge family.

Birane Moore

Teacher

 

Birane Moore is a dancer and choreographer, born in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his artistic journey in 2003, training at Ballethnic Academy of Dance in East Point, Georgia. Subsequently, Birane was granted the opportunity to perform in The Atlanta Opera’s Aïda, and was the lead role in The Urban Nutcracker.

At the young age of 13, Birane began choreographing for Moore Arts Movement Inc. and experimented within his own style. In 2008, his hunger to perform on stage was realized after receiving a role in “Big Boi” of Outkast’s show, featuring Janelle Monae at the Fox Theatre. Birane studied at the Dekalb School of the Arts in Avondale, Georgia. As a Senior, Birane relocated to Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. where he landed the lead role in Mike Malone’s historic “Black Nativity.”

Birane also studied dance at Adelphi University. Birane has danced as a company member with Ballethnic, City Gate, and the Collective Movement. Birane is currently working as a freelance choreographer and company instructor at Artistic Edge Dance Centre.

Birane Moore

Teacher

 

Birane Moore is a dancer and choreographer, born in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his artistic journey in 2003, training at Ballethnic Academy of Dance in East Point, Georgia. Subsequently, Birane was granted the opportunity to perform in The Atlanta Opera’s Aïda, and was the lead role in The Urban Nutcracker.

At the young age of 13, Birane began choreographing for Moore Arts Movement Inc. and experimented within his own style. In 2008, his hunger to perform on stage was realized after receiving a role in “Big Boi” of Outkast’s show, featuring Janelle Monae at the Fox Theatre. Birane studied at the Dekalb School of the Arts in Avondale, Georgia. As a Senior, Birane relocated to Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. where he landed the lead role in Mike Malone’s historic “Black Nativity.”

Birane also studied dance at Adelphi University. Birane has danced as a company member with Ballethnic, City Gate, and the Collective Movement. Birane is currently working as a freelance choreographer and company instructor at Artistic Edge Dance Centre.

Ariel Freilich Milwaukee Dance

Ariel Freilich

Teacher

 

Ariel became an instructor at the Pewaukee Fred Astaire Dance Studio in July of 2015. Originally from New Mexico, she received her Master’s Degree in Teaching Ballroom Dance at New Mexico State University. Ariel is certified in teaching the American/ International dance styles as well as certified in Para Dance Sport. This has allowed her to inspire even more people to embrace the power of dance!

She has been competing professionally in both the Cabaret and Smooth dance styles since 2015 and is a multiple time National Finalist. However, her favorite part of her day is teaching students the power of dance on the mind, body and spirit!

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Address

608 North Shore Drive
Hartland WI 53029

Call Us

262.333.0905