Miss Alexandra Meier
Miss Alex is her fifth season with Ballet La Crosse. She teaches ballet and tap to a wide range of ages, has been a part of MDU’s Pre Professional ballet staff and a YAGP coach. Miss Alex also works as a Certified Surgical Technologist at Gundersen Health System. Miss Alex’s roles with Ballet La Crosse have ranged from rehearsal assistant to restaging to artistic direction and has included the following works: Pre Professional Program Showcase, Cinderella, Mozart’s Requiem, The Little Mermaid, A Little Princess, Alice in Wonderland and Coppelia with the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.
Miss Larissa Oberly
Miss Larissa trained at the Tallinn State Choreographic School of Estonia and the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia. She was a Principal Dancer with the Estonian National Ballet and the Russian State Ballet where she danced the roles of Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, as well as many contemporary works. This is Larissa’s eighth year at Misty’s Dance Unlimited, where she instructs and coaches within the pre-professional ballet and YAGP programs in addition to her work with Ballet La Crosse. She is dedicated to continuing to inspire the art of ballet and passion for dancing within the community.
Miss Denise Meyer Benden
Miss Denise has been teaching dance at Misty’s Dance Unlimited for eight years. She danced locally in high school and through her undergraduate career at Colorado State University. This is Miss Denise’s 8th year teaching all types of children’s classes at MDU and her fourth season with Ballet La Crosse. She is also the lead teacher for MDU’s Darby’s Dancer’s program for children with special needs. Outside of the dance studio, Miss Denise is the Training and Quality Manager at Logistics Health, Incorporated, where is happy to serve those who have served our country. She lives in La Crosse with her husband, Jeff, and children, Henry and Tabitha.
Mr. Dennis Williams
Mr. Dennis grew up studying ballet at Maple Conservatory of Dance in California. He graduated from Belhaven University with a BFA in dance and has danced professionally with Ballet Mississippi and Filter Dance Company. Additionally, he has four years of experience in Martial Arts. Since 2015, Mr. Dennis has both taught modern and ballet at MDU as well as assisted rehearsals and performed in Ballet La Crosse. His favorite roles include: Dance Master from Cinderella and the Milkman from A Little Princess.
Miss Amanda Schams
Miss Amanda originally trained in Madison with Kate McQuade and Lillian Wilner and summers at the Milwaukee Ballet School. She later attended the University of Kansas and the Nutmeg Conservatory on dance scholarships. She completed her studies in psychology and dance at UW-Madison and the University of Iowa. This is her 15th year at MDU, where she instructs for the Pre-Professional program. She has been a part of the creation, choreography and development of Ballet La Crosse, MDU’s Pre-Professional and YAGP programs for the past 8 years, and she enjoys working alongside an inspiring staff while witnessing dancers fleurish. She has been a guest artist with the Madison Ballet and across the midwest in roles such as Dewdrop Fairy, Arabian Pas de Deux and Snow Queen in “The Nutcracker” and the title role in “Cinderella”.
Miss Misty Lown
Miss Misty has been sharing her passion for dance and mentorship with local students for 30 years. She is the Founder of More Than Just Great Dancing™ affiliated dance studios and “A Chance to Dance Foundation”, a 501(c) 3 charitable organization. Misty is passionate about community service and has donated over $500,000 in combined cash and studio scholarships for the past 20 years. Her latest initiative, Youth Protection Advocates in Dances, has provided safety and wellness training for over 2,000 dance educators worldwide. Misty is proud to support local arts, aspiring artists, and the theater community through Ballet La Crosse.
Mr. Kennet Oberly*
Much of our work will continue to be influenced by our beloved Mr. Kennet, who suffered from ALS and passed way in January 2016, during his 5th year at MDU. Mr. Kennet performed with Stuttgart Ballet, Ballet of the 20th Century, Boston Ballet, and Tivoli Pantomime Theatre. He was Ballet Master of the Finnish National Ballet, Artistic Director of Ballet Iowa and the Walcott Chidren’s Ballet — a work for which he was featured in Smithsonian Magazine.