Karen started her dance training at the age of 5 under the direction of Bess and Tibor Zana at the former Madison School of Ballet. She continued her ballet training and added pointe, jazz, modern, tap, character, ballroom, African, Asian-American, improvisation, composition, and pedagogy to her studies at Madison School of Ballet, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Fine Arts Camps, Eastern Michigan University, Tremaine and NYCDA Dance Conventions, Mid-States Dance Festival, American College Dance Festival, University of Wisconsin-Madison, American Dance Festival, Richmond Ballet and through many master classes and seminars. She has been a dancer for Kanopy Dance Company since 2005.
Karen has performed as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Fanny Cerito in Pas de Quatre, countless roles in The Nutcracker, for Madison Ballet, for Jin-Wen Yu Dance Company, and in many other performances in Madison, the Midwest, and Prague, Czech Republic. She is a recipient of dance scholarships in both Madison and Michigan as well as a UW Senior Project Grant. She has studied and performed for various faculty and guests artist including Julianne O’Brien-Pedersen, Tim Smola, Ruth Linney-Midkiff, Lori Belilove, Sherry Jerome, Joann McNamara, Carla White, Li Chiao-Ping, W. Earle Smith, Heidi Latsky, and Jin-Wen Yu. At American Dance Festival she had classes with Gus Solomons Jr, Gerri Houlihan, David Dorfman, Robert Battle, Ming-Lung Yang, Jennifer Nugent, Pamela Pietro, Larry Keigwin, Alexander Nash, Brenda Daniels, and Christal Brown.
Karen began teaching at Madison School of Ballet after acting as an assistant teacher there for many years. She has since taught at the YMCA in Madison and Ann Arbor, MI, Eastern Michigan University, Dance Gallery Studio in Ann Arbor, A Step Above Dance Studio, Storybook Ballet, UW Saturday Enrichment Program, West High School, Hawthorne Elementary School, and for the Madison Ballet Company. After two years as a dance major in Dance Performance at Eastern Michigan University and a member of the Movable Feet Dance Troupe, she returned to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin. After performing in many venues, as well as presenting her own choreography, she graduated with honors with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and her Senior Grant Project with at-risk youth, “Hip-Hop Girlz,” was met with tremendous success and press. She completed her Dance Education Certification and received her Wisconsin K-12 Dance Specialist Teaching License after teaching at Milwaukee High School of the Arts and Elm Creative Arts Elementary.Her choreography has been commissioned for performance in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and Evansville.
Karen currently teaches and serves as Ballet Mistress and Company Choreographer, and Office Manager, at A Step Above Dance and Music Academy, Storybook Ballet, as an independent contractor at Milwaukee High School of the Arts, performs/choreographs for various groups, volunteers with community youth, and serves as the Outreach Program Facilitator and a Rehearsal Assistant for Madison Ballet Company. Karen is glad to be doing what she loves best—sharing her love of dance with students of every age!
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