Jasmine Anderson, Vocal Arts Teacher
Jasmine Anderson, a.k.a Jazicality, is an American vocalist, rapper, recording artist, and YouTube personality. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Anderson first realized she had a passion for singing in the first grade. As she grew older, she was more determined to pursue her passion and joined choirs within her schools and churches, growing her love for creating harmonies. In 2016, She moved to Minnesota to further her dream by attending McNally Smith College of Music. There she found her multi-genre band — Crushed Into Place — for which she is the front woman. While Anderson writes and sings for her band, she also maintains her solo career by staying active on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and playing live shows around the Twin Cities. She posts at least twice a week on her YouTube channel Jazicality. Anderson released her debut album “Unsent Letters” on August 20, 2021; you can listen to it on Spotify.
Genevieve Bennett, Theatre Department Chair
Genevieve is a freelance director and teacher based in Minneapolis. Credits include Hedda Gabler, The Bear (The Southern Theater); Beyond the Owing (Red Eye); Bee Eater (Bryant Lake Bowl); The Good Doctor (Jon Hassler Theater); Anna Bella Eema, Goodnight Desdemona Good Morning Juliet (Theatre Unbound); The Seagull (Twin Cities Chekhov Festival); Camille (Old Arizona). She is the chair of the Theatre program at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and has guest directed for the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. She received an MFA in Directing from Columbia University and a BFA with Honors in Theatre from the Experimental Theatre Wing/Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Lisa Berman, Dance Teacher
A Minnesota native, has been breaking since 2004. She has danced as a member of Collective Hip Hop Dance Company, received the Jerome Travel and Study Grant for Choreography in 2008 to study under Bgirl Aruna in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and is the founder of In New Company (INC), an explorative dance theater company rooted in Hip Hop, whose members collaborate in order to represent various pockets of the Minnesota dance community. She has had the privilege of performing nationally at venues including NJPAC, Paradise Theater, Lincoln Center, “Performa” Biennial in NYC, Art Basel Miami and the National History Museum in Washington DC. She has also performed internationally in the Netherlands at “Street Science,” the Gallery Tribute to Women in Hip Hop, and The National History Museum of Amsterdam. Within the last year, MonaLisa has had the opportunity to work as a Hip Hop instructor for the St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Intermedia Arts, and The Cowles Center. She has most recently performed at the Joint Project, Elements in Translation, alongside Desdemona and Carnage for the Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Inaugural Ball, at The Cowles Center for Bboy J-sun’s show “Hip Hop,” Hip Hop Choreographer’s Evening, “Rooted” at Intermedia Arts, and Choreographer’s Evening at the Walker Art Center with INC.
Brandon Chambers, Visual Art Teacher
Brandon Chambers is a visual artist committed to a multidisciplinary practice. He uses art as a vessel to document and preserve his grappling with the human condition and its effects on lived experience. He does this abstractly by engaging in the creative act in varying contexts and observing himself, the process and results to draw conclusions and insights about existing. Brandon’s most recent interest is in the idea of virtual reality, not just as an emerging technology, but as a philosophical concept tracing back to Plato’s Cave and the question of how information and our perceptions shape our reality and how we live with uncertainty about the nature of reality. Brandon received his BA in Studio Art from the University of Maryland and an MFA from the University of Minnesota.
Laren Chang, Substitute Teacher
Laren studied dance in high school at SPCPA, attended Saint Paul College for Associates of Arts, and the University of Iowa for her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and certificate of leadership studies. Laren also got her post graduate degree at Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School. She is a performing artist with Copenhagen International Dance Festival and is an apprentice with Tu dance.
Paul Coate, Vocal Arts Department Chair/Musical Theatre Teacher
Paul was in a National PBS Broadcast, “All Is Calm.” He has also been in numerous regional theatre’s as well as concerts/operas. He has his BA and MA in Theatre from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Paul was a former radio DJ for 10 years and is into acoustic guitar, various dialects, gardening, running, hiking, model railroading, and teaching theatre.
Zamara M. Cuyún Grimm, Visual Arts – Muralism
Zamara received a BA Anthropology U of MN, and has completed 2 years of Graduate Studies in Anthropology at U of Penn. A self-trained muralist, Zamara uses elements of Guatemalan and Maya history, ideology and iconography while focusing on the strength of women in community building. Recent public art projects include St. Paul City Council Chambers, La Mexicana Supermarket (funded through an Early Career Artist Project grant from Forecast Public Arts). Zamara also serves on the leadership committee for Serpentina Arts, a Latinx Visual Artists Organization
Bruce DeMorrow, Dance Teacher
Bruce DeMorrow trained at Woodbury Dance Center in Woodbury, MN. His energetic approach to tap classes along with his new, cutting-edge choreography at a fast and upbeat pace leaves his students feeling full of life. He was a competition dancer for many years at Woodbury Dance Center and has won numerous awards. He has had a variety of involvement with outside tap dance companies and is an experienced performer and choreographer. He recently performed with Kaleena Miller’s I Love Her!, Shift and Here Now performances and with Rhythmic Circus in their Feet Don’t Fail Me Now critically acclaimed show. Mr. Bruce is also very active with the Twin Cities Tap Festival.
Jay Eisenberg, Theatre Teacher
Jay Owen Eisenberg is an actor, writer, director and arts educator based in Minneapolis by way of New York City and Los Angeles. He is a teaching artist with the Guthrie Theater and Children’s Theatre Company, and a frequent collaborator with Pillsbury House + Theatre (≈[almost equal to], Breaking Ice, Chicago Avenue Project) and Mixed Blood Theatre (On Our Own Terms, Charm, HIR), where he also serves as the Transgender Community Organizer. Jay has recently worked with Open Eye Figure Theatre on Constance in the Darkness, as well as his solo show, BIG OLD ROCK. He is the recipient of a 2018 A.R.T. Residency, a 2017 MSAB Artist Initiative Grant, and a 2016 SPACE on Ryder Farm Residency. Jay received his BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theatre Wing, and he is a proud member of both AEA/SAG-AFTRA. As a writer, he is represented by Alloy Entertainment, where he has a children’s book and a YA novel in the works.
Alma Engebretson, Instrumental Music Teacher
Alma has her BA in Music from the University of Denver, Suzuki certified through book 4, and graduated from Washburn High School. She has recorded two albums with “SPACE” Jazz Group, is the frontperson of Mr. Zipp, is an annual participant in the Ennio Morricone tribute show and Curtiss A’s John Lennon tribute show, a member of the Ron Miles tribute show, a performer in Open Eye Puppet Theatre’s “Once Upon a Winter’s Night”, a performer in Fox and Beggar Theatre’s “Vanaheimr”, and a performer is Dameun Stronge’s “Mother King.”
Brian Frutiger, Substitute Teacher
Brian is a professional opera singer/actor for 30 years. In the Twin Cities he has worked with Theater Latte’ Da, Artistry, and Penumbra Theatre. In the opera world, Brian appeared with The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, and The Dallas Opera to name a few. This fall he is appearing in a new opera with Orpheus Music Project. In addition to subbing at SPCPA a few years ago, he also is a substitute teachers for District 196 in the south metro. He has taught everything from Kindergarten to High School. Brian’s wife Kimberly has been an educator for over 20 years. They have three children.
Penelope Freeh, Dance Teacher
Penelope Freeh is a St. Paul-based dancer, choreographer, teacher and writer. In 2010 she won a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers and a SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer. Previous awards include a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers (1998), a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship (1998), two Career Opportunity Grants (1999, 2001) and an Artist Initiative Grant (2012) and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant (2001). Penelope danced for James Sewell Ballet for seventeen years, serving as Artistic Associate from 2007–2011. She has set the company’s repertory on Portland Opera, Alaska Dance Theatre, Houston’s Earthen Vessels and California’s Company C among others. Her choreography has been commissioned by: James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Orchestra, 3-Legged Race, the Walker Art Center/Southern Theater’s Momentum, the Weisman Art Museum, Minnesota Ballet, Skylark Opera and Russia’s Link Vostok Dance Festival among others. She has twice been presented by New York City’s Ballet Builders. Residencies include: Minnesota Dance Lab (Regional Dance Development Initiative) at the College of St. Benedict, St. Catherine University, Carleton College, the University of MN, MN State University, the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, MN, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Penelope is affiliate faculty at the University of Minnesota and Zenon Dance School. She is summer faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in MI. She is a Walker Art Center blogger for Dance. Her next project, Test Pilot, a dance opera in collaboration with composer Jocelyn Hagen, will premiere in September 2014 as part of The O’Shaughnessy Women of Substance Series.
Wesley Frye, Class Pianist
Wesley is a freelance collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and operatic tenor. He worked with notable ensembles around the Twin Cities. Such as, Minnesota Opera, Sonomento, One Voice Ensemble, and more. In 2016 he got his BA in Voice Performance at Luther College and in 2019 got his MM Opera Performance at the University of Minnesota.
Harry Gao, Visual Arts Teacher
Harry got his BA in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Chicago in 2016. He also has his MFA in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2020.
Sonia Greenfield, Creative Writing Teacher
Sonia is the author of two forthcoming collections of poetry, All Possible Histories (Riot in Your Throat, December 2022) and Helen of Troy is High AF (Harbor Editions, January 2023). She is the author of Letdown (white Pine Press, 2020), American Parable (Autumn House, 2018) and Boy with a Halo at the Southern Review, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in Minneapolis where she teaches at Normandale College, edits the Rise Up Review, and advocates for both neurodiversity and the decentering of the cis/het white hegemony.
Anna Hashizume, Vocal Arts Teacher
Anna is a Japanese-American singer/actor and voice teacher based in the Twin Cities. After receiving both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in vocal performance, she is equally comfortable on opera and musical theatre stages as wells as onscreen. She has performed with companies such as Theater Latte Da, Artistry Theater, Minnesota Opera, and Fargo-Moorhead Opera. On screen, she has worked for Best Buy, Target, Founder’s Brewing Co., and the Minnesota Lottery. Anna is also a two-time honoree of the Schubert Cub Scholarship Competition. Alongside performing, Anna is a passionate teacher. She is a teaching artist with both Theater Mu and Minnesota Opera. She runs her own private voice studio and co-coordinates the Prelude Program at the MacPhail Center for Music.
Alex Barreto Hathaway, Musical Theatre and Theatre Teacher
Alex Barreto Hathaway is a process-based artist and educator that leans into playfulness, theatrical clown, mask and physical theatre, clown again, and stories that celebrate the Latinx experience He earned his BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota with a thesis project exhibiting Mask, Puppetry, and Street Theatre practices studied in Pernambuco, Brazil. Since 2010, he has worked with theatre groups such as Open Eye, Exposed Brick, Red Bird, Theatre Forever, SteppingStone, as well as on tours throughout communities in the Midwest through the site-specific work of Sod House, TigerLion Arts, and The Department of Public Transformation. Additionally, he has devised, designed, and/or directed original pieces ranging from puppet operas (This Side of the Blue and Basement Creatures), to mask performances (The Legend of Diego and Escúchame), to ensemble-created multi-disciplinary installations (Awkward Love, Animus, and Fat Cat Falls). From 2016-2020, he designed and led arts-based learning for international English-learners at Roosevelt Highschool and then Highland Park High School. Barreto Hathaway was selected for an Artist in Residency program where he and participants from towns across the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate region dreamed-up and presented a month-long festival exhibiting art, music, photography, and puppetry created from local interviews recorded in 2020. In the same year, he and his partner became first-time parents to a hilarious kid named Ray.
Franco Holder, Musical Theatre Teacher
Franco Holder hails from Indiana and has worked for many years as freelance musician in the Twin Cities. Franco has performed with the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra and at such venues as the Schubert Club, Baroque Room, and Nimbus Theater. He holds a B.M. degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University, as well as a degree in Religious Studies from Iowa State University. Franco is a piano/music teacher at Hopewell Music Cooperative North, an organization committed to empowering community and enriching lives through accessible high quality music education. Franco loves helping students reach their potential through music and has taught piano for more than twenty years. He is an active member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association.
Joseph James, Dance Teacher
Joseph got his start in dancing through musical theater in high school as a Sophomore. He moved to social styles such as Latin and Swing, and from there found Breaking and got connected with the Funkstyles scene. Over the years, he has represented 4got10 Elementz, where he got his start, as well as YML (Yesterday’s Missing Life), and ALL DAY. Joseph has performed in places such as the Guthrie, Ordway, State Fair, doing shows like ROOTED and Being Brothas, Sistah Solo, and in productions at Main Street Theatre. Likewise, he choreographed “High School Musical” for Morris Park Players, and has taught at Moore than Dance and House of Dance Twin Cities studios and often serves as an adjudicator at dance competitions.
Judith James Ries, Musical Theatre Department Co-Chair, Dance Teacher
Judith spent eleven years performing and touring nationally with JAZZDANCE! by Danny Buraczeski as soloist, principal dancer and company member, and has been seen onstage at the Joyce Theater, NY, The Kennedy Center, Washington DC, as well as the O’ Shaugnessy Auditorium, St, Paul and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She has taught jazz dance and other jazz centered classes at Hamline University, Concordia University and Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Additionally, she has been a guest instructor at the University of Minnesota, Macalester College and Gustavus Adolphus College. As a choreographer, her work has been produced by Zenon Dance Company, Hamline University Dance Ensemble, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Park Square Theater, and the Phipps Center for the Arts. Judith also works administratively at SPCPA supporting the Arts and Academic faculty.
Michael Kleber-Diggs, Creative Writing Department Chair
Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things, won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize and will be published by Milkweed Editions in June of this year. Among other places, Michael’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Great River Review, Water~Stone Review, Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, Poetry Northwest, Potomac Review, Hunger Mountain, Memorious, and a few anthologies. Michael is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and the former Poet Laureate of Anoka County libraries. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net and has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Michael is married to Karen Kleber-Diggs, a tropical horticulturist and orchid specialist. Karen and Michael have a daughter who is pursuing a BFA in Dance Performance at SUNY Purchase.
Laura Levinson, Substitute Teacher
Laura Levinson (they/them), who also goes by Or אור, is a performing artist, arts organizer, and healer who feels most at home in motion. They call on the magic of queer Jewish diaspora to remind us that love in transit still has its roots in the earth. We belong to the land – ani l’dodi v’dodi li. For the past year, they served as Managing Artistic Director for Don’t You Feel It Too?, a public movement project transforming peoples’ relationships to body, land, and history through immersive art experiences. Or’s past workshops and performance projects have included “DUMPSTER FIRE: An Evening of Queer and Trans Performance” at Franconia Sculpture Park; “DOIKAYT: a performance-ritual of the diaspora” at Minnehaha Creek; and “Swimming Home,” co-created with Leila Awadallah and following the threads of diaspora, ancestry, body-as-homeland, and river water as divine anticolonial/borderless guide. Or’s ongoing class, “Gut, Bones, Ground,” brings together deep body awareness, bone- and land-stories, and herbal wisdom. It’s a space for dancers to play, listen, and let the conversation between our bodies and the land come forward through movement!
Jennifer Manthey, Creative Writing Teacher
Jennifer has a book of poetry forthcoming in 2023, “The Fight” Trio House Press. She also has journal publications that include, Best New Poets, Prairie Schooner, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Calyx Journal, Tinderbox Poetry, and Crab Orchard Review. Jennifer Has her BA from the University of Minnesota and Her MFA from Hamline University.
Suzy Messerole, Theatre
Suzy is a freelance director that has been working in the Twin Cities for the past 15 years, as well as the co-Artistic Director of Exposed Brick Theatre. Her artistic passion is directing new work. At the History Theatre, she has directed the world premieres of Jeany Park’s 100 Men’s Wife, Kevin Kling’s A Tale of Twin Cities and Aamera Siddiqui’s American as Curry Pie, which she co-directed with Meena Natarajan. Other favorite projects include Stacey Parshall’s Shipside for Exposed Brick and Allison Moore’s Split for the University of MN/Guthrie Theatre BFA program. Suzy is a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant, through which she wrote Venus Nefanda, and a Jerome Foundation Naked Stages Performing Arts fellowship, through which she co-created Draw Two Circles with frequent collaborator Aamera Siddiqui. She has performed at the 2006 Women Playwrights International Conference in Indonesia, the 2008 Asian American Theatre Conference Showcase in Minneapolis, and the 2009 WPI Conference in India. She directed the 2011 production of Four Destinies for Mu Performing Arts.
Laura Osterhaus, Dance Department Co-Chair
Laura Osterhaus Rosenstone is a dance educator at SPCPA. She teaches Contemporary/Modern Dance and Jazz Dance from an improvisational lens. She received her BA in Dance from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and her MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College in Massachusetts. Laura was a company member of Zenon Dance Company from 2016-2019 and is the artistic director of Slo Dance Company. She has taught dance at various schools throughout the Twin Cities, including, SPCPA, Spring Lake Park High School, the Performing Institute of Minnesota, and Zenon Dance School. Her work has been featured in the Candy Box Dance Festival, and she is a recipient of a 2023 Paid Partnership with the Southern Theater. Laura currently dances for two East Coast-based dance organizations: Kia the Key & Company (Hip-Hop, club & street styles) and Vanessa Anspaugh (postmodern/improvisational).
Alonzo Pantoja, Visual Arts Teacher
Alonzo is an artist and educator. He earned his MFA in Fiber and Installation from MCAD and BFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has participated in solo and group show in spaces such as: Arrowmont Galley (TN), Yours Truly (WI), Minneapolis Institute of Art (MN), Nemeth Art Center (MN), and Textile Center (MN) to name a few. Previously, he was a resident at Ox-Bow School of Art, a fellow at Arrowmont School of Arts, and a nominee for the Dedalus Foundation MFA Fellowship in painting and sculpture. He currently lives in Minneapolis, MN where he teaches at Augsburg University, MCAD and Textile Center.
Aaron Preusse, Theatre Teacher
Aaron received honors of Advanced Gold with Recommendation from the British Academy of Dramatic Combat and is also an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. In addition to performing locally and regionally, Aaron has created fights for The Mammals Theater Company, UW Marathon County, Eat Street Players, Lyric Arts Company of Anoka, Concordia University of St Paul and Visitation School/VISTA Productions. He has worked on the film Profile of Killer where he was both Stunt Coordinator and Stunt Double. Aaron was also a precision stunt driver for the movie Thin Ice. Aaron is a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Sara Robinson, Musical Theatre Department Co-Chair
Sara is an actor, singer, and vocal coach recently relocated to the Twin Cities following a faculty appointment at Arizona State University. With a belief in uniting the performer’s voice, body, and mind, Ms. Schwabe teaches from a variety of disciplines. She has trained with SITI Company, Peter Sellars, David Barker, Rachel Bowditch, Bonnie Eckard, Micha Espinosa, and Joan Melton. As an actor, Ms. Schwabe has worked throughout the Southeast and Arizona. She was a resident artist with the Actors Co-op (Knoxville, TN) from 1998 – 2008. She is also the co-founder of the Global Cabaret interactive performance events, and is the leader of Sara Schwabe & Her Yankee Jass Band. Ms. Schwabe was a featured speaker at the VASTA voice conference in Mexico City 2010 and the recipient of the Meritorious Achievement in Acting award from the Kennedy Center in 2011. Ms. Schwabe is a member of VASTA, NATS, and Phi Kappa Phi. She received an MFA in Performance (Acting) from Arizona State University and holds a BA in Vocal Performance from the College of St. Benedict.
Djenane Saint Juste, Dance Teacher
A native of Haiti, Djenane is the Artistic Director of Afoutayi Haitian Dance, Music and Arts Company. She is a professional choreographer, dancer, actress and vocalist specializing in Haitian traditional dance and folklore. Djenane has also been trained in Ballet, Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz and Ballroom at the Institut de Danse JAKA, Institut de Dance Vivianne Gauthier, and Artcho Dance Company in Haiti. She is the creator and instigator of the Annual Haitian Cultural Festival, and has brought exciting new themes and activities to engage participants in Haitian culture since the first Haitian Festival in 2009. Djenane has dedicated herself to the research, development and promotion of traditional Haitian dance, song and storytelling. She is an artist in residence at Hamline University, Coppin University and St. Olaf University. Djenane’s work towards the preservation of Haitian culture has been documented in works such as “Making Caribbean Dance” by Susanna Sloat, as well as “Lavil: Life, Love, and Death in Port-au-Prince (Voice of Witness)” by Peter Orner, Evan Lyon, and Edwidge Danticat. She published her first children book “The Mermaid and The Whale” in Fall 2020.
Mike Salow, Instrumental Music Teacher
Mike Salow is a multifaceted guitarist with over 20 years of playing experience. He graduated with honors from McNally Smith College of Music receiving a B.M. in guitar performance with a music business minor. After graduating in 2012, Mike was asked back to McNally Smith to join the guitar department as a teacher where he taught for the next 4 ½ years. Outside of teaching Mike has worked with various fusion, funk, jazz, hip-hop, blues, metal, pop, country, and rock bands. Currently Mike gigs throughout the Twin Cities with several groups, most notably with Minneapolis based rock band, Chester Bay. After joining Chester Bay in September of 2009, Chester Bay toured throughout the upper Midwest, was featured in Rolling Stone magazine, and also opened for national acts such as Candlebox, Los Lobos, Fitz and the Tantrums, and The Avett Brothers. Aside from Chester Bay, Mike acts as composer, guitarist, and producer of Twin Cities Progressive Metal band, Ideology. The band released their debut album in Fall of 2016 and is a project founded by Mike and Five Finger Death Punch drummer, Charlie Engen. Besides having taught at McNally Smith College of Music, Mike is also founder/teacher of Lessons With Mike LLC and Ideal Music Lessons. Two companies that are one in the same and specialize in providing in-home music lessons throughout the Twin Cities. You can also find Mike teaching online for InfiniteGuitar.com where his main lesson focus is on advanced jazz/fusion playing.
Ariane Sandford, Creative Writing Teacher
Ariane Sandford received her BA in Theatre Arts from St Olaf College 2002, an MA in English from Iowa State University in 2007, an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University in 2017, and is currently pursuing her MAT for English grades 6-12 at Hamline University. She has been a Dramaturg at the Guthrie Theater, worked at Milkweed Editions, published in Painted Bride Quarterly and Booth Magazine, among others, and has been selected to be mentee in the Loft Literary Center’s mentorship program.
Sam Stokley, Creative Writing Teacher
Sam Stokley is a disabled artist and educator from Peoria, IL living in Minneapolis. Since receiving his MFA from Hamline University, Sam has taught and mentored with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and at The Loft Literary Center, as well as served on numerous MRAC grant panels. Sam’s writing across genres is housed, among elsewhere, in Water~House Review, Barrelhouse, Arkansas International, Puerto del Sol, Fairy Tale Review, and Poetry City. His chapbook manuscript, Dystrophies, is a two time finalist (BOAAT Press, Driftwood Press) and was recently longlisted by Frontier Poetry. A Tin House Winter Workshop alum, Sam’s essay “How to Discuss Race as a White Person” was anthologized in Brevity Magazine’s Best of Brevity, released in 2020 (Rose Metal Press). Sam was born with and lives with Epidermolysis Bullosa.
Darrius Strong, Dance Teacher
Darrius Strong is a Twin Cities based choreographer, dancer, and educator whose creative work has been chosen for Rhythmically Speaking and the Walker Art Center’s Choreographer’s Evening. He was featured in The New Griots Festival in 2015, as well as an American Standard billboard advertisement in NYC Time Square in 2016. He was also a 2017 Momentum New Works recipient. Strong has created works for Threads Dance Project, Flying Foot Forum, Alternative Motion Projects, and James Sewell Ballet. Recently, he was selected as a recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship. Strong developed his own dance company STRONGmovement in 2015. He is also a faculty member at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, TU Dance Center and Eleve Performing Arts Center, where he teaches how to connect their identity to movement. Strong is also a company member of Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater. Learn more at strong-movement.com.
Momoko Tanno, Vocal Arts Teacher
Momoko is a versatile singer/actor/educator, who has been actively performing in the Twin Cities, nationally, and abroad. She has Performed at the Guthrie, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Park Square Theater, Theater Mu, Mixed Precipitations and more. Her repertoire ranges from Baroque, Opera, Oratorio, Art Songs, Musical Theater, Folk Songs, Pop, Jazz, Rock and Spoken Word. She is a recipient of the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant FY2013, FY2019, Community Cultural Partnership Grant FY2015, CAAL (Coalition for Asian American Leaders) MOVEE (Making Our Voices Effective for Equity) cohort of 2021. She has also taught voice privately since 2000, at SPCPA in 2006-2007, MacPhail Center for Music for 13 years, University of Wisconsin River Falls, and K & S Conservatory for Music since 2022. Momoko got her BA at Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan. She also got her MM at the University of Minnesota as well as studies Melodies Francaise with Camille Maurane, in Paris, and Bel Canto with Elizabeth Mannion in Saint Paul.
Joseph Tran, Dance Teacher
Joseph “MN Joe” Tran is a professional breaker of 14 years. He is known for his unique dynamic power moves which have helped him secure 1st place titles in Italy, France, the Netherlands, California, Washington and Minnesota. A recent graduate at The Meta Institute and a certified NLP Practitioner and Therapeutic Coach©, MN Joe hopes to use his experience as a dancer and coach to assist others in achieving their excellence.
Brooks Turner, Visual Art Department Chair
Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator. His recent work engages the history of fascism in Minnesota and has been supported through a 2020 Artist Residency in the Weisman’s Collaboration Incubator, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, a Minnesota Humanities Center Innovation Lab Grant, and a Rimon: Minnesota Jewish Arts Council Project Support Grant. His work has been exhibited nationally, with upcoming exhibitions at the Weisman Art Museum and St. Cloud State University. Since 2014, he has taught sculpture, drawing, and painting at the University of California, Los Angeles, St. Cloud State University, and Ridgewater College. In 2017, he wrote A Guide to Charles Ray Sleeping Mime, published with Paperleaf Press, and continues to write essays for Hair and Nails Gallery and Temp/reviews.
Michael Vasich, Instrumental Music Department Chair
Michael is part of the Orange Mighty Trio where he did a National Touring Group. His music was also used in many independent films and shows. Including, “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix. He is also a Music Director at First Unitarian Society. He went to Macalester College where he got his BA in Music. He also attended the University of St. Thomas where he got his MA in Teaching and K-12 Licensure in Inst. and Classroom Music.