Instructors & Staff

Artistic Staff

Instructors: Access Remote Time Clock HERE.

Eryn Michlitsch – Artistic Director

Children’s Division Ballet, Youth Division Ballet, Pre-Professional Division Ballet and Pointe

Eryn began her 30 years of dance experience with Kay Englert, at Washington Contemporary Ballet in Tacoma, WA. She has been accepted to many professional summer programs: Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), San Francisco Ballet (SFB), Kirov Ballet Academy, North Carolina School of the Arts, Houston Ballet Academy, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Pennsylvania Rock School of Ballet.  Eryn attended PNB, SFB and NCSA and was asked to stay on at PNB and NCSA. She has had the opportunity to study under prestigious names like: Melissa Hayden, Flemming Halby, Patricia Barker, Frank Bays, Dale Merrill and Sara de Luis. Her performance opportunities include original works by Kay Englert, Dale Merril and Sara de Luis.  Academically, Eryn received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Marketing from Bethany Lutheran College. Her instruction places a large emphasis on the history, terminology, and structure of classical ballet.

Riley Thomas Weber – Ballet Master

Youth Division Ballet, Pre-Professional Division Ballet, Pointe

Born in North Dakota, Riley received his training under Marnee Brant and at Trollwood Performing Arts School. Professionally, Riley danced as a soloist with Ballet Minnesota, Cities Classical Dance Ensemble, Saint Paul City Ballet, Continental Ballet and Collide Theatrical Dance Company. His classical repertoire included Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Esmeralda, Raymonda and numerous contemporary works. He is currently on faculty at Larkin Dance Studio and is a certified group fitness instructor for Life Time. He holds his degrees in Dance and Music from The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Riley is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Kelsey Chester – Assistant Director

Children’s Division, Youth Division, and Pre-Professional Tap and Jazz

Kelsey has been dancing since she was three-years-old. Her training started with Dance Conservatory of Southern Minnesota, in Mankato. Kelsey has eleven years of teaching experience beginning with the Dance Conservatory of Southern Minnesota, and currently the Mankato Ballet Company. Her 25 years of dance experience has given her a strong background in Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Modern. Kelsey attended Minnesota State University, Mankato where she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a Minor in Dance. While there she participated in MSU Theater and Dance’s 2009 Spring Collection and the 2009 Fall Collection Dancing Communities. She also staged the production of Little Shop of Horrors for Merely Players.  Kelsey is extremely excited to share her love of dance with Mankato Ballet Company.

Wendy Betters – Brand Manager

Children’s Division Ballet, Youth Division Ballet

Wendy’s dance experience began when she was 3 years old at Larkin Dance Studio learning tap, jazz and ballet. Her love for ballet grew and at the age of 13 she moved on to continue her training with Classical Ballet Academy (CBA), under the direction of Andrew and Cheryl Rist. She danced their repertoire including The Classic Nutcracker with roles in Snow, Flowers, Russian and Party Scene, Giselle, and At The Museum. After graduating in 1997 Wendy went on to study Art at the University of Minnesota, Duluth and was a dance minor under Doris Ressl. In the spring of 1999, her first choreographic work debut called Welcome to Heaven, in the Collaborative Spirits in Motion, Duluth, MN. Academically, Wendy has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the College of Visual Arts, St. Paul, MN.

Lori Holmes

Children’s Division Ballet, Youth Division Ballet

Originally from California, Lori started her dance training at a young age with Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts. She became a member of the company and had the opportunity to perform all over California and Nevada. While in Los Angeles, Lori taught private ballet lessons to many of the stars’ children and ran the children’s ballet division at the studio. With 25 years of dance experience in ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical she has choreographed many musical theatre shows including Westside Story and Grease. She moved to Mankato, MN with her husband and three children in 2015 and her love for ballet brought her to Mankato Ballet Company.

Maria Boscaino

Pre-Professional Division Ballet, Progressive Ballet Technique

Maria is from New York City where she trained as a ballet dancer. She has felt particularly inspired by Robert Christoper and Maestro Vincenzo Celli, who she trained from. Maria herself began teaching in 1990 and has taught ballet and modern to children and adults in New York City. She now resides in the Minneapolis area where she teaches. Maria is a certified instructor for Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) and has been teaching PBT classes for 3 years. She was the artistic director, choreographer, dancer and founder of the American Heritage Dance Company. Her work has been favorably reviewed and recommended by the New York Times, the New York Daily News and Attitude Magazine. Her students have gone on to study and/or work at a variety of places such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Minnesota Ballet and the University of Minnesota. Maria is very excited and proud to be teaching for the Mankato Ballet.

Benjamin Johnson

Pre-Professional Division Ballet
Benjamin Johnson is trained in Texas by Tanju and Patricia Tuzer, Mr. Johnson danced professionally with James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis, Milwaukee Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, Dayton Ballet, Ohio Ballet and Tampa’s Bay Ballet Theater, as well as with opera companies in Ohio and Illinois.  He has danced on stages in a majority of the states in the continental United States, as well as in Bermuda, Iceland, Taiwan, Jordan, Spain, and Germany.  He has taught ballet for over two decades, and taught sessions with Mankato Ballet School since 2010.  He is a choreographer, juggling teacher, and Massage Therapist.  His wife is a professional cellist, and they live with two children and two cats.  He also plays and collects board games.

Megan Marcy-Strelow

Modern Instructor

Ms. Megan, native of Anoka, MN started dancing at a young age at Stage Door for Performing arts in Coon Rapids, MN. Ms. Megan also attended Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artist focusing in Modern dance and Musical Theatre. At SPCPA she had the opportunity to work with many working artist in both theatre and dance. In 2012 she move to Mankato, MN to peruse her undergraduate degree in k-12 Dance and Secondary Social Studies Education. In her time at MNSU- Mankato she has traveled all over the Midwest attending the American College Dance Association conference every year, taking classes and workshops from dancers and choreographers from across the country. She has worked with Zenon Dance Company, Stewart Pimsler Dance Theatre, Shapiro and Smith Dance Company. Ms. Megan looks forward to working with all of the amazing and talented student at Mankato Ballet .

Hannah Sayler

Children and Youth Division Ballet, Jazz and Tap

Hannah is a Junior at Minnesota State University Mankato and is pursuing her BFA in Acting and a minor in English. She has been dancing since she was two years old. In the years since her start, she has been on two different performance companies and has taken dance lessons from seven different studios. Hannah has five years of dance teaching experience, primarily teaching tap and ballet. She has choreographed professionally for two theatre companies in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which is where she lived before attending school in Mankato. She had also lived in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Jersey.

Anastasia Johnston

Children’s Division Jazz and Tap

Anastasia has been dancing for 15 years studying ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, acro, and musical theater. She is a freshman at Minnesota State University Mankato pursuing a major in exercise science and minor in dance. She has taken classes from The Dance Lab, as well as multiple intensives and Rochester Dance Company. She has won awards through multiple dance competitions and performed on television for The Eagles Cancer Telethon since 2015. Anastasia has taught dance for four years and is excited to get to work with the students at Mankato Ballet Company. 

Rebekah Hartwig

Children’s Division Ballet

Rebekah received most of her 13 years of ballet training at Mankato Ballet Company, where she graduated in 2019. During her time training at MBC she was accepted into summer programs with the Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Arizona, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Austin. Rebekah enjoyed dancing in many performances at MBC during the years of 2011-2019. Some of her favorite roles are The Nutcracker’s Dewdrop and Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as Sleeping Beauty’s Lilac Fairy. This is her first year teaching ballet, and she’s very excited to share her passion for expression and movement with young dancers.

Student Teacher Staff

Elise Miller

Children’s Division Jazz

Elise is a Junior at West Mankato High School.  She is currently a Soloist with the Mankato Ballet Preforming Company and has been dancing for 13 years. Elise loves all styles of dance but trains in Ballet, Tap and Jazz at MBC.  She joined the Performing Company and being a teacher’s assistant at age 11 and has performed in the roles of Clara and Marzipan in The Nutcracker.  This has grown her love of instruction and she looks forward to being a Student Teacher where she can educate and have fun teaching her students.

Chloe Michels

Children’s Division Jazz

Chloe Michels began her dance training at the Mankato Ballet Company at the age of three and has furthered her training with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Kansas City Ballet. Chloe is going into her junior year at Mankato West High School while also taking PSEO classes at Minnesota State University – Mankato. She is currently a soloist in the Mankato Ballet Performing Company, going into her fifth year as a part of the company. In her time at MBC Chloe has trained in pointe, ballet technique, jazz, modern and tap; She has performed the soloist roles of Teacake Lead and Harlequin Doll in The Nutcracker. Chloe has been a teacher’s assistant with MBC since the age of eleven and can’t wait to begin teaching pre-jazz this fall! Chloe will be spending her summer training in ballet, pointe, contortion, and aerial with Quixotic Fusion, a professional dance company based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Elodie DeVos

Children’s Division Ballet
Elodie is a senior this year at Saint Peter High school. This will be her 13th year dancing at Mankato Ballet Company and 5th year in the Performing Company. She has enjoyed training at different professional summer intensives including Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, BalletMet, and The Rock School for Dance Education.  At MBC, Elodie takes classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern.  Elodie is very excited to be a student teacher this year!

Lilyanna Le-Luong

Youth Division Jazz

Lily is a senior at Mankato East High School. She is currently a Soloist in the Mankato Ballet Performing Company. Lily trains in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap and has been a teacher’s assistant for four years. She plans to major in Biology and hopes to continue dance in college. Lily is very excited to share her passion for dance with younger dancers!

Ava Sulzle

Children’s Division Ballet

This year will be Ava’s ninth year dancing with the Mankato Ballet Company. She has been part of the Performing Company during which time she performed roles such as Arabian Demi and Flower Corp in The Nutcracker. She is now focusing on tap and jazz, but enjoys using her former training to teach ballet. Ava will be starting her senior year of high school this fall and along with being homeschooled will also be taking PSEO classes at Bethany Lutheran College. She is looking forward to pursuing her dreams of becoming a private pilot and is very excited to spend her last year at MBC teaching the younger dancers!

Support Staff

Emilia Smith

Office Coordinator

Emilia Smith is a current Mankato State University student with a dance background. She looks forward to joining the MBC staff for the fall of 2021 and working to greet our MBC families in the office.

Lauren Shoemaker

Costume Mistress

Lauren has been involved in costume making for many years and was one of our volunteer seamstresses when her daughter dancers with MBC.  Lauren is a music instructor for Saint Peter Schools and is now hired officially as the MBC Costume Mistress.

Sophia Sulzle

Rehearsal Assistant
Sophia’s thirteen years of dance experience began at the Mankato Ballet Company when she was five years old. She graduated from MBC in May 2021 and is taking a year off to decide what she wants to do next! Although ballet is her first love, Sophia enjoyed participating in jazz and tap while she was at MBC as well. A few of Sophia’s favorite roles from past performances include Clara and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker; the female lead, Swanhilda in Coppelia; and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Sophia has been accepted to professional summer intensives at Kansas City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Royale, Gasper’s School of Dance in Fargo, and Ballet West’s Artemotion. She has attended Ballet Royale, Gasper’s School of Dance, Ballet Arizona, and Artemotion.