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

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

Jazz and Tap Instructor

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.

Taylor Huber

Youth Division Ballet, Pre-Professional Division Ballet, Lyrical

Taylor Huber is a Minnesota native, trained with Classical Ballet Academy (CBA) from 1996 and graduated in 2001. She has received several scholarships to numerous ballet summer intensives such as; Dance Aspen with Jillana, Virginia School of the Arts, Milwaukee Ballet School and Boston Ballet School. Taylor went on to the University of Kansas and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, under dance scholarships. She was a Ballet Minnesota company member from 2001-07 dancing several soloist roles, and guest performed all over the Twin Cities metro and nationally. After retirement she became a notable teacher, guest teacher, and private coach with several schools all over the metro. Taylor is an American Ballet Theatre(R) Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT(R) National Training Curriculum. She is a certified Progressing Ballet Technique instructor and a certified Barre Burn instructor for Yoga Fresh in Woodbury.

Sophia Sulzle

Children’s Division Ballet
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. Sophia is excited to be back teaching and sharing her love of dance with her students!

Ashli Salokar

Jazz Instructor

Ashli began dancing at the age of five years old and received her training at Kaleidoscope Dance Studio in Lindstrom, Minnesota. Since 2017, Ashli has been teaching and choreographing for competitive jazz, lyrical, and hip-hop teams and soloists. In addition to her studio training, Ashli also competed with the Lakettes Dance Team for four years where she was a captain of the team. Ashli continues to compete in regional competitions as a jazz and contemporary soloist while also pursuing her love for teaching dance. She now resides in Mankato and is working towards her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Minnesota State University Mankato. Ashli looks forward to joining the MBC teaching staff and share her passion for jazz with the students.

Student Teacher Staff

Riley Jones

Children’s Division Jazz

Riley Jones is currently a Soloist with the Mankato Ballet Preforming Company. She has danced for over 9 years and been part of MBC’s Performing Company for 4 of those years, performing the Arabian Lead in the 2020 performance of The Nutcracker. Her skills are focused on Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. Riley looks forward to her final year as a Senior at Mankato West High School this fall and plans to find time for her many interest outside of dance including traveling and seeing the world.

Emily Frutos Krueger

Children’s Division Ballet and Jazz
Emily is a senior at Mankato East High school. This will be her 7th year dancing at Mankato Ballet Company. She has enjoyed training at different professional summer intensives including, Kansas City Ballet and Ballet Austin. Emily takes classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern and has been a teacher’s assistant for three years. She is currently a Soloist in the performing company. Some of her favorite roles include dancing as Clara in The Nutcracker and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. After High School she plans on attending college for dance, business, or dance administration. Emily is very excited to be teaching this year!

Ava Sulzle

Children’s Division Ballet

Ava has danced with the Mankato Ballet Company for eight years and was a part of the Mankato Ballet Performing Company for two of those years. In that time she performed roles such as Arabian Demi and Flower Corp in The Nutcracker. Ava will be a junior in the fall  and will take PSEO class at Bethany Lutheran College to complete her credits. Ava plans to put her past ballet training and work as a Teacher’s Assistant to use instructing her students this year at MBC and can’t wait to work with 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.