Introducing the Company
2022/2023 Company Dancers
Betsy G. Nelson
Hunter Batterson (Apprentice)
Hunter Batterson (she/her) is a dancer, performance artist, and arts administrator originally from Chicago, IL. She began her movement training with the Dance and Music Academy before transitioning into a pre-professional program at The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). At this time, Hunter also received additional instruction through the Kansas City Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensives. She then went on to pursue her B.F.A. in Dance and minor in History from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, graduating with high distinction in 2021. Here, she had the opportunity to create numerous original choreographies as well as perform in works by Andrea Miller (Gallim Dance), Vie Boheme, Chris Schlichting, Annie Hanauer, Joe Chvala, and Carl Flink. After graduation, she has worked with Borealis Dance Theatre, Javan Mngrezzo through Zenon Zone, Kendall Kramer, and Lily Conforti. Along with performing, Hunter also works in arts administration. She is currently the Youth + Outreach Coordinator for Zenon Dance School and the Creative Design Manager for ARENA DANCES. This is her first season as an apprentice with Concerto Dance.
Rush Benson (Guest Artist)
Rush Benson, born a few blocks from here, started his training with Ballet Arts & MDT, Ballet of the Dolls, and tapping with Keane Sense of rhythm. He then moved from SPCPA high school to Gustavus Adolphus College to major in theatre and dance. He has performed with Flying Foot Forum and Collide Theatrical, and has been seen on the Guthrie and Chanhassen Dinner Theatre stages, and most recently as Le Fou in Ordway’s Beauty & The Beast. This is his first performance with Concerto Dance. See Rush next week at the Cowles Center in Cabarve and Andy Mor: Glass Ceilings, or the following weeks as he returns to The Southern in Collide Theatrical’s world premiere of SKOL! a new jazz work with live music and an original pop rock score.
Rachel Bonkoungou (Company Member)
Rachel Bonkoungou holds a Bachelors of Arts in Dance from the University of Minnesota. She has danced professionally for Eclectic Edge Ensemble and as a freelance artist with various choreographers. Additionally, she has performed with Imagine Ballet Company in California and internationally in France, Senegal and China. Rachel is a founding member of Concerto Dance and serves as the Director of the Waconia Center for Dance Arts in Waconia, MN. When not dancing Rachel can be found with her 2 yr. old son Judah and is expecting baby #2!
Malia Craft (Returning Guest Artist)
Malia Craft is originally from Hartwell, Georgia and is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia, where she received a B.A. in dance, a minor in exercise and sports science, and a certificate in K-12 dance education. She has a strong passion for teaching as well as performing. Malia is a current company member with Threads Dance Project and made her first appearance with Concerto Dance in cast of Girls in the Band. She is excited to be a returning guest performer with Concerto!
Kaitlin Craven (Apprentice)
Kaitlin Craven is a Twin Cities-based dancer, yoga teacher, and arts administrator. A 2019 graduate from the University of Iowa, Kaitlin earned a BFA and Honors in Dance, Minor in Communication Studies, and Certificate in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship. Since moving to Minneapolis, she has performed for EMartin Dance, Walker Art Center, Art-A-Whirl, DanceBARN Festival, and Borealis Dance Theatre. Kaitlin is thrilled to join Concerto Dance as an apprentice this year!
Doug Hooker (Guest Artist)
Doug Hooker is a Minneapolis based dance artist, originally from Keizer, Oregon. Having graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.A. in Dance, he is very thankful to have had a wide variety of professional performing opportunities including dancing with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps, touring with the Broadway show Blast!, as well as independent projects throughout the Twin Cities. Doug has previously danced with: Dancing People Company in Ashland, Oregon under the direction of Robin Stiehm, Mathew Janczewski's ARENA DANCES, Threads Dance Project, Paula Mann, Erinn Liebhard's Rhythmically Speaking, Shapiro & Smith, Collide Theatrical, and the MN Opera. LookingBack/MovingForward is Doug’s first appearance with Concerto!
Lydia Kantor (Company Member)
Lydia Kantor received her dance training from Ballet Arts Minnesota, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and St. Olaf College. She has had the honor of performing with Jolene Konkel since 2016 and is a founding member of Concerto Dance. Additionally Lydia has performed locally with several other dance companies including Alternative Motion Project, Collide Theatrical Dance Company, Curio Dance, and Eclectic Edge Ensemble. Her performance experience expands into the theatre having performed in a production of Bye Bye Birdie as well as the Guthrie Theater's A Christmas Carol. For her, dance is joy.
Sara Karimi (Company Member)
Originally from Wisconsin, Sara graduated from The University of Iowa with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance. Upon graduation, Sara danced and toured with 10,000 Feet Dance Company, Kayle + Co. and The Architects before relocating to Minneapolis. Local performance credits include Borealis Dance Theatre, Alexandra Bodnarchuk, MN Opera, Dance & Other Behaviors, Rogue & Rabble Dance and Danceworks. She is a company member with Threads Dance Project and Rhythmically Speaking, and a founding company member of Concerto Dance
Helena Magalhães (Company Member)
Helena Magalhães has been a dancer for 21 years and is trained in a variety of techniques including ballet, modern, improvisation, jazz, and more. Since graduating from the University of Iowa with a BFA in Dance, she has worked with groups such as Flying Foot Forum and See-Saw Theatre Lab, and has been working with Jolene Konkel as a founding company member of Concerto Dance for the past four years.
Shannon Mulcahy (Company Member)
Shannon Mulcahy holds a BFA of Dance from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. During her undergrad, she trained under Toni Pierce-Sands, Carl Flink, Ananya Chatterjea, Erin Thompson and Joanie Smith. Her professional credits include Rhythmically Speaking, Contempo Physical Dance, and Erin Coyne Choreography. Shannon teaches at Ballare Teatro and Prairie School of Dance as well as youth master classes throughout the Twin Cities Metro area. Shannon is in her second year with Concerto Dance.
Betsy G. Nelson (Company Member)
Betsy (Gaasedelen) Nelson earned her BA in Dance and Exercise Science from St. Olaf College and is proud to be a founding member of Concerto Dance. Her performance credits also include Collide Theatrical Dance Company, Minnesota Opera, Curio Dance, Rhythmically Speaking, and more. Outside of performing, Betsy has enjoyed a decade as a dance teacher and is currently on staff at CREO Arts & Dance. She is also thoroughly enjoying a new adventure as a mom to an almost-1-year-old daughter! Whether teaching or performing, Betsy particularly enjoys jazz dance and the musical and expressive richness it offers.
Brenda Nepsund (Founding Company Member and Returning Guest Artist)
Brenda Nepsund graduated from MSU, Mankato with bachelor degrees in both dance and mass media in 2014. Since then, Brenda has performed with a variety of talented companies and artists including Concerto Dance, Zorongo Flamenco, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Borealis Dance, and LiRa Dance. When Brenda isn't performing, you can catch her teaching at Creo Arts & Dance Conservatory or spending time with her son, Emmett Leroy.
Sarah Pieper (Founding Company Member and Returning Guest Artist)
Sarah Pieper, holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point as well as Pilates Mat certification from Balanced Body. Her performance credits include Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Artistry Theater, and Alternative Motion Project. Sarah’s choreographic work has been performed by the University of Northwestern, North Central University, numerous high schools, Project Dance, and the YWAM School of Dance. Additionally, she has performed and taught dance in Mexico, Costa Rica, India, and China. Currently, Sarah is the Artistic Director at Celebrate Dance Academy where she has served since 2012, and she currently performs with Concerto Dance and Vivid Artistry Dance Co. Sarah would like to thank her husband for his constant support, and her son for filling life with constant wonder.
Brandyn Tapio (Guest Artist)
Brandyn Tapio is a 2014 graduate of the University of Northwestern, St. Paul where he studied theatre and dance and served as dance captain under the direction of Jolene Konkel. Post-graduation Brandyn has performed in several community theatre productions and professionally with the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and Flying Foot Forum, and has served as an assistant choreographer to Ms. Konkel in educational music theatre. In addition to his performance career, Brandyn works in the physical therapy field. Looking Back/Moving Forward is Brandyn’s debut with Concerto Dance.
Maddy Woodman (Company Member)
Maddy Woodman graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Dance in 2021. She is currently a company member with Threads Dance Project and Concerto Dance. In addition to performing, Maddy has a passion for education. She teaches youth dance and adult fitness at CREO Arts & Dance Conservatory and Intrepid Dance Company.