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Introducing the Company
 

2023/2024 Company Dancers

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Hunter Batterson

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Sara Karimi

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Malia Craft

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Helena Magalhães

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Doug Hooker

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Shannon Mulcahy

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Lydia Kantor

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Betsy G. Nelson

Guest Artists

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Peter Hoffman

*Apprentice

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Brenda Nepsund

Jake Nehrbass

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Sarah Pieper

Brandyn Tapio

2023/2024 Company Members

 

Hunter Batterson 

Hunter Batterson 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 second season with Concerto Dance, and her first as a full company member.

Malia Craft 

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 has been a guest performer with Concerto since 2022 and is excited to be returning as a full company member!

 

Doug Hooker

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. Doug was a guest artist in Concerto's LookingBack/MovingForward and is excited to be entering his first full season as a company member. 

 

Lydia Kantor

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. In addition to her role as a company member, Lydia also serves as Assistant Rehearsal Director.  For her, dance is joy.

 

Sara Karimi 

 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 

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 

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 third season with Concerto Dance.

 

Betsy G. Nelson

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.

 

Guest Artists

 

Peter Hoffman - Guest Apprentice

Peter Hoffman is a Minnesota native who loves writing/producing music, singing, dancing and all-around performing. He began his dance training with Curio Dance & School in 2021. Peter has been trained in a variety of dance including African, ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, and tap. He particularly enjoys both jazz and contemporary. He performed in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy (2022) and Carmina Burana (2023). He has performed original works by Loyce Houlton, Lise Houlton, Kaitlyn Gilliland, Dario Mejia, and Giselle Mejia. Additionally he performed in the Broadway production of School of Rock with the Zephyr Theatre in 2022 and with Aspire Music Academy, Open Door Community Theatre, and Merrill Community Arts Center. Peter is a high school senior pursuing his Music Degree through PSEO classes at IHCC. Peter is excited for his first season as a Guest Apprentice with Concerto Dance.

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.

 

Jake Nehrbass - Guest Artist

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Jake has been studying and performing dance since the age of three and teaching since age 12. He received his BFA in Dance and  Kinesiology with expertise in tap, modern, jazz, hip hop, international and ballroom styles. He has an interest in physical therapy and yoga and works as a performing  artist, choreographer, and dance teacher in the Twin Cities area.  Currently, Jake is a company member of Black Label Movement, Ruby Josephine  Dance Theatre, and Rhythmically Speaking and has been (or continues to be) a guest artist for local projects with Concerto Dance, Contempo Physical Dance,  Arena Dances, Mixtape, Threads Dance Project, Flying Foot Forum, Katha Dance  Theatre, Eau Claire Dance, STRONGmovement, and performed in Stephan  Koplowitz’s Northfield Experience.  Jake also performed in Au, a Live at the Shed work created by Hatch Dance and  Honey Works.  In addition,  Jake is an instructor at Prairie School of Dance as well as Ballare Teatro Performing  Arts Center. 

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 - Returning 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. Brandyn made his debut with Concerto Dance in Looking Back/Moving Forward and is excited to be returning as a guest in the Ode to Opus Jazz cast this fall. 

 

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