Lake Area Dance Center is a sincere company with a straightforward vision and mission. Lake Area Dance Center believes there is an amazing amount to be learned from each member of our instruction team. With this in mind, Lake Area Dance Center began to assemble its team when established in 2007. From there, the group has evolved and expanded to the dedicated members featured here.




Nicole Anderson

Miss Niki began dancing as a young child in recreational classes at Woodbury Dance Center in Woodbury, Minnesota. She continued to study tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, musical theater, hip hop and pointe through her decade of competitive dancing with Lake Area Dance Center. A graduate of the studio, a joyous lyrical dancer, and a passionate hip hop performer, Niki will be seen alongside veteran teachers instructing recreational dancers of all ages. She is eager to learn from her teaching peers, interact with young dancers, and continue her dance career. Outside of dancing, Niki will be attending Dakota County Technical College to become a Dental Assistant. She definitely has one of the most memorable smiles. And she gives the most sincere hugs!

Lauren Gross

Lauren began dancing at a young age in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and jazz. A graduate of Woodbury Dance Center, Lauren continued her dance studies, in addition to holistic studies, at University of Minnesota Twin Cities. As a college student, she assistant and instructed competitive dancers at Lake Area Dance Center. Soon thereafter, Lauren begin instructing and choreographing for Dance By Kris in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. She continues to instruct students at Dance By Kris year over year while instructing select soloists at Lake Area Dance Center. She looks forward to working with our competitive dancers. She enjoys teaching individuals not only improved technical skills and great performance quality, but also life lessons learned through the dance education process. Most recently, Lauren has formally established her custom costuming business, LTG Costumes. She's one high energy organized business owner and dance educator! Outside of dance, she enjoys time with her husband, Kyle, and her family and friends.

Risa Hilpisch

Among all Lake Area Dance Center instructors, Miss Risa has been with the studio the longest... SINCE SEASON 1 in 2007! Like all recreational class teachers, Risa dance throughout her childhood in tap, ballet, jazz and acrobatics with Dancing Star Studios (now known as White Bear Dance Center) in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. As a young adult, Risa instructed classes at Flips Gymnastics prior to making her way to Lake Area Dance Center. Risa shines teaching our youngest of recreational dancers from "Tiny Tots" and "Preschoolers" through elementary aged dancers in "Kindergarten", "1st/2nd Grade" and "3rd/5th Grade" combination classes. She understands how toddlers relish in the routine of our Creative Movement program and she identifies well our future competitive dancers in her combination classes. Risa balance the challenge new dance skills provide and the encouragement all young boys and girls need. Outside of dance, she parents her six children including a sophomore in the University of Iowa's Dance Program, a junior attending Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, and a graduating senior dancing at Lake Area Dance Center. She's one busy mom!

Madelyn Lee

Miss Madelyn is one of its most accomplished performers and instructors. Like other recreational instructors, Madelyn began dancing at a young age before joining Lake Area Dance Center's competitive dance program. An accomplished contemporary soloist and versatile dancer overall, Madelyn continues to perform professionally with Kaleena Miller Dance - a tap company within the Twin Cities. While Madelyn has experience teaching recreational dancers of all ages and styles, you find her teaching hip hop and tap classes this coming season. In addition to recreational class instruction, Madelyn may be found teaching virtually all teams of competitive dancers in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. She especially enjoys working one on one with dancers performing solo routines. She is no stranger to dancers earning high adjudications, overall placements, title awards, and special awards of achievement. Outside of dance, Madelyn may be found directing photo shoots and spending time with her kitties. She also engaged and planning a future wedding. Additionally, Madelyn has a younger sister, Jenna, who is seen as a competitive dancer at Lake Area Dance Center.

Faith Neppl

Miss Faith is an alum of Spotlight Productions Dance Studio in Eagan, Minnesota having studied many styles of dance. An accomplished lyrical, contemporary and jazz competition dancer, Faith now studies at University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She is an academic who will be graduating with her Bachelor's degree in 3 1/2 years this December 2019. Congratulations in advance on her major accomplishment! In addition to assisting the studio's elite teams, Faith choreographs small group, trio, duet and solo routines. Our dancers appreciate the dance style contract she is to the rest of competitive instruction staff. This fourth year of teaching, Faith will take on choreographing for some of our large groups. Lake Area Dance Center is excited! Faith is extremely drive as not simply a college student and dance choreographer, she also has worked as part of Masquerade Dance Competition backstage staff. 

Erika Risley

Miss Erika is virtually a lifetime studio of Lake Area Dance Center, having began with a variety of recreational classes in tap, lyrical, jazz and hip hop. As her passion for artistry and technique soared, Erika began dancing competitively first as a member of our Pom Company and later Teen and Senior Elite Companies. Graduating in 2018, Erika began as an assistant to both young combination classes for preschool and kindergarten ages as well as teenage students. This second year she is expanding her role both assistant more ages and leading classes as well. Erika is eager to inspire young dancers in the same vain her mentors have. And Erika is ready to share her creations as she moves into a greater leadership role. Outside of dance, Erika attends college locally and enjoys support her younger sister, Leah, as a competitive dancer.

Kendall Rutherford

Miss Kendall grew up dancing at Metro Dance Center, continuing to study dance and elementary education at the University of Iowa. She is proof dance pays as the University's Center for the Arts Scholarship Recipient! Kendall is an alumni member of Breaking Boundaries Dance Company too, a contemporary company directed by Twin Cities Deborah Johnson. By day, Kendall teaches Kindergarten at White Bear Lake's Matoska International School. At Lake Area Dance Center, Kendall is seen teaching ballet and pointe technique, along with its rich history, to our eldest teams. Kendall also works one on one with pointe dancers mastering variations from classical ballets. She looks forward to our Youth America Grand Prix competitors this season. Kendall serves as a wonderful explain in taking action if one believes in something, too! Outside of dance, Kendall is preparing for a summer wedding.

Grace Sjolander

Miss Grace is part of a tradition of graduating senior students choosing to try teaching young dancers as a capstone to their own studies. Others such as alum students Madelyn Lee, Cassie Koll, Claire Mork, and Katelynn Malmstedt have equally enjoyed and thrived in teaching as graduating seniors. Lucky for Lake Area Dance Center, Grace will be containing to teach a second year. Grace began dancing young at Eau Claire School of Dance prior to moving to the White Bear Lake area in her elementary school years. At Lake Area Dance Center, she competed nearly a decade in tap, lyrical, contemporary, jazz and musical theater along with studying ballet and pointe. Additionally, Grace is a graduate of Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists with an emphasis in musical theater. Outside of dance, Grace is an accomplished singer with recent performances at cabaret night events. She will be spending the year instructing in addition to auditioning for a variety of university theater programs. Grace looks forward to teaching elementary and middle school age recreational students in a variety of styles like tap, ballet, jazz and hip hop. Dancers will also find her assisting young toddlers and preschoolers, too. 

Cori Stupak

Miss Cori has served as a guest technique instructor our previous season and will do so on a permanent, weekly basis this year. Cori hopes to choreograph for multiple soloists this coming season as well. Cori was born and raised in California where she spent 10 years in a premier competitive studio in Northern California studying jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, and traditional African dance. After high school, Cori followed in her teacher's footsteps by attending California State University Sacramento as a dance major with a theater minor, all while being on the college's dance team and dance company. Since moving to the Twin Cities, Cori has worked with Minnesota Dance Collaborative as a Dance Manager and Core Choreographer, choreographed music videos for Grayson DeWolfe, taught countless intensives with studios in and around the Twin Cities, and has done choreography for competitive dancers. Outside of dance, you'll find her being super mom to her son!

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