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Director: Susan Hovey is uniquely qualified to lead St. Croix Ballet into its next stage of growth and development. Susan began teaching at the studio in 2004 and has directed St. Croix Ballet's spring productions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia. From 1993-2003, she co-directed a ballet school in Kiel, Germany. Susan has a BFA in dance from Creighton University and has danced professionally with Jo Savino, David and Anna-Marie Holmes, Nevada Dance Theater, and Wuerzerburger Staatstheater in productions of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Coppelia, and Nutcracker. 

“There is something very special about the fact that Laura and Abbie, -- who are alumni of St. Croix Ballet -- have returned to their home studio to continue the studio’s great ballet and dance tradition”.
- Susan Hovey

Laura Daugherty: Laura Daugherty has been teaching for fifteen years and is excited to back at St. Croix Ballet! She is a former student of St. Croix Ballet in the early years and her later training was with the Kirov Academy, Harid Conservatory, North Carolina School of the Arts, Classical Ballet Ensemble, University of Utah, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. She has performed in such works as Western Symphony, Aida, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Cupid and Psyche, Romeo and Juliet, and The Golden Bough. Laura has completed five teacher training courses and enjoys the process of developing dancers' technique. 

Abbie Kaufenberg: Abbie is an alum of St. Croix Ballet. Having lost interest in dance at a competition studio, Abbie started taking character classes at St. Croix Ballet with Neka Tobak, she then fell in love with ballet and devoted her junior high and high school years to studying the art. She remained involved with St. Croix Ballet throughout her undergraduate years and began teaching regularly in 2009. Abbie received a Master’s in Teaching at Hamline University and is currently a high school French teacher at The St. Paul Conservatory for the Performance Arts, St. Paul. Her goal is to expose the children to ballet in a way that is cognitively and developmentally appropriate to their age while thinking of the long term goals of true mastery of the art.

Allegra Sweeney:  Allegra grew up at the St. Croix Ballet studios eventually preforming lead roles as Sugar Plum Fairy, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. As a Ballet Major (Minor in Cinema/Film Production) at the University of Iowa, she expanded her dance styles by training and performing in modern dance, contemporary ballet, musical theater, character dance, Gaga, and hip hop. She was chosen to be a part of the University of Iowa's Department of Dance Dancers in Company, the repertory dance company which toured throughout the Midwest performing live concerts and lecture demonstrations for audiences of of all ages. Allegra has taught both ballet and modern classes at St. Croix Ballet's Summer Intensive where she has choreographed original ballet and modern pieces which were performed at the studio's Summer Gala. She has also taught and choreographed modern dance at the Academy of Russian Ballet, Eden Prairie, MN.

Cherlyn Wichser, Pilates: With a background as an educator and a depth of training in Pilates, Cherlyn has devoted the last 15 years teaching individuals and groups how to use their bodies properly through Pilates mat classes and reformer training. Cherlyn's goal is to have students increase strength and flexibility while being mindful of past injuries and giving students the tools they need to avoid future injury.


Sonja Hoffland Hnderlie: St. Croix Ballet is excited and honored to welcome Sonja to the St. Croix Ballet teaching staff.  She is a highly respected teacher and leader in the Twin Cities ballet and dance community having managed and then directed St. Anthony School of Dance from 1986-2001, which then became St. Paul Ballet. 

Sonja has loved the joy of teaching dance for over 30 years and particularly enjoys teaching the youngest children. She is trained in the Leap and Learn program which incorporates all of the elements of authentic movement and dance techniques. Sonja is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater where she receive a degree in Elementary Education with minors in Music and Dance.

Associate Instructors:  Svitlana Poole and Savanna Beaurline serve as Associate Instructors sharing teaching responsibilities for various classes with lead teachers. Beloved by their dancers, Svitlana and Savanna have been trained in the St.Croix Ballet's Pre-Ballet program and curriculum and utilize the Vagonava syllabus, which is taught by all teachers at the studio. 


St. Croix Ballet has traditionally hosted Master Teachers throughout the year. Master Teachers have included:

Wilor Bluege: Guest teacher throughout school year
Svetlana Gavrilova: Summer Intensives
Kirill Bak: Summer Intensives
Neka Tobak: Character Dance
Maryann Johnson: Summer Intensive


Karla Sweeney
, Founder:  Karla Sweeney and her husband Brian founded St. Croix Ballet in 1991 in the basement of their Stillwater home. They built the program into one of the Twin Cities top ballet studios. After a gallant 15-year battle with late-stage breast cancer, Ms. Karla passed away on February 12, 2015. Karla graduated from the University of Utah with a BFA in Ballet. She danced with Ballet West and several regional companies in the Southwest, performing in the Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, and others. She then toured the United States and Mexico as the featured dancer with Disney on Parade Mary Poppins show, and then traveled to England and South Africa with other Disney productions. Karla has left a beautiful legacy of quality ballet and dance to the St. Croix Valley. 

Brian SweeneyFrom the studio's inception, Brian Sweeney has lent his business and non-profit expertise to help build and manage a successful ballet program here in the St. Croix Valley and continues to do so.

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