JCC Director of cultural arts
Esther Katz was trained at The Professional Children’s School in Philadelphia, PA. She has also studied at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Koresh Dance, University of the Arts, and Temple University where she was on a dance scholarship. Her ballet training includes both the Cecchetti & Vagonova methods. Her modern dance background is in Graham, Anthony, & Horton. Esther was a member of many independent dance companies in Philadelphia. She demonstrated for Philadanco company classes under Pat Thomas and taught ballet and modern dance at The Professional Children’s School for 7 years before moving to Omaha. Esther taught in the OPS Special Ed. Program before starting as the Dance Director at the JCC in 2006. This is her 8th year teaching at the JCC.
Courtney Baker has been teaching at the JCC for 5 years. She graduated from UNO with a degree in Music Education. As a member of the UNO Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Marching Mavericks, and other performing groups in the Omaha area, her background in music is extensive. Courtney was a student of the JCC dance program for 14 years and was a founding member of the JCC Dance Training Co. She has worked with the Omaha Dance Project.
Crystal Baker begins her 3rd year as an instructor at the JCC. Previously Crystal was a member of the Millard West Dance Team, an “NDA All American” dancer, and received awards at national competitions. She has choreographed for regional dance teams and currently is the Head Coach for cheer and dance at Midland University. She holds a degree in Exercise Science and is on the NAIA Emerging Sports: Cheer & Dance Committee.
Tamara Cook Cardin
Tamara Cook Cardin graduated from Webster University in St. Louis with a BFA in Dance. She has trained at several Dance Centers including the Giordano Dance Center, Ruth Page Dance Center, & Joel Hall Dance Center. She performed as a member of Webster Dance Theater, Central Dance Theater, The Moving Company & Dance Chicago. This is her 5th year at the JCC.
Tiffany Gray has been dancing and performing for most of her life. She has performed in musicals such as 42nd Street, The Music Man, and Camelot. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, and a former student of the JCC dance program. This is her 8th year teaching at the JCC, and her 3rd year as the Dance Assistant.
Wendy Larson-Cooper brings along with her teaching abilities, the unique understanding of a performing artist. She is a former principal dancer with the Omaha Ballet. She received her training in Omaha and on scholarship with the School of American Ballet & Harkness Ballet in New York. This is her 28th year on staff at the JCC.
Cheryl Lerner served as the director of the JCC Dance program from 1986–1993. Prior to the JCC, Cheryl was a dancer & teacher for the Omaha Ballet. She began her performing career with the Wisconsin Ballet & studied in California with Maria Vegh, & the Marin Ballet Company. She has also danced with the Houston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet & Ruth Page Foundation in Chicago.
Lynne Nevin began her dance training in Lincoln with Flavia Waters Champe & later in Omaha with Valerie Roche. She holds the Associate Diploma through the ISTD Professional Teaching Examinations and has studied the Alexander Technique. She teaches dance at UNL, OAB, The Artery, and is a teaching artist for Lincoln’s Arts Are Basic program. She resumed teaching here 4 years ago.
Jessica Reed received early dance training in Seattle. She continued with Ballet Omaha, the Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance and the JCC. Jess has a BA in Dance and has performed with the St. Olaf modern dance company, Companydance, the St. Olaf liturgical dance troupe, Leap of Faith, Omaha Dance Project, and the Omaha Theater Ballet’s The Nutcracker. She is currently dancing with UNO’s The Moving Company. This is her 4th year teaching at the JCC.
Bernadette Smith is an accompanist for JCC and OAB dance classes. Bernadette also teaches piano lessons, plays for music theatre shows, and directs The Fontenelle Piano Trio. She has been here for 6 years.
Katherine Turner is an Omaha native. Katherine is a piano student of Dr. James Johnson and is majoring in piano performance at UNO. She also teaches piano lessons and has been an accompanist here for 5 years.
Anna Yuz-Mosenkis holds a masters degree in Music from Kiev, Ukraine. She came to the United States with her family over 17 years ago. Anna enjoys teaching piano lessons as well as preforming. She has played for the JCC since the Fall of 1991.
Esther Wax started accompanying dance classes at the JCC over 28 years ago. She also has played for Omaha Ballet, OAB, and Creighton University. Esther loves working with the children in the dance classes. She has watched many of them grow from students to professionals.