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Meet the Dance Staff

Esther Katz, JCC Director of Cultural Arts
Esther 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. She is currently dancing with UNO’s The Moving Company and Tbd. Dance Collective. Esther taught in the OPS Special Ed. Program before starting as the Dance Director at the J in 2006. This is her 13th year teaching at the JCC.

Jessica Westerlin, Assistant Dance & Cultural Arts Director
Jessica 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 and Tbd. Dance Collective. This is her 9th year teaching, and her 5th year as the Assistant Cultural Arts Director.

Erin Alarcon, Dance Instructor
Erin Alarcon is beginning her 4th year teaching at the JCC. Erin graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in dance performance from Mercyhurst University under the direction of Tauna Hunter.

Courtney Baker, Dance Instructor
Courtney Baker has been teaching at the JCC for 10 years. She graduated from UNO with a degree in Music Education.

Crystal Baker, Dance Instructor
Crystal Baker begins her 7th year as an instructor at the JCC. She holds a degree in Exercise Science and is on the NAIA Emerging Sports: Cheer & Dance Committee.

Dommanic Brown, Dance Instructor
Domanic Brown is beginning his 4th year as an instructor at the JCC.

Leigh Chaves, Dance Instructor
Leigh Chaves is beginning her 3rd year as an instructor at the JCC. She holds her BA in communication-journalism from Truman State University and a Master’s Degree in education from University of Central Missouri.

Wendy Larson-Cooper, Dance Instructor
Wendy Larson-Cooper former principal dancer with Omaha Ballet, she is beginning her 32nd year on staff at the JCC.

Katie van der Mars, Dance Instructor
Katie van der Mars holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in Ballet Performance from the University of Utah. This will be her 4th year at the JCC.

Erica Snyder Masters, Dance Instructor
Erica Snyder Masters is beginning her 6th year teaching at the JCC. She graduated from Lake Erie College with a concentration on Dance.

Lynne Nevin, Dance Instructor
Lynne Nevin holds an Associate Diploma through the ISTD Professional Teaching Examinations and has studied the Alexander Technique. She resumed teaching here at the JCC 9 years ago.

Jonnie Robinson, Dance Instructor
Jonnie Robinson is beginning her 2nd year as an instructor at the JCC. Jonnie was born and raised in Omaha and has danced since the age of 2. Previously Jonnie taught ballet, tap and jazz for children at Mildred Collins School of Dance.

Stephanie Tepox, Dance Instructor
Stephanie Tepox, is beginning her 5th year teaching here at the JCC. She studied at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, training and performing with the company for 11 years.

Katerina Schweitzer, Dance Instructor
Katerina Schweitzer is excited to begin her first year teaching ballet at the JCC. She graduated from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet and has Associate of Arts degree with Indian River State College. 


Kat Ehlinger, Dance Instructor
Kat graduated from Störling Dance Theater’s Artist Development Program where she trained under influential master teachers Mona Enna, Tobin James, and Suzanne Ryan Strati. This is her first year teaching at the JCC.


Alyssa Hansen, Dance Instructor
For 13 years, Alyssa has danced in a studio here in Omaha. Once she reached high school, she joined dance team, where she was a captain for two years. She also joined Omaha South High School’s dance program and became a member of La Fuerza dance company for 3 years. She plans on continuing dancing throughout college with the hopes of dancing with UNO’s The Moving Company and Omaha Beef’s dance team.  This is her first year at the JCC.

Margaret Currie
, Pianist
has accompanied dance classes at the JCC from 1991-1995 and resumed in 2012. She has also accompanied at the Omaha Academy of Ballet , School of Ballet Omaha, Daniel J. Gross High School and Brownell-Talbot. She holds a B.S. degree in Bible/Music from Faith Baptist Bible College and was a private piano teacher for 24 years.

Kathleen Griffith, Pianist
is a full-time accompanist with Omaha Public Schools. In addition to teaching piano lessons, she regularly plays piano at area churches as well as with the JCC dance program, and volunteers her time as a board member of the Omaha Chamber Music Society. This is her 2nd year with the JCC.

Evelyn Lindgren, Pianist

Evelyn Lindgren is excited to begin her 3rd year as an accompanist at the JCC.

Bernadette Smith, Pianist
Bernadette Smith has been an accompanist here for 11 years. She has a BA & MA in English, with double major in Music from UNO.

Katherine Turner, Pianist
Katherine Turner, holds a Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and is also a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Nebraska in Omaha. In fall 2015, Katherine joined the music faculty at the College of Saint Mary and works for the Rose Theater as pianist. This is her 10th year at the J.

Anna Yuz-Mosenkis, Pianist
Anna Yuz-Mosenkis holds a masters degree in Music from Kiev, Ukraine. She has played for the JCC since the Fall of 1991.