Dance Faculty

    Keri Leemkuil – Kramer

    Dance Director and Owner

    Keri Leemkuil-Kramer Director and founder of the Hudson Dance Academy. Established in 2002 has grown from a handful of classes to the beautiful, inviting and enriching studio it is today. Keri has more than 33 years of experience as a dancer and 25 years of experience as a dance instructor specializing in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Lyrical. She received her early training at Siouxland Movement Arts and Dancing with Celeste in Sioux City, IA. Keri holds a BSBA in Marketing from Creighton University where she studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Modern under Mrs. Valerie Roche.

    She also has taken classes in New York and Chicago under choreographers Gus Giordano, Joe Tremaine, Liz Imperio, Frank Hatchet, Randy Ducan, Mia Michaels, Dave Scott, and Wade Robson. She continues her dance education through certification and attendance of regional and national master classes. Keri’s dancers and choreography has won numerous awards at regional and national competitions. Keri was awarded the outstanding performance award for having quality dancers and choreography in 2011. Keri has choreographed Grease, Guys and Dolls, The Secret Garden, Anything Goes, The Wizard of OZ and The Sound of Music for the St. Bernard’s Theater Department in St. Paul. Keri was also chosen to choreograph for the Miss Hudson Pageant in Hudson, WI. Keri has also judged “I Love Dance” competition and has been selected to teach the dance portion of the curriculum at Hudson Middle School for the last 5 years. Keri’s choreography has won many overall high scores and was selected for TOP TEACHER,OUTSTANDING STUDIO, and EXCELLENCE IN CHOREOGRAPHY Awards.

    When Keri is not busy at the studio she is at home with her husband Tim and their beautiful daughter Klover.

        Brenda Richardson

        Office Manager and Dance Faculty

        Brenda started dancing as a young girl at Pat Fletcher’s and then Helmer Dance Studio. Brenda, her husband and two daughters are longtime residents of River falls, WI . Brenda spent two years at Shoreline Dance teaching preschool combo, Beginning Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. She has continued her dance education through certification and attendance of regional and national master classes. She volunteers at our front desk helping dancers and parent, and is also one of our pre jazz, mini competition line, and preschool instructor. Brenda’s two daughters are part of our dance family, Brooklynn and Mackenzie are members of our Competition line. We are very blessed to have Mrs. Brenda as part of the H.D.A. family. Brenda has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from UW River Falls and certification in QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel/Word/Money.

            Beth Kirby

            Dance Faculty

            Beth Kirby began dancing at the age of 3 and has over 16 years of dance experience. She danced for Northern Force Dance Company and then proceeded to dance on the NDSU Hip Hop Team. She has studied under instructors from Juilliard as well as SYTYCD choreographer Mandy Moore. During her competitive years, Beth qualified for nationals in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Daytona Beach numerous times. She finished her senior year by taking 2nd overall at the 2011 Hall of Fame nationals with her large group tap number. Beth currently lives in River Falls with her husband Kyle and owns a small business in downtown Hudson.  Beth’s lyrical choreography has won many overall high scores and was awarded best choreography at Nationals and she was awarded TOP TEACHER.

                Lydia Bjorhus

                Dance Faculty

                Lydia Bjorhus began her dancing career at the age of 6. She studied at the Phipps Center of the Arts and at Larkin Dance Studio before starting at Hudson Dance Academy in 2002. She joined Hudson Dance Academy’s competition line and had multiple opportunities to perform at the National level in cities such as Orlando and New York City. She has experience in many dance styles including Tap, Ballet, Modern, Jazz & Hip-Hop. She has a deep love for tap and is inspired by dancers Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Gregory Hines & Savion Glover. Lydia has attended master classes and is certified through regional and national dance conventions from a variety of choreographers including, but not limited to, Mary Ann Lamb, Ryan Lohoff, and Stephen “Twitch” Boss. While attending University of Minnesota Duluth where she obtained a teaching degree, Lydia participated in Bare Bones Dance Concerts and was a part of the Attitudes Dance Association, performing in multiple shows. She is currently teaching tap, jazz, and preschool classes at Hudson Dance Academy, and is a full time mother of two. In addition to her dance career, Lydia is a professional photographer. Lydia’s choreography has won many awards and she was named TOP TEACHER at STARSYSTEMS.

                    Victoria Kelley

                    Dance Faculty

                    Victoria Kelley grew up in Hudson, WI. She started her dance training at The Phipps Center for the Arts. While there, she studied ballet, jazz and hip hop. Victoria danced with the Phipps Dance Company for two years while splitting  her time to her high school’s competition line and technique classes at the Phipps. She placed first at Nationals with her a lyrical piece and has performed in local shows and continued her dance education at MSU-Mankato. At MSU-Mankato, Victoria studied ballet, modern, jazz and improv. She went on to graduate from UWRF with a BFA in Psychology. Victoria recently moved back to Hudson with her husband and daughter, she is excited to be teaching hip hop and lyrical at HDA.

                        Karin Jarvise

                        Dance Faculty

                        Karin is originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin where she began her dance training at En
                        Avant School of Dance. She also danced at various other studios including Diamond
                        School of Dance, Minnesota Ballet, Ballet Arts Minnesota, and Minnesota Dance
                        Theater. Karin attended Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi where she graduated
                        with the distinguishable honor of cum laude and a B.F.A in Dance. During her time at
                        Belhaven, Karin had the opportunity to work with numerous guest artists including
                        Vincent Hardy, Whitney Dufrene, Steve Rooks, and Vincas Greene. She was also part of
                        the Dance Ministry Ensemble for two years. DME is an outreach group that performs in
                        numerous venues in the Jackson community including, churches, assisted living centers,
                        and youth homes. Karin also acts as a substitute and occasional instructor of intermediate
                        and advanced ballet and modern dance at En Avant. Karin is currently in her second
                        season dancing with Alternative Motion Project, a professional modern dance company
                        in Minneapolis.

                            Cassandra Smith

                            Dance Faculty

                            Cassandra Smith is originally from Hudson, WI. She has been studying dance for over 22 years and competed with H.D.A.’s national championship competition team for over 7 years. She has performed in many cities including New York City and Orlando. She has studied through certification and attendance of regional and national master classes. Cassandra  enjoys teaching hip hop along with teaching jazz and lyrical. Cassandra’s lyrical and hip hop choreography has won many awards at dance competitions. She continues to dance in productions such as the Nutcracker and our Annual Recital. Cassandra also volunteers her choreography to the Hudson School District for their Dance Unit in the Middle School. In 2009 she was selected to work for the Pulse convention in Chicago, Il and was honored to dance for the Pulse Showcase for two years. Cassandra has a Bachelor’s degree and working full time as a CNA. Cassandra lives in Hudson, WI with her husband Aaron and daughter Everlee.

                                Taylor Ludowese

                                Dance Faculty

                                Taylor Ludowese grew up dancing at Short Dance and is originally from New Richmond, Wisconsin. She began dancing and found her passion for dance at the age of 2. Taylor has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, and Hip Hop. Taylor was also a member of the Short Dance Competition Line for many years and has won numerous high score and encore awards at the Regional and National Level. Taylor was also a member of the New Richmond High School Dance Line gaining experience in Pom and Kick and was named Wisconsin All-State Dancer in 2012. Taylor has attended many dance conventions and has taken class from numerous instructors from around the world and has received many stand out dancer awards during these classes. Taylor attended  Century College for Dental Assisting and is now a Licensed Dental Assistant and works at a Endodontics office in Stillwater, MN.  Taylor currently lives in New Richmond, WI with her husband Cole, and three black labs Kirby, Skye, and Raven. Taylor is excited to be part of the Hudson Dance Academy Teaching Staff and to share her love for dance.

                                    Mikayla Klein

                                    Guest Faculty and Choreographer

                                    Mikayla began dancing at age 4. She studied at Northland School of Dance for 12 years receiving training in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, tap, ballroom, musical theater and hip-hop. As a competitive dancer, she received numerous high scores and regional titles including Miss Starquest, Miss Bravo, Miss Legacy, Nuvo Breakout Artist, and NYCDA Outstanding Dancer. Mikayla attended High School at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Here she was able to expand her training in ballet, tap, and jazz while gaining additional training in Modern and West African. Mikayla received a ,000 NYCDA scholarship and a full scholarship to Steps on Broadway Conservatory in NYC. These scholarships allowed her to continue her training while in college participating in TU Dance’s Pre-professional Program and Steps On Broadway Contemporary Masters Summer Study. Mikayla supplements her dance training by attending summer intensives including: American Ballet Theater, Minnesota Dance Theater, The Collective, TU Dance, Black Label Movement and this summer she will attend Elisa Monte Dance on full scholarship. She has been privileged to train with the best in Minnesota including: Toni-Pierce Sands, Uri Sands, Carl Flink, Abdo Saygeh, and Maggie Bergeron. Nationally Mikayla has trained with Dwight Rhoden, Andrea Miller, Elisa Monte, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Suzi Taylor, Joe Lanteri, Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, and Dee Caspery. Mikayla currently resides in Minnesota where she trains with TU Dance and attends the University of St. Thomas where she studies Exercise Science. She plans to attend graduate school for a Doctorate in Physical Therapy with a focus in Dance Medicine. Mikayla is extremely excited to be on guest faculty at Hudson Dance Academy.

                                        Alyssa Ness

                                        Guest Faculty

                                        Alyssa found her love for dance at the age of 2, as she began her career at Northland School of Dance in Champlin, MN. She danced there for the next 16 years while she studied and competed in all forms of dance, including ballroom. In 2008, Alyssa had the opportunity to perform with her dance school at the Olympic Games in Beijing China. When she was not traveling with her studio, Alyssa continued to work to improve her technique. Believing that all forms of dance are derived from ballet, she continued her training at summer ballet intensives such as ABT, SAB and the Joffrey. For each summer program, Alyssa earned partial to full merit scholarships to attend. In 2009, she was offered a full scholarship to attend the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia as well as a place in the Joffrey School in NYC. Deciding it was in her best interest to continue training at her home studio and be a “normal” kid, she decided to instead attend the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in St. Paul, MN. It was here where she broadened her training by adding Modern and African to her repertoire. She continued to earn numerous titles and scholarships to attend competitions and workshops and in 2011, she was awarded WCDE National Teen Elite Dancer. That same year she was also a finalist in Dance Spirit’s Cover Model Search. In 2013 she battled a hip injury that took her away from the competition circuit her senior year. Within 4 months of her surgery Alyssa not only took the dance floor once again, but was competing at an elite level and was awarded with a full year of classes at Steps on Broadway and Peridance in NYC. She also earned a ,000 scholarship from the NYCDA Scholarship Foundation to help in aiding with her college tuition. Alyssa is currently calling New York City her home as she attends Marymount Manhattan College on scholarship, studying for her BFA in Dance. She enjoys working with and assisting choreographers at Broadway Dance Center as well as New York City Dance Alliance. Alyssa attends college during the weekdays and on weekends she tours as the current NYCDA National Senior Outstanding Dancer. Her goal is to continue to “inspire” other dancers as they inspire her.
                                        Alyssa can be found at Hudson Dance Academy teaching a masters class when she is available.

                                            Kirsten Smits

                                            Guest Faculty and Choreographer

                                            Kirsten is currently studying at Western Michigan University to complete her BFA in dance with a minor in Journalism. She has been dancing since age 4 and competing since age 7 under the training of Jo Ann Warren Dance Studio, Hudson Dance Academy, Steps Dance Center, and West Michigan Dance Center. She has worked with multiple contemporary choreographers such as Brooke Pierotti, Lauren Adams, Liz Schmidt, Adam Mcgaw, Liv Schaffer, and hip hop choreographer Annie Franklin. She has a passion for teaching and choreographing for young aspiring dancers and plans on moving to Los Angeles to pursue her career in commercial dance after college.