Director of Dance
Jill Grundstrom is Artistic Director, Assistant Department Head, and an Assistant Professor in Northern Michigan University’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She holds a B.S. from NMU in Secondary Education with majors in English and French, an M.A. in Dance Education from New York University, and an Ed.S. from NMU in Educational Leadership. Jill is pursuing an Ed.D. in Dance Education with a concentration in Dance Science at Columbia University. She is certified in the Luigi Jazz Technique, American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum, is a Certified FLX Conditioning Specialist, and is a Hamrick Method Master Trainer. Jill has choreographed over 30 full-length musical and dance productions in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, and the Upper Peninsula, including a full-length, original ballet, East of the Sun, West of the Moon (NMU). She also choreographed an independent feature-length film, Our State Fair. She has previously worked with Superior Arts Youth Theatre, the National Dance Education Organization, American Ballet Theatre, and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance.
Allow us to introduce Alexandrea Riley as one of our returning Dance Professionals for the eighth straight year. Alex has been the coach of the winning couples Jeremy Hansen & Alicia Frechette, Stephanie & Andy Langlois, Kelly & Dan Mead, and Scott Knaffla & Patty Barton of the Mirror Ball Trophy and Jill & Zach Leonard of the Fan Favorite Trophy! She has also had the pleasure of coaching Mike & Kay Angeli, Christine Pesola & Joe Heck, Deborah & Stephen Wissler, and Stacey & Jared Haughey. Alex and her husband, Patrick, have two daughters, Josephine and Wilhelmina who they welcomed in January. For the past 6 years she has worked at NMU as a Contingent Faculty member in the Chemistry department. Alex has always loved to dance and enjoys teaching many styles, she also owns her own company, UP Ballroom Dance in Marquette. Alex frequently choreographes and is involved with community dance performances, she teaches ballet and modern with New Attitudes Dance Studio, and has trained many couples in ballroom dance over the past thirteen years in the U.P. and looks forward to more.
Katie Bertram has been dancing for 23 years. She studied at New Attitudes Dance Studio and Northern Michigan University where she studied under Jill Grundstrom. Now she enjoys living room dance parties with her two boys, Lucas and Huxley, and her husband Jon.
She received many gold and high gold awards during her competitive career. She was a four-year member of the Marquette Senior High School Dance Team, choreographing various dances throughout the years. She traveled to New York City with her team to perform in the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. After graduation she became the coach for the MSHS JV Dance Team from 2012-2014. Katie is also a former member of the Northern Michigan University Dance Team and a national champion in Pom. She graduated from NMU in 2017 as the first Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with a Dance Minor.
This is Katie’s eighth year as a choreographer for “Dancing with our Stars Marquette County Style”. She is the current reigning mirror ball choreographer with her Mulan inspired Lyrical in 2019 with Daniele Carol and Luke Miljour. Her former stars were Julie & Ty Hartung in 2018, Amanda Filizetti & AJ Filizetti in 2017, Stefanie Seratti & Joe Havican in 2016, Theresa & Mark Hamari in 2015, Tyler & Erin Gauthier in 2014, and John & Sandy Kivela in 2013.
Maureen McFadden has been studying dance for 19 years spending most of her training at Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy, where she received a Michigan Youth Arts Scholar Award. She has taught at Marquette Center for Dance and has been a participant of Dance Association at Northern Michigan University. She graduated with a degree in Management of Health and Fitness with a minor in Dance.
Maureen has been teaching dance for eight years and in 2009 she performed at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center for the inauguration of President Obama. She is currently the Health and Recreation Specialist for Superior Alliance for Independent Living. She also runs a dance outreach program called Upper Peninsula Dance Outreach for children who would not otherwise have access to a dance education.
This is her sixth year choreographing for “Dancing with our Stars Marquette County Style” and she could not be more thrilled to be a part of a cause so amazing and close to her heart. Last year she coached Tia and Scott Rodda, in the past she has coached Theresa & Mark Hamari, Meghan & Bill Digneit and Ashley & Billy Hill.
Kristin Frak was born in 1982 and began dance at a very young age. Growing up in Marquette she participated in youth theater, forensics, drama club, and orchestra. Yet, Kristin spent most of her time outside of school inside dance studios studying various genres. In 2001 she co-founded the NMU Dance Team. After working with well renowned faculty and guest artists, Kristin earned a bachelor’s degree in dance performance from Eastern Michigan University in 2006. She considers being the creator, owner, and director of Superior Dance Academy from 2006-2017 to be her most rewarding accomplishment. This time was highlighted by a decade of developing students through the SuperStars competition team program. In 2016 she humbly accepted the City of Marquette Annual Art Award for Special Recognition. Kristin enjoys choreographing local community theater musicals including Grease, West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Rocky Horror Show, Tony & Tina’s Wedding, and Rent. Kristin is proud to have been a part of DWOS since the inaugural year. She spent several years serving as a judge and, in her two years being a dance pro, is honored to have coached both a Mirrorball winning team as well as a Most Congenial couple.
Gracie has had a love for dance and performing from the moment she could walk and talk! She was one of the first to graduate from Northern Michigan University (NMU) with a BS degree in Dance with a Business concentration in December 2023! Her most memorable moments were created within the walls of the Forest Roberts Theatre where she found her love for musicals in 2018 after performing in her first production as a gorilla in Tarzan. After that, she would perform in over 15 productions with the NMU Department of Theatre and Dance. Some of her favorite performances include: The Producers (Shirley/ensemble/co-choreographer/dance captain), Elf the Musical (Mrs. Clause/ensemble), CO/LAB Collective (choreographer/performer in “Thunderstruck”), and NxNCDF (choreographer/performer in “Fusion”). She has studied and taught many dance styles including tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet, musical theatre, and contemporary. Gracie has received amazing opportunities within the community such as: co-choreographing for SAYT’s production of Frozen Jr., teaching at Julie’s Top Hat Dance Studio and Dawn Dott Dance Studio, performing in her band, Iridescence, and is now a dance instructor at NMU and store manager at MQT Nutrition. Her dreams are to someday expand her roots and take her dance degree to the west coast as a professional instructor/dancer. Her gratitude cannot be expressed enough to her family, friends, current and past instructors who have supported her throughout the years. Gracie will always give 110%, 100% of the time…
This is Gracie’s second year as a pro-dancer for “Dancing With Our Stars Maquette County Style.” During her first year, she had the pleasure of coaching Chris and Shawn Beckman in the Disney Edition during 2019. This year, Gracie is thankful to be part of this outstanding event again and looks forward to this year’s competition!
Kimber is the owner of Dawn Dott Dance Studios. She purchased her childhood studio, where she danced for ten years and taught for two, from Dawn Dott in August 2007. The Marquette native attended Central Michigan University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and a minor in Industrial Engineering Technologies. While attending CMU she danced with the Orchesis Dance Company studying Modern, Jazz, Tap, Clogging, Stomp and Lyrical. She also competed at the collegiate level with this group.
After graduation she married her love, Bill, and they moved to Milwaukee where she worked for a large architectural firm designing hospitals, schools and assisted living facilities. They also lived in Holland, MI for a short time where Kimber worked with a design firm that gave McDonald’s their new “cafe look”. They moved to Ann Arbor, MI where Kimber got back to designing hospitals, in fact she was the interior designer for Bell Hospital, right here in Ishpeming.
When Kimber got the opportunity to move home and purchase her childhood dance studio and she took it without looking back! Like a lot of Marquette natives, she wanted to raise her son, Grady here. Kimber is now 1 of 12 teachers that teach classes in Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Pom Pom, Modern, Kindergarten Combo, Tots, Gymnastics, and Competition classes. What she loves the most about owning the studio is building relationships with her students and their families and watching them gain confidence through dance. Kimber is honored to be part of this amazing event!
Karina Johnson started dance at the age of four in Irvine, California, and was trained by many renowned teachers from American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet West. She attended summer intensives all over the country throughout her years of training, as well as competed in the Youth of America Grand Prix competition for five consecutive years. Starting in 2007, Karina worked on a degree at The University of Utah as well as guested with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s The
Nutcracker for three years. In her senior year of college, she became a trainee with Ballet West, performing as a supplemental corps de ballet dancer. Karina graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Ballet, and afterwards spent a year as an apprentice at Smuin Ballet in San Francisco before moving to join the Sacramento Ballet. There she had the privilege of performing in such renowned ballets as Ron Cunningham’s The Great Gatsby, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmina Burana, Rite of Spring, Cinderella, and The Firebird, as well as Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love, and George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, Who Cares?, Rubies, and the First Regiment Lead in Stars and Stripes. One of the highlights of Karina’s career was performing the first act Pas de Trois, and Cygnettes in Swan Lake, one of the hardest and most rewarding ballets to perform.
After retiring from her career with the Sacramento Ballet in 2015, Karina helped found the dancer-run company Capital Dance Project, choreographing, performing, and organizing their summer performance series. After eight years of dancing professionally, and 5 more of helping run a project-based company, she decided it was time to pass on her love and knowledge of dance to the next generation… bringing her to NMU! She is now a professor in the Theatre & Dance department and is finding such joy working with the talented students there. This is Karina’s first year choreographing for “Dancing with our Stars Marquette County Style” and is extremely excited to be a part of such an incredible cause.
Kristen Beth Williams Ludwig
Kristen Beth Williams Ludwig is a professional actor/singer/dancer with an extensive career spanning Broadway, national tours, and regional theaters across the country. She was most recently seen in the new Broadway musical ‘Paradise Square.’ Other Broadway credits include ‘Hello, Dolly’ with Bette Midler, ‘Pippen,’ and the original Broadway casts of ‘Nice Work if You Can Get It,’ with Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara, ‘Anything Goes,’ starring Sutton Foster, and ‘Promises, Promises,’ with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. She originated the role of Sibella Hallward on the first national tour of ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,’ and starred as Dale Tremont in ‘Top Hat’ in London’s West End. She has been a featured soloist at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, and New York’s Town Hall.
Since moving to Marquette last year with her family, Kristen Beth has been on faculty at NMU, teaching theater and dance. She has choreographed ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ for the Theater & Dance Department and ‘Take the A Train,’ an eight minute jazz ballet conceived for the Co/Lab Dance Company. She is directing and choreographing ‘Rock of Ages’ this summer at Forest Roberts Theater and can’t wait to live out her 80s rock n roll dreams! Kristen Beth is thrilled to be on the DWOS Team and hopes you enjoy the show!