Dance Class in Madison Instructor Meredith Mast

Meredith Mast

Meredith Mast has been performing, studying and teaching ballet for over 45 years. Mrs. Mast began her ballet training in Miami, Florida, under the instruction of Carol Ravich, a former ballerina with the Boston Ballet, and Thomas Armour of the Miami Ballet. At age 14, Mrs. Mast was accepted into the Houston Ballet Academy on full scholarship. While in the Academy, she danced several of Ben Stevenson’s works, including the lead in Tangos for Emily, which was performed for Princess Christina of Sweden at the Academy’s annual concert.

At the age of 17, Mrs. Mast was accepted into the Houston Ballet where she danced roles in many of the classics including Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. She has also performed several Balanchine works including Serenade, Four Temperaments, and Symphony in C.

Upon retiring from the Houston Ballet, Mrs. Mast earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating, Meredith pursued a career in human resources and also began teaching ballet. After moving to Madison with her husband in 1999, she designed a program specifically for children ages 3-9 called Storybook Ballet™. The children’s ballet program incorporates basic ballet instruction with costumes, props, music, drama and children’s stories. In addition, she has taught classical ballet at all levels at various dance studios in and around Madison, Wisconsin.

Mrs. Mast’s passion is teaching and working with children. When teaching dance to young children, she believes in tapping into the child’s imagination and allowing the child to explore the beauty of dance. By making movement magical, she hopes to “plant the seed” for a love of the art form which “will grow” individually. With older children and adults, she emphasizes proper classical ballet technique, yet still provides opportunities for the students to move freely such that their love of dance will continue to flourish. Mrs. Mast is also a published author of her first Storybook Ballet original fairytale entitled, Willow Rose Learns Honesty– coauthored by her mother. Mrs. Mast enjoys her home out in the country and is also the mother of four young men!

Dance Classes in Madison WI Instructor Maelanie

Maelanie Kuzma

Maelanie began her ballet training at age 3 in Washington DC. After moving to Madison as a child, she began studying with Charmaine Ristow, Susan Marsden, and Tibor Zana. By age 13, she began studying with the Milwaukee Ballet School, as well as attending summer programs with the Joffrey Ballet and the Boston Ballet School. Maelanie earned her degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, and combined her love of ballet and desire to teach by directing a private dance studio serving over 500 students each year. After nine years of studio ownership, Maelanie scaled back to spend more time with her family. In the fall of 2013, she began “The Second Story Program”- a small program for Storybook Ballet graduates who are interested in continuing their high quality ballet training through the age of 12. The Second Story Program has merged with Central Midwest Ballet (an academy for ballet students age 9 and up), becoming it’s Junior Division, with Maelanie serving as Junior Division Principal. Maelanie lives in Monona with her husband and enjoys visits from her two young adult sons. One is in college in Ohio, and the other lives and works nearby in Madison. She is very excited to be in her 15th year teaching ballet classes at Storybook Ballet and to witness the magic of ballet through the eyes of young children.

Abbi Stickels

Abbi Stickels is a third-year student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and is pursuing a BFA in dance with majors in Environmental Studies and Political Science. From the age of three, Abbi began studying ballet at Georgia Dance Conservatory. She later joined Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre at age seven and began performing and training in styles including ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, pointe, and partnering. Abbi has also attended numerous summer intensives including Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. At Wisconsin, Abbi has had the honor of working with many renowned faculty, including Liz Sexe, Chris Walker, Kate Corby, Jin Wen Yu, and Li Chiao-Ping. Abbi is delighted to teach our young Storybook dancers and has recently started teaching older dancers (many of our graduates) at Central Midwest Ballet.

Grace Burley

Grace was born in Ontario, Canada and grew up in Erie, Colorado. She started her dance training at the age of 8 with DanceSpace Performing Arts Academy in Thornton, CO. She trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and tap. At age 13, she decided to focus her training strictly on ballet. She spent one year at the Colorado Conservatory of Dance in Broomfield, CO under the direction of Julia Wilkinson-Manley. She then moved to Middleton, Wisconsin where she trained with Central Midwest Ballet Academy for 4 years. She trained under the direction of Marguerite Luksik and the CMB faculty. She has attended summer intensives at Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and Ballet Arizona. After graduating high school in 2022, she spent one year in Colorado Ballet Academy’s Pre-Professional Division under the direction of Erica Fischbach. She performed with the professional company in their production of The Nutcracker. She also performed in the academy’s production of Sleeping Beauty, dancing the roles of Finger Fairy, Lead Garland Waltz Couple, and Jewels. She then danced professionally with Ballet Arizona, as a member of their studio company, but unfortunately was not able to finish the season due to an injury. In March 2024, she had surgery to repair 2 stress fractures in her L4 vertebrae. She is now fully recovered and happy to be back in the studio dancing again! She is currently enrolled in the small business entrepreneurship program at Madison Area Technical College and hopes to open her own studio someday. She has a strong passion for teaching and working with young children. She is excited to share her love for ballet with all of her students at Storybook Ballet.

Marissa Loether

Marissa began her dancing career at the age of 3 at the Kris Pickar School of Dance. Over the years she trained in a variety of dance styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. Her love for ballet and tap, combined with her passion to inspire the young generations, lead her to become a teacher assistant at KP School of Dance for the previous 4 years. In 2021, she attended summer intensives at Central Midwest Ballet, where she truly fell in love with the art form. She trained under the direction of Marguerite Luksik and the CMB faculty including Livia Konishi, Miye Bishop, Liz Sexe, Celia Pierquet Flores, and Brian Norris and performed in their Christmas program “The Little Matchistick Girl”. While a student at CMB, she joined the National Honors Society of Dance Arts and became the chapter’s president. Marissa is currently the senior advisor of the NHSDA chapter at CMB leading the club and students into achieving their leadership potential. She is also a Teacher Assistant for Maelanie Kuzma in CMB’s Junior Division. Marissa joined Storybook Ballet in the summer of 2023 as a Teacher Assistant and is beyond thrilled to share her love, passion, and the magic of ballet with all of her students.