Dixie Rairamo, Director
Dixie Rairamo received most of her early training with Barbara Lotsberg and the Minnesota Dance Theatre where she performed with the Urban Arts Dance Program. In 1981, she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance from Kansas State University and was a recipient of a Mistler Creativity Scholarship.
Ms Rairamo began directing the ballet program at JAS Dance Centre in Burnsville in 1981 and held that position until 2000. The Youth Dance Ensemble was created in 1991 as a youth performance dance company. The training school followed in 2001. In addition to her responsibilities with the Youth Dance Ensemble, Ms Rairamo continues to instruct and choreograph throughout the metro area. Her work has been seen at Edina, Sibley and Shakopee high schools. She had the privilege of working at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Lee Massachusetts from 1986-1989. There she worked along side such greats as Judith Jamison, Mark Morris, and members of the New York City Ballet. Ms Rairamo continues her dance studies in Minneapolis and New York.
Kirsten Iiams comes to us after 12 years and 21 shows at The Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. Favorites include Cats(Victoria), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers(Dorcas), Oklahoma(Dream Laurie), and Brigadoon. She has also performed with Ballet Of The Dolls, Red River Dance & Performing Company, Riverside Ballet Arts, at Radio City Music Hall, the theaters of Russia, and on the seas in between. She was also co founder and artistic director of Bismarck Dance Theatre and school, Teaching credits include Red River Dance, Bismarck Dance Theatre, The Lundstrum Center, Chanhassen Theater camps, River Valley, & Riverside Ballet Arts. Choreography credits include The Music Man, South Pacific, Anyone can Whistle, and assistant for Evita, Cats, Seven Brides, Annie, & Anything Goes; just to name a few! Kirsten has trained with The Joffrey Ballet, The San Francisco Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Riverside Ballet Arts, David Howard, Luigi, and Nanette Charisse.
Katie is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University where she recieved a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance and Arts Management. Originally from Wichita, Kansas, an internship from Children's Theater brought her to the Twin Cities and she has decided to make Minnesota her home. Katie brings teaching experience from Kansas Dance Academy where she taught all forms of dance and was involved in their competition program. In addition Katie taught in the children's education programs at Oklahoma City University. Katie is so happy to be at Youth Dance Ensemble!
Elly grew up dancing both competitively and non-competitively at various Twin Cities dance studios. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, studying Theatre Arts and Dance, finishing with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance. Elly is currently a teaching artist in various capacities throughout the Twin Cities. She teaches and choreographs for several studios in the area, as well as teaching theatre and dance for several companies like Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and Hennepin Theatre Trust. In addition to theatre and dance, Elly also enjoys making and teaching music and visual art. Elly is excited to share her passion with the students at YDE!
Lauren Warmka is very excited to be on staff as an instructor at Youth Dance Ensemble after being a student there for twelve years. She was recently seen onstage at Bloomington Civic Theater's production of Carousel and has performed with Continental Ballet in Sleeping Beauty. She has extensive experience working with youth both as a substitute dance instructor and swimming instructor in Burnsville. Lauren is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota where she continues her dance studies while pursuing a degree in chemical engineering.