Faculty and Staff

School Director: Gen Horiuchi

Administrator: Tanya Strautmann

Associate Administrator: Jennifer Warren

Associate Administrator: CiCi Houston

Assistant Administrator: Audrey Honert

Faculty: Joy Baker, Emily Biscan, Lauren Christensen, Dana Golio, Ericka Goss, Stephanie Hogan, CiCi Houston, Makensie Howe, Susan Hubert-Jeep, Emma Hupp, Mariko Kumanomido,
Andrea Paxton, Milan Valko, Lori Wilson, Vanessa Woods,
Lisa Wolfsberger

See below for Faculty Biographies.


Gen Horiuchi, School Director
Mr. Horiuchi, originally from Tokyo, Japan, moved to the United States after winning the Prix de Lausanne, the international ballet competition in Switzerland in 1980 and receiving a scholarship to study at the School of American Ballet. In 1982, George Balanchine invited him to join the New York City Ballet, where he became a Principal Dancer in 1989. Among the many ballets he performed with New York City Ballet, the role of Mercury in the ballet Persophone was created for Mr. Horiuchi by George Balanchine, as well as the ballets Eight More and Les Gentilhommes by Peter Martins. His Broadway Musical credits include Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance and as Mr. Mistoffelees in CATS. He went on to perform in London's production of CATS in the same role and became the first performer to play the lead on both Broadway and the West End in 1998. That same year, he choreographed the magnificent Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and has also been a judge of the Prix de Lausanne since 1993. In 2004 he was honored in New York City with the Seventh Cultural Bridge Award together with Harold Prince, (director of Phantom of the Opera). He most recently directed the Aoyama Ballet Festival in Tokyo with artists in major companies from around the world. Mr. Horiuchi became artistic director of Saint Louis Ballet in 2000 and has created a dozen original works for the company. His international reputation with major choreographers throughout the world has led to the presentations of many other original works to Saint Louis Ballet dancers and St. Louis audiences. Most recently in 2010 he founded Gen Horiuchi's Ballet USA which presents his works in Japan.

Tanya Strautmann, School Administrator
Ms. Strautmann, a native of St. Louis, grew up training locally with Berkley Evans and went on to study further at Saint Louis Ballet School until 1996.  She studied at summer programs all on scholarship at Joffrey Ballet in NY, Kansas City Ballet, Aspen Ballet, and Gus Giordano. After beginning her professional career with Saint Louis Ballet in 1996 she went on to become a principal of the company with a dance career lasting 17 years.  She performed the title roles in Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, as Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Waltz Girl and Russian Girl in Balanchine's Serenade and the lead in Allegro Brilliante. She also loved performing the leads in Francis Patrelle's ballets such as Rhapsody in Blue and Black Forest Carousel and Gen Horiuchi's Two of a Kind, Le Reve, Romantique to name a few.  After retiring in 2013 she has continued to oversee Saint Louis Ballet School as School Administrator as well as playing a large role in the overall marketing design for the School's print and online resources. Her biggest claim to fame even after all the stage time is her daughter Scarlett born in 2014.

Joy Baker
Ms. Adair Baker comes to Saint Louis Ballet School with over 25 years of teaching experience throughout the St. Louis area as well as 10 years of professional performing experience with San Antonio Ballet and St. Louis Ballet.  She received some of her training as a scholarship student at School of American Ballet and later graduated with Distinction from Principia College. Since then she has been a director at Principia College within the Dance Department as well as owning and directing her own schools.  Ms. Adair Baker is certified in the Vaganova Method of Ballet training and has taught all levels of ballet from PreBallet through Adult. She joined the faculty of Saint Louis Ballet School in 2005.

Emily Biscan
Ms. Biscan is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri and has studied dance for almost 20 years. She began her dance career in a competitive studio environment and has received many regional and national accolades. She has worked with many prestigious choreographers throughout her dance career. Emily has taken classes from some of the best teachers in the industry including Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh and Mia Michaels. Emily has studied all types of dance from jazz, hip-hop, ballet, lyrical, musical theatre, tap and poms; she has years of experience in every field. After completing her years of studio training, Emily pursued dance at Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Mo. She received her BA with honors in Arts Management emphasizing Dance. While in college, Emily was a member of the six-time National Champion, Lindenwood Lion Line Dance Team, where they earned two consecutive national first place trophies in Hip-Hop while attending the televised National competition in Orlando, Florida. Also, while attending Lindenwood University, Emily taught technique classes for many high school dance teams as well as judged many tryouts in the St. Louis area. She took part in performances held at Lindenwood University J. Scheidegger Center and completed many college classes in the area of dance. Upon graduation she became a dance team coach for Fort Zumwalt West High School. As the head coach for the team, Emily choreographed both pom and hip hop routines for regional competitions and taught technique classes in the areas of jazz, hip hop and poms. Led by Emily, the Fort Zumwalt Dance Team competed regionally earning a first place in both hip-hop and poms.

Lauren Christensen

Originally from Kansas City, Lauren began her ballet training at the Kansas City Ballet. While there she trained under Karen Brown, Sean Duus, Alecia Good, and James Jordan. She performed with the Kansas City Youth Ballet and the main company annually in Todd Bolender's Nutcracker. After graduating high school she went on to train at the Joffrey Ballet in New York, Ballet Austin, and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. Her teachers included Gelsey Kirkland, Davis Robertson, Steven Mills, Michelle Martin, Alonzo King, and Maurya Kerr. She then went on to perform with Nashville Ballet's second company where she was taught by Paul Vasterling, Tim Yeager, and Nicole Koenig. She joined the Saint Louis Ballet in 2013 and began teaching in 2015.

Dana Golio

Ms. Golio is a native of the Bronx, New York. She has been in the dance world for over 35 years with experience in dance training, instruction, performing and choreography. Dana comes from a dancing family. Her sister at present owns two studios in the NY area. Her parents, who were professional ballroom dancers, started training Dana at the tender age of 5. Dana along with her sister and parents won numerous awards. Dana took all subjects of dance throughout her life, such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Acro and of course Ballroom. Dana also trained with many teachers in the New York City area such as Mr. Al Gilbert, Charles Kelley, the Hoctor Family, and many other renowned instructors. She has always stayed faithful to her teacher and mentor Miss Dorothy who is still teaching in the Westchester area of NY. She was also a member of the dance troupe "The Doreyettes," which traveled around the tri-state area performing for all types or organizations, primarily the New York State Beauty Pageant.

Ericka Goss

Ms. Goss is a native of Weidman, MI and began her journey with dance at the Bohaty's School of Dance at the age of 3. She eventually moved to the Grand Rapids Ballet Company where she participated as a Senior Trainee with the company under Gordon Pierce-Schmidt. Ericka made the move to Atlanta, GA when she was offered a full scholarship to dance with the School of the Atlanta Ballet in their Pre-Professional Division; she was then was hired as a Fellowship dancer with the company under John McFall and Sharon Story. During the summer, Ericka spent her time at Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Joffrey Midwest, and Grand Rapids Ballet summer intensives all under full scholarship. She has been featured in Balanchine's VALSE FANTASIE, Bruce Well's SNOW WHITE, Helen Pickett's PETAL, and Troy Schumacher's ALLEGRO FOR SEVEN, as well as SLEEPING BEAUTY, THE NUTCRACKER, and CINDERELLA. Ericka has taught for the Atlanta Ballet School for three years, as well as teaching summer intensives and Master Classes in Michigan.

Stephanie Hogan

Ms. Hogan has been a permanent faculty member of Saint Louis Ballet School since 2003 teaching preballet, ballet and tap. She studied dance locally, in Kansas City, and The Harkness House, New York City. While with the St. Louis Civic Ballet, Stephanie performed leading roles in The Nutcracker and Kinder Konzerts at Powell Hall with the St. Louis Symphony; and represented the United States at the International Youth Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland. She is a graduate of UMKC with a degree in Biology and a minor in dance with ballet emphasis. While working on her degrees, she performed with the UMKC Dance Ensemble and Kansas City Ballet under the direction of Tatiana Dokoudovsky, aunt of Saint Louis Ballet founder, Ludmila Dokoudovsky. A former studio owner for 15 years, Stephanie has been teaching dance in the St. Louis area for over 35 years. She has been the Ballet Mistress for Children's Cast with the Saint Louis Ballet since 2006.

CiCi Houston

Ms. Houston received her training as a scholarship student from Theresa Lee Crawford in Detroit, Michigan, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener, augmenting studies at summer programs in Houston, Boston, Cleveland, and Italy. As a former member of Saint Louis Ballet, Ms. Houston performed featured roles in ballets by numerous choreographers including George Balanchine, Gen Horiuchi, and Francis Patrelle. Ms. Houston has taught ballet in the St. Louis area since 1998. Also previously holding the title of Co-Artistic Director at Alexandra Ballet, during her twelve years there she taught all levels, oversaw rehearsals, served on the Board of Directors, tended to administrative duties, was a director for Regional Dance America, choreographed original works and restaged classics by Bournonville and Petipa. A lifelong enthusiast of various syllabi and repertoire, Ms. Houston has been influenced by the styles of Ashton, Balanchine, Cecchetti, Preobajenska, Vagonova, and considers the Bournonville style to be a particular specialty in her teaching. Having returned to the staff of Saint Louis Ballet School in 2015, Ms. Houston also serves as Ballet Mistress for the company.

Susan Hubert-Jeep

Ms. Hubert-Jeep comes to Saint Louis Ballet School with a B.A. from Webster University in Management and Dance and over 35 years of dance education and teaching experience throughout dance schools in the St. Louis area of all ages and levels. She has also been the dance program director at several parishes as well as an instructor at Forest Park Community College teaching ballet, jazz and swing. In 1971 Ms. Hubert-Jeep was chosen to perform full time with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and some of her performance experience also includes performances with Muny Opera in 42nd Street and Romeo and Juliet and with the St. Louis Football Cardinals team to name a few. Susan joined Saint Louis Ballet School in 2006.

Emma Hupp
Ms. Hupp was an instructor and choreographer at M2 dancer center in St. John Indiana from 2012-2015 where she taught pre-ballet, jazz, leaps and turns, beginner pointe, and private lessons. Emma was a member of Lake Central High School's national champion title holding dance team where she was captain. She was also involved in the Northwest Indiana Ballet's Production of the Nutcracker and Swan Lake, and is currently a member of Lindenwood University's Lion Line Dance Team.

Mariko Kumanomido

Ms. Kumanomido is a native of St. Louis, began her professional training with Alexandra Zaharias at Alexandra School of Ballet. She studied dance at Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Missouri-Kansas City, graduating with a BFA in Dance. After graduation, she moved to New York City, and studied at the Alvin Ailey School as a scholarship student. In New York she danced professionally with Buglisi Dance Theater, C.Eule Dance, JessicaDanser/dansfolk, and the Martha Graham Ensemble. She recently completed the Teacher Training Program at the Martha Graham School and is a registered Graham-based modern teacher. While in NYC she taught creative movement and beginning ballet at Ballet Hispanico. She recently returned to St. Louis, and is currently dancing with Jennifer Medina/Common Thread Dance. She is happy to be sharing her love of dance with students in St. Louis.

Andrea Paxton
Ms. Paxton took her first dance class at the age of 5 and it was love at first step. Over the past 28 years she has studied the art of tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, pointe, character, modern, lyrical and contemporary. In her years of training, she has been lucky to study under some of the biggest names in the industry today, such as Tyce Diorio (Judge & Choreographer of So You Think You Can Dance) and Marguerite Derricks (Choreographer of the 2009 movie "FAME".) She is fortunate to have made a career out of her passion and has been working as a professional dancer/singer, as well as dance instructor and choreographer for the past 12 years. This job has offered many exciting opportunities and taken her all over the country, as well as across the world. Some highlights of her career include performing in shows at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, The Empire Theatre at Six Flags St. Louis, The Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, and the Lotte Theatre in Pusan, South Korea. For the past 5 years she has been working as a singer/dancer at Harrah's St. Louis, including shows at their San Diego and Kansas City properties. She is committed to her craft and committed to passing on her passion and knowledge to her students. LIVE-LOVE-DANCE!


Milan Valko

From Slovakia, Milan is a principal dancer with SLB having joined the company in 2004 and began teaching in the school in 2013. His training originally came from Dance Studio "S", Dance Conservatory in Kosice and Idyllwild Arts Academy. He also danced professionally with Louisville Ballet from 1997-2004. Since joining Saint Louis Ballet company he has performed in many leading roles and also most recently began teaching company class as well as coaching and overseeing rehearsals for SLB productions.

Lori Wilson
Ms. Wilson began her training at Ballet Lubbock under the direction of Yvonne Racz, and finished her training at The Rock School for Dance Education with Christopher Fleming, Mariaelena Ruiz and Servy Gallardo. She competed in Youth America Grand Prix and was a top twelve finalist. She studied at the Chautauqua Institute with Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride and Mark Diamond. She has performed with the North Carolina Dance Theatre and as a guest artist with the Evansville Dance Theatre. She joined Saint Louis Ballet in 2008 where she has performed in THE NUTCRACKER, ALLEGRO BRILLANTE, Gen Horiuchi's LE REVE, MORE MORRA, CINDERALLA, as Black Swan in SWAN LAKE as well as the leading role in DON QUIXOTE.

Lisa Wolfsberger

Ms. Wolfsberger's dance background is broad in scope and has taken her nationwide and throughout Europe. Born in St.Louis, she has been a teacher of classical ballet for over 35 years. Her early training came from Alexandria Zaharias, Nathalie LeVine, and Michael Simms. Her professional career began with Missouri Concert Ballet (now St.Louis Ballet) where she danced as Principal for over 10 years with directors Ludmila Dokoudovski and Antoni Zelewski. She studied under Gary Hubler at Webster University while working towards a Bachelors degree in Dance. She has also studied extensively in New York City. Ms. Wolfsberger later became the ballet director at Dancers' Alley in Jefferson City Missouri. While living in Columbia Missouri, she was guest artist in residence, teaching ballet for Stephens College. Lisa has taught ballet at St. Mary's College and Notre Dame University in South Bend Indiana. When she lived in England, Ms. Wolfsberger taught master classes throughout the country and intiated her own training school. Lisa has been on staff with Chicago National Association of Dance Masters where she taught ballet and adjudicated dance competitions. Her students have gone on to dance professionally, earning college dance degrees, and teaching. Lisa continues to be invited as a guest artist, teaching master classes and summer programs throughout the country. She helped to intiate and was co-director of St. Louis Ballet School Ensemble, a student performance company. Ms. Wolfsberger has been on staff with St.Louis Ballet School since 2001.

Vanessa Woods

Ms. Woods is originally from Cinnaminson, New Jersey. She trained at SUNY Purchase, Princeton Ballet, Miami City Ballet and STEPS in New York City. Her teachers included Truman Finney, Barbara Sandonato, Douglas Martin, and Nancy Bielski. She has performed with the Colorado Ballet II, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Ballet NY and Opera New Jersey. Some of her favorite performances include Twyla Tharp's Push Comes to Shove, Giselle, Ben Stevenson's Cinderella and George Balanchine's Slaughter on 10th Ave. Vanessa joined the Saint Louis Ballet in March 2010 dancing in Swan Lake and as the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. Vanessa has been a faculty member with Saint Louis Ballet School since 2010.