CO/LAB 2023 - One (Karina Johnson)

Carnival of the Animals & Choreography Showcase

Artistic Direction by Karina Johnson

Come experience Carnival of the Animals - a short ballet for the young and young at heart, representing animals such as forest, jungle, sea, and savanna creatures through different styles of dance, set to the renowned musical score by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns..

In this double-feature production, Carnival of the Animals will be followed by a Choreography Showcase performed by NMU CO/LAB members.The choreographers and dancers will present a unique, collaborative dance experience with pieces created by student and faculty choreographers!

Showing February 1st-3rd in the Forest Roberts Theatre at 7:30pm with a Theatre For All performance on Saturday, February 3rd at 1:00pm.

Get your tickets today at!


CO/LAB 2023 - group photo

Upcoming Performances

  • Thursday, February 1st, 2024 | 7:30 PM | Opening Night Party
  • Friday, February 2nd, 2024 | 7:30 PM 
  • Saturday, February 3rd, 2024 | 1:00 PM | Theatre For All
  • Saturday, February 3rd, 2024 | 7:30 PM 

Ticket Prices

  • General public:  $20
  • NMU Employees, Seniors and Military: $15
  • Youth: $12
  • NMU Students: $5


CO/LAB 2024 Carnival of the Animals Workshop Flyer

Kids Carnival of the Animals Experience

Join us before our CO/LAB Dance Company performance for an hour of fun, hands-on activities at the NMU TD Kids - Carnival of the Animals Experience!

Children of all ages are invited to join us for an engaging and educational workshop experience on Saturday, February 3 from 10-11:15 am. The workshop will introduce youth to the Theatre and Dance's Co/Lab performance taking place at 1 pm that day in the Forest Roberts Theatre. This workshop aims to provide an entry into the world of dance and theatre arts.

During the workshop, children will take part in a variety of hands-on activities, learn about the production, and be taught a section of choreography by our Co/Lab performers. Workshop stations will be set up throughout the Forest Roberts Theatre lobby, offering opportunities for youth to engage in mask decorating, photo ops with our performers, and play a variety of carnival-style games. These activities are designed to foster a unique and creative connection to the production.

No prior dance, music, or theatre background is required for the workshop as we welcome everyone to experience the joy of dance and theatre arts. Children are encouraged to wear their favorite dance attire. Join us for a delightful exploration of the arts!

Saturday, February 3 from 10:00-11:15 am 

Location: Forest Roberts Theatre Lobby 

Price: $25 for each child with an accompanying adult

CO/LAB Dance Company Leadership

Welcome everyone to our 2nd annual CO/LAB Dance Company performance! I can not even begin to describe the excitement I have to share this show with you… the buzzing energy backstage and in the dressing rooms is remarkably palpable, and as a director I am beaming with pride.


With our growth this year from 13 members to 34, I have been navigating a completely different experience for my dancers, full of educational and teachable moments, on my end and theirs. It’s an exciting problem to have, and each of them have taught me so much. We have majors from all across campus; from business, to environmental science, math, mulit-media journalism, clinical lab science, and of course dance, musical theatre, and acting. The conglomeration and amalgamation of humans so perfectly feeds my ultimate purpose for this company… collaboration. And of course dance. Lots and lots of dance, across all disciplines. Dance nourishes the soul, and I fully believe it should be in these artists' lives, always. 


Carnival of the Animals has been an absolute delight to create, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the enthusiasm the dancers all showed throughout the process. The collaboration that arose from Em Rossi, myself, student designers, and dancers on the props and costumes with reusable materials is mind-blowing and extremely gratifying. The second act of our show is packed with student choreography, which brings such variety in not just style, but emotion. These dancers have so much to say, and dance is such an incredible form for them to express that. I am so ridiculously proud of what they have created and how they have conducted themselves throughout this process. This company is as much about learning as it is about dancing, and getting these artists ready for whatever their futures hold, whether that is in the dance industry, a science lab, or at the front of a classroom.


With all that said, I am absolutely delighted you have joined us for this show, and I hope you become a regular CO/LAB Dance Company audience member! I know our students love sharing their love and dedication to this art form with you, and it means so much to them and myself that you’re here. Without further ado, I present Carnival of the Animals and the Student Choreography Showcase! ENJOY!!!


Karina Johnson Signature

Karina Johnson - Artistic Director, CO/LAB Dance Company


Karina Johnson Headshot

Karina Johnson

CO/LAB Dance Company Artistic Director

Company Members

Gianna Daprai
Devon Dickerson
Helen Fortin
Abigail Foskuhl
Reya Ghiardi
Bailey Gomes
Lauren Goodman
Courtney Grayson
Emma Houston
Kyla Kotecki
Isabella Manganello
Xander Martin
Mya McPherson
DaShawn Mitchell
MJ Opulencia
Eva Peterson
Amaraé Robinson
Kyra Skinner
Phillip Smith
Caydence Sturtevant
Rowan Ward

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.

Shiloh Bechek
Joshua Bianca
Kendyl Dahlstrom
Emily Falker
Ryan Griffin
Jordyn Hopfensperger
Hannah Johnson
Don'Tae Mitchell
Henry Moore
Maya Moreau
Erin Seiler
Elise Wilcox
Sophia Zavala

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.

PresidentGianna Daprai
Vice PresidentAbigail Foskhul
Social Media CoordinatorsAmaraé Robinson, Kyra Skinner
OfficerKyla Kotecki

Performance Order

Act I

Choreography by Karina Johnson

Music: “The Carnival of the Animals” Suite by Camille Saint-Saëns


I. Opening

II. Lions

III. Hens & Rooster

IV. Tortioses

V. Elephant

VI. Aquarium

VII. Aviary

VIII. Peacock & Cuckoos

IX. Grizzlies

X. Racoons

XI. Swan

XII. Finale



LionsEmma Houston, Kyla Kotecki, Amaraé Robinson, Kyra Skinner
HensJoshua Bianca, Gianna Daprai, Isabella Manganello, Eva Peterson
RoosterDon'Tae Mitchell
TortoisesHenry Moore, MJ Opulencia
ElephantEmily Falker, Helen Fortin, Hannah Johnson, Elise Wilcox, Sophia Zavala
Aquarium: FishKendyl Dahlstrom, Xander Martin
Aquarium: JellyfishErin Seiler, Rowan Ward
Aquarium: WavesGianna Daprai, Abigail Foskuhl, Emma Houston, Kyra Skinner
Aquarium: CoralEmily Falker, Bailey Gomes, Jordyn Hopfensperger
Aquarium: Dolphins

Mya McPherson & Phillip Smith

Courtney Grayson & Don'Tae Mitchell


Isabella Manganello (Lead)

Abigail Foskuhl, Reya Ghiardi, MJ Opulencia, Erin Seiler

PeacockDon'Tae Da’Marcus
CuckoosHannah Johnson, Maya Moreau
GrizzliesRyan Griffin, DaShawn Mitchell, Phillip Smith
RacoonsEva Peterson, Rowan Ward
SwanLauren Goodman

Act II

Choreographer: Kristen Beth Williams

Music: “Pink Elephant” by Cherry Poppin‘ Daddies

Dancers: Gianna Daprai (Soloist), Xander Martin (Soloist), Joshua Bianca, Reya Ghiardi, Emma Houston, Kyla Kotecki, DaShawn Mitchell, Henry Moore, Maya Moreau, Erin Seiler, Kyra Skinner, Phillip Smith

Choreographer: Emma Houston

Music: “Angels and Queens” by Gabriels

Dancers: Gianna Daprai, Lauren Goodman, Courtney Grayson, Ryan Griffin, Kyla Kotecki, Isabella Manganello, Mya McPherson, Don'Tae Mitchell, MJ Opulencia, Amaraé Robinson, Erin Seiler, Rowan Ward

Choreographer: Emma Houston

Music: “Ode To A Love Lost” by Finn Ronsdorf

Dancers: Emma Houston

Choreographer: Don'Tae Mitchell

Music: “That Girl” by Maxi Priest and Shaggy

Dancers: Courtney Grayson, Jordyn Hopfensperger, Xander Martin, Don’Tae Mitchell, Phillip Smith, Sophia Zavala

Choreograper: Sylvia Gravel

Music: “Colombia ” by Local Natives

Dancers: Gianna Daprai, Mya McPherson, Eva Peterson, Rowan Ward

Choreographer: Maya Moreau

Music: “Back on 74” by Jungle

Dancers: Shiloh Bechek, Joshua Bianca, Kendyl Dahlstrom, Ryan Griffin, Hannah Johnson, Henry Moore, Maya Moreau, Sophia Zavala

Choreographer: Mya McPherson

Music: “Tank!” by SEATBELTS

Dancers: Isabella Manganello (Soloist), Gianna Daprai (Featured), Rowan Ward (Featured), Emily Falker, Bailey Gomes, Lauren Goodman, Don’Tae Mitchell, Eva Peterson, Elise Wilcox

Choreographer: Henry Moore

Assistant Choreographer: Hannah Johnson

Music: “Tightrope” by Michelle Williams

Dancers: Hannah Johnson & Henry Moore

Choreographer: Gianna Daprai

Music: “Labor” by Son Lux

Dancers: Emma Houston & Mya McPherson (Featured Duet), Kendyl Dahlstrom, Isabella Manganello, Don’Tae Mitchell, MJ Opulencia, Kyra Skinner, Rowan Ward

Choreographer: Mya McPherson

Music: “From a Place of Love” Instrumental by Mili

Dancers: Mya McPherson

Choreographer: Don'Tae Mitchell

Music: "Unholy" by Sam Smith and Kim Petras

Dancers: Joshua Bianca, Kendyl Dahlstrom, Gianna Daprai, Helen Fortin, Abigail Foskuhl, Courtney Grayson, Ryan Griffin, Jordyn Hopfensperger, Emma Houston, Hannah Johnson, Kyla Kotecki, Isabella Manganello, Xander Martin, DaShawn Mitchell, Henry Moore, Maya Moreau, MJ Opulencia, Amaraé Robinson, Kyra Skinner, Phillip Smith, Sophia Zavala

Additional Production Information

Artistic DirectorKarina Johnson
ChoreographersSylvia Gravel, Karina Johnson, Kristen Beth Williams
Student ChoreographersGianna Daprai, Emma Houston, Mya McPherson, Henry Moore, Don'Tae Mitchell, Maya Moreau
Production Stage ManagerSylvia Gravel
Lighting DesignerMegan Hibbard
Puppet & Costume Design CoordinatorEm Rossi
Technical DirectorBraeden Ingersoll

Indicates work done in partial fulfillment of the senior capstone.

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honors Society.

Assistant DirectorSylvia Gravel
Assistant Lighting DesignerAmbrose Meteyer
Head ElectricianMarla Alden
Light Board Operator Megan Hibbard
Puppet & Costume Designers

Art Directors:

Karina Johnson & Em Rossi


Specialty Puppet Construction Crew:

Shiloh Bechek, Ayla Berman, Emily Falker,

Bailey Gomes, Nancy Hagemeyer, Peyton Kier,

Mya McPhereson, Oliver Wells


Costume and Puppet Designers:

Lions – Gianna Bratke

Hens & Rooster – Em Rossi

Tortoises – Sam Wardisiani

Elephant – Em Rossi

Aquarium: Fish, Coral, & Jellyfish – Charlotte Somerville

Aquarium: Waves and Dolphins – Karina Johnson, Em Rossi

Aviary – Em Rossi & Zephyrus Choberka

Peacock & Cuckoos – Elise Wilcox

Grizzlies – Karina Johnson, Em Rossi

Racoons – Devon Dickerson

Swan – Courtney Grayson

Sound Board OperatorJohn Thomson
Stage ManagerAshely Rinehart
StagehandLindsey Walton

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honors Society.

ProducerBill Digneit
Artistic DirectorJill Grundstrom
Director of ProductionDavid Pierce
Costume Shop SupervisorEm Rossi
Lighting SupervisorDavid Pierce
Properties SupervisorKeli Crawford-Truckey
Scene Shop SupervisorBraeden Ingersoll
Associate Scene Shop SupervisorEmily Kendall
Scenic/Paint SupervisorLex van Blommestein
Sound and Media SupervisorRyan Harvey
Marketing and Box Office ManagerEmily Burbey
PhotographerJohn Scheibe


Scene Shop Technicians


Cassie Bowler, Maggie Brew, Tyler Crowley, Isabella Fontaine, Laura Hinz, Emily Iszler, Bryson Krieger †, Henry Moore, Grace Terwilliger, Sam Wardisiani †
Electrics Crew LeadMarla Alden
Sound/Media Crew LeadRyan Harvey
Electrics/Sound TechniciansCarley Bishop, Cyrus Cohen, Meara Kronsperger, Dane Krusick, Rachel Martin, Brayden Smith, Olly Wells
Costume Shop StaffGianna Bratke, Zephyrus Choberka, Rhiannyn McClauley, Lucy Plancia, Suzanne Shahbazi, Charlotte Somerville, Fen Torenvliet, Elise Wilcox
Marketing/Box Office StaffTyler Crowley, Gianna Daprai, Zoë Hajec, Keely-Shaye Hanson †, Bryson Krieger †

† Indicates membership in Alpha Psi Omega, the National Theatre Honor Society.

Joshua Bianca (Apprentice) is a first year student at NMU who is majoring in musical theater and minoring in dance. He is beyond excited to be a part of CO/LAB and get the opportunity to work with such talented dancers and choreographers. Joshua has previously been seen in A Christmas Carol, this will be his second collegiate performance. He can’t wait to continue his dance journey at NMU and is thankful for all he has learned this year.

Kendyl Dahlstrom (Apprentice) is a NMU student, pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in Dance. She is very grateful for her first year as a Co/Lab member. Kendyl has performed in previous NMUTD productions such as Spamalot (Patsy), Grease (Jan/Sandy Understudy), and The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee (Logainne).

Gianna Daprai (Student Choreographer & Company Member) is a third-year student at NMU, she is majoring in both dance and environmental science with a concentration in natural resources. She’s been dancing for 16 years and her previous performances at NMU include The North Coast Dance Festival (2023), CO/LAB Dance Concert (2023), The Producers (ensemble), and The Nutcracker (Snowflake). She has choreographed a contemporary piece, A Different Kind of Love, for the CO/LAB Dance Concert and the North Coast Dance Festival (2023). Gianna is also the current president of the CO/LAB Dance Company and is very grateful to perform and choreograph with the company for a second year. She’s very excited to perform as a chicken and a wave in Carnival of The Animals, the various student choreographed pieces, and showcasing her own choreographed piece Fractured Reflections.

Emily Falker (Apprentice) is excited to be in her first CO/LAB show, Carnival of the Animals! She is a Freshman from Houghton, MI, who is majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in German Education. Because she has been dancing since she was three years old, CO/LAB has been a wonderful creative outlet to continue doing what she loves most! She would like the thank the cast and crew for being so lovely to work with and she hopes that you will connect with and enjoy the show as much as she does!

Helen Fortin (Company Member) is a sophomore Musical Theatre BFA with a dance minor. She has been dancing for most of her life and loves the expressive quality it has. Helen is so excited to share all of the hard work that she and her peers have put into this show. She would like to thank her family for all of their boundless support and love throughout her performance journey.

Abigail Foskuhl (Company Member) is currently a sophomore dance major here at NMU. She is a Co/Lab Dance Company member and is the Vice President of the Co/Lab Dance Company Committee. Abigail is also a member of the NMU Dance Team. Last year she performed in the 2023 Co/Lab Dance Concert and the 2023 North Coast Dance Festival. Abigail is excited to perform in this year's Co/Lab Dance Concert with the rest of the company!

Reya Ghiardi (Company Member), age 15, is very honored to be a part of CoLab. She is a Sophomore at Marquette Senior High School and has been dual enrolled in NMU’s Dance department since her Freshman year. She hopes to pursue a career in Musical Theatre. Recent credits include Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Pinocchio (Blue Fairy), and Descendants (Mal).

Bailey Gomes (Company Member) completed their undergraduate degree at NMU in forensic biochemistry last year and is now a first year graduate student in the biology MS program. Bailey has been dancing for 11 years in various styles, and they are currently a member of the NMU Hip Hop Dance Crew. Bailey is so excited to be a part of CO/LAB and wants to thank everyone in the company for their support and hard work on this show!

Lauren Goodman (Company Member) is a senior at Northern Michigan University , majoring in sports science with a dance minor. She has a pre-physical therapy focus and is pursuing a career as a physical therapist with NASA. She is originally from Dayton, OH, and grew up dancing classical ballet. She then went on to major in dance at Wright State Univeristy, while dancing with Dayton Ballet's second company. She left college after two years to dance as a trainee with Alonzo King Lines Contemporary Ballet Company.Some of her favorite roles over the years includes Cinderella in Cinderella, the Black Swan in Swan Lake, and Headache Girl in Serenade.This is her first season with Co/lab dance company and is so excited for her return to the stage!

Courtney Grayson (Company Member) is a new transfer student at NMU, coming from a community college in her hometown Wakefield, MI. Courtney is currently a dance major here with this being her first year in the CO/LAB company, where she has co-choreographed "Unholy" and "That Girl", and also designed the Swans costume featured in the Carnival Ballet. After graduation she hopes to go and dance professionally and later share her love for the art of dance. Courtney would like to thank her amazing family for all the support they have shown her throughout the years that helped her get where she is today!

Ryan Griffin (Apprentice) is very excited to be performing in his first ever dance competition. He has never been apart of something like this before and is forever grateful for this amazing opportunity. He would like to thank Karina, Kristen, and Jill for taking a shot on him as well as the student choreographers for trusting him with their dances. Finally he would like all of you to enjoy the show!

Jordyn Hopfensperger (Apprentice) is incredibly excited to be performing in CO/LAB Dance Company's Carnival of the Animals: A Short Ballet and Choreography Showcase! Jordyn is currently a Freshman Musical Theatre major at NMU and her previous NMU theatrical credits include Spamalot, Holiday Soiree, and Wildcat Theatre Follies! Other education credits include The Wizard of Oz, Mamma Mia, and Footloose! Jordyn is extremely excited to be premiering this brand new ballet along side such an exceptionally talented cast and crew! She hope's you all enjoy the show! IG: @jordynhopfensperger

Emma Houston (Student Choreographer & Company Member) is excited to showcase her choreographed piece "Angles and Queens" and perform in her first Co/Lab Production. She is a Junior at NMU, majoring in Multimedia Journalism. She's been dancing for 17 years at various schools including the Joffrey School of Dance, in New York City. She would like to thank her family and friends for their wide support and hope they enjoy the show.

Hannah Johnson (Apprentice) is a freshman in the Musical Theatre program and is ecstatic to be in her first CO/LAB show! She was recently seen at Northern in both A Christmas Carol and Spamalot. Hannah made her professional debut in Annie as Annie with Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, but recent credits include Donna in Mamma Mia!, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Ursula in The Little Mermaid. When she isn't performing, Hannah can be found in the gym, spending time in nature, reading, playing with her puppy, or eating food. She sends her love to her wonderful family back home!

Kyla Kotecki (Company Member) is a sophomore at NMU, double majoring in Dance and Acting. This is her sixth production at NMU, following performances in: Excerpts From The Nutcracker (Chocolate), CO/LAB (dancer, choreographer), Grease (Cha Cha DiGregorio), Spamalot! (ensemble), and Holiday Soiree (Santa’s Elf). Kyla is so excited for you all to see this show, and to witness all of the hard work and creativity that came together to put it on. She is immensely proud of all of her friends in the company.

Isabella Manganello (Company Member) cannot wait to perform on stage for her first and last time on the Northern Michigan University stage. She is finishing her senior year strong and graduating with a bachelors degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Technical Theatre. Isabella started dancing at the age of 4, and is excited to end her dancing journey 18 years later with the COLAB Dance Company.

Xander Martin (Company Member) makes his debut at Northern Michigan University! He is a first year at NMU, and is looking to be a dance major. He has done dance for more than 10 years, and plans to keep dancing!

Mya McPherson (Student Choreographer & Company Member) has been dancing since she was three years old, wearing pink tutus and sparkly bows at her home town studio, Patti Herm School of Dance. She received extensive dance training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and tap styles while also gaining experience as a choreographer. Now a freshman dance major at NMU, Mya aspires to become a performer, choreographer, and dance teacher. Her favorite style is contemporary because of its ability to tell stories and express deep emotions through movement. Mya has recently been seen in the Holiday Soiree and is looking forward to sharing her passion for dance in this year's CO/LAB Dance Company Performance!

Don'Tae Mitchell (Student Choreographer & Apprentice) is a Musical Theatre first year at Northern Michigan University. He is more than excited to be making his dance debut here in the Frt with the co/lab dance company. For him this process has been very exciting, exhausting and challenging in many ways (more good than bad). In this show you’ll see two pieces he choreographed. Those might be ‘Unholy’ by Sam Smith, and ‘That Girl’ by Maxi Priest ft. Shaggy. One special thing about this show he would like to share is the opportunity to put on a mask and share his passion for dance through the choreography his peers/ best friends worked so hard on. One fun fact he would like to share is, this is not the first time he’s got to perform as a rooster :). He hopes you enjoy this show as much as he’s enjoyed working on it. Ig: @Dontaedamarccuss

Henry Moore (Student Choreographer & Apprentice) is a freshman at NMU and is pursuing a degree in acting and a minor in business. This is his first year in a dance company and his first year taking dance classes. He would like to attribute any of his dancing ability to his teachers at Northern and his mom for all of the time they spent dancing in the kitchen. He hopes you all enjoy the show!

Maya Moreau (Student Choreographer & Apprentice) is a Musical Theater BFA Student here at Northern Michigan University. You may recognize her from shows such as Salome (Salome), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Olive), and Grease (Marty). She recently received an Irene Ryan Award, and is looking forward to competing nationally in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in April.

MJ Opulencia (Company Member), also known as MJ, is delighted to be back on stage after taking a break from dance. Prior to her break, she performed in shows such as Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Hansel and Gretel, and The Nutcracker. As an international student from the Philippines, she is pursuing a degree in Clinical Laboratory Science and pre-medicine at Northern Michigan University. She wishes to share her love and passion for dance at this year’s CO/LAB production and hopes everyone enjoys the show. TikTok: mjjj.mjjj

Eva Peterson (Company Member) is finishing up her last semester at Northern with an Environmental Studies and Sustainability Major and an Outdoor Recreation Minor. She has grown up dancing in Madison, Wisconsin and this is her second year dancing in the CO/LAB production. Although she isn't in school for dance, Eva is so grateful for the community that CO/LAB has provided her as well as the opportunity to dance and perform again.

Amaraé Robinson (Company Member) is a BFA Musical Theatre Major with training in technical theater, vocal and instrumental music. She enjoys building her craft in all areas of theater, having worked in several NMU productions, most recently performing in Spamalot and A Christmas Carol. Now a graduated apprentice, Amaraé is blessed to be returning for her 2nd year in the Co/Lab Dance Company. She is blessed to be part of a beautiful family of brilliant artists who inspire her everyday. She hopes you enjoy the show and says “Break a leg!” to all of her Co/Lab family.

Erin Seiler (Apprentice) is very excited to be making her debut in Co/Lab Dance Company! She is a sophomore pursing a major in mathematics and a minor in dance. Erin is also a member of the NMU dance team. She cannot wait to perform with the company and hopes you enjoy the show!

Kyra Skinner (Company Member) comes to us from the EUP of Michigan! She is a fresh NMU grad earning two bachelor’s degrees, BA Dance and BS Psychology with a developmental concentration. Some of Kyra’s other roles include: The Wolves, Footloose, Variations from The Nutcracker, Rock of Ages, and Spamalot. Kyra is also a 2 time member of the CO/LAB Dance Company and is a part of the CO/LAB Committee! She feels very grateful to be a part of this gorgeous show, that is bursting with passion and love of dance <3 Kyra would like to thank her family, friends, boyfriend, and company for the endless support!

Phillip Smith (Company Member) is a sophomore in the Acting BFA program born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska. He practically grew up in the theatre, having been involved in both school and community theatre programs and productions from a very young age. Since arriving at NMU, he has been featured in Finding Home (Ensemble), Salome (Soldier #2), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Swing), Grease (Doody), and Spamalot! (Sir Lancelot/Dance Captain). He is excited to be a part of Co/Lab Dance Company!

Caydence Sturtevant (Company Member) did competitive dance for ten years before joining Co/Lab. She is now majoring in Business and minoring in Dance with hopes of owning her own dance studio someday.

Rowan Ward (Company Member) is in her second year of school at Northern Michigan University and is majoring in social work with a minor in dance! She has previously performed in last years CO/LAB performance and at the North Coast Dance Festival. She is very excited to take part in another show here with the company, and is thankful to all her peers and mentors for inspiring her throughout the season!

Elise Wilcox (Apprentice) is so excited to be making her Co/Lab debut, as well as her costume design debut, in this year’s production of Carnival of the Animals! In addition to being part of the Elephant and an ensemble dancer in Maverick, you can see her costuming work on the Peacock and Cuckoos. Past credits include, A Christmas Carol (costuming), Salome (costuming), Alice in Wonderland Ballet (Tweedle Dee), La Sylphide (Sylph) and many other cool fun projects. She is very grateful to her family and friends for all their support, and for giving her that little push when she can’t push herself.

Sophia Zavala (Apprentice) entering her second semester here as a freshman in NMU Theatre and Dance! They’re very passionate about performance and couldn't be more thrilled to create art with such wonderful people here in Marquette, most recently having been part of Wildcat Theatre Follies, Clybourne Park, and the Holiday Soirée. While most of her dance concentration lies in musical theater, she loves to dabble in all styles! (particularly hip hop and the occasional funky contemporary routine)⋆⭒˚。⋆

Karina Johnson (CO/LAB Dance Company Artistic Director & Choreographer) started ballet at the age of four in Irvine, California, and was trained by such accomplished teachers as Charles Maple, Amanda McKerrow, and John Gardner from American Ballet Theatre, as well as Evelyn Cisneros from San Francisco Ballet. She attended ABT, Boston Ballet, and American Academy of Ballet summer intensives 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!

Sylvia Gravel (Production Stage Manager, Assistant Director & Choreographer) graduated from NMU in 2023 with a B.S. in Dance. During her time as a student, she performed in a variety of dance concerts and other shows. Sylvia’s experience during the first year of the CO/LAB Dance Company led to her current position as the Company Intern/Assistant. In addition, she choreographed the contemporary piece “STATIC” for this show, and has choreographed for CO/LAB in the past (’22-23), as well as the NMU Dance Team (’21).

Kristen Beth Williams (Choreographer) Since moving to Marquette in 2022 with her family, Kristen Beth has been on faculty at NMU, teaching theatre and dance. She has directed and choreographed Rock of Ages, the Holiday Soirée, A Charlie Brown Christmas, “Take the A Train,” an 8 minute jazz ballet conceived for the Co/Lab Dance Company, and a hip-hop routine for last year’s Dancing With Our Stars. As a performer, Kristen Beth has been in six Broadway shows, travelled the country on national tours, and performed internationally (in London’s West End and in Lisbon!). She is thrilled to present a brand new piece for Co/Lab and thanks her dancers for their hard work and dedication and her family for their support.

Megan Hibbard (Lighting Designer & Lightboard Operator) is an alumna of Northern Michigan University and graduated with a BA in Theatre and a minor in Art and Design. She loves her time both onstage and off, and loves to have a hand in multiple aspects of the theater! In the past you may have seen her onstage as Natalie Goodman in “Next to Normal”, Judy Turner in “A Chorus Line”, or Sherrie Christian in “Rock of Ages”. She was also the Co-Choreographer of NMU’s “Grease”, and the Choreographer of NMU’s Spamalot! Megan’s lighting designs include “Elf”, and NMU’s 2023 CO/LAB performance. She would like to thank her loved ones for their support and she hopes you enjoy the show!

Em Rossi (Puppet & Costume Design Coordinator) is an NMU alumnus (2004 BS, 2006 MA) and the faculty member for costumes, hair, and makeup. She holds an MFA in Costume Design from Wayne State University and has designed costumes and puppets for educational and regional theatres in St. Louis, North Carolina, and Michigan. Recent designs include costumes and puppets for Above the Timberline, costumes for Grease, costumes, hair and makeup for Rock of Ages, costumes for Christmas Carol, and costumes for Anything Goes.

Braeden Ingersoll (Technical Director), originally from Des Moines, Iowa, received his MFA in Technical Production from Florida State University where he focused on Technical Direction, Production Management, and teaching. Additional professional credits include Technical Director with Des Moines Metro Opera and Theatre Aspen, and Assistant Technical Director with Creede Repertory Theatre. His work in the Entertainment industry has been driven by his fondness for storytelling and accomplishing technical feats onstage. Clybourne Park marks Braeden’s return to scenic design after a short hiatus. Other design credits include The Bald Soprano & These Shining Lives.

Marla Alden (Head Electrician) is a Senior BFA Technology and Design student focusing on lighting and electrics. Some of her past works include Spamalot, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and A Complicated Hope. Recently she has been seen working at Maine State Music Theatre as an electrician. She is forever grateful for her amazing friends, family, and mentors for their support throughout her career.

Ambrose Meteyer (Assistant Lighting Designer) is a freshman in the BFA Theatre Technology and Design program. Recent credits at NMU include Spamalot (Stage Manager) and Clybourne Park (Stage Manager). He is excited to be working on lighting at NMU for the first time and hopes everyone enjoys the show!

Ashley Rinehart (Stage Manager) is honored to be part of the stage management team for the CO/LAB Dance Company. She is a freshman pursing her BFA in Theatre Technology and Design with a concentration in stage management. Some of her recent educational credits include Clybourne Park, Our Town, Kiss Me Kate!, A MidSummer Night's Dream, and upcoming performance Anything Goes. She is so thrilled to be a part of the NMU Theatre and Dance family! IG: @ashley.e.rinehart

Lindsey Walton (Stagehand) is very excited to get back into theatre and work on her first show at NMU. Before coming to Northern, she worked on many shows, including her favorites: Arsenic and Old Lace and Les Miserables. She is a senior majoring in political science with a concentration in pre-law and a minor in theatre. She has not had much of an opportunity to learn about what happens behind the scenes of a production, and is looking forward to gaining a new perspective on how a show makes it to the stage.