North Coast Dance Festival Event Photo

North Coast Dance Festival

Our Annual Dance Festival
In its inaugural year, the North Coast Dance Festival will welcome professional dancers from across the country to NMU's campus for an event that is sure to entertain. Inclusive of both performance and educational programming, this showcase is sure to be an experience that you do not want to miss! Featuring performances by Ballet Project OC from Orange County, CA, former Sacramento Ballet dancers Julia Feldman and Mate Szentes, and NMU's CO/LAB Company with Contemporary (One) and Jazz (Take the A Train) pieces choreographed by Karina Johnson and Kristen Beth Williams. This event has been generously supported by the Siril Endowment for the Arts.

Wednesday, July 27th at 6:00pm - Observable Ballet Master Class taught by Julia Feldman and Talk Back (FREE)

PLEASE NOTE: This event is open to the public at no charge. It isn't often that the public gets to see how dancers train leading up to a performance. In this behind-the-scenes training demonstration, audience members are invited to observe a ballet master class taught by Julia Feldman (1 hour 15 minutes) of NCDF artists and NMU and community dancers, as well as attend a talkback with our visiting artists and NMU students about being a dancer and performer. The talkback will be moderated by NCDF director Jill Grundstrom. Questions from the audience will be accepted.

Class Participation: The ballet master class will be open to NMU and community ballet dancers ages 14 and up with at least 5 years of previous ballet training. Participants must register in advance here.

Once you have registered, the NCDF staff will review your application for acceptance. A follow-up email with detailed instructions will be sent to you on or by Tuesday, July 26.

Registration for class participation will close on Monday, July 25 at 5:00pm.

If you are under 18, you will need to have a parent or guardian sign a release form on-site.

Thursday, July 28th at 8:00pm - Performance and Opening Night Party
Friday, July 29th at 8:00pm - Performance

Location: Forest Roberts Theatre

Tickets are $17 for General Public, $12 for NMU Faculty/Staff, Seniors, and Military, $10 for Students, and $5 for NMU Students.


Cast List


C'est la Vie

Choreographed by Mate Szentes
Music: "Le vieux piano," "Les amants d'un jour," "Padam, padam," and "Non, je ne regrette rien" by Edith Piaf
Performed by Ballet Project OC dancers Rachel Hutsell*, Alberto Andrade, Marissa Arnold, Ethan Boresow, Elise Filo-Kruger, Erick Garnica, Cara Hansvick, Julianne Kinasiewicz, and Robert Mack

*Indicates lead role



Choreographed by Karina Johnson


First Movement: "The Way I Feel Inside" by the Zombies
Second Movement: "Daydream" by The Lovin' Spoonful
Third Movement: "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and the Shondells
Fourth Movement: "One" by Three Dog Night
Fifth Movement: "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals

Performed by CO/LAB Company dancers Brigitte Bartesch, Devon Dickerson, Sylvia Gravel, Megan Hibbard, Aja Alise, Kyra Skinner, and Maisie Zahn


Here in Dreams

Choreographed by Julia Feldman
Music: "Prelude in G, Op. 32, No. 5" by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performed by Julia Feldman and Mate Szentes


Take the A Train

Choreographed by Kristen Beth Williams
Music: "Take the A Train" by Duke Ellington
Performed by CO/LAB Company dancers Brigitte Bartesch, Sylvia Gravel, Jill Grundstrom, Eden Langlois, and Kyra Skinner


Count Me In

Choreographed by Ally Helman
Music: "Music Makers," "You Made Me Love You," "Strictly Instruments," "It's Been a Long, Long Time," and "Trumpet Blues and Cantabile" by Harry James

"Music Makers"
Cara Hansvick and Alberto Andrade

"You Made Me Love You"
Elise Filo-Kruger and Erick Garnica

"Strictly Instruments"
Marissa Arnold, Rachel Hutsell, and Robert Mack

"It's Been a Long, Long Time" 
Ethan Boresow and Julianne Kinasiewicz

"Trumpet Blues and Cantabile"
Alberto Andrade, Marissa Arnold, Ethan Boresow, Elise Filo-Kruger, Erick Garnica, Cara Hansvick, Rachel Hutsell, Julianne Kinasiewicz, Robert Mack

Creative Team


Artistic Director Jill Grundstrom
Lighting Designer David Pierce
Costume Supervisor Ann Juidici
Sound Designer Dan Zini
Production Stage Manager Lilith Kontos
Technical Director Braeden Ingersoll

Additional Artistic Staff


Assistant Stage Manager Marla Alden
Audio 1 Ryan Harvey

Forest Roberts Theatre Summer Staff


Director of Theatre Jill Grundstrom
Technical Director and Scene Shop Supervisor Braeden Ingersoll
Costume Shop Supervisor Ann Juidici
Sound and Media Supervisor Dan Zini
Master Electrician Marla Alden
Electricians Ryan Harvey, Erin Hope
Marketing/Box Office Manager Lilith Kontos
Front of House Staff Erin Hope

Creative Team Bios

Jill Grundstrom (Artistic Director) has a B.S. from NMU in Secondary Education with majors in English and French, a M.A. in Dance Education from New York University, and an Ed.S. from NMU in Educational Leadership. She is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in Dance Education with a concentration in Movement Science at Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as assisting with new Character Dance and Partnering curricula for American Ballet Theatre (America’s National Ballet Company®) in New York City. She is certified in the Luigi Jazz Technique, American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum, is a Certified FLX Conditioning Specialist, and a Hamrick Method Master Trainer. Jill has choreographed over 30 full-length musical and dance productions in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, and here in 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, New York City Ballet, and Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance

Originally from Davis, California, Julia Feldman (Choreographer, "Here in Dreams") received her training under Pamela Hayes of Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet. She began her professional career as a dancer with the Sacramento Ballet in 2011, and is a current Company Artist. During her time with the Sacramento Ballet, she has danced principal and featured roles in works choreographed by George Balanchine, Ma Cong, Ron Cunningham, Jodie Gates, Adam Hougland, Gabrielle Lamb, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Penny Saunders, Amy Seiwert, and Septime Webre, among others. Highlights have included performing the central couple in Jodie Gates’ Keep Me Wishing in the Dark, ‘1st pas’ in Ma Cong’s Bloodrush, the Pas de Deux from George Balanchine’s Agon, and the role of Ophelia in Stephen Mills’ ‘Hamlet’. Julia developed her passion for choreography through the Sacramento Ballet's choreographic showcase Beer and Ballet, and has created a new work for the program annually since 2012. She has choreographed for the School of the Sacramento Ballet, in addition to teaching for the School's Summer Intensive program, and has enjoyed teaching master classes throughout the broader Sacramento region. In 2015, Julia co-founded Capital Dance Project (CDP), a collective of professional dancers based in Sacramento for which she has created seven premieres to date. She is inspired by the Sacramento arts community, and takes pride in her work with the CDP team to provide a unique creative platform and employment for local artists, musicians and dancers. In 2019, Julia was one of four choreographers selected for the National Choreographer’s Initiative in Irvine, CA, under the direction of Molly Lynch. In 2021, Julia was one of three choreographers commissioned to co-create a new Nutcracker for the Sacramento Ballet, under the direction of Anthony Krutzkamp. She was honored to be selected as one of three choreographers to participate in the New York Choreographic Institute's 2022 Spring Session, under the direction of Adrian Danchig. Most recently, Julia’s full work commission with the Sacramento Ballet, ‘Hearts’, premiered in April 2022.

Mate Szentes (Choreographer, "C'est la Vie") is originally from Budapest, Hungary and began his training at the age of six. He studied at the Hungarian Dance Academy while attending summer programs at North Carolina Dance Theater in Charlotte, NC on full scholarships. Upon graduation he joined the Hungarian National Ballet where he danced for 3 years performing corps de ballet and soloist roles in the company’s many classical and contemporary productions. In 2012 he moved to California and joined the Sacramento Ballet as a company artist and continued expanding his repertoire. Mr. Szentes relocated to the east coast in 2015 to join the Richmond Ballet where he danced principal and soloist roles in the company’s very versatile repertoire. Besides dancing classical ballet’s most famous roles he had the opportunity to dance many of George Balanchine’s works and worked with world renowned choreographers such as Ma Cong, Val Caniparoli, Mariana Oliveira, Melissa Barak, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa among many others. He’s also a permanent guest principal dancer with American Contemporary Ballet and Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet and has been one of few dancers selected to participate at the very prestigious National Choreographers Initiative in 2016 and 2018. Since 2016 he has also been choreographing and had his original works showcased in Virginia, California and New Mexico. 

Ally Helman (Choreographer, "Count Me In") was born and raised in Southern California where she began dancing at a young age. Her professional training led her to The School of American Ballet in New York City. While at The School of American Ballet, Ally discovered not only a new love for ballet but for choreographing as well. She choreographed in SAB’s annual Student Choreographic Workshop in 2016 and 2017 and participated in the School’s Summer Choreography showcase in 2018-2019. Ms. Helman also choreographed for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in 2020. Ally has danced professionally with New York City Ballet and, along with her sister, Emily, launched Ballet Project OC and the streaming platform Ballet Project TV out of sheer determination in 2019. Since it's inception, Ally has taken on artistic leadership as well as choreographer and dancer roles. Since then, fifteen new works, including one full length production and a dance movie, have graced the stage at Ballet Project OC. Currently, Ally continues to create new works and presents them to audiences across the country.

Karina Johnson (Choreographer, "One") 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 guesting 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! Karina and her husband Iver, who was also a professional dancer with the Sacramento Ballet, moved to Marquette in May 2020 to pursue new career paths, be close to family, and start a family of their own. While not teaching ballet, Karina spends her time with her baby girl Juniper, and on the side painting and selling large abstract paintings at art festivals and shows.

Kristen Beth Williams (Choreographer, "Take the A Train") is a Broadway dancer, actor, and singer. She was recently in the new Broadway musical Paradise Square, and her other Broadway credits include Hello, Dolly (with Bette Midler), PippinNice Work if You Can Get It (with Matthew Broderick), Anything Goes, and Promises, Promises. She has trained extensively with the VerdonFosse Legacy and choreographers Randy Skinner and Kathleen Marshall. She recently moved to Marquette with her family, and is thrilled to be part of the North Coast Dance Festival this year!