cristi tan

Cristi grew up dancing in Lakeville, MN where she was on the Star Liner Dance Team and the Lakeville North Dance Team. While in high school Cristi performed in the Presidential Inaugural Parade For President George Bush, danced halftime at the Outback Bowl in Florida, competed in the State Dance Team Tournament and was awarded All State Dancer by the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders her senior year. After high school, Cristi attended St. Cloud State University and earned a degree in Elementary Education. During this time, Cristi taught at the Just for Kix program in St. Cloud, was the JFK Director in Mora, and was also a coach for the Lakeville North Dance Team. After college Cristi danced for a Semi Pro Football Team for 3 years and took the Head Dance Team Coach position at Prior Lake High School and Prior Lake Middle School. Cristi spent 12 seasons coaching at Prior Lake and in this time the team grew from 20 dancers to 70 dancers and attended to the State Tournament 8 years in a row. Cristi has also been nominated Coach of the Year through MADT and Prior Lake High School in 2015 - 2018. In 2018 Cristi performed at the Superbowl Halftime Show with Justin Timberlake!

With her love of dance she decided to start her own studio too! Evolution Dance Company is entering its 11th year and Cristi is proud to be a positive role model in so many kids' lives. 

studio owner and director + instructor

kristina FOLSTAD

assistant director + competitive instructor

Kristina started out as a studio dancer at the age of 3, training and competing  with Chanhassen Dance and Performing Arts Centre. Growing up she trained in all different styles- jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theater, hip-hop, etc. Kristina then attended Eden Prairie High School, where she was a 4-year member and senior captain of the Eden Prairie Pom Squad. With her team, she won 3 Jazz National Championships at the National Dance Team Championships,  along with 5 second place finishes. She then moved on to attend the University of Minnesota - studying Communications and Sports Management. While earning her degree she was a 4-year member and senior captain of the University of Minnesota Dance Team. During her time on the team, she won 6 national titles at the UDA College Championship and won a gold and silver medal as Team USA at the ICU World Championship. While on both her high school and college dance teams, she received awards such as Most Inspirational, Most Improved, and Gopher Spirit Award. For the past 8 seasons, Kristina was a proud Varsity Assistant Coach of Prior Lake Dance Team, recently stepping down in order to put more focus into the growth of EDC.

This will be Kristina's 8th year with Evolution Dance Company, and her 4th year working full time with the studio. She is grateful to push boundaries, express creativity, and help to shape young dancers and adults every single day! 

NICole bruhn

competitive instructor

Nicole is from Centennial, Colorado; where she trained at Starstruck Academy of Dance for 16 years. She began competing for the Elite Company Team at the age of 5; in that time she also had the opportunity to assist many name choreographers from around the country. Nicole graduated from Arapahoe High School where she was a 4-year varsity letter winner and captain of the dance team her senior year. As a senior, she led her team to a state championship. After high school, Nicole moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. At the U, she continued her dance career as a member of the University of Minnesota Dance Team. During her time on the team, she won 6 national titles at the UDA College Championship and won a gold and silver medal as Team USA at the ICU World Championship. Nicole was a 4-year collegiate varsity letter winner and served as a captain her senior year; helping lead the team to a double National Title. She graduated in May 2017 from the College of Science and Engineering with a Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering (B.Bm.E), emphasizing in Medical Device Design; she now works full-time as a Supplier Quality Engineer with Medtronic in Plymouth, MN. 

Nicole has been with Evolution Dance Company for 6 years - she continually pushes our competitive program both with her creativity and knowledge of the dance industry. 

makenzee helser

competitive instructor + recreational instructor + acro instructor

Makenzee started her dance journey at the age of 3.  She trained and competed at Mauri’s School of dance for 11 years while performing in multiple dance genres. Throughout high school she was a 4-year Varsity member of the Prior Lake Dance Team. In college, she was a National Champion in Pom while on the Minnesota State University, Mankato Dance Team in 2019. She is currently in school and pursuing Exercise Science. 

She has a passion for dance and has been teaching lessons for 8 years, 4 of which have been with Evolution Dance Company. In addition to instructing at Evolution Dance Company, she is currently working at Bodies in Motion tumbling + technique and Infusion Acro, where she has coaching experience in dance, cheer, and gymnastics. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with such talented artists and athletes at Evolution Dance Company, and we are so happy to have her! 

Jess erickson

recreational instructor + competitive instructor

Jess started her dance career at a young age, attending Woodbury Dance Center where she trained competitively in ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical. Jess continued her dancing career at Gustavus Adolphus College, where she performed on the Fall Performance Dance Team at basketball and football games as well as danced on the Winter Competition Dance Team for 4 years. During her time on the team Jess was elected captain and helped with choreography and technique training. After graduating Jess took over as Head Coach for the Gustavus Performance and Competition Dance Teams and led her team to local and national competitions. After college, she worked at NorthStar Dance Company with recreational and competitive dancers of all ages. She also danced with The Minnesota Dance Collaborative as a company member for 3 years and then transitioned into choreography for company pieces. She then moved on to coaching the JV Prior Lake Dance Team for 2 winter seasons.

Outside of dance, Jess has been working in the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District as a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher for the past 9 years. Jess is excited to bring her passion for dance and teaching together. Jess's goals are to build a strong sense of community and to ignite passion in young dancers as they learn and grow in their early dancing career


recreational instructor

Ashley started her dancing career at the age of 3 training in various styles of dance. Her 12 years of competitive studio experience includes Evolution Dance Company’s Legacy Program, a post-dance team season competition team. In high school, she was also a 5-year Varsity member and senior captain for the Burnsville Blazettes Dance Team winning multiple awards such as All-State, All-Conference, the “Blazette” Award, etc. She also performed in Super Bowl 52’s Halftime show with Justin Timberlake! Ashley later attended the University of Minnesota where she was also a member of a student-based choreography and performance club called the Dance Collective. Throughout her semesters, her dances received numerous awards such as Most Entertaining, Best Jazz, Best Hip Hop, Best Formations, Crowd Favorite, and so on!

Currently, Ashley is going on her third year to coach for the Two Rivers Dance Team, and she is so excited to continue her dance journey at Evolution Dance Company!

Kacey Southwick

ballet instructor

Kacey was born and raised in Minnesota. She started dancing at age 5, studying all styles of dance. At age 11 she became a competitive artistic gymnast, while still continuing part time ballet training. At the age of 16, she began training strictly in classical ballet and still continues to do so today. Kacey has performed the featured roles of Arabian, Flower Queen in Waltz of the Flowers, Rat Queen, and Dancing Doll all from the Nutcracker. She has also performed Puss and Boots from Sleeping Beauty and Work Duet from Coppelia. Kacey lives in Minneapolis and recently became a mom to baby Rory and Callahan! 

We have been lucky to have Kacey with us for 7 years now! 

Erika Ellis

Ballet instructor

Erika began dancing at the age of 6, with her focus mainly in classical ballet. She received much of her training and mentorship from local professional, Yuki Tokuda. Throughout her career, Erika has danced principal and soloist roles with Continental Ballet Company, Metropolitan Ballet, and Minneapolis Ballet Dancers and has enjoyed performing as a freelance artist as well. Some of her favorite roles include Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Clara in The Nutcracker, Summer Fairy in Cinderella, and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty. In addition to teaching, Erika is pursuing a degree in Theatre Production & Design at Normandale College.

Erika has been a ballet instructor with Evolution Dance Company for 7 years and we are excited for another season with her! 


"When compared to all dance studios in the area, Evolution comes to the top of the list for us. It is small but MIGHTY. The technique and quality of the coaching is like no other. The right balance between commitment, investment and fun. Cristi and her staff have created an incredible community. My two daughters have been dancing there for 8 years and we would not have it any other way!"

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"I would most definitely recommend Evolution Dance! With in the first few classes my daughter attended, I was able to see a tremendous boost in her confidence and overall self esteem. She enjoys going to every class."

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"A local studios company that fosters sportsmanship, collaboration, performance and excellence. Not only do they teach dance but my kids are also learning how to be good leaders and citizens of the world."

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"I feel like I have improved every time I walk out the studio. The trainers and girls have become my second family!!"

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"So happy we joined this studio, my dancer loves it and has found the supportive environment she was looking for to help her improve her skills. The staff promote growth, learning and team building in a positive setting. Class sizes are small. So grateful for Cristi and her team of instructors!"

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"I couldn’t imagine a better environment for girls of all ages to learn how to dance than Evolution Dance Company! EDC is a positive, friendly, welcoming, and encouraging space for dancers of all age groups and skill levels. EDC goes beyond teaching dance, it is a community of families that support each other on every level, from brothers playing in the lobby while their sisters are at dance class to parents becoming life long friends bonding over their shared experiences!" 

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"The love that the instructors have for the dance and the kids are amazing. We have become a family with all the new families we meet each year. This is a very family oriented place to be at."

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"Miss Cristi and team are phenomenal!! They teach age appropriate dances and get to know each dancer individually.. I highly recommend this studio!! There are TVs outside the studio for parents to watch, and the studio isn't so large that you get lost in the shuffle. We went to other studios nearby and did not feel the personal connection that Miss Cristi and team provide.."

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"Evolution Dance Company fosters a supportive and inclusive environment for dancers of all ages and skill levels. The sense of community at EDC sets it apart from other studios, and the camaraderie among the students is remarkable! The instructors are highly skilled, supportive and have a passion for dance - they are dedicated to helping students grow and improve with a focus on ballet-based technique. We love EDC and look forward to many more exciting years!"

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"Our daughter danced at Evolution Dance Company for 10 years before graduating from high school and moving on to college. They helped our daughter achieve her dream of dancing in college and she is thriving on her college dance team. She continues to be so fulfilled by the role dance plays in her life. She has made the greatest friends at EDC and has learned an incredible number of important life skills there. She continues to call EDC her “dance home” and visits often when she is back in town from college. We would absolutely reccomend EDC to anyone looking for a supportive dance community where dancers can reach their full potential." 

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