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 is going into her 12th year coaching at Prior Lake and in this time the team has grown from 20 dancers to 70 dancers and has been 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 9th year and Cristi is proud to be a positive role model in so many kids' lives. 

studio owner and director + instructor

kristina monsen

assistant director + competitive instructor

Kristina started out as a studio dancer at the age of 3, training and competing  with Chanhassen Dance. 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. Currently, along with teaching at Evolution Dance Company, Kristina is a proud Varsity Assistant Coach of the Prior Lake Dance Team. 

This will be Kristina's  6th year with Evolution Dance Company, and her 2nd year working full time. 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 4 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 6 years, 2 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, 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! 

ali arnold

recreational instructor + competitive assistant

Ali is currently a senior at Prior Lake High School; she lives in Savage with her parents, her two older siblings, and her kitty, Nala. Ali has been dancing at Evolution Dance Company since it opened 9 years ago. She is so passionate about dance and is very grateful to have started teaching dance as well! She started assisting recreational classes 3 years ago, and now she leads her own recreational classes and assists competition classes.  She was also on the varsity Prior Lake Dance Team for three years and went to state both her freshman and sophomore year! We love having Ali on staff and she feels so lucky to be able to combine two of her biggest passions- teaching and dancing!

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! 

We have been lucky to have Kacey with us for 5 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 5 years and we are excited for another season with her! 

mollie helser

front desk

Mollie's journey with Evolution Dance Company began after her dancer daughter graduated high school, and she was not ready to let go of the dance mom life. You can find Mollie helping out at the front desk or in the  back rhinestoning costumes. She adores her work life in our positive and fun studio atmosphere, and the dancers all amaze her everyday. In addition to Evolution Dance Company, Mollie also works as a Patient Coordinator at Skin Artisans at Edina Plastic Surgery. Mollie is always free to answer any questions and I always happy to help! 

OUR STAFF

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!

★  ★  ★  ★  ★

"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.."

★  ★  ★  ★  ★

"We LOVe Evolution Dance Company!! Our son has danced there for over 2 years. Cristi has made it such a warm, welcoming space. Even during the shelter-in-place, she was able to engage the kids virtually and still pull off a virtual recital!"

★  ★  ★  ★  ★

"This is an great dance company. Cristi (primary dance instructor) is amazing. My daughter loves going and Cristi chose a gorgeous costume design for my daughter's class this year."

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