We are stronger together! Our teaching team is filled with both seasoned professionals and fresh young talent, all working towards the same common goals for children's growth.
Using a written syllabus ensures that our team pulls together in the same direction, and our staff have been carefully chosen for both their abilities and their hearts to serve.
Ballet & Contemporary Instructor
Brooke Funk received her full dance training as a student at Steps of Grace Ballet School, and was additionally trained as a teacher’s assistant for 2 years. Brooke then went on to teach for multiple different ages at Steps of Grace for 4 years. Her performance credits include His Gift, David’s Heartbeat, You Are Special, Unknown, and Moses. Brooke’s choreography graced the stage of many Steps of Grace productions, and she continues to challenge Acts 17:28 Dance students of all ages to dance in new and creative ways through her pieces. Brooke recently entered the world of musical theater by working with the drama department of Heritage Christian High School, and has choreographed for outside studios. She resides in Waukesha.
Ballet & Modern Instructor
Samantha Funk is a performer, dance instructor, and choreographer in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. She has been dancing for 20 years and was trained at Steps of Grace Ballet School in Brookfield from 2001 to 2012, as well as in modern, jazz, and contemporary styles. Samantha taught ballet to both kids and adults at Steps of Grace for 4 years, and taught ballet, pointé, jazz, and lyrical contemporary at Aspire Dance Center in Pewaukee for 3 years. She has worked with Above the Clouds, Inc., a not-for-profit arts program in Milwaukee, teaching inner-city children modern dance. In 2017, she started teaching private ballet sessions at the Janus College Preparatory & Arts Academies. In addition to teaching, Samantha has performed with Steps of Grace in Unknown, Moses, and David’s Heartbeat. Samantha has also performed for DanceWorks’ Get it Out There DanceLab in 2017 with her own choreography, as well as many other dance conferences in the Milwaukee area over the last decade.
Lindsey Kelly is a native to the City of Milwaukee. Her love for the arts began at the age of five when she began singing with her family at nursing homes and in church productions. Her ballet training began at Above the Clouds, where after reaching the highest level of the program, she received a scholarship to study at Steps of Grace Ballet School in Brookfield. Lindsey furthered her dance education by receiving her BA in dance, along with a Business minor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts. During her time at UWM she was blessed to have
received dance scholarships, as well as, participate in several school performances and train with guest artists. Her studies include training in Ballet, Modern Dance, African Dance, Contemporary, Salsa, Yoga, and Improvisation. In addition to performing,
Lindsey enjoys teaching dance and has been doing so for the past 7 years at Above the Clouds. She hopes to inspire young dancers to use their gift of dance to promote hope and restoration in their communities.
Director of Business Management
~ Modern Instructor
Amanda Struebing earned a BA in Arts Administration with a minor in Dance in 2001 from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. There, she began a relationship with Christ and partnered with Christian dancers for university productions and worship services at various churches. From 2001-2007, Amanda danced with Wild Space Dance Company in Milwaukee, with Artistic Director Debra Loewen. Amanda collaborated with Wild Space directors on company operations, events, fundraising, and grant writing, in addition to performing, touring and participating in educational outreach as a dancer. With Steps of Grace performed in Moses, taught Tiny Tot and Primary Ballet, and piloted a Special Needs dance class. Amanda coached developmental and team gymnastics for 8 years, and has experience producing, stage managing, and directing for UWSP, Racine Youth Players, and church productions. She lives in Franklin with her husband Eddie and their four children.
Director of Student Development
~ Ballet Instructor
Heather Keckeisen received her training at the Classical Ballet Conservatory of Southern California. After studying three summers on scholarship with the Milwaukee Ballet School, Heather went on to win the prestigious Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Competition her senior year in high school. She then moved to Wisconsin to dance professionally for the Milwaukee Ballet Company from 1995-2005, working under artistic directors Basil Thompson, Simon Dow, and Michael Pink. Heather performed a wide range of repertoire including classics from Petipa to Bournonville, Balanchine to Tudor, and favored works by Jean Paul Comelin, Bruce Wells, Marc Godden, Paul Taylor, & David Parsons. During her time at Milwaukee Ballet she served as the company union representative for the American Guild of Musical Artists for 3 years. Heather enjoys the world of musical theater, having choreographed for children's Musical Camp at Elmbrook Church from 2002-2014, and working with the high school drama department at Heritage Christian Schools for the past 6 years. Heather taught ballet to the upper levels of Steps of Grace Ballet School for 10 years and played a vital role in all Steps of Grace productions, both onstage and off. Heather is married to Beau and they live in Milwaukee with their two children.
Director of Ministry Outreach
~ Worship Arts Instructor
Karen Marinin received a BFA in Theater and Dance performance from Northern Illinois University in 1999. She danced in Chicago with Winifred Haun and Dancers, Zephyr Dance, and independent modern choreographers for a couple of years and then realized that performance was not a satisfying lifestyle. While doing some soul searching in her young 20's the Lord opened her eyes and heart to the truth of Jesus and dance took on a whole new meaning. Karen knew she was created to worship and that dance was a tool to do that. In 2002 she was certified as a DoxaSoma instructor and taught in many Chicago area churches. A desire to go deeper in the Bible led her to a two year program through the Vineyard Church called the Vineyard Leadership Institute where Karen received a Certificate of Completion. When she moved to Wisconsin in 2007 she taught modern dance with Above the Clouds for several years, one year with Mad Hot Ballroom, and 10 years with Steps of Grace where she taught various classes from preschool through adult ballet. She resides in Waukesha with her husband Scott and their son.
Kira Klinkhardt is an alumni of Steps of Grace Ballet School. She has studied dance at UW-Milwaukee, and begins at the Milwaukee Ballet in their pre-professional division this fall. She has been a part of performances at UWM such as New Dancemakers and Winterdances, as well as productions by Dance Circus. Kira has taught ballet at Danceworks, and partnered with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s Ace Program through Dance Circus creative movement. She is excited to begin teaching at Acts Dance this year.
Hip Hop Instructor
Malcolm Nieves is a choreographer/ street dancer, youth minister and Praise Dance Director of Walking In The Spirit Ministries in West Allis Wisconsin. Malcolm started off as a self-taught hip hop dancer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He has traveled to multiple places in the U.S. to train and learn the style of hip hop. Malcolm has taught at Aspire Dance Center, Steps of Grace, and has participated in Steps of Grace productions. Malcolm is a battle style dancer with a focus on Krump and contemporary hip hop. His vision is to teach Christian choreography in diverse atmospheres, and to inspire every individual to dance with the heart of David and to share his love for God through dance.
Jackie VanPatten Wild began her journey into the art of dance in high school in Jackson, Wyoming where she was raised. She graduated with a BFA in Dance in 1985 from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. In 1991, she earned a certificate in Laban Movement Analysis from the University of Washington. Her performing career took her throughout the Pacific Northwest, and to Canada and Scotland where she taught and performed in lecture demonstrations and workshops with JoAnna Mendl Shaw’s repertory company, Danceworks Northwest. Jackie has been teaching dance to all ages since 1983. Her specialty is modern dance, and she is experienced in teaching ballet, jazz, creative dance, choreography, improvisation, etc. In Seattle she worked with the Creative Dance Center and American Dance Institute. In Kansas City, Missouri she taught at City in Motion dance studio. Jackie has enjoyed choreographing high school musical theater productions. For the past nine years, Jackie has coached recreational gymnastics at Altius Gymnastics in Franklin, Wisconsin.
In every setting, Jackie strives to see each student as an individual, created by God, and hopes to impart that joy to her students, even while teaching them to discipline their bodies for expression through dance and gymnastics.
We honor our former faculty members for all they have shared with us!
We welcome them as substitute teachers when needed...
Glorielle Niedfeldt- Modern
Anisa Diaz- Hip Hop
Bethany Lonski- Ballet
Sarah McClure- Ballet & Contemporary
A special thank you to Jennifer Miller of Minnesota Ballet
for her encouragement and shaping of our ballet curriculum.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board Officers & Members:
Michele Stamn, President
Tracey Fricker, Vice President
Shawn Prell, Treasurer, C.P.A.
Dawn Kaine, Secretary
And a BIG thank you to our past board members!
Mike Ament - Laura Goretcke - Ruth Lindberg - Chad Ritterbusch - Todd Scott