Dancers



EDT dancers have collectively and individually studied with renowned choreographers from around the world, including Peter Iliev (Bulgaria), Tiang Jiang Cui (China), Nicolas Petrish (Croatia), Frantisek Bonus (Czech Republic), Jacek Marek (Poland) and Sherap Wangmo (Tibet).
Many of EDT's dancers have received professional training throughout their lives; some have advanced degrees in dance; and others' talents were fashioned while dancing in the ensembles of various ethnic communities.


EDT has always been fortunate to have performers trained and steeped in the various ethnic dance and music traditions represented in our shows, including but not limited to: Mexican, Ukrainian, Latvian, Bosnian, Hungarian, Czech/Bohemian, Bulgarian, German, Scandinvian, Arabian, Chinese, Indian, and more.

Joey Claesgens

Joey has been dancing with Ethnic Dance Theatre since the original production of The Nutcraker in 2003, joining the group as a full time member in the 2009 season for the run of Kaiser’s Jubilee. He has been a dancing member of the Austrian and Bavarian dance group S. G. Edelweiss since the age of two.

 

Joey Claesgens

Kathryn Gallagher

Kathryn is made her debut with the company this season; her first show will be Grasslands. She began her dance training with the Minnesota Ballet, studying several different forms of dance. She danced with the Bulgarian Folk Ensemble Otets Paissii and the Ukrainian group Kyiv, both in Pittsburgh, PA, before becoming a member of the Duquesne University folk ensemble Tamburitzans.

 

Kathryn Gallagher

Rachel Hames

Rachel is brand new to EDT this season. She has been a board member for the Minnesota Hungarians for over 10 year now. She began taking classes at St. Paul Ballet in March of 2014 and joined Videki the next month, just in time to dance with them at the Festival of Nations.

 

Rachel Hames

Alina Jambor

Alina has been dancing with the company since the 2013 season, debuting in Black Sea Treasures. She has been a member of Dolina Polish Folk Dance Ensemble since she was five years old, and is currently enrolled in a 4-year choreography course in Rzeszow, Poland. She has also been dancing with Schuplattler Gruppe Edelweiss since 2014.

 

Alina Jambor

Matt LaCourse

Matthew began dancing with Ethnic Dance Theatre in the debut production of The Nutcracker, in 2003, joining the cast full-time in 2006 as part of the initial run of Beyond the Crescent Moon. He has been an active member of the Austrian and Bavarian dance group, Schuplattler Gruppe Edelweiss, since the age of two, and has been the male dancing leader of S.G. Edelweiss since 2013.

 

Matt La Course

Renee LaCourse

Renee has been a part of Ethnic Dance Theatre since the company’s second concert. She has gone on to study international folk dance in several countries, including Bulgaria and Costa Rica, as a long time dancing member of EDT. She has assumed the responsibilities of costume manager, and is responsible for the preparation and distribution of the wardrobe, footwear, and headdresses that are used by the company and make up a vital part of each show. She also was the co-artistic director of Schuplattler Gruppe Edelweiss for over 30 years, earning the distinction of honorary Artistic Director as a result of her service and dedication.

 

Renee La Course

James Metcalf

James is brand new to EDT this season, and will be making his debut in Grasslands. He has been involved with the Sokol Hall in St. Paul since he was four years old, having danced with both Tanecni Mladez and Tanecni Teens before joining the St. Paul Czech and Slovak Folk Dancers.

 

Marita Pelecis

Mita is debuting with EDT this season, with her premiere being in Grasslands. She has danced with Pērkonītis, the local Latvian folk dance group, since the age of four, and has become an assistant director for both their adult and children’s groups. She has seen multiple past EDT shows growing up, leading to her joining the group in late 2015.

 

Victoria Piorek-Nett

Tori has been dancing with EDT since the 2006 season, debuting as Clara in The Nutcracker that year, then joining full-time for the second run of Beyond the Crescent Moon later that year. She has been dancing with Dolina Polish Folk Dance Ensemble as an adult for since 2002, and has been serving as a director of Chabry, the teenage affiliate of Dolina, since 2006. She has also been a member of S.G. Edelweiss since 2014.

 

Kaja Rajtar

Kaja has been dancing with EDT since the 2007 season, debuting in Land of Legends, and then in the final installment of The Nutcracker later that same year. She has been a member of Dolina Polish Folk Dancers since she was five years old, and has completed a four-year choreography course in Rzeszow, Poland.

 

Kaja Rajtar

Eric Ray

Eric has been a part of the company since the 2003 debut of The Nutcracker, becoming a full-time cast member in 2006 as part of the second run of Beyond the Crescent Moon. He left the company in 2008 to attend Duquesne University, where he performed with the “Tamburitzans” returning to EDT upon his graduation in 2012. He is an established member of the international folk music community, performing on kontra and various types of accordion with the EDT Folk Orchestra, Ukrainian Village Band, Mila Vocal Ensemble, Flying Foot Forum, Szászka, and Orkestra Bez Ime. Eric has also been dancing with, and playing button box for, S.G. Edelweiss since the age of thirteen.

 

 

Tiffany Senkow

Tiffany is in her debut season with Ethnic Dance Theatre, her first full show being Grasslands. She began dancing with two different Junior Tamburitzan groups in Pittsburgh, PA, studying not only the dancing but also various stringed instruments, and will also be joining the orchestra during the show. While studying at Penn State University, she was a dancer and choreographer for the Penn State International Dance Ensemble.

 

Tiffany Senkow

Anastasia Verdoljak

Stasia is in her second season with the company, having made her show debut in the 2015 production of Mountain Memories. She studied various styles of dance with Minnesota Ballet while growing up in Duluth, MN. She began working with EDT as an usher for several shows leading up to her joining the cast.

 

Kjersti Vevle

Kjersti has been with Ethnic Dance Theatre since the 2004 season, debuting in the original production of The Nutcracker, as well as the 30th Anniversary concert that following spring. Kjersti studied ballet and modern dance performance and choreography at St. Olaf College, where she guest performed in Veselica, the folk dance ensemble run by longtime EDT member Anne Wharton.

 

 

Kjersti Vevle

David Wiatros

David began dancing with EDT in 2011, making his debut in Then and Now. He has been a member of Dolina Polish Folk Dancers since 2005, and is currently enrolled in a 4-year choreography course in Rzeszow, Poland. He has also been dancing with S.G. Edelweiss since 2013.

 

David Wiatros