Birchwood Ballet Staff

Kathleen Baffert

Director

Kathleen Baffert has been teaching dance for 30 years to children and adults and is inspired by watching others find their love for dance. Kathleen received her dance training in Chicago, Illinois, and performed in the Judith Svalander Ballet Company for 6 years. Kathleen was educated at Columbia College, Hubbard Street Dance and the Joffrey Ballet. Kathleen spent 15 years teaching and studying dance in Southern California. Kathleen has performed in numerous shows including The Nutcracker Ballet, West Side Story, Exodus, Gate' Parisian, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Swan Lake, Copelia, and Rhapsody in Blue. Kathleen is a National Platinum Award Winning Ballet and Pointe Choreographer, and has co-directed a charity Nutcracker for the past 7 years. Kathleen is the lucky Mom of two wonderful daughters.

Katherine Hesterberg

Katherine is a Minneapolis-based performer, company founder/director, and dance instructor. She has danced professionally and toured state-wide with Continental Ballet Company, St. Paul City Ballet, Metropolitan Ballet, and Ballet Minnesota. Katherine is the founder of the 501(3)c non-profit ballet company Minneapolis Ballet Dancers. The company serves as a platform to give opportunities to local professional artists to choreograph and perform their own works.

Originally from Wasilla, Alaska Katherine began her dance training at Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy/Dancer’s Workshop. From the years 2006-2010, she studied the classical technique of Cecchetti as well as tap and jazz, achieving a four-year BFA degree in ballet from Friends University in Kansas. During that time, she had the honor of working with artist such as Shawn Stevens from New York City Ballet and Dominic Walsh from Houston Ballet/Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre and also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with globally-known guest artists such as Wendy Whalen, Philip Neal, Frederica Vincisori, and Melody Herrera. She has also had the privilege of working with Alaska Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Tuscan, Atlanta Festival Ballet, and TU Dance in summer programs.

Amelia Morris

Amelia Morris obtained her BFA in dance and choreography from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2015. Since then, she has had the pleasure of dancing nation wide for Li Chiao-Ping Dance Company and has cofounded Little Works, a collaborative dance collective. Amelia now resides in Minneapolis and is teaching dance at the primary and secondary youth levels, spreading her knowledge and passion for dance.

Benjamin Olson

Originally from Wisconsin, Benjamin came to Minnesota to receive training from Larkin Dance Studio where he studied and performed jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop from age twelve to seventeen. At age sixteen he also began training at Classical Ballet Academy where he focused on technique, partnering, and performance during the three years to follow.
After graduation, Benjamin pursued his career as a professional dancer and also became a competition teacher. Benjamin is currently the Principal Dancer at Continental Ballet Company, performing his favorite roles such as: The Cavalier from The Nutcracker, and The Prince from Cinderella. As an instructor, Benjamin specializes in ballet technique. Benjamin believes: “To be a great dancer, one must be an artist; you must have passion, drive, expression, and confidence to master the skills it takes to be a star. My main focus is to find the dancer in every student who walks through the door, and nurture them to their full potential.”