Staff Instructors

Robin Welch: Ballet

With a professional career spanning over 50 years, Miss Welch received a full scholarship to New York’s prestigious Harkness House for Ballet Arts when she was 15 years old. She studied with many of the most distinguished teachers of the time such as Pat Wilde, David Howard, Aubrey Hitchins, Barbara Cole and Ruth Petrenovitch for ballet, Jack Cole and Matt Maddox for jazz, Stuart Hodes, Jay Norman and Janet Collins for modern, Percy Borde and Pearl Premus for African Dance, Beatrice Kraft for East Indian and Bill Burdick for court dancing.

At the age of 17 Miss Welch became a member of New York’s Harkness Ballet and toured throughout Europe and the U.S. During that time, Harkness Ballet was the resident company of the Monte Carlo Opera House in Monaco. She danced ballets choreographed by such luminaries as Sir Anton Dolin, Alvin Ailey, Brian MacDonald, Jerome Robbins, John Butler, Benjamin Harkarvy, Todd Bolender, Norman Walker, and George Balanchine.  

She danced professionally with Harkness Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Dennis Wayne’s Dancers, Pennsylvania Ballet and Jacob’s Pillow where she also taught and and was assistant to Ben Harkarvey. Her teaching credits include Cornish College of the Arts, Yale University, Connecticut Ballet, Boston Ballet, Omaha Ballet.

Over the years, Miss Welch has compiled an extensive background as a performer, choreographer, coach, ballet mistress, and artistic director. She was co-founder, co-artistic director, and principal dancer for Connecticut Ballet, and principal dancer for Ballet Omaha from 1985 until 1991. She later served as its resident choreographer, ballet mistress and school director. She co-created Ballet Omaha’s 1985 Nutcracker and the 1993 Nutcracker and then also choreographed the Traditional Russian version of the famous ballet. Those productions were the Orpheum Theater’s Christmas holiday event for over 25 years.

Deborah Carr: Ballet









Deborah brings the fire, enthusiasm and determination she demonstrated in her professional dance career to her teaching and choreography. Following an extensive performing career with the Boston Festival Ballet, Connecticut Ballet and the Omaha Ballet where she danced such wonderful roles as The Arabian and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, the Waltz Girl in Les Sylphides and the lead in Filling Station by world-reknown choreographer Lew Christianson. After retiring, Deborah moved to St. Louis for a time and became a teacher and ballet mistress for Ballet Midwest.
Luckily for us, Deborah moved backed to Omaha where she joined the faculty of the school of Omaha Theater Ballet School and became an invaluable instructor. She also became both Choreographer and Ballet Mistress for the Company, and Director of the Student Company. When that organization folded, she became indispensable as a teacher, Ballet Mistress and Choreographer for Rachel Vickrey in the establishment of the Heartland Conservatory of Dance and Heartland Youth Ballet.   
Miss Carr’s critically acclaimed choreography for the professional company Omaha Theater Ballet included,Tango Café and Pridelands, for which she was the recipient of a chorgraphy award from the Nebraska Arts Council in 2004. Pridelands was more recently performed to great acclaim by Heartland Youth Ballet in 2014 at Mid-States Regional Dance America Festival in Chicago, Il.

Lauren Beitel: Jazz & Contemporary










Lauren Beitel, a Lincoln native, teaches math at Omaha Central High School, where she also coaches the cheer and dance squads.  Lauren has her Bachelors Degree in Math and Masters Degree in Teaching from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was a member and captain of the Scarlets Dance Team.  During college she taught at True Dance, and choreographed for their competition team and for local high school dance teams.

Lauren trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, and hip hop at True Dance, and was a member of the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company, performing in their productions of the Nutcracker and Snow White.  In addition to her local training, Lauren competed at the regional and national level with her studio’s and high school’s competition teams.  She also attended summer dance programs with American Ballet Theater, Virginia School of the Arts, American Academy of Ballet, and NYU’s Tisch Dance School. Lauren has also performed in musical theater productions with Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl. 

She is excited to share her passion for dance with her students at Heartland Conservatory of Dance

Madeline Deavenport Stein: Ballet & Pilates

Madeline Deavenport Stein is originally from San Diego, CA, where she began studying at The California Ballet School. At age 16 she moved to Philadelphia, PA to train at The Rock School for Dance Education. 

Madeline has danced with The North Carolina Dance Theatre, The Pennsylvania Ballet and Minnesota Dance Theatre, as well as with Ballet NY, Avi Scher & Dancers, and New Chamber Ballet in New York City. Mrs. Stein was on faculty at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, and The Studio New Canaan in Connecticut, as well as Minnesota Dance Theatre & School in Minneapolis.

From 2012-2017 Madeline was the head ballet instructor at Dance By Kris in Cottage Grove, MN. Over her 5 years with DBK, Madeline passionately coached and pushed her students to new heights, while helping them to discover an appreciation for classical ballet technique. Mrs. Stein coached and choreographed for many dance competitions where her students received high accolades. Madeline received numerous special awards and choreography awards as well. In addition, Madeline is Pilates Method Alliance certified Pilates mat and apparatus instructor.

Sarah Cantoya: Tap, Jazz & Musical Theater Dance

Sarah Cantoya began her dance training at the age of 7 and within 2 years was winning top awards from various dance competions traveling through the region. Because of continuing growing enthusiasm for dance, she immersed herself in multiple types of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, musical theater and hip-hop. She loves teaching all those styles but found a special love for tap, which eventually became her specialty. 
She took classes from several well-known performers and teachers such as Terry Forance (who danced with Janet Jackson, Cirque du Soleil, Mia Michaels, and Lady Gaga), Finis Jhung (New York Master Ballet Teacher and Author), Nick Lazzirini (the very first winner of the Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance) and world famous Savion Glover (who amoung other things both performed and choreographed Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk).  
Sarah judged local auditions and competitions for schools as well as non-profits. For over 20 years, she's been teaching both group and private classes and  her students work hard and feel acomplishment in her classes while also having fun! 

Jeremy Sczepaniak: Boys Dance

Jeremy Sczepaniak has a long history with the leadership of Heartland Conservatory of Dance and Heartland Youth Ballet. At about the age 12, he participated in a special workshop for kids held at North High School taught by Robin Welch. Robin, head of education at Ballet Omaha, immediately recognized his talent, spirit and imagination and offered him a full scholarship to the school. He eventually performed several roles in various performances including the Young Nutcracker Prince with Ballet Omaha.
Leaving Omaha, he auditioned to be a dancer for Disney Productions. This time it was the Disney management that recognized his talent and gladly accepted him into their world of interesting characters, exotic lands and thousands of dances. He became a principal dancer with Disney World (Orlando), Disney Tokyo and then toured on Disney Cruises. 
Jeremy can still be seen onstage as a guest artist in many Heartland Youth Ballet productiions while also earning his Bachelors Degree in Health and Kine asiology at UNO and his K through 12 Teaching Certificate.  


Janel Lind: Hip Hop

Janel is a 4th generation dance instructor, beginning her dance training at the Garret-Harvey Dance Studio in the suburbs of Chicago; the same studio her great grandmother opened in the summer of 1933. In 1987 she moved to St. Louis, Missouri. 

While studying dance under her mother, Janel took gymnastics classes with Bulgarian Olympic Gymnastics Coach, Illia Nedev. At age 16, she began instructing children's classes throughout the St. Louis metro area. Janel attended College of DuPage in Chicago as a Performing Arts major. She moved to Omaha in 2005, and started a dance company called Legacy Dance; a recreational dance program for under served children. After several years with the community program, she was hired as dance director of a local hip hop studio. There she managed classes, hip hop battles and various hip hop workshops/events.

Janel eventually began traveling with crews of local dancers to battle dancers in other cities around the Midwest. Her passion remains in teaching the next generation the basics of hip hop, including popping, locking, break, tutting, footwork and other styles of hip hop. Janel is very excited to bring her knowledge of hip hop to Heartland!  

Brian Priesman: Acting Improvisations










​Brian is an Omaha-based Actor and Theater Teaching Artist. As an actor, he’s performed regionally and nationally. Favorite roles include “Hot Blade Harry” in Urinetown: The Musical, the Baker in Into the Woods, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Charlie Brown in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Patsy in Spamalot: The Musical. Growing up, Brian studied both musical theater and dance (tap & jazz) at multiple studios throughout the metro-area. As a teaching artist, Brian has taught for the Omaha Community Playhouse, the Nebraska Theater Caravan, the Rose Theater, the Omaha Children’s Museum, and Why Arts? Brian studied Theater and English at the University of Nebraska and Acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Brian's greatest achievements are his two brilliant children, Tess and Ezra.

Bailey Dickson: Pre School Ballet, Beginning Ballet, Tap, Contemporary & Jazz:

Bailey Dickson was trained by Robin Welch, Deborah Carr and Rachel Vickrey. Bailey loves and absorbs all genres of dance & is passionate about sharing her training. Bailey recieved an Exceptional Emmerging Artist Award from the prestigious Regional Dance America in 2018 for her ballet choreography. We feel lucky to have Bailey on our staff, she shares Rachel's values of compassion for children & passion for dance. 

Emma Rader: Pre School Ballet & Beginning Ballet

Emma Rader has been a teacher in training for over 4 years and adores children. Both parents and children cannot get enough of Emma.

Guest Faculty & Choreographers:

Mauro Villanueva -

James Samson -

Robert Vickrey -

Miro Magloire -

Ryan Nye -

Nicole Cisler - Choreographer ​

Altin Naska - Artistic Director Chicago Music & Dance Festival International ​

Ashlee Knapp - Ballet - New York City Ballet

Adrian Frye - Ballet - Soloist, Ballet West​

Liz Reiter - Classical Jazz - Gus Giordano