Meet The Staff

Anna Tilsen

Owner and Executive Director

My name is Anna Tilsen and I have been dancing Tap, Jazz, and Musical Theater since the age of 5, and teaching since I was 15. I think I have the Greatest Job in the world! That is why I started Dance–N–Magic, to be able to share my passion in an educational, family friendly environment. Although I am originally from St. Paul, Minnesota; I went to college in Santa Rosa, CA to receive my dance certification with a teaching emphasis. It was there that I had the opportunity to study Hip Hop in depth while dancing with Fusion 415, which was a Hip Hop crew comprised of accomplished dancers who performed with many artists, including Janet Jackson. I love dancing and learning so much, that I still perform and attend classes. Teaching Dancercise Kids is one of my specialties. I have taught it in mobile programing around the Twin Cities under the direction of Tessa Pfeifer, the creator of this original curriculum, music, and teaching method. I have also been a lead teacher, event coordinator, curriculum developer, competition instructor, and teacher trainer for Dance Studios in the Twin Cities, until I had the wonderful opportunity to build my own, Dance–N–Magic. My daughter, Kyah, is 13 yrs. old and my son, Joshua, is 8 yrs. old. As a family, we look forward to bike riding, running or walking, traveling, reading, watching movies, and spending time together.

Maria Fontana

Ballet Program Director and Dance Instructor

I began my ballet training at age four and from that moment, I was hooked. At age 12, I earned a scholarship to the New York City Ballet for more intensive training and study. I danced in productions of The Nutcracker, Cinderella and Swan Lake among others. I also trained with Susan Jaffe,whom Mikhail Baryshnikov pulled out of the ABT corps de ballet at age 18 to dance Pas d’Esclave at the Kennedy Center – and who went on to become a principal dancer with ABT for the next 22 years; David Howard, an English ballet dancer and teacher whose students included Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Larry E. Long, recognized as one of the preeminent ballet teachers in America. Then, in 1999 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which prompted a move to Minnesota for the care I needed from the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology in Golden Valley and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. I was determined that no matter what, ballet would continue to enrich my life and it has. By teaching I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned as a dancer with my students and in the process I have kept the effects of the disease at bay. I’ve been teaching dance around the Twin Cities for the past 15 years to students of all ages, all body types, all levels and gender and always in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.

Kelsey Setter

Acro Program Director, Assistant Competition Director, and Dance Instructor

I have been dancing as long as I can remember but I was able to start taking classes around age 5. I am trained in classical ballet, contemporary, street jazz, hip hop, hand balancing, acro and aerial arts. I grew up dancing all throughout the Twin Cities with many local talented choreographers. I spent several significant periods of time training at Broadway Dance Center in New York City with some incredible teachers including Mia Michaels, Luam, Dave Scott, Brian Friedman, Derek Mitchell, Dana Foglia, Rhapsody, Tony Testa and many others. Dance has given me so many opportunities and taken me to so many places. I have been teaching movement for the last 9 years and enjoy dancing on stage more than anything. I love sharing that passion with students who come to class eager to create movement and express emotion through dance. I have recently graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in Justice & Peace studies with a concentration in Public Policy. I am also the mother of a young, active dancer named Hakan.

Ally Perchyshyn

Tap/Jazz Program Director and Dance Instructor

I began dancing at the age of 3 and since then have explored many dance forms including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acro, and hip hop. I have been teaching dance since the age of 12. In high school, I trained on an intensive competition team. Through this I was able to work with choreographers such as Trey Barber, Bobby Newberry, and Tyce Diorio. Being very involved with my culture, I have also performed Ukrainian dance since age 13. This gave me many opportunities to perform at various festivals around the United States and at the Cowles center in Minneapolis. I have been teaching Ukrainian dance since age 14 and performed with the Syzokryli Ukrainian Dance Company in New York. I am currently attending the University of Minnesota, where I am studying kinesiology and psychology and eventually will go to occupational therapy school. I am also head choreographer of the Minnesota dance club, a student group at the U. I am so grateful to be able not only to perform often on my own, but for the fact that I can share my passion with my many students and spread a love for dance.

Cheng Xiong

Hip Hop Program Director, Dance Instructor

My B-boy name is B-boy Technica. I grauduated from the University of Minnesota as a Dance Major. I had the opportunity to learn many dance techniques such as Ballet, Modern, African, and Jazz. Besides learning these awesome dance styles, my favorite and the one I’m best at is Hip Hop, but strictly B-boy/Breakdance. Because of having such a huge interest in Hip Hop and B-boy, I am also in a dance crew called Motion Crew. We do choreography of all a sorts of Hip Hop styles. My dance crew has won 1st place at the annual Hmong New Year competition 3 years in a row! We too have placed 1st at many more competitions. My crew also auditioned for America’s Got Talent. Now, I love to watch others break and I judge competitions too. I am a really intense dancer, and am really into technique; both teaching and learning it. So be ready to work hard when in my class!

Laurelie MacKenzie

Summer Camp Director and Dance and Music Instructor

I am absolutely in love with, dance, movement and music! Those magnetic aspects have always been an essential element of my life. I am very passionate about education, teaching and children. I highly value this encompassing union. I am Music Teacher, a certified yoga instructor, and an early childhood educator. I have enjoyed teaching for over a decade implementing positivity and enthusiasm while integrating a kind, sincere holistic approach that multifacetedly nurtures the personal uniqueness of each child. I am grateful for the privilege to foster the benevolence of dance with its benefits on individuals morale, connections and healthy expression with anyone seeking.“Dance is to add another dimension to the way that children think and the way they experience the world.” - Misty Copeland

Hannah Osen

Dance Instructor and Birthday Party Hostess

I have been dancing for as long as I can remember. I started working/dancing at Dance-N-Magic basically from the start. Going on my 7th year here, I am very happy to say that Dance-N-Magic has become my family and I absolutely love everyone I work with. I graduated from AFSA High School in June of 2015 after a very amazing senior trip to Ecuador. I am currently taking classes and Saint Paul College and looking into a possible career in education. I teach tap, jazz, ballet and Dancercise to the youngsters and I join as many classes as my busy schedule allows. I am so looking forward to spending many more years at DNM and connecting with even more students.

Ashley Thao

Dance Instructor

I have been Dancing since the age of 3 and is trained in jazz,tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and hip-hop. I began my dance career on a competition team. It has given the opportunity to traveling to many states and dance conventions to compete. I then took my acting and dance career to LA where I got the opportunity to take open dance classes at Millennium dance Complex, work in many short films and be able to do commercial work. I then moved back to Minnesota to continued my dance education at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (SPCPA) a high school dedicated to the arts, where I continued to train and learn modern, tap, classical jazz, ballet, modern, contemporary, and african. Throughout my dance career so far I have been able to work with choreographers such as Trey Barber, Toni and Uri, Abdo Sayegh, Maggie Bergeron and choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance. I recently Graduated high school last fall and is a full-time student at University of St. Thomas studying broadcast Journalism and International Marketing. Currently I am dancing and performing within the Twin Cities area where I am involved with S.H.E.( She Who Holds Everything) an all girl hip hop group, University of St. Thomas Pulse, and Minnesota Timberwolves 612 Crew. I am excited to be a first year teacher and spread my knowledge of dance with the students at DNM.

Atim Opoka

Voice and Music Instructor

Originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Atim recalls that she and her father were watching Shania Twain preform live on TV. And at the age of 5 she said to her father, “I want to do THAT!” And now she does! Atim is a bold, comedic and versatile vocalist with a passion for performing. She can get a crowd rolling out of their seat with her comedic approach.
Atim was brought up in music and was exposed to every thing from Pop, Hip-Hop, Country, Blues, and African music. During her time at Mcnally Smith College of Music, She learned different techniques in Classical, Jazz, Theatre and Contemporary music. She been in many ensembles and shows around the twin cities. Her previous theatre experience includes being featured as “Momma Bear” in Shrek The Musical “Atim” in Sisters Are Doin’ it, “Lucy” in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, “Gertie Cummings” in Oklahoma, and “Step-mother” In Into the Woods. Atim is Atim keeps busy writing and performing original material around the twin cities at places like The Townhouse Bar, Bordertown Coffee Shop, and Claddagh Coffee. Atim’s dream is to share the joy and healing that she has found in music with the world.
"I want my music to reach hearts, bring tears, laughter and love. I want my music to bring people together on another level.” Atim Opoka


Music Instructor

Zeke Has been making music since he was the age of five. With 12+ years of experience he is ready to share what he has learned with younger generations. Believing that art and music are a key to maturing and growing up, he is passionate about teaching kids the power of music and how it moves us all. Teaching with more of a "discover it on your own” structure, students of his will get to really find their voice and create their own style as a musician in any style or genre they choose.

Megan Luken

Dance Instructor

Ms. Megan joined Dance-N-Magic in 2014 and has continued to dance since she was 3 years old! She has a background in modern, ballet, jazz, contemporary/lyrical, pointe, hip-hop, breakdance, African, and yoga. Although she originates from the suburbs of Chicago, she currently has a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish Studies & Dance and her Masters of Education from the University of Minnesota. While there, she studied from Maggie Bergeron, Patricia Brown, Kenna Camara-Cottman, Ananya Chatterjea, Carl Flink, Penny Freeh, Karla Grotting, Paula Mann, Toni Pierce-Sands, Joanie Smith, Linda Talcott-Lee, and Erin Thompson, and performed in two of the University’s fall/spring shows. Ms. Megan has choreographed for and performed in the Student Dance Coalition’s showcase through the University of Minnesota Dance program as well. She has taken master classes with Gallim Dance, HIJACK, Kile Hotchkiss of Keigwin + Company, and Scott Rink. She has assisted dance faculty through Dance Masters of Wisconsin as well as attended multiple dance conventions in the Midwest area. In her free time, she enjoys taking open Dance and Yoga classes. During her weekdays, she continues to teach English as a Second Language in Minneapolis as a full-time teacher. Ms. Megan looks forward to another great year at Dance-N-Magic where she gets to share her love of teaching and of dancing!

Lasha Tilsen-Toles

Office Manager and Teaching Assistant

I graduated from Rasmussen college with an Early Child Care Provider degree in 2000. I have been a foster care provider and have worked in daycares. Lasha studied Ballet from age 5 – 7. At age 15, I started learning breakdancing. I have always had a love for hip hop. I moved to California at age 18, where all I found was extra jobs. I am now a mother of 4 and a massage therapist that works with infants, children and adults. With my love for kids and dance, I will help assist instructors and be in the office to help with all questions you may have.