On-Site Instructors

DSC_5959Alison Ballard – Music Together®, Beginning & Continuing Adult Taiko Drumming, Outreach Teacher, Director of Fort Wayne Taiko

In 1999, Allison Ballard attended various workshops and camps in California where she studied taiko drumming with masters from Japan and the West Coast. She has been teaching and performing taiko since that time and has facilitated the building of four taiko drums and stands with local volunteers. She has also studied creative movement, improvisation, modern dance and Authentic Movement and and has taught creative movement to all ages in various settings since 1992. Allison is the Director/ Founder of Fort Wayne Taiko, a program of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective since 2000.

She received a MA in Dance/ Movement Therapy from Columbia College Chicago in 2003 and is a certified Dance/ Movement Therapist Registered through the American Dance Therapy Association. She is also certified in Music Together® and Orff Schulwerk®. Since 2008, Allison has been the Director of the Jesters, a performing arts group of people with developmental disabilities administered by the University of Saint Francis.

Ashley_BAshley Benninghoff – Modern, Ballet, Pineapple Dance Project I & II, Outreach Teacher, Touring Company Member

Ashley recently moved back to Fort Wayne and is thrilled to be welcomed into the Fort Wayne Dance Collective community. Ashley began her training at the Fort Wayne Ballet, and then went on to get her BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University. While at SMU she performed in works by Martha Graham, Robert Battle, and Max Stone, and choreographed her own full-length show, Sides. She then moved to NYC to further her training before moving to Indianapolis. In Indy she was a Core Artist with Motus Dance, and taught and choreographed for The Dance Refinery. Ashley is an Artist-in-Residence with Indy Convergence, a pop-up arts residency that meets annually in Indianapolis, Toronto, and Haiti. Ashley is excited to continue to share her passion and knowledge with FWDC both in the class room and on the stage.

DSC_5650Albert Crowder – Hip Hop, Heels, Touring Company Member

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Albert has lived in Fort Wayne most of his life. When he was 10 years-old, he started his dance career at a local Boys and Girls Club where he fell in love with the art of dance. At the age of 16, Albert created and set all the choreography for his own dance team at the club “Topnotch.” He has since led many groups, volunteered many hours for organizations supporting troubled youth, and has participated in many performances for local dance studios and the FWDC. Albert teaches hip hop, and is also trained in jazz, tap, contemporary, lyrical and step. Albert choreographs for and performs in both the Halloween show and the Choreographers Laboratory performance.


Vicki Gallagher – Jazz

Originally from New York City, Vicki started dancing at the age of 3. Aside from studying dance and movement, she has performed with studio competition teams, the St. John’s University Dance Team and various stage productions. Vicki also taught jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop and salsa to dancers of all ages.

Vicki has performed in, and regularly choreographs for the annual Halloween show and the Choreographers Laboratory performance. She starred as Daisy McGee in the 2011 family concert, The Gift of Daisy McGee.

DSC_3419Jackie Hinsey – Youth Taiko, Outreach Teacher, Fort Wayne Taiko Member

Jackie has been making music and performing since she was 10 years old when she started playing trumpet in grade-school band. That love of music turned into her career when she became a Music Therapist in 1985. She started taking Taiko classes with her sister Chris in April of 2006 as a fun “sister thing” to do together. Jackie was inspired to compose her first song after seeing San Jose Taiko perform in Indianapolis. She has trained with John Yost and San Jose Taiko and attended Taiko Camp 2008, studying with Seiichi Tanaka, Kenny Endo, Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba. Jackie has been teaching outreach with the FWDC since 2009.

Mandie_KMandie Kolkman- Modern, Ballet, Hatha Yoga, Zumba, Touring Company Member

Mandie’s passion for dance started in Carlisle, Pennsylvania where she attended dance classes at the renowned Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During her youth she spent summers studying dance with the Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet. In 2012 she graduated from Butler University where she had studied Dance and Arts Administration while performing with the Butler Ballet. Mandie has taught various styles of dance at studios all over Indiana. She recently moved to Fort Wayne and has called our town home.

Mandie started working with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective in 2014 as part of the Touring Company. Last Spring she shared her love and knowledge of dance in the classroom teaching ballet, modern, and contemporary dance classes. Over the past year Mandie has choreographed for the Choreographers Laboratory performance, the Spring Show, Fort Wayne Taste of the Arts and Fort Wayne Fringe Festival. Mandie is excited for another season dancing and teaching at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective.

DSC_5589Liz Monnier – Modern, Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement, Dance for Seniors, Touring Company Member, Outreach Teacher

Liz is a founding member of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective and served as the organization’s Artistic Director from 1985-2015. She graduated from Indiana University’s Modern Dance Department in 1975 and was a founding member of Windfall Dancers in Bloomington, IN. Liz has studied with such nationally renowned artists as Alwin Nikolais, Ruth Zaporah, Joe Goode, Remy Charlip and many more. She continues to study movement, dance and theater forms with a number of national/international artists throughout the country, recently returning from California where she studied with Joe Goode.

In 1991 and 1993 she was awarded Fellowships from Arts United and 1993 she served as a Fort Wayne representative for a Sister City delegation in Plock, Poland. In 2003, Liz was awarded the Margaret Ann Keegan Award from Arts United for her ongoing curriculum development of movement programs for physically and mentally challenged individuals specifically at Bi-County Services in Bluffton, IN. Since FWDC’s founding, she has taught on-site and outreach classes as well as choreographed for FWDC’s productions and Touring Company. During 2002-2003, she served on the Dance Standards Committee for the Indiana Department of Education. In 2003, she was awarded a Gene Wyall Award for her excellence in producing video programs for public access television. During 2006, Indiana University presented Liz with a John Endwright Distinguished Alumni Service Award. In 2011, she began training in the Feldenkrais Method® and graduated from the Seattle Eastside Program in May 2015.

DSC_6186Charlotte Tompkins – GROOVE3™

Charlotte is ecstatic to join the Fort Wayne Dance Collective team of incredibly creative cultivators. Her love for dance began over twenty years ago offering opportunities to compete across the Unites States in high school, choreograph for and perform in various collegiate musicals and theater productions, as well as perform for Maxim Magazine, the NBA-D, and other professional arenas.

Her forte is in teaching hip hop with experience in teaching both the artistic and competitive fields, including coaching an NBA-D Dance team and training numerous individual NFL Dancers, she also offers experience in instructing/choreographing jazz, lyrical, and American style ballroom.

DSC_5699Barbara Ulmer – All Levels Iyengar Yoga

Barbara has been studying and practicing yoga for since 1977. Twenty-five years ago she met her teacher Manouso Manos, one of BKS Iyengar’s few senior teachers, and knew in a moment he was the person she wanted to learn from. Since that time she has studied numerous times with him, and continues to study and deepen her understanding of Iyengar Yoga and her own personal practice.

Barbara has a uniquely personal and direct style of teaching, challenging students while helping them to explore their potential. She loves staying true to the precision known to be a cornerstone of the Iyengar method, and has a deep commitment to teaching the Iyengar yoga. She works with students at all levels, and routinely adjusts poses to allow students of all abilities to participate fully in her classes.

DSC_5729Nancy Woollacott – All Levels T’ai Chi Chuan

Nancy has been practicing Tai Chi Chuan since 1987 and teaches Grandmaster Williams C.C. Chens Yang style short form. She has studied with Grandmaster Chen, Master Laura Stone of the Netherlands, Dr. Tao Ping-siang of Taiwan, Nathan Menaged of the Chinese Martial Arts Institute in Ohio and Master John Charlton of Indianapolis. She is also certified to teach Chi-lel Qigong by Master Luke Chan of the Huaxia Zhineng Qigong Center in China.