About the Faculty
Bernadine Knapp, Director of Knapp School of Dance, has been choreographing, instructing and directing her own dance studio for over 35 years. Her career began studying in Detroit, MI, under the prestigious Enid Ricardeau, past president of the Cecchetti Council of America and Dance Masters of Michigan. Bernie passed Cecchetti Examinations Grades I-V and completed her teacher training exams. She also trained at the Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School in Buffalo, NY, and Kent, OH, and Dance Educators of America Teachers Conventions. Prior to opening her own dance studio, Bernie danced professionally for 4 years throughout the United States and Canada. Her greatest reward comes from passing on her love of dance. Bernie had had many students selected to dance in various professional productions such as the Nutcracker Ballet. Knapp alumni have been selected for college dance programs, dance teams, Detroit Pistons Automotion, and several have opened dance studios of their own.
Ken Knapp has been teaching dance for over 25 years. Ken previously competed in various dance competitions, attended many conventions, and studied at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Performance opportunities include Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, USS Intrepid in New York City, and the Detroit Dream Cruise. Ken attended the Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School and Dance Educators of America Teachers Convention. Ken has successfully led many dance groups in local, regional and national dance competitions.
Jennifer Madigan has been teaching dance for over 20 years. She previously competed in multiple dance competitions, attended various dance conventions, was cast in her high school musicals, and danced on her high school dance team. Jenni was the captain of the University of Michigan Dance Team. Performance opportunities include The Nutcracker Ballet, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and the USS Intrepid in NYC. Training includes summer sessions at the Gus Giordano Dance School in Chicago, American Ballet Theatre in New York City, Broadway Dance Center, STEPS on Broadway, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School. Jenni was fortunate to have the opportunity to study ballet under Bernie's former instructor, Enid Ricardeau, while attending the University of Michigan. Jenni holds a Master's Degree in Epidemiology.
Lori Lepp has been teaching dance for 16 years. She has been dancing with the Knapp School of Dance since her childhood and participated in many dance conventions and competitions along the way. Lori earned her Master's Degree in Teaching.
Lisa Gerios has been teaching dance for 11 years. She was the captain of her high school dance team and was cast in her high school musicals. She competed in various dance competitions and has performed at the University of Michigan in Dearborn.
Kristie Bonkowski (formerly Nadolski) has been teaching dance for 8 years. She was captain of her high school dance team and competed in various dance competitions. Kristie enjoys musical theatre and has choreographed dance routines for school musicals. Kristie performed on the USS Intrepid in New York City and studied at the Broadway Dance Center. Kristie holds a Master's Degree in Teaching.
Zariah Fowler is a current student in Wayne State University's Maggie Allesee Department of Dance studying ballet, modern, improvisation, African and jazz. She is a past member of ArtlabJ Dance Company and Wayne State Dance Company One. Zariah comes to us with a multitude of recent performance experiences as a backup dancer with various recording Pop, R&B and Hip Hop artists. In addition, her repertoire consists of several dance films and professional dance performances. Her accomplishments also include being a 2013 Detroit Pistons Dancer finalist, Wayne State University Department of Dance Talent Scholarship recipient and being named "Performer of the Weekend" at L.A. Dance Magic in 2010. She studied with Complexions Contemporary Ballet during their summer intensives in 2012 and 2013. She is trained in the Cecchetti method of ballet and has passed exams Grades I-V. Zariah was a member of her high school dance team and competed in various dance competitions in her earlier years. Her previous achievements include being the recipient of several competition scholarships and titles, performing as a Nutcracker Ballet soloist and being selected to perform in the opening number at a national dance competition. We are excited to welcome Zariah to our dance family!