photograph by Mark Weber, Wicher’s Photography

Meet the people of Ballet Midwest

Lacee Sandgren, Artistic Director
Barbara Ebert, Artistic Director Emeritus
Heather DeYoung, Assistant Director

Heather began her dance training at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance at the age of 7 and made her Nutcracker debut as a mini-mouse in 1981. Heather spent many
years dancing as a company member of Ballet Midwest. Some of her favorite roles include Spanish and American Beauty Rose from Nutcracker, Prayer from Coppelia,
and Stepsister and Stepmother from Cinderella. Heather graduated from Hayden
High School and went on to continue her dance training at the University of Kansas, where she trained under Jerel Hilding and Patrick Suzeau.

After many years as a studio assistant, Heather began teaching classes at Barbara’s in1991. In 1995 she also became the Assistant Artistic Director for Ballet Midwest where she helped Miss Barbara stage and choreograph many Nutcrackers and spring ballets. In 2002, when Heather’s family moved to the Kansas City area, she continued sharing her love of dance. She has taught at several studios in the Kansas
City area including DanceWorks Conservatory, A Fairytale Ballet and Kansas City Dance Expressions, where she was the director of the ballet program for two years. Heather has also conducted dance workshops for area Girl Scout troops and schools.

In 2008 Heather began working as a paraprofessional at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park. This will be her fourth year as the school’s Job Coach. She loves helping students find things they are passionate about and helping them succeed at work in the community.

Heather is so excited to be returning to the artistic staff this season and getting to share her love of ballet with area dancers.

Christina Foreman, Assistant Director

Christina began dancing at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance in 2000 at the age of six. Through time and perseverance, Christina trained in ballet, pointe, tap, liturgical, modern, jazz, Broadway jazz, and lyrical dance styles. She has had the privilege of performing in Ballet Midwest’s production of The Nutcracker nearly twenty times. Her favorite roles have included Spanish Lead, Drosselmeyer’s Angel, Party Clara, Lead Flower, Maid, and Mother Gigone. In 2008, Christina was accepted into the Ballet Midwest Company and performed in several full-length classical ballets including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Billy the Kid, Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, Coppélia, and Don Quixote. Her favorite roles include the Stepmother from Cinderella, Prayer from Coppélia, Russian Lead from Swan Lake, and a Wili from Giselle.

Christina started assisting classes at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance in
2009, where she discovered her love of teaching, and in 2011 she began instructing classes. Christina looks forward to teaching each week and loves watching her students grasp new concepts for the first time. In the time she has spent dancing with Ballet Midwest, Christina served as a Company Representative (2011-2013), received the honor of being named Most Inspirational Dancer (2011), and was honored to accept the position of Assistant Artistic Director in 2017.

In 2013, Christina graduated from Cornerstone Family Schools, a local homeschool network, and in 2017, Christina graduated from Washburn University with her bachelor’s degree in business administration, majors in management, marketing, and entrepreneurship & innovation, with a minor in music. In May of 2019, she graduated from Washburn University with her Master’s in Business Administration. Christina works as the Student Success Evaluation and Retention Specialist at Washburn University. In addition to her role within the Center for Student Success and Retention, she has enjoyed teaching Washburn’s freshman seminar course, The Washburn Experience.

Madison Meenen, Assistant Director

In 1999 Madison began her ballet education at Barbara’s Conservatory of Dance and performed in the Nutcracker as the Candy Cane Doll the following year. Her love of ballet only grew from there. Upon becoming a Ballet Midwest Company dancer in 2006, she had the opportunity to perform in the annual spring ballet, as well as the Nutcracker. She has held many roles that are dear to her heart including Party Clara, Mouse Queen, Snow Queen, Hungarian Lead, Dew Drop, and Sugar Plum Fairy; but the role that surpassed all others was Fairy Godmother which she danced in Ballet Midwest’s 2015 production of Cinderella. This was a part which she had aspired to since performing as an Hour in Cinderella at the age of 10. It truly was a dream come true and a testament to many years of determination, hard work, and love of the art!

Madison was privileged to attend Ballet Magnificat!’s summer intensive in Jackson, Mississippi in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and was placed in level 10, the highest level she was eligible for the final year. While in Jackson, she not only grew in her own dancing, but learned so much that she’s been able to implement into her teaching. From the time she began instructing classes as a freshman in high school it has been a passion. The thrill of seeing her students grasp new concepts and thrive in them cannot be paralleled.

Over the years Madison’s grandmother, mom, aunt, two sisters, two brothers, husband, and two kids have played roles in the production ranging from performer to tech crew. The family atmosphere that Ballet Midwest provides is so special to Madison and her family.

Ballet Midwest 2022 Company, Photo by Mark Weber, Wicher’s Photography

2022-23 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Lacee Sandgren, Artistic Director

Randi McCurry, President

Angie Marichal, Vice President

Melissa Butler, Treasurer

Ashley Anderson, Secretary

Jamie Sandgren, Fundraising

Ashley Charest, Marketing

Board Members At Large

Stephanie Barry

Steve Bergstrom       

Kathy Duncan

Barbara  Ebert, Artistic Director Emeritus

Michael Meenen

Kim Patton

Renae Skryzpek

Kathy Woods

Company Representatives

Kennedy Beals

Ellie Ericson

Beatrice Reilly

Ballet Midwest 2022 Junior Company, Photo by Mark Weber, Wicher’s Photography