A publication to engage the dance community. Learn. Discuss. Contribute. Enjoy.

Get to Know Your Dance Community

Dancers to Look Out For

Cathy Dessert

Cathy Dessert

This always mannered, softspoken, considerate, extraordinary volunteer is an avid harness-racing fan. Three years ago, she attended harness races with her husband and eldest son and discovered she liked the racing but mostly adored the horses, having been a horse lover all her life. Cathy joined Bucket List Racing this past season and earned some cash from her leased and sweet-tempered Macks Molly Hall. She becomes much less softspoken when her horse is on the hunt near the finish line. If you would ever like to witness a face-breaking smile, just ask her about her horse, Ragnar Rocks. He is the new man in her life, a yearling colt in training to become a trotter. Ragnar, who in Norse mythology is an ending to the old world and a beginning to the new world, elicits a not so softspoken opinion about his positive attributes.

Michael Kasinkas

Our local econometrician/mathematician/statistician is very privately known as Mr. Penguin. He has a passion for penguins—anything you ever wanted to know about penguins, and a lot of things you might not, is contained within this gold smooth champion’s body of knowledge. Rumor has it that he and his partner entered the USA Dance event in Kansas City in September partly due to its proximity to the major penguin exhibit located there. Rumor confirmed! Not widely advertised, either, are the six hours a week Michael volunteered last year training juniors who couldn’t afford commercial lessons but will be in the market before you can blink.

Theresa Kimler

Most who have seen her dance would guess Theresa is a powerful extrovert. Well, that's be two-thirds correct. She loves to perform in the way that only the champion of champions could, and she is a powerful extrovert when it comes to four-legged critters, especially horses, dogs, and deer. With people and in non-performance social settings, she is quite shy. Who’d have thunk it?

Karen Maldonado

Karen is bright, honest, kind, and loves to laugh—her fantastic sense of humor makes this easy. Whether she's teaching children, volunteering each Sunday as a USA Dance board member, or focusing on her nursing studies, Karen is a driven, dedicated, and deeply committed person. She’s also fully bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish, without an accent in either.

Andy Nordberg

Andy is a long-term United Airlines employee whose favorite routes are Shanghai and Beijing. He flies these routes up to three times a month. It’s a punishing route, given the thirteen-hour time difference, but Andy has the rare ability to gracefully manage significant time zone shifts for years in a row. Andy loves social dancing anytime, anywhere, but particularly likes to salsa in China while trying to improve his Mandarin. Andy’s little-known secret: when in Shanghai, he takes a one-hour round-trip ride and spends half an hour negotiating for very sturdy but highly discounted ballroom dance shoes. He then brings them 12,000 miles back to Minnesota where he provides them to beginning dancers who would otherwise not have shoes. More than four hundred shoes from this remarkable man, and most people have no idea he does it.

Daniel O'Connell

Known among his friends as an avid connoisseur of ice cream and a firm believer that sharing is caring, you can often find Daniel treating friends and fellow dancers to Sebastian Joe's ice cream. For the last five years, Daniel has run his own business in the field of process reliability. When he's not working or dancing with his wife, Daniel spend his spare time volunteering in the dance community. With a preference to avoid the spotlight, Daniel chooses to volunteer behind the scenes and handle the majority of the heavy lifting. Fellow volunteers enjoy his relentless work ethic, incredible attention to detail, and his ability to understand the big picture. He sits on the board of two local ballroom nonprofits: USA Dance Minnesota and U Partner Dance, Inc.

Rosemary O'Connell

Rosemary O’Connell is a doctoral candidate in mathematics, teaching calculus while studying ways to model certain behavior in the human body. If you’ve ever had a migraine with a visual aura, she can tell you about what’s going on in the brain. Rosemary constantly astonishes her friends and family by how involved she is. On top of her studies and dancing, she finds the time to play oboe in the campus orchestra, read books recommended to her by her librarian sister, and design and construct dresses and jewelry. To see her relaxed, you have to find her in the wilderness—whether it’s canoeing in the boundary waters or hiking in the heat of the Mojave, she loves getting away from the hustle of everyday life.

Jeff Skaalrud

Jeff is a quiet and capable dancer and has been a solid fixture in the dance community for decades, having done amazing volunteer work for the Twin Cities chapter of USA Dance. He rarely speaks of this, much less about his long IT management career, and few are capable of understanding his extraordinary knowledge of numismatics and precious metals. His knowledge and investment acumen put long-time collectors to shame. If you have an interest in this field, have a chat with Jeff sometime. Jeff is always willing to share his enormous knowledge.

Taylor Wall

Taylor is a smart, gifted manager and law clerk who pets tarantulas and snakes, snorkels in the open ocean, and jumps on rainforest zip-lines. Even though she doesn't let anything hold her back, Taylor is still thoughtful and diligent when making important decisions. When she isn't dancing, Taylor enjoys chatting with dance friends and has been known to have a cupcake from her parents' cupcake franchise. One of her favorites is called the Billionaire (it's filled with caramel)!