Our Instructors

Hilary Johnson

IMG_6660_bwHilary Johnson, Owner/Director of HJ Dance grew up north of Lincoln and started dancing at age 3.  She performed in the Midwest Ballet for 8 years, twice as Clara in the Nutcracker.  Hilary attended the Alabama High School of Fine and Performing Arts and graduated high school a year early to pursue a career in dance. She has danced professionally with Ballet Omaha and the Charleston Ballet Theatre, as well as being the featured dancer in a Mannheim Steamroller music video. She received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Nebraska where she was a 4 year member and Captain of the Scarlets Dance Team. Prior to directing HJ Dance she was the Head Coach of the two-time National Champion Bengal Dancers at Idaho State University, where she was also part of the adjunct faculty in the Department of Theatre & Dance.  Hilary enjoys judging competitive dance across the country.


Ted Blessing

Version 2Ted Blessing, a San Diego native, has worked professionally in the dance community for many years under industry greats. Under instruction of such teachers and choreographers as Sonya Tayeh, Tessandra Chavez, Travis Wall, Sarah Reich, and Jerry Mitchell, Ted has studied extensively tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, and modern. Ted has been lucky enough to teach in multiple arenas and is currently the season choreographer at the Lincoln Community Playhouse and at the UNL Glen Korff School of Music





Shamene Dixon

Shamene has been teaching dance for 24 years, and is excited to be a part of the HJ Family! She has trained and taught many disciplines including ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, acro as well as cheer, pom and is a certified Yoga instructor. Shamene has received many awards and accolades including UDA (Universal Dance Association) coaching honors! Shamene was also a Scarlet at the University of Nebraska with Miss Hilary! Shamene is very excited to meet all the HJ Dancers this fall!!!


Sara Dolezal


Sara has been dancing since the age of two and has always had a passion for dance. Growing up in Columbus, NE, Sara was an assistant dance teacher for 6 years at Barb’s School of Dance. Sara also danced competitively and was trained in ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, tap, modern, hip-hop, and cheer. She has been teaching dance for 5 years now and has loved every minute of it. Sara has even had the opportunity to take classes in New York City at the Broadway Dance Center. While Sara is not dancing, she teaches first grade at Fredstrom Elementary School here in Lincoln. She is so happy to share her love for dance and learning at HJ dance this year!



Jamie Fortenbury

Jamie was born and raised in Papillion, NE and attended her first dance class at the age of 5 at Brownstone Dance Academy, and later trained at Nebraska Dance.  Since then, dance has been her vocation.  She has been trained and danced competitively in tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop, and was a four year member of the Papillion LaVista Dance team, where she competed and choreographed for the squad.  As a senior and Team Captain, she was responsible for the team’s choreography.  Her choreography won several competitions to include being awarded Overall First for Choreography in Minneapolis, MN at Spirit of America Dance Championship. During her freshman year at UNL, Jamie was selected for the Student Dance Project.   Jamie tried out and was selected for Walt Disney’s 2012 casting pool.  Jamie was a teacher and choreographer for Divas Dance formerly in Lincoln.  She is also a stylist at Garbos Salon at Regency court in Omaha.


Lauren Larson

Lauren has been dancing since the age of three, and has been a competitive dancer for the past 10 years. Her dance training has included ballet, jazz, contemporary, pointe, tap, and hip hop. Lauren was Senior Diamond Solo National Champion and received the “Solo Excellence” Award at Showbiz National Talent. Other accolades include regional titles and the “Perfect 10” Award at HJ Dance! She graduated from East High School with honors, where she was involved in many activities, including the Apollonaires Dance Team. Lauren is attending UNL with a major in microbiology, on a pre-dental track, and is a member of the University Honor’s Program as well. She is a member of the Scarlets Dance Team at UNL.  Lauren is excited to continue sharing her greatest passion with HJ Dance!



Allison Phillips

AllisonAllison has been dancing since the age of four and has always found her favorite place to be is in the dance studio. Originally from Omaha, she trained at Synergy Tech, Nebraska Dance, and Xtreme Dance. Currently she is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Speech Pathology and Dance. While at the UNL Dance program she has studied under numerous renowned artists in the dance industry.




Cassandra Sadowski

Cassie has been dancing since the age of two. She was a part of the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company for nine years performing in the Nutcracker. Cassandra has also done many shows at Pinewood Bowl and the Lincoln Community Play house. She was a member of  the NWU Gold Rush Dance Team for four years, and was captain for two years.  She is looking forward to another great year at HJ Dance!


Kelsey Ronspies


Kelsey has been dancing since the age of four, and she was a competitive dancer for seven years. Kelsey has been trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary and tap. Kelsey was also a three-year member of the Lincoln Southwest Emeralds Dance Team, and she was Captain her Senior year. She was also a member of the Lincoln Southwest Varsity Choir and Show Choir. Kelsey received numerous regional and national titles during her years as a competitive dancer, and was nominated for the “Perfect 10” Award by her peers in 2017 at HJ Dance! Other accolades include 2017 Nebraska State Dance Class A “Kick Line” Champion and the 2017 Nebraska Achievement Scholar Award. Kelsey is attending UNL and she is majoring in Elementary Education. Kelsey is excited to share her passion with others and to continue to be a part of the HJ Family!


Chloe Discoe

HJ Dance Bio

 Chloe has been dancing since the age of four and is from Columbus, NE. She was a member of Barb’s School of Dance competition team, and has studied many styles of dance including, ballet, tap, hip hop and clogging. She’s also had the opportunity to take classes in New York City. Chloe is a Freshman at UNL and is Majoring in Hospitality and Communication.