Mrs. Charlotte Wendel
Charlotte Wendel is the owner of Southwest School of Dance.
At age 4, Charlotte Wendel began her dance training at the School of the Virginia Ballet, Newport News, Virginia, where she continued until graduation. She received a dance degree from James Madison University along with a double major in History. She danced professionally with the Virginia Ballet for 3 years and danced one year with the Richmond Ballet Company where she was partnered by Don Schey of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. During the off-season, Ms. Wendel danced in many professional theater productions including West Side Story, Forum, Brigadoon, George M., and the Common Glory.
She has studied with Ted Shawn, Josefina Garcia, Myra Kinch, Robert Joffrey, and is a recipient of the Josefina Garcia scholarship, which honors Mexico's foremost ethnic and modern dancer.
Due to a back injury, Ms. Wendel retired from dance after a 4 year career and taught history, science and physical education for 9 years in the Virginia public schools. In 1983 she opened Southwest School of Dance in Marshall. 2003 marked her 25th year of teaching dance and her 20th year at Southwest School of Dance. During her professional career, Ms. Wendel has received several choreography awards and her dancers have won many national championships and special awards. Many of her dancers have gone on to professional careers in the world of dance. In 1993 her Children's Ensemble performed in Russia, Estonia, and Latvia. They were invited to perform at the 'Oktyabrsky' or October Hall in St. Petersburg, which is considered a 'high honour'. In 2000, her dancers were invited by the Mexican government to take part in the World Dance Conference in Cancun, Mexico. Her dancers have performed at Disney World in Orlando Florida in 1999 and 2002, and at the 1998 Altanta Olympics, both by special invitation. She is currently listed in Who's Who in American Women, Who's Who in the Midwest, Who's Who in Entertainment and Who's Who in America. In December 2002, Southwest School of Dance was named to the National Registry, a distinguished reference listing the top 100 industry leaders in specific fields in the U.S.
Ms. Wendel was active in bringing the arts community together to form the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council and later in bringing together those interested in dance to form the Prairie Dance Alliance. She was chosen by the PDA Board as the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001, 2007, 2011 and 2013 productions of the 'Nutcracker', the 2003 and 2005 productions of 'Babes in Toyland' and the 2009 production of 'Alice in Wonderland'.
Mrs. Susan Geske (Mrs. G)
Susan Geske has lived in the Marshall area for over 20 years. She started teaching preschool dance classes at SWSD in January of 2009 and is now hooked! Mrs. G currently teaches Preschool, Ballet/Tap, and Jazz at SWSD.
Susan has had a passion and love for dance since she started studio instruction at the age of 5. Susan has 9 years of studio experience, mostly from Wells School of Dance in Madison, Wisconsin and her strengths are in Ballet and Tap. She performed in the Nutcracker in Madison, Wisconsin alongside the Joffrey Ballet dancers from New York City.
Breanna Ahmann is a life-long resident of Marshall, MN and is currently a student at Southwest Minnesota State University. Breanna began taking dance classes when she was 3 years old and joined the competition dance team at Southwest School of Dance when she was 9 years old. Under the direction of Charlotte Wendel at Southwest School of Dance, Breanna studied and performed many styles of dance, including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, tumbling and hip hop.
Breanna performed in Prairie Dance Alliance’s Bi-Annual productions, including The Nutcracker, Babes in Toyland, and Alice in Wonderland, where she performed as Alice. Breanna also attended Prairie Dance Alliance’s Annual Dance Camp during her dance career, taking classes and performing the choreography of renowned instructors such as Zac Hammer, Jessica Chapman Fay, Ellen Keane, and Ellie Potts Barrett. Breanna also took tap dance classes taught by Germaine Salsberg at Broadway Dance Center in New York City.
Breanna enjoys teaching dance and is excited to begin her third year as a dance teacher at Southwest School of Dance. She also works with Southwest School of Dance competition dancers, by creating choreography for soloist and groups. Breanna will be teaching jazz, tap, tumbling, modern, lyrical, and preschool classes at the dance studio and is looking forward to a great year, working with the dancers and staff at Southwest School of Dance.