BBfB in Action

BIOGRAPHIES

Susan Frikken, DPT, LMT
Instructor & Co-founder

“My goal is to incorporate arts and nature into therapeutic practice, helping to change the way of health and wellness care in our country. I love to dance, bicycle, be outside, and play at just about anything, so I try to stay healthy and able in case I’m invited to join in! I am a physical therapist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, a graduate of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013. I’ve been a massage therapist since 1993. Areas of special interest are restoring optimal posture and function, conservative scoliosis management, working with the many circus artists in the Madison area, soft tissue work (massage), and – of course! – balance and falls prevention! I’m honored to have been adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at UW for the DPT program. Also, I’m a certified leader of Stepping On, an evidence-based falls reduction program. Proudly, I am a founding member of the Madison Area Wellness Collective [now Be Well Madison], making health and wellness choices easier through connecting practitioners and community. Most recenty I became a PK Silver Coaching Specialist and hold parkour classes with seniors. Originally from metro Detroit, I live in Madison with my wife and animals.”

My LinkedIn profile.

Darcie Olson, Ph.D, OTR
Instructor & Advisory Board Member

“I am an instructor in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at Madison College. I hold degrees in Occupational Therapy from UW-Madison and Health Science from UWM. Throughout my career I have specialized in various aspects of physical rehabilitation with adult and geriatric populations. I participate in several community programs and include my Occupational Therapy Assistant students when possible. I am currently involved in programs addressing aging in place, including falls prevention, senior driving and home modifications.”

Krista Spiro, Instructor & Advisory Board Member

“I am a long-time Madisonian who loves music and dance. I learned ballroom dancing as an undergraduate and started the Madison Argentine Tango Society. I enjoy dancing at community events with my family and friends, and try to keep up with my kid’s hip-hop moves. I enjoy travel, camping, biking, learning languages and being outdoors as much as possible. I earned a Master’s of Physical Therapy at UW Madison and work at Unity Point Health Meriter in the area of neurological physical therapy. I am a certified in leader of Stepping On, an evidence-based falls reduction program. I love that dancing can bring joy to exercise and be a means to improve confidence, balance and energy.”

Atala-Nicole Mitchell
Instructor

“Teaching is one of my favorite parts of life. I love to watch people enjoy learning and to support people in finding joy, health, well-being, and creative expression. I have taught creative movement, ballet, ballroom, modern, aerial, jazz, and tap dance, as well as adaptive Pilates, meditation, relaxation, stress relief, and classes for living well with chronic pain. I hold a Master of Fine Arts in Dance and a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. I look forward to meeting you and to a strengthening and fun class.”

Gwendolynn Doyle, Instructor

“Dancing has been a part of my life since the age of 3. I couldn’t imagine my life without dance, so I pursued it in college, obtaining a BFA in dance and dance education. I taught dance for 15 years in Wisconsin, Illinois, and even South Korea. My main focus has been ballet and modern dance, but have taught everything from hip hop to gymnastics to samba. I have taught movement to age groups from 4 months to senior citizens. I decided to return to school for physical therapy and graduated in 2019 with an associates in physical therapy. Ballroom Basics for Balance is a fun way to blend my two interests.”

Georgia Corner, Instructor

“I am a physical therapist who began my movement career as a dancer/dance teacher. I currently work as an outpatient therapist, and continue to teach dance and incorporate dance into my therapy practice. I am inspired by the idea that movement for pleasure can keep us all vigorous at all ages.”

Rena Kornblum, MCAT, BC-DMT, DTRL, Instructor

“I am a board-certified dance/movement therapist and have taught and practiced dance therapy for over forty years. I consider myself very lucky because I love my work. I coordinate an undergraduate certificate program in Dance/Movement Therapy at UW-Madison where I teach 4 levels of dance therapy classes as well as Relaxation Techniques for Embodiment and Stress Management, and Ballroom Dance.

I spent thirty years working at Hancock Center for Dance/Movement Therapy where I developed children and family programing and was the executive director for 14 years. As part of my work for Hancock Center, which has continued after I retired, I provide services in Madison elementary schools and neighborhood centers. This consists of embodied social skills classes for classrooms and families via a research-based violence prevention curriculum: Disarming the Playground, Violence Prevention Through Movement and Pro-Social Skills. I developed and published this curriculum, and run therapy groups for children needing more intensive work.

I teach about my work nationally and internationally and recently have developed a multi-cultural approach with pictorial handouts in several languages and activities that directly address how different cultures use space, eye contact, self-regulation and conflict resolution.

I love my work – I love moving with people. I find joy every day moving and dancing with others.”

Evie Lynch, Advisory Board Member & Instructor

“I’m a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, martial artist, and dancer, originally from Madison, WI, now living in Oakland, CA. A client introduced me to BB4B, and after volunteering at classes I knew I wanted to teach! I have a lifelong fascination with creative forms of movement, and my experience with Aikido, circus aerials, speed skating, and competitive lumberjack sports have given me a wide array of tools to support balance training. In my classes I hope to share functional body mechanics and the joy of movement to help build sustainable exercise habits.”

Susan Martin, Advisory Board Member

“I am a student in a Ballroom Basics for Balance class. Susan Frikken, my PT, mentioned BB4B several times before I decided to try a class. Am I glad I did. In addition to improving my balance and coordination the BB4B class is so much fun. I have practiced yoga for over 30 years. I find yoga is a practice that takes me inside myself. BB4B classes are outwardly focused taking me into the sense of community and sharing. BB4B and yoga give me a nice balance emotionally and physically.

My education is in biological sciences and I worked in biomedical research for many years. In retirement, I received my yoga teacher training certificate, and volunteer teach at the Madison Senior Center and Middleton Senior Center in association with YAFA, Yoga Accessible For All. I have additional training and certification in Yoga for Arthritis, Yoga for Seniors and Chair Yoga.

My one year old dog/puppy keeps me entertained and busy. When I have a few extra moments I like to read or cook.”

Sue Gasparri, Instructor

“I am a Physical Therapist and have worked with a wide variety of patients over the years. During my short stay in Madison, I was fortunate to volunteer and dance with BB4B. The smiles and sense of community that are shared during these classes fuel my soul. I am a strong believer in the importance of staying active for physical and mental health, and enjoy yoga, dance, and the outdoors.”

Hannah Johnson
Instructor & Co-founder

“For as long as I can remember, dance has been a part of my life. It began with figure skating at age 3. Since then I’ve enjoyed swing dancing, salsa, Zumba, and Chicago-style steppin with friends. I graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in 2011 with a Biology degree. I met Susan during graduate school at UW-Madison and enjoyed volunteering with Ballroom Basics for Balance classes in its early years. Currently, I am an outpatient physical therapist certified in orthopedics practicing in Spring Green, WI. I’m passionate about helping seniors find ways to incorporate movement into their lives. I can’t think of any activity more fun than dance!”

Mary Berg, Instructor

“I graduated from UW Whitewater with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Recreation Administration. I have worked in the recreation field for twenty-four years, thirteen of which have been for the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. I am responsible for the establishment, operation and evaluation of recreational programs, services and facilities for the community, including the management and supervision of all Recreation Division personnel. The City of Waukesha has utilized the Ballroom Basics for Balance curriculum in class, at Special Events and as a staff energizing activity. Ballroom Basics for Balance elements rhythm, synchrony and shared movement has brought our community together.”

Deb Kohlwey, Instructor

“I first came to BB4B as a student. I learned a lot from Georgia, my instructor, and loved that dancing could improve my balance. Because of my positive experience, I decided I wanted to teach the course. My goals are to continue to learn and practice the skills necessary to teach the course and to improve my students’ well-being.

On a personal note, I have lived in Madison my entire life. I attended UW Madison and earned two B.S. degrees, one ag related and the other in education. I also have a masters in curriculum and instruction. I was a high school English teacher for 33 years and retired in 2021.

I enjoy spending time with my family, taking classes through MSCR, and volunteering for various organizations that improve our community.”