ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP

Founder and Director

Abigail Henninger 

Abigail grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania where she trained at the Lake Erie Ballet. At the age of 18, Ms. Henninger received her first contract and immediately started performing professionally. Ms. Henninger has danced professionally with Madison Ballet, Missouri Ballet Theatre, and Sarasota Ballet, and has had guest appearances with Hosanna Sacred Arts, Master Works Festival, Neglia Ballet, and Suzanne Farrell Ballet in conjunction with the Sarasota Ballet. Abigail has also had the privilege of performing at the Kennedy Center. Ms. Henninger has had the opportunity to perform some of the great works of renowned choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, John Cranko, George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, Mathew Bourne, Andre Prokovsky, and many more. She has been blessed to perform lead roles in ballets such as "Who Cares", "Giselle", "Swan Lake", and "Les Patineurs". Some favorite ballets from her repertoire include: "There Where She Loved" by Christopher Wheeldon, “Nuoto” by W. Earle Smith, "Zelophehad" by Steve Rooks and "Checkmate" by Ninette de Valois’.

 

As a choreographer, Abigail has been able to set original works on Missouri Ballet Theatre, Hosanna Sacred Arts, Saving Grace Dance Ensemble, Arova Contemporary Ballet, Dancers of the Madison Ballet and various schools across the country.

 

She is the founder of Magnum Opus and serves the company as both a dancer and the artistic director. During the premier season of Magnum Opus, she was able to set eleven new works and one full length ballet. While in their second and third seasons Ms. Henninger set several  brand new pieces, a full-length production and the expansion of multiple existing works. During the fourth season of Magnum Opus Ms. Henninger transitioned the season to making films, performing outdoor works, and created unique ways for the company to perform throughout the entire season during the pandemic. 

 

Ms. Henninger has quickly developed a choreographic presence in Madison as "Having a knack for creating pleasing shapes with the dancers’ bodies and exploring the nuances of the score" mentioned by Madison's Isthmus. Ms. Henninger is thankful for the support of so many loved ones who have helped her put Magnum Opus into being and is elated to begin season five in the fall of 2021. Abigail wants to give all the glory back to her Creator for giving her the beautiful gift of dance.    

Trainee Leadership Team

Alexsandra Rockman, Trainee Coordinator 

Alexsandra began her dance training at age three in Sun Prairie, WI. At age eight, she moved to Dance Studio 3-D where she stayed through high school. She has been called “fearless” in her dancing. Her training consists of ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, musical theatre, and acrodance. Alexsandra has participated in multiple summer programs throughout middle school and high school. These include Dance Masters of Wisconsin in Madison for six years and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters in Chicago for three years, as well as many master classes. Alexsandra choreographed her first solo at age nine. Since then, she has choreographed for musicals, other solo and group work. Alexsandra was accepted to and attended the Ruth Page Summer intensive in 2018. 

 

While still in high school, Alexsandra started teaching classes at Studio 3-D in Deerfield Wisconsin. She taught a range of ages from eight to eighteen in the same class. Alexsandra has also taught summer classes in ballet and pointe. 

 

At Northern Illinois University, she studied with Judith Chitwood, Paula Frasz, Richard Grund, Marc Macaranas, and Jessica Tomlinson. Her previous training was with Debra Griggas, Josh Hayes, Palmer Mathews, Liz Sexe, and Jennifer Stewart. While at NIU, she was cast in classical, contemporary and modern works. She had the honor of being selected by Susan Wincek as one of seven dancers to be part of a traditional Spanish dance utilizing shawls and castanets in 2018. In 2019, she was one of eight dancers to be cast in Joel Hall’s “Etude in Jazz #6” that was set on NIU students. 


Alexsandra thanks God for her many blessings and is excited to be part of Magnum Opus and work with the trainees for another season!

Nellie Holmes

Nellie is a Madison area native who studied for 14 years at Dance Studio 3-D. She received her BFA degree in Art Therapy from Edgewood College. Over the years, Nellie has enjoyed choreographing for numerous groups including First Wing Family Theater and the Awana Angels at Ridgeway Church as well as sharing dance with youth in Malawi, Africa and at The Bayview Foundation in Madison, WI.

 

Nellie performed with Liz Sexe Dance in "Sighs Too Deep for Words" and as choreographer/dancer at Victory Center Church in Madison. She has a passion for sharing dance with people of all ages and abilities as well as exploring movement in prophetic worship. Nellie joined the trainee leadership team in 2019 and is beyond delighted to be working with Magnum Opus for her third season. 

Karen Chu

Karen grew up in Ames, IA, where she began her dance training at the Robert Thomas Dancenter. She fell in love with ballet there and has been dancing ever since, even through university and graduate school. While living in Chicago, IL for graduate school she continued advanced ballet training as part of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts Young Dancer Program. She loves both the technical challenge of ballet, as well as dance as a form of expression, and especially hopes to pass that on through her teaching. When she isn’t in the dance studio, Karen also enjoys doing graphic design and illustration, as well as music production, and singing and playing the piano. 

Kaylee Winsand

Kaylee began her dance career growing up in Eau Claire, WI. Starting at Diamond School of Dance in 2004 learning tap, ballet, lyrical, and jazz. Her smile and emotion while dancing was memorable, and even got caught on camera and displayed in the studio for quite some time. She joined her first competition team in 2009, winning gold and silver medals. In 2012 Kaylee transitioned to First Position Dance Company in search of Christian friends to dance with. She not only found friendships, but struck a passion to worship Jesus through dance. She loved learning, but even more than that, she was taught how to express her worship to the Lord. She grew as a dancer and worshipper, and left the company after high school graduation with a full heart. Kaylee moved to Madison to pursue Graphic Design, and after college graduation, is a Designer at a small software company. For the last 5 years Kaylee has been an active member of City Church in Madison, WI. Heavily involved in the young adults ministry, and is known for her dancing during worship. In fall of 2020, Kaylee started a formal Dance Ministry under the direction of Sarah Karlen. Through the ministry, she leads workshops on the heart of worship and mentors aspiring worship dancers. Kaylee is looking forward to joining the Magnum Opus trainee team this fall as a trainee mentor.

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Photo Credit: Halo Digital Photography
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