About Us


“One day at a nursing facility while guarding a patient, walking forward, backward, and sideways (they were clearly not inspired with the exercise) I thought, ‘If only we had some music – we’re doing the rumba!’ I couldn’t shake the idea. So, I decided to create this class in 2014 with the help of colleagues, friends and therapy students. We continue to have a wonderful core group of participants with many instructors – most of whom are therapy students volunteering their time!”  –Susan Frikken



Susan Frikken, DPT, LMT, Instructor & Co-founder


“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 UW-Madison in 2013. I’ve been a massage therapist since 1993.  Areas of special interest are restoring optimal posture, conservative scoliosis management, soft tissue work (massage), and – of course! – balance and falls prevention!  I’m honored to be adjunct faculty at UW, co-leading “Health Promotion and Wellness” for the DPT program. Also I’m a certified leader of Stepping On, an evidence-based falls reduction program. I’m also proud to be a founding member of the Madison Area Wellness Collective, making health and wellness choices easier through connecting practitioners and community. Originally from metro Detroit, I live in Madison with my wife and animals.”



Darcie Olson, Ph.D, OTR, Instructor & Co-Organizer


“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.”


Caleb Klein, Instructor 

“I love to move, explore new ways moving, and help other feel more comfortable in their movement. A Pilates instructor as well, I love the way that dance challenges and encourages improvement in every part of our balance and movement process.  There’s nothing more fun that moving to music, trying something new, and breaking out of our everyday movement patterns!”




Sara Hannemann, Instructor 

“I graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Anthropology in 2014, and have lived in Madison ever since. I am the coordinator for the SAFE at Home Program, a falls prevention program providing in-home safety assessments and medication reviews to older adults in Dane County. In addition to my work in falls prevention, I assist with Meals on Wheels, and teach swimming to people of all ages at Harbor Athletic Club in Middleton. In my free time, I enjoy ballroom dancing, non-ballroom dancing, swimming, biking, playing water polo, and exploring all that Madison has to offer. I am thrilled to combine my professional interest in falls prevention with my personal interest in dancing by way of Ballroom Basics for Balance.”


Laurie Doladee, Instructor

“I work at Burkhardt Physical Therapy Center, LLC in West Salem, WI. I have been a licensed PTA for 20 years, prior to that I was a fitness instructor for 7 years. I love to dance and am excited to be part of Ballroom Basics for Balance!”


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.”



Megan Bjella, Co-founder, OTR

“I graduated in 2016 with my Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I work as an occupational therapist at UW Health specializing in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation and as a yoga instructor in the Madison area.  I have been involved with Ballroom Basics for Balance (TM)since it began in May of 2014.  I continue to be involved as an assistant instructor and in developing curricula and conducting research.”