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 

“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, 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. Originally from metro Detroit, I live in Madison with my wife and animals.”

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


“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

“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.”

Hannah Johnson

Instructor & Advisory Board Member

“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.”



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!”

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.”


Ana Grimh, Instructor 

“While I do not have any formal dance training, I enjoy moving and exploring new movements. I started volunteering for Ballroom Basics for Balance as I prepared my application for graduate school. I serve Dane and Jefferson Counties and a Wisconsin school district as a physical therapist. My partner and I started Align Wellness Services (Align), hoping to bring a more whole-person, team-oriented approach to wellness and fitness to the area.

I’ve also had experience teaching people in non-movement-based areas. I am a certified pet dog trainer and behavior consultant, and owned a pet training company for nearly a decade. That coupled with various managerial positions in animal rescue and food service have helped me develop a wide variety of skills and become better equipped to serve more people. Building relationships with others is a skill that feels natural to me, and I enjoy helping people better themselves and their situations.

I’m looking forward to helping you discover and explore your passion for dance, moving well, and having FUN!

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT); B.A. Psychology; B.A. Sociology; Certification in Nutritional Physical Therapy (CNPT); NSCA: Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS); Functional Movement Systems: FMS-1; CrossFit: CF-L2 Trainer”

Sarah Calvert, Instructor

 “I am a recent UW-Madison graduate in Physical Therapy school. I love to backpack, paddleboard, sail – just about anything that involves being outdoors and spending time with friends. As a yoga and Pilates enthusiast and instructor I enjoy working with individuals and groups to investigate movement and the connection between mind and body. I’m excited to continue exploring balance and movement strategies with BB4B.”

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!”

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.”