Happendance Board of Directors
Jo-Ann retired from a successful 30-year career in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University where she was the Human Resources Manager for 100+ staff members and the Executive Assistant to five (5) Deans. She joined the Happendance Board of Directors in August 2014 and has served as Vice-President and is now serving as President of the Board. It was her passion for dance that brought her back to Happendance. She enjoys volunteering for Happendance and sharing her knowledge and skills wherever needed.
Jo-Ann is a life-long learner and an “ageless” dancer. Therefore, it’s not surprising that she is taking dance classes at Happendance and has re-admitted into a degree program at MSU wherein she is studying another passion of hers—Child Development. She spends a lot of her time studying, going to class and working with young children. Her work with preschool children combines her knowledge of social and emotional development and creative movement providing young children a fun environment in which they can acquire the skills necessary in becoming a socially competent adult.
Jo-Ann lives in East Lansing with her husband, Bruce, a Michigan State University Professor Emeritus in the College of Communication, Arts and Sciences. In retirement, both Jo-Ann and Bruce are enjoying life and spending more time with family.
Sherrie joined Maner Costerisan Finance Firm in 2008. As a senior manager in the firm’s audit department, she primarily works with education and nonprofit entities, including service organizations, trade associations and religious organizations.
Sherrie grew up in Fraser, Michigan and settled in Grand Ledge, Michigan, with her husband, Aaron, and their two daughters. In her free time, Sherrie enjoys baking, spending time with her family and attending concerts.
Jim Linnemann is a physics professor at MSU. He spends much of his day attempting to outwit computers. He performs experiments in high-energy physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and participates in a cosmic ray experiment in New Mexico called Milagro. He's been interested in modern dance since his graduate school days at Cornell, when a fellow researcher started taking classes. He's followed Happendance with pleasure since his arrival in Lansing in 1984, and has been pleased to serve as a board member of Happendance since 1995.Jim lives in Haslett with his wife Ruth Eggert Linnemann. Ruth works with the Michigan Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She invites you to visit the dance chime at the MSU children's garden. Their daughter Rachel has taken classes at Happendance since she was three. On (rare) good days, Jim thinks of downhill skiing as a form of dance.
Melody has been involved with teaching children for nearly twenty-five years. While attending a small liberal arts college, she was introduced to the grace and beauty on the arts of music and dance. During her tenure with the Lansing School District as a French teacher, Melody witnessed the importance of the arts and the unfortunate diminishing presence of dance, art, and music in the classroom. Through her board experience, she is pleased to have the opportunity to bring more exposure to Lansing neighborhoods and its adjacent suburbs. As a mom of five children, Melody strives to carve time out for herself and her husband Scott.
Missy Lilje (BFA in Dance, University of Michigan; MFA in Dance, Arizona State University) has toured nationally and over-seas, presenting her research and performing with the five professional companies she's been a part of (Happendance, 100th Monkey, A. Ludwig Dance Theater, Rayn Dance Theater and Travesty Dance Group.) Missy has a long history with Happendance and serves it in many capacities. She studied with Diane Newman from age seven through high school. Between her university studies in Ann Arbor and Phoenix she successfully auditioned for the Happendance professional company and taught at the school, and also served as Dance Faculty Liaison at Lansing Community College. From Arizona she moved back to Lansing and has been busy with Happendance ever since. She served as Artistic Director for the professional dancers, as well as the pre-professional company Happendance 2, until being hired in 2013 to succeed Diane Newman as Executive Director.
PATTY VILLANUEVA ~ School Director, and Artistic Director of Professional Company (non-voting member)
LISA WHITING-DOBSON ~ Artistic Director of Happendance 2 and Community Dance Project (non-voting member)
Information coming soon.
Diane has been active in developing dance in the Lansing area since 1968 while a student at Michigan State University. She received a B.S. degree in Zoology with a dance minor, completing a Master's Degree in Parks and Recreation Resources Administration in 1975. While a graduate student, Diane began teaching at Lansing Community College; helped form the MSU Repertory Dance Company; established Newman Dance Theater (now Happendance School) in 1974; began teaching dance mechanics to competitive athletes in 1975; and in 1976 founded Happendance, a non-profit organization and mid-Michigan's only professional contemporary dance company.
In 1981 Diane was selected by the Michigan Dance Association as Michigan Dance Teacher of the Year. She served as Artistic Director of Children's Ballet Theatre of Lansing from 1991-1995. Diane has co-authored a book with colleagues Beth Post and Dr. Lynnette Overby, published in 2005, to teach core curricula through dance, titled Interdisciplinary Learning through Dance: 101 MOVEntures. In 2007, she was selected by the Michigan Dance Council as Dance Educator of the Year.
She resigned as Executive Director of Happendance in 2013, but continues to manage and develop the curriculum for Happendance School, where she also teaches many levels of ballet, modern, composition, and creative classes for young children.