The Company

Karen L. Charles

Artistic/Executive Director

A dedicated performer, teacher and creator, Karen Long Charles received a BFA Ballet/BS Computer Science from Texas Christian University and M.Ed. in Administration from Georgia State University.  Charles has performed with numerous dance companies including Room to Move Dance Company (Atlanta, GA), Susan Warden Dance Company (Kansas City, MO) and was awarded a fellowship to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Charles served as Director at Perpich Arts High School and she was the founding Principal/Executive Director at Main Street School of Performing Arts. Charles has created/presented works for James Sewell Ballet, Carleton College, Macalester College, Main Street School of Performing Arts and Perpich Arts High School.

Threads Dance Project was founded by Karen L. Charles in 2011. Karen and her Threads Dance Project were nominated for a SAGE Dance Award for Outstanding Performance in 2015, have successfully toured to sold-out audiences in Atlanta, GA, and co-hosted the 2017 McKnight International Choreographer, Salia Sanou, of Burkina Faso/France.

Threads was also honored as one of six companies featured in American Dance Abroad’s (ADA): Pitchbook Volume II (Winter 2016) for In-Development Projects, for the Fall 2017 premiere piece “Uncertain Reality.” ADA’s publication is used as a representation of American dance around the world at festivals, performances and marketed to international programmers.

The Dancers & Staff

Karen Christ Aalgaard
Dancer, Rehearsal Manager
Hometown: Lakota, IA
Education: BFA Dance from University of Iowa
Training & Professional Experience: Dance Connection by Michelle Clegg, Dance & Other Behaviors

Michelle Collins
Hometown: Apple Valley, MN
Education: Cornish College of the Arts – BFA in Dance Choreography
Training & Professional Experience: Michelle Collins Solo Work, Maul Dance, Mankato State University Dance Theater, Cornish Dance Theater

Sara Karimi
Dancer, Development Manager
Hometown: Cedarburg, WI
Education: University of Iowa- BFA in Dance, BA in English
Training & Professional Experience: Milwaukee Ballet School, Danceworks Inc, Kayle & Company, 10,000 Feet Dance Theatre, Borealis Dance

Aili Emilia Kotnik
Community Engagement & Education Manager
Hometown: Bloomington, MN
Education: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Spanish Studies Minor
Training & Professional Experience: Hopkins Dance Center, Continental Ballet Company Summer Intensive, Crash Dance Productions

Brenna Mosser
Education: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, UK,  le Centre National de la Danse Contemporaine in Angers, France
Brenna currently dances for ARENA DANCES, Alternative Motion Project, Bernadette Knaeble and Jennifer Glaws. She also teaches Jazz and Modern at the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts.

Julie Marie Muskat
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Education: BFA Dance & Music minor, Summa Cum Laude; Interlochen Arts Academy: Dance Major, Graduation with High Honors
Training & Professional Experience: San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Co., Ariella Vidach/Compagnia AiEP, Dance & Other Behaviors, Vox Medusa

Nteranya Arnold Sanginga
Arnold is a Congolese artist, poet and a scholar with Political Science degree from Macalester College
Training & Professional Experience: Studied and danced with Patricia Brown, Wynn Fricke, Brian J. Evan, Darrius Strong, Djenane Saint-Juste (Afoutayi Haitian Dance, Arts and Music Company). Arnold continues developing artistic rituals for African post-conflict communities.

Dana Kassel
Company Manager
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Education: BA in Dance, University of MN – Twin Cities
Training & Professional Experience: Performed with Danny Buraczeski, Cathy Young, Zenon and others.  Worked at The Southern Theater, with Voices of Sepharad, Judith Brin Ingber, Ragamala Dance and currently with the McKnight Fellowship program for Dancers and Choreographers.

Board of Directors & Artistic Advisors

Threads Dance Project’s Board of Directors is composed of members representing the world’s diversity as to ethnicity, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. Members are united in their commitment to supporting the mission of the organization. Board activities are driven by an Annual Organizational Plan, a statement of individual fundraising and resource-development goals based on personal skill sets, and abilities.

The board meets regularly to fulfill its obligation of governance. The work of the board is carried out by committees that meet as needed. Key committees are Fundraising, Marketing, Organizational Effectiveness, Outreach, and Performance.

If you are interested in joining the Threads’ Board of Directors, please contact Artistic/Executive Director Karen L. Charles:

Helena Haynes-Carter

US Bank

Marcus Buggs

Vice President

Zachary Clifton


William Ackerman

US Bank

Scott Kriedeman

Town Hall Station

Christine Clifford

U.S. Bank

The Artistic Advisors are a knowledgeable group of professionals who consult and provide arts related expertise as needed. The Advisors have no legal or fiduciary responsibilities, but are advocates for the company’s mission and serve an integral part of Threads Dance Project’s artistic processes.

Diane Aldis


Herman Milligan


Mary Moore Easter


David O’Fallon


Linda Muir Finney