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EVERY DAY is an adventure and it's ALL ABOUT the climb! 

Who We Are

Jana Hirsch


I'm Jana Hirsch, one of the founders of Pinnacle Performing Arts. I started tap, ballet and acro at age 2 in Bakersfield, California, and have been dancing, acting and singing ever since. I have over 25 years of teaching experience. I've served on the fine arts faculty at Shattuck St. Mary's school, artist-in-residence at various educational institutions, talent scout and agent in the Minneapolis market and guest instructor for various programs and studios as well as a judge for regional and national dance competitions for the past 16 years.


I've worked as a choreographer for GAP Kids, TJ Maxx, The Easter Seals, The Great American Model Search as well as various master classes and theatrical productions throughout the region. My students have been seen working professionally for Target, Best Buy, The Mall of America,The Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Pistons, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and performing along pop stars on national tours.


My dream gig would be choreographing a video with Donny Osmond, Barry Gibb and Michael Buble'. My favorite thing about Pinnacle is how much we love each other, and really enjoy being together.

Tamsen Hutton


Tamsen started to dance at the age of 2 and found a love for it. Over the years she studied Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap, Irish Step Dancing and Modern.


Tamsen studied at St. Paul City Ballet while in high school. She is a a former Montessori teacher and St. Olaf graduate who took various courses of dance throughout her four years, and participated on the award-winning dance team as well. She is so excited to share her love of dance with everyone at Pinnacle this year.

Alessandra Amendolar


I started dancing at at Toby Lagervall Dance Studio (later Dance Dana and Company) training with Dana Lagervall-Sawyer.  I graduated with Honors from Perpich Center for Arts Education.  There I studied under Mary Harding and Tom Kanthak. While at PCAE, I worked with numerous guest artists (Eddie Oroyan, Stephan Reynolds, and Michelle Miller to name a few, and composer Marc Mellits).  


I then attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where I graduated Cum Laude earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance and a Minor in Creative Writing. At UWSP I trained under Joan Karlen, Jeannie Hill, Michael Estanich, Pamela Luedtke. While at UWSP I worked with multiple artists, some being, Lily Cai, Claudio Munoz, Billy Siegenfeld, and Luc Vanier. 


It's hard to choose just one favorite performance piece I've done, but one of my favorite roles/opportunities, was dancing with the Moscow Ballet Company in their production of "The Great Russian Nutcracker."  


Each year I've worked at Pinnacle, I have had different moments that stand out to me, and could certainly be "the favorite part" about being part of this team. One thing that has always been consistent year to year, class to class is seeing and hearing the students cheer each other on and truly support the team. If someone has a beautiful moment, it does not go unnoticed in these classes!

Kara Millerhagen


Kara is a veteran performer and is well versed in all aspects of the performing arts including vocal performance, acting, directing, writing and producing.  She studied at Minnesota State, Mankato, and continues to be a life long learner in live performance. 


Kara has written and recorded several compilations with the group SISTER and has entertained many audiences across the region. Currently she resides in Northfield with her husband Jon. Their daughter Anna studied at Pinnacle and is now a student at Winona State in the field of Computer Science. Their son John is working in Washington D.C.

Zach Kubasta


Zach, a native of Wautoma, Wisconsin, is a senior at St. Olaf where he is pursuing his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education. Zach’s life revolves around music as he sings in the St. Olaf Choir, is a member of the HillHarmonics A Cappella group at St. Olaf, conducts a children’s church choir at First UCC of Northfield, and volunteers regularly in the local schools.


Outside of music and schoolwork, Zach loves spending time outside with his friends and family as well as watching any form of Wisconsin sports. With a great love for the town of Northfield, Zach is excited to be joining the Pinnacle team and to work with the students.

Kaia Schomburg


I am currently attending the University of Minnesota and have studied at Pinnacle Performing Arts Center for 10 years (prior to that, I took classes at two other studios). My performance credits outside of Pinnacle include being a member of the Minnesota Dance Collaborative, and various theater projects through the Northfield Arts Guild, Northfield High School, Northfield Youth Choirs, School Choirs and Paradise Center for the Arts. My professional credits include work as a singer/songwriter performing at various locales throughout the region, and commercials including work for NBC, Regis Hair and the Detroit Pistons.


I am serving as an Ambassador for the Defeat of Jesse James program. My favorite role I’ve ever played was Cosette in Les Misérables, but my dream role would be Glinda in Wicked or Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. What I love best about Pinnacle is the unconditional love we all have for each other. 

Saija Maki-Waller


I currently attend Northfield Senior High. I’ve studied at Pinnacle Performing Arts for 10 years now and have studied under many dance and music instructors including Jana Hirsch and Alisa Leonard. My dream role would be to play Jenna in the Broadway musical Waitress, or Carol King in Beautiful. What I like best about Pinnacle is the incredibly supportive community that has been built there. I can wholeheartedly say that my fellow dancers at Pinnacle are my best friends. I feel constantly supported by my peers and my instructors there and I couldn’t ask for a better place to be!

Isabel Day Diggins


I am currently attending the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts and have studied at Pinnacle for 10 years. Throughout that time I've mainly been taught by Jana Hirsch, Alisa Leonard and Kara Millerhagen, and each one of them has impacted me and shaped me into the person and performer I am today.

Ever since my first class at Pinnacle, I've had but one longing that has corrupted my thoughts; it lies perpetually at the back of my mind, patiently waiting to be pursued - I want to be lowered from the ceiling onto the stage (pyrotechnics would also play into this grand spectacle). 
Although I do love everything about Pinnacle, my favorite must the people who I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by. I've never been in an environment as fun, as loving, as accepting – and most importantly – as EMBRACING as Pinnacle. I have always felt able to share my thoughts and ideas and explore creativity openly. I appreciate that aspect of Pinnacle to the highest degree. It is where thinking and moving and creating flow naturally.

EVEREST Gymnastics Academy


Everest Gymnastics Academy is focused on using gymnastics as a catalyst to help youth reach their life’s summit. Gaining skill and expertise in the sport will parallel many life lessons about leadership, lifestyle, loyalty, and love. All athletes will grow at an individual pace on each apparatus and will be encouraged with positive reinforcement along their journey. The academy has the attitude, coaches, and professionalism that will grip you from the start. Join our program and strive for the peak!

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