Julie Johnston - President
Julie has been a patron of the dance arts for more than 20 years, supporting both of her daughters as they studied and performed as soloists for the Jill Landrith School of Dance and Ballet Wichita. Julie has previously served on the Wichita Children's Theatre and Ballet Wichita boards and volunteered her time on the Ballet Wichita Dance Council. She has also previously volunteered at Cow Town.
Julie looks forward to assisting this great organization in moving the art of dance forward in the Wichita community.
Allie Cornett - Vice president
Born and raised in Wichita, Allie was introduced to ballet at an early age, which began and cultivated a life-long passion for dance. She studied ballet under the direction of local instructors Marjorie Kelley, Nancy Hervey, and Jill Landrith; and she performed various roles in 8 productions of the Nutcracker, as well as spring productions of Ballet Wichita, including Romeo and Juliet and Les Sylphides. She earned a bachelor's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Wichita State University, where she competed in Track and Field, and has worked in several different Marketing and Communications roles in the area since graduation. Currently, she works in the eCommerce department for Boot Barn.
Allie is also a member of Toastmasters, an international communication and leadership development organization. As a native Wichitan and aesthete, Allie is dedicated to the idea and action of improving Arts in the city.
Lillian Bartlett - Treasurer
A lifelong resident of rural Derby, Lillian was introduced to dance in high school, but it was her young daughter that introduced her to the magical world of ballet through the tradition of The Nutcracker. For more than 16 years, Lillian has volunteered in the ballet community, from back stage monitor to creating costumes, headpieces and props, to providing head shots and performance photography. Even now that her grown daughter is a professional dancer in Chicago, Lillian is committed to the ballet community in Wichita and the surrounding areas.
Lillian has a degree in Business Administration from Friends University as well as Associate Degrees from Wichita State and Emporia State Universities and is the owner of two local businesses. She established Bartlett PhotoArt in 2010, providing performance photography for Wichita State University, Ballet Wichita, and Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts, as well as freelance and portrait work. She also began a bookkeeping business in 2003 and maintains several local business clients. She is proud to list setting up the initial office for the local historic Orpheum Theatre as one of her many accomplishments. Lillian has also had the privilege to be able to volunteer for multiple organizations including her church, Girl Scouts, and Music Theatre of Wichita. Providing her unique skills to Metropolitan Ballet has inspired her creativity and fulfilled her passion for the arts.
Lanelle McKernan - Secretary
Lanelle was introduced to the ballet community by her daughters more than 12 years ago. During this time, she has witnessed the growth, devotion and endless hours Jill Landrith selflessly gives to her dancers, the community and her student’s families. Lanelle is an active member in her church, serving in leadership for it's Altar Guild. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing; after numerous years working in surgical areas of Wesley Medical Center, she now serves the Goddard Public School system as a school nurse.
Lanelle was drawn to serve humbly and readily by the richness in skill, intense knowledge and love of the art that Jill Landrith inspires.
Beau was introduced to the dance world through his youngest daughter, Morgan, and since then, has become the ultimate Dance Dad. Having been an executive in the Oil, Gas and Pipeline Industry for 20 years, Beau brings a multitude of business experience, primarily with sales and marketing. Beau truly believes in the mission of Metropolitan Ballet, and the importance of dance in Wichita under Artistic Director, Jill Landrith. Beau hopes to continue helping in any way possible to promote and carry on the tradition established by Jill and the Metropolitan Ballet for many years to come in the city of Wichita and surrounding communities.
Heather was born and raised in Wichita, KS. She began her classical ballet training at the age of 4 with Jill Landrith and Nancy Hervey at the Nancy Hervey School of Ballet. She was a company member of Metropolitan Ballet of Wichita for 12 years and her favorite role performed during that time was the Arabian Soloist in the Nutcracker.
Heather attended high school at Kapaun Mt. Carmel where she spent two years as a cheerleader and two years on the dance team. She began teaching ballet at the YMCA and coached the 8th grade cheerleading squad at Magdalen Catholic School. The summer before her senior year, Heather traveled to Europe on tour with the Kansas Ambassadors of Music. She performed in France, England, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy.
Heather received her BFA with an emphasis on Performance and Choreography from Wichita State University where she was a member of Mid-America Dance Theatre and a company member of Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, as well as a member of the WSU dance team. During her time at WSU, she traveled to New York to perform as a soloist at the New York Jazz Choreography Project at Alvin Ailey (choreography by Amy Baker Schwiethale). Heather also toured Taipei and Taichung, Taiwan, performing in “Beyond Words” choreographed by Taye Diggs and Andrew Palermo, Co-Founders of the dre.dance company. Heather taught adult ballet at WSU, and has also taught at Raeann’s Fancy Footwork and Kelcy’s Dance Studio.
Heather and her husband, Jason, and son, Pax, enjoy golfing, camping, boating and traveling. Heather is honored to be a part of Metropolitan Ballet. She credits Jill Landrith with igniting her own passion for ballet at four years old and she is excited be a part of igniting that passion in Wichita.
Marie began a lifelong love of classical ballet in 1975, and trained under June Landrith in Wichita, Kansas. She danced as a member of Metropolitan Ballet of Wichita until 1982, at which time she began her medical education. She passed on her love of dance to her younger sister, and later to her 5 daughters, who also performed for Metropolitan Ballet/Ballet Wichita, training with Nancy Hervey and Jill Landrith.
In all, Marie and her family have been closely connected to ballet in Wichita for a span of over 4 decades, and she is looking forward to many more with the new Metropolitan Ballet!
Marie has a life long love of dance and the arts. She studied dance with Patrick and Jennifer Crommet from the Royal Winnapeg Ballet, Carol Iwasaki of Ballet West, and Annette Thornton, Artistic Director of the Newton Dance Center. She has studied with various dance teachers including Thalia Mara, William Christiansen, and Rosella Hightower.
She was a dance instructor and choreographer for over 20 years at The Newton Dance Center, Bethel College, and with Newton Community Theatre and a number of area high schools and colleges before moving to Hutchinson where she has been a dance instructor at Artistree since 2003. She returned to her hometown Wichita in 2015 but continues instructing at Artistree.
Full time, she is a nurse practitioner at COMCARE of Sedgwick County. Her husband is Dr. Robert Coleman. Together they have seven children and many grandchildren. Her daughter danced with the company at the University of Kansas and two of her granddaughters dance with a dance company in Kansas City. Several of her grandchildren and her children are also musicians and artists. Dance and the arts have always been important elements in her family life.
Marie is committed to classical dance training as the foundation of of all dancers and as a Board Member hopes to help promote and elevate classical dance in the Wichita and surrounding communities.
A commitment to Wichita’s expanding dance opportunities is the driving force behind Pete McKernan's contribution to Metropolitan Ballet. He’s seen first-hand how ballet has positively impacted his daughter’s life – not only by building her self-confidence, but also by helping her develop relationships with others and providing a social environment to build strong morals and character.
Pete has worked in the Wichita Aviation Industry for 37 years in various levels of Management. He enjoys golfing, watching sports and spending time outdoors when time allows.
He currently serves on the Rainbows United Board of Directors as well as the Vestry of his church.
MSgt Mike Sorensen (Ret) retired from the Kansas Air National Guard in 2016 with 29 years of service. He is not new to the arts; he studied art at Wichita State and earned a degree in Graphic Design. As a youth, Mike’s love for ballet began when his mother and his sister, Robyn, introduced it to the family. His mother worked for and his sister performed with Carol Iwasaki at The Dance Center. Mike and Carol’s son helped around the center as needed. He supported his younger sister and attended many of her recitals under the direction of several directors: Carol Iwasaki, Marjorie Kelly, Nancy Hervey and Jill Landrith. Dance became a family affair; his mother, an assistant with the Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center, worked on numerous costumes for the WCTDC and Ballet Wichita. His dad, brother, and he installed floors for several classrooms at WCTDC.
The Sorensen’s family tradition continued when years later, when his youngest daughter, Shelby, began dancing for Miss Jill. Shelby “volun-told” him to help out in The Nutcracker. He found himself as one of the “Party Parents,” and eventually as the principal role of Clara’s Father. During the summer months, he worked for Ballet Wichita’s “Ballet in the Park.”
Mike is happily married with three daughters and two grandchildren. He hopes to strengthen the bonds between the community and the fine arts through the company of Metropolitan Ballet.
A military brat and native of Kansas since 1979, Tina Sorensen has been a passionate follower of the arts for as long as she can remember. As a volunteer for Ballet Wichita from 2008 until 2016, she worked back stage assisting the production manager with many tasks including costumes, time management and making sure dancers were dressed and ready to report for their stage cues.
Tina’s love for The Nutcracker began when her father introduced her to a performance at Century II where it would become a tradition for many years. She met her husband who was connected through the arts (as well as his mother who made many of the costumes and his sister who performed for numerous years under several directors including Jill Landrith) and eventually, their own daughter would join the tradition of dancing with Miss Jill as well.
As a high school educator for USD 259 since 1992, she believes that the fine arts are crucial not only to create a well-rounded individual but to enhance life to the fullest. Without the arts, the world lacks a soul.
Showcasing local talent is a priority and her focus while serving on the board. Tina is excited to embark on this new adventure with Metropolitan Ballet.