En Avant School of Dance Primary Teachers

Mary Liz Gilbert


Mary Liz started dancing at age 4 with the Evelyn Knight School of dance for eight years, followed by six years of training at Corita’s School of Dance. Mary Liz studied dance at UW Madison for one year, then transferred to the College of St. Theresa in Winona, MN, where she graduated with a B.A. in Dance Performance in 1980. Mary started En Avant in the fall of 1980, and taught part time at the UWEC for two years while she was developing her own program. She also taught dance classes at Regis High School for nine years while her studio rented space there. Mary Liz teaches all of the 4-8 year old classes as well as some of the beginning jazz and intermediate ballet classes. She has an amazing gift for working with young children, and has been inspiring “budding ballerinas” for almost 30 years.

Heather Schwahn


Heather is Mary Liz’s niece, and she is the primary jazz and Modern teacher at En Avant. Heather started dancing at Corita’s School of dance in Eau Claire from 1974-1979. She then took class at En Avant from 1980-1988 when she graduated from high school. Heather danced for the UWEC concert dance company for two years, followed by three years in the dance department on the University of MN, where she completed the B.A. dance program. She has been teaching full-time at En Avant since 1993.

En Avant School of Dance Associate Teachers

Gina Toutant


Miss Gina began her dance training at En Avant at the age of five. Through high school she studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern and pointe while also competing on her high school dance team and taking classes at the Wisconsin North Youth Ballet. She kept her passion for dance through college by attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she took ballet classes and danced on the Madison Dance Elite Team for four years. She graduated from UW-Madison in 2005 with a degree in Secondary Education and taught English for five years at the Chippewa Falls Middle School. Since 2008, she has directed and choreographed for several plays at the Chippewa Falls High School. In 2009 she became a certified yoga instructor and has continued her dance training by attending classes at Zenon Dance in Minneapolis and Steps on Broadway in New York City. Miss Gina instructs pre-ballet, pointe, jazz and modern classes. She has been teaching dance part-time at En Avant since 2005.

Haley Cain


Haley is from Marshfield, WI where she was classically trained in Russian and French ballet technique at Main Street Conservatory of Dance since the age of three. She has taken part in several University productions as a choreographer and performer and has attended multiple national dance conferences while earning her degree in Business Administration and Dance from the UW-Eau Claire. She was involved with UWEC’s Concert Dance Company as a performer, choreographer, and executive board member throughout her college career. Haley is now a Realtor and Manager of Riverbend Realty Group in Eau Claire and has been teaching at En Avant part-time for two years. Miss Haley instructs ballet, pointe, and modern classes.