Owner & Artistic Director


Miss Suzanne Swanson Wagner


Miss Suzanne is well known for her talents as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She has studied extensively worldwide in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Russia, and Paris under Masters in ballet, jazz, and tap. Other credits include teaching at the College of St. Theresa, MN, Dance Masters of WI workshops, touring Colorado and abroad to Russia and France with her Vision Dance Company, to Disney World and Carnival Cruise Line and Spain with her Dance Stars, choreography for high school and college performance groups, and work with area musical theaters. She is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Monroe-Jackson Dance Theatre for which she has staged The Nutcracker, Thumbelina, Peter Pan, The Sleeping Beauty, Peter and the Wolf, Cinderella and choreographed Alice in Wonderland. Marilyn Wood, for whom the studio is named, was her first teacher and mentor. Suzanne is over a 25 year member of DMW and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. She was inducted into the prestigious DMW Hall of Fame in 2016 and currently sits on the board of CNADM.

Our History

Marilyn Wood founded Marilyn School of Dance in 1950. During her teaching career, she not only trained thousands of young people in the art of dance, but also had been involved in all of the arts in the area of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Marilyn choreographed the First Community Theatre Musical, Bells are Ringing, and continued to choreograph all the Community Theatre musicals for many years.  She helped found The Great River Festival Arts, along with Frank and Lenore Italiano.  Marilyn choreographed dances that her students have performed with the GRFA Symphony Orchestra in La Crosse at Myrick Park and Dodgeville, Wisconsin.

The dance school was operated under the co-directorship of Marilyn, her daughter, Julie Olson, and Suzanne Swanson Wagner. Julie and Suzanne both start dance lessons with Marilyn at the age of five.  Suzanne became the owner and Artistic Director in 1996 when Marilyn retired after 50 years of teaching.