QHS Alumni Spotlight: Krisna Hanks ’75

By: Katie Rodemich

Krisna Hanks ‘75 has built a successful career spanning over three decades as a professional dancer, that has transitioned to roles as executive coach/consultant and fitness/Pilates studio owner. Today, she serves as a health and performance coach for Canyon Ranch Resort and for Dr. Philip Ovadia’s I Fix Hearts Health Team while operating Square 1 Wellness as a co-owner with her husband Robert Surenbroek in Tucson, Ariz.

Krisna is the daughter of Sherrill Hanks, Quincy High School’s head basketball coach and athletic director from 1960-75. She has many memorable moments and seasons from her years with the Quincy Blue Devil basketball teams across Illinois and at home in the QHS Blue Devil gymnasium.

“The basketball seasons were unique, riding on the Greyhound buses with the team and cheerleaders. Just being part of the ‘Blue Devil Magic’ holds incredible memories. As a cheerleader, turning backflips down the length of the court remains a highlight.”

Krisna has always been a very athletic performer, as early as dancing at the young age of six. She was a cheerleader and a founding member of the Pamela Bedford Dance Theater throughout her teenage years.

“On the artistic front, performances with the Pamela Bedford Dance Theater in the Tri-State area and beyond are memorable. Being an individual who loves movement, I have tons of good memories of cheerleading practices outside in the heat in the summer and of course, the fact that our squad won the state championship is a treasured moment.”

Growing up and influenced with a strong discipline and work ethic, a large part she credits from her parents, Krisna took advantage of the PIE program that QHS had established, a Project for Individualized Education.

“This enabled me to be part of a professional dance company at the same time as attending regular classes and meeting educational curriculum. As part of the independent study wing of the school I could complete my classes at my own pace and go to the studio for rehearsals and training in addition to being part of the cheerleading squad, which had rigorous time demands. The PIE program fit uniquely my personal traits of being able to commit entirely to the artistic side of my pursuits, as well as meet all the necessary educational requirements. Coming from a home that cherished self-discipline and commitment, I felt lucky to be able to have an education that allowed for this type of hybrid learning structure.”

Krisna feels she was fortunate to have two exceptional teachers during her Quincy Public School days. Nikki Compton instructed her in French and Mr. Richard Heitholt served as her principal. “Nikki Compton inspired me and many others to love foreign languages. Nikki helped instill the desire to travel the globe, be curious about foreign cultures, lifestyles, and different perspectives on world affairs. Mr. Heitholt was an exceptional leader and role-model throughout my QHS years.”

After High School, Krisna has traversed the globe, establishing residency in several notable cities including the San Francisco Bay Area, Kansas City, Chicago, Pasadena, and New York City. She is also fluent in Dutch and spent time living in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

With a strong educational background, Krisna holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Dance from Indiana University Bloomington, IN, and a Master of Science in Kinesiology from the same prestigious institution. Additionally, Kris furthered her education with an MBA from the University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Krisna’s extensive background in dance and theater spans across Europe and the United States, having worked with acclaimed choreographers and directors such as Twyla Tharp, Lucinda Childs, and Pete Greenaway. She has danced with the Dutch National Opera, Gradiva Productions, and Aspect Theater in London.

Krisna’s career as a professional dancer reached new heights when she became the Artistic Director of Raw Material Theater Company. She produced, directed, and choreographed numerous performances throughout Europe and the United States, showcasing her exceptional talent and creativity.

With a longstanding dedication to health and wellness, Hanks continues to promote education and consulting in this field. Her subsequent endeavor was as a health consultant, offering expertise as a health and performance coach, executive coach nutrition advisor, and developer of thorough employee wellness programs. Organizations such as Pixar Animation Studios, the City of Emeryville, and Stanford University have benefited from her services.

Krisna co-founded East Bay Pilates with her husband, and created square1wellness.com, a wellness blog exploring various aspects of health. She also authored, Finding Lifestyle Sanity: A Survival Guide, a book providing strategies for achieving success and prosperity.

In her spare time, she enjoys engaging in various activities such as hiking swimming, working out, reading, enjoying delicious meals and all things related to promoting heathier lifestyles by advancing Metabolic Health.

Krisna suggests that today’s students should “Be curious, read voraciously, travel as much as possible, learn to speak other languages, think critically and be a good friend.”


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To read more QHS Alumni Spotlights, visit qpsfoundation.org/alumni-spotlights.