Acro, Ballet, Conditioning, Jazz, Leaps and Turns, Lyrical
Augga Hawkins is a professional dancer and choreographer originally from Beijing, China. She was selected at the age of 12 to train full-time at the Central University of Nationalities. In her seven years at the university, Augga trained extensively in ballet, acrobatics, Chinese ethnic minority dancing, jazz, lyrical, and international dancing. Augga graduated in the top of her class and was selected to be the lead dancer of one of the most prestigious dance companies in China, the National Chinese Ballet Company. As lead dancer of the company, Augga performed for dignitaries and heads of state from around the world, including President Reagan, Canadian Premier Trudeau, and her own country's vice chairman Deng Xiaoping.
After moving to the United States, Augga continued to pursue her love of dance through teaching and choreographing for several outstanding dance organizations, including Brigham Young University, earning herself acclaim and praise for her technique and choreography. She opened her own studio in 2007. Her passion for dance and love of teaching has led the studio to a top-100 FDC National ranking, as well as a top-5 placement for winning studios in Washington state!
Andrew began dancing at age eighteen for a school project. Who would have thought six months later it would have engulfed his life so completely. Andrew was offered a teaching position soon after and hasn’t stopped since. “It’s my passion in life, training, and helping others grow in their careers.” With thirteen years of experience fulfilling just that, no one can dispute his talents.
Additionally, he continues to work closely with Kolanie Marks after 10+ years, is a co-founder of KreativMndz, and has been dancing and choreographing for shows such as WeDay, America’s Got Talent, and World of Dance, just to name a few. Andrew has truly cultivated a name for himself. He is an extremely positive teacher who wants to change the way his students learn. “I want to make you learn faster, so you can accomplish more in an hour.” Demonstrating his own work ethic outside the teaching world, Andrew makes the most of his time with his family and wife while managing I-Ace, a dance app and overseeing the KreativMndz magazine. Andrew Faulkner is very highly sought after and an even more highly respected name in the dance scene.
Acro, Conditioning, Jazz, Leaps and Turns, Lyrical
Casmir Wells attended the University of Washington for her freshman year of college before deciding to continue her education at Everett Community College so she could be closer to home and to her dance students. During her time at the University of Washington, Casmir was honored to be a part of the cheer/dance team which provided her with valuable collegiate dance experience. Previously, she danced at Northwest Dance and Acro from 2008 through 2014. During her time as a dancer at Northwest Dance and Acro, she developed a strong work ethic and her dedication to practice each day lead her to be successful at dance competitions including a first place award at Legacy Dance. Over the years, Casmir has drawn inspiration from her grandmother who was like a mother to her and was always very proud of her. It is very important to Casmir that her students feel comfortable in class; she goes out of her way to be sure they understand her instructions and is happy to go over the steps until they are clear. She asks that students come to class prepared for anything and with determined focus.
"When I started teaching, I fell in love. Every time I teach, I build a strong connection with each and every one of my students. I love being able to teach others to dance and to see their progression throughout the year. One of my favorite things about NWDA is how we are such a huge family. We see each other so often and we really get to know each other personally. It's great to know the dancers and the parents!"
Julius "JuJu" Flores
Conditioning, Contemporary, Jazz
Julius Flores has been dancing since December 2006. He was offered a full scholarship to join the Honolulu Dance Performing Company, where he trained in ballet, jazz, and hip hop under the direction of Cathy Izumi and Elizabeth Miller. In 2008, he traveled to Los Angeles for a dance convention to represent Hawaii. It was at Dance Excellence that he was offered a chance to join the California Pacific College of Performing Arts, also known as The Young Americans College of Performing Arts. He has traveled throughout the United States teaching dance and music under the direction of Bill and Robyn Brawley while he also trained in performance technique. He also studied psychology to prepare himself with the tools to better analyze and understand his surrounding environment. In 2010, he performed with a group at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. During that same year, he was given another opportunity to join a dance company in Los Angeles. He trained in ballet and jazz under the direction of Lisa Diaz with her studio Legacy Dance Academy. He was exposed to amazing choreographers with whom he trained alongside and later joined Silver Lake Contemporary Ballet. As the year passed, he moved back to Hawaii and was offered a position as codirector at Honolulu Dance Studio where he shared the knowledge that he had gained from his training in dance. Julius was chosen to be a lead male dancer for Hawaii Opera Theatre, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the top opera artists, and he was officially renowned as a professional dancer. Julius has choreographed many top soloists for dance competitions and has been awarded First Overalls, Judges Choice, and Choreographer of the Year.
After spending a summer in San Francisco, California, training in modern and ballet with Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, Julius is now located in Seattle, Washington, where he hopes to expand his knowledge of dance and share his passion by teaching his crafts to all levels. His goal in life is to make a difference in people's lives by helping them express their emotions through dance.
"Dance is not just a step. It's who you are."
Acro, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap
Melina has been dancing, acting, performing, teaching, and choreographing for the past 20 years throughout Western and Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. She is a Dance Major at Western Washington University. She is a Christian Youth Theater-Spokane Alumni, teacher, and choreographer. Melina has been trained in and teaches ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, pointe, hip hop, lyrical, swing, acro, acting, and musical theater dance. She has trained with Isabelle’s Dance Time, Laura Little Theatricals, Dance Emporium, and with Expressions School of Performing Arts where she also taught. Melina has been fortunate enough to take master classes with Koresh Dance, Momix Dance Company, Broadway Connections, Mia Michaels, tWitch, Mandy Moore, Jason Parsons, Al Blackstone, Robert Battle, Anthony Morigerato, the late Doug Caldwell, Ofer Ben, Avi Miller, and Vanessa Van Wormer. Other than dance and theater, Melina is an avid weight lifter, runner, and overall gym enthusiast. She is currently working on the completion of a Bachelors of Arts in Dance and looks forward to becoming a Kinesio Taping Practitioner and certified in NeuroKinetic Therapy. Melina is thrilled to be working at Northwest Dance and Acro and loves sharing her passion for the arts with the next generation.
Mija Bishop started studying ballet in Japan at the age of six, and continued her training in the US. She has 8 years of teaching experience in various parts of Washington (Skagit Valley Academy of Dance, Camano Dance Academy), as well as in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Japan (Ballesonance Tokyo Ballet Studio and Kyogo Ballet). Her roles in past performances include title roles in Giselle, Firebird, Cinderella, Paquita, and Mina in Dracula.
2018-19 Guest Instructors
NWDA is thrilled to host a variety of exciting master class experiences each year with innovative choreographers from across the country. Scroll down to meet some of the dance industry experts we have welcomed this year!
As a professional performer since the age of eleven, Candace is well versed in what it takes to make it on stage or in front of a camera in the dance industry. In addition to dance, as a model she has worked various industry and runway shows such as Paul Mitchell and United Colors of Benetton. A few of her dance credits include The Billboard Music Awards, Romeo, Dream at the Sandcastle Theater in Guam, and ShowStoppers at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Experiencing performance first hand has enabled Candace to be an expert at being a professional dancer. Her innate talent to interpret and communicate through the physical form has given many studios exactly what they needed to win that first overall, or receive that call back. Candace teaches on the characteristics of physical stamina, fitness, perseverance, memory retention and above all, how to interpret the feeling or story behind your piece.
Candace has captivated, shaped, and nurtured students for over ten years. She engages herself in the world of dance completely. She is compelled to share this fascination and love for dance with students from all over the world. From Guam to Canada and in between, whether she is teaching a master class, or setting choreography, her students are left inspired and reaching new levels of potential. Her sensitivity to the needs of each dance student enables her to reach and encourage each pupil, regardless of ability. She is able to translate movements into a language that makes sense to students.
Candace is always working and learning on stage or in the studio. She is continually developing and mastering skills that are then passed on. This cultivated teaching formula has resulted in acquiring a huge following in the dance industry, as well as studios throughout the world. She can’t think of a better way to share her professional knowledge, broaden minds, and leave a little piece of herself for every student, than The Art of Movement.
Johanna’s passion for dance and love for choreography have always played an important role in her life. She has performed in many projects on stage and on camera including 2 shows by Cirque Du Soleil: “Viva ELVIS” and Las Vegas’ newest production Michael Jackson ONE, The MTV Movie Awards, The Daytime Emmy Awards, Dancing with the Stars, The Soul Train Awards, Radio Disney Live, Songs of Soul and Inspiration with Debbie Allen, the ArabesqueFestival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and many more. Johanna has been a member of Liz Imperio’s Instincts Live Media Dance Company and Mark Meismer’s Evolution Dance Company. With her choreography, Ms. Sapakie has worked on So You Think You Can Dance, “Miley Cyrus: Live in Concert”, “Michael Jackson: A Tribute to the King of Pop”, and has also been an associate choreographer for Madonna: The Confessions Tour and Madonna: The Reinvention Tour, to name a few. Johanna also takes much pride in her teaching. Johanna taught as a faculty member for various conventions including LADF and Hollywood Vibe. She is currently sharing her knowledge and love for dance at many studios around the world. Johanna is also an expert in aerial acrobatics. She has performed these skills all over the world and is excited to continue to currently work with Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas.
Stacy Paydo is currently in her 12th season as a “Radio City Rockette”. As a Rockette, she has had the opportunity to perform on the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”, “The Today Show”, “Michael Buble’s Christmas Special”, “The Wendy Williams Show”, “The Meredith Vieria Show”, “The Chew”, and the stages of both Radio City Music Hall and The Grand Ole Opry. Her professional career began at the age of seven when she was named the “Star Search National Dance Champion” after appearing on the hit TV show seven times.
Stacy’s other credits include Princess Cruise Lines, industrials for Ocean Pacific and Diet Pepsi, “The Jerry Lewis Telethon”, the EDGE Scholarship show in Los Angeles, and Disney’s Pediatric Aids Benefit with Paula Abdul. Her talent and skill has enabled her to work as a sought after Master Instructor in London, Paris, Chile, Ecuador, Italy, and throughout the United States. Ms. Paydo is a graduate of Arizona State University, where she studied Business and Dance. She is in her 16th year as a Universal Dance Association master teacher, head instructor, summer material choreographer, and adjudicator.
Stacy’s choreography credits include the UDA NDTC opening number which aired annually on ESPN, the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” performance for the 800 Spirit of America Dance participants which aired live on NBC, as well as numerous Finalists teams at UDA Nationals, many placing as high as Top 5. Her judging expertise has lead her to be interviewed by “Dance Magazine”, and you may have also caught her on an episode of “Dance Moms”.
When not dancing herself, Stacy enjoys sharing her love of the art by traveling, motivating, and inspiring the next generation of dancers. She is celebrating her 11th season with Spotlight Dance Cup and looks forward to seeing all of the talented contestants!