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.
Ballet, Conditioning, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical
Ashley Hyde is a Washington-state native. Growing up, Ashley started competing at the age of 5. She has won numerous national titles and first overall awards regionally and nationally, at finals in Las Vegas, Oregon, California, and Florida. She has taken classes and received recognition from choreographers like Alex Blistein, Jason Parsons, and Brooke Pierotti, to name a few. She has won Female Non-Stop Dancer, Breakout Artist, and other awards. She began self-choreographing at the age of 14. Throughout her training, she earned numerous choreography awards and competition titles, including Dupree Dance All Star, Miss Dance America, Miss Spotlight National, and others. In her youth, Ashley and her group went on NBC’s hit television show America’s Got Talent and made it through division finals.
Ashley received her B.S. at Brigham Young University. There she danced on the 19 time national collegiate dance team, the Cougarettes. Dance Spirit magazine features and ranked them one of the top 5 collegiate dance teams in the U.S. She has worked with choreographers Shandon Perez, Karl Mundt, and more. In 2017, she was in the viral video “Rolex” that received over 8 million views on YouTube alone. Later in 2018, she performed backup to hip hop artists Ayo and Teo.
As a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Ashley has choreographed for multiple studios, winning choreography awards regionally and nationally. Her dancers and work have placed 1st overall on numerous occasions. Currently, she teaches and choreographs for studios in different states and has taught international master classes in Beijing, China. Ashley loves helping dancers achieve excellence through hard work, heart, and passion.
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!"
Julie Heffner has studied many forms of dance as well as singing and acting, but ballet has her heart! She trained at Ballet Bellevue School and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and has performed in over 25 full length ballets. Her most prominent roles include Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Clara in The Nutcracker.
Her passion for Teaching began 13 years ago and continues to grow. Julie is trained in “Mental Health First Aid” and “Anne Green Gilbert’s Brain Dance”. Her teaching method includes classic ballet technique and hands-on corrections. Julie recently received her “Certificate in Acting Fundamentals” from Rekindle College in Seattle, bringing her another step closer to her long time goal of being a triple threat.
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.
Jazz, Hip Hop
Torii Wade started dance at the age of 3 years old at P2 Dance Academy, training under various talented instructors including Ms. Augga Hawkins. At the age of 15, she began choreographing competitive routines for ages 3-14 years old, specializing in Contemporary, Jazz, Street Jazz, and some Hip Hop styles. Over the years of teaching she has guided her dancers to multiple FDC awards, overalls, and Battle of the Stars National Championships.
Torii moved to NYC at the age of 18 after receiving a full scholarship to Joffrey Ballet School- Jazz & Contemporary Program in the heart of New York. After completing the program she stayed in New York to continue her dance journey and education at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.
She has recently moved back to Washington and is now a member of the Seattle Seahawk Dancers (previously know as SeaGals). Victoria’s overall mission with her dancers is that they leave class & day-to-day tasks knowing 3 things:
1. They worked their hardest
2. They always have room to improve
3. They love what they do
All that is asked is that the students come to class open minded, ego-free and ready to learn.
Always remember “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard."
Acro, Ballet, Combo, Conditioning, Leaps & Turns
Alexa Henkel began training with Augga Hawkins at the age of 5 and has continued to do so for over 11 years, studying extensively at NWDA. Over the course of her instruction, she has found that hard work and dedication are the key to achieving one's goals and this philosophy has caused her to earn numerous accolades throughout her dance career, including top awards at national dance competitions and a trip to America's Got Talent at the age of 7, where her acro team performed and moved on to the Vegas round. Alexa has also had the honors of being selected to assist with Just Dance, a national touring dance convention, for the past two years, as well as being chosen to attend the Joffrey Ballet School's Summer Intensive in San Francisco, California in 2018. Alexa has been assisting at NWDA for the last several years, under the direction of Augga Hawkins, where she has learned to embrace the philosophy of the studio-- that the students come first. During this time, she has discovered that she is as passionate about teaching as she is about performing. Through dance, she has been afforded many opportunities and found numerous role models and people that inspire her. It is Alexa's hope that she can serve to inspire the next generation at NWDA.
Acro, Hip Hop
Madison Young has been dancing for over 15 years under the expert instruction of Augga Hawkins and has been with NWDA since the studio first opened its doors. She has studied all styles of dance extensively, including ballet, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary, but acro and hip hop are her true passion. At the age of 15, she was featured in an award-winning dance/travel book called "Dance Across the USA". She is currently in her senior year at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and still pursues her love of dance through challenging classes at NWDA as well as Millenium Dance Complex and West Lake Dance Center, and continues to pursue training at regional dance conventions such as Monsters of Hip Hop, Dupree Dance, Art of Movement, and many others.
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.
Erika is a professional dancer, choreographer & instructor. Currently she is spending the year in Las Vegas dancing in “Le Reve- The Dream” where she is a featured ballroom dancer & plays the lead role of “The Dreamer.” Before Le Reve she was dancing in the Broadway National Tour of “Peter Pan” starring Cathy Rigby. She has danced in numerous music videos & films for Nickelodeon, NBC, and Stars Encore, as well as industrials for Playstation, Honda, and Apple. Live performances include the Bellagio New Year’s Eve show in Las Vegas, Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas Show, and shows aboard Holland America Cruise Lines around the world. She was recently an associate choreographer for the newest show, “Aces High,” produced by Stiletto Entertainment where she has worked as a show director & assistant choreographer. Erika has been a teacher & choreographer for Universal Dance Association for the past 13 years, which has given her the opportunity to perform on the MDA National Telethon with Jerry Lewis. She judges regionally, nationally & internationally for many different companies & recently had the opportunity to be the head judge in Tokyo, Japan for the Asia Open. Erika is very proud & honored to be involved with so many different aspects of the dance world & looks forward to continuing her journey!
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!