Faculty


Augga Hawkins

Studio Director

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!

Tia Buell

Conditioning, Hip Hop, Leaps and Turns, Jazz

Tia Buell started her dance training at the young age of five & began competing almost right away at her local competition studio. Since then, she has trained under a variety of prestigious studios & programs including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cornish College of the Arts Preparatory Program, Joffrey Ballet School Dallas Summer Intensive, Alonzo King Lines San Francisco Summer Intensive, Complexions Contemporary Ballet Dallas Summer Intensive & KreativMndz Dance Academy in Los Angeles, CA. Tia prides herself on her versatility, being technically trained in Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, & Modern.

At 16 years old Tia was awarded the position of advanced assistant by the convention Artists Simply Human. She further discovered her independence & elevated her training by traveling all over the United States by herself while juggling school, work, and the long hours of assisting legendary choreographers. This program allowed Tia the opportunity to train under some of the best choreographers around the United States such as Lisette Bustamante, Jojo Gomez, Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden, Tovaris Wilson & CJ Salvador, to name a few. She continued assisting for Lisette Bustamante at the Monsters of Hip Hop summer finale as well as the Brea Space in Los Angeles. Tia was also asked by Desmond Richardson to continue assisting him at his own company's summer intensive, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in Dallas, TX.

In 2018 Tia landed her first big dance job where she was cast as an extra & dancer for the boy band Why Don’t We in their music video Trust Fund Baby. She then went on to perform with Ciara at the Monday Night Football Half Time Show.

After lots of hard work, money saving, & endless days and hours of training, Tia finally made the big jump to move to Los Angeles to further pursue her dance career in January 2020. While her trip didn’t last long due to Covid she was overjoyed with the experience she had training under one of the top studios in LA at the time, KreatiMndz Academy. She got to train with the likes of Kolanie Marks, Antoine Troupe, Diana Matos, Calvit Jr., Kyla Fajardo, Devin Solomon and many more.

Over the years Tia has won many titles, trophies, and scholarships, but for Tia that was never what it was about. “I fell in love with the music that moved through my body, the late nights & long hours, & the memories that were made because of dance. It was the one thing that kept me grounded. It allowed me to express myself without having to say a word.” Tia hopes to be a part of the next generation's dance journey. “I want to help them grow, flourish and develop that unbreakable bond with dance”.

Alison Epsom Jolly

Ballet

Alison trained in London at The Royal Ballet School, The Royal Academy of Dance and The Central School of Ballet before completing her training at The English National Ballet School and on scholarship at The London Studio Center, graduating with First Class Honors, Prize for Most Outstanding Performance, and a BA Hons (Theater Dance) from Middlesex University. In Seattle she has performed for International Ballet Theatre in Dracula (Mina), Giselle (Myrtha), Coppelia (Coppelia), Don Quixote (The Street Dancer, Mercedes) and The Nutcracker (Clara), and for City Opera Ballet in Romeo and Juliet (Juliet). Worldwide theater credits include On Eagle’s Wing, Odyssey Arena Northern Ireland, DVD and PBS broadcast USA and Australia; Michael Flatley’s Celtic Tiger World premiere Birmingham, European premier Budapest, U.S. premier Madison Square Garden New York, U.S. tour and DVD (The Rembrandt Ballerina); Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film); showdance partner to Latin Ballroom legend Paul Killick for The Fire and Ice Dance Spectacular Florida, Ballroom’s Best at The Vail International Festival of Dance Colorado, Paul Killick’s ballroom exhibitions in London, Portugal and Hong Kong, and The Wintergarden Ballroom Blackpool; Follies in Concert at The London Palladium (The Young Bolero Dancer). She has been teaching ballet in the greater Seattle area for over ten years and is happy to help the next generation of dancers to fulfill their ambitions.

Andrew Faulkner

Hip Hop

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 over 15 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 a very highly sought after and an even more highly respected name in the dance scene.

Margaret Otto

Ballet, Conditioning, Leaps and Turns

Margaret Otto graduated from George Mason University with a degree in dance and has worked as a teacher and director for over 20 years for one of the top competition studios in Northern Virginia. She specializes in jazz, lyrical, ballet, and contemporary for all ages. She has also taught and competed ballroom for Arthur Murray. She received her certificate in Certified Personal Training through NASM and is currently certified by Acrobatic Arts. She has two beautiful daughters that grew up in the studio dancing and competing through their senior years in high school. The oldest graduated from Towson University, majoring in dance and psychology, and is currently studying for her doctorate in physical therapy. The youngest received her Associates Degree from Everett Community College in Washington State and is currently teaching for a competition studio in Virginia.

Josh Scribner

Tap

Josh Scribner is a Seattle-based dancer and choreographer known for his innovative approach to tap dance. He has toured with Cirque du Soleil and Iron Beats, been on faculty with Celebrity Dance Conventions, and is founder and director of the Alchemy Tap Project. A 10-year student of Seattle tap dance icon Cheryl Johnson, Josh grew up performing with her youth company, "Tap Squad." Along the way came opportunities to work with masters like Savion Glover, Sam Weber, and Dianne Walker, sometimes sharing the stage with them at tap festivals around the country. As an adult, Josh began developing his unique style of choreography, finding inspiration in hip hop and electronic music as well as the traditional jazz and Latin rhythms he was raised with. Today, Josh teaches at several studios in the greater Seattle area, in addition to running ATP and performing as a solo artist.

AJ Semiday

Ballet

AJ Semiday received formal dance training at Academie de Ballet (Chesapeake, VA). He studied under Ballet Master Andrei Yemelianov in the style of Russian Vognova ballet. AJ has studied and taken various classes at different companies along the east coast. His career in the performing arts began at the age of 7, when he discovered acting. From there, the Lord gave AJ many more opportunities to train in other physical and artistic disciplines such as karate, tumbling, & dance. In his career, he has performed as a dancer in several musicals, some of which include "West Side Story," "Footloose," "The Wiz", "Grease," & "Chicago," as well as being featured as a dancer in multiple "Liberty Tax" commercials. AJ performed in many original ballets with Masterworks Company as The Prince, Raggedy Andy, The Wolf in "A Storyland Christmas," "King Ahasuerus" and the "Spanish Priest" in "Eternal Covenant," and "The Father" in "The Christmas Gift." AJ Semiday is very passionate about glorifying God through the creative gifts He has blessed us with. AJ and his wife Stephanie currently live in Bellingham, WA, where they are patiently expecting their 3rd daughter this fall.

Madison Young

Acro, Hip Hop

Madison Young has been dancing for over 16 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.

Assistant Teachers

Maya Hernandez

Combo, Conditioning, Lyrical

Known for her dramatic performances and strong work ethic, Maya Hernandez has trained diligently for over 12 years under the direction of Augga Hawkins and the incredible instructors at Northwest Dance and Acro, becoming well-versed in multiple styles of dance such as ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, acro, tap, and hip hop. Over the course of her studies, Maya has sought additional education and experience at numerous dance conventions, intensives, and competitions, earning multiple Top-10 placements, special awards, scholarships, and opportunities along the way. She was invited by company director Meghan Way Stinson to train and perform with Rhythmic Souls Tap Company in Dallas, Texas, and also auditioned and was selected to be a part of the 2020 Tint Dance Festival, working under the guidance of the Guild Dance Company's artistic director Alex Ung. Most recently, Maya had the chance to choreograph her open dance solo which was awarded Top-10 placements at regional dance competitions during the 2020-21 season. Outside of dance, Maya volunteers with the Therapeutic Horsemanship program at the Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center, which allows her the opportunity to work with a variety of different ages and abilities in a safe and supportive atmosphere. Maya is excited to share her unique vision, enthusiasm, and insight with the next generation of dancers at NWDA.

Isabella Spidell

Hip Hop, Leaps and Turns, Musical Theater

Isabella Spidell has studied extensively at NWDA under the training of Augga Hawkins and Ashley Hyde for the past 10 years. Isabella has developed the mindset that ,through continued practice, hard work, and determination, goals and objectives can be met with success. Her focus and continued training has earned her many top awards and accolades during her dance career.

Isabella has been selected to attend multiple summer intensives including: International Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in Bellevue, Washington 2017; Joffrey Ballet School's Summer Intensive in San Francisco, California in 2018; Hubbard Summer Intensive in Chicago, Illinois in 2019; Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive, Las Vegas, Nevada in 2020.

She has been assisting at NWDA for the last year, under the direction of Augga Hawkins. She is passionate about sharing the joy dance has brought to her with others, celebrating the many milestones students achieve during dance, and teaching dance techniques and skills to her students. Isabella strives to be a positive role model and wants to inspire other dancers to love dance as much as she does!

Photo of Reagan Stuller

Reagan Stuller

Acro

Reagan Stuller started dancing with NWDA at the age of 2 and began competing at the age of 6. After over 14 years with her instructors Augga Hawkins and Ashley Hyde, she has developed a love for all styles of dance, but mainly focuses on acro, contemporary, and ballet. Over the years, she has learned that hard work, setting goals and pushing yourself are critical factors in a dancer's success. This mindset, as well as her extensive training, has caused her great success in the forms of top awards and multiple scholarship opportunities. Reagan is determined to become a positive role model for young dancers and wants to share her love of dance as much as she can!

2022-23 Seasonal Instructors

NWDA is happy to host these amazing instructors and choreographers periodically throughout the year.

Sadie Barczyszyn

Acro, Combo, Hip Hop, Lyrical

Sadie Barczyszyn proudly represented Northwest Dance and Acro, her coaches and her teammates for 11 years as a competitive dancer, including as a member of the NWDA acrobatic team that competed on America’s Got Talent. She trained and competed in all styles of dance available: ballet, jazz, lyrical, acrobatics, hip hop, silk ribbons, tap, and some ballroom and Bollywood as well. In addition to her classes at NWDA, Sadie attended intensives and workshops in New York, Louisiana, Chicago, Texas, California and Las Vegas to name a few. She enjoyed competing at regional and National events, bringing home national titles with her teams, as well as her solos, duets and trios. A highlight was earning Miss National Teen first runner-up at Spotlight Nationals, as the youngest teen competitor. 

During her teen and senior years at NWDA, Sadie was honored to be invited to be a choreographer’s assistant at Art of Movement, Dupree, and Celebrity dance conventions. At these events and others, she worked closely assisting master choreographers and teachers, such as Stacy Paydo, Candace Trasoras, Cat Cogliandro, Kavita Rao, and Terrill Mitchell, honing her dancing and teaching skills. It is those teaching skills and experiences that she is so happy to bring to the NWDA classroom now. Whether it’s working with little “princesses”, teens who are new to dance, or seasoned team dancers, Sadie is so happy to bring the joy, excitement and freedom she has always felt dancing to a new generation of dancers. She is also, however, committed to teaching correct form and technique that will keep dancers healthy, strong and progressing throughout their dance career.

 

Aimee Brotten

Leaps and Turns

Aimee began dancing at the age of 5 with Northwest Dance and Acro, and she was a part of the team from NWDA that competed on America’s Got Talent at 8 years old. After that she has continued her training at a variety of studios and refined her technique. At the age of 14 she was touring around the country as an ASH Assistant after winning the position at Artists Simply Human Nationals. ASH has a renowned assistant program where Aimee had the opportunity to form relationships and train under dance legends including Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Judy Rice, DJ Smart, Rudy Abreu, and many more. She has also attended prestigious summer intensives such as The Joffrey Ballet School’s New York Experience, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Advanced. She attended Dancerpalooza as a member of the Beat Squad, and even Stacey Tookey’s exclusive intensive in Calgary, CA, Camp Protégé. At 16 she was awarded Pro Reveler of the Year where experienced her second national tour as an assistant. As a Pro of the Year she was forming more industry relationships with names such as Derek Mitchell, Jaimie Goodwin, Duncan Cooper, and many more. As a PROTY she also helped manage Revel’s Pro Reveler assistant program. Since the age of 12 she has choreographed all of her own solos which are consistently award-winning, and has also choreographed numerous solos and duos. She is a seasoned convention dancer who knows the ins and outs of convention auditions proving her to be very successful in achieving winner scholarships at conventions. Her unique movement quality and impeccable technique makes her shine as an artist. Aimee’s first love is Contemporary, but she also has taught Jazz, Lyrical, Strength and Flex, Leaps and Turns, Ballet and Hip Hop. She loves teaching and has an eye for proper technique and work ethic. Aimee is so happy to be back at her first home at Northwest Dance and Acro.+

Alexa Henkel

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.

Ashley Hyde

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.

Rachel Stallcup

Ballet

Rachel Stallcup started dancing at the age of 7 at Northwest Dance and Acro.  While at first Rachel’s intention was to join her older sister who was dancing at the studio, it didn’t take long for her to fall in love with Augga’s unique perspective on combining traditional dance with acrobatics and flexibility.  Her favorite memories of this time were making many new and fun friends, performing difficult tricks in the Strawberry Festival Parades, competing and winning with her team at countless competitions and, of course, the breakthrough experience of the NWDA team on America’s Got Talent at the age of 10.

As Rachel grew into her teens, she discovered that conventions, which were previously tiring, were a valuable opportunity in learning from many different choreographers and even the scary challenges of the auditions were rewarding.  Rachel attended several summer intensives such as the Cornish Summer Intensive and Joffrey Ballet’s Summer Intensive in San Francisco.  In her junior year, Rachel traveled to many cities as a Hollywood Vibe Assistant and with West Coast Dance Explosion as a member of their Fusion team.  Even though Rachel danced sometimes 6 days a week, she managed to finish her Associate Degree in General Studies at Everett Community College and her high school degree when she graduated in 2018.

Rachel was accepted to Hussian College In Studio in Los Angeles in 2018 where she will graduate in 2022 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Commercial Dance.  In her freshman year, Rachel was honored as the winner of the Joe Tremaine Commercial Dance Scholarship of $25,000 for her work in choreography.  Rachel credits part of this amazing award to the dancers at NWDA who helped bring her creative intention to life.  Rachel absolutely loves living in LA with her dog, Lucy, and her fun roommates who are in the same dance program. Last fall, Rachel landed her first paid dance job with Summertime Records for a video premier of a new artist, Luna.  This fall, Rachel will be back in full-time in person classes at college with the lifting of Covid restrictions.   With her BFA Degree, Rachel plans to perform, choreograph and teach dance.  NWDA will always be Rachel’s dance home and she hopes to always stay in touch and continue helping Augga provide the technique and creativity the studio is known for.

Amanda Ueltschi

Ballet, Combo, Hip Hop

Amanda started dancing at the age of 9 and began competing at age 11, training extensively with Augga Hawkins and the other instructors at Northwest Dance and Acro. During that time, she has developed a love for contemporary dance, enjoying its blend of jazz and lyrical elements. Among the many accolades she has earned over the years, she was awarded Dupree All-Star Scholarships twice as well as earning a scholarship for a 3-week summer intensive at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

Casmir Wells

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!"

2022-23 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!

Candace Trasoras

Jazz, Lyrical

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.

Cat Cogliandro

Contemporary

Cat Cogliandro, born and raised in Houston, Texas, received her BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase. Since then, Cat has worked with creators such as Cherice Barton, Phillip Chbeeb, Tyce Diorio, Ian Eastwood, Mike Esperanza, Hayden J Frederick, Jason Gorman, Juliette Irons, Jaci Royal, Sophia Stoller, Megan Lawson, Sonya Tayeh, and Andrew Winghart. She has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Informa, SDvoyger, and has been a guest on DanceSpeak Podcast, WeirdAdults and Barrretender Podcast. Cat was a featured dancer in the movie “Supporting Characters,” directed by Daniel Schechter, and danced in The Neighbourhood music video, “R.I.P 2 My Youth”, directed by Hype Williams and supervising choreographer, Ian Eastwood, as well as a dancer in Phillip Chbeeb’s short film “Sync.” She was also the assistant choreographer to Ian in Trevor Wesley’s Official 360 Music Video “Chivalry is Dead,” a choreographer for an episode of “Alone Together” on Freeform, and Eva Gutoski’s (@mylifeaseva) music video “Dance As A Distraction.”

Cat was one of ten choreographers chosen to compete in Nigel Lythgoe’s first season of a competitive choreographer show on Go90, Every Single Step, where she made it to the final four.

Cat is currently based in New York City, where she teaches permanent classes at Broadway Dance Center and Peridance, but travels to Los Angeles often where she teaches at studios such as Movement Lifestyle, Millennium Dance Complex and ImmaSpace. You can find her on the road teaching for Celebrity Dance Convention, and has also taught for Studio School (formerly Relativity School), The Joffrey West Summer Intensive, The Los Angeles Dance Festival, The Pulse on Tour Teacher Workshop, Open Call, and SouldeSoul Dance Convention. She continues to travel nationally and internationally to “help people find a better understanding of themselves through dance” and has just teamed up with a clinical psychologist to create the first ever dance + self-esteem getaway called Soul Meets Body. She is also the co-creator of SoulSync which takes place in Brazil.

Ms. Cogliandro has a passion for art and expression. For freedom and love! For living an unapologetic life of happiness. As she navigates though her own wild adventures of triumph and failure, she hopes to inspire others to do the same (especially the youth) and to do so fearlessly. Her dance company, CATASTROPHE!, also aims to promote the power (and necessity) of self-love and self-worth. They placed second runner up at 2015 Capezio ACE Awards and have been seen performing in shows in Los Angeles, New York, Brazil, and Korea.

Chelsea Michener

Jazz

Chelsea started dancing at 3 in Colorado and by the time she was 17 moved to Los Angeles and took class almost exclusively at EDGE. She is well versed in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, theatre, and contemporary. Chelsea has been seen on stage many times working for such choreographers as Tessandra Chavez, Joelle Martinec, Lindsey McLevis, Johnny Goodson, Malaya and Cricket Keller. She is a proud member of Unity Dance Ensemble. Her most recent credits include: Cold Case, Odyssey Dance Theatre’s touring production “Thriller”, a commercial for “Dance Plug”, and music videos for O’Spada, Alex Kogan, and Heartour.

Danielle Betscher

Jazz, Musical Theatre, Tap

Danielle Betscher discovered her love for dance after enjoying a performance of the Cincinnati Ballet’s Nutcracker at the age of 2 years old. She began her training in the living room via VCR tapes, and upgraded to classes at Just Off Broadway soon after. Her early career includes winning the Cincinnati Arts Association award in Dance, representing Ohio Dance Masters multiple times in the Dance Masters of America national title competition, and performing in local productions such as Awaited: A Christmas Show, and in a full circle moment performing for 7 years in the Cincinnati Ballet Nutcracker. Danielle moved to New York City at the age of 18 upon accepting a position as a Radio City Rockette, and continues to dance with the company in The Christmas Spectacular every year. Her career with The Rockettes has included special performances with various artist’s such as Pitbull on America’s Got Talent and Michael Buble in his Christmas in New York Special, as well as specialty performances in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the New York Knicks halftime show, and the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Special. She was a part of the inaugural New York Spring Spectacular, and has worked through the company with choreographers such as Linda Haberman, Warren Carlyle, and Mia Michaels. Other credits include Jerome Robbins Broadway (Theater Under The Star’s, ensemble), and a one night Taplife company performance with Artistic Director and former Tap Dog Anthony Lo Cascio. Danielle has been teaching since the age of 15, and when not performing she continues to share her passion for dance by teaching and judging across the country.

Francisco Gella

Ballet, Contemporary

Francisco Gella’s distinguished career as a professional dancer, choreographer, artistic director and dance educator in the genres of ballet, modern and contemporary dance, spans more than twenty years since he took his first ballet class at the University of Washington during his freshman year. His award-winning innovative choreography, and highly effective inspirational teaching methods are sought after by universities, schools, and companies across North America and around the globe.
Francisco is the founder and artistic director of NUEVO School of Contemporary Dance (2008-2014) and COLABO Youth Dance Collective. He has been a guest instructor with BODYTRAFFIC; Luminario Ballet; SUNY Binghamton Summer Dance Institute; Extravadanza in Montreal, Canada; West Coast Dance Academy; Lula Washington Dance Company and School; California Ballet Conservatory; Ballet Pacifica Conservatory; Festival Ballet; Tucson Regional Ballet; Orange County High School for the Arts; Michelle Latimer Dance Company; The Southern Strutt Dance Company; Columbia City Jazz Company; Northern California Dance Conservatory; Master Ballet Academy; Bunker Dance Center; the Be Discovered Talent Development Program; The Dance Awards and many other schools and studios. He is currently an artist in residence at Dance Industry in Dallas, Texas and at Utah’s Center Stage Performing Arts Studio. While a company member at the Philadelphia Dance Company, he taught master classes
at numerous prestigious colleges and universities throughout the world. Francisco is in his third year as the lead ballet faculty of the 24 Seven Dance Convention, Gil Stroming’s highly successful convention with tour stops in cities all over North America.
Francisco has been a company member with the Philadelphia Dance Company; Repertory Dance Theater; Spectrum Dance Theater; Chamber Dance Company; Seattle Opera; California Ballet and Ballet Pacifica. He danced at the National Choreographers Initiative two years in a row, performed as a principal soloist at the Closing Ceremonies in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics in Japan and was featured in a PBS Dance in America Special in Daniel Ezralow’s holiday satirical work entitled the X-mas Philes. Coming out of retirement in August 2014, Francisco performed a solo work for the
Dancing Under the Stars Festival in Orem, Utah.

Kobi Rozenfeld

Jazz Funk

Kobi Rozenfeld’s professional reputation and heightened demand in the dance industry has led him to work with some of the best entertainers and most notable celebrities in Hollywood such as Beyonce, Britney Spears, Natasha Bedingfield, Macy Gray and “Wonder Woman’s” – Gal Gadot. His most recent television credit featured himself, as World Judge and Expert for CBS’s new hit talent show “The Word’s Best”. This tv show, premiering directly after Super Bowl LIII to an audience of 26 million viewers, featured superstars James Corden, Drew Barrymore, Ru Paul, and Faith Hill.

Kobi is also credited for directing and choreographing the world tour of “Barbie Live” – The Musical, produced by “Mattel” and EMS. He was also recently responsible for the choreography of the reunion of 90’s boyband “Hi Five” in Israel. In addition, Kobi has choreographed for the British singer and songwriter, Natasha Bedingfield, at the “LifeBall” concert in Vienna and Macy Gray with her hit “Beauty in the World”.

Topping this list, is Kobi’s work with Britney Spears during her 2009 comeback and choreography for the incredible pop sensation, Beyonce, in her “I AM…” World Tour. That same year, he performed alongside Beyonce as one of the dancers at the Grammy Awards. Kobi has also choreographed for Israel’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and for the musical show in California’s Legoland Amusement Park.

Kobi was born in Israel and has been dancing and choreographing from a very early age. His early credits include performances in the successful productions of Fun Tazi, Cabaret, and Peter Pan. Kobi worked with and choreographed for some of the top Israeli pop artists in their music videos as well as national and international tours. He choreographed for “The Little Mermaid” national tour and won numerous choreography awards.

In summer 2006, Kobi began working with Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble upon his arrival in the United States. He choreographed new pieces for the company and gained great critical acclaim through the group’s performances at the Disney Concert Hall, Paramount Studios, The Kodak Theatre, and for a special on PBS. L.A.’s top working dancers presented Kobi’s choreographic work at the prestigious “Carnival – Choreographer’s Ball” in Hollywood.

As a choreographer, Kobi is represented by Go2Talent, one of the top choreography and dance agencies in the industry. Kobi travels the world as a free-lance choreographer. He has taught master classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York and Pineapple Dance Studio in London. He has instructed workshops around the world in Israel, Guam, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, France, Slovakia, Spain, Croatia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the United Kingdom. Kobi is passionate about sharing his love for dance with all those he comes into contact with, motivating and inspiring his students and leaving them with a thirst for more!

 

Mara Vinson & Oleg Gorboulev

Ballet

Mara Vinson

Mara Vinson is from Redondo Beach, California, and started her ballet training at Palos Verdes Ballet with Uta Graf-Apostol. She was later accepted, on full scholarship, into the Kirov Academy where she studied with legendary Kirov Ballet ballerina Alla Sizova. At age 15, Vinson moved to Seattle to continue her training at Pacific Northwest Ballet School on full scholarship before joining Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) as an apprentice in 1999. She was promoted to corps in 2000, soloist in 2004, and became a principal in 2007. Her classical repertoire includes Stowell productions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake as Clara and Odette/Odlie respectively, Hynd's The Sleeping Beauty as Princess Aurora and Princess Florine, and Balanchine's Coppelia as Swanhilda. Under coaching of the PNB's founding director Francia Russell, Vinson also performed leading roles in Balanchine ballets such as Agon, Midsummer Night's Dream, Four Temperaments, Serenade, Brahms, Divertimento #15, Symphony in C, Ballet Imperial, and Chaconne. She later added roles of Diamonds and Emeralds from Jewels, Symphony in Three Movements, and Square Dance while dancing under current PNB artistic director Peter Boal. As a principal dancer, Vinson appeared in numerous works by contemporary choreographers such as Nacho Duato's Jardi Tancat & Ressemblement; Jerome Robbins' Dances at Gathering, Nicole Fonte's Within Without, Val Caniporali's Torque, Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room and many others. During her time with PNB, Vinson toured to England, Turkey, Hong Kong, and Vail, Colorado.

Other accomplishments include an opportunity to work with Frederick Franklin on variation from Balanchine's Raymonda, and Vinson has also appeared in lecture series held by Dough Fullington in Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2008, Vinson was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch".

Vinson became co-artistic director of Olympic Ballet Theater & School in 2011, after teaching ballet at various schools in the Seattle area, Indiana, and California. Under Mara's instructions and coaching, students of Olympic Ballet School have been accepted into summer programs of schools such as San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, and many others. Her students have placed top 12 at and have taken 3rd places at YAGP Semi-Finals in Seattle as well as been invited to participate in Finals in New York.

In 2017, Vinson was awarded Best Teacher at World Arts Ballet Competition Semi-Finals. For that same competition, two of Vinson's students, after receiving top places at Semi-Finals, were invited to compete in Finals in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Oleg Gorboulev

Oleg Gorboulev received his ballet training from the National Ballet School of Uzbekistan (Class of K. Sagatov). Upon graduation, he was accepted into the ballet troupe of Alisher Navoi Opera and Ballet Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. From 1990–1995, Oleg performed with Moscow Classical Ballet in Russia. He toured with the company throughout Europe-- England, Holland, Spain, Italy, France-- and Japan.

In 1995 he was offered a contract to dance in the USA with Indianapolis Ballet Theater, later known as Ballet Internationale (BI) Indianapolis. Worked with Eldar Aliev, Dale Shields, and ballet legends Irina Kolpakova and Vladlen Semenov. Oleg added to his classical repertoire principal and soloist roles and also had his first experience leading roles in contemporary ballets.

After dancing with BI for four seasons, Oleg was invited to join Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) where he reached soloist rank. This provided his first acquaintance with George Balanchine's choreography. Under the coaching of Francia Russell, PNB's founding co-artistic director and Balanchine Trust repetiteur, Gorboulev danced Pas de Trois from Agon, Ballet Imperial, and Chacconne; Demetrius in Midsummer Night's Dream, Dark Angel in Serenade, and many others. In 2000 he participated in the filming of the George Balanchine Foundation's Interpreters Archive series. His classical repertoire includes Nutcracker Prince in Kent Stowell's The Nutcracker, Gold & Silver in Ronald Nynd's The Sleeping Beauty, Espada in Mikhael Baryshnikov's Don Quixote, and Conrad in Petipa's Pas de Trois from Le Corsiare Act II. Oleg had also performed in contemporary works by Kent Stowell, PNB's founding co-artistic director Nicole Fonte, Glen Tetley, Hans Van Manen, and Lynn Taylor-Corbett.

Before retiring from performing, Oleg was a founding member of Los Angels Ballet (LAB) and Seattle Dance Project (SDP).  Oleg Gorboulev has been teaching for over a decade, starting his teaching career with PNB, Spectrum Dance Theater, and many schools in the greater Seattle area. In 2007, he was invited to teach at Midwest Regional Dance America festival in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2011, he became co-artistic director of Olympic Ballet Theater & School in Edmonds, Washington. His students have been placed in the Top 3 and Top 12 at YAGP regional semifinals. Oleg's choreography was presented at OBT productions, in collaborations with Seattle Symphony, Seattle Chamber Players, YAGP, and throughout the Seattle area.

Mariah Spears

Hip Hop

Mariah Spears is a dancer from Chandler, Arizona. She began dancing when she was two years old, and is trained in ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, krump, popping, breaking, locking, salsa, tap, ballroom, and tumbling. She graduated from Chapman University in 2016 with a BFA in Dance Performance and clusters in Theater Technology and Honors. Mariah has been featured on commercials such as Marshalls feat. The Voice Contestants, Allstate, Sonos Holiday Commercial, Hollister, SoFi, The Greatest Showman Live commercial, Fuji-film, and others. She also has danced for artists such as Kelly Clarkson and danced on TV shows like “Schooled.” In 2013, Mariah was a featured performer as one of the top 16 dancers on Fox Television's Season 10 of "So You Think You Can Dance”. Mariah has choreographed for artists such as Warren G and Snoop Dogg. Her work is featured in the movie G-Funk and in the musical Teddy’s Café. She also has choreographed commercially for Nike and House of Hoops. Mariah is currently traveling and teaching around the world; having taught in Australia, Paris, Shanghai, South Africa, and around the US.

Stacy Paydo

Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary

Stacy Paydo just completed her 16th season kicking up her heels as a world-famous “Radio City Rockette”. As a Rockette, she has had the opportunity to perform on “The TONY Awards”, “The Rockefeller Center Holiday Christmas Tree Lighting”, the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”, “The Today Show”, “The Chew”, “The Wendy Williams Show”, “The Meredith Vieria Show”, “Michael Bubble’s Christmas Special”, and the stages of both Radio City Music Hall and The Grand Ole Opry. In addition to the annual Christmas Spectacular she performed in the “NY Spectacular” Directed and Choreographed by Mia Michaels. 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. Ms. Paydo is a graduate of Arizona State University where she studied Business and Dance. She is in her 20th year as a Universal Dance Association master teacher, head instructor, summer material choreographer, and adjudicator. Her talent and skill has enabled her to work as a sought after Master Instructor in London, Paris, Chile, Ecuador, Italy, and throughout the States. Her choreography credits include the UDA NDTC opening number (ESPN), the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” performance for the 800 Spirit of America Dance participants (NBC), as well as numerous National Finalists teams at both UDA College and HS Nationals many of which consistently place in the Top 5. Stacy serves as a resident choreographer for numerous studios throughout the country. Her work has earned a slew of IDA Nominations, National Overall Titles, and Choreographic Awards. She is a versatile choreographer well schooled in all genres, however her creative strengths lie in Jazz, Broadway Jazz, Musical Theatre, Lyrical, Contemporary, Pom, and Kick. She enjoys working with all ages and strives to make each piece memorable and unique. Several students of Stacy’s have gone on to have successful careers of their own appearing on “So You Think You Can Dance”, working at Disney, performing in Wicked, and becoming Rockettes themselves. She is a veteran judge with numerous reputable dance competitions most notably Spotlight Dance Cup where she serves as an Event Manager, Show Director, and Judge Coordinator. 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”.