// Teaching Artists //
Velocity Teaching Artists are among the best in their chosen field of practice. All our Teaching Artists are practicing artists with extensive experience in working in the professional arts sector. We invite you to meet our very talented teaching team:
Coleman Pester is a choreographer and dancer based in in Seattle. Coleman has built a diverse palate of work; premiering dance works in Seattle, Australia, Israel, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Coleman acted as the assistant to renowned Choreographer Anouk van Dijk, Artistic Director of Chunky Move in Australia in 2012. Coleman earned a BFA from the LINES Ballet/Dominican University program in San Francisco. Coleman founded //TECTONIC MARROW SOCIETY// and continues to create and direct work through this company/project. Coleman has been commissioned and presented by Seattle Art Museum, Velocity Dance Center, On the Boards, and NEPO Arthouse. Coleman has received awards, grants, and residencies from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Artist Trust, The Glenn H. Kawasaki Foundation, The University of Washington, and The Cornish Playhouse. More info: www.tectonicmarrowsociety.com.
Ellie Sandstrom is a choreographer, performer and dance educator, who is fueled by movement in many forms. She is a 2013 Velocity Dance Center Creative Residency recipient, a Seattle Magazine “Spotlight Award” winner and can be seen in a book entitled “Seattle 100″ by photographer Chase Jarvis. Since receiving her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, she has worked with many dance makers and artists, including Scott/Powell Performance and locust (from 2000-2010), as well as Seattle Dance Project, The Three Yells, Amy O’Neal, Mark Haim, Dayna Hansen, Reggie Watts, Lynn Shelton with Karn Junkinsmith, Corrie Befort and countless others, both in live stage and film work. Her choreographic work, under the name SANDSTROMMOVEMENT, has been funded by the Office of Arts & Culture , as well as Artist Trust and has been presented by organizations such as On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center, Perpich Center for the Arts and Creative Dance Center. She has created new work through commissions from Seattle Dance Project, Stone Productions, Washington Ensemble Theater and Evoke Productions, among others. She has taught a variety of dance forms at many schools and studios in the city and beyond, including the University of Washington. She currently teaches Ballet @ Velocity and Contemporary Dance, Hip Hop and Dance Performance to middle and high school students at the Northwest School, where she is the Dance Department Chair. She is also on faculty for Seattle Theater Group’s Dance This! Program for youth (since ’09). sandstrommovement.com
Jaret Hughes has 14 years of dance experience, with Hip Hop being his specialty along with training in Modern, Jazz, Ballet and African. Jaret has 11 years of choreographing and teaching experience with all ages, including 8 years at Elizabeth’s Dance Dimensions in Bellevue, Washington. Jaret’s choreography credits include the L.A. Clippers Spirit Dance Team (guest choreographer), Seattle Supersonics Dance Team for 5 years, founder of 2wisted Elegance from Seattle and LA’s debut of 2wisted Elegance with the help of his good friend Joey Cooper, Modazz Competition Teams at Elizabeth’s Dance Dimensions, co-choreographer and dancer for EVE in LA, and assistant choreographer / assistant Artistic Director for the “Invitation Feedback” video contest submission for Janet Jackson. Jaret Competed on Destination Stardom in Hawaii. Jaret’s performances include: Seattle’s Kube 93’s Summer Jam for 3 years with Twisted Elegance, which included sharing the main stage with artists such as Destiny’s Child, Ginuwine, Busta Rhymes, Blackstreet, Naughty By Nature and many more; various Hip Hop shows throughout Seattle including Daniel Cruz’s Battle of Seattle Remix 3 and 4 and, most recently while living in LA for 2 1/2 years, performances with Breed OCLA for numerous dance competitions and guest performances for the DVD Release Party for “Step Up 2: The Streets”. Jaret has shared his choreography expertise with various high school and college dance teams throughout Washington, California and Idaho.
Jody Kuehner is part dance artist and part bio drag queen named Cherdonna Shinatra. Jody is in her seventh year dancing for the Pat Graney Company. She has also been Pat’s dance intern for the company’s prison project “Keeping the Faith. She’s in her fifth year dancing with Mark Haim and has acted as his Administrative Assistant and Rehearsal Director for various projects. She worked as Dayna Hanson’s Production Coordinator for two evening length works and has been Assistant to the Director for Hanson’s feature length film “Improvement Club”. She is also Hanson’s Assistant Director for the most recent work “The Clay Duke”. From 2003-2009, Jody was a member of d9 Dance Collective and has also danced with Wade Madsen, KT Niehoff, Laura Curry, and Amy O’Neal (Tiny Rage) among others. Jody’s persona Cherdonna Shinatra performs regularly with DeLouRue Productions and also performs periodically with paulanow productions and NARK Magazine. She and Lou Henry Hoover made work as “The Cherdonna and Lou Show” for five years, teaching, producing, performing. They were recognized as Seattle Magazine’s 2010 Spotlight Award Winners. The Cherdonna and Lou Show also presented work and taught at the CORD conference on dance and gender in 2012. Jody currently teaches technique at Velocity Dance Center and has taught at their summer intensive Strictly Seattle as well as the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. She has presented choreography at On The Boards, Velocity Dance Center, Northwest Film Forum, Bumbershoot and the Joyce SoHo NYC. She is Velocity’s Artist in Residence for 2014 and is being produced by Velocity’s Made in Seattle program. Jody is also in residence at KT Neihoff’s space 10 Degrees. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of South Florida and has been supported by the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and 4Culture.
Joshua Crouch has received training from some of America’s foremost modern dance and contemporary ballet schools including the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet. While studying at Graham, he was offered a position with Graham II, the second company of the world famous institution. To this day, he remains deeply connected with the work of the Graham Company and has a passionate approach to the traditions and legacy of the Graham Technique and its history. Recently, he completed additional studies at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance in the Teachers Training Program. Classical ballet training includes private coaching and a long mentorship with former Royal Ballet principle Keith J. Martin (emphasizing choreography, batterie, and demi-caractere work), as well as studies with Elaine Thomas, Ashley Tuttle, Ilona McHugh, Patricia Barker, Carlos Carvajal, and Alonzo King to name a few. He has danced on stages in New York (Hot Festival of Queer Arts and Culture), San Francisco, New Orleans (Fringe Festival), Seattle (Seattle Int’l Dance Festival) and throughout the Midwest as a guest artist. Notable performances include soloist roles in “Signs and Wonders” by Alonzo King, the world premiere of “Thirst” by Yannis Adoniou (Artistic Director of Kunst Stoff), excerpts from “Clytemnestra,” “Dark Meadow,” and “Acts of Light” by Martha Graham (to name a few), as well as the title role in the world premiere of Mark Bush’s Peter Pan. His Russian variation has received rave reviews and has been a highlight of several seasons of his career. Joshua currently continues to perform with Blackbird Dance from New York, teaches a free community Graham in the Park class during the summer, and teaches workshops nationally as well as for many Seattle studios including: ARC, Bainbridge Dance Center, Evergreen City Ballet, The Studios, Dance Fremont, Cornish College of the Arts, and at The School of Spectrum Dance Theater where he has entered into the role of School Principal.
Jason Griffin is a First Degree Black Belt Nia teacher. His passion is staying healthy and in great shape. In school he was a wrestler, tennis player and swimmer. He took up dance after graduating in 1984 as a way to remain athletic without the luxury of organized sports programs. He studied ballet, jazz and modern dance for years. Professionally, he is a personal trainer, certified massage therapist and group exercise leader. He was the first to bring Nia to Seattle, back in 1996. His acting and modeling career brought him to NYC in 2000. For over a decade, he continued to teach and hone his Nia teaching skills. He’s taught at spas, dance studios, gyms, community centers and churches in nearly every US state, Ireland and Italy. Jason’s style blends work and play. He loves to laugh and have a good time while challenging ourselves. He’s thrilled to be presenting his work at Velocity Dance Center.
Kaitlyn (KJ) Dye, born and raised in the mountains of Maryland, has always been cartwheeling through life; seeking perspective. Movement provides her understanding and inspires her to explore and comprehend a deeper relationship with herself. KJ graduated magna cum laude from Slippery Rock University of PA with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in dance. She has had the privilege to perform the works of Doug Varone, Robert Battle, Kristin Hapke, Chad Hall, Jennifer Keller, Ursula Payne, Maya Soto, Ellie Sandstrom, Marlo Martin and Paige Barnes, among others. KJ’s work has been presented in San Francisco, La Rouche College, (PA), The BOOST Dance Festival, and the National American College Dance Festival at the JFK Center for Performing Arts, (DC.). KJ takes deep pride in being a dance educator. She has taught the foundations of improvisation and creative movement in numerous elementary and middle schools. She teaches at Bainbridge Dance Center, Shift Movement and Healing Arts, and Velocity Dance Center. KJ is currently dancing with Michelle Miller’s company, Catapult, among other pick up projects.
Kaitlin McCarthy likes dance. She likes to make it, see it, direct it, teach it, think about it, talk about it, and write about it. She began dancing in her hometown of Ann Arbor, MI before attending Mt Holyoke College where she graduated summa cum laude in 2009. In Seattle she has danced with over a dozen local artists. She has choreographed work for Velocity’s Fall Kick-Off, 12 Minutes Max/On the Boards, Evoke Productions’ Full Tilt, BOOST Dance Festival, and her self-produced show, HOT MESS. Kaitlin is a member of the Seattle Contact Improvisation Lab and a staff writer for Seattle Dances. For more information visit kaitlinmccarthy.com.
Kate Wallich is a Seattle-based choreographer, director and teacher – named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2015. She received her training from Interlochen Arts Academy and Cornish College of the Arts (Magna Cum Laude). In 2010, she founded her dance company, The YC, with co-founder Lavinia Vago. Her work has been commissioned and presented nationally and internationally by On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center, The Rauschenberg Foundation, MANA Contemporary, Springboard Danse Montréal, TOES, Bumbershoot, Conduit, City Arts Festival, The Frye Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery and Seattle Art Museum as well as by leading West Coast companies Whim W’Him, Raw Dance and Northwest Dance Project. She was a Visiting Artist at University of Washington, University of Oregon, Cornish College of the Arts and University of Utah. Kate has created two evening-length works with The YC: Super Eagle produced through Velocity Dance Center’s Made In Seattle program and Splurge Land produced through On the Board’s Performance Production Program. Kate has received awards and grants from 4Culture, Artist Trust, The Glenn H. Kawasaki Foundation, Seattle Magazine’s “Spotlight Artist Award” and is a 2 time AIR recipient of the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida.
Kathleen Hunt founded/co-directed the Samadhi Yoga Center and created the Yoga Alliance certified Samadhi Yoga Teacher Training program. After graduating with a BA in Dance from the University of Washington, she went on to produce/choreograph/perform numerous dance productions. In 1995 she formed the ‘Samadhi Yoginis’ dance troupe. Kathleen owes her understanding of yoga to:
Swami Shankarananda, Dharma Mitra, Marie Svoboda, Sri K Patabhi Jois and Aadil Palkhivala.
Kokou Gbakenou is originally from Togo, West Africa, Kokou Al’nuzan Gbakénou has toured in Europe with various groups, and was twice in residency at l’Ecole des Sables in Senegal (Germaine Acogny). He led an artistic association called Circuit Cinéma et Arts Vivants, and collaborated extensively with the French Cultural Center of Lomé, the Goethe Institut, and the dance companies Brin de Chocolat, and Théâtre Oriki. He taught dance at the Lycée Français de Lomé and two primary schools in Togo. Since 2010 Kokou has worked on an original movement technique called “Magan.” Kokou integrates elements of Capoeira, hip hop and pan-African contemporary dance styles into his repertoire, in addition to his mastery of traditional dances. Kokou began working with Gansango in 2014.
Kyle Johnson is a Seattle based Dancer, Teaching Artist, and Choreographer. He studied ballet and contemporary dance with Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma School of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and SD|Prism Dance Theatre. He has performed locally with City Opera Ballet, Evergreen City Ballet, International Ballet Theatre, SD|Prism Dance Theatre, Seattle Opera, Tacoma City Ballet, Village Theatre, and Whim W’Him. With Whim W’Him, he had the pleasure of originating roles in 18 new works by 11 nationally & internationally acclaimed choreographers. He has been teaching and choreographing in the Seattle area for the last 10 years. His work has been presented locally by City Opera Ballet, Tacoma City Ballet, and The Studios Center for the Arts.
Mark Haim has been choreographing and teaching for over 25 years. He was Artistic Director of Mark Haim & Dancers from 1984-1987, and the Companhia de Danca de Lisboa from 1987-1990. He has created new works for dance companies such as the Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet Frankfurt, the Limon Dance Company, the Joffrey II Dancers, and the Rotterdamse Dansgroep, and has restaged his works on The Joffrey Ballet, the Bat-Dor Dance Company of Israel, Djazzex, and the Juilliard Dance Ensemble. His full evening solo project, The Goldberg Variations, has been performed at the American Dance Festival, the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, The John F. Kennedy Center, On The Boards and other venues in the U.S, Europe, Asia. His newest work, This Land Is Your Land, opened the ArtDanThe Festival in Paris, and has also been performed at the Joyce Theater in NYC and in the Nasher Museum of Art as part of the 2013 ADF performing series. Most recently, Mark choreographed for the Seattle Opera’s productions of The Consul and Tales of Hoffmann. Mark has been on the faculty of the American Dance Festival since 1993 and was the Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington Dance Program from 2002-2008. He has also taught at the Reed College, NC School of the Arts, University of Illinois, Ohio University, SMU, VCU, Cornell, JMU, and for schools and companies in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Latvia, Russia, Argentina, Chile and Japan. He is a recipient of a NYFA Choreographers Fellowship, 2 NEA Choreographers Fellowships, and grants from the NPN Suitcase Fund, ArtsLink, Inc. and the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Mark is a Fulbright Senior Specialist. PRESS 15 Artists, 15 Years, 15 Works – Haim’s This Land is Your Land listed as one of the most influential works in the past 15 years. – Dance Magazine, January 2015
Mary Margaret Moore is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, a contemporary dance artist, and a teaching artist with Dance for Parkinson’s. Her work, whether on a stage or in a classroom is cultivating environments that inspire personal inquiry, creativity, and learning, through the immediacy of movement. From a very young age, Moore found movement to be her “lens” onto the world and into herself. Moore’s background and continued study include 20 years of varied movement practices, research and physical training. She has taught movement workshops at colleges, private studios, early learning centers and detention centers, and toured her performance work widely through Washington state, New Mexico and Montana. Moore is also an active collaborator within the Seattle dance and inter-media arts community.
Matt Drews is a movement artist who oscillates between the realms of dance, yoga + performance. His creative roles aqueous as choreographer, performer + teacher. He facilitates states of experience for bodies to investigate movement with a heightened lens toward healing, presence + ritual. He studied at Naropa University + holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts. His work has been produced at Decibel Electronic Music Festival, On the Boards + Velocity Dance Center. He has collaborated with Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY, tEEth Performance, Saint Genet, Kate Wallich + the YC, The Pendleton House + Modern Recollections. He is currently developing a new work as a 2015 Artist in Residence at Velocity Dance Center. www.mattdrews.com
PRESS Confronting the Intangible – City Arts, December 24th, 2015
Maxie Jamal’s career as a choreographer began at the age of 18 with a production of The Wiz at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. By age 23 she was living a bi-coastal lifestyle between Los Angeles and New York City, training and touring with A-list artists, choreographers and dancers. Maxie now is working to establish The Mystiquesterium Dance Company, which aims to create more performance platforms and opportunities as well as training for the next generation of dancers in the Pacific Northwest.
Maya Soto is a choreographer, performer and award winning arts educator. Her work includes concert performance, movement installations, dance for theater and film. Maya brings together classical dance training and a sense of imaginative play. She has created 6 evening length works including Inner Galactic (2015) which was supported by creative residencies at 10 degrees in partnership with Velocity Dance Center (SEA), Exit Space (SEA) and Higher Ground (OR). Her choreography has been commissioned by numerous West Coast festivals and venues including On the Boards (SEA) and Conduit’s Dance+ Festival (PDX). As a performer, she has worked with many notable artists including Amy O’Neal, Sandstrommovement and KT Neihoff. Currently, she dances for Michele Miller/Catapult Dance. Maya is a passionate advocate for arts education. She teaches dance at Velocity Dance Center, the Northwest School, Seattle Theatre Group – Disney Musicals in Schools and the EMP Museum. For 10 years, she has worked extensively as a teaching artist in the public school system and developed several successful youth dance programs. In 2014, she received a Velocity Dance Champion Award for significant contribution to Seattle dance. Maya holds a BFA in dance from Cornish College of the Arts and a Washington State Professional Teaching Certificate. mayasotodance.com
Patrick Kilbane is from Bainbridge Island, WA. He trained professionally in classical ballet and went on to become a highly skilled contemporary dancer, choreographer, teacher and performance artist. He spent 6 seasons with Northwest Dance Project in Portland, OR and is thrilled to be back in Seattle as a part of the Velocity family. Patrick is currently working with artists such as Anna Conner + Co, Dylan Ward, KT Niehoff, Coleman Pester, Kate Wallich/The YC and will be joining Whim W’him as a company member this fall.
Ratna Roy, Ph.D., started her training in Odissi dance in 1972 under Guru Govinda Chandra Pal, and from 1977 until his death in 2003, she trained under Adiguru Pankaj Charan Das. One of the guru’s seniormost disciples, she has performed extensively as a soloist in India, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, the Baltics, South Africa, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, China, and Japan. Her major research work in dance has been reconstructing her guru’s inherited devadasi tradition, envisioning Odissi as a healthful way of life, and situating Odissi in undergraduate interdisciplinary college curriculum. Ratna has published several articles in both Indian and US journals and a well-reviewed book, Neo-Classical Odissi Dance. Her fellowships and awards for dance and scholarship include the Advanced Fulbright Fellowship (1985), American Institute of Indian Studies Fellowship (1988), National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship (1988), Summer Fulbright Fellowship (1988), Arts International Award (2001), Fund for Folk Culture Award (2005), the Gordon Ekvall Tracie Memorial Award from Ethnic Heritage Council, Washington (2008), and Washington State Arts Commission’s Fellowship Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (2008), and Washington State Arts Commission’s Master Apprenticeship Award (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010). Currently, she is Professor Emerita, Dance and Expressive Arts at The Evergreen State College, Washington, USA, Odissi instructor at The Velocity Dance Center (Seattle), and Artistic Director, Urvasi Dance Ensemble.
Sarah Foster danced professionally with both the San Francisco Ballet and The Boston Ballet before retiring to become a doctor. She found yoga 5 years ago after moving to Seattle and instantly deeply connected with the practice and the people. Yoga as a spiritual practice defines the core principles that shape how she lives her own life and interact with others. Curiosity, compassion, abundance, acceptance and connectedness.
Sarah Lee Parker Mansaré graduated with honors and a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Wellness (Exercise Science, Public Health, Youth Studies and Nutrition) from the University of Minnesota. She has been a member of the University of Minnesota Repertory and Hamanah Don Dance Companies, managed the Fitness Program at the West Seattle YMCA, and been a Personal Trainer and Life Coach. When Sarah Lee first discovered West African Dance in1993, she was hooked immediately, and spent the next decade studying with dozens of well-known instructors from various parts of West Africa. In 2004, she went to Senegal and then Guinea West Africa on a dance intensive with her primary instructor: Master Dancer Youssouf Koumbassa. She has since returned to Guinea eleven more times for multiple months at a time to dance and learn from some of the best West African dancers and instructors in the world. In June 2012 Sarah Lee completed eight months of intensive personalized study in various parts of Guinea with Alseny Bangoura, Mamadama Camara, Aly Mara and Sorel Conte, all of whom are Principal Dancers with West Africa’s finest performance company Les Ballets Africains. While there, she also danced with Wassa So, an all-African 50 member high level performance company. For more information visit: www.oneworlddance.com.
Shirley Jenkins had a prolific career as a touring member and master instructor of the Evans company, performing in major cities and rural communities via the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Touring Program. Jenkins formed her own company, Strong Wind Wild Horses—which rapidly became a Seattle favorite at Bumbershoot Festivals and the Allegro series during the 80s and 90s—and collaborated with musicians, including Denny Goodhew, James Knapp, Scott Cossu, Michael Cava, Mark Seals, Steve Kim, Tom Bergersen, Fred West, the Kinetics and many others. Jenkins also founded a non-profit organization, Dance On Capitol Hill, for the Seattle community. As Artistic Director, she developed dance education programs for the novice to the professional, a performance venue featuring local and international choreographers, and a home for her dance company. She also established outreach programs by producing summer dance camps for homeless children. Jenkins has been an Artist-In-Residence at scores of universities and dance festivals throughout the U.S. and internationally. Her choreographic and teaching residencies have included the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Bill Evans Summer Institutes, Rhode Island University, Middlebury College, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia College, Alaska and Kentucky Out-Reach Programs, and international festivals in Bonn, Germany and Taipei, Taiwan. In 1997 everything changed. Jenkins sustained a severe spinal injury while dancing, followed by uterine cancer. And believe it or not… nine years later, she endured surgery and chemo/radiation therapy for breast cancer. As if that wasn’t enough, in 2007 she underwent surgery for a total hip replacement. She never knew she could fight so hard to pick herself up from the ashes, and she often wondered if dancing again was a crazy idea. She decided she is crazy and embraces it! Jenkins is currently an Adjunct Instructor at Cornish College of the Arts and on the teaching staff of Velocity Dance Center. She is also a well-respected Pilates instructor at Pilates Seattle International, specializing in athletic injury and rehabilitation for seniors. In 2010, Jenkins formed a new dance company, DanceJENKINSDance. Her relentless perseverance is reflected in her works, which acknowledges all ages and walks of life with choreography that is poetic, humorous and introspective, celebrating the resiliency of the human spirit. Visit her website at www.dancejenkinsdance.com
Stephanie Liapis’ career as a professional dancer, choreographer and educator spans sixteen years and includes work with Doug Varone & Dancers and Nicholas Leichter Dance, as well as Susan Marshall & Company, Nancy Bannon, the MET Ballet, Netta Yerushalmy, Faye Driscoll, the Chamber Dance Company and Aquila Theater among others. She has had the pleasure teaching at the professional studios of Gina Gibney Dance, Mark Morris Dance Center, the 92nd Street Y and Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. Stephanie served as adjunct faculty at Hunter College, Barnard College, the University of Washington and SUNY Purchase College, and as an Assistant Professor of Dance at Long Island University-Brooklyn campus. She teaches master classes and sets her work nationally and abroad. Her work has been presented in NYC, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Switzerland and Singapore. Stephanie holds a B.F.A. in dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and an M.F.A. in dance from the University of Washington.
Wade Madsen was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he attended the University of New Mexico. Wade has been in Seattle teaching, performing, and choreographing since 1977. He has toured nationally with the Bill Evans Dance Company (1978-1980) and with Tandy Beal & Company (1981 -1982). He has performed with Amy O’Neal and Amii Legendre dance groups along with Dayna Hansen, A.C Petersen, and Long Nguyen. Since 1979 Wade has been producing work with his own company, ’Wade Madsen & Dancers’ along with various tours nationally and internationally. Wade is a professor of dance at Cornish College of the Arts since 1984, and has been on faculty at Velocity since it opened in 1996.
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