EDUCATION > DANCE This Digital Series
DANCE This Digital Series
THANK YOU FOR A FABULOUS YEAR!
DANCE This Digital Series featured local and national choreographers/teachers who worked with students ages 13-21 years old. Over 60 dancers were able to take 25 different dance disciplines/classes during the 6-week virtual program with a combination of a weekly livestream class and pre-recorded sessions.
2020 Teaching Faculty
(subject to change; more to be announced soon!)
Adam Parson knows how to get the most out of a dancer. With insight, diligence and a laser focus he makes sure each dancer he encounters gets the right kind of training. Trained by some of the best dance masters in the business and studying individually, he has evolved into a teacher with a distinct voice. He was one of Dance Spirit Magazines "One to watch" and American Dance Magazine said "Parson's brand of training churns out unstoppable dancers".
His trained dancers turned into working artists, who have worked in many industry platforms such as: La La Land, Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Madonna, So You Think You Can Dance, Britney Spears, The Muppets, Wicked on Broadway, Bring it on, Kylie Minogue, Memphis, The Academy Awards, The Golden Globe Awards and his own Commonality Dance Company.
Aileen and Daniel (Afro-Brazilian and Samba)
DANIEL AND AILEEN’S (Director/Choreographer) story began in Daniel’s native city of Salvador, Brazil where they met in 2004 studying dance. They shared a dream of opening a studio which offered a place to build community and promote cross-cultural understanding through their love of dance. Daniel has been studying, performing and teaching Afro-Brazilian dance and Capoeira for 24 years and holds the rank of Mestre in Capoeira. With much enthusiasm, Daniel joyfully shares his native Afro-Brazilian culture through Capoeira and dance, two of the most significant artistic expressions of Black Brazilian culture. As a native New Yorker, Aileen began her dance training at an early age and advanced her studies at Broadway Dance Center, Steps and Phil Black. She performed and choreographed with local theatre productions and expanded her studies to include Afro-Cuban, West African, Salsa, Tango, Orixa Dance Movement and the Silvestre Technique in New York, Seattle, Brazil and Argentina. Aileen’s charisma and enthusiasm radiates her belief in dance as an art form which allows expression, joy, balance, and the cultivation of cross-cultural understanding through a common corporal language. In 2008 Daniel and Aileen married and moved to Seattle. They have worked diligently over the past 10 years to create Bahia In Motion and their Capoeira school: Moringa de Barro. In June 2012, they opened Balance Studio where they currently teach Brazilian Dance and Capoeira classes.
Awal Alhassan (West African)
Awal Alhassan is a master dancer and musician from West Africa. Born in Tamale, Ghana and raised by a traditional drumming and dancing family, Awal has worked throughout Africa both independently, and with some of Ghana's most revered performance groups, such as: the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the National Theatre of Ghana, and the Center for National Culture Dance Troupe. Awal specializes in several percussive instruments, including Djembe, the Kpanlogo drum, the "talking drum" called Luna, and bass drums called GunGon. He began studying the music and dance of his native Ghana, West Africa at the age of five. His primary music education was with with Center for National Culture of Ghana and the National Theatre of Ghana. He now resides in the Seattle and is the founder of Sohoyini Music & Dance Company, which performs locally and internationally. Awal teaches ongoing classes, workshops, and residencies regularly across Europe, Canada, and the United States.
Erick "Spider" Paul (Hip Hop)
Erick "Spider" Paul, originally from Seattle, WA, began dancing at the age of 17. In 2005 he joined the group called the Young Americans where he received his training. Passionately driven he has traveled around the world performing and teaching dance. He is now currently working in Hollywood as a professional dancer. Credits include: TruTV's FAKEOFF, Dance Network's STEADY MOBBIN, Nick Cannon, Alyson Stoner, Todrick Hall, and Anjelah Johnson, NIKE, MINI COOPER, & KIA.
Heather Harris (Ballet)
Heather Harris was born in Seattle, Washington and began her training at the Cornish School of the Arts. She furthered her studies at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. She has studied with Joffrey, Complexions and Spectrum Dance Theater. Heather has performed with the Joffrey Concert Group, Ballet El Paso, Aluja Brazilian Dance and Spectrum Dance Theater. She currently teaches in the Spectrum Dance Theater School under the direction of Donald Byrd. She is the proud mother of two daughters and continues to teach and do dance outreach at several Seattle schools. This is Heather's 4th year as the AileyCamp ballet instructor.
Jeromeskee (Break Dancing)
Jeromeskee started B-boying in 1996 and has been performing and competing ever since. He is a member of several competitive B-boy groups – 2x world-champion Massive Monkees, DVS Crew, and what was the Seattle Super Sonics Boom Squad. Massive Monkees is the 1st American crew to win the title of R-16 B-Boy Master World Champions in Korea. Jeromeskee has participated in, judged, and won numerous B-boy events throughout the world, in the U.K., France, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Poland, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, and all over the U.S. He was a featured performer on "Dancing With The Stars," the MTV Video Music Awards and Europe Music Awards, competed on MTV’s "Americas Best Dance Crew," and was one of the coaches on MTV's "MADE: I Want To Be A B-boy." He is part of the team that choreographed and appeared in the award-winning music video, “Downtown,” for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Jess Klein (Yoga)
Jess graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a BFA in dance magna cum laude after studying at Reed College and the London Contemporary Dance School. Jess has studied yoga for 20 years with luminaries Kathleen Hunt, Shiva Rea, Dharma Mittra and Mittra Rawat. In 2018 she received a grant to further her studies in Rishikesh, India. Jess teaches at Velocity Dance Center, the Gage Academy of Art and at UPrep, where she’s been on the Fine Arts Faculty for 12 years working with students in grades 6-12. For two decades Jess has danced with many notable choreographers and companies including the Seattle Opera, Pat Graney, Macklemore, Molly Scott, Rainbow Fletcher and more. In Seattle she has performed at On The Boards, Velocity, Seattle Art Museum, McCaw Hall, MoPop and Chop Suey. She has toured work to the Southern Theater, PICA's TBA Festival, the Myrna Loy Center, Dance Theater Workshop, the Joyce Theater, American Dance Festival, Colegio San Jose in Barranquilla, Colombia and the ArtDanThe Festival in Paris, France. In 2015 she performed with Mark Haim's piece This Land Is Your Land which was named "one of the most influential works in the past 15 years." -Dance Magazine.
Joelle Martinec (Jazz)
Joelle Martinec is a versatile choreographer and dancer. She the Founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer for Los Angeles based SoleVita Dance Company. SVDC has performed in Costa Rica, New York, and has produced and taken part in many shows in Los Angeles. Joelle’s choreography, along with SoleVita company members can be seeing in music videos for Ashley Chambliss, TJ Stafford and Adjoa Skinner. Joelle has also choreographed for numerous musical theatre productions in Los Angeles including, “Westside Story”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and the soon to debut “On With The Show”. As a dancer, she has been featured as “The Business Woman” on GLEE’s “Feud” episode, as an ER doctor next to Marcia Gay Harden in Code Black’s “Better Angels” episode and in feature films; “The Big Lebowski” with Jeff Daniels and “A Time For Dancing” choreographed by Marguerite Derricks. Joelle can also be seen dancing in Bjork’s music video “It’s Ohh So Quiet”. Joelle spent many years teaching at Edge Performing Arts Center and was known as “the teacher’s teacher” during her 13 years with Tremaine Dance Convention. Ms. Martinec teaches all over the world and is currently on faculty with The Industry Xperience and Dance Plug online dance classes. In 2018 Joelle launched Ginger Sole Photography, capturing dancers, families and weddings in her lens.
Kari-Lee Florentine (Hip Hop)
Kari-Lee Florentine, the founder and director of the elite Seattle Hip Hop Dance Company “In-Effect," has choreographed for artists as well as produced and directed numerous shows such as Seattle’s own hip hop production “Shameless.” She is also the choreographer/director of award-winning competition companies. Some highlights include: the Seattle production of the “The Wiz”, KUBE Summer Jam, Bumbershoot, King County Youth and Action, Choreographer/director for Seattle’s WNBA Seattle Storm, half time for the Seattle Super Sonics, San Francisco Hip Hop Festival, L.A. Underground Hip Hop, and Nordstrom, Gameworks, and Ikea. She has privately trained many dancers who have moved on to dance behind artists such as Tyrese, P Diddy, Collin, Macklemore, and Pharell, just to name a few. She is passionate and continues to dance and teach workshops.
Kirsten Kinney (Contemporary Lyrical)
Kirsten graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Choreography and in Dance Performance. While attending UCI, she was a member of Donald McKayle’s modern company Etude Ensemble, Fresno Ballet, and has returned to UCI as a guest choreographer for Bare Bones Dance Theatre, and as a guest performer for Donald McKayle’s Tribute.
In Seattle, Kirsten has taught for many local studios and projects including Westlake Dance Center, Dance This, Global Party, Cornish Prep Program and Dance Masters of America. She choreographed and performed for the band Queensryche’s Cabaret-style Rock Concert, EnL’air, Physical Poetry and other local area dance concerts.
Kirsten’s dance background includes Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop. Currently, she teaches full-time at Gotta Dance and is the director for their performing team.
Nia-Amina Minor (Jazz)
Nia-Amina Minor is a movement artist and dance educator from South Central Los Angeles. She studied at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, received her BA from Stanford University, and holds an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine. Nia-Amina's work is interdisciplinary focusing on the body in social, political, and digital contexts. Through dance, she investigates black realities through the intersection of movement, memory, and rhythm. In 2014, Nia-Amina co-founded No)one Art House, a Los Angeles based multi-disciplinary collective. She is currently in her fourth season with Spectrum Dance Theater as a Company Dancer and Community Engagement Artist Liaison.
Niecey Chong (Commercial Dance & Hip Hop)
After spending over a decade in Los Angeles, Niecey is back home in Seattle and excited to share her experiences with the next generation of dancers. She is a Monsters of Hip Hop alumni and a past faculty member of the beloved Debbie Reynolds Legacy studios. Niecey has had the privilege of training under Chonique & Lisette, Marty Kudelka, Galen Hooks, and completed her training in commercial acting at Killian's Workshop and improv at United Citizens Brigade.
Her past credits include Amazon Prime Day Commercial, Budweiser Commercial, Target Commercial, Nickelodeon's "How to Rock", Magic Mike, and Fox's "Mobbed".
Niyafath Cakpo (AfroBeats)
Bio coming soon
Prashanthi Chitre (Bollywood)
Prashanthi Chitre comes with 22 years of teaching experience and runs “Prashanthi Chitre Institute of Performing Arts (PCIPA)” in Redmond, WA. She is a caring teacher and a very creative choreographer specializing in Indian Classical Dance(Kuchipudi), Folk, Bollywood and Contemporary dance styles.
She brings in the spiritual wisdom into her teaching and nurtures the holistic growth of a student through Performing Arts. She has taught students ranging from 2 yrs old to seniors from diverse backgrounds including children and adults with special needs.
She is also a Computer Science Graduate and has had 13 years of Industry experience. Combining her longing for life with passion for arts, she has now made dance her way of life!
Reinier Valdes & Daniela Gallardo (Salsa Fusion)
Reinier Valdes was born in Habana, Cuba. He first started dancing to the Afro Cuban rhythms at the young age of 13. Reinier got immediately discovered by a professional Afro Cuban dance team which recruited his talent and showcased him all over Cuba. At the age of 18 he graduated from the Cuban school of dance as a dance instructor specializing in Popular Dances, such as Cuban Salsa, Son, Cha cha cha , Mambo and Rumba. In February of 2009 Reinier relocated to Brazil where he continued his work as a dancer, performer, and choreographer. He started his own performance group in 2010 called “Influencia Latina” and started touring and performing around Brazil. Reinier now lives in Seattle, WA where he funded the only Cuban dance academy and dance group in Seattle named “La Clave Cubana” which he continues to share his talent and passion for the Afro Cuban rhythms through dance classes, workshops, and performances all over the United States. He has a Cuban tour company and is also the creator of the first Cuban Dance Fest in Seattle.
Daniela Gallardo is originally from Mexico. Her love for music and dancing started at a young age leading her to be one of the principal dancers at the music festivals in her school. She then got invited to create her first choreography at the age of 15 where she discovered her passion for teaching.
Daniela’s salsa background started in 2009 giving her the opportunity to dance in Canada and Mexico. Soon after, she got invited to join a team back in Mexico where she was able to discover new skills, which in turn led her to grow as a dancer. As soon as she moved to Seattle, WA, Daniela got invited to join “La Clave Cubana” team and right away she started performing and traveling around the US. La Clave Cubana developed her skills as an instructor, which has given her the opportunity to share her knowledge and love for dancing to everyone from kids to adults. Daniela is now the Co-Director of “La Clave Cubana” and teaches alongside Reinier Valdes at their dance academy and at Congresses all over the US sharing her passion and talent everywhere she goes.
Rex Kinney (DANCE This Program Manager/Intensive Director)
Rex Kinney is the Dance Education and Performance Manger for Education and Community Programs Department at Seattle Theatre Group. As a teaching artist for STG, he has taught workshops and classes for Disney Musicals in Schools, Disney’s Newsies, DANCE This Intensive and Camps, and many other programs. As a program manager and producer he currently overseas STG’s DANCE This and Global Party. Rex is also the Head Coach and Director of the Shorecrest High School Hip Hop Team and entering his 19th year with the program. He has helped the team to 15 consecutive Washington State District 1 titles, 9 WIAA State Dance/Drill Championships, and 5 National titles. He was honored by the Washington State Dance/Drill Coaches Association as “Coach of the Year” in 2011 and inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame in 2017.
Rex has taught and choreographed for several groups, studios, and companies all over the Northwest like Microsoft, Boeing, Seattle Sonics/Storm, Seattle Seahawks, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Reach and Dance Chance Programs, Centrum’s Blue Heron and Explorations Program, Elite Performance Dance Camps, an adjunct instructor for Cornish College of the Arts, Gotta Dance, Westlake Dance Center, and Backstage Dance Studio.