DANCE This Intensive
Seattle Theatre Group's
DANCE This INTENSIVE
Pacific Northwest Ballet - The Phelps Center
2018 Dates Coming Soon!
The DANCE This Summer Dance Training Intensive provides an opportunity for young dancers at all levels to immerse themselves in dance over the course of 2 weeks. Students are exposed to a wide range of dance styles and techniques in a supportive, yet challenging atmosphere. Students receive instruction from professional instructors in a variety of dance styles and genres.
Thank you to all the students, faculty and staff that made this year’s program a massive success! Check back soon for details on next year’s DANCE This Intensive as we celebrate the 15th year of the program in 2018!
PAST TEACHING FACULTY (2017)
McKenzie Baird (Injury Prevention)
McKenzie has an avid passion for cross-training and injury prevention for dancers. She started her training at Point Park University where she stretched her wings as a Jazz dancer and yoga instructor. After graduating she moved into cross-training; going after her Pilates certification with BASI Pilates dance certification. Since then she’s completed her MFA in Dance at Florida State University and dedicated her time toward researching and training dancers. As dance evolves so does our training method to keep dancers healthy and active in our field.
Michelle Chandler-Smith (Jazz)
Michelle began her dance journey at age 12. With over 25 years of experience, her interests and expertise are in jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet and modern. She spends her free time teaching and traveling the country continuing her dance education, choreographing, teaching master classes, intensives and judging. Michelle has studied under the guidance of Joe Tremaine, Gus Giordano, Dave Massey, Doug Caldwell, Sean Greene, and several others. She has also had the privilege of performing as a member of the jazz-based Eastside Moving Company and the modern-jazz Company Fusion, both in Seattle. After three years at Chapman University in Orange, California and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Theatre, she began her teaching career in Bellevue, Washington at Backstage Dance Studio. Several of Chandler-Smith’s students have won title awards regionally and nationally and have gone onto careers with Holland America, Carnival Cruise Lines, Stiletto Entertainment and are seen in many industrial pieces in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York City, as well as Company work in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, Saipan and London. Michelle also sits on the judging panel regionally and nationally for KAR, Rainbow Dance, Showbiz and other esteemed Dance Competitions. Michelle continues to teach master classes, convention classes on staff at Kids Artistic Revue (KAR) and Dance Masters of America (DMA), and shares her choreography across the country, all of which she feels so honored and blessed to continue to do. Michelle is now Co-Owner/Director at Inspire Academy of Dance which opened this past summer 2016 in the Seattle area. Michelle is truly excited to be sharing her choreography, knowledge and insight with students willing to pursue the heart and soul of dance as an innovative and expanding art form.
Prashanthi Chitre (Bollywood)
Prashanthi Chitre, is a passionate dancer, a caring teacher, and a very creative choreographer who runs her Performing Arts studio (“Prashanthi Chitre Institute of Performing Arts (PCIPA)”) in Redmond. Through PCIPA, Prashanthi offers Kuchipudi(Indian Classical Dance form), Indian Folk, and Bollywood dance forms from India. She teaches Kuchipudi as the foundation dance, and shares her breadth and meaning of dance through her own fusion choreographies fusing elements of Indian classical, folk and Bollywood dance with modern and world dance forms including but not limited to Jazz, Hip hop, Latin and Contemporary. For the past 18 years she has worked with students ranging from 2 yrs old to 95 yrs old (including children and adults with special needs) with different backgrounds and skill levels. She brings her experience and understanding of dance as a healing art to her class offerings and dance creations, and teaches dance both as an art form and as a tool to "Live and experience the life to the fullest."
For her love of expansion through diverse exposure, she extends her class offerings (through regular classes and workshops) to local schools, universities (UW) and other reputed dance institutes and theaters in the town. She has collaborated with Seattle Theatre Group® (STG) in the past through a DANCE This show (2015) and Dance Intensive Camps (2016) and is very excited to be working with STG once again this summer and be part of the Dance This Intensive camp.
Marie Chong (Ballet)
Marie Chong is an accomplished dancer, director, teacher, and choreographer who has worked throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the US. She has performed as a professional dancer in both classical and contemporary dance with companies such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Spectrum Dance Theater. Chong founded ARC Dance Productions in Seattle in 1999 and opened Arc School of Ballet in 2004. She was the Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil's big top touring show KOOZA in Japan and the US and also integrated new artists into the show at Cirque du Soleil's headquarters in Montreal.
Chong is an active and well respected teacher, mentor, and coach. Her choreography has been critically acclaimed and she continues to produce, direct, and create regular professional dance performances in Seattle. Learn more at arcdance.org.
Vince-John Frijas (Hip-Hop)
Combined with his love for the arts, obsession with music, and passion for teaching, Vince-John thrives to create an environment where students can develop into the best humans they can be. He started his dance career at a young age by imitating Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal". In high school, he joined a step/dance team called Crimson Haze and began submersing himself in the world of stage entertainment. He graduated from the University of Washington in June of 2014 as a business major with an economics minor. Currently, he is the Artistic Director and Hip-Hop Director at the Image Studio of Dance in Fircrest, WA. Vince-John also teaches Hip-Hop II/III at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle. During the day, he is an information technology specialist with the Air National Guard on Camp Murray, WA.
Vince-John has trained with and under numerous talented dancers, choreographers, and teachers that have worked with the industry’s top artist like Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Beyonce, Prince, ‘Nsync. He has also danced with a multitude of dance groups such as The Heat, De5inco, Team Boogiezone - Breed: Seattle, Cruz Control, Phyzikal Graffi-T, Twisted Elegance BoomKatzz, The Image Performing Company, BoomKatzz, Electriq Dance, and 2010 World of Dance Champions: Kontagious Movement.
Kokou Al’nuzan Gbakenou (Urban African / Magan)
For over fifteen years Kokou Al’nuzan Gbakenou has honed his professional dance and performance skills. Originally from Togo, West Africa, Kokou has toured in Germany (Steptext Dance Project, Helge Letonja and Opiyo Okach), France and Belgium (Dunia Dance Theater, Harold George) with various groups, and was twice in residency at l’Ecole des Sables in Senegal (Germaine Acogny).
He led an artistic association called Circuit Cinema et Arts Vivants (CCAV), and collaborated extensively with the French Cultural Center of Lomé, the Goethe Institut, and the dance companies such as Woenyo and Brin de Chocolat. Prior to moving to Seattle in December 2013, he taught dance in Togo at the Lycée Français de Lomé and Ecoles Arc-en-Ciel in Lome. Since 2010 Kokou has worked on an original movement technique called “Magan.” Kokou integrates elements of Capoeira, Hip Hop, Yoga, Tai Shi and pan-African contemporary dance styles into his repertoire, in addition to his mastery of the traditional dances of Togo. December 2013 in Seattle, he integrated Gansango Music and Dance (Etienne Codjo Cakpo) and participated at Dance This Festival in July 2014 with Seattle Theater Group and in August 2014 he went to OMI International Dance Residency in Ghent (New York) and November 2015 at Border Dance Festival at Tijuana in Mexico.
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, Dance Masters of America, and performed as well as choreographed for the band Queensryche’s Cabaret-style Rock Concert, EnL’air, Physical Poetry and other local area dance concerts. In 2001, Kirsten supplemented her teaching skills with a certification in authentic Pilates from the Pilates Studio of Seattle (currently Seattle Pilates International). She has taught, choreographed, and performed in the Seattle Area for the past 20 years, as well as traveling to set pieces all over the West Coast. 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. Currently, she teaches full-time at Gotta Dance and is the director of the performing team. Kirsten lives in Shoreline and enjoys teaching locally, co-teaching with her husband Rex Kinney through Shoreline Park & Recreation, and having the opportunity to co-produce Physical Poetry and work with Shorecrest Hip Hop.
Sheri Lewis (Musical Theatre)
Sheri Lewis is the founder and director of Westlake Dance Center. Sheri's desire to travel and dance led her to perform in exotic places like Bermuda, Puerto Rico and cruise ships right out of high school. This chance to perform and continue to study dance all over the world opened her eyes to different dance styles that influence her teaching today. Sheri got her license in massage therapy in 2001 where kinesiology and study of anatomy gave her awareness to dance injuries and rehab to help dancers in class and out. Besides teaching at WDC, Sheri choreographs several musicals each year with CORE Theatrics and local conventions working with entertainment companies. Sheri is thrilled to have been guest teaching and choreographing for Ywam and Project Dance New York.
Mindy Lu (Nutrition)
Mindy is a Nutritionist and Food & Body Therapist based out of Seattle, where she specializes in helping people create change and develop positive relationships with food, health and their body. She's grateful to have the opportunity to guide others in their own journey towards wellness and there is nothing more gratifying than being a part of someone's story and watching them achieve their goals. Mindy is a graduate of Bastyr University and holds Masters degrees in Nutrition & Clinical Health Psychology. Outside of nutrition and body image work, Mindy is a dance teacher and finds a tremendous amount of joy in watching her students progress. Her other interests include running, rock climbing, watching lots of television and seeing the world. (And cake - she really loves cake.)
Amy O'Neal (Choreography / Improvisation)
Amy O'Neal is a dancer, performer, choreographer, and dance educator with one foot firmly planted in Hip Hop, Street, and Club Dance culture and the other in Contemporary Performance. She is passionate about the intersection of these worlds and how they connect energetically and philosophically, while honoring their cultural differences. For fifteen years, she has taught and performed throughout the US, Japan, Italy, and Mexico, and she has choreographed for stage, commercials, rock shows, galleries, dance films and music videos. She regularly collaborates with musician/comedian Reggie Watts since 2002 and co-directed locust (music/dance/video) with musician/composer, Zeke Keeble, from 2000-2010. Amy teaches Contemporary dance and Street and Club dance styles regularly at Velocity Dance Center and co-teaches House dance with Dani Tirrell at the Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio. Amy is a two time Artist Trust Fellow, Creative Capital, National Performance Network, National Dance Project, Mid Atlantic Arts grantee, DanceWEB Scholar, and two time Stranger Genius Awards Nominee. Amy was one of the first James W Ray Project Venture Awardees through the Frye Art Museum/Artist Trust and was honored with the first Distinguished Alumni Award from Cornish College of the Arts in 2015. Amy has taught for Dance This programs and choreographed for the Dance This Show since 2004.
Ellie Sandstrom (Modern)
Ellie Sandstrom, a Seattle Magazine "Spotlight Award Winner" and Velocity Dance Center's "2016 Dance Champion", is originally from Minneapolis, where she began her movement training with Minnesota Dance Theater and later BalletArts Minnesota. She has studied various forms of dance technique, body conditioning, composition, improvisation and performance at dance festivals and schools across the country including Cornish College of the Arts, where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance.
Ellie worked and toured with dance companies locust and Scott/Powell Performance from 2000-2010. Her choreography, under the name SANDSTROMMOVEMENT, has received funding from the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and from Artist Trust. Her work has been produced locally and nationally by organizations such as On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center and Perpich Center for the Arts, and commissioned by Seattle Dance Project, Creative Dance Center and Washington Ensemble Theater, among others. She currently teaches ballet to young adults and beyond at Velocity Dance Center and contemporary styles and dance performance to middle school and high school students at Northwest School in Seattle, where she is the Dance Department Chair.
Natalya Zrazhevskaya (Cha Cha)
Natalya is one of the youngest Professional Latin dancers in the United States DanceSport industry. Born in Russia - but raised in Seattle, she has become well known in Washington's dance community through her devoted participation in competitions and passionate performances in shows around the area with her partner and students. Throughout her dance career, Natalya has consistently been a winner of the local Northwest Regional Championships, and a finalist in out-of-state competitions such as Desert Classic, San Francisco Open, and Southwest Regionals. Choreography and performances done by Natalya and her partner, Umario, have become praised at an international level because of their short-films such as "El Tango De Roxanne".
Aside from working her way up to training with the top Ballroom and Latin coaches in the world, Natalya has explored the worlds of hip-hop, jazz, salsa, and contemporary dance in order to diversify her training and artistry. She has been a member of the Seattle dance companies "Breed Seattle", "Westsiders", and "Black Floor Collective" parallel to competing at a national level with her partner.
Natalya has been teaching and choreographing for 6 years, and has loved exploring the nitch of implementing Ballroom technique into the other styles she has learned. She believes that the intricate techniques of Latin partner dance should be accesible to all, and that her vast area of experience in different dance forms has taught her to better-understand how to teach the tools to dancers from diverse movement backgrounds while maintaining their personal style and artistry.