FACULTY & ACCOMPANISTS
Donald Byrd is a TONY nominated and Bessie Award winning choreographer, and the Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater (since 2002). Formerly he was Artistic Director of Donald Byrd/The Group (1978 – 2002), a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company founded in Los Angeles and later based in New York, that toured extensively both nationally and internationally. He is credited with over 100 dance works for his own groups and for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), among others; classical companies include the Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and Dance Theater of Harlem. His awards, prizes, and fellowships include a Masters of Choreography Award (Kennedy Center), Fellow of The American Academy of Jerusalem, James Baldwin Fellow of United States Artists, Fellow at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue, and the Mayor’s Arts Award (sustained contribution to the City of Seattle); grants from many national foundations for his projects (Rockefeller Foundation, MetLife Foundation, New England Foundation, Map Fund, Altria, Jerome Foundation, and Seattle Foundation); support from local and national government agencies (4Culture, The Office of Arts and Culture and The National Endowment for the Arts).
Angie Bolton, an ACE certified instructor, teaches Fitness for Living at Spectrum Dance, where she has worked since 1981. She developed Fitness for Living to work students aerobically, and with weights and rubber resistance bands. The class is focuses on people 40 years old and up. Some of her students are in their 80′s and many of them have exercised with her for over 10 years.
Ramona Cachinero was born in Australia and moved to Spain at 3 years old. At 9 years old, she moved to America, where her ballet training began. Ramona was taught by Margaret “Maggie” Banks at the Nevada Festival Ballet School. She began performing with the company that same year, and at 14 years old became a paid member of the company. During her summers, she attended Houston Ballet Academy, later followed by the Joffrey Ballet School of New York’s summer program. At 17 years old, Ramona was asked to stay year round at the school on a full scholarship. At the end of this year she was hired to dance in “The Nutcracker” with the Dayton Ballet Company. Ramona then moved back to Australia, where she danced with Ballet Theatre of Queensland, Australian Theatre Ballet, Tasmanian Classical Ballet, and attended the Queensland University of Technology’s Dance program. She then moved back to the USA where she danced with South Florida Ballet Theatre, Nevada Ballet Theatre and later was a principal dancer with Ohio Dance Theatre & Sierra Nevada Ballet.Since her move to Seattle, she has danced with Ballet Bellevue and 127th St Dance Company. She is very excited to be a part of The School of Spectrum Dance Theater.
Marco Carrabba has over 15 years experience as a professional artist and soloist with dance companies throughout Europe and the United States. He graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts and earned a scholarship with the New York City School of American Ballet. His professional career began with the Stuttgart Ballet where he performed for and was presented to Queen Elizabeth (per her request). As a principal dancer with the Dutch National Ballet he performed the principal role of Prince Albrecht in Giselle and toured with Rudolph Nureyev. Marco has toured internationally with both the Hamburg Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, where he performed Hamlet. Marco was a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet and performed Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Cavalier in the Nutcracker among many other leading roles. Furthermore, Marco was a soloist with Boston Ballet and has danced with many world-renowned ballerinas. He is a member of A.G.M.A. American Guild of Musical Artists and Screen Actors Guild. Marco has also added Artistic Director of Carrabba Dance School and Theatre Dance company to his resume – for which he has over 18 years experience teaching classical ballet to all ages and levels. As a choreographer, Marco has produced numerous traditional productions, excerpts and innovative original contemporary works.
Alex Crozier, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received his dance training from Wissahickon Dance Academy under the direction of Nancy Malmed. As a graduate of The University of the Arts he received his BFA in Dance. Now in his fifth season with Spectrum Dance Theater, Alex performs various lead roles as a senior company member. His featured roles include the Interlocutor in Donald Byrd’s The Minstrel Show Revisited and the Carnival Boy in 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of Carousel. He has performed with Pennsylvania Ballet as a guest artist, the Houston Grand Opera, and with Liz King’s D.ID in Austria, where he toured extensively throughout the country.
Maya Darling-Turner, from Seattle, began her training at numerous local studios in her hometown. By the age of 12 she was accepted into Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s year-round program. There she studied with renowned teachers such as Peter Boal, Sonia Dawkins, Elaine Bauer, and Eva Stone. She furthered her training through summer intensives at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and The Ailey School. In May of 2017 Maya became a magna cum laude graduate from Alvin Ailey’s certificate program. This is her first season as an apprentice with Spectrum Dance Theater under the direction of Donald Byrd.
SuzAnne Duckworth trained at Cornish, began teaching in 1975, and quickly became one of the Seattle area’s most popular teachers of ballet and jazz dance for children and adults. As a founder of Spectrum Dance Theater in 1982, her contributions as a board member, dancer, and choreographer helped define the style and direction of the company’s early years. After dancing with Spectrum, SuzAnne continued to perform throughout the Northwest with the award winning vocal Trio “A Cappella-Go!” until 2006. She continues to teach her Tuesday/Thursday Jazz Class and has a long and dedicated following. In June 2007, SuzAnne, her students, and Spectrum faculty celebrated her 30 years of teaching at Spectrum Dance Theater’s home, the Madrona Dance Studio.
Blair Jolly Elliot
Blair Jolly Elliot, originally from Southern California, spent her childhood swimming, sailing, and climbing. She studied dance at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School (St. Petersburg, FL) with Suzanne Pomerantzeff and Patricia Paige-Parks. Blair received her BFA from The University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA). While she was there, Blair was an intern with Koresh Dance Company and trained extensively with Ronen Koresh and Melissa Rector. Along with dancing and teaching, Blair is also a certified personal trainer. As a dance teacher, Blair strives to get dancers fluent with her movement vocabulary and to create an environment in which students feel safe to explore movement and expression. This is Blair’s third year with Spectrum Dance Theater.
Camille Fujita was born in Seattle, WA and grew up immersed in Balkan folk dancing. She first performed with Radost folk ensemble in 2010. She started her formal training at Spectrum in 2009 and is now in her first year as an Academy student. She has had a diverse dance training including ballet, contemporary, tap, lyrical, balkan folk dance, salsa, bachata, and zouk. She’s worked with artists such as Donald Byrd, Eva Stone, William Vassili, Markeith Wiley, and Princess Grace award winners Andrea Parson, Franco Nieto, Ching Ching Wong, and Viktor Usov. She has performed excerpts of Malign Star by James Gregg in 2016 and Conjugations by Wen Wei Wang in 2015 at Northwest Dance Project’s summer dance intensive. She began teaching at Spectrum in 2014 with a focus in individuality and expression. She now teaches lyrical and tap and hopes to continue teaching along with becoming a professional contemporary dancer.
Heather Harris has been teaching dance in our children’s division for over 15 years. She began her training at the Cornish School. She furthered her studies at the Joffrey School in New York City as well as at Complexions. She danced professionally with the Joffrey Concert Group, Ballet el Paso, The Aluja Dance Company, and was a member of the Spectrum Dance Theater for over ten years. Heather is the proud mother of two lovely daughters. She can be found teaching preschool at Madrona’s community dance school, teaching dance at the Lake Washington Girls’ Middle School, Madrona K-8, and in our own children’s division here at Spectrum.
Afua Kouyate is a Graduate of Antioch University Seattle, receiving her Academic Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies. Afua’s inspiration and concentration is in Cultural Arts Leadership, Emphasizing Therapeutic Engagement. Her diversity in training with Cultural arts historians, masters and teachers from Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Liberia, NYC, Seattle, Congo, Trinidad-Tobago, California, and Guinea allows her to create and choreograph African dance and creative movements that spring from her magical ability to stimulate, excite and flow with the rhythms of the drums. The success of this is utterly African! In the past 30 years, Afua has been an integral part of keeping cultural arts and entertainment vibrant in the Pacific Northwest and abroad. She is dedicated to the community and viewed as a leader of cultural arts. In 1986 she co-founded the Adefua African Music & Dance Company, an intergenerational performance company that provides cultural entertainment to the general public. Adefua is known nationally for their gregarious rhythms rooted in African tribal and European court dances presenting traditional West African music, dancing and song.
William Miglino has been teaching ballet for seven years. Spending three years on faculty at the School of Ballet Chicago, teaching for Chicago High School of the Arts, and as the primary instructor for Chicago’s SOAR program. He has taught kids from every walk of life. It is this type of diverse experience that has helped to define his holistic approach to ballet instruction. Since moving to Seattle, William joined the faculty at Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2013 and has taught for many other schools in the surrounding area. Including master classes at Western Washington University, Olympia Dance Center, InMotion Performing Arts, and had taught company class for Spectrum Dance Theater. It is his goal as a teacher to impress a high standard of technique while imparting work ethic and personal values that are intrinsic to success in all fields of life. William received his ballet training at the School of Ballet Chicago and was a corps member of Carolina Ballet, under director Robert Weiss. He has also danced in Chicago and on both the East and West coasts as a guest artist for many different companies. In Seattle he has collaborated and danced in independent works and for Coriolis Dance Company. William is excited to be joining the faculty here at Spectrum and is looking forward to a great year.
Robert Moore, from Hamden, CT, began dancing at New England Ballet and continued at Dee Dee’s Dance Center and New Haven Ballet. He is an alumnus of Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, Ailey Summer Intensive, Cunningham Trust Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow’s Commercial Dance Program, and the Complexions Intensive. He went to Mexico with JUNTOS Collective, and taught with Notes in Motion, Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre, and JD/dansfolk. He has performed works by Fredrick Earl Mosley, Ronald K. Brown, Ray Mercer, Jessica Lang, Marcus Willis, Norbert De La Cruz III, Rena Butler, Germaul Barnes, Matthew Rushing, Jeffrey Page, Francesca Harper, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Sidra Bell, Bradley Shelver, Lar Lubovitch, William Forsythe, Donald McKayle, and Alvin Ailey. Robert graduated magna cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program and has danced with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, The Steps Repertory Ensemble, and AATMA Performing Arts. Robert joined Spectrum Dance Theater as an apprentice last season, becoming a full company member in fall 2017, the start of his second season with the company.
Christopher Grant-Montoya was born in St. Johns, AZ but grew up in South Phoenix. Chris began dancing at the age of 11, training in ballet, modern, and jazz. Chris began his academic journey with the University of Arizona, taking time off periodically to work with professional dance companies Gus Giordano, David Taylor Dance Theatre, Scorpius Dance Theater, Center Dance Ensemble, and Les Ballets Trockadero. Coming to Seattle with his husband in 2011, Chris completed his undergraduate degree with Cornish College of the Arts. While at Cornish, his goals shifted from professional work to teaching dance, which led him to receive his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington. Chris currently resides in Seattle, WA where he teaches at various locations in the Pacific Northwest, and has danced with Seattle Dance Project, Chamber Dance Company, and Men In Dance.
Hayley Shannon migrated from Michigan to Seattle in 2013 after earning a BA in Communications and Dance from Michigan State University. She immersed herself in the Seattle dance community while completing Anne Green Gilbert’s Summer Dance Institute for Teachers at the Creative Dance Center and Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Professional Arts Training Internship in Development. Currently, Hayley dances professionally with two Seattle-based modern companies, The Three Yells and SleepNod, is a faculty member at Creative Dance Center and Spectrum Dance Theater, and a faculty Teaching Artist for Pacific Northwest Ballet. She is also the Development Manager at Spectrum Dance Theater. Hayley seeks to cultivate community and empower people of all abilities, backgrounds, and ages to celebrate their individuality through dance.
Ahmen Taplin is a Seattle native who started dancing at the young age of 4 with her father’s African dance troupe. At the age of 8, Ahmen joined TTAAPP Central (now known as Northwest Tap Connection) where she has performed in over 30 of their productions throughout the years. 4 years later, she was asked to join the performance company. As a company member, Ahmen traveled to numerous tap festivals including the Twin Cities Tap Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy Summer Intensive. She has trained with tap legends Chester Whitmore, Diane Walker, and Harold Cromer. Ahmen has perfected her love for tap by also training with Shaina Mitchell, Chloe Arnold, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuel Smith and Sarah Reich; just to name a few. Her first professional job was in 2004 with Seattle Theatre Group. She was hired as one of the child dancers in the production called ‘A Maafa Experience’. Through Maafa, Ahmen had the pleasure of working closely with choreographers Jamel Gaines and Cabby Mitchell. Ahmen was later reunited with Seattle Theatre Group in 2006 with the production of ‘DANCE This’. She participated in ‘DANCE This’ every year from 2006 to 2015 where she has performed African, Hip Hop, Afro-Brazilian, Tap, Afro Peruvian, Stepping, and Lindy Hop. Through ‘DANCE This’ Ahmen had the opportunity to work with Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo, Daniel Cruz, Dora Oliveira, Hallie Kuperman, Sonia Dawkins, and Lora Lue Chiorah-Dye; just to name a few. Upon her high school graduation in 2010, Ahmen was asked to become an instructor at the Northwest Tap Connection where she still holds her position as an instructor. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, giving private tap lessons, and being a Service Experience Specialist at Nordstrom. Ahmen is thrilled to be teaching Tap 7 at Allegro and is looking forward to this new experience!
Alfredo “Free” Vergara
Breakdance classes are taught by Alfredo “Free” Vergara. He was a founding member of Circle of Fire, a Seattle B-boy crew. With more than 10 years of experience, deeply rooted in B-boying (Breaking), he has gained the respect and admiration of his peers and his community. He has participated in various dance events and competitions locally and internationally, such as Freestyle Sessions (USA), Dance Delight (Japan), Red Bull: Lords of the Floor (USA), Juste Debut (France) and the International Battle of the Year (Germany), just to name a few. Internationally known for his charismatic style and finesse, Mr. Vergara has also starred in his self-titled solo DVD “A Beautiful One Man Show.” His knowledge and experience of Breaking and other dance styles such as Hip Hop, House Dancing, Freestyle and including the Brazilian martial arts/dance Capoeira, has led him to take part in judging competitions, discussion panels as well as teaching workshops all over the world. “Let your soul be free…DANCE!” – Alfredo ”FREE” Vergara
Jaclyn Wheatley, originally from Vancouver, B. C., Canada, received her early dance training under the tutelage of Kathryn Long, Rachael Poirier, and Li Yaming. Other training includes American Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, C.P.Y.B., Dance New York International (Paris, France), and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. An alumna of the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University B.F.A. program, Jaclyn graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2014 with a major in Dance and a minor in Business Administration. As a member of the JUNTOS Collective, Jaclyn has travelled to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua to participate in dance outreach activities. She has performed the works of Alvin Ailey, Jennifer Archibald, Joshua Beamish, Ronald K. Brown, Francesca Harper, Dusan Tynek, and New York City-based Arch Contemporary Ballet. Now in her third year with Spectrum Dance Theater, Jaclyn has been honored to perform in many of Donald Byrd’s productions including Carmina Burana, Drastic Cuts, LOVE, The Minstrel Show: Revisited, and the 5th Avenue Theater’s production of Carousel. Jaclyn is currently on faculty at The School at Spectrum Dance Theater, and guest teaches throughout the Seattle and Vancouver areas.
Angela Rinaldi serves as Principal Accompanist at Spectrum Dance Theater and Dance Musician at Cornish College of the Arts Dance Department since 1980. She has accompanied ballet and modern dance classes at Pacific Northwest Ballet, University of Washington and Whitman College for such notable dance masters as Patricia Barker, Debra Hadley, Magali Messac, Hillary Cartwright, Bill Whitener, Veronica Tenant, Kevin Kaiser, Elaine Bauer and Donald Byrd. She has an extensive dance background, as well, from Spectrum and Cornish College. Angela is currently a Teaching Artist at Seattle Children’s Theatre, teaching musical theatre classes, and has over twenty five years experience in the theatrical arts. Along with performing professionally as a singer and actor, she has composed over 125 songs for several original classic childrenʼs tales for Variety Plus Theater, which she co-founded in 1994 with her husband, Bob. www.varietyplus.org. She is also a corps member as an actor, writer and composer of Events on the Edge, performing Interactive Murder Mysteries, aboard the Royal Argosy Cruises as well as Meet the Biscotti’s, A Mafia Musical, and Caffeine, An Addictive Musical, both of which she composed the original music. As resident Music Director and Choreographer for the Spring Musical program at Bellevue High School for the past nine years, she is excited to announce that BHS has been selected to participate in the American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in August of 2013. Angela is also currently promoting her Music for Ballet Class compact discs, available at www.balletmusica.com. She is a member of ASCAP and a proud member of The Musicians Association of Seattle- Local 76.
Kevin Cook – Bio coming soon
John Kirkpatrick – Bio coming soon
Art Koshi – Bio coming soon
Marleen Land is originally from Milwaukee, WI, and has been living in the Pacific Northwest since 1989. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Andrews University in Michigan and a Master of Music degree from Converse College School of Music in South Carolina, both in Music Education. Marleen has over 20 years of experience, having begun accompanying for ballet classes at Pacific Northwest Ballet School in 1992. She has played for many area studios including Evergreen City Ballet in Renton, The Ballet Studio in Seattle, Definitive Dance Studio on Mercer Island, Seattle Civic Dance Theater in West Seattle, Peninsula Dance Theater in Bremerton, Cornish College of the Arts and several others. She has been a state certified music teacher in Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North and South Carolina and truly enjoys working with children.
Ariana Storm was born in Pasadena, California and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in the composition and theory of music, where she also studied art. She has been a dance musician in the Pacific Northwest for the past 10 years improvising on piano, percussion and voice for Modern, African and Ballet classes. She is also a singer/songwriter currently producing her 2nd album, and an abstract painter. Her works have sold throughout the west coast. You may listen to her music and view her paintings at www.arielstorm.com.