CLASSES  }  Teachers

Renée Adams
Renée Adams received her training in Yakima, Washington under the guidance of Phyllis Cyr and later danced with Luna Negra Dance Theater, Spectrum Dance Theatre, BodyVox, teeth, and Bouand Dance Company. Currently, she is the Youth Program Director at Riverside Performing Arts in Vancouver, Washington, and a teaching artist for Oregon Ballet Theatre. Most recently, Renée spent a season in Richland, Washington as the Interim Assistant Artistic Director of Mid Columbia Ballet. Besides performing and teaching, Renée also has a deep interest in arts education in the public school setting and served as the Education Specialist in Luna Negra's outreach program, DanceReach, which taught Latin and contemporary dance to over 500 public school students per year. In addition to performing with BodyVox, Renée also served as Education and Outreach Director where she developed the successful residency program Making Science Dance. She has taught at many institutions including Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Portland Children's Museum, Young Musicians and Artists, and numerous schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is thrilled to be joining Northwest Dance Project’s esteemed teaching roster.

Samantha Campbell
Samantha Campbell is from Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended the University of Utah as a Ballet major and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in May 2007. She was a member of Utah Ballet for three years while at the University, danced with Alabama Ballet and danced on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio (Hubbard Street Dance Chicago). In her first year with the Northwest Dance Project, Samantha was featured in Donald McKayle's jazzy "Syncopated Gambol," and has danced numerous additional original roles in Northwest Dance Project works as a member of Northwest Dance Project's company.        

Jason Davis
A native of Tucson, Arizona, Jason began his dance training with Mary-Beth Cabana at Ballet Arts in Tucson. At fifteen, he joined the Universal Ballet Academy (Kirov Academy) under the direction of Oleg Vinogradov. In 1992, Jason joined the San Francisco Ballet School and after one year, joined the company, dancing for eleven seasons in many classic ballets as well as original choreography by Mark Morris, Stanton Welch, Yuri Possokov, James Kudelka, William Forsythe, and Helgi Tomasson among others. Jason has been teaching ballet for 15 years and is a licensed teacher by the state of Oregon. Currently Jason is the principal of The Portland Ballet Academy and Ballet Master for TPB's youth company. He is also the ballet teacher at Arts and Communication Magnet Academy in Beaverton, Oregon and is the Ballet Master for Dance West, ACMA's pre-professional youth company.

Kerry Davis
Kerry Davis has been teaching dance to students of all levels and ages for over ten years in genres including hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, and lyrical. Beyond working in the United States, Kerry has also taught dance in the South Pacific and in South America, and has enjoyed using dance as a way to bring people together across cultures and languages. Kerry has developed and implemented projects, both while abroad and in the United States, that use dance as a mechanism for youth to learn about and develop important life skills. Kerry strongly believes in the power of dance in helping to create lifestyles of well-being and that being involved in dance increases one’s physical health, emotional health, sense of community, and personal empowerment. Kerry is passionate about bringing joy and well-being to others through her passion for dance.

Michelle Davis
A native of Dallas, Texas, Michelle trained and performed with the Dallas Ballet from 1983 to 1989. She joined the San Francisco Ballet School in 1989 and the San Francisco Ballet in 1991. She danced with the San Francisco Ballet for nine years with one year abroad dancing in Copenhagen with the Royal Danish Ballet. She has guest taught at several schools in the Portland/Vancouver area. Currently, Michelle is on the faculty and serves as the registrar and assistant to the artistic director, Nancy Davis, at The Portland Ballet. She, her husband Jason, and their three children have enjoyed living in Portland for the last seven years.


Mariecella Devine
One of Portland's most popular Hip Hop dance teachers, Mariecella Devine, teaches an enticing combination of dance moves with her own signature style. She has taught Hip Hop in the Portland Metro area for over twenty years. Mariecella has performed and collaborated with Michael Curry in his production of "Spirits," and with James Canfield, founding Oregon Ballet Theatre Artistic Director, in his world premiere of "CQ (Charmed Quark)" at the American Choreographers Showcase and the Joyce Theater in New York City. Mariecella is also involved in local community outreach programs introducing disadvantaged youth to the benefits of dance. She is truly a wonderful and talented instructor who is committed to bringing Hip Hop dance to the masses.

Tracey Durbin
Tracey started dancing professionally at the age of four. After studying years of piano, theater and ballet at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, Tracey moved to Los Angeles where she studied ballet with Stanley Holden, jazz with Luigi (the innovator of the world's first jazz technique), and assisted Hama, Luigi's protégé. Her choreography has been in the L.A. Jazz Festival, music videos, industrials, and many shows. Tracey has also lived and taught dance in Israel. In Portland, Tracey was an original member of Dancers' Workshop, started Irvington Dance Company, and has taught for many years at Oregon Ballet Theatre, Reed College, and BodyVox. Currently she teaches at DaVinci Arts Middle School and Portland Ballet. Teaching since the age of 15, Tracey's classes blend the philosophy of classical Luigi jazz technique, the lyricism and strength of modern and ballet, and the musical experience ranging from Bach to Aretha Franklin. Her life experiences inspire her true passion - teaching lyrical jazz dance.

John Gardner
John Gardner, an Oregon native, was trained by Jacqueline Schumacher and Nicholas Vasiliev, and was a charter member of the Portland Ballet Co. In New York, his training continued with Bill Griffith, Igor Youskevitch, Richard Thomas, and Mia Slavenska. John danced professionally with San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Pennsylvania Ballet, and was a soloist with Hamburg Ballet in Germany. Upon returning to the U.S., he taught at the University of Texas and was appointed Ballet Master of Ballet El Paso. In 1982, John returned to Oregon, dancing with The Portland Ballet, served as Dance Director for Theater Workshop, founded the Oregon Festival Ballet and produced "Coppelia", the first full-length ballet performed in Oregon in forty years. John has taught workshops and master classes at the University of Oregon, University of Illinois, and University of Colorado. His students are currently dancing with American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Stuttgart Ballet. John's teaching style is positive and personal with a Russian-American curriculum leading to exact technique and performance quality.

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt received her dance training at the Alvin Ailey Dance Center, Martha Graham School of Dance, California Institute of the Arts and with Maggie Black. Mary has danced professionally for over 30 years, touring with such well-known artists as Donald McKayle, Jaime Rogers and Fred Benjamin. She has danced in feature films, MTV videos and appeared on the television shows Fame and Cheers. Mary has taught extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada and is currently teaching, choreographing, and performing in Portland, Oregon.

Taryn Jansen
Taryn Jansen is from Portland and began her dance training at the age of five with Diana Redding at Studio One Dance Academy. As a teen, she began training with Sarah Slipper and became a featured member of The Jefferson Dancers under the direction of Steve Gonzales, performing locally and touring to Germany, London, Paris, and France. She attended Cornish College of the Arts, graduating with a B.F.A. in 2013. After college she danced with Ashani Dance Company in Seattle under the Artistic Direction of Iyun Ashani Harrison.

Tracy Julius
Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Tacy Julius trained at the esteemed Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary and gained considerable early experience with the Carlisle Project. Tracy’s distinguished career as a performer in ballet spanned more than a decade and included tenures as a principal artist with the Joffrey Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet and others. Tracy has worked with numerous choreographers such as Lisa de Ribere, Michael Kane, Rick McCullough, Septime Webre, Bonnie Scheibman, Daniel Pelzig, Monia Levy, Victoria Morgan, and many others, and has performed original works from artists including Donald Byrd, Val Caniparoli, James Canfield, Carol Armatage, John Syla, Fabrice Lemire, Jeff Satinoff, Paul Mejia, Edward Myers, and Jamey Hampton. Tracy is actively engaged as a ballet instructor and educator in the effort to give back to ballet and to participate in the development of young and aspiring artists.

Lindsey McGill
Lindsey McGill was born in Houston, Texas. She began her formal dance training under Elizabeth and Rosemary Molak in Orange County, California and continued training at the Houston Ballet Academy under the direction of Ben Stevenson, Clara Cravey and Priscilla Nathan Murphy. Since graduating from Houston Ballet Academy, Lindsey has worked with Jane Weiner's Hope Stone Dance, Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, iMEE, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, O Dance, NobleMotion Dance, The Next Stage Project, KDNY and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2. She has also had opportunities to dance in projects by a number of independent artists including Jhon R. Stronks, Paola Georgudis, Teresa Chapman, Amy Ell's Vault, and Freneticore. Lindsey participated in Northwest Dance Project's LAUNCH: 5 project.

Franco Nieto - 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner
Franco Nieto was born and raised in Vancouver, Washington. Franco was an athlete playing football for seven years before making his choice to dance. Franco began his training at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, and Columbia Dance, later studying under Tracey Durbin as a student and an assistant in Portland. Franco graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a B.F.A. in Jazz in 2009. Franco has danced original roles in Northwest Dance Project works by Didy Veldman, James Canfield, Sarah Slipper, Luca Veggetti, Pedro Dias, Maurice Causey, Wen Wei Wang, Andrea Miller, Noam Gagnon, Loni Landon and Lauren Edson. Franco was one of only six dancers inthe U.S. to win a 2012 Princess Grace Award for Dance.



Claire Olberding
Claire Olberding graduated with a degree in dance from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2001. Since then she has danced professionally both in New York and Portland, traveled the world, opened ¿Por Que No? taqueria with her husband, and found a home teaching dance at Da'Vinci Arts Middle School. Mentored and trained her entire life by Portland choreographer and teacher Tracey Durbin, Claire's passion has always been the mentoring and inspiring of youth in the arts. Claire values motivating personal expression and growth through dance and nurturing the next generation of artists. 

 Andrea Parson - 2010 Princess Grace Award Winner
Andrea Parson began her early training in Hillsboro, Oregon at Northwest Conservatory of dance under the direction of Anita Mitchell. She received her B.A. in dance from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2008. Andrea has participated in workshops with the Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, the Northwest Dance Project and worked with numerous choreographers such as Chad Hall, Aszure Barton, Sarah Slipper, James Canfield, Luca Veggetti, Alejandro Cerrudo, Cayetano Soto, Edgar Zendejas, Maurice Causey, Wen Wei Wang and many more. Andrea has taught dance throughout Oregon and Washington and is a Northwest Dance Project company member.


Julia Radick
Julia Radick was born and raised in New York City. She graduated from LaGuardia Arts High School and earned her BFA in Dance from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She has also trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and with Batsheva. Julia has danced original works by Nathan Trice, Brunilda Ruiz, James Sutton, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Aszure Barton, and Kate Weare. Julia is a certified Mind Body Dancer™ yoga instructor. Julia took part in Northwest Dance Project’s LAUNCH: 7 project and is now a member of the company.


Stephanie Shepherd
Stephanie Shepherd is a 23-year-old dancer, yogi, and hip hop culture enthusiast. She’s trained at Center Stage Dance Studio in Hilo with Pier Sircello, Nadia Schlosser, Vicky Kelly-Robbins, and Pam Chong James, focusing on ballet, contemporary and hip hop. While she was in Hilo, she performed for the Miss Kona Coffee Pageant, private parties as a soloist, and Cirque du Soleil. After graduating in 2012 with her BA in Kinesiology and Exercise Science, she moved back to Portland and participated in Northwest Dance Project's LAUNCH program. Stephanie is a pilates and yoga instructor, as well as dance teacher around the Portland area. She recently performed as a choreographer and back-up dancer for "Weird Al" Yankovic in his Oregon Zoo Amphitheater concert and is currently a member of Paint Dance Company.

Kara Girod-Shuster
Kara Girod is from Hillsboro, Oregon, and received her B.A. in Dance from Loyola Marymount University in 2008. For the past three years, Kara has danced professionally with BodyVox Dance Company while taking workshops from Ben Levy, San Francisco Conservatory, Oberlin Dance Collective, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, and NWDP, among others. Kara loves exploring all different movement mediums and has her Mat Pilates certification through AFAA as well as her Vinyasa Yoga Certification through Yoga Union.

Rachel Slater
Rachel Slater is a Portland, Oregon based dancer, choreographer and teacher. She holds a BFA from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in Modern Dance Performance and Choreography. Recently, her choreography has been seen in San Francisco and Philadelphia, as well as premiering a new work with Pacific University’s Dance Ensemble. Rachel has performed for Group Motion Multimedia Dance Company, Tere Mathern Dance, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, and independent choreographers such as Franco Nieto, Tracey Durbin, and Kristine Anderson. She has been a recipient of the Oregon Arts Commission’s Opportunity Grant, the Blue Sky Choreography Grant, and a New Expressive Works residency. Rachel is currently on faculty for BodyVox’s Junior Artist Generator and is working on material for her latest endeavor, Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance, with Suzanne Chi.

Sarah Slipper / Artistic Director
An award winning independent choreographer and noted dance mentor, Sarah Slipper studied at the Royal Ballet School, was a principal dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and appeared as a guest artist worldwide. She has worked with internationally renowned directors and choreographers such as Arnold Spohr, Rudi van Dantzig, Hans van Manen, Jirí Kylián and Agnes de Mille. Sarah Slipper served as Ballet Mistress of Alberta Ballet and Oregon Ballet Theatre, and teaches master classes throughout North America. She was awarded the Grand Prize for Choreography at the International Choreographic Competition at Saint Sauveur in 2000. Sarah has created over 20 works for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Jorgen, Louisville Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Ballet New York, Ballet Pacifica and The Jefferson Dancers. "A Fine Balance," her pas de deux created during the inaugural Northwest Dance Project, was a finalist for the prestigious Benois de la Danse award in 2006 and was performed at the Bolshoi Theatre as part of the award's gala celebration. Sarah is currently working on several new creations and serves as the Artistic Director of Northwest Dance Project.

Viktor Usov - 2014 Princess Grace Award Winner

Viktor Usov was born in Uzhgorod, Ukraine. He began his dance training in Portland with Sarah Slipper at the age of 14 and was a featured member of The Jefferson Dancers. Viktor attended The Juilliard School on scholarship. After graduating with a BFA in Dance in 2010, Viktor moved to Germany to dance as a soloist with Johannes Wieland at the Staatstheater Kassel. Viktor returned to dance with Northwest Dance Project in 2013. He has had the privilege of performing works by Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Jerome Robbins, Sarah Slipper, Johannes Wieland, Aszure Barton, Donald McKayle, James Canfield, Lucas Crandall, Wen Wei Wang, Stephanie Thiersch, Chris Haring and others. In 2014, Viktor was one of only six dancers in the U.S., and the only male dancer, to win a Princess Grace Award in Dance.

Caitlin Warren

Caitlin Warren, a Midwestern native, grew up taking classes at Lou Conte Dance Studio and Joel Hall Dance Center. In 2012, Caitlin graduated from the University of Utah with a B.F.A. in Modern Dance where she performed in 26 works, including six with the University's Performing Dance Company choreographed by Andrea Miller, Abby Fiat, Sharee Lane, Nicholas Leichter, and Pamela Geber Handman. Caitlin was awarded the 2012 Dee R. Winterton Outstanding Teacher Award for her work and dedication as a teaching assistant within the Department of Modern Dance. Since moving to Portland, Caitlin has performed in various new works and is actively collaborating with local choreographers for upcoming projects. Caitlin is currently teaching youth classes at Northwest Dance Project and Multnomah Arts Center, and has been a guest instructor at Center for Movement Arts and Independent Dance Project. Caitlin works to provide an outlet for students to discover themselves through movement by creating a safe and supportive, yet challenging, atmosphere. Caitlin also serves as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Northwest Dance Project.

Ching Ching Wong
Ching Ching Wong was born in Manila, Philippines, but calls southern California her home where she began her dance training at the age of three at Allegria Dance Theatre under the artistic direction of Alia Harlan. She received her B.F.A in Dance Performance and minor in Education and Psychology & Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine. During her UCI days, she was a member of Donald McKayle's Etude Ensemble and also performed works by Jodie Gates, Molly Lynch, Lisa Naugle, Rennie Harris and William Forsythe's "Artifact Suite". Ching Ching is a member of Northwest Dance Project's company.

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