Instructor Bios


Marjorie Thompson

PNBConditioning Program Director
Marjorie Thompson re-joins PNB as the PNBConditioning Program Director and school faculty. Marjorie founded PNBConditioning in 1998. In 2001, she moved east to direct the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and later the School of Minnesota Dance Theatre. Ms. Thompson has an extensive dance and Pilates background. She studied ballet at the School of American Ballet and joined the New York City Ballet, under the direction of George Balanchine, while she was still in her teens. Marjorie had the privilege of taking her first Pilates session with Joseph Pilates himself. Marjorie went on to direct the Lotte Berk Method in New York, where her clients included: Ali MacGraw, Candace Bergen and Yoko Ono, to name just a few. Marjorie received her Pilates certification in Classical Pilates from Romana Kryzanowska. Marjorie has enhanced her formal Pilates studies with work at the Dance Notation Bureau and called upon the expertise of Karen Clippenger MSPE, renowned kinesiologist, author, lecturer, industry leader and PNB consultant, when developing the PNBConditioning program. "I'm very enthused about being back at the helm of this valued PNB program that so well represents what I see as some of PNB's core values: providing healthy guidance and instruction to the dancers, dance students and their families and functioning as a resource service to the larger community". —Marjorie Thompson

Alexandra Dickson

Alexandra Dickson has joined PNBConditioning after a long and successful career as soloist in Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her desire to become a Stott certified Pilates instructor was driven by the dramatic results she experienced after the birth of her son. Alexandra is very sensitive to the needs of new moms understanding the complex changes that happen within the body. Because of her extensive ballet background, Alexandra can weave both dance and pilates training to maximize results for lovers of movement and budding professionals alike. Her attention to detail and clear explanations of the pilates principles instills confidence and trust among her clients. Alexandra is thrilled to be part of a group of professionals so dedicated to excellence! She teaches at the Seattle studio.

Carol Elsner

Carol Elsner has a BA in physical education from the University of Washington and an MPT from the University of Puget Sound. As a former competitive gymnast she toured South America and Southeast Asia with the Greater Seattle Gymnastics Club under the auspices of the US State Department. She coached gymnastics for the AOG in Bellevue and at the UW 1969–74. As a dancer, Carol began the study of ballet and modern dance at the age of 26 at the UW, later studying on partial scholarship at the Martha Graham School and performing with some small modern companies in NYC. She is currently a per diem PT at Swedish hospital Cherry Hill Campus. She enjoys teaching Pilates to enable clients to deepen core connections, enhance alignment and to reach their conditioning goals. A long time student of PNB Conditioning, Carol has earned her Pilates Certification from The Physical Mind Institute. She teaches at both the Seattle and Bellevue studios.

Teresa Hanawalt

Teresa Cowan-Kuist received her BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts in 2003. Immediately after graduation Teresa co-founded NorthWest Dance Syndrome (NWDS), a collaborative Modern dance company based in Seattle. Teresa co-artistic directs as well as dances for NWDS producing choreography and performing at many venues including Velocity MainSpace Theater, Broadway Performance Hall, Bumbershoot, and at On the Boards as part of the 12 Min. Max series. NWDS most recently performed in the Northwest New Works Festival at On the Boards in May, 2008. Teresa has been teaching dance at several dance studios around the Seattle area since 2004. She is currently teaching dance at the Marysville Performing Arts Centre. Teresa completed her Stott Pilates training through Bodycenter Studios where she is an Associate Instructor. Teresa is excited to be teaching for the PNB Conditioning program at both the Bellevue and Seattle locations.

Dina McDermott

Dina holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School in New York, and an MFA in performance/choreography. She danced, choreographed and has taught professionally for more than 20 years. Dina had done Pilates for many years, but did an intensive certification through Stott Pilates in 2001, following a serious knee injury. Dina is interested in sharing the Pilates method with her clients, as a method to achieve physical balance, integrity and wholeness. She teaches at both the Seattle and Bellevue studios.

Uraina Nagy

Uraina has over 20 years of knowledge and experience in dance and movement. She has studied the methods and techniques of such notables as Agrippina Vaganova, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, Martha Graham, and Joseph Pilates to name a few. As a Florida native, she earned her Bachelor degree at the Florida State University, where she danced and performed extensively for internationally renowned teachers and choreographers. Arriving in Seattle in 2004, she completed her STOTT Pilates Instructor training through Bodycenter Studios. Uraina has found Pilates to be instrumental in developing a stronger, leaner body, improving balance, and creating more efficient ways of moving. Her positive, communicative, and holistic approach allows people of all physical abilities to work at individualized levels to achieve their personal goals. She teaches at both the Seattle and Bellevue studios.

Tara Stepenberg

Tara, M.Ed., M.Ed., CMA, RMT, ACE and certified in the Method Pilates, is a multi-faceted movement specialist. After completing her B.S. in Dance at The Juilliard School, she taught, directed, and choreographed for several University dance departments including: Hampshire College, The Five College Dance Department, The Naropa Institute, and Earlham College. Tara also directed the Certificate Programs in Laban Movement Analysis at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in NYC. She trained in The Method Pilates in 1994 with Michelle Larson in Santa Fe, NM, and currently is a Certification Trainer for the Physical Mind Institute. In addition, she has completed the coursework for Poletstar Pilates Rehab Program. Prior to coming to the Northwest, Tara was a movement specialist and director of a Pilates program in Cincinnati, Ohio. Tara enjoys working with individuals of all ages and levels of fitness. She credits Pilates with feeling 35 at 61. She teaches at the Bellevue studio.

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