About PNB School - Pacific Northwest Ballet
About PNB School2019-09-23T10:24:56+00:00

About PNB School

About
PNB School

Founded in 1974, Pacific Northwest Ballet School is recognized as one of the top three ballet training institutions in the United States. Under the direction of Peter Boal, the School offers a complete, professional curriculum to more than 1,000 students. The School’s Open Program attracts 600 teens and adults who wish to pursue recreational dance instruction in a supportive and encouraging setting.

Pacific Northwest Ballet School is divided into three divisions that are designed to challenge students with each year of study.

The School offers full and partial tuition scholarships to students who demonstrate artistic potential and financial need.

Each year, Pacific Northwest Ballet School holds an intensive, five-week Summer Course that attracts students from around the United States and beyond. Students are admitted by invitation only, based on the results of a national audition tour held in January and February. Other School activities include a Teachers’ Seminar, attracting ballet teachers from throughout North America and abroad.

Pacific Northwest Ballet DanceChance program offers students in Seattle Public School partner schools the opportunity to study classical ballet free of charge, dependent only on the students’ potential and interest in the program. PNB seeks to build a School and Company that reflects the diversity of our community by providing access and opportunity to talented students. Students are provided with full scholarship classes twice a week, dance attire, transportation and complimentary tickets to PNB Company performances.

PNB School, and Box Office

301 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA 98109

206.441.2435

Eastside School at the Francia Russell Center

1611 136th Place NE
Bellevue WA 98005

425.451.1241

Administrative Staff

Peter Boal, Director
Denise Bolstad, Managing Director
Abbie Siegel, School Principal
Meg Potter, Assistant Principal
Wendy Casper, Assistant to the Managing Director
Andrea Abercrombie, School Supervisor
Naomi Glass, DanceChance Manager
Lauren Kirchner, DanceChance Coordinator
David Jensen, Summer Residence Director
Amy Barkley, Pilates Coordinator & Administrative Assistant
Katharine Grimm, Associate Registrar & Administrative Assistant
Chloe Sagara, Associate Registrar
Bethany Nielcen, FRC Operations Coordinator
Kristen Carder, Administrative Assistant

Staff

Peter Boal serves as Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Mr. Boal assumed the directorship of Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2005 following a successful career with New York City Ballet as a principal dancer, and as a faculty member at The School of American Ballet. He received his dance training from SAB under the directorship of George Balanchine. His performance career spanned 22 years with New York City Ballet and he was a frequent guest artist with national and international companies. In 2002 he founded Peter Boal and Company, a critically acclaimed chamber ensemble. Mr. Boal joined the faculty of The School of American Ballet in 1997, teaching technique, variations, men’s and women’s classes and partnering. He was a guest teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet School.

Denise Bolstad, Managing Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, was trained as a dancer in Spokane with Thelma Young and performed with Spokane Concert Ballet. She studied on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School and continued her training in Seattle with Perry Brunson and First Chamber Dance Company. Ms. Bolstad has been on the staff of Pacific Northwest Ballet School since 1980.

Abbie Siegel, School Principal, performed with Connecticut Ballet, then went on to serve as the company’s Associate Ballet Mistress. A former faculty member of the Harkness School, Eliot Feld Ballet in New York and Connecticut Ballet, Ms. Siegel joined PNBS faculty in 1991. In addition to teaching, she served as Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s DanceChance program from 1999-2002, and was appointed Principal of The Francia Russell Center in the summer of 2002.

Faculty

Marisa Albee joined PNB as an apprentice in 1989, became a full Company member in 1990 and was promoted to Soloist in 1994. She was born in Brooklyn and studied at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s Summer Course. Prior to joining the faculty at PNBS she taught at the Washington Academy of Performing Arts.

Kelly Boal trained at the School of American Ballet and joined New York City Ballet in 1984, earning a promotion to soloist in 1989. She left NYCB in 1993 to pursue guesting opportunities that included performances with Dutch National Ballet and Ballet Manila and participation in Le Gala des Étoiles in Montreal, Canada. She taught at the School of American Ballet and has served PNBS as a part-time faculty member for two years, teaching both the Professional Division and the Company.

Peter Boal serves as Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Mr. Boal assumed the directorship of Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2005 following a successful career with New York City Ballet as a principal dancer, and as a faculty member at The School of American Ballet. He received his dance training from SAB under the directorship of George Balanchine. Mr. Boal was a faculty member at The School of American Ballet since 1997, teaching technique, variations, men’s and women’s classes and partnering. He was a guest teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet School.

Emily Coello, a native of Rock Island, IL, trained at the Alabama School of Fine Arts under Dame Sonia Arova before joining Alabama Ballet as an apprentice. She holds a BFA with honors from the New School University/Joffrey Ballet program where she trained with David Howard, Eleanor D’Antuono, and Trinette Singleton. While in New York she was chosen by David Howard to be a demonstrator in his “World Tour” class video. For over twelve years she was first a dancer and then ballet mistress for City Ballet of San Diego. Ms. Coello joined the PNBS faculty in 2017.

Caitlin Cooney, a Seattle native, trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School for 11 years. She graduated from PNB’s Professional Division program, and joined Kansas City Ballet. In addition to an 11-year performing career with KCB, Ms. Cooney spent 11 years teaching dancers of all ages at Kansas City Ballet School. She joined the PNB faculty in the fall of 2014.

Nancy Crowley grew up in Marshfield, Massachusetts, where she received her early ballet training. She joined the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet School in 2013 after a performing career in classical and contemporary ballet companies in the United States and Canada. She is a former principal dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, La La La Human Steps, and Ballet Arizona, where, from 2005-2012, she served also as school director and company rehearsal assistant.

Dammiel Cruz is from New York, New York. He studied on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and he attended summer courses at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and Boston Ballet. He was the recipient of the Mae. L. Wien Award and Danish American Nationals Cultural Exchange (DANCE) scholarship. Mr. Cruz joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2016 and was promoted to corps de ballet later that year.

Michele Curtis joined the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet School in 2006 after a performing career with both classical and contemporary dance companies. She has performed with Connecticut Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Donald Byrd/The Group, Pilobolus Dance Theater and Seattle Dance Project. In addition to teaching ballet at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, she has also served as Ballet Master for the PNB student matinee productions of Pinocchio, Le Corsaire, A Pirate’s Tale,  Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel.From Los Angeles, CA, she received her early training from Catherine Kingsley, Meredith Baylis,  Yvonne Mounsey, Rosemary Valaire, Stanley Holden, The Joffrey Ballet,  Pacific Northwest Ballet and Merce Cunningham Dance Company.  Ms. Curtis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance from UCLA.

Kyle Davis is from Green Bay, Wisconsin. He trained at Makaroff School of Ballet and on scholarship at Rock School for Dance Education and North Carolina School of the Arts, and attended summer courses on scholarship at Milwaukee Ballet School, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. He also studied with Ethan Stiefel and Warren Conover. Mr. Davis joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2008 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2009 and soloist in 2016.

Lauren DeBard trained at Gem City Ballet’s pre-professional classical ballet program in Dayton, Ohio. She received her BA in international theater production and a minor in classical ballet at Ohio Northern University. She studied under full scholarship at Point Park University’s summer dance program. She has taught ballet for 10 years and joined PNB in 2018.

Juanita Franke received her early training from the Royal Academy of Dance. She received her BA at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina where she danced and choreographed for the Appalachian Dance Ensemble.  Her work was selected for the North Carolina Dance Festival showcase.  She has most recently taught at the Kehl School of Dance in Madison, Wisconsin, where she created a creative movement program for dancers aged 2-3, and choreographed for the Verona Youth Ballet.

Naomi Glass was raised in Mercer Island, WA. Naomi danced for the Houston Ballet for a decade, retiring as a soloist. Since joining PNBS in 2015, Naomi now serves as ballet faculty, as a teaching artist for PNBS’ new STG Dance for PD® program, and as DanceChance Manager. Naomi has a Bachelor of Science degree and is completing a Master of Arts in Education.

Susan Gorter studied at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and performed as an apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet. She danced with the Basel Ballet in Switzerland and taught for the Basel Ballet School. Ms. Gorter joined the PNBS faculty in 2001.

Benjamin Griffiths is from Boise, Idaho, where he received his early training with Lisa Moon. He also studied at the School of American Ballet, where he was a 2001 Mae L. Wien Award recipient. He attended summer courses at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and San Francisco Ballet School. After dancing with Boston Ballet, Mr. Griffiths joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2005. He was promoted to soloist in 2008 and principal in 2016.

Dana Hanson began her training on Vashon Island, Washington with John Wilkins and continued her studies at Olympic Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. She joined the New York City Ballet in 1990, appearing in numerous featured roles in the Balanchine repertoire and touring throughout the world. Prior to joining the PNBS faculty in the fall of 2006, Ms. Hanson was a frequent guest teacher at the School of American Ballet.

Dane Holman is originally from Savannah Georgia. She trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre and School of American Ballet. She danced with American Ballet Theatre II and the Cleveland Ballet. Ms. Holman joined the faculty in 1997.

Claudia Houston-Aragon is from Cali, Colombia. She graduated from Instituto Colombiano de Ballet Classico, Colombia’s only performing arts grade school in 2003 with a focus in classical ballet. Before moving to the US in 2011, she performed as a soloist with and taught at Ballet Santiago de Cali. She spent 6 years dancing and teaching in Florida before relocating to the Seattle area. Claudia holds a law degree from Universidad Libre de Cali and recently completed her bar exam. She joined the PNB faculty in 2017.

Carrie Imler is from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She trained on scholarship at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1995 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 1996, soloist in 2000, and principal in 2002. Ms. Imler retired from the stage in June of 2017, and joined the PNB School faculty in September of 2017.

Deborah Kenner received her BFA from the University of Arizona, where she was a full academic and dance scholarship student. Ms. Kenner has had the opportunity to perform with Colorado Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre and State Street Ballet. During the 2008–2010 seasons she was Artistic Director of Tucson Regional Ballet. Ms. Kenner joined PNBS faculty in 2010, she is also a member of the PNBConditioning staff.

Miriam (Wenger) Landis grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. She studied at Ballet West Conservatory, San Francisco Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet, and was a member of Miami City Ballet from 1996-2000. Ms. Landis earned a B.A. in English from Stanford University. She has taught ballet at several schools and universities, including Stanford and the University of Utah. Miriam is also the author of two young adult novels: Girl in Motion and and Breaking Pointe. Miriam teaches Children’s Division and Open Class.

Dina McDermott was born and raised in New Jersey, where she received her earliest ballet training with Irine Fokine. She received her BFA from The Juilliard School, and subsequently danced professionally in New York for five years. After earning her MFA at Arizona State University, she went on to pursue a teaching career. Dina has taught at universities/colleges, community centers, public school/artist-in-residence, with at-risk youth, and at PNB School since 2001. In addition, Dina teaches Pilates in the PNB Conditioning Program. She is also a dance author; her recent book, “A Dancer’s Diary: Around the World in Thirteen Dances”, is available on Amazon.

Louise Nadeau is from Long Island, New York. She trained at the Alexandra School of Ballet in St. Louis and the School of American Ballet. Ms. Nadeau danced with Basel Ballet and Kansas City Ballet before joining Pacific Northwest Ballet as a Soloist in 1990. She was promoted to Principal in 1992 and retired from the stage with a celebratory gala in June of 2009. Ms. Nadeau performed the Divertissement pas de deux in the BBC’s 1999 film version of PNB’s production of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. In 2000, she participated in The George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive series, dancing excerpts from Balanchine’sAgon, coached by Melissa Hayden. She has toured extensively nationally and internationally throughout her career, and in 2005 performed with Peter Boal and Company. She began teaching for PNB School in 2006, and returns to PNB in the fall of 2015 after serving as School Principal for Evergreen City Ballet.

Kaori Nakamura is from Gumma, Japan. She trained at the Reiko Yamamoto Ballet Company and the School of American Ballet. In 1986, she won first prize at the 14th Prix de Lausanne competition in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1988, she won a bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Ms. Nakamura joined Royal Winnipeg in 1990, where she was made a principal dancer. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a soloist in 1997 and was promoted to principal in 1998. Ms. Nakamura joined the PNBS faculty in 2014.

Laurie McKarns Perrault trained at the National Academy of the Arts, San Francisco Ballet School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Ms. Perrault was a principal dancer with Southern California’s San Gorgonio Ballet Company.  She has taught dance and Pilates in California, Washington, New York and Uganda. She has also earned a B.S. in Kinesiology from CSU San Bernardino and an M.A. in Dance Education from New York University.

Jonathan Porretta is from Totowa, New Jersey. He trained on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet. Mr. Porretta joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1999. He was promoted to corps de ballet in 2000, soloist in 2002, and principal in 2005. He joined the PNB School faculty in 2019.

Meg Potter is originally from Metuchen, NJ, and trained on scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. She danced with Joffrey II Dancers, then joined American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov.  After relocating to the west coast, Ms. Potter danced with Pacific Ballet Theatre where she also served as ballet mistress. She was a faculty member at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, and was an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University. Ms. Potter joined the PNBS faculty in 1998 and also holds the position of Assistant Principal.

Lesley Rausch is from Columbus, Ohio. She studied with Shir Lee Wu at Columbus Youth Ballet and also trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Ms. Rausch joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as member of the corps de ballet in 2001. She was promoted to soloist in 2007 and principal in 2011.In addition to her performing career, Ms. Rausch has been a guest teacher at Ballet Hawaii, Evergreen City Ballet, New American Youth Ballet, and Punahou Dance School. She also is on the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and is a Stott Certified Pilates Instructor.

Kendal Ruland trained at Washington Academy of Performing Arts, International Ballet Academy, San Francisco Conservatory, LINES Ballet, and San Diego City Ballet. She was an apprentice with Ballet BC in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to teaching and choreographing at various dance schools throughout the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Ruland is a certified Gyrotonic Trainer. She joined the PNB School faculty in the fall of 2018.

Carli Samuelson is from Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. She trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Ms. Samuelson danced for Pennsylvania Ballet before joining Pacific Northwest Ballet as a corps de ballet dancer in 2008. She joined the PNB School faculty in 2019.

Lynne Short has recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest after spending 17 years in Texas. From 2013-2017 she was a faculty member and rehearsal mistress at Chamberlain School of Ballet in Plano, Texas. Prior to that, Ms. Short was the Principal of Ballet Austin Academy in Austin from 2001-2013. There she developed and honed a syllabus that has produced students and dancers who learn to realize the joy of working in a deep, thorough, meticulous way. From 1984-2000 Ms. Short was a faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. During this time, and under the guidance of Francia Russell, Director of PNBS, the ideas of dedicated colleagues with various backgrounds were formed into a unified, cohesive curriculum. Ms. Short danced professionally with the Memphis Ballet, Hartford Ballet, First Chamber Dance Company, and enjoyed performing character roles with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Austin, Chamberlain Performing Arts and Ft. Worth Ballet.

Abbie Siegel, School Principal, performed with Connecticut Ballet, then went on to serve as the company’s Associate Ballet Mistress. A former faculty member of the Harkness School, Eliot Feld Ballet in New York and Connecticut Ballet, Ms. Siegel joined PNBS faculty in 1991. In addition to teaching, she served as Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s DanceChance program from 1999-2002, and was appointed Principal of The Francia Russell Center in the summer of 2002.

Suzanne Singla has taught Pilates since 2004. She received her Pilates Mat Certification through Power Pilates and her full certification with STOTT Pilates. Suzanne enjoys working with all populations and seeing her clients make improvements in posture, alignment, strength and flexibility. Her continuing education includes Merrithew Fascial Movement Foundation Course, Pilates for Neurological Disorders. Suzanne also received her Associates of Arts and Science from Clark College as well as a Certificate of Dance through Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She has performed with dance ensembles in Oregon, New York and South Africa. Her teaching credits include faculty positions at Connecticut Dance Theatre, School at Steps and Ballet Hispanico. Suzanne joined the PNBS faculty in 2004.

Eva L. Stone is a teaching artist, choreographer, and founder/producer of CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, an annual contemporary dance festival. She received her BFA in Performance & Choreography from Arizona State University, and later earned an MA in Choreography & Choreological Studies from Trinity Laban in the UK. She’s created work for Spectrum Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet/Seattle Art Museum’s Sculptured Dance, Seattle International Dance Festival, Bellingham Repertory Dance, and collaboratively with Seattle Dance Project for Project Orpheus, among others. Her work has been presented in New York, Los Angeles, London, Geneva, Montreal, and St. Petersburg. In September 2018 she launched a nationally recognized choreography program “New Voices: Choreography and Process for Young Women in Dance” at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Most recently, Eva has been commissioned to create a main stage work for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2019/20 season. She is currently based in Seattle.

Marjorie Thompson trained at the School of American Ballet and danced with New York City Ballet. She has served on the faculty of the School of American Ballet, Ballet Arts Minnesota, Eliot Feld Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. She first joined the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet School in 1996, where she was also Director of Therapy and Conditioning. She went on to serve three years as Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, then moved to Minneapolis where she was School Principal of Minnesota Dance Theatre. She returned to the PNBS faculty in the Summer of 2007.

Julie Tobiason is a former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Chicago City Ballet (directed by Maria Tallchief), and Founder and former Director of Seattle Dance Project.  Ms. Tobiason studied at The School of American Ballet and has performed principal roles in works by Stowell, Balanchine, Ashton, Caniparoli, Duato, Forsythe, Tetley, and many others. She has been on faculty at PNB since 1996, and is Ballet Director at Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center. Ms. Tobiason teaches, coaches, and choreographs nationally for independent films, Regional Dance America, various ballet companies and schools, and most recently Seattle International Dance Festival. In 2017, Ms. Tobiason was awarded the James Ray Residency to create kairos for SIDF 2018. Ms. Tobiason earned her BA in Business Administration from Foster School of Business at University of Washington in 2018.

Jennifer Turner trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet School, Ballet Academy East, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She performed with Miami City Ballet, Ballet Austin, and with members of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Ms. Turner has served on the faculty at Ballet Austin Academy, Ballet San Angelo, Company Dance Traverse, and Teachers College Community School. She joined the PNB School faculty in 2019.

Malia Vassar is originally from Portland, OR. She received her training under Haydee Gutiérrez, Josie Mosley, and James Canfield at the Oregon Ballet Theater, and the School of the American Ballet. Prior to joining PNB, she spent 15 years performing in the Portland area, and teaching/directing educational outreach programs throughout the northwest.

Amber Willett trained at Belliston Academy of Ballet in Littleton, Colorado, then continued her studies as a Professional Division student at PNBS. She danced with Sonia Dawkins/Prism Dance Theatre, Whim W’him, and Terpsicore Dance Company.  Her choreography has been commissioned for City Opera Ballet of Bellevue, Convergence Ballet Company, and has been performed in Seattle International Dance Festival, London, England, and Tuebingen, Germany, where she was Choreographer-in-Residence with Inztanz International Center for Dance. Additionally, she has been a recipient of the Body Space Time Choreographer’s Residency through the University of Washington Dance Department. She joined the PNB faculty in 2015.

Le Yin is from Nan Chang, China. He joined PNB as a Principal in 2002. Mr. Yin was formerly a principal dancer with Houston Ballet. He joined the PNB School faculty in the fall of 2009. Mr. Yin continues to perform as a guest artist with ballet companies around the world.

PNBConditioning Instructors

Carol Elsner has a BA in physical education from the University of Washington and an Masters in Physical Therapy 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 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.

Deborah Kenner received her BFA from the University of Arizona on a full academic and dance scholarship and a MS in Kinesiology from A. T. Still University.  Ms. Kenner performed professionally with Colorado Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre and State Street Ballet. She was introduced to Pilates as a student at Ballet West Conservatory. Ms. Kenner believes Pilates should be an essential aspect to ballet training.  She holds a Pilates certification through the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), specializes in neurological disorders, barre training through Balanced Body, and has been certified in Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT).  Ms. Kenner is also part of the Balanced Body Faculty to train Pilates Instructors.

Dina McDermott has been teaching Pilates since 2001, when she became a Stott certified instructor. At that time, she was a contemporary dancer/choreographer recovery from a knee injury. Dina strives to collaborate with her students to help them evolve towards balance, vitality and wholeness. In her teaching, she emphasizes anatomical and postural awareness, along with feeling the breath as a bridge between mind, body and spirit. She also teaches creative movement and Pre-Ballet to very young dancers at PNB School. In her free time, Dina enjoys hiking, biking, yoga and writing. Her most recent book “A Dancer’s Diary: Around the World in Thirteen Dances” is available on amazon.

Suzanne Singla has taught Pilates since 2004. She received her Pilates Mat Certification through Power Pilates and her full certification with STOTT Pilates. Suzanne enjoys working with all populations and seeing her clients make improvements in posture, alignment, strength and flexibility. Her continuing education includes Merrithew Fascial Movement Foundation Course, Pilates for Neurological Disorders. Suzanne also received her Associates of Arts and Science from Clark College as well as a Certificate of Dance through Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She has performed with dance ensembles in Oregon, New York and South Africa. Her teaching credits include faculty positions at Connecticut Dance Theatre, School at Steps and Ballet Hispanico. Suzanne joined the PNBS faculty in 2004.

Tara Stepenberg, M.Ed., CMA, RMT, 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: SUNY Brockport, 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 was a Certification Trainer for the Physical Mind Institute for 10 years. She has also completed the coursework for Poletstar Pilates Rehab Program and taken numerous courses In BodyMindCentering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. Tara is a life-long learner and plans to train in the Eric Franklin Method beginning in February 2020.  She enjoys working with individuals of all ages and levels of fitness. She credits Pilates with feeling 50 as she traverses her 70s.  She teaches at both the Phelps Center and the Francia Russell Center.

Marjorie Thompson 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 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

Jennifer Turner received her mat and apparatus STOTT Pilates certification in 2009. Since then, she has taught at a variety of studios across New York, Texas, and Michigan. She has extensive experience leading group classes, as well as individual sessions, and she has supported her clients through injury rehabilitation, and pre and post natal work. Jennifer is a former professional ballet dancer, and has performed extensively across the United States. In addition, she holds an AA in Art History from John Cabot University, a BA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, and an MA in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she was a Margaret Mead Fellow.

Guest Faculty

FJ & Catherine Abaya are internationally known Ballroom Champions. They have enjoyed a successful career in competitive dancing, quickly climbing the ranks in the American Rhythm category of ballroom dancing. In addition to competing with their students, F.J. and Catherine teach both American and International Styles locally and abroad.

Kirsten Cooper studied dance and performed professionally in Los Angeles where she received experience in film, music videos and stage productions. She was an assistant teacher on the LA Dance Force convention tour and was a featured dancer on Costa Cruise Lines. She has served on the faculty of the University of Oregon and Theater Ballet of Spokane. Her choreography has been featured at Bumbershoot Arts Festival, Sign of the Times, and Ballet and Bubbly. In addition to teaching Jazz at PNBS, Ms. Cooper is the director of Westlake Dance Center’s pre-professional company.

Jaret Hughes has been at the core of Seattle’s hip hop and dance scene for many years, going back to his years with the Seattle Supersonics as the first male dancer in the NBA. In addition to teaching, Jaret choreographs award-winning hip hop routines for local dance teams, and performs with his professional group Twisted Elegance.

Petur Iliev teaches Character Dance at PNBS. Mr. Iliev studied at the National Choreography Academy of Bulgaria and received a Masters Degree in Choreography from the Bulgarian National Institute of Choreography. He served as Artistic Director for dance ensembles in Bulgaria and the U.S., and has choreographed and taught for dance companies, universities and outreach programs, both nationally and internationally. Mr. Iliev joined the PNBS faculty in the summer of 2003.

Nancy Kadel, MD Orthopaedic Surgeon, Group Health Physicians Foot & Ankle Reconstruction, Dance Medicine Co-Chair, Dance/USA Task Force on Dancer Health President-Elect Performing Arts Medicine Association.

Jackie Villegas-MacLin is the Artistic Director/Instructor/Performer for The Dances of Spain, with over 35 years of extensive training in Flamenco, Classical Spanish, Mexican Folk, Ballet, and Jazz dance.

Jason Ohlberg received his formal dance training at the State University of New York at Purchase from 1991 to 1995 and completed his B.F.A. at Cornish College of the Arts in 2013. He danced with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Dance Kaleidoscope, Jan Erkert and Dancers, and Wade Madsen and Dancers. Seattle Dance Project named him resident choreographer for the company’s sixth season in 2013. Jason has served on faculty at Barat College, the school of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Spectrum Dance Theater, Arc Dance Productions, Dance Fremont and the Y.A.I. program of the Seattle Children’s Theater.

Karine Plantadit is a Tony Award- nominated dancer and actress. She was a soloist with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 7 years and has since appeared in numerous Broadway shows including the original Lion King and Movin’ Out. Recently she has starred in Twyla Tharpe’s Come Fly Away and the one-woman show La Voix. Television and movie appearances include So You Think You Can Dance (2010), The 82nd Academy Awards (2010), Frida, and Sex and the City. Karine is also the director of Nail Your Auditions, a coaching program enabling actors and dancers to demystify the audition process and learn practical tools to garner more success in the highly competitive arenas of stage and film.

Consulting Staff

Stephen J. Anderson, M.D., Sports Medicine

Dr. Anderson specializes in sports medicine, and has a particular interest in problems unique to the pediatric and adolescent-age athlete. In his practice, Dr. Anderson takes the time to identify the causes of sports injuries and complex musculoskeletal conditions. After establishing an accurate diagnosis, he orchestrates conservative treatment programs that are comprehensive and multidisciplinary. Dr. Anderson received his degrees from Stanford University and the University of Washington School of Medicine, is on the Board of the American Board of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatrics, and is the Director for Seattle Pediatric Sports Medicine.

Toby Diamond, Ph.D., PNBS Consulting Psychologist

Toby Diamond joined Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s Consulting Staff in 1981 as Consulting Psychologist.  As such, she provides services to PNBS students, parents, faculty and staff regarding the issues involved in serious dance training.

Dr. Diamond holds an M.A. degree from Columbia University in Developmental Psychology and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Educational Psychology.  She worked in public schools from 1964 to 2000, initially as a Special Education teacher and since 1968 as a School Psychologist.  She established a private practice in 1981, encompassing family and individual therapy, psychoeducational evaluation for children and adults with learning difficulties, and consultation.  In addition to her private practice and consulting work for PNBS, Dr. Diamond serves as a consultant for Epiphany and Bertschi private schools, dealing with school adjustment and learning issues.  She is licensed by the State of Washington to practice psychology, and holds State of Washington and National certifications to practice School Psychology.

Henry Lu, PT, ATC, Physical Therapist

Henry Lu has been working in orthopedic and sports rehabilitation since 2003 with special interests in spine, foot/ankle, and hip rehabilitation. He utilizes his extensive training in Postural Restoration Institute Techniques, manual therapy, Primal Reflex Release Techniques, and movement analysis to assist each individual in achieving their fullest potential. Henry received his Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from UCSF/SFSU, graduating with honors.

Peggy Otto Swistak, M.S., R.D., C.D., PNBS Consulting Nutritionist

A native of Washington, Peggy Swistak graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics. After an internship in clinical and administrative dietetics at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, Ms. Swistak received a Master’s in Nutrition and Child Development from the University of Washington. She was Chief of Clinical Dietetics at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island, and has worked extensively in both Pediatric and Cardiovascular nutrition in various hospitals. She has been working in the area of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition for the past 30 years.

Peggy has been the Nutrition Consultant for Pacific Northwest Ballet since 1994, and also the Wellness Dietitian for Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA, educating and lecturing throughout the community on all topics of nutrition.

Alan S. Woodle, D.P.M., PNBS Consulting Podiatrist

A native of Washington, Dr. Alan S. Woodle has been on PNB School’s consulting staff since 1981. He is Board Certified in Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery and Sports Medicine and is on the staff of Swedish Medical Center, Northwest Hospital, Group Health and University of Washington Medical School. He is past president of the Washington State Podiatric Medical Association, vice president of the International Region 7 Foot and Ankle Specialists Association, and on the University of Washington Medical School faculty for the last 25 years.

Karen Clippinger, M.S.P.E., Kinesiologist

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