Company Members

Company Members  •  Company Apprentices  •  Artistic Staff  •  Alumni

Seniors

Shannon Ahern is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her second year on the company. She started dancing at the age of two at Hollywood Dance Studio, where she trained in jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, ballet, pointe, and Polynesian. Shannon would like to thank all of her instructors at Jefferson for helping her and teaching her, and always supporting her.

Kallie Hutchinson is a seventeen-year-old junior and a first-year company member. At the age of nine, she began tap and jazz training at Dance Fusion NW under the direction of Carla Kendall-Bray. This was only after auditioning for a local theater company’s musical and being told she could sing and act, but couldn't dance. At fourteen, she joined the studio’s youth company, under the guidance of Dar Vejon Jones. At sixteen, she focused her training in ballet at Columbia Dance Center as a part of its youth company, led by Jan Hurst and Laura Branfield. Before coming to Jefferson this past fall, Kallie attended Vancouver School of Arts and Academics where she participated in the school’s vocal and dance programs. After high school Kallie hopes to earn a BFA in dance and continue on to a career on Broadway. She would like to thank Steve Gonzales for pushing and guiding her every day as well as all her other dance teachers. She would also like to thank her mom for her continuous support and guidance.

Maya Puggarana is a sixteen-year-old junior. This is her second year as a Jefferson Dancer and her third year in the program. While attending Jefferson, she has been taught by Steve Gonzales, Bunky Williams and Cynthia Tosh. Prior to high school, she studied under Jojo Hills at Laurelhurst Dance Studios, since the age of ten. Maya would like to thank Steve Gonzales for this unbelievable opportunity, Bunky Williams for his unwavering encouragement, and Jojo Hills for teaching her a love of dance. She would also like to thank her parents for their dedication and continuous support.

Kaya G. Rendon Clarke is a sixteen-year-old junior and this will be her second year on the company. She first started dancing when she was eight years old at Mt. Hood Dance Academy in Gresham, Oregon under the instruction of Miss Britney Rea. She was taught jazz, hip hop, and ballet. She would like to thank Steve Gonzales for pushing her to try her hardest and expanding her mind more on dance and would also like to thank him for being a great dance teacher. She would also like to thank her mom and family members for always supporting her in what she does and helping her succeed. In the future she would still like to continue dancing, hopefully go to college on a dance scholarship and then after college she wishes to travel the world, and teach young kids how to dance and study different genres and also learn where they originated from.

Elliot Rucka is a seventeen-year-old junior. He began dancing his freshman year at Jefferson taking the intro classes. He fell in love with it and continued the next year joining the Jefferson Dancers second company. This is his first year on the first company. He would like to thank his teachers Demetri Holden-Williams, Cynthia Tosh, Kasia Wilhelmi, and Keith Walls for training and supporting him, as well as Steve Gonzales for his spot on the company and continued advice and guidance.

Elisa Maria Suarez is a seventeen-year-old junior at Jefferson High School. This is her first year as a Jefferson Dancer, and her second year in the dance program at Jefferson. Elisa began dancing at age three at Center for Movement Arts in Southeast Portland under the direction of Tim and Sherie Ryan and Margretta Hansen. She has studied ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, and African at CMA along with Traditional Polynesian dance under the direction of Susanne Hornberger. Elisa is incredibly excited to be a part of the Jefferson Dancers company for the 2016/2017 year and hopes to gain many skills that will help her pursue a career in the performing arts. She would like to thank her family for their unwavering encouragement, Steve Gonzales for the amazing opportunity and instruction, Tim and Sherie Ryan for creating a community that fostered her love of dance, and especially Margretta Hansen for always supporting and believing in her.

Lilly Wylde is seventeen-year-old and an aspiring choreographer. This is her first year of being on the Jefferson Dancers. She started dancing at Buckman Elementary School with her inspiring teacher, Keith Goodman. When attending Da Vinci she studied under Kristen Brayson, Claire Olberding and Eowyn Emeralds. She won the Da Vinci Excellence in Dance award along with a scholarship for the summer Da Vinci dance workshop. She then acquired an apprenticeship with Eowyn Emeralds and Dancers. During her first two years at Jefferson High School she was on scholarship with Bodyvox with their Junior Artist Generator program. Now she has joined the Jefferson Dancers and pursues her dream career as a choreographer.

Juniors

Star Coltrin is a sixteen-year old sophomore and a second year company member. She began training in ballet at the age of four at Flor de Liz Dance studio in Tucson Arizona. At the age of eleven she moved to Portland and began dancing in the pre-professional program at Classical Ballet Academy in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and modern under the direction of Sarah and Anna Rigles. She has been accepted to many summer intensives and attended the Orlando Ballet and Joffrey Ballet summer programs. After high school Star plans to continue her dance training in college, earn her BFA in dance, and continue on to a professional career in dance. Star would like to thank Steve Gonzales for his amazing teaching and work with the company, as well as Sarah and Anna Rigles for believing in her and helping her push her boundaries in dance. She would also like to thank her parents for always supporting her in her dreams.

Elena Lachmann is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and a first year company member. She started dancing at Lake Oswego Academy of Dance, studying ballet, jazz and tap. In 2013 she joined the competitive company for two years. She started freshman year at Jefferson High School as a JD II. After high school she hopes to move to New York with her best friend and be a professional dancer.

Jensen Sears is a sixteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year as a Jefferson Dancer. She began dancing at a young age under the training of Sarah Anderson at Elite Dance Studio, but found her passion for dance while dancing competitively on West Sylvan in ballet and jazz at Jefferson High School. After high school Jensen hopes to continue dancing and travel the world. She would like to thank Steve Gonzales for pushing her as a dancer, her parents and family for supporting and believing in her, and Keeley and Kerry Driscoll for providing her with their continuous support.

Ellie Thomas is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her first year with the Jefferson Dancers. She started dancing when she was 3 years old and studied ballet, tap, and jazz. When she was 6 she trained in Chinese ballet in Singapore for two years. In 2010 she joined Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy (SRBA) with training under Artur Sultanov, and has been with SRBA for the past 6 years. In between ballet classes she also took jazz classes at Elite and performed in three musicals. Over the years she studied pointe along with her ballet repertoire. After high school she wishes to go to college and continue to dance professionally and then as a teacher. She would like to thank all the amazing teachers she has had over the years and her parents for supporting her no matter what.

Yesenia Tuyub is a sixteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year as a Jefferson Dancer. Yesenia began dancing for fun at a young age at Stites and then Mt.Hood Ballet Academy. She began taking dance more seriously at da Vinci Arts Middle School under the direction of Kristen Brayson, Éowyn Emerald, Claire Olberding and Sara Martins, along with various guest choreographers over the years. After graduating high school, Yesenia would like to attend college working towards Medical School to become a doctor. Yesenia would like to thank all the dance teachers she's ever worked with. Most importantly, she would like to thank her parents and siblings for their endless support.

Sophomores

Sierra Briscoe is a fourteen-year-old freshman and this is her first year on the company. She started dancing when she was four years old. She has danced at Main Street Ballet, and Dance Fusion Northwest. After high school she hopes to pursue in the performing arts, on Broadway. Sierra would like to thank her mom for making this happen for her, her teachers Carla Kendall-Bray, and Darvejon Jones for their amazing guidance and support, and Steve Gonzales for pushing her to be her best.

Lauryn McCarthy is a freshman at Jefferson High School and this is her first year on the Jefferson Dancers. Lauryn started dancing in elementary school but not seriously until about the fourth grade when she started taking dance outside of school at Northwest Dance Project. She then went to Da Vinci Middle School to continue dancing and took ballet at Rose City Ballet after school. Lauryn would like to thank her amazing parents, Claire Olberding, Sarah Martins, Eowyn Emerald, and Renee Meiffren for the amazing training. Lastly, Lauryn would like to than Steve Gonzales for giving her the opportunity to strengthen her dance career.

Kate Zipper is a freshman at Jefferson High School, and this is her first year on the company. Kate started dancing once a week when she was five, and then took it up seriously in fourth grade. Starting out at Buckman Elementary, she quickly found her love for dance. Continuing dance at Da Vinci, and by the end of seventh grade began taking ballet classes at Rose City Ballet School all the way until high school. She would like to thank Chisao Hata, Keith H., Sarah Martins, Katie Stazkow, Renee Meiffren, Claire Olberding, Eowyn Emerald, and most importantly Steve Gonzales for providing her with this amazing opportunity.

Freshmen

Zoe Ridgell