Company Members

Company Members  •  Company Apprentices  •  Artistic Staff  •  Alumni

Seniors

Shannon Ahern is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her third year on the company. She first started her dance training at Hollywood Dance Studio when she was 3 years old and continued there for 13 years training in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and contemporary. She also danced with their travelling performance troupe and HD Collective dance company. Shannon came to Jefferson Dancers her sophomore year of high school where she receive training from Cynthia Tosh, Rachel Slater, Kasia Wilhelmi, And Steve Gonzales. She would like to thank her teachers at Hollywood Dance Studio, as well as her dance teachers at Jefferson High School for supporting her and pushing her to become a better dancer. After high school Shannon plans on attending college and studying human physiology.

Kallie Hutchinson is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her second year on the company. 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. Kallie has attended summer programs at NW Dance Project, Ballet Austin, Oklahoma City University ‘Broadway Bound’, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts ‘Commercial Dance Intensive’. While she was there she was in a music video with Francesca Maria, an artist signed with Sony Music. After high school she plans to attain a BFA in theater dance or musical theater and continue on to a career on Broadway. Kallie 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 seventeen-year-old senior and this is her third year on the company. 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, Cynthia Tosh for her passionate dedication, and Jojo Hills for teaching her a love of dance.She would also like to thank her parents for their continuous support.

Kaya G. Rendon Clarke Is a seventeen year old senior and this is her third year on the company. She began her dance training at Mt. Hood Dance Academy under the instruction of Brittany Rea at age seven. She focused mainly on ballet, lyrical and hip hop. Kaya would like to thank Steve Gonzales for all the amazing opportunities he’s given her and for furthering her knowledge of dance and her mother for being her number one supporter.

Elliot Rucka is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is his second year on the company. He began dance training during the day in Jefferson’s intro classes during freshman year and has attended ballet classes with Keith Walls at the Abernathy Dance summer intensive in Oregon City. The summer before his senior year he traveled to Israel for a month to participate in the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company intensive. Bunky Williams was very influential for Elliot by feeding his creativity and helping him fall in love with dance in a way that he never expected. Cynthia Tosh has guided him through learning more classical technique and pointed him to people and classes that have helped him learn the fundamentals of dance.

Elisa Maria Suarez is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her second year on the company. She began dancing at age three at Center for Movement Arts (CMA) in Southeast Portland under the direction of Tim and Sherie Ryan and Margretta Hansen. At CMA she studied ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and African along with traditional Polynesian dance under the direction of Susanne Hornberger. After high school she plans to double major in English and Gender and Sexuality Studies at a four-year university. After college she wants to work in the Teach for America program and eventually get a job teaching high school English. Elisa would like to thank 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. She also wants to thank her family for their unwavering encouragement as well as the staff and her peers at Jefferson for making school a home away from home for her.

Lilly Wylde is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her second year on the company. She started dancing at Buckman Elementary School when she was five years old and fell in love with dance when she was nine. She trained with Keith Goodman from the start of her training until the end of his life. She has attended the Keith Goodman Intensive, BodyVox Teen Workshop, Kemba Shannon Workshop, Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive, and Joffrey Ballet and Contemporary/Jazz Summer Intensives.  After high school she plans to attend a dance college to further her career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She’d like to thank Keith Goodman, Bunky Holden-Williams, Rachel Slater, and Steve Gonzales for the amazing experience it has been to learn under them. When she was nine she was watching the Jefferson Dancers annual Newmark performance and pointed to a dancer that she identified with and told her mom “That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life".

Juniors

Star Coltrin is a seventeen-year-old junior and this is her third year on the company. She began training in ballet at the age of four at Flor de Liz Dance studio in Tucson, Arizona. When she moved to Portland in 2012 she began studying at Classical Ballet Academy under the direction of Sarah Rigles. She has been accepted to many summer intensives and has attended the Ballet Tucson, Orlando Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Northwest Dance Project summer intensives. After high school she plans to continue her dance training in a college or conservatory setting, and continue on to a professional career in dance. She thanks Steve Gonzales for his work with the company, and for pushing her to work harder every day. She would also like to thank Cynthia Tosh for her influence on ballet and technique and Rachel Slater for teaching her how to push her limits through movement. Lastly she would like to thank Tracey Durbin for introducing her to a wider world of dance and for always believing in her. Additionally, she would like to thank her parents for always supporting her ambitions, especially her mom for being so dedicated to helping her achieve a career in dance.

Elena Lachmann is a seventeen-year-old junior and this is her second year on the company. Elena trained at Lake Oswego Academy of Dance (LOAD) from the ages of four to fourteen where she took jazz, tap and ballet and competed with the company. She also was able to go to da Vinci Arts Middle School where she trained in dance. After high school Elena plans on moving to New York with her best friend and becoming a professional dancer and also a physical therapist. Elena would like to thank all the amazing dance teachers at Jefferson high school. She would also like to thank her teachers at LOAD, and most of all she would like to thank her aunt Amy who taught her ballet for the majority of her life. She would also like to thank her parents and the rest of her friends and family for all the support she has gotten in dance over the years.

Jensen Sears is a seventeen-year-old junior and this is her third year on the company. She began dancing under Sara Anderson at Elite dance studio and continued her training under Jessica Hollyfield and Keeley Driscoll at West Sylvan. She has attended Alonzo King LINES Summer Intensive training with Liv Schaffer and the Northwest Dance Project Summer Intensive training with Ching Ching Wong, Franco Nieto, Kody Jauron, Julia Radick, Elijah Labay, and Samantha Campbell. After high school Jensen would like to go to college to obtain her BFA in Dance and then continue on to dance professionally with a company. She would like to thank Keeley and Kerry Driscoll for their continuous support, her parents and grandparents for their love and encouragement, and Steve Gonzales for pushing her to be the best dancer she can be.

Ellie Thomas is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her second year on the company. She started dancing when she was three years old and studied ballet, tap, and jazz. When she was six she trained in Singapore for two years, and in 2010 she joined Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy (SRBA) in Portland training under Artur Sultanov and has been with SRBA for the past 7 years. Over the years she studied pointe along with her ballet repertoire and in between ballet classes she also took jazz classes at Elite and performed in three musicals. She has attended multiple intensives at SRBA and the San Francisco Ballet summer intensive last summer. After high school, she wishes to go to NYU and continue to dance professionally with possibly a Master’s degree in English and then work as a teacher. Ellie would like to thank Artur Sultanov for seven years of amazing ballet training and Steve Gonzales for pushing her to go beyond her personal limits. She would also like to thank her grandparents and parents for years of support in pursuing her dreams in dance.

Yesenia Tuyub is a 17-year-old junior and this is her third year on the company. During elementary school, she began dancing at Stites Performing Arts Center and Mt. Hood Ballet Academy. Yesenia went to da Vinci Arts Middle School, training under Kristen Brayson, Claire Olberding, Sara Martins and Eowyn Emerald. High school is when Yesenia took dance more seriously and joined the Jefferson Dancers under the direction of Steve Gonzales. Yesenia also dances and competes with Beaverton Dance Center, training under TJ Yale and Tony Loupe. After high school, Yesenia would like to attend college and study medicine. Yesenia would like to thank all of her dance teachers that have pushed and inspired her to become the passionate dancer she is today. Most importantly, Yesenia wants to thank her parents for supporting her and providing her with these opportunities.

Sophomores

Sierra Briscoe is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year on the company. She began dancing at Main Street Ballet at the age of six, continued on to Sun Valley Ballet, and then to Dance Fusion Northwest where she trained under Carla Kendall- Bray and Darvejon Jones. After high school she would like to go to a university in New York and pursue musical theatre. Sierra would like to thank Carla Kendall-Bray and Darvejon Jones for their endless love and support and Steve Gonzales for pushing her to always want to be her best. Being a Jefferson Dancer has been an incredible experience for her, and she wouldn’t be able to do it without the constant support of her mom and sisters, who she is incredibly thankful for.

Lauryn McCarthy is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year on the company. She first started dancing at Irvington elementary school at the age of six as a requirement and took classes like African dance and ballet once a week. Ms. Cassandra, a ballet teacher at Irvington, recommended getting into more dance classes and that’s really what started her love for dance. After high school Lauryn plans to go to college, possibly to study pre-med in California but she isn’t sure about what exactly she wants to do yet. She hopes to continue dancing after high school whether or not that means on a company or just taking classes here and there. Lauryn would like to thank Sara Martins and Claire Olberding, her tap and jazz teachers from middle school, because they were very inspirational to her and pushed her to improve and audition for the Jefferson Dancers. She would also like to thank Renée Meiffren, her ballet teacher of two years who was really inspiring and showed her how to love not only ballet but to love dance as a whole. Lauryn also wants to thank her family for helping make this all happen, and Steve Gonzales for pushing her as a dancer and helping her dreams come true.

Kate Zipper is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year on the company. She started dancing during school in kindergarten, but later took it on as an after school activity in third grade. After high school she plans to go to college in California and dance in LA commercially. Kate would like to thank Chisao Hata for introducing her to dance, Sara Martins for helping her realize her love for tap, Claire Olberding for always believing in her and pushing me, and Renee Meifron for helping her maintain and exceed her technique in ballet. She would also like to thank Steve Gonzales for giving her the opportunity to be a part of the Jefferson Dancers.

Freshmen

Zoe Ridgell is a fourteen year old freshman and this is her first year with the company. She was first introduced to dance by Chisao Hata at Buckman Elementary. There she discovered her love for dance and began training at Classical Ballet Academy in fourth grade. Dancing at CBA gave her a strong foundation for dance, while creating a strong community between her and her fellow dancers. She would like to thank all of her teachers at CBA but most of all director Sarah Rigles and contemporary teacher Sissy Dawson for teaching her to reach for her dreams and strive toward her fullest potential. Zoe has recently been accepted into summer programs such as Alvin Ailey and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. After high school she plans to dance in college and afterwards join a contemporary company. She would also like to thank Sara Martins, Claire Olberding, and Tracey Durbin for giving her countless opportunities and pushing her to be her best. Finally she would like to thank Steve Gonzales for giving her this amazing opportunity and her family for pushing her to pursue her dreams.