Polaris Dance Center School Director
Ms. Stephenson is a founding member of Polaris Dance Theatre. She was born in Indianaplois, IN and began studying dance as a child, performing in many Nutcracker productions with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre. She graduated from a performing arts high school and then earned a major in Modern Dance at the University of Utah. M’Liss was then accepted as a full-time student at the prestigious Alvin Ailey School in New York City. That led to performances with Milton Meyers and Jolie Maffie. In addition to her passion and experience in dance, M’Liss is a world-class synchronized swimmer. She has competed in, as well as coached, synchronized swim teams in national, international and worlds competitions. (Aerial, Contemporary Technique, and Tiny Toes).
(Open Adult Contemporary) Ms. Anderson is the co-founder and Managing Director of Polaris. Originally from Minnesota, she received her BFA in Dance and Fine Art from Luther College in Decorah, IA. Trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz as well as Musical Theatre and Hip Hop, her dance career spans over 25 years and has led her to dance with companies such as Bodyvox, Portland Opera, Opera Pacific, Minnesota Opera, Utah Opera, American Dance Theatre, Portand Musical Theatre Company, Broadway Rose Theatre Company, St. Claire & Company, Lakewood Musical Theatre Company and Dance CO-Motion. Aside from stage performances, she has appeared in several fitness videos, print advertisements, television commercials and a 32-episode season of the Body Shoppe television series. Additionally, she owns and operates SAgraphics, teaches dance classes at Polaris Contemporary Dance Center, and resides in Portland with her longtime partner Robert Guitron and their daughter, Xena. She is grateful for everyone who has ever been a part of this adventurous Polaris journey!
(All Access Workshop Classes) Ms. Arakelyn is a Portland based dancer/performer/teacher. Along with partner Erik Ferguson, Yulia founded Wobbly Dance – a multimedia performance project using film, improvisation, and visual art to create multi-sensory environment in the natural world. Other performance projects include The Long Distance Project – a coast to coast performance/video/blog experience created with Kathryn Hightower (Seattle) and Kimberly Kaplan (NY). For more information visit www.wobblydance.com and www.longdistanceproject.blogspot.com
(Ballet 3, and Pointe 2) Mrs. Blaise began studying ballet in Portland, Oregon at Oregon Ballet Theater. There she had the privilege of training from Damara Bennett, Tracy Katona, Elena Carter, Meg Potter, Josie Moseley and mentor Patricia Brewer-Jones. She also studied on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet for three years and Northwest Academy, where she received training from influential teachers Nancy Davis, Carol Schults, Elizabeth Guerin and Robert Guitron. At The Portland Ballet, under the direction of Nancy Davis, she also trained on full scholarship. Mrs. Blaise has performed roles in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Raymonda, Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Dennis Spaight’s Ellington Suite and Gloria, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, and John Clifford’s La Boutique Fantasque to name a few. During her training she had many works created on her by very notable people. Mrs. Blaise began her teaching in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From there she relocated to Pensacola, FL to teach at Ballet Pensacola in the academy and performed as a Soloist in the resident professional company. Mrs. Blaise was invited to Virginia School of the Arts intensive programs as a guest instructor and was later hired as Ballet Mistress. As a member of the VSA faculty, she contributed to restructuring the ballet program and staging ballets. Haley has recently relocated back to Portland where she dances with Polaris and is thrilled to be part of the faculty.
(All Access Workshop Classes) Ms. Coleman is the artistic director of the Disability Art and Culture Project. She is intrigued by how different bodies move and believes that every body should have opportunities for creative movement throughout their lifespan. Kathy is certified in DanceAbility and trained in Compatible Brain Dance Education. She has also studied modern and improvisational dance, Butoh and Theatre Of The Oppressed. She has her Master’s in Social Work and is committed to creating opportunities for people with and without disabilities to discover their inner potential through movement.
(Ballet 1, 2, and Pointe 1) Ms. Dubac joined Polaris Dance Theatre in 2009. She is native of Massachusetts, where she studied dance at the New England Dance Conservatory and the Boston Ballet School. In the spring of 2004 Jenny completed a BFA in dance from the Juilliard School. She spent several years on faculty at the Milwaukee Ballet School and dancing with City Ballet Theatre. She currently teaches for Classical Ballet Academy, Stites Performing Arts Center, and Polaris Contemporary Dance Center.
(Hip Hop 1, 2, and 3) Ms. Edelstein studied various styles of hip hop dance in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and New York City. She graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A in dance. She has performed with contemporary and hip hop dance companies in the United States and Brasil.
Colleen Genuine – All Access Director
(Pilates Private and Group Classes) Ms. Genuine is a member of Polaris Dance Theatre and grew up dancing in her home town of Austin, TX, under the direction of Arletta Howard Logan at Austin Dance Academy. She later went on to train with the pre-professional program at Ballet Austin, developing a lifelong passion for dance. During her time in Austin she performed with Texas Youth Ballet, Austin Dance Ensemble and Ballet Austin. Life brought her to Portland, where she continues to develop as a student and educator in movement. Colleen danced with Portland-based Kinetic Images Modern Dance Company from 2003-2006 while receiving a BS in Physical Exercise from Portland State University. She is a certified Pilates and Yoga instructor, spinal cord recovery specialist and licensed massage therapist. She has been teaching Pilates since 2005, but was first introduced to Pilates at 9 years old during ballet class. Colleen is the Director of the Polaris All Access Program, which is dedicated to offering movement and dance education to those with disabilities. She is grateful to be a part of Polaris and excited to keep moving and dancing with all of life’s adventures.
Robert Guitron – Polaris Artistic Director
(Contemporary Technique & Company Classes) Mr. Guitron has been at the helm of Polaris since its inception in 2002. He continues to map the organization’s artistic and physical growth. Mr. Guitron’s career in dance has taken him throughout the world performing and choreographing for many prestigious dance companies and performing arts organizations. Aside from his repertory work, his credits and accolades come from his involvement in many outreach programs, operatic performances, musicals, music videos, and collaborations with corporations, artists and charitable organizations. Mr. Guitron also nurtures the next generation of dancers through his signature teaching and guidance. His students have been accepted into both national and international dance companies and colleges, such as Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, KDNY, The Julliard School, and Batsheva Dance Company. Mr. Guitron is at his happiest both professionally and personally when he gets to share his life-long passion for dance, music and the arts.
(Contemporary 2) Chase Hamilton was born and raised in Portland, OR. He attended high school at Arts and Communications Magnet Academy, and started dancing there as a freshman. This is where Chase fell in love with dance, and the following year he joined Dance West, the schools pre professional dance company. Once graduating high school in 2009, Chase continued his dance training at California Institute of the arts. After having a great first year in the dance program, he decided that college was not the right path. So his first year back to Portland, Chase joined BodyVox 2, Polaris, and Top Shake Dance. He now continues dancing for Polaris, and Top Shake. Chase is also collaborating with Zoe Nelson, and Zara Banzi, to form a new dance company called, Friendly Pheromones.
(Aerial Classes) Sara is a professional aerialist and comitted teacher based out of Portland, Oregon. After a career traveling the world as a flight attendant, she decided to trade in her rollarboard to pursue her passion in dance and aerial arts. She has been fortunate enough to teach in various studios and schools in Denver Colorado and Portland Oregon. ” I strive to emphasize a blend of choregraphy , grace, strength , and personal flare in every student.” She has performed with such groups as the Wanderlust Circus, AMP Theater, Aerial Dance Over Denver and her duo with Krystaal Rain, Elevated Arts. Sara strives to inspire and reach the world throuh the art of dance. She is always excited to expand her talents and learn from others.
(Open Ballet) Stephanie Orza started training at the age of 7 with the San Francisco Ballet School as a scholarship student, studying intensively there for 10 years. Her teachers included Irena Jacobson, Lola De Avila, Helgi Tomasson, Pascal Leroy, Kathleen Mitchell, Shannon Bresnahan, Mikko Nissinen and George Esquivel. In her time there she had the chance to perform with the San Francisco Ballet Company in productions such as La Bayadere, staged by Natalia Makarova, Giselle and The Nutcracker, among many others. With the SFB School, Stephanie was able to perform many ballets including Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations and Four Temperaments, The Sleeping Beauty and Paquita. In 2003, she moved to Basel, Switzerland, to dance with the Ballet Basel Company, performing Romeo and Juliet as well as Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and Who Cares?. Stephanie moved back to the United States in July 2004 and took the opportunity to guest with the Inland Pacific Ballet in Arturo Fernandez’s production of Dracula, dancing the lead role of Mina Murray. She joined the Company as a Principal dancer in 2005 and has been dancing with the Inland Pacific Ballet, under the direction of Victoria Koenig, for the past six seasons. Stephanie’s dancing career has inspired her to choreograph as well. Since 2008, she has created Love can Damage your Health for I.P.B. (2011), Tolerance for I.P.B. (2010), The other side (2010), and Finding peace at the Chaffey College in 2008. Stephanie has also been honored to have choreographed selected pieces of The Nutcracker for the Inland Pacific Ballet in 2010. Stephanie had been teaching in the Inland Pacific Ballet Academy for the past 6 years but has recently moved to Portland, Oregon where she is teaching and dancing.
(Open Aerial) Tia Zapp began her dance and training at three years of age. At ten she competed at the national level in Power Tumbling and Trampoline. She trained with the Colorado Jazz Dance Company for six years and has had the privilege to work with master teachers such as Joe Tremain, Chet Walker, Ben Vereen, Sherry Zunker and Mia Michaels. Tia had the chance to see the world and dance at the same time when she was employed by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines from 2004-2006. In Portland, Tia performed with DO JUMP! Extremely Physical Theater for four seasons. She is currently teaching trapeze and acrobatics for DO JUMP and is excited for her second year with Polaris Dance Theatre!