Sara Anderson is the co-founder and Managing Director of Polaris. Originally from Minnesota, Sara received a 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 more than 20 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 classes, and resides in Portland with her longtime partner Robert Guitron and their daughter, Xena.
Haley Blaise began studying ballet in Portland, Oregon at Oregon Ballet Theatre. She also studied on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northwest Academy and the Portland Ballet under the direction of Nancy Davis. During her training she had many works created on her by very notable people. Haley began her professional career teaching in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and then continued with Ballet Pensacola as a Soloist and instructor for the academy. After guesting for intensives at Virginia School of the Arts, Mrs. Blaise was offered the position of Ballet Mistress at VSA. Haley and her wonderful husband have recently relocated back to Portland. This is Haley’s third season with Polaris and she is so excited to be part of the family!
Kieraqmil Brinkley has been dancing since she left the hospital at the age of 2, after receiving quadruple amputations due to a bacterial infection. Kiera believed hip hop would be the only type of dance that she would be able to do, but when she entered the 6th grade at da’Vinci Arts Middle School she was introduced to tap and jazz. She continued to grow as a dancer and jazz transformed into contemporary/modern. Entering high school, she decided to stop dancing to focus more on her nursing career; but realized that there was space for both in her life. Kiera will soon be attending Concorde College, for a medical assisting degree, while performing, taking class, and choreographing for different dance companies and schools around Oregon. Medical assisting, she believes is her way of giving back to all the doctors who helped keep her alive while she was in the hospital, and dancing…is her way of staying alive. Keira says she would never be able to give up dancing.
Jenny Dubac a Massachusetts native, began dancing at an early age with New England Dance Conservatory and the Boston Ballet School. She graduated in 2004 with a BFA from The Juilliard School and married an orchestral musician, whose career took them west. In Milwaukee, WI, she was a faculty member of the Milwaukee Ballet and danced with Madison Ballet and City Ballet Theatre. Prior to relocating to Portland, she preformed in the American premiere of Tan Dun’s opera “Tea” with the Santa Fe Opera. Jennifer teaches at several area schools and has been with Polaris since 2009.
Briley Neugebauer is originally from Seattle and grew up studying many forms of dance such as ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and character under wonderful mentors like Eva Stone, the producer of “Chop Shop: Bodies of Work”. Upon high school graduation she received talent and academic-based scholarships to study dance at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In 2011 she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.F.A. from the School Of Dance where she performed the Choleric role in Balanchine’s “Four Temperaments”, Lead Female Daemon in “Carmina Burana” and was a part of commissioned works such as Bella Lewitzky’s “Recuardo”, and Martha Graham’s “Panorama”. In 2011 she toured China with ART-IF-ACT Dance Project. Upon her return, she was accepted as an apprentice at Spectrum Dance Theater under Artistic Director Donald Byrd. This is Briley’s second season with Polaris Dance Theatre.
M’Liss Stephenson is a founding member of Polaris Dance Theatre. M’Liss is a dancer and Rehearsal Director for Polaris Dance Theatre as well as the Junior Company Rehearsal Director. Born in Indianapolois, IN she 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 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 world competitions.
Tia Zapp Palomino 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 for two years. In 2006 Tia moved out to Portland where she has since left her sweat-mark on multitudes of stages, trapezes and trampolines working with Do Jump, Dancetastix and SubRosa Dance Collective. Tia has been dancing with Polaris Dance Theatre since 2010 and will be the Polaris Dance Center School Director for the 2013/2014 season.