Sara Anderson is the co-founder and Director of Programs for 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.
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. Kiera says she would never be able to give up dancing.
Jenny Dubac is currently on maternity leave. She’s a Massachusetts native, began dancing at an early age with New England Dance Conserva- tory 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 pre- formed 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.
Kateryna Mindova was born in Tallin, Estonya, but soon after she moved to Ukraine. She began to dance at the age of 5. She danced ballroom for 5 years and was involved in karate for 4 years. Kate won many competitions in ballroom as well as karate. But then she fell in love with ballet. She graduated from the Ballet Academy of Arts and Culture of Odessa (as a ballet dancer) and performed in many of the academy’s concerts. Kate has attended many master-classes of modern, ballet, contemporary, and ballroom. Then she moved to the USA, and found Polaris. Kate is absolutely happy to be a member of Polaris and hopes to progress as a dancer and always continue to move.
M’Liss Quinnly 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 Indianapolis, 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.
Born in Barcelona, Spain, Gerard Regot started dancing while being in cinema college. He received a full scholarship to study dance at Estudi Anna Maleras and took workshops with Guido Tuveri (Art. Dir. Balletto di Sardignia), Risa Steinberg (Jose Limon), David Zambrano (flying low), among many others. He danced at Ballet Arts and Peridance Capezio Dance Center in NYC to then at the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Journey and later the KCDC II on two new creations. Gerard currently enjoys dancing with Polaris Dance Theatre.
Blake Seidel started dancing five years ago as a freshman at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, under the direction of John Meehan, Steve Rooks, and other prominent faculty members. He finished his collegiate dance training at the University of Virginia with Rose Beauchamp and Kimberly Brooks-Mata. During his last year at the University of Virginia, Blake became an Apprentice for the Charlottesville Ballet. He studied and worked there for two years, while teaching Contemporary and Hip Hop classes for Charlottesville Ballet Academy. Blake has also attended the American Ballet Theatre’s Collegiate intensive and the Joffrey Ballet’s Contemporary and Jazz intensive. Having moved all the way across the country to dance for Polaris, Blake is ecstatic for the opportunity to be a part of this company and continue to grow as an artist and dancer.
Jana Tripp received her early dance training in her hometown of Lakeland, Florida. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from Stetson University and an MFA in Dance from Florida State University. While a student, she taught dance classes for the Stetson Community School and non-majors courses for the FSU Dance Department. For the next four years, she served as the Director of Dance for the Marion County Center for the Arts at West Port High School in Ocala, Florida while performing with Mary Love Dance Projects and Falling Upward Dance Collective. After moving to Portland, she began dancing with Polaris and teaching as a STOTT Pilates certified instructor.
Melanie Verna began training in Graham Technique in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee where she toured as the youngest member of the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. She moved to the Midwest and received her primary ballet training at Minnesota Dance Theater with Lise Houlton, Marjorie Thompson and Gloria Govrin. She was a recipient of the Coca-Cola scholarship with American Ballet Theatre’s summer program and was awarded the Ailey Fellowship before choosing to take a professional contract with Minnesota Dance Theatre. Melanie danced for the company from 2003-2012 and became a principal artist in 2007 where she performed repertory by Houlton, Ashton, Tetley, Rhoden, Feld, Boykin and countless others. The last couple years she has freelanced, taught and choreographed in Seattle with various companies and musical productions while also touring internationally with Paris-based choreographer Johan Amselem. Melanie is thrilled to have found a dance home with Polaris and looks forward to continuing to evolve and grow as an artist with all her inspiring comrades.
Maya Felten began dancing as a young child in her hometown of Northampton, MA. She received training in classical ballet at North East American School of Dance, Pioneer Valley Ballet, and East St. Ballet. Maya continued to study classical and contemporary dance at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. While at Goucher, Maya had the opportunity to perform works by Jessica Lang, Septime Webre, Zippora Karz, Brian Reeder, Dermot Burke, Armando Luna, Alan Hineline, Paul Taylor, Doris Humphrey, Marius Petipa, and Michel Fokine. After graduating in 2011, she joined BalletFleming, a Philadelphia-based contemporary ballet company. She moved to Seattle in 2013 and worked with a variety of artists including Stone Dance Collective in ChopShop Bodies of Work, 127th St. Dance Company, Velocity Dance Center, Ballet Bellevue, and Karin Stevens Dance. Maya recently moved to Portland and is incredibly excited to be dancing with Polaris!
Brynn Hofer began her dance training at the age of 5 in Washington State under the direction of Isabelle Cook and Joe Hofer. Her parents being professional musicians, she grew up with music and dance always around her. Brynn attended Western Washington University and received a BFA in Dance. She graduated with honors and was the recipient of the outstanding graduate award. While in college she danced works through the WWU faculty and students, the Mt. Vernon Opera, and was also selected two years in a row, to perform a restaged work by the Liz Geering dance company, from New York. She currently teaches at the Portland school of Music and Dance, and is Pilates certified. Brynn and her husband Bill love being relocated in Portland and she is very excited, to be a part of the Polaris family!
Jessica Zoller received her MFA in dance while she was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in 2015 at the University of Oregon. She received her BFA in dance performance and choreography from Western Washington University in 2007. Jessica’s choreography and performance was recognized at the 2007 American College Dance Festival Gala Concert in Montana with, Tall Tales and Short Stories. Jessica also represented the University of Oregon at the Kennedy Center for the National College Dance Festival 2014; performing Rachel Winchester’s Girl Pool. Professionally she has performed with Pam Kuntz, Bellingham Repertory Dance Company, Portland Opera, Lane Hunter Dance, Lauren Edson, Wanderlust Circus, Pelu Theatre, and AWOL Dance Collective. Most recently, Jessica choreographed for Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes at the Portland Playhouse and for Seattle, WA’s Relay Dance Collective.
Astrid Angell started dancing at the age of twelve, a mere six years ago. Her parents always wished for her to become a musician, her dad was the front man for the Portland scene 90′s band, Nero’s Rome. She had another wish for being on stage. Astrid began dancing at a local Portland Studio where she preformed the roles of Wendy in Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty in the Sleeping Beauty Ballet in 2012. She danced on a competitive team for one year after performing these roles. Astrid then moved to Polaris in 2013, and under the instruction of M’Liss Quinnly, she became a member of the Polaris Junior Company for two years. She recently graduated from high school and will be attending Portland State University with a minor in dance and a major in marketing.