FACULTY


TEACHER BIOS

saraheadshotSara Anderson
(Open 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!

Yulia Arakelyn
(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

Polaris-Headshots-203Haley Blaise
(Ballet 4, 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.

jennyheadshotJenny Dubac
(Ballet 1 and 2) 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.

 

Joc smaller Jocelyn Edelstein
(Hip Hop Classes) Jocelyn is a dancer, filmmaker and writer from Portland, Oregon and founder of the Urban Body Project, a multi-media collective that explores the relationship between dance, culture and community. She received her BA in dance and cultural studies from Western Washington University and went on to study at The Hip Hop Dance Conservatory in New York. She has also studied with various teachers throughout Brazil including Rosangela Silvestre and with Donna Oefinger in Portland. She has taught hip-hop dance at Polaris Contemporary Dance Center since 2009 and her previous choreography has appeared in ‘Tangled’ and ‘Hand Picked’. Jocelyn’s upcoming documentary, Believe The Beat, follows a group of Brazilian hip-hop dancers and can be previewed at www.urbanbodyproject.com [1].

Colleenhead Colleen Genuine
(Pilates Privates and Group Classes, Open Foam Roller) 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 also an instructor for 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.

roberthead-115x150 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.

 brettMBrett Mills
(Ballet 3 and Pointe 1) Ms. Mills, a native of Chicago, trained at Ruth Page Foundation under Larry Long, at The Joffrey Ballet School, and the Washington School of Ballet among others. Her professional career included BalletMet, Ballet Iowa, and Eugene Ballet where Brett was a principal dancer. Her teaching experience includes Ballet Idaho Academy, Summer Dance Lab at Whitman College, Ruth Page Foundation, Dance Academy of Libertyville, Currently; Brett is on the faculty of Allegro Dance Studio, Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy, Center for Movement Arts, and Polaris Dance Theatre.

armin

 Rene Nunez
(Salsa) Rene Nunez is originally from Chile where his passion for dancing comes from his parents who were National Argentine Tango champions. Rene has been competing in Portland the last 12 years with dances like the Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Double, Jive, Tango, Salsa, Merengue, and Hustle. In 2005 and 2006 he won the 1st Place Supreme award for top soloist in the ‘City of Roses’ competition. He is currently teaching for the 2013 Polaris Summer Intensive.

Bri Briley Neugebauer
(Contemporary 2) Briley 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 first season with Polaris Dance Theatre.

emilyR Emily Running
(Acro and Aerial) Emily has a BFA in Choreography and Performance in Dance from the University of Montana. She has been performing since the age of five in styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, physical theatre, and aerial. Her dancing has taken her from Montana to Los Angeles to Paris before finally arriving in Portland where she has been sharing her passion for movement with students and audience members for the past five years. Emily also loves to teach! She was a founding member of the education programs for both AWOL Dance Collective in Portland and Diavolo Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. She is trained and recognized as a teaching artist through the Music Center of Los Angeles and has taught workshops and residencies both in the US and France. In addition to dance Emily has taught Movement for Actors with Theatre of Arts in Hollywood and is certified in both Pilates and yoga. Emily likes to categorize her multiple interests under the title Movement Inspired.

 M’Liss Stephenson- Polaris Dance Theatre Company and Jr. Company Rehearsal Director
(Aerial, Contemporary Technique, and Tiny Toes) 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.

tia sm Tia Zapp Palomino- Polaris Dance Center School Director 
(Aerial Classes) Growing up in Colorado, Tia was balancing on beams and lovin’ the stage from age 3 on up. After high school, she left her closet full of velvet unitards and off-the-shoulder apparel for an off-the-grid gig entertaining sun burnt Royal Caribbean Cruise Line guests. 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.
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