Students at The Dance School learn from an extremely qualified faculty. Our instructors have a degree in dance, conservatory training, and/or current or former professional dance experience. They provide the highest quality instruction, while focusing on enjoyment, cooperation, strength, health and minimizing injury. In each class, our instructors bring their personal love of dance to the studio and are an inspiration to kids and parents alike!

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Mari Engel – Artistic Director,
Ballet, Lyrical, Creative Movement, Preparatory Dance

Mari received her early training at Makie Naoi Ballet School. During her Ballet studies, Mari was accepted to the prestigious Butai Geijustu Gakuen (Academy for Performing Arts) in Tokyo Japan where she studied Modern, Ballet and Jazz dance. After graduation Mari continued to study at Chacott Ballet in Japan, Ballet Pensacola & Kaleidoscope in Florida and Modern at the Wurzburg Dance Theater in Germany. She started her professional dance career with Nakura Kayoko Jazz Dance Company performing on stage and screen. She continued performing professionally with Kazco Takemoto’s Dance Venus and Swerve in Pensacola Florida. Ms. Mari was also a contract dance teacher for U.S. Navy Japan’s Morale Welfare and Recreation and has choreographed and taught locally at Reflections School of Dance. She performs in original contemporary dance pieces in Seattle.

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SAM2016Sam Picart – Hip Hop

Sam Picart (Kansas City, MO) began his studies in Hip Hop culture at a young age after seeing renowned dancer Mr. Wiggles on television. He received a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts and has studied hip hop dance and west coast funk styles for ten years. Like many hip hop dancers, he learned by way of competition and jamming with well-known hip hop dancers around the world. He has competed and performed in Monsters of Hip Hop, San Diego’s Freestyle Session, and at the dance halls in Jamaica. Sam continues to train and study the culture of hip hop forever considering himself a student. In January, 2016, Sam gained national recognition by winning the Dance-Off on “Ellen”.

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Kory Rigler – Tap, Jazz, Dance for Theater

Kory studied dance from an early age in the Seattle area, and pursued a dance degree at Bellevue Community College where she was also a member of their dance company, Eastside Moving Company. She’s been teaching dance, including tap, for 10 years. What she enjoys most about tap is that when you are tapping you are dancing and playing an instrument at the same time! She’s skilled in both rhythm tap and Broadway style, as well as dance for theater. Her teaching experience includes Cameo Carrabba Dance Inc., the City of Mountlake Terrace, the City of Kirkland, and Marysville Performing Arts Center. Kory is also a founding member of Charity Dance Project, a local dance company whose mission is to support the community by putting on shows to raise funds for local charities.

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Sarah Seder – Jazz, Preparatory Dance, Creative Movement, Ballet, Contemporary, Dance: the Senses & Emotion

Sarah has been teaching dance and choreographing musical theater productions in the Seattle area for the past 5 years. She is on staff at The Dance School, as well as with Everett Village Theater, Taproot Theater, Vashon High School and Rainier Dance Center, where she choreographs musicals and teaches musical theater dance, jazz, tap, contemporary, ballet and creative movement. Sarah is a founding member of Sapience Dance Collective, a modern dance company based in Seattle. With SDC, Sarah has toured to Vancouver, and Martha’s Vineyard, MA and they have performed extensively in the greater Seattle Area. Sarah is passionate about helping people of all ages discover the joy of dancing.

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Christine Weh – Director of Education, Ballet, Pre-Pointe, Pointe

Christine began her dance training with Mary Hunt, Heather Renk, and Lila Zali protege Cynthia Tosh, in Portland, Oregon, performing with the Portland Community Ballet. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance cum laude from Cornish College of the Arts in 2005, working with such choreographers as Pat Hon, Tonya Lockyer, Gary Masters from the Limon Company, and Mary Sheldon Scott. She has studied Creative Movement under Gail Heilbron and Christine Juarez, and has been teaching her love of dance in creative movement, ballet and modern techniques for over 15 years. Currently she is a member of Weaving Dance Company and performs locally in Seattle modern dance projects. She has worked with the Catherine Mayer Foundation in multidisciplinary arts education since 2006.

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Zhenjun (ZJ) Zhang – Ballet, Stretch/Condition, Jumps & Turns, Ballet Studies/Choreography, Modern

ZJ danced with the Jose Limon and Martha Graham Companies, appeared in The King and I New York and London productions, and served as choreographer and dance captain in other productions. ZJ trained in ballet, Chinese classical dance, folk dance, acrobatics and choreography. In 2007 he completed his BFA at Cornish College of the Arts.