is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is his third year with the company. He has danced previously at the Portland Ballet and attended their summer intensive four times as well as attending the Joffrey summer intensive in New York. Zach would like to thank his very first dance teacher Brian Baker who taught him breakdance for seven years. He would also like to thank all the teachers at the Portland Ballet as well as the teachers at Jefferson.
is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is her fourth year with the company. She began dancing at Main Street Ballet at the age of six, continued on to Sun Valley Ballet, and then to Dance Fusion Northwest where she trained under Carla Kendall-Bray and Darvejon Jones. She has participated in multiple musical theater productions including Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Annie, and, most recently, played the lead in Broadway Rose’s production of Tuck Everlasting. After high school, she would like to attend a university in New York to obtain a B.F.A in Musical Theatre. Sierra would like to thank all of her dance teachers, Steve Gonzales, and her fellow company members for supporting her and teaching her what it means to be a hard worker. Being a Jefferson Dancer has been an incredible experience for her, and she is incredibly grateful for her time with the company. She would like to thank her mom, Nathan, Nicoletta, Rhianna, Brendan, Ava, Chenin, and Camille for their constant support. She loves them all very much!
is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is her fourth year with the company. She started dancing at Irvington Elementary School at the age of six. She took ballet and African under the training of Ms. Cassandra. After high school Lauryn would love to continue dancing in college and hopefully double major in something academic as well. Lauryn would like to thank her teachers Claire Olberding and Sara Martins: her jazz and tap teachers from middle school, who pushed her to grow and are the reason she made it into the Jefferson Dancers. She would also like to thank Renee Meiffren, her ballet teacher in middle school, as well as Elizabeth Parkinson, the director of the UNCSA Broadway Commercial Dance Lab Summer Intensive and all the staff at Joffrey’s Jazz and Contemporary intensive for encouraging Lauryn to grow not only as a dancer but as a person and showing her another part of the dance world that overall made her realize that she wants to dance after high school. She also wants to give a huge thank you to Steve Gonzales for the amazing opportunities that the Jefferson Dancers have brought throughout the past three years. Lastly, she would like to thank her mom for being such a strong influence and always encouraging her to follow her dreams.
is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is her fourth year with the company. She started dancing in kindergarten. After high school she plans to go to college in California and dance in LA commercially. Kate would like to thank Chisao Hata for introducing her to dance, Sara Martins for helping her realize her love for tap, Claire Olberding for always believing in her and pushing me, and Renee Meifron for helping her maintain and exceed her technique in ballet. She would also like to thank Steve Gonzales for giving her the opportunity to be a part of the Jefferson Dancers.
is an eighteen-year-old senior and thrilled to be a member of Jefferson Dancers Company! He’s been training since he was 8, beginning at Lake Oswego Academy of Dance where he performed at local events including Portland Trailblazer Games, studied Ballet Kinesiology under Clarissa Espino, and later worked as an assistant choreographer, stage manager, and music editor, among many other roles. Since freshman year, Emerson has begun dancing professionally, being cast in numerous musicals and dance concerts as well as taking time off school to perform with Bodyvox Dance Company in their 2018/19 season. When Emerson is not busy training at home, he enjoys attending dance conventions both regionally and nationally, winning numerous titles and scholarships including 24Seven’s Senior NonStop Male Dancer and NYCDA’s runner-up Senior Male Outstanding Dancer. Emerson has also choreographed many pieces for the competition stage, and his work has received various overall awards and choreography accolades. Emerson has attended the Northwest Dance Project, New York City Dance Alliance, and Perry-Mansfield summer dance intensives. Next year, Emerson plans to pursue his BFA in dance in a conservatory setting and continue on to a career in commercial dance. He holds deep gratitude to every instructor who has helped him along his path, especially Clarissa Espino, Theresa Koon, and Steve Gonzales. Lastly, Emerson wouldn’t be here without Rachel Slater, who truly shaped him into the artist he is today.
is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her third year with the company. She was first introduced to dance by Chisao Hata at Buckman Elementary. There she discovered her love for dance and began training at Classical Ballet Academy in fourth grade. Dancing there gave her a strong foundation for dance while creating a strong community between her and her fellow dancers. She would like to thank all of her teachers at Classical Ballet Academy but most of all her director Sarah Rigles and her contemporary teacher Sissy Dawson. She would especially like to thank them for teaching her to reach for her dreams and strive toward her fullest potential. Zoë has been accepted into summer programs such as Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, and Modas summer dance intensive. She attended Alonzo King Lines Ballet in the summer of 2018 and this past summer attended Modas summer dance intensive on scholarship, where she worked with choreographer Yin Yue. After High School, she plans to dance in college and afterward join a contemporary company. She would also like to thank Sara Martins, Claire Olberding, and Tracey Durbin for giving her countless opportunities and pushing her to be her best. Finally, she would like to thank Steve Gonzales for giving her this amazing opportunity and her family for pushing her to pursue her dreams.
is a sixteen-year-old sophomore and a second year company member. She started dancing with Carla Kendall-Bray at Dance Fusion NW when she was five years old. At the age of eleven, she started training with Maricar Drillon and Jennifer Hata-Livingston at Northwest Classical Ballet. She has attended Northwest Dance Project Summer Intensive, The Portland Ballet Summer Intensive, Tremaine Summer Dance Intensive, and the Modas Summer Dance Intensive. Ultimately, she wants to be a Professional Dancer. Depending on what opportunities might be available after High School, she plans on attending college where she can pursue a career in dance, while studying in a field that allows her to help others. Jillian’s mom, Jaime, passed away in May 2018 after battling breast cancer. She is Jillian’s biggest inspiration. She would like to thank Maricar Drillon for seeing and believing in her potential and guiding her forward, Jennifer Hata-Livingston for pushing her beyond what she thought her limits were, and Ryan Paul with New Athlete for training her like a Professional athlete. She would like to thank her dad and brother, Andy and Alex, and her entire community of friends who support her every step of the way.
is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year with the company. At the age of three she began dancing at Hollywood Dance Studio and soon after with Chisao Hata at Buckman Elementary School. Lily then attended da Vinci where she danced under Claire Olberding and Sara Martins. She also participated in an after-school dance program with Éowyn Emerald. Lily has danced at Éowyn Emerald’s Dancescape summer intensive. She has also danced in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar at Portland Community College. After graduating high school, Lily wants to go to a university to study dance, and eventually join a professional dance company. She would like to thank her dance teachers from da Vinci Claire Olberding and Sara Martians, for always pushing her to succeed. She would like to thank her teachers Miss Jessica and Rachel from Hollywood Dance for both giving her a good foundation to dance. She would also like to thank Éowyn Emerald for expanding her knowledge of dance and Chisao Hata for showing her how to be a professional. And lastly, she would like to thank Steve Gonzales for pushing her towards greatness, and making her take risks in her dancing.
is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her first year with the company. Anita started dancing at Buckman Arts Elementary School with Chisao Hata in an after-school dance program. From there, she was accepted into da Vinci Arts Middle School learning tap, jazz, and ballet from Claire Olberding and Sara Martins. Finding an interest in ballet, Anita joined the Classical Ballet Academy where she went en pointe after studying with Sarah Rigles for three years. There, Anita performed many shows of The Nutcracker and numerous spring ballets and contemporary performances. In the summer of 2018, Anita traveled to Nashville, Tennessee on a three week ballet intensive with the Nashville Ballet. She gained technique and strength. After high school, she aims to attend a more contemporary focused dance school in the Seattle area. At Jefferson, she was a member of the Jefferson Dancers II, and would like to thank the director, Bunky Williams, for believing in her and pushing her to success. As a member of the Jefferson Dancers, she would like to thank Steve Gonzales for broadening her skill set and leading her to unique opportunities.
is a sixteen-year-old sophomore and a second year company member. Raya began training at the age of four. In kindergarten, she started dancing at Buckman Arts Elementary School. There, she was taught by Chisao Hata. In third grade, she decided to pursue dance further and started taking classes after school and on the weekends at NW Dance Project. She continued training throughout middle school at da Vinci Arts Middle School under the direction of Claire Olberding and Sara Martins. During middle school, she continued to train at NW Dance Project where she was taught by various company members. She attended the Nashville Ballet’s summer program in Nashville, Tennessee. She plans to continue dancing after high school. She hopes that her love for dance can help her travel and attend college away from home. She would like to thank Chisao Hata for introducing her to dance, Sara Martins and Claire Olberding for always being supportive figures in her life, Tracy Durbin for teaching her how to be an artist, Tracy Julies and Charlene Hannibal for giving her a strong ballet foundation, and finally Steve Gonzales for giving her the amazing opportunity dancing with the Jefferson Dancers. She would also like to thank her friends and family for always being supportive of her and her passion for dance.
ANA PALOMA WHITEMAN
is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is her second year with the company. She started dancing with Chisao Hata at Buckman Elementary School as a part of Chisao Hata’s after-school dance program. In preparation for da Vinci's dance curriculum she began ballet at Laurelhurst with Jojo Hills and Amy Havins where she studied for three years. After an amazing year with the Jefferson Dancers and dancing in PCC’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Ana Paloma learned so much about the dance world. She would like to thank her dance teachers Sara Martins, Claire Olberding, Chisao Hata, Rachel Slater and Steve Gonzales for opening doors to many exciting opportunities. After high school Ana Paloma wants to attend a school in New York to continue dancing, and sees a future with Juilliard or Tisch! She would also like to thank her parents for always being supportive of her dreams.