Meet The AOD Faculty
Ensemble Ballet Theatre Artistic Director
McKenna has been dancing for nearly two decades and has been teaching dance for almost five years. She was a member of the Ensemble Ballet Theatre Performance Division for nine years, performed as a principal dancer for two, and was an extra for several years before that. McKenna was trained under Liz Anderson and Kimberly Wooten during her time with the company and acted as Assistant to the Director for several productions after graduating in 2017. In the Winter of 2021, McKenna became the Artistic Director of the Ensemble Ballet Theatre Performance Division and a board member for the Academy of Dance. She continues to teach Ballet 5/6 and Pointe 5/6 during the week.
McKenna attended Western Washington University where she continued her ballet training under the direction of Cher Carnell while also studying Sociology and Psychology - she graduated with a degree in both in 2020. McKenna's passion has always been educating the youth in dance and in academics. When McKenna is not teaching ballet at the Academy or directing the Performance Division's upcoming production, she is an Assistant Teacher in a Kindergarten classroom.
Ballet and Contemporary Instructor
Mario has loved moving to the beat of the music from a young age. He has trained in various styles, including ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, modern, tap, Bollywood, lyrical, and musical theater dance. Mario has danced with Moscow Ballet and has attended summer courses with Joffrey Ballet School, ECB, MDA, and International Ballet Theater. He was accepted into Oregon Ballet Theatre School’s and Joffrey Ballet School’s year-round programs on scholarships. He joined Continuum Dance Company in 2019 and Syncopation Dance Company in 2020. Mario had the pleasure of working with Deborah Hadley, Eva Stone, Julie Tobiason, Nastya Gnatyshyn (from Moscow Ballet), Nicole Ciapponi (from Joffrey Ballet), Josie Welsh (ballet red), Angela Rebelo (State Street Ballet), Karl Watson (Whim W’him), Gillmer Duran (Ballet Arizona), Valery Lantratov (former principal ballet dancer with the Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet and Kremlin Ballet and general director of the Russian National Ballet Foundation), and other notable individuals. He has participated in dance events such as CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, BoostMeUP, Dance to Make a Difference, and has performed in professional music videos and commercials.
He is currently a professional company dancer with Olympic Ballet Theatre when he is not teaching dance at the Academy. When he's not dancing he loves to travel and walk his dogs.
Angel was born in Cordoba Argentina in the early 70s and began his dance studies at the age of 5. At the age of 16, he graduated with honors from the National School of Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was awarded a dance diploma from Colon Theatre's The Advanced Art's Institute in Argentina. He has been taught by greats such as Jorge Tomin, Irupe Pereyra Parodi, Olga Ferri, Enrrique Lommi, Lydia Segnni, Liliana Belfiore, and Manolita Suarez Herrera. Angel won Danzamerica's Cooper Award (1990) and Gold Award (1996), the Jose Neglia Award from the Cultural Foundation of Buenos Aires (1993), and he also received a Ballet Teaching Certificate from the National University of Cordoba, Argentina (1994). During the 90s, he performed with different companies around the world in productions such as Swan Lake and Giselle as well as many other productions. He performed at the Julio Bocca Ballet Company (Ballet Argentino) under the direction of Lydia Segnni, on the production of Paquita, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Manuel de Falla's Songs, and Che Tango. Angel has lived in Utah since 2000, receiving a degree in accounting from BYU. He is excited to share his talents with a new generation of dancers and make teaching ballet his full-time career.
Tara began dancing at a young age in the tiny town of Willits in northern California, but was later invited to train at a larger ballet studio in the neighboring town of Ukiah under the direction of Mary Knight. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Mendocino Ballet, where she performed numerous parts in the Nutcracker, the title role in Alice in Wonderland, and in many shorter classical and contemporary pieces. At the age of 15 she became the company's "student ballet mistress" and began teaching younger students for Ms. Knight, as well as helping run rehearsals for the company's productions. Her family relocated to Oregon in her senior year, where she continued her training at the Eugene Ballet Academy. After graduation, she decided to pursue academics, earning a degree in mathematics and a Master's in Teaching from the University of Puget Sound.
She teaches at STMS in the Tahoma School district, but keeps ballet a part of her life by instructing at EBT's Academy of Dance and helping with its performance division.
The daughter of a professional ballet dancer, Erin spent most of her life in a ballet studio exploring various dance styles and developing her technique with local instructors in Maple Valley, Washington. Throughout her dance career, Erin trained with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the Summer Dance Lab, and the Joffrey Ballet in New York City and has taken classes from such professionals as Misty Copeland and Ethan Stiefel. Upon graduation from Ensemble Ballet Theatre's performance division in 2016, Erin elected to pursue a path in Elementary Education at Seattle Pacific University and went on to earn in Master's in Education from Eastern Washington University. For the past several years, Erin has taught a fifth-grade highly capable cohort at Cedar River Elementary in the Tahoma School District while serving on the faculty at the Academy of Dance. Erin seeks to encourage the development of endurance, artistry, musicality, technique, terminology, and performance through her ballet classes. Whether in the studio or the classroom, Erin finds purpose in cultivating a love for learning and appreciation for the discipline of knowledge.
Jazz and Hip Hop Instructor
Jordan Stuber has been dancing for 21 years, training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, hip hop, heels, and contact improvisation. She danced competitively at a studio for 11 years, receiving many awards and scholarships before graduating high school. Jordan received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance, a Media Arts Minor, and an Entertainment Management Certificate from the University of Montana. While a college student, she performed and choreographed for many of the University’s productions. Throughout her dance experience, she has received instruction from Westlake Dance Center in Seattle and intermittent training in Los Angeles.
Jordan is currently a dance instructor and has ongoing experience adjudicating on panels at dance competitions, teaching barre fitness classes, and her choreography was selected for performance in a benefit for the Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship Fund her freshman year. Jordan is looking forward to beginning her first year at the Ensemble Ballet Theatre Academy of Dance teaching Jazz and Hip Hop!
Ballet and Combo Class Instructor
Assistant to Artistic Director
Tijanna was raised in Montana where she began dancing at On Center Performing Arts at the age of 2. At 10, she auditioned and was accepted to their Performance Division. After moving to Washington, Tijanna has danced for All that Dance, Cornish Preparatory Dance, Evergreen City Ballet, and her most recently, Ensemble Ballet Theatre. She was also accepted into the Joffrey Ballet Chicago’s summer intensive program in 2019. Tijanna's training includes Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary and she has trained under instructors such as Joey Doucette, Jack Faila, Francis Roach, Aaron Orza, Karel Cruz, Lindsi Dec, Josh Grant, and Sarah Pasch.
Tijanna is extremely excited to begin her first year as faculty with the Ensemble Ballet Theatre Academy of Dance and as the Assistant to the Director for EBT’s Performance Division! When Tijanna isn’t in the studio she is a Shift Lead and Pointe Shoe Fitter at Dancewear Center in Renton.
Combo Class Instructor
Savannah Norton received training in ballet, tap, and jazz from a local studio from the age of four years old. She loved being a member of Ensemble Ballet Theatre and has very fond memories of incredible performances with wonderful friends, though her time in EBT was unfortunately cut short due to an injury, Savannah has never failed to keep her love of dance alive. In high school and college, she performed dance roles in local musical theater productions and volunteered for over 6 years as an assistant dance teacher to her long time mentor and late friend, Miss Alison Forney. Savannah is honored and excited to carry on Miss Alison’s legacy by sharing the magic and joy of dance with EBT Academy’s combo class students by providing foundational instruction in ballet, tap, and jazz.
When she is not dancing, Savannah works at an elementary school with multilingual students to grow their skills and confidence in the English language.
Combo Class Instructor
Myla grew up dancing at a local ballet studio before transitioning to training at the Evergreen City Ballet School and then Ensemble Ballet Theatre Academy of Dance in 2019. Over the years she has trained with many instructors including Gillmer Duran, Joshua Grant, Jaclyn Wheatley, Jennifer Porter, Aaron Orza, and most memorably, Deborah Hadley. She danced as an extra with EBT since she was 5, joined the Performance Division at 9 years old., and became a Principal Dancer in 2019. Her favorite roles have been the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Alice in Adventures in Wonderland.
Myla is a Senior at Tahoma High School, where she was also a featured dancer in the 2022 Spring Musical, Anastasia. When Myla is not dancing or teaching, she is working toward earning her private pilot's license. Myla is so excited to return to the Academy of Dance this season!
Combo Class Instuctor
Katelyn has spent the last 15 years dancing at a local studio and on stage. She has been a part of Ensemble Ballet Theatre since 2011 and danced with the Ballet Workshop before beginning her training with the EBT Academy of Dance in 2019. Katelyn has enjoyed sharing her passion for dance with dancers as young as 3. She often plans and hosts engaging dance camps for preschool and elementary school-aged dancers during Mid-Winter and Spring Breaks.
Katelyn is currently a Senior at Tahoma High School and will be graduating in June of 2023. She is a part of the National Honors Society, Senior Editor for the school news website, as well as a leader for the Freshman support leadership program known as Bear Crew. She previously competed and performed on Tahoma’s varsity dance team and discovered a passion for golf; she is now a member on the varsity team!
Outside of dance she has been an active member of Girl Scouts of Western Washington for over a decade. Katelyn is looking toward a future in the field of medicine with a career focusing in Respiratory therapy. She is excited to foster a love of dance with her young students at the Academy this year.