Daniel Wilkins | Artistic Director

Contemporary & Ballet

Daniel trained at School of American Ballet performing principal roles in the graduation Workshop at Lincoln Center, he then went on to perform professionally with Suzanne Farrell Ballet (Kennedy Center), Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Donald Byrd –The Group (NYC), Spectrum Dance Theatre and Complexions Contemporary Ballet (NYC). Wilkins is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of DASSdance, a multi-media contemporary dance company based in New York City since 2000 and Seattle since 2007.

DASSdance has been presented in New York by Diane von Furstenberg - The Theater, DanceNow, the d.u.m.b.o. Dance Festival, the JoyceSoho and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. In Seattle, DASS has been presented by On the Boards, the Bagley Wright Theater, Velocity, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, Washington Hall and Broadway Performance Hall.

Daniel has taught Master Classes in Contemporary Dance Master at Peridance NYC, Regional Dance America, as well as at the Joffrey Ballet Contemporary Summer Intensive in NYC. DASSdance has been featured in Fashion Wire Daily, Flaunt Magazine, Paper Magazine, Art News, W Magazine, New York Magazine, The Seattle Times, The Daily and the New York Times radio WQXR.


DASSdance School opened formally at the MLK FAME CC in 2014 offering professional-level training in Contemporary Dance.

Thera Langham Knapp | Program Director

Creative & Ballet

Thera found her love for the performing arts at the young age of three when she took her first steps into the dance studio. In her early years, she found joy in studying dance as well as studying theater and fine arts at the Bemis School of Art in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1998 she relocated to Washington where she continued her dance education at Olympic Ballet School studying classical ballet, contemporary, and modern dance under the direction of Helen, John, and Daniel Wilkins. She later was promoted to dance with the company and performed many seasons with Olympic Ballet Theater. Throughout her dance career, Thera has studied locally and nationally picking up additional training and work in musical theater, jazz, hip hop, tap, and belly dance.

 

Thera realized her passion for arts education in her early adult life after struggling through traditional school while thriving in the arts. Her goal as an educator is to create positive educational experiences for all students through the arts and to help her students find their passion and grow their artistic skills. Over decades as a performer, and her thirteen-year career as a teaching artist she has performed, choreographed, produced, directed, and set hundreds of pieces and productions on stages all over the greater Seattle area. She is currently in her 5th year teaching with local non-profit Dandylyon Drama and is going into her 3rd year as faculty at Washington School of Dance. She is thrilled to be joining the 2020 DASSdance faculty bringing her creative and professional skills to the team.

Koach Tee Giggz

Hip Hop Team Advisory Director and Mentoring Artist

Tyrone Crosby known as Koach T was born in Compton, California, raised in Chickasha, Oklahoma, and moved to Seattle, Washington in 1999. In 2006, Tyrone extended the dance program at his former high school, from an after school club to a year-round community program, in hope that this could be an anti-drug and anti-gang for the youth in the community. Holding seasonal auditions for hundreds of youth, in the northwest, today Kutt 'N' Up has traveled and performed all over the United States from coast to coast, and internationally. Tyrone (Koach T) Crosby is the CEO / Founder of what is today an extraordinary entertainment company also know as Kutt ‘N’ Up Entertainment. Mr. Crosby has been a featured Master Teacher at DASSdance's All 4 1 dancepalooza since its inception in 2010 as well as teaching after school programs at Garfield High School, Washington Middle and Community Centers all over Seattle. Mr. Crosby is the Choreographer for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Summer Musical. N The Kutt dance studio is located in Des Moines, WA offering classes for all ages. https://www.instagram.com/teamkuttnup/

Anna Waltz

Creative, Hip Hop & Tap

Anna Waltz grew up as a competitive dancer in South Florida, and moved to the Seattle area in 2013. From there, she started training and competing with Issaquah Dance Theatre. While she has trained in nearly every style of dance, jazz and tap are her favorites. She started teaching at Issaquah Dance Theatre at the age of 16 and continued to teach and train from then on. Last year, she started Tap Dawgs, a club for learning and performing tap dance at the University of Washington. This is her second season with DASSdance, and she is excited to be teaching Creative, Hip Hop 1 & 3, and Beginning Tap for all ages this season. Anna loves being able to engage with each and every student in her classes and finding ways for each child to succeed.

 

When she is not at the studio, she is taking classes at the University of Washington and double majoring in Dance and Biology with a focus on physiology. She hopes to go to vet school after graduation in 2023 and become a wildlife veterinarian, dancing all the way there. 

Jasmine  Wright-Curley

Contemporary & Ballet

Jasmine is originally a dancer, dance teacher, and actress from Tacoma, WA. After performing for Walt Disney World and Disney Live touring shows after high school, she studied Dance and Music at the University of Washington and graduated with honors in 2015. Jasmine then pursued the Mark Morris Dance Group intensive program in New York before performing with DASSdance in "Texture"  in Seattle. She then moved to Los Angeles and completed the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company’s summer intensive before performing as a guest artist with Lula Washington Dance Theatre and Daurden Dance Company. In addition to being apart of NAACP-award winning plays in Los Angeles between 2016 and 2018, her acting work has also spanned across media networks such as TNT, Amazon Prime, Pure Flix, and SyFy. She has also produced/starred in her own short action fan-film. In 2019, Jasmine left the entertainment industry and became a police officer in WA state. Recently, she has stepped back from law enforcement to return to the creative arts, complete her Yoga Teacher Certification. Jasmine looks forward to bringing her breadth of experience to the students of DASSdance School for the 2020-21 season.

Mari Sharpe

Contemporary & Ballet

Mari Sharpe was born and raised in Colorado and has been dancing since she could walk. At age seventeen, after years of intensive pre professional training, she accepted her first company ballet contract with Canyon Concert Ballet. Since then Mari has danced corps, demi-soloist, and soloist roles in numerous classical and contemporary ballets under directors from Canyon Concert Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Denver Ballet Theatre, and more.

In 2016 Mari decided to shift her career from ballet to circus with a focus on bodily sustainability and fell in love. In May of 2017 she graduated from an intensive pro-track training program at The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle, WA. Well-versed in many areas of circus, but specializing in aerial hoop & contortion, Mari has since featured the results of her meticulous training through performances in music video productions, ads for Google, & promotional work for other large scale companies; setting award winning choreography for both performance troupes & the dance competition circuit; staging & posing for fine art photography across the country, published by NYT best selling authors & hung in galas around the world (including the Lincoln Center in NYC); and living as her truest self under the lights on stage as an acrobat, aerialist, & dancer of many styles.

Mari has been teaching movement for just under a decade, most recently working as the director of a nationally winning dance team and coaching circus both freelance & through her alma matter: the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts. Her teaching style is detail focused and technique based - certainly still a bun-head at her core. Through the years Mari has collected many niche movement certifications & credentials in pedagogy, and remains a strong believer in life-long learning. In her free time Mari enjoys sleeping, skiing, stretching, painting, & finding paths to further her studies in any way she can! 

 

"In my eyes sharing a passion for personal growth is truly divine, and I’m incredibly excited to improve alongside you all as both human & artist."

Kristina Koumaeva

Jazz

Kristina Koumaeva is a professional dancer/instructor with BLOC talent agency and creative director of events with Artists Creating Entertainment. She grew up dancing in the greater Seattle area, training in all styles before beginning her teaching career in 2011. One year later she attended the University of Washington and danced for the UW Cheer & Pom squad as well as The Three Yells modern dance company before graduating with a BA in Marketing from the Michael G. Foster School of Business in 2016.

 

After completing undergrad she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a commercial dance career. In her 3 years in LA she booked with luxury brands Gucci, Hermes, Redken, and Louboutin and worked with a handful of musical artists including JoJo Siwa and Justin Timberlake. While dancing she also worked as a manager for Millennium Dance Complex and produced entertainment events with Artists Creating Entertainment.

 

In July of 2020 Kristina relocated back to the PNW and brought Artists Creating Entertainment with her. She will be producing events in Washington while also offering private dance training, artist development and professional choreography.

Benjamin Bloom

Acro

Benjamin Bloom is a dancer, gymnast, and acrobat born in San Francisco California. He moved to Washington to train as an elite-level gymnast with the Washington Men’s Gymnastics team which he has been doing for the last 5 years.

 

Ben has been a gymnast for 18 years and started coaching when he was 16 having coached on and off for the last 6 years. Ben has also done modern and breaking for 4 years in high school and then again in his last two years of college.

 

Ben loves to compete and perform and he loves to share his knowledge of both. He is passionate about the artistry that can come from movement of all kinds and enjoys working with children of all ages to share that passion.

Cathleen VanBuren

Contemporary & Acro

Born and raised in Washington, Cathleen began her dance training at age 5 and quickly fell in love. Her primary styles of dance include Ballet and Contemporary, but she has also studied Tap, Jazz, and Flamenco. She has trained with a variety of instructors around the Puget Sound, at several studios including Evergreen City Ballet, Ensemble Ballet Theatre, and Washington Contemporary Ballet. After graduating high school, Cathleen went to Western Washington University in Bellingham, where she received a BFA in Dance, a BA in Spanish, and a minor in Mathematics. During her time at Western she had the opportunity to perform in many pieces choreographed by faculty, fellow students, and guest artists in a variety of performance spaces, as well as choreograph three pieces for performances. She also attended the American College Dance Association’s Northwest Conference for three years. As a part of the BFA program, Cathleen travelled to New York, to work with accomplished choreographer, teacher, and filmmaker David Fernandez, who choreographed a new solo work for her. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2019, at which time Cathleen was recognized as the Outstanding Graduate in Dance.

After college, Cathleen spent the 2019-2020 school year in Cazorla, Spain, working as an English Language and Culture Assistant in a primary school. While there, she was able to keep dancing by taking Flamenco classes and had the opportunity to perform a small excerpt from The Nutcracker for her students and their families at their annual holiday show. Since returning, Cathleen has participated in Bellingham Repertory Dance’s 7 Day Dance Festival, creating a short dance film in just 7 days, as well as recently participating in DASSdance’s virtual performance of Seattle City Nutcracker.

Cathleen loves to teach and work with children and is a firm believer that anyone and everyone can and should dance. She is excited to be part of the DASSdance faculty!

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David Zeger

Aikido

Sensei David Zeger began training at the Aikido Kokikai Southwest dojo in Tempe, Arizona in 1994. He began facilitating Aikido practices at the Arizona State University Kokikai Aikido Club in 1998 under the guidance and instruction of Veronica Burrows Sensei and David Nachman Sensei.

 

Since moving to Seattle in 2000, he led practices regularly at the University of Washington Kokikai Aikido Club and (former) Aikido Kokikai Seattle dojo. Since 2004 he has continued his study and instruction through sharing practices with Kokikai Aikido practitioners in Seattle’s Central Area. Some practices are also led by other senior dojo members, typically having more than a decade of practice experience.