Dance Instructors

CHRISTINE JUAREZ is the Artistic Director of Vashon Center for Dance and instructs many of the dance classes. She has taught for 30 years and holds a M.S. in Modern Dance and Physical Sciences as well as a B.S. in Ballet and Music. Christine has served as dance faculty at Indiana University, Washington University and Cornish College of the Arts – where she has taught and coordinated the summer dance program for 18 years. Christine’s mentors include notable teachers Bill Evans, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Jacques Cesbron, John White, Margarita De Saa, Marina Svetlova, Jurgen Pagles, Patrick Suzeau, Muriel Cohen, David Howard and Suzanne Grace. She has taught and held master classes at over 50 schools and arts centers throughout the country.

ELIZABETH MENDANA SHAW arrived on Vashon in 2010. Previously, she performed, choreographed, taught, stage managed and designed lighting in San Francisco. Among others, she performed with WING IT! Performance Ensemble, Epiphany Productions and Facing East Dance and Music. She also taught Modern technique classes at San Francisco Dance Center, dance improvisation classes at InterPlayce in Oakland, both child and adult ballet, jazz and tap at San Francisco Jewish Community Center. Shaw toured with Robert Moses’ Kin as technical director for eight years. She holds a MFA in Modern Dance from University of Utah and created her own dance company, Mendana Productions, in San Francisco. Since relocating to the Northwest, her choreography has been seen at Seattle International Dance Festival, Fremont Abbey Arts Center, and locally on Vashon. She currently teaches Modern dance technique and Parent/Child Creative Movement classes at Vashon Allied Arts Center for Dance.

VANESA WYLIE graduated from Cornish College of The Arts in 1994 with a BFA in Dance. Upon graduating she worked and performed with many regional choreographers including Kristina Dillard, Pat Graney, Michelle Miller, Jessica Jobaris, Lynn Simonson and the Big Red Dance Company. In 1998, Vanesa and her husband formed The Bleeding Hearts Theatrical Dance Ensemble where they direct, choreograph and self produce original performances. Vanesa’s choreography has also been seen at Bumbershoot, The Fringe Festival, The Moore and 12 Minutes Max. She fell in love with teaching in 2000, and currently teaches preparatory dance, creative movement, pre-primary and modern at Cornish. Vanesa has taught dance at The Dance School, Studio One, Immaculate Conception, The Country Day School and in Snohomish School District. She is passionate about sharing the experience of dance and thrilled to teach modern dance classes for Vashon Center for Dance.

LEAH MANN – Previously the artistic director of the urban outreach program, Moving in the Spirit , Leah Mann now co-directs Lelavision Physical Music . With her partner Ela Lamblin, she tours internationally, performing a hybrid genre combining kinetic music inventions animated through music and dance in simultaneity. She teaches movement based personal development workshops based in improvisation and ritual; creative movement, tumbling, and low aerial classes for toddlers; as well as workshops exploring polyrhythms in the body.

CRISSY BAKER – Currently the Tap Instructor for Vashon Center for Dance. She focusses tap lessons on vaudeville and traditional hoofing to various styles of music. Keeping to traditional tap and creatively adapting contemporary styles, Christina teaches tap with high energy and fun rhythms and beats. As a hobby, she gained her dance background in competition dance team, lyrical, jazz, and tap while attending various dance schools and workshops in both Washington State and Texas State. Shortly after graduating from Central Washington University with a degree in HR, she began volunteering off and on teaching dance in different youth programs, eventually volunteering with the Blue Heron dance production. Tap is a love and joy for her to teach for fun, so eventually the tap program began at Vashon Center For Dance. She has been teaching tap on and off since she was 16 years old and at Vashon Center for Dance since 2012.

CAMILLE KAPPELMAN – She is a dancer and teacher who grew up in Seattle Washington and began her ballet training at Vashon Allied Arts and Blue Heron Dance Company. She attends University of North Carolina School of the Arts and will graduate with her BFA in ballet in 2016. Ms. Kappelman has had the pleasure of dancing in works by Ethan Steifel, Wayne McGregor, and Daniel Guirtzman as well as performing in numerous repertoire works such as Sleeping Beauty and Paquita. She has attended summer intensives with ABT in Austin Texas, Bolshoi Ballet in NYC, and Mark Morris Dance Group in Seattle. She has taught ballet for Vashon Allied Arts working with students’ ages 10 to adult for beginning and advanced levels alike.

VADNE DOMEIKA – Vadne Domeika, formerly Associate Artistic Director of Dance Theatre Northwest, studied ballet on scholarship at what is now Tacoma City Ballet. She also pursued ballet, jazz, tap and ballroom in New York at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Joffrey Ballet, Steps In The City and Manhattan Ballroom. She earned certification through the American College on Exercise as a Fitness Instructor and developed her own Stretch and Conditioning classes. Currently Vadne studies with the Royal Academy of Dance in Great Britain to obtain her BA in Dance Education, while continuing to train in Latin and Ballroom dance.

Arts Education Instructors

RONLY BLAU teaches a mindful flowing yoga practice that weaves together the asanas with pranayama, meditation and Ayurvedic wisdom. Her classes are influenced by her Ayurvedic healthcare practice, study and dedication in vipassana meditation. The intention in her class is to practice with mindfulness and use the vivid experience of the postures as a gateway for creating calm awareness. Ronly has taught yoga for over 12 years. She is a Certified Ayurvedic practitioner, yoga instructor and licensed massage practitioner. She recently completed an in-depth training in mindful yoga and meditation at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Please visit: for more information.

SOOZE BLOOM deLEON GROSSMAN is a working artist, artisan and arts educator. Sooze loves making art and has had the pleasure of learning a wide world’s worth of materials and techniques. As an artisan, she currently works primarily in fused glass, vintage materials and textiles. Her fine art work focuses on paper and textile collage. To see sooze’s new project, visit

BRIAN BRENNO has been involved with glass since taking a stained glass class through VAA in high school. He received his BFA in Glass from California College of Arts and Crafts in 1985. He then worked on Dale Chihuly’s glass blowing team for 10 years before starting his own studio on Vashon in 1996. Brian and his wife Tara teach a popular glass camp for teens during summer and ornament classes in fall.

MARIA METLER is a naturalist and educator. Inspired by the richness of life’s diversity, she works to increase the connections each one of us feel to the natural world. She has over 12 years experience teaching both children and adults in outdoor settings. Prior to moving to Vashon, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Education from Huxley College at Western Washington University. Currently she is the Director of Aquatic Operations for Vashon Watersports where she is a paddling guide and instructor; and she works with the Vashon Nature Center as their Education Programs Director.

MARITA ERICKSEN has directed Youth Chorus and Musical Theatre programs at VAA for 11 years, working with students to produce many popular shows. She is the Music Director at Vashon’s United Methodist and Lutheran churches and has been Assistant Director of Vashon Island Chorale for five years. Marita directed Drama Dock’s “All Night Strut!” and is Choral Director for upcoming summer musical, “Pirates of Penzance.” She was Chorusmaster for Vashon Opera’s “Carmen” and “Eugene Onegin.”

DAVID ERUE’s motto is “if it ain’t steel it ain’t real.” David started welding 15 years ago and wishes he had learned sooner. He makes metal garden sculptures from mild steel and found objects. David loves teaching people about making art with metal.

BARBARA GUSTAFSON is a basketweaver and environmental educator. She has taught children and adults about wonders of the natural world and the joy of creating a woven vessel for 25 years. Barbara loves weaving not just reed and fibers, but human history, botanical terms, mathematical skills and an appreciation for the natural world into each basket weaving lesson. During her 16 Vashon Artist in School residencies, numerous VAA Art Camps and classes, she has shared her passion for basketry with hundreds of Vashon students and adults.

ERIC HORSTING taught creative writing at Antioch College in Ohio for 32 years and is a former poetry editor of The Antioch Review. Eric teaches a creative writing workshop for VAA including fiction, poetry and script writing (stage and screen). The focus is equally on technical elements and process, and the group usually has six to eight people sitting around a table in dialogue with one another. Eric guides students to help one another and he enjoys creating a friendly, informal yet focused environment that empowers learning writers to find their particular paths and their unique voices.

PAM INGALLS was first inspired by her artist parents, Richard and Marjorie Ingalls. She studied art at the Accademia Di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy and earned an art degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane. After exploring a few side paths—among them, pursuing social justice aims and building a house on Vashon—Pam returned to her true passion under the mentorship of Russian Impressionist, Ron Lukas. She has also studied with Richard Schmid and Burt Silverman. Her widely collected, award-winning work has been exhibited throughout United States, Europe and Africa, and juried into more than 125 national and international shows.

Lelavision co-founders, ELA LAMBLIN and LEAH MANN, began their collaborative efforts in 1992. Their work combines modern and aerial dance, music, theater and large interactive musical sculptures. Lelavision tours stateside and abroad with their hybrid genre of performance and physical music. Their passion for “making” and learning the science behind it (how things work) guides their workshop content. Currently Lelavision is in a long term science/art project with Emory University’s Program in Science and Society. The purpose of this project – like much of their work – is to cultivate awe and curiosity for the natural world, especially among young people.

LIZ LEWIS has taught VAA clay classes for over 15 years and is a much loved visiting artist in Vashon schools. Liz’s first experiences with clay involved wheels and wood kilns at Oberlin College, and set her on a path of self directed learning. Her training consisted of plunging into ambitious projects with her peers, attending workshops with professional potters and putting in hours of studio practice. Since moving to Vashon in 1984, she has produced colorful earthenware pots intended for daily use, with work cycles concentrated around seasonal studio sales during Art Tour. Liz shares her enthusiasm with clay loving folks of all ages at her light and spacious studio. Her teaching style includes structured projects designed to impart basic skills balanced with thoughtful observation, creative invention and practical work ethic. Besides exploring the many possibilities for forming and decorating pots, many projects relate to nature—plants, animals, habitats, ecosystems–and provide a fun and meaningful way to share an understanding and connection to the natural world.

STEFFON MOODY is a performer, visual artist, writer and musician who brings years of professional experience to his 25 year interactive tenure with VAA. He is a founding member of UMO Ensemble, a former clown with New York’s Big Apple Circus, a member of Zambini Brothers and currently teaches at DigiPen in Seattle. At VAA he has directed children’s theater; taught art & performance camps for kids; taught drawing, movement and improv classes for adults; performed shows; premiered in the New Works Series and performed at the annual VAA Art Auction.

RAY PFORTNER has worked in photography for over 25 years – as an educator, agent, editor, consultant and photographer. He teaches photography and the business of art for artists working in all media for emerging and established artists. His teaching partners include colleges, not-for-profits, art centers and art supply stores across the Puget Sound region. Ray’s primary interest is in coaching new talent of all ages. His own photography focuses on nature and the environment and is often used to support habitat conservation and environmental protection. Ray’s work is published worldwide and is represented by Getty Images. He has shown his work in galleries from his original home, New York City to his new home, Vashon Island. To learn more about Ray, visit

JON-ERIC SCHAFFER has been immersed in painting and ceramics since childhood as the son of an artist/teacher. His work focuses on water and its intricate and varied relationships with landscapes. He utilizes a wide range of watercolor painting techniques to create realistic yet wonderfully abstract landscape images.

ALLISON TRUNDLE is a visual artist with a focus on abstract colorful large paintings and multimedia book arts. She received her BFA from the University of New Mexico where she also studied flamenco dance. For two years in a row Trundle apprenticed at the DH Lawrence Ranch north of Taos, NM where she studied under the tutelage of master landscape painters and worked as a student assistant. Trundle has shown her paintings and books in various galleries and venues across the U.S. including New York City, Santa Fe, N.M and the Minneapolis Museum of Fine Arts .She received the Liquitex Excellence in painting award in 1996.Trundle brings her love of painting and teaching to Vashon Allied Arts with over twenty years experience teaching children and adults. Her current work can be seen at

ANNIE ROBERTS, cellist and pianist, has lived on Vashon Island for 21 years. She began teaching private music lessons in the late 90’s after giving up a career as a public defender. She is a cellist with Orchestra Seattle and often plays with the Vashon-Maury Chamber Orchestra as well as in chamber ensembles. She brings her popular musical board and card games to the summer string camp to teach music theory.