Dance Teacher Biographies
The instructors you'll read about below are the heroes of our dance department. They create a fantastic experience for hundreds of dancers each year. I'm privileged to work with and continually inspired by the wonderful people who choose to share their passion for creativity, excellence in motion and having fun while growing and learning at the Pavilion in Mountlake Terrace.
Take a look and you might learn something new about your favorite teacher. - Chloe Davenport
Chloe E Davenport
Ms. Davenport has been teaching Ballet, Modern/Contemporary Dance, and Creative Dance abroad and in the US since 1994. Her love of dance started at age 3 when her mother took her to see the Boston Ballet and she sat on the edge of her seat for the duration of the performance. She immediately started dance lessons and loved to ‘be a butterfly’.
Her first serious training began at age 7 while her family was stationed with the Air Force in Japan. The unforgettable two year experience of taking ballet class where only Japanese was spoken, taught her that dance is it's own language and is for everybody. After moving to Southern California she studied Ballet and Jazz at the Phyllis Cyr Dance Academy, dancing in all of their nutcrackers, recitals and performing groups. She went on to receive a BA in Dance from UC Santa Barbara focusing on Modern Dance, Improvisation, Composition and Ballet.
Directly out of college, her wanderlust landed her in Dortmund Germany where she began teaching dance to children and adults. In this she found her calling and sought out a second dance degree focused on instruction. The Rotterdam Dance Academy in the Netherlands, after two years of study, awarded her a Modern Dance Docent/Teachers Certificate in 1999. This education included curriculum planning for Ballet, Modern Dance, Creative Dance and Improvisation classes supported by child development, as well as rigorous physical training in many dance techniques including Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham Modern Dance styles.
Since returning to the states in 1999, she has taught throughout the greater Seattle area including Spectrum Dance, Allegro Performing Arts School, 9th Ave School of Dance and many Seattle Community Centers. She has been directing the dance program here at MLT since June 2011. Under Ms. Davenport’s guidance, the participants and highly trained staff, create a supportive, inclusive and performance ready dance community.
Salsa & Ballroom Dance
Ms. Abaya, brings 20 years of teaching experience to her students. She has achieved national and international recognition as a ballroom champion; teaching, competing, and performing, locally and abroad. Catherine is a United States American Rhythm Rising Star Finalists and United States Open Semi-finalists. At the pinnacle of her performance career, she was ranked 7th in the United States.
She is dedicated to bringing Mountlake Terrace some of the best dance instruction in the business.
Irish Step Dance
Lauren began Irish step dancing at the age of seven at the Haran School of Irish Dance in Spokane, WA. Within this school, she excelled in competition and became a champion-level dancer, but she really loved the performance side of the dance performing countless times with band An Dóchas. Her passion for Irish dancing and the performative side of the dance took her to Limerick, Ireland, where she received a BA in Irish Music and Dance from the University of Limerick.
While attending the University of Limerick, she competed with the Fleming-Ball Irish Dance Academy, won a Munster (a western region in Ireland) medal, and competed at two World Championships: London (2014) and Montréal (2015). Apart from competition, in university, she worked on the artistic and creative side of Irish dancing while studying other dance forms such as Cape Briton, ballet, sean nós, and aerial dance.
During her third year of university, Lauren took a three day long exam to become a registered Irish dance teacher with world-wide organization, An Coimisíun le Rincí Gaelacha, and passed. She was the only student in her degree to pass the exam during university. She is now a registered TCRG (Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rinci Gaelacha). In her classes, she conveys her passion and love of the historic and energetic dance form, while teaching the technical, traditional, and artistic sides of Irish dancing.
Creative Dance Summer Camps
She received her BA in dance from WWU, and her MA in Counseling / Psychology from Lesley College. She has taught all kinds of dance to students from ages 3-17 throughout the Seattle area, and at MLT since 2005.
Jennifer keeps her performing chops up to speed with MoDanCo, a modern dance choreographic collective. She was a presenter at Dance Educators Association of WA in 2009 and 2013. Jennifer and Dena Lee co-directed eNegri!, a youth performance group in 2010 and their latest collaboration was Loss in Found in 2015, honoring lost relationships.
Jennifer enjoys fostering joy and ease in movement and creative self-expression in others.
Tap, Ballet, Jazz
Tap for Seniors
Tap/Ballet, Ballet, East Coast Swing
Maria began her dance career at Mountlake Terrace Pavilion at the age of three, fell in love with dance, and has been dancing since! Her dance background is broad; however she’s devoted to her Croatian folklore. Maria began in Vela Luka’s children’s ensemble in 1975, when the ensemble was founded, and was appointed Artistic Director in 1998. She has taken the company on tour to Croatia three times and hopes to dance in the homeland again soon.
Maria Plancich Kesovija’s dance resume includes: Ballet Scholarship, New York, 1984; Guest Dancer and Vocalist with LADO Croatian National Folklore Ensemble, Zagreb Croatia, 1991, 1992, 1993; Ballroom Dance Instructor at Arthur Murray School of Dance, 1996-1998; Various Performances with Seattle Opera; Croatian Folkdance & Voice instructor all over the West Coast.
Maria enjoys choreographing, from waltz, foxtrot and swing to ballet. She creates both ensemble and solo pieces for local performance groups. She has trained in many ballet schools over the years including Olympic Ballet and PNB and continues to take classes, most recently at Exit Space School of Dance.
Maria’s pleased that her daughter, Marija, began taking classes with Ms Chloe at age 3 in 2013 and has been dedicating herself to dance ever since. The family tradition continues!
Jazz, Lyrical, Flamenco, Creative Dance, Ballet
Ms. Kostecka, a Seattle native, began dancing at the age of 5. She has studied a wide variety of dance genres such as Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Character, Contemporary, Flamenco, Latin, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Salsa, Tango, Afro-Caribbean, Puerto-Rican Dance, Ballroom, Baroque, Improvisation and Swing. She has performed in numerous production at the 5th Avenue Theater, as movie extras and in music videos, as well as other productions through the Seattle Area. She has studied singing and acting to support her passion in Musical Theater and Character.
Wendy graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance in 1995 and took her internship at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. She has 15+ years of teaching/choreography experience. Wendy Directed Diaz Dance Academy in Kent for 3 years and has taught at numerous studios in both principal and guest teacher positions. She has written and directed musical productions and musical pieces. Wendy’s choreography has been showcased in several productions at the 5th Avenue Theater, throughout Seattle and in music videos. She has also privately trained/coached Miss Sea-fair contestants, Seattle Sea Gal members, commercial and video dancers, gymnasts and stage musicians.
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Bengie Santos holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish Institute and MA in Dance and Theatre from Western Washington University. She has been teaching, dancing and choreographing for more than 25 years. She has choreographed numerous musical productions thru the years while teaching her dancers various dance styles and multi-cultural dancing.
As a Modern Dance teacher, she loves exploring all the emotional and artistic expressions of her students and her sense of creativity is endless. Bengie also enjoys teaching and dancing Contemporary, Pop, Jazz, Salsa, Ballroom, Zumba and Cultural Dances. Growing up with family members who were passionately involved in Music, Dance and the Arts inspired Bengie to pursue her artistic career in Dance.
Bengie Santos is also a Dance Fitness and Wellness Instructor who helps Active Older Adults maintain a healthy lifestyle thru dancing and exercising. She occasionally teaches pre-schoolers Creative Movement. She motivates and inspires all ages to be active and to be the best they can be.