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 Davenport

Chloe E Davenport
Program Director

Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Funky Kids, Tap/Ballet, Creative Dance, Modern & Contemporary Dance
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. 

Catherine Abaya

Salsa & Ballroom Dance

Catherine Abaya

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.

Lauren Carroll​
Irish Step Dance

Lauren Carroll

​​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.

Celina Duncan​
Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, ROCKSTARS performing Company Director

Celina Duncan 2017 web (269x300)

Celina started dance at four years old at Ballet Arts. She continued her education at the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet. There she took ballet (two years ‘en pointe’), jazz, ballroom, musical theater, and three years on the Junior Company for Mid-Columbia Ballet, with exposure to some contemporary/modern dance. At the age of fourteen she left the traditional studio setting to join the Kamiakin High School Dance Team to learn Pom, Hip-hop, Show & Prop, as well as participate in the UDA summer camp. After graduation, Celina became Assistant Director at Performance Dance Studio for one year. There she decided to become Zumba certified and broaden her dance education by taking tap & clogging. Recently, Celina moved across the state to the Seattle area to continue to make a name for herself, find opportunities to dance, teach, and grow.

Jennifer Haywood
​Creative Dance, Funky Jazz, Summer Camps

Jennifer 2016 web (225x300)

Jennifer is a 200 hour certified practitioner of Yoga registered with Yoga Alliance and teaches yoga to adults and children. Her training has focused on adapting practices for students of all abilities. She has been teaching yoga to adults since 2008 and yoga and movement to children at MLT since 2005.

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 to 17 throughout the Seattle area since 2002. 

She was a presenter at Dance Educators Association of WA in 2017, 2013 and 2009. Jennifer and Dena Lee co-directed eNergi!, a youth performance group in 2010 and their latest collaboration was Loss in Found in 2015 at Velocity.  She keeps her performing chops up to speed with MoDanCo, a modern dance choreographic collective.

Jennifer enjoys fostering joy and ease in movement and creative self-expression in others.  

Kathryn Hightower
​Tap, Ballet, Jazz

kathryn in the arboretum- web size (300x278)

Kathryn Hightower has been dancing since age 3. She has studied and performed ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, Hawaiian hula, Croatian folk, and dance improvisation. She has a BA in Dance, with a Teaching Endorsement, from University of Washington. She is founding director of a community designed to support women-identified artists of all media. She has performed her own work, and worked with groups like Gender Tender, Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble, The Dancing Word, and the Swan and the Kat at Velocity Dance Center, On the Boards, Studio Current, Seattle Center, and more. She is in the process of earning her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University.

Joan Kashauer

Joan Kashauer
Joan received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance, Kinesiology and Deaf Studies from California State University at Northridge in 2004. Ms. Kashauer has been teaching various methods of dance for over 25 years including Classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Dance Pedagogy and Creative Movement for children. Her unique back ground gives her the knowledge and ability to also teach Special Needs children and adults aquatic and land therapy. Joan also utilizes music, literature, puppets, and of course, movement to enrich children’s lives throughout their life’s journey by giving them permission to live in the moment.

Maria Plancich Keovija​
Tap/Ballet, Ballet-all levels, East Coast Swing, Waltz & Foxtrot

Maria Kesovija
“Dance is my first love!”
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!

Wendy Kostecka​
Jazz, Funky Hip Hop/ Jazz, Creative Dance, Ballet, Flamenco

Wendy Kostecka

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.

Miranda Veenhuysen​
Tap/Ballet and All levels of Tap

Miranda Veenhuysen web (290x300)

Miranda Swan Veenhuysen is a dance artist who loves to perform, teach and choreograph. She has studied a variety of disciplines and likes to combine forms in her work. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, she holds a dual degree in Dance and Drama. In Seattle, she has performed with Walrus Dance Company, Ha’lau Hula O Maile, and in the Isis Women Arts Festival. Her favorite choreographer is Pina Bausch. She works as a nanny and enjoys snowboarding and surfing with her partner Jason and cuddling with her cat Jasmina. A lifelong mover, her teaching dream is to nurture a love of dance in all her students.

Guest Instructors from Kontagious Performing Company

Jamie Nesbitt
Hip Hop

Jamie Nesbit - head shot - Web size (227x300)

Jamie Nesbit has been dancing since she was 8 years-old, and is currently training at Kontagious Performing Company. Prior to Kontagious Jamie competed with Vibe Dance Studio and Glacier Peak High School Dance Team. She has experience choreographing and performing for shows all over the west coast, including community events, back-up dancing, and Disney. Jamie has a positive attitude inside and outside of the dance studio, and loves working with and meeting all kinds of people. She seeks to inspire others with her love for the performing arts, and strives to improve herself as a dancer and instructor.