Cristen Klaja, Assistant Studio Director, Tap & Ballet Program Director
Ballet/Tap combo, Hip Hop/Acro , Breakdance, Ballet 1, 2, 2/3 & 3, Tap 1, 2, 3, 4, Jazz 1, Contemporary 1

​Cristen Klaja grew up dancing at her local studio in Vancouver, Washington, where as a teen she trained and began working as an instructor.  She moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington and continued teaching at studios in the area. She graduated from UW with a BA in Dance in 2002.  In the years since, her life has been filled with dance, both in the classroom and the stage, family, and adventure. Cristen has been teaching at RDC since 2013.

 

Ellen Tejera Teacher, Creative Dance Program Director
Pre-Ballet, Ballet/Tap Combo

Ellen Tejera was born in Olympia, WA where she began her dance training in ballet, jazz and theatre dance. She received a BFA in Dance, Magna Cum Ladue, from Cornish College of the Arts in 2012. She has also studied with Mark Morris Dance Group and Joffrey Ballet School on scholarship. Ellen danced professionally in the Seattle area in a variety of shows and as a member of Khambatta Dance Company (KDC) from 2012 to 2016. With KDC, she performed locally and on several international tours including trips to Brazil, Mexico, India, and Europe. In the fall of 2018, Ellen decided to take her passion for movement towards a new adventure. She will be earning her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from University of Washington in 2021. Ellen loves working with youth of all ages and teaches with Pacific Northwest Ballet in their community education program as well as at Rainier Dance Center. Ellen began at Rainier Dance Center in 2013. 

Jenna Mitchell, Studio Owner, Dance Team Director, Jazz & Contemporary Program Director
Jazz 2 & 5, Contemporary 1, Hip Hop 6-8, Musical Theater, Dance Team Director

Jenna has been dancing for 35 years and teaching for 25. She began dancing and competing in Redlands, California and moved to Seattle in 1998. She completed her BFA in Dance at Cornish College of the Arts in 2007. She's danced with many award winning teachers and choreographers in the Los Angeles and Seattle areas, and has been teaching and choreographing in Seattle for more than 15 years. She started teaching at RDC in 2006 and took over as owner in 2012.

 


Robert Moore, Teacher
Ballet 2, Contemporary Ballet 3/4

Robert Moore, from Hamden, CT, began dancing at New England Ballet and continued at Dee Dee’s Dance Center and New Haven Ballet. He is an alumnus of Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, the Ailey Summer Intensive, Cunningham Trust Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow’s Commercial Dance Program, and the Complexions Intensive. He went to Mexico with JUNTOS Collective, and taught with Notes in Motion, Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre, and JD/dansfolk. Robert graduated magna cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program and has danced with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, The Steps Repertory Ensemble, AATMA Performing Arts, Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center, Karin Stevens Dance, the Guild Dance Company, Kinesis Project Dance Theater, The Gray, PRICEArts, Coriolis Dance, Khambatta Dance Company, and Spectrum Dance Theater.    

MEET THE RDC STAFF

 

 

Markeith Wiley, Teacher, Hip Hop Program Director
Hip Hop 1, 2, 3 & 4, Hip Hop Team Director


Markeith Wiley, hailing from Long Beach, CA is a dancer, choreographer and performer who easily moves between genres and the Artistic Director of The New Animals dance company. Markeith has been teaching Hip Hop for 13 yrs. and Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz for the past 9. He is a Cornish College of the Arts graduate and City Art Future Lister. Markeith has been teaching at RDC since 2015.

Melissa Sanderson, Teacher
Toddler/Caregiver Creative Dance, Pre-Ballet, Ballet 1, 2, 3/4, Pre-Pointe & Pointe, Adult Open level Modern 


Melissa Sanderson holds a B.F.A. in Dance (2010) from San Diego State University and a M.F.A. in Dance (2014) from Texas Woman’s University. Her choreographies have been supported through the World Dance Alliance Global Summit in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, WDA’s International Young Choreographers Project in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Austin Dance Festival, Texas Dance Improvisational Festival, American College Dance Association, BOOST Dance Festival, and Full Tilt. She has danced with Coriolis Dance, Jordan Fuchs Company, The Gray, Kinesis Project Dance Theatre, and Jessica Jobaris&General Magic. She is currently an Artist in Residence at 10 Degrees. Melissa started teaching at RDC in 2018! She also teaches at Bellevue College, Eastfield College, and Tarrant County College

Shelby Kostelecky, Teacher, Acro Program Director
Acro 1 & 2/3


Shelby began doing gymnastics and dance at the age of 5. By 7, she started dancing at competitions across the west coast and found her passion for acrobatics above other genres. Shelby has competed routines choreographed by  Nappytabs and tWitch from So You Think You Can Dance. Her high school dance team, Tumwater won consecutive state and multiple national titles in Hip Hop, Pom and Jazz while Shelby was captain. After graduating from Washington State University in 2015 and moving to Seattle,  Shelby started teaching at RDC in 2018.

Sarah Alaways, Teacher
Creative Dance, Contemporary 2 & 3/4, Jazz 3 & 4, Adult Jazz/Funk


Sarah Alaways, MA Dance Performance, studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and has been teaching dance for 15 years. She has performed with Etude Ensemble (Irvine), Ad Deum II (Houston), Revolve (Houston), LEON Contemporary (Houston), and Transitions (UK) Dance Companies. Most recently, she performed in Velocity’s Bridge Project, Full Tilt 2019 (Phi Voba) and The Three Yells’ “A Crack in the Noise.” Her work has been performed in Project Dance (New York), ISAS Arts Festival (Houston), Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre (UK), Full Tilt 2019 (Seattle), Converge at the UHeights (Seattle), and 12 Minutes Max @ BASE (Seattle). Sarah also serves as a board member for Dance Educators Association of Washington. She is thankful to be a part of the RDC family!