Markeith Wiley, Teacher
Hip Hop 1, 2 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. This is Markeith's second year at RDC!

MEET THE RDC STAFF

 

 

Cristen Klaja, Assistant Director
Ballet/Tap combos, Hip Hop/Acro combo, Ballet 1, 1/2 and 3/4, Pre-pointe, Tap 2, 3, Contemporary 2

​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 Cooper
Creative Dance, Pre-Ballet, Ballet/Tap Combos, Ballet 2, 3, 4, Pointe

Ellen Cooper 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 is a member of Khambatta Dance Company, where she performs modern and contemporary dance both locally and nationally. In addition to performing, Ellen loves working with youth of all ages. She teaches with Pacific Northwest Ballet in their DISCOVER DANCE program as well as teaching ballet and creative dance in several local studios. Ellen has been teaching at RDC since 2013.
Jenna Mitchell, Owner, Dance Team Director
Toddler/Caregiver Creative Dance, Jazz/1, 2, 3, 4, Pre-Contemporary, Contemporary 1, Musical Theater, Dance team

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.

 

Denise Smithhisler, Teacher
Ballet/AcroCombo, Tap 1


Denise started dancing at the age of 7. At 23, she opened her own dance studio which she ran for 31 years. She taught Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Acrobatics and Musical Theater to students ages 3 to 65. Her students have performed at Disneyland twice, a Seahawks half time, 3 Sonic’s games, Silverwood Theme Park and numerous community events. She has had the opportunity to study Tap with Tony award winners Henry LeTang and has attended numerous dance conventions. Mia Micheals is her all-time favorite instructor. Denise has been teaching at RDC since 2014.

Brittany Mattox, Teacher
Acro 1, 2


Brittany Mattox was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent the first seven years of her life training in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz at Northwest Ballet Academy, as well as gymnastics at Buffalo Grove Gymnastics center. At eight years old she moved to Florida to continue her gymnastics training under Sasha and Olga Babakin at International Gold Gymnastics, where she was nationally ranked and learned the skills to apply to her now acro career. While she trained in gymnastics, she continued her Ballet and Jazz training at Saba, in Tallahassee, Florida. At 13 years old after moving to Moscow, Idaho, Brittany started training heavily in Hip Hop, as well as duel enrolling in Ballet at the University of Idaho throughout her entire high school career. At 18 years old Brittany moved to Seattle,  to continue her training and start her career as a professional dancer. She now has been a member of a Jazz/Contemporary compan,y 3rd Shift Dance, under the direction of Xaviera Vandermay. For the past four years, she has been the dance captain and choreographer for “Magnifique” - a burlesque/jazz cabaret variety show at Julia’s on Broadway, and has various teaching and back up dancing credentials within the city of Seattle.