Faculty at DanceWorks comprise of Portland’s best dance teachers. Meeting DanceWork’s staff before a class is a great idea. Especially for younger students who have never taken a dance lesson before. DanceWorks is always accepting new applications for faculty members. Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Tap and Kids Classes. Please submit your resume HERE!

Karen Cannon – Director

Born and educated in England, Karen has her dance qualifications and teaching certificate in Classical Ballet, Tap, and Jazz from The International Dance Teachers Association (AIDTA). She spent 10 years touring the world as a professional dancer and choreographer and has been teaching dance for 30 years. Karen’s students have gone on to achieve placement in many prestigious programs, including Julliard, University of Arizona, Point Park University, and Cornish College of The Arts. Her daughter, Lauren Cannon, who received her dance education at DanceWorks and is herself an award-winning choreographer, recently completed The National Tour of “West Side Story” as the lead female Jet, Graziella and is currently performing at Radio City Music Hall in New York City production of “Radio City Christmas Spectacular!”
Under Karen’s direction, the Studio’s competition groups have gone on to achieve national recognition at events such as ADA, NYCDA, Onstage, and Tremaine. Karen established DanceWorks Dance Studio in 1993 and looks forward to this season and many, many more.

Chris Cannon – Operations Director

Chris Cannon grew up in Vancouver, WA. He is a graduate from Point Park University with a BFA in Musical Theatre. His performing regional credits include the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Public Theatre and world premier of Streets of America by Tony Award winner Michael Rupert. His theatrical credits in New York include off-Broadway, National and International tours. At DanceWorks he manages all digital/social media, logistical operations and building maintenance.

Lauren Cannon – Teacher

Lauren Cannon is originally from Vancouver, WA where she received her training at DanceWorks Performing Arts. She attended University of Arizona as a Dance Major before moving to New York City to pursue her professional career. Since moving, she has toured nationally and internationally with West Side Story, as well as in a regional production at Ogunquit Playhouse. She has spent two seasons dancing at Radio City Music Hall in the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes and performed with James Corden in the 2016 Tony Awards. She danced on the National Tour of WICKED, The Musical for three years before joining the Broadway Company in 2020. Lauren has also been recognized for her choreography across the US and can be seen teaching for New York City Dance Alliance. She is currently the associate musical stager & Swing covering both male and female tracks for the new Broadway revival of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’, which premiered at the Old Globe in San Diego in April 2022. You can currently see her back with the Broadway company of WICKED starting July 2022.

Olivia Ashdown – Teacher

Olivia started dancing when she was about three years old and went from studio dancing to musical theatre, and then eventually dancing for high school dance team, which she co-captained and choreographed for. She danced on studio competitive teams, ranging in styles from; lyrical, contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, hip-hop, acro, etc. Olivia has studied ballet through the ABT curriculum, musical theatre locally continuing to dance in shows such as; Annie, Shrek the Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Spamalot. During this time she learned  a lot about partner work & breath work in order to strongly and confidently sing and dance. Having the opportunity to be taught by such passionate artists in her life truly formed her mindset as a performer and young artist. She is excited to share her skills with DanceWorks dancers!

Maddie Bandit – Teacher

Maddie was born in Naples, Florida where she began her dance training at the age of five. She started dancing competitively at nine years old and continued after moving to Vancouver, Washington. Maddie eventually found DanceWorks and trained there as a company member and ballet student. Maddie graduated in 2023 from Union High School and will graduate from Clark College at the end of this year. Last season she worked at the front desk and as a substitute dance teacher at DanceWorks. Maddie began teaching at her previous studio when she was fifteen and is very excited to start her journey as an official DanceWorks teacher!

Lacy Clark – Desk Staff

Lacy is thrilled to be working at DanceWorks and looks forward to meeting all the studio families.

Alyssa Hofmann – Teacher

Alyssa started dancing at DanceWorks when she was three-years-old. At 16, she moved with her family to Seattle where she had the opportunity to experience other instructors’ styles of dance. She has had roles in the ballets “The Nutcracker,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Cinderella.” Alyssa is currently a First Grade teacher at Castle Rock Primary.

Matt Kelley – Desk Staff

Matthew Kelley was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he participated in soccer and was a member of Scouting America, earning his Eagle Scout award. He attended Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Following graduation, Matthew worked as an ETL Developer prior to relocating to Portland, Oregon. Matthew then obtained a Master of Science in Database Administration & Design, and is currently working as a Database Administrator for a company that supports K-12 students and teachers in cultivating a healthier relationship with technology through education. Matthew is thrilled to join the DanceWorks team and is eager to contribute to the growth of the students and their families.

Jazy LiDrazzah – Teacher

Jazy is originally from Vancouver, WA and has been dancing since she was three years old. She joined DanceWorks as a company member when she was six and danced competitively for 12 years. She graduated from VSAA with a focus in dance and literary arts in 2021, and graduated with her associates degree in 2023. Since graduating high school, she’s gotten to take class and perform in New York and Arizona and is currently dancing in Portland. She is very excited for her first season as a teacher at DanceWorks!

Roxy Manesh – Desk Staff

Is a working attorney in Camas, Washington serving the greater Clark County area. She is an practicing Irish Dancer and has been part of the DanceWorks team for many years.

Jennifer McKay – Teacher

Jennifer started tap dancing at age 6 after falling in love with the art form. She competed in local and national competitions and was a part of a national championship winning group during her tenure in competitive dance. She has participated in many tap festivals including the Vancouver BC Tap Festival, and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. She also had the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland to participate in the annual Fringe International Arts Festival. Jennifer was selected to perform in an International Choreographers Showcase in Guatemala City, Guatemala, which is her personal highlight of her tap dancing career. Jennifer is currently a member of Beat Bangerz, a Portland, Oregon based professional tap dance company and is very active in the Portland tap community.

Ellee Nichols – Teacher

Ellee grew up in Vancouver, WA and trained at multiple studios. She started dancing seriously at age 13 and trained in hip hop, acro, ballet and pointe, jazz, and contemporary. Ellee also attended VSAA with a focus on dance and band. She started teaching dance in July of 2021 and is currently studying to eventually become an elementary school teacher.

Julia Ostrovskaia Contreras – Teacher

Julia is a graduate of the Rambert School in London and has spent the last 5 years dancing around Europe and Israel. She is back in the Northwest and very excited to reconnect with the dancers here! Most of Julia’s training has focused on classical technique under Russian teachers, however, she is also well versed in contemporary dance. Julia enjoys working with students of all ages and abilities and focuses on a clean, classical approach that emphasizes covering space and traveling beyond one’s comfort limits.

Savannah Quinn – Teacher

Savannah is an experienced fitness professional in the Portland Metro area holding a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. Savannah also has a life-long background in ballet and has had professional dance experience in her late teens and early twenties with the Eugene Ballet Company. After her dance career ended Savannah became the director of a local Tumbling and Acrobatics studio in Tualatin and later transitioned to teaching in local gyms and dance studios as well as virtually. With a strong understanding of biomechanics, paired with her experience in acrobatics and ballet, Savannah teaches children how to succeed in dance in ways that are safe for their growing bodies.

Amy Russell – Teacher

Amy Russell was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she studied and danced competitively. She continued her training at Western Michigan University, where she graduated from the Lee Honors College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and a minor in entrepreneurship in 2018. Amy has also received training from artists at the Pillow Project, METdance Company, SALT Contemporary Dance, and the American College Dance Festival, where she has presented choreography. She has performed the work of artists like Brendan Duggan, Adam McGaw, and Katie Burks, as well as performed at theme park Kings Island. Amy is excited to share her knowledge and love of dance with the next generation of artists and professionals.