Faculty and Administration Team
Artistic/Executive Director, Owner, Ballet, IDTPG Choreographer
Mr. Kaiser started dancing when he was four years old. He is one of five brothers that made up a professional tap dancing group. The “Kaiser Brothers” grew up outside of Seattle and toured the United States throughout their childhood. Mr. Kaiser began his professional ballet career at age sixteen with Pennsylvania Ballet under the Direction of Barbara Weisberger. Mr. Kaiser returned to Seattle and joined Pacific Northwest Ballet under the direction of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. For fifteen years he performed a wide range of repertoire. Mr. Kaiser danced roles from world-renowned choreographers including George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Kent Stowell, Marius Petipa, Anthony Tudor, Lar Lubovich and Glen Tetley. Mr. Kaiser danced a very diverse repertoire from Paul Taylor’s “Company B” to George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Divertissement Pas De Deux, George Balanchine’s “Serenade” to almost every male role in Kent Stowell’s “Nutcracker” from the Prince to Drosselmeyer. In addition Mr. Kaiser enjoyed dancing Anthony Tudors “Jardin Aux Lilac”, Mercutio in Kent Stowell’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Glen Tetley’s “Voluntaries.”
After retiring, Mr. Kaiser was appointed Ballet Master with Oregon Ballet Theatre and later promoted to Associate Artistic Director under the direction of James Canfield. While at the Oregon Ballet Theatre Mr. Kaiser staged works choreographed by James Canfield, George Balanchine, Donald Byrd, Robert Joffrey, David Parsons and Val Caniparoli.
Mr. Kaiser has an extensive teaching background throughout the United States that includes Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Dance Educators of America, Tulsa Ballet and many more.
Mr. Kaiser’s ties to the ballet world can be felt throughout the United States. His older brother Roy Kaiser, was the Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia for over twenty years. His younger brother Russell danced with New York City Ballet and is now Assistant Artistic Director for Boston Ballet. Ken and Dan Kaiser are both Artistic Directors of ballet schools and regional companies.
Mr. Kaiser was appointed Artistic Director of Evergreen City Ballet (ECB) in January 2008 and recently resigned his position to fulfill other exciting opportunities within the industry. Mr. Kaiser has choreographed many original works while bringing in new choreographers such as Kiyon Gaines and Price Suddarth from PNB to create new works for the Performance Division. Mr Kaiser enjoys bringing in guest faculty such as Lindsi Dec, Jonathan Porretta, James Moore, Jerome and Laura Tisserand and others from throughout the country to allow students a broader outlook on dance. Mr. Kaiser believes anyone who wants to learn dance should have the opportunity to do so. Mr. Kaiser began an outreach program in 2009 that had reached over 40,000 underprivileged students throughout the region. Mr. Kaiser is excited to bring his years of dedication and experience in the field of dance to IDT and this rapidly growing area of the Northwest.
Program Director, Ballet, Contemporary, IDTPG Choreographer
Danielle Wilkins is from Kentucky where she trained for ten years at the Louisville Ballet School as well as attending The Youth Performing Arts High School. In her Junior year she attended The Joffrey Ballet School’s Summer Intensive which inspired her passion to dance in New York. She received her BFA degree in dance pedagogy from the University of Hartford Hartt School of Music, during which she performed at the Kennedy Center as a soloist in Jean Grand Maitre’s Uroborus. Danielle trained in NYC at The Alvin Ailey School and The Limon Institute and worked professionally in New York with Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Mary Seidman and Dancers, Mimi Garrard Dance Company, and danced in a site specific project at Grand Central Station with choreographer Steven Koplowitz. After moving to Seattle in 2003 she worked with Marco Carrabba, Seattle Jazz Dance, and Spectrum Dance Theater; in which she performed in PNB’s Celebrate Seattle Festival at McCaw Hall and the Spoleto Festival in Italy. Danielle appeared as a “Shark girl” in the 5th Avenue Theater’s production of West Side Story and danced under the direction of Peggy Hickey in The Seattle Opera’s production of The Pearl Fisher’s. Danielle danced with DASSdance for eleven seasons performing several times at Diane von Furstenberg-The Theater and in many Festivals including the D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival NYC and Dance Now Festival at the Joyce Soho. Danielle served as the Assistant Artistic Director at Whidbey Island Dance Theatre and as the Ballet Mistress for Evergreen City Ballet. Danielle has been teaching Ballet & Contemporary for over 15 years.
School Administrative Director, IDTPG Manager, Ballet, Children's Program
Hailey Watters, born and raised in Seattle has been studying dance for most of her life and has had the opportunity to train, perform, and travel all around the United States honing her craft. Hailey studied at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City for two years and went on to receive her B.A. in Creative Studies with a concentration in Dance from the University of Washington. She has interned at the The John F. Kennedy Center in the “Performing Arts for Everyone”/Millennium Stage department in Washington D.C. where she assisted in the production of a host of multidisciplinary performances. She also had the pleasure of interning at Dance/USA where she helped plan their 2015 Annual Conference in Miami, FL. Before joining IDT Hailey worked at Pacific Northwest Ballet School as an Administrative Assistant.
Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Children’s Program, IDTPG Choreographer
Amy was born and raised in the Vancouver, British Columbia area. After choosing dance over intensive gymnastics at the age of 9 she began training in various styles, including classical ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and contemporary dance. She danced competitively in Canada, Seattle and New York City (NYCDA Nationals) receiving numerous awards and scholarships to train at professional studios in Los Angeles such as Edge and Tremaine studios. As a member of Rachael Poirier’s pre-professional company Danzmode, Amy had opportunities to perform at various festivals, clubs and concerts including Lollapalooza throughout her high school dance career.
She is a proud graduate of the University of Utah’s internationally recognized Department of Modern Dance where she studied with master teachers and choreographers such as Shari Lane, Abby Fiat, Stephen Koester and Doug Elkins. As part of the University’s Performing Dance Companyshe was able to perform repertory and new, original works and was honored to be a featured dancer her senior year. Throughout her 12 year teaching career Amy has gained valuable experience teaching at private studios, and public schools.
As a certified K-12 dance instructor she has directed dance programs and developed curriculum for public middle and high school dance programs in Miami and Arizona. Before coming to Issaquah Dance Theatre, her extensive experience as a dancer/performer, choreographer, program director, and dance instructor qualified her to serve as a core faculty member at the highly respected Ballet Nova Center for Dance in Falls Church Virginia, where she was a revered instructor of jazz, contemporary dance, hip-hop, introductory ballet, and creative movement. Amy is dedicated to educating and mentoring dancers in a positive, caring, yet challenging environment, where they can learn, grow, and take risks.
Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Teen, BOMA (Best Of My Abilities) Children’s Program, IDTPG Choreographer
Emmy teaches compassion, creativity, and communication through the art of dance. She has professionally performed and taught ballet, pointe, jazz lyrical, contemporary, salsa, partnering, and hip hop for the past ten years across the USA and Kenya, focusing on dance as a tool to break down barriers and build communities. Emmy has experienced first-hand the life changing effects of dance, and her gratitude shines brightly in her teaching style.
Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Children’s Program, IDTPG Choreographer
Shannon comes from Salt Lake City, Utah and has studied dance since the age of 5. She has trained in Korean folk dance, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, and Modern Dance. She also had the opportunity to study at the EDGE Dance studio, Performing Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Dance New Amsterdam, Joffrey Ballet School, Parson’s Dance Company Summer Program, The School at Jacob’s Pillow, and American Dance Festival. Mrs. Adams graduated Cum Laude in 2004 from the University of Utah with a BFA in Modern Dance. At the University of Utah, she performed with Performing Dance Company and as a guest performer with Utah Ballet.
Shannon has a great love and passion for teaching. She has taught and choreographed for various studios and high-schools in Utah and most recently for Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, Texas. Outside of dance, Shannon loves being in the outdoors, cooking, learning new languages, being involved in her church community, and traveling with her husband, Sam. Shannon is honored and excited to continue teaching at IDT as a very loved, veteran teacher!
Born and raised in Washington Kirsten started her dance career at the age of 10 where she was a competitive drill team dancer. As she grew, she also became a competitive cheerleader and a Level 5 gymnast. She has performed in a singing, drama and dance touring group and has been the creator and choreographer for her own hip-hop company for children. She has coached gymnastics as well as cheer at Cascade Elite Gymnastics. She was a co- head coach for Roosevelt High School Cheer Squad focusing on tumbling and stunting. For the past 5 years she has been a hip-hop instructor at Woodinville Dance Academy and in the past 4 years has created and grown the Acro program there. Kirsten has a very big passion for dance as well as working with children and is so excited to join the IDT family!
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, John is a purebred Emerald City Seattlite. Ever since the age of 8, John has been tapping his toes after being influenced by legends such as Gregory Hines, Fred Astaire, and of course, Gene Kelly. Starting off in tap, he then moved into ballet, jazz, and hip-hop. But tap dancing was always his number one love. At the age of 13 is when the drama bug hit when he started attending Roosevelt high school in Seattle, and musical theatre opened up a whole new world. John started working professionally in theatre straight out of school with companies such as the 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle Opera, Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Village Theatre with roles such as Mark in “A Chorus Line”, Eddie Ryan in “Funny Girl”, Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and his favorite, Don Lockwood In “Singin’ In The Rain”. It wasn’t until just a couple years ago that John developed a love for teaching dance. He worked in childcare from 2008 to 2015 and it was there that his talents for communication and teaching really grew. John uses his experience in both professional theatre and childcare towards his teachings. In his classes you don’t just learn the steps. You learn style, technique, improv, and how to tell a story through your movement.
Hip Hop, IDTPG Choreographer
Charles Carson has always had a passion for movement, starting with pop-locking, waving, and freestyle. Krump has also influenced his style for over thirteen years and has helped him master sharpness and precision. In 2012 he left the Krump scene and started local events like World of Dance, all styles battles, and working towards booking jobs as a dancer & choreographer. He trained at Koncrete dance studios with Isaiah Munoz a heavy hitter in the hip hop genre and member of AOM, as well as with Chapter1NE with Daniel Jerome. Since then he has pursued his career in dance and has taught at various dance studios, he continues to build, progress, and grow in his craft. Presently he is teaching at multiple dance studios and continuing to build his resume and biography in what he loves doing and that is dance.
Chessa began her dance training at Pacific Northwest Ballet, before leaving to study with a private instructor. After several years, she moved to study with Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorbulev at Olympic Ballet Theatre, where she placed in Classical and Contemporary sections at the semifinals of Youth America Grand Prix. She has been awarded scholarships to and attended programs at Ballet Chicago, Oklahoma City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and VIVO Ballet (Rome, Italy) among others.
Natalie Dukane Contemporary, Hip Hop, Children's Division, IDTPG Choreographer
Originally from Redmond Washington, Natalie DuKane started training at an early age of 3. Continuing her love for dance she attended the University of Idaho in 2004 where she was a finalist at the 2008 American College Dance Festival for both performance and choreography.
Graduating in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics and Dance she has since been a guest instructor and competition judge throughout the Pacific Northwest including the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, American College Dance Festival and Technical Moves Dance Competition. Although familiar with many dance genres, Natalie's classes focus on hip hop, contemporary/lyrical, jazz, and musical theater. She has a wide range of knowledge including recreational dance, studio competition, and concert dance. She is also versed Labanotation, the standard of historical dance notation.
Beyond dance, Natalie is active in the music industry and specializes in music marketing. Through her internet radio company, she works with many retail chains from Spirit Halloween to Taco Bell, and various organizations including Warner Brothers Records, Universal Records, and Music Biz, formerly known as the Association for National Record and Merchants.
Allison Kelly - Tap
Allison is IDT’s new tap teacher and she is beyond thrilled to join the IDT family.
Her love for dance began at a young age under the tutelage of Anita Johnstone, owner of Highland Dance Academy and she continued studying the Royal Academy Dance techniques until graduating high school in 2016. Along the way, Allison discovered her home within the jazz and tap world through dancing with Kelsey Ruth and Sarah Bordenet at Cascade Dance Academy. Allison taught ballet, tap, and jazz at HDA during her final two years of high school and throughout college. Allison recently graduated with a Bachelors of the Fine Arts in Dance at Seattle’s Cornish College.
Naomi Bray - Ballet, Hip Hop, Children's Division
Naomi grew up in the dance studio watching her mother take & teach ballet class. She began ballet at the age of six and was accepted into Pacific Northwest Ballet school when she turned eight. Naomi had the privilege of performing for 6 years in their Stowell/Steinbeck Nutcracker including the leading role of Clara. Over the last several summers she has attended intensive ballet programs with American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet and University of Utah. At Issaquah Dance Theater Naomi has performed leading roles in Giselle, Nutcracker and Swan Lake. After several years of assisting teachers, Naomi began her teaching career at Dance Premier in 2017. She is so excited to be entering her 2nd season with IDT.
Rachel Foster - Ballet
Rachel is from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School. She joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1998 and joined Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2002. Rachel recently retired from her impressive career at PNB. We are thrilled to have her teaching at IDT.
Dakota Harwood - Jazz, Contemporary, Acro
Dancer, photographer, and makeup artist Dakota Elizabeth got her start in Seattle and is thrilled to be returning to her hometown as an educator. She began as a state-ranked gymnast at Gymnastics East before transitioning to dance. Dakota trained primarily at Premiere Dance Center, Westlake, and The Connection (now KreativMndz), specializing in contemporary, hip hop, and tap. She learned from some of the industry’s brightest including Daniel Cruz, Kolanie Marks, Cameron Lee, Melissa Farrar, and Josh Scribner. After earning her degree from the University of Washington, Dakota moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a photographer and makeup artist for companies such as Break the Floor and several independent films. Dakota is excited to be joining IDT!
Emily Pihlaja - Ballet
Emily received her early dance training from the New England Academy of Dance. She attended the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. where she graduated in 2009. She then moved to Portland where she performed for four seasons with Oregon Ballet Theatre. She also performed in New York with Thomas/Ortiz Dance. Emily is in her 6th season with Spectrum Dance Theater under the Direction of Donald Byrd.