Josie Johnson, Director – Ballet
Josie trained at Orange County Ballet Theatre, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she received a B.F.A. in Dance Pedagogy. She danced with Dance Connecticut/Hartford Ballet, Connecticut Opera, Roxey Ballet, and ARC Dance Productions. Guest credits include Eliot Feld’s Mr. XYZ with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Kirk Peterson’s The Nutcracker with the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. Josie has taught and choreographed extensively throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, and Western Washington. She and her husband Ken are Co-Artistic Directors of Ballet Northwest.
She is an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher, successfully completing the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum in New York. Johansen Olympia Dance Center is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 8 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development.
Ken Johnson, Director – Ballet
Ken trained at Johansen School of Ballet, Evergreen City Ballet, and the School of Hartford Ballet. He attended summer programs at American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet on scholarship. Ken danced with Hartford Ballet, Dance Connecticut, and Connecticut Opera, as well as at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Following his retirement from performing, Ken received a B.A. from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. In addition to teaching dance, Ken has worked extensively in fundraising for American Repertory Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Connecticut, ACT Theatre, and Tacoma Art Museum. Ken and his wife Josie are also Co-Artistic Directors of Ballet Northwest.
He is an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher, successfully completing the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum in New York. Johansen Olympia Dance Center is proud to include the AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE National Training Curriculum, a breakthrough 8 level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development.
TYLER CANTRELL – hip-hop
Tyler has taught at the 5678 Dance Studio, Breaking Point Dance Company, and Just for Kicks. He has performed with the Breaking Point Dance Company, and attended dance conferences such as Monsters of Hip-Hop, Hollywood Connection, Hollywood Vibe, Tremaine, and Encore.
DANA CHYNOWETH – PRE-BALLET, PARENT/CHILD
Dana most recently operated her own dance studio, and taught at Evergreen City Ballet for many years where she also rehearsed dancers in their roles for The Nutcracker. Dana has trained at Spectrum Dance Theater and Cornish College of the Arts.
Jennifer Dobson – Pre-Ballet, Hip-Hop
Jennifer is a life-long Olympia area resident. She trained at Johansen School of Ballet and has danced with Ballet Northwest for many years. In recognition of her service to the company, she recently was honored with the Becky Jo Hellman Award. Jennifer has attended dance teacher workshops at Pacific Northwest Ballet and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. A mother of two sons, she has also operated her own childcare business, and creates all of Ballet Northwest’s headpieces.
Chrissy Drabek – Jazz, Tap
Chrissy was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and trained in Broadway-style tap, hip-hop, jazz, and ballet. She also choreographed drill team competition routines and was a member of a competitive Houston drill team. A national first runner-up soloist, Chrissy moved to Washington, D.C. where she learned street tap and was a member of the TAPestry performance dance company. Since moving to Olympia, Chrissy has choreographed for the Black Hills Dance Team and has actively been interested in promoting dance in the community by participating in various festivals and events. Her lifelong dream would be to dance around the globe learning all forms of dance from Irish to Tango.
Eryn goldstein – BALLET, modern
Eryn began her dance training at Southwest Washington Dance Center in Centralia, Washington. In high school, Eryn trained at Johansen Olympia Dance Center, and performed with Ballet Northwest. Eryn is a graduate of the Hartt School at the University of Hartford, where she obtained a B.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy. She has performed works by Jose Limon, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and others. Eryn attended summer programs at Northwest Dance Project, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and the Henny Jurriëns Stichting in Amsterdam. Her choreography was recently presented at Shapeshifter Lab in Brookyln, NY.
Xijun Fu – Ballet
Originally from Qingdao, China, Xijun Fu began his professional ballet dance training at age 12 with the Beijing Dance Academy. He danced as a Soloist with the National Ballet of China, Ballet de Santiago in Chile, and Cincinnati Ballet. He won 3rd prize in China’a first ballet competition, and appeared in the PBS special Dance for Two Countries, filmed in China. After he finished his brilliant dance career, Mr. Fu directed Kentucky Ballet Theatre, Lexington Ballet, Ballet Under the Stars, and Summer Flight Ballet. Mr. Fu and his wife, Fang Li, are the owners of FUZI International.
Elizabeth Harrington – Ballet substitute
Elizabeth began her dance training at the Vonder Haar Center for Performing Arts. She later trained at Studio West Dance Academy and attended Ballet West’s Summer Intensive Program in Salt Lake City, UT. She then joined Ballet Northwest and performed in its 2015/16 season. In the summer of 2016 she performed with ARC Dance Company in Seattle. Elizabeth has attended several dance teacher training and anatomy courses around the country. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences through Washington State University and plans to pursue her Master’s in Occupational Therapy.
Bud Johansen – Ballet
Bud studied at the Andahazy School of Ballet in Minnesota, and in New York City with Fredric Franklin, Edward Caton, and Yurik Lazowski, among others. He worked with several schools and ballet companies in Minnesota, and was the Chairman of the Ballet Department at College of St. Theresa. Bud served as the Artistic Director of Ballet Northwest for 35 years, co-founded Johansen School of Ballet, and was on the faculty of The Evergreen State College for nearly 30 years. Bud has choreographed a broad range of productions including ballets, jazz, and musicals.
Mary Johansen – Ballet
Mary trained with numerous teachers across the country, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Theresa with concentrations in Ballet and Music. Mary danced with Minnesota Collegiate Ballet, Southern Minnesota Regional Ballet, and Ballet Northwest. In Minnesota she taught at the Cynthia Hart Hudspith School of Ballet, College of St. Theresa, St. John’s School, and operated her own ballet school. In Washington, she has taught at The Evergreen State College, Centralia College, and Johansen School of Ballet which she co-founded and directed for 35 years.
Erika Meier – Stretch & Strengthen
Erika is a registered yoga instructor that trained through Great Heart Yoga. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Puget Sound and attended graduate school at Seattle Pacific University. Her family has called Olympia home for the past five years.
Erika looks at whole body health as a life-long focus. Her background includes ballet, gymnastics, strength training, Pilates, and yoga. Combining her knowledge of anatomy and interest in alignment, she supports individuals’ mobility as they connect with their own bodies.
GIDEON NEWKIRK – BOYS DANCE CONDITIONING
Gideon has taught at Southwest Washington Dance Centre, and has performed with Southwest Washington Dance Ensemble and Ballet Northwest. He is also a Licensed Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Gymnastics Coach.
RACHAEL Parnell – CONTEMPORARY, ballet
Rachael Parnell trained with Johansen Olympia Dance Center and danced with Ballet Northwest, where she strengthened her dance technique and developed artistry. She graduated from the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School with a BFA in Dance Performance with an emphasis in Ballet Pedagogy. Rachael has worked with renowned teachers and choreographers including Hilda Morales, Nina Watt, Gregory Dolbashian, Take Ueyama, Charlotte Griffin, Donald Byrd, Peggy Lyman, Hellen Pickett, and Stephen Pier.
Tami Palmer – Tap, Ballet
Tami started tap and jazz dance lessons at the age of 4 and has been dancing ever since. In the late 70’s she moved to Olympia to study dance at The Evergreen State College and danced with Ballet Northwest for 9 years. She has taught at Johansen’s for over 20 years, including beginning ballet and tap.
Billie Jean Pineda – Hip-Hop
Bio to come.
linda robb – pre-ballet, PARENT/CHILD
Growing up in a military family, Linda received her dance training all over the world. She graduated from The Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree with main focus on the performing arts, and performed with Ballet Northwest. For five summers Linda studied at the Bill Evans Summer Dance Intensive for teachers. She has also attended workshops with renowned Kinesiology professor Karen Clippinger, and trained at the Summer Dance Institute at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle. Linda has taught at the studio for over twenty five years.
barbara rowe – downs’ at dance, creative dance
Barbara completed her classical ballet training and major examination with the Royal Academy of Dance in South Africa. She joined the Jazzart Contemporary Dance Company in Cape Town, South Africa in 1978 as a dancer and teacher, and has guest taught throughout the world. A teacher and studio owner for over 30 years, Barbara enjoys a wide spectrum of teaching from Musically Me, an interactive infant/toddler class with parents to creative movement, ballet, and jazz. Barbara has also enjoyed the privilege of teaching dance classes to students with special needs for over a decade.
Ann Sanders – Ballet
Ann Sanders received her early training at Johansen School of Ballet and Festival Dance Academy. For high school she attended the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts, and also trained during the summer at the School of American Ballet and Hungarian Dance Academy in Budapest, Hungary. She completed her training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Ann received Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Washington State University. Ann has also attended the Summer Dance Institute at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle.