After attending the Cecchetti International Summer School in Holland, Michigan, Blair D’Amico was invited to train at KS Dance Ltd., a professional vocational school in Greater Manchester, England. She toured and performed with the school’s company every year, working up through the ranks from corps to principal dancer. She was awarded the Best All Round Dancer Award at the Annual Choreography and Prize-Giving Ceremony, and received dancing and teaching qualifications in Cecchetti ballet and Spanish dance. She graduated from KS Dance Ltd with a Trinity College National Diploma in Professional Dance. Blair has danced roles such as Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Myrta in Giselle as well as Gamzatti Variation at Discover Ballet! with the Baltimore Ballet, and later joined BalletFleming in Philadelphia as an apprentice and then company member. She’s been a part of the Polaris Dance Company since January 2016.
Polaris Dance Company
The Polaris Dance Company choreographs and stages productions to the Greater Portland area and beyond. Artistic Director, Robert Guitron has been choreographing and teaching dance in Portland for over 30 years. Guitron’s artistic vision embodies contemporary dance flavored with aerial, hip-hop, African, and Latin influences, with a focus on social commentary. Click here to view our current season.
Polaris Company Members
Maya Felten began dancing as a young child in her hometown of Northampton, MA. She received training in classical ballet at North East American School of Dance, Pioneer Valley Ballet, and East St. Ballet, and continued to study classical and contemporary dance at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. After graduating in 2011, she joined BalletFleming, a Philadelphia-based contemporary ballet company. She moved to Seattle in 2013 and worked with a variety of artists including Stone Dance Collective in ChopShop Bodies of Work, 127th St. Dance Company, Velocity Dance Center, Ballet Bellevue, and Karin Stevens Dance. Maya moved to Portland in 2015 and is thrilled to be dancing with Polaris!
Brynn Hofer began training in modern and ballet in Washington State at Isabelle’s Dance Time. Soon after, adding jazz, lyrical and partnering technique to her studies. Brynn attended Western Washington University under scholarship and received a BFA in Dance and choreography. She graduated with honors and was the recipient of the outstanding graduate of the year award. While in college she danced works by Penny Hutchinson, Susan Haines, Nolan Dennett, and Richard Merrell, as well as performing with the Mt. Vernon Opera. Brynn was selected two years in a row, to perform a restaged work by the Liz Geering dance company, from New York. In 2015, she joined Polaris Dance Theater as a company member, and currently teaches at Polaris, and Danceworks.
A Portland local, Preeya Kannan began studying classical ballet at Classical Ballet Academy, Oregon Ballet Theatre and Portland Festival Ballet’s trainee program. In 2010 she attended Ballet Magnificat’s summer intensive on scholarship. Afforded the opportunity to study and teach dance in India, Thailand and Malaysia she began to expand her styles of dance to include classical bharatanatyam, thai, flamenco, salsa, swing, hip hop, jazz, modern, contemporary and aerial. She continued her training with Polaris Dance Theatre’s Junior Company directed by M’liss Quinnly and later in Northwest Dance Project’s Pre-Professional program. Preeya received University of Utah’s Phyllis A. Haskell scholarship for dance, and was selected for University of Utah’s Performing Dance Company. She feels eager and grateful to begin her professional career in her hometown with the talented members of Polaris Dance Theatre.
Faith Morrison was born in the tundra of Alaska and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. She completed her MFA in Dance at the University of Oregon in 2015, and received her BA in Dance and Mathematics from the University of Montana in 2010. After completing her undergraduate degrees, Faith performed as a company member with Headwaters Dance Company in Montana, and toured as a company member with Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre at the 2010 World Expo in China. Faith received Graduate Teaching Fellowships from 2012-2015 in the Dance Department at the University of Oregon where she taught Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Contact Improvisation, and Swing. In 2016, Faith received her RYT 200-Hr Yoga Teaching Certification from Yandara Yoga in Baja, Mexico. Currently, Faith is a dance and yoga instructor at several schools in Portland, and is thrilled to be performing with Polaris Dance Theatre!
Born in Barcelona, Spain, Gerard Regot started dancing while being in cinema college. He received a full scholarship to study dance at Estudi Anna Maleras and took workshops with Guido Tuveri (Art. Dir. Balletto di Sardignia), Risa Steinberg (Jose Limon), David Zambrano (flying low), among many others. He danced at Ballet Arts and Peridance Capezio Dance Center in NYC to then at the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Dance Journey and later the KCDC II on two new creations. Gerard has danced in Spain, Israel, New York and currently in Portland with Polaris Dance Theatre. Gerard has also choreographed pieces for Estudi Anna Maleras (Spain), ARQ_DNZ (Spain), Polaris Dance Theatre, Chop Shop Bodies of Work (Seattle) and KCDC Dance Journey (Israel). Gerard is thrilled to work more with the Polaris Junior Company, and continue teaching Contemporary classes at Polaris this season!
Jana Tripp received her early dance training in her hometown of Lakeland, Florida. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from Stetson University and an MFA in Dance from Florida State University. While a student, she taught dance classes for the Stetson Community School and non-majors courses for the FSU Dance Department. For the next four years, she served as the Director of Dance for the Marion County Center for the Arts at West Port High School in Ocala, Florida while performing with Mary Love Dance Projects and Falling Upward Dance Collective. After moving to Portland, she began dancing with Polaris and teaching as a STOTT Pilates certified instructor.
Melanie Verna began training in Graham Technique in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee where she toured as the youngest member of the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. She moved to the Midwest and received her primary ballet training at Minnesota Dance Theater with Lise Houlton, Marjorie Thompson and Gloria Govrin. She was a recipient of the Coca-Cola scholarship with American Ballet Theatre’s summer program and was awarded the Ailey Fellowship before choosing to take a professional contract with Minnesota Dance Theatre. Melanie danced for the company from 2003-2012 and became a principal artist in 2007 where she performed repertory by Houlton, Ashton, Tetley, Rhoden, Feld, Boykin and countless others. Melanie is thrilled to have found a dance home with Polaris and looks forward to continuing to evolve and grow as an artist with all her inspiring comrades.
Jessica Zoller received her MFA in dance while she was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in 2015 from the University of Oregon. She earned her BFA in dance performance and choreography from Western Washington University in 2007. Jessica’s choreography and performance was recognized at the 2007 American College Dance Festival Gala Concert in Montana with, Tall Tales and Short Stories. Jessica also represented the University of Oregon at the Kennedy Center for the National College Dance Festival 2014. Professionally she has performed with Pam Kuntz, Bellingham Repertory Dance Company, Portland Opera, Lane Hunter Dance, Lauren Edson, Wanderlust Circus, Pelu Theatre, Shannon Mockli and AWOL Dance Collective. Most recently, Jessica choreographed for Sojourn Theatre’s How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes at the Portland Playhouse and for Seattle, WA’s Relay Dance Collective. Jessica is excited to be working with Polaris Dance Theatre as a performer as well as an instructor.
Katherine Ammerman grew up in Prosser, Washington, where she trained in classical ballet for most of her life with her older sister Nicole Moscou of Trinity Dance Prosser. She attended Whitman Summer Dance Labs in Walla Walla, WA for five consecutive summers from 2011 to 2015, where she trained with John Passafiume and Lydia Tetzlaff of New York as well as an extensive faculty. Katherine has performed as a guest in group pieces by Barbara Caioli (127th St Dance, Seattle WA), KT Nelson and Yayoi Kambara (ODC/Dance, San Francisco), and has performed “Mercury Half Life” originally choreographed by Trey McEntire, set for the 2015 Walla Walla Dance Festival by Anne Mueller of Portland. Katherine moved to Portland in January of 2016, and has been dancing with Polaris since February. She is excited to continue working and growing with them this season!
Originally from Los Angeles, Andrea Larreta is an alumni of the Idyllwild Arts Academy. She attended SMU on scholarship and graduated in 2006 with a BFA, Cum Laude. She then moved to Seattle, where she danced for Deb Wolf, Rainbow Fletcher, Kristen Legg, DASSdance, and Coriolis Dance Collective. Andrea has been described by the Seattle Times as a, “diminutive dynamo,” and her choreography as, “the most succinct and dynamic in the show.” She is fluent in American Sign Language, and spent many years volunteering for Deaf Spotlight and HSDC. Since moving to Portland in 2015, she has danced for TransformOtion and Wild Rumpus Jazz Dance. This is Andrea’s first season with Polaris Dance Theater.
Caley Hernandez was born and raised in San Diego and began dancing seriously when she was eight, with The Dance Conservatory. At thirteen, she became the youngest member of La Diego 2, where she danced for one year under the direction of Daniel Marshall. Later, Caley found a new dance home at the Academy of Performing Arts where she earned a three year scholarship from APA’s owner and director, Kevin Charles Patterson. In 2014 Caley auditioned and received roles in San Diego Ballet’s Nutcracker production. She has also won awards in competitive dance for Showstoppers and Dance America, including an overall high score in the adult category. Her last performance in San Diego was as a company member of Visionary Dance Theatre. While living in California, Caley enjoyed teaching and choreographing for a number of studios. She recently moved to Portland and is pleased to be a part of Polaris Dance Theatre and is looking forward to her first season here!
Willow Swanson began her training with classical jazz, exploring many diverse styles before deciding to pursue dance professionally. While training at Dance Fusion Northwest in Vancouver, WA, she participated in the Young Choreographers Competition (Portland) in 2013-2015, winning overall grand prize at age 16. She has been a member of The Fuse Dance Force since 2013, and her choreography has now been performed in both Vancouver and Portland. She has had the privilege to work with many amazing teachers, including Carla Kendall-Bray, DarVejon Jones, Tony Palomino, Kemba Shannon, Ching Ching Wong, Randy Davis and Maria Tucker, and in 2015 she attended the Cornish College advanced summer program on full scholarship. She has also trained in Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Yoga in order to broaden her movement style. Willow is thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the Polaris Dance Company!
Zaji Cox began dancing when she was fifteen, enrolling in the adult Absolute Beginning Ballet workshop at the Oregon Ballet Theatre. She began seriously pursuing dance at age seventeen at the Cami Curtis Performing Arts Center in Portland, taking classes ranging from ballet and tap to contemporary and hip hop. Zaji performed as a soloist in The Nut That Cracked and as the lead role in the Coppélia ballet. After moving with her family to Albuquerque in 2012, Zaji trained in the academy of the Ballet Repertory Theatre of New Mexico while performing with the New Mexico Ballet Company for three years in productions like The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, and Spartacus. She then moved to Texas to study English and dance at the University of Houston and has now returned to Portland, very excited to dance with Polaris.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and the daughter of Polaris Dance Theatre founders Robert Guitron and Sara Anderson, Xena Guitron began dancing at the age of four. Her training spans multidisciplines including Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, Aerial, Pointe, and Hip Hop. As a child, she began her love for dance at Buckman Elementary under the influence of Chisao Hata and Keith Goodman. As a founding “Polaris Baby”, Xena’s childhood included many cameos in Polaris Dance Theatre productions. In 2013 Xena became a part of the Jefferson Dance training program studying with Steve Gonzalez, Melissa St. Claire and Kristin Bacon. Xena was a founding member of Polaris Dance Theatre’s Junior Company, training and performing under the direction of M’Liss Quinnly for five years. She enjoys working with young students and has been a Polaris camp instructor and teaching assistant since 2011. Xena is currently studying for her undergraduate degree in Psychology.