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Portland’5 Centers for the Arts Newmark Theatre April 20-22, 2022 













STAGE MANAGER Jamie Lynne Simons



John Kearney, Inez Schoedinger, Sophie Glass, Sydney Haynes, Finn Hadd, Eli Bryan, 

Kaelei Wilford, Henry Roth



Evan Haynes, Nya Brown, Akayla Cole, Addyson Razo, Nasia Fitz, Finn Chisholm, 

Conlan Savalli-Smith, Amira Quaranto-Aziz, Piper Bott, Payton Nabors-Hilburn


Jefferson High School/Middle College for Advanced Studies 5210 North Kerby Avenue Portland, OR 97217–2656

 Phone: (503) 916-5180 


DEAR FRIENDS:                        

Welcome! For the past 24 years I have had the privilege of directing the Jefferson Dancers, the longest running dance company in Portland. Every year presents new experiences and learning opportunities for the dancers and me. This year has been no exception; it has been an incredibly busy one. In early March, we had the opportunity to participate in the 2023 National High School Dance Festival in Pittsburgh. We’re confident that during the performances you are about to enjoy, you will be as moved as the audiences who gave them standing ovations at the festival.            

I want to personally congratulate Jefferson Dancers John Kearney and Eli Bryan. Both senior members were given the opportunity to present their pieces You’ll Be Happy and Altitude Sickness in the Outstanding Student Choreography Showcase at the National High School Dance Festival. John Kearney’s piece, You’ll Be Happy, received the highest honor and was awarded first place out of the 11 student choreographed pieces. And Eli Bryan’s piece, Altitude Sickness, was honorable mention and received third place. Having two pieces win in the showcase is an achievement that had yet to be achieved by any high school in the nation until this year—and Jefferson Dancers accomplished it! We are all so incredibly proud of them. It’s a privilege to work with such a wonderful group of students. Their dedication, motivation, and work ethic prove that even the challenging years of lockdown and virtual learning can’t hold back the power of the language of dance.

Congratulations are also due to the many other Jefferson Dancers who were awarded scholarships to various colleges and summer intensives.                    

On another note, there are seven seniors in the Company this year. While we will be very sad to see them leave, we’re excited for them to start their new adventures. Many of our senior Jefferson Dancers have received prestigious college acceptances:                

• First-year company member Evan Haynes is planning on attending Oregon State University to study Engineering and Business while continuing his career in the arts.

• Second-year company member Eli Bryan is planning on attending Emerson College to major in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

• Third-year company member Sydney Haynes will be attending University of Oregon to major in Human Physiology, with a minor in Dance.    

• Third-year company member Finn Hadd will be taking a gap year to travel abroad and possibly attend community college or go into a trade program.

• Third-year company member Sophie Glass is planning on attending Point Park University to pursue a Modern Dance BFA.

• Fourth-year company member, Inez Schodinger is planning on attending University of Oregon to pursue a Dance BFA with a minor in Anthropology.

• Fourth-year company member John Kearney is planning on attending University of Southern California to pursue a Musical Theatre BFA with a minor in Dance.

I wish them all the best. As with the many Jefferson Dancers alumni, the training these incredible students have received at Jefferson has prepared them well to do great things.            


Steve Gonzales                                                    


THE JEFFERSON DANCERS is the elite dance company of the nationally known dance department at Jefferson High School. For 47 years, the company has comprised the school’s most advanced students who come for dance training. It is a multi-ethnic company of 18 dancers, ages 14–18.The program is dedicated to physically and mentally preparing students for performing arts careers. In this professional dance company environment, they begin to understand both the responsibility of their role and the rewards of contributing to a product of exceptional quality.                    

Unlike most dance companies, Jefferson Dancers perform works in many dance styles. The Company repertoire includes more than 200 works of modern, tap, ballet, jazz, African, ethnic, hip-hop, aerial, and musical theater dances. These are choreographed by nationally recognized choreographers including Lowell Smith, Donald McKayle, Moses Pendleton, Josie Moseley, Steve Zee, Joseph Webb, Bruce Smith, Raymond Sawyer, Royston Maldoom, Sarah Slipper, Brian Sanders, Brian Simerson, Davis Robertson, Linda Sohl-Donnell, Brenda Buffalino, Van “The Man” Porter, Derell “Sekou Soumah” Walker, Durante Lambert, Thomas Yale, Gerran Reese, Kevin Paul Clark, Sara Mishler Martins, Michael Munday, Charlotte Faillard, Kristi Bacon-Trad, Demetria Bunky Holden-Williams, Rachel Slater, and Artistic Director, Steve Gonzales. Guest artists such as Broadway tap star Honi Coles, The Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Alwin Nikolais have held workshops and conducted full-length residencies. Recent workshops include Ballet Boyz, Herve Kobi, MOMIX Dance Theatre, and Cloud Gate.        

Dancers for the Company are auditioned in the spring, and those selected make a commitment to perform with the group for one school year. They are expected to attend at least 1.5 hours of technique class and 3 hours of rehearsal five days a week. In order to develop their technical skills to a performance level, numerous lecture-demonstrations, community performances, and concerts are booked. In previous years, the Company has performed internationally in Russia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, and China. By providing students with these diverse performing experiences, they are better prepared for the professional world of dance. The progress of their skills is reviewed after each performance. Students are given constructive feedback and are evaluated on how they apply the feedback, their performance quality, musicality, and technical application.                    

Former Jefferson Dancers have gone on to study at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Juilliard, SUNY Purchase, North Carolina School of the Arts, CAL Arts, Philadelphia School of Performing Arts, Alvin Ailey--through Fordham University, Cornish College, and many more. Our graduates are performing all over the world with professional companies including MOMIX Dance Theatre, Merce Cunningham, Spectrum Dance Theatre, Luna Negra Dance Theatre in Chicago, Batsheva Dance Company, and Vertigo Dance Theatre in Israel. They are also performing in Broadway productions including Guys and Dolls, Movin’ Out, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, and Legally Blonde. The Company has come full circle since one of its former dancers, Steve Gonzales, took over as artistic director in 1999. 





CHOREOGRAPHY: Steve Gonzales

MUSIC: Dead Can Dance

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: Full Company


INTERLUDE 1- Piper Bott / Henry Roth / Payton Nabors-Hilburn




MUSIC: Jóhann Jóhannsson / Hildur Guðnadóttir

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: Sophie Glass / John Kearney / Eli Bryan / Inez Schoedinger / Finn Hadd / Sydney Haynes / Evan Haynes / Kaelei Wilford / Finn Chisholm / Piper Bott


INTERLUDE 2 - Akayla Cole


DREAM 2022

CHOREOGRAPHY: Durante Lambert

MUSIC: Nicki Minaj / Beyoncé / Todrick Hall

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: Kaelei Wilford / Sydney Haynes / Inez Schoedinger / Nya Brown / Akayla Cole / John Kearney / Evan Haynes / Payton Nabors-Hilburn / Eli Bryan


INTERLUDE 3 - Addyson Razo / Akayla Cole / Finn Chisholm / Nya Brown




MUSIC: Emile Mosseri / Ryan Lott

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin 

PERFORMERS: Sydney Haynes / Inez Schoedinger / Sophie Glass / John Kearney / Finn Hadd / Evan Haynes / Finn Chisholm / Nya Brown / Piper Bott / Amira Quaranto-Aziz / Henry Roth / Payton Naybors-Hilburn 


*Altitude Sickness is a piece that comments on dedication, perseverance, and self discipline. It was partially inspired by the book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, using the journey up and down Mt. Everest as a metaphor for facing a challenge head on. It presents the idea of giving everything you have to a goal, that regardless of being uncertain of the outcome, having the knowledge that the only way out is through. 


INTERLUDE 4 - Evan Haynes


LOOK UP 2023


MUSIC: Liche / Great Dane

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: John Kearney / Sophie Glass / Inez Schoedinger / Kaelei Wilford / Finn Chisholm / Henry Roth / Piper Bott / Payton Nabors-Hilburn 





CHOREOGRAPHY: Kristi Bacon-Trad

MUSIC: Broken People - The Chamber Orchestra of London Andrew Skeet

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: Sophie Glass / John Kearney / Inez Schoedinger / Henry Roth / Finn Hadd / Conlan Savalli-Smith / Sydney Haynes / Finn Chisholm / Eli Bryan / Kaelei Wilford / Evan Haynes / Nya Brown


“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.” A.A. Milne


INTERLUDE 5 - Sophie Glass




MUSIC: Janet Jackson / SZA

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: John Kearney / Inez Schoedinger / Finn Hadd / Sydney Haynes / Eli Bryan / Evan Haynes / Kaelei Wilford / Akayla Cole / Addyson Razo / Payton Nabors-Hilburn / Piper Bott / Amira Quaranto-Aziz


INTERLUDE 6 - Piper Bott / Finn Chisholm




MUSIC: Emile Mosseri / Frédéric Chopin / Craig Armstrong

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

PERFORMERS: Sophie Glass / Finn Hadd / Inez Schoedinger / John Kearney / Evan Haynes / Eli Bryan / Sydney Haynes / Kaelei Wilford


*To my family, and anyone else affected by mental health issues. “You’ll Be Happy,” was born out of the darkest time my family has ever experienced. This piece has been a medium through which I can reflect on that time of my life—and heal.



By Inez Schoedinger / Eli Bryan



CHOREOGRAPHY: Derrell Sekou Soumah Walker

MUSIC: Derrell Sekou Soumah Walker / Hakim Muhammad / Naby Camara / Daniel Lasuncet / Matt Wirzbicki / Israel Annoh

COSTUMES: Teresa Perrin

              PERFORMERS: Full Company                



DIRECTOR’S NOTE                    

Welcome to an evening with Jefferson Dancers. I am honored to bring another incredible performance by the longest-running dance company in Portland. I want to thank all the contributors who have helped us financially this year and in the past. Without your financial support, it would be difficult to keep this nationally acclaimed program running smoothly. Unfortunately, we don’t have the financial resources that we once had and can only continue with your help. Your generous support makes it possible for us to continue to educate, inspire, and create new and exciting pieces for the Company.                                                                            



Steve Gonzales, artistic director since 1999, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, and an alumnus of Jefferson High School. Under the direction of Mary Vinton Folberg, he performed with Jefferson Dancers for three years, then went on to perform with Pacific Ballet Theatre (now Oregon Ballet Theatre ) in 1986. Gonzales continued his dance training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was a member of the Second Avenue Dance Company. At NYU, he worked with directors and choreographers: Jenny Way from Twyla Tharp, Kevin Wynn, Elisa Monte, and Stephen Petronio. He also choreographed several pieces for Second Avenue Dance Company members and collaborated with other choreographers at NYU. He performed Charles Wiedman’s role in the Humphery-Wiedman retrospective performance of New Dance Variations and Conclusions, presented at the Danny Kale Playhouse in New York. He began dancing with MOMIX Dance Theatre just days after graduating from NYU in 1994.        

Under the direction of Moses Pendleton, he performed the company’s entire repertoire all over Europe, Canada, South America, Australia, Israel, Greece, Russia, Japan, and the United States, including their annual season at the Joyce Theater in New York until 2008. In addition to performing, he has also been teaching master classes worldwide, performed live for several television shows in Spain, Italy, Germany, and for the BBC in London, has appeared in numerous European fashion magazines, and has assumed the responsibilities of rehearsal director, choreographer, and company spokesperson to ambassadors and dignitaries around the world.            

Gonzales was featured in Michael Curry’s World Premiere Production of Spirits in 2001. He worked closely with choreographers Moses Pendleton, David Parsons, Trey McIntyer, Jamey Hampton, Ashley Roland, and Sylvia Hase. In 2009, Gonzales collaborated with Stumptown Stages and choreographed The Wiz and A Chorus Line. Gonzales was awarded a Drammy for Best Choreography for The Wiz. He has received many awards for his work as a teacher and his involvement in the Portland community, including the “Excellence in Community Engagement '' award presented by the dance presenters of Whitebird in 2015. In 2003, Jefferson Dancers were voted the “Best Local Dance Company'' by Willamette Week.            

As the artistic director of Jefferson Dancers, Gonzales has taken the company to a whole new level. In addition to bringing in cutting-edge choreographers, he has set more than 100 new and exciting works on the company, including Rhythm is the Key, Primitive, Cancao Do Mar, Eye of RA, Time Signatures, IMPACT, Tantango, Aquatique , Escape Velocity, Chapter One, Anima Vita, Strength Within, and Exposed, which were recently performed in the gala concerts at the National High School Dance Festivals. He has taken the company on 11 national tours including LA, New York and Washington, D.C. and 9 international tours including Germany, England, Italy, China, and France. He credits the program at Jefferson with originally exposing him to the dance world, and ultimately launching his career. He is determined to see the program flourish to its greatest potential, and he is dedicated to ensuring Jefferson Dancers will continue to influence generations to come.                     


Teresa Perrin is the Costume Specialist at Jefferson High School.  She collaborates with choreographers, creates costumes, manages the extensive costume collection and works closely with the dance faculty and dancers.

Constantly making art from an early age, she always wanted to be an artist. Her mother taught her to sew and never cringed when she deconstructed (and then reconstructed) her clothing. As a Fine Arts major at the University of Oregon, she was a stitcher in the costume shop for the University Theatre and studied fiber arts with a focus on surface design. After graduating, she worked for a tailor, Ruth E. Couture, in Eugene and later transplanted to the East Coast to sew costumes for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and paint silk for a small apparel business. In 2007, she received her MAT in Art Education at Tufts University in collaboration with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. During that time she taught fashion design at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School and art classes at MFA Boston. Returning to Portland, she continued to teach elementary and middle school art, as well as coordinate experiential learning opportunities at the Forest Grove Community School, where she taught for many years. 

Teresa feels very fortunate to be the Costume Specialist at Jeff, a true synthesis of her expertise and interests. She is thrilled to be supporting Jefferson Dancers and Jefferson Dancers II, and to have the opportunity to run a student-centered costume studio.                             


Cynthia Tosh teaches ballet at Jefferson High School. She began her career at Ballet Pacifica under Lila Zali. She was the youngest dancer to receive a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet in New York City. Tosh also received full scholarships to attend Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The San Francisco Ballet.            

Tosh was a principal dancer with Chicago City Ballet and Chicago Lyric Opera under Maria Tallchief before joining The Boston Ballet as a soloist under the direction of Violette Verdy. There, she partnered with Rudolph Nureyev in his production of Don Quixote. Her repertoire includes classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Paquita, The Four Seasons, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Graduation Ball, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Prince Igor, The Stone Flower, Sylvia, Pas de Quatre, Carmina Burana, and numerous Balanchine ballets, such as The Firebird, Pas de Dix, Who Cares, Symphony in C, Concerto Barocco, Jewels-Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Faust, Valse Fantasie, Donizetti Variations, Afternoon of a Faun, and Divertimento No. 15.    

Tosh has been teaching ballet, coaching, and choreographing in the Portland area for 34 years, including 10 years as the artistic director of Portland Community Ballet. She teaches all levels of ballet.            



Demetria Bunky Holden-Williams was born and now resides in Portland. He began his training at Tubman and Fernwood middle schools, and continued dancing at Jefferson High School. He is a Jefferson Dancer alumnus, trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, African, hip-hop, step, and gymnastics. Holden-Williams was also a member of the Northwest African American Ballet for six years. He has performed internationally and nationally for shows including Nike, Avia, Reebok, and Nordstrom. He is co-founder of Dynasty Dance Zone and has been teaching dancers of all ages extensively for the past 19 years. He currently teaches jazz, hip- hop, and African at Jefferson High School. Holden-Williams prides himself on giving back to the community and is known for his dynamic, energetic, and inspirational presence.         



Lauren Smith was born and raised in Southern California, and has been dancing since the age of three. After training, performing, and participating in prestigious dance competitions and conventions throughout her childhood, she went on to earn a B.A. in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. Since receiving her degree, Lauren has pursued a deeper knowledge of the body through the study of Ashtanga Yoga, and becoming a certified personal trainer. In 2011, Lauren co-founded Tongue Dance Project with Stephanie Gilliland and has been dancing and performing in the company consistently since its creation. Lauren has been teaching and coaching dance for more than 17 years, focusing on instilling a deeper knowledge of the art of dance passionately to hundreds of students throughout the U.S., including working for non-profit organizations, private studios, and conservatories, as well as being on the faculty for both Dance and Musical Theater at Idyllwild Arts Academy for seven years. Lauren moved to Portland in 2017, and since her arrival she has been dedicated to enriching and supporting the local dance community in every way possible. Lauren was the Co- Founder/Director/Teacher at FLOOR Center for Dance, is the current Director of Contemporary at Steps PDX, and has earned a Master’s in Education from Portland State University. Lauren is excited to be working at Jefferson High School, where she teaches Modern and Jazz.


Jenny Whiteman has been the Jefferson Dancers Company manager for the past 5 years and a Pilates instructor for over 20 years. She is also the mother of Ana Paloma, a Company alumna. After graduating from the UO, Jenny moved to New York to pursue her passion for dance. While in NYC, she fell in love with Pilates and became a certified instructor in 1999. In her 20+ years of teaching she's had the pleasure of apprenticing with Kathy Grant, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and working with National and World champion cyclists, dancers and clients in need of rehabilitation in Brooklyn, Dallas and now Portland.

Working with the JDs over the past few years has been an extraordinary experience! So much goes into keeping the company running smoothly; we're grateful to the community, friends and JD families for your support! ​



Kristin Bacon-Trad began studying ballet at the age of 3. She trained with the Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet and the Houston Ballet Academy. At the age of 17, she was asked to join the Houston Ballet. Under the direction of Ben Stevenson, Kristin enjoyed a fruitful career dancing many Soloist and Principal roles. She also had the opportunity to work with many world renowned choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Margot Fonteyn, Paul Taylor, and Sir Kenneth MacMillan. While enjoying a full performance schedule at home with Houston Ballet, the company also toured throughout Europe and China. Kristin also filmed several works for Danmarks Radio in Aarhus, Denmark. In 1996 Kristin joined Oregon Ballet Theatre. During her tenure with the company, she danced Principal roles in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Serenade, and Alice in Wonderland, to name a few. After leaving OBT in 2003, Kristin enjoyed dancing with the multimedia modern dance company, Bodyvox. Bacon-Trad is currently part of the faculty at Elite Dance Studio and The Portland Ballet. She joined the Jefferson Dance Program from 2008-2013, and was the founder and co-artistic director of Jefferson Dancers II. 


Rachel Slater is an international award-winning dance artist, filmmaker and educator based in New Orleans, LA. She believes artmaking can be a radical, humanist act which can support and amplify communities, stories and empathy, when at its best. Inspired by lived histories, interpersonal relationships, and location-specific film, she is deeply committed to creating a respectful, safe, genuine creative space wherever she choreographs. Rachel holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has performed with Minh Tran & Company, Franco Nieto of Open Space Dance, Tracey Durbin Dance, the Detroit Dance City Festival and Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, among many others. Rachel is the co-Artistic Director of Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance in Portland, OR. With MFCD she has produced, choreographed, performed in many productions across North America as well as three award-winning dance films which have screened in 25 countries and at over 45 festivals worldwide. Their most recent screendance, “how we live,” won five Best Dance Film laurels, as well as Best Pandemic Experimental Film. She has received artist residencies from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Canada), Dance Days Chania (Greece), Hambidge Center (Georgia), New Expressive Works (Oregon), Sou’wester (Washington). As a Jefferson Dancers alumni, Rachel is grateful to have returned and spent five years as the co-dance coordinator and faculty member of the nationally acclaimed Jefferson High School Dance Department. She has created numerous works on both companies and has had her last two choreographies for the Jefferson Dancers selected for the Gala Showcase at the National High School Dance Festival at Point Park University. In New Orleans, Rachel is pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Dance Performance and Digital Media. She is the honored recipient of a Mellon Fellowship for Community-Engaged Scholarship and has been working with the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, and has also been performing with BODYART Dance. Rachel’s work, Speaking of Solitude, is inspired by and was created with this strong, wonderful group of dancers. She is very proud of their commitment, artistry and endless hugs that brought this piece to life. 


Durante Lambert is a choreographer, Artistic Director, and dance teacher.  A native of Portland, Oregon, he first got the urge to become a professional dancer and choreographer at the age of 12 when he became a principal dancer for the Northwest Afrikan American Ballet (NWAAB) under the Artistic Direction of Bruce Smith. For 7 years he traveled throughout the US and Europe performing and sharing their art. NWAAB gave him the opportunity to perform a month-long tour in Edinburgh, Scotland at the Fringe Festival. 

In 2000-2001, Durante was a Company Member for the famed Jefferson Dancers in Portland, OR, under the Artistic Direction of Steve Gonzales. Durante has continued to give back by choreographing African and Hip Hop pieces for the Jefferson Dancers.

While in Portland, OR, he danced for WNBA Portland Fire Jam Squad, Portland Trail Blazers Hip Hop Squad, and Rip City Crew. He also held weekly Dance classes for the last 15 years at many local studios. Durante currently choreographs for Pro Teams, Collegiate Teams and High School Teams all over the USA. 

While living in Los Angeles for 8 years, I trained with many well known choreographers. Along with my continual training, I gained opportunities such as being selected to debut my Choreographic work at the famous Carnival Choreographer’s Ball, held a weekly dance class at IDA Hollywood, Choreographing and Artistically working with artists for various Video shoots, auditioning, etc. These experiences allowed me to set roots in Los Angeles, CA. 

While feeling grateful to have my roots in Los Angeles, CA, I currently reside in Portland, OR where my first love is LYFE Dance Company. As the Artistic Director for LYFE, I continue creating and choreographing energetic and exciting pieces that are performed for a wide range of audiences. We've performed for a variety of audiences over the past 20 years. 

I continue dancing, choreographing and providing inspired dancers a chance to perform and express through movement through my dance classes, various performances opportunities, LYFE Dance Company, and most recently my newest endeavor; Dance Mentorship Program.


A creative spirit since a child, Victoria has always loved dance. She was finally given the opportunity to explore her talent in 2007, when she joined the Jefferson Dancers.

In 2014 she took her first Pole dance class, started teaching in 2015 and has been hooked ever since. Sharing her passion through teaching, performing and competing. 

Victoria competed in the PRO Qualifier Division at NW Pole championships 2018-2020, winning first place each year.

In 2018 Victoria took 3rd place at the Pole Sport Nationals competition. Making history with the first podium sweep from a Black woman.

Victoria has performed on stage with Free Nationals band and in Snoop Dogg's, I Wanna Thank Me tour.

Victoria is excited to see where her talents take her next.        




John Kearney is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is his fourth year dancing with the company. He was introduced to modern dance at his elementary school, but only began training in other styles of dance like ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop in seventh grade. He’s taken classes at Rose City Ballet with Renée Mieffren, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Open Space, and with Dancescape at da Vinci Arts Middle School. John was originally passionate about acting, but in middle school he found a new love for expression through dance. He is beyond grateful to have been a part of this encouraging and supportive community for the past four years, and feels extremely lucky to have gotten the opportunity to grow alongside so many incredible dancers. John's first professional performance was a modern dance show choreographed by Gregg Bielemeier. He hopes to pursue a BFA in Musical Theater in college while continuing to perform and grow stronger as a dancer. John would like to thank Sara Martins and Claire Olberding for fostering his love of dance. He also thanks Steve Gonzales and Cynthia Tosh for their training and motivation. Finally, John is grateful to his parents and two siblings for supporting and loving him through everything he does.

Inez Schoedinger is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her fourth year with the company. She began dancing when she was young, but didn’t get fully immersed until she was at da Vinci Arts Middle School, dancing under the direction of Sara Martins and Clair Olberding. During this time, she also took an after-school dance program by Èowyn Emeralds. She would go on to take the Dancescape intensive, as well as the Open Space “Space Camp" intensive this past July. After high school, she hopes to attend an arts college focusing on dance and make a career dancing. She would like to thank Sara Martins and Claire Olberding for helping her find her true love for dance and for always pushing her to succeed. She would also like to share a big thank you to Steve Gonzales for giving her this opportunity to be part of Jefferson Dancers. Lastly, she would like to thank her family for always being supportive of her and her passion for dance.


Sophie Glass is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her third year with the company. She started her ballet training at age nine with Renée Mieffren at NW Dance Project and continued to dance with her as she opened Rose City Ballet School. Sophie also took dance lessons from Jefferson Dancer alumnus Damon Keller throughout middle school at Ockley Green. Sophie danced with Reneé and Damon until 2019 when she attended the Oregon Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive. For the next year, she danced at Oregon Ballet Theatre School while also attending dance classes at Jefferson. After taking the 2020 Oregon Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, Sophie decided to audition for Jefferson Dancers to experience more variety in her dancing. Ever since,  Dancers has offered Sophie a community and space like no other, where she can express herself and push her dancing to its fullest potential. Throughout the summer of 2022, Sophie took the Open Space Camp and the Bodyvox High School Dance Intensive, both of which were heavily modern dance-focused programs where she discovered her true passion for the style. After high school, Sophie hopes to study dance and get a BFA before dancing professionally as an adult. Sophie would like to thank her teachers and role models Reneé Mieffren, Damon Keller, all of the teaching faculty at Oregon Ballet Theatre, Steve Gonzales, and Cynthia Tosh for inspiring her, nurturing her passion, and pushing her dance education and technique. She would also like to thank her family, all of her friends, and fellow company members for their support and love they have offered to her dancing and her life. 


Finn Hadd is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is her third year with the company. She began her dancing career at the age of seven at NW Dance Project, where she took ballet and hip-hop. In 5th grade she decided to further her education in ballet and attend Rose City Ballet School, where she was taught by Renée Meiffren. She continued training in various styles of dance at da Vinci Arts Middle School with Claire Olberding and Sara Martins. While dancing every day at da Vinci, Finn was still training after school and on the weekends at NW Dance Project with Charlene Hannibal. She thoroughly enjoyed taking summer intensives and performing with NW Dance Project throughout the years. Though Finn does not know what the future holds for her, she hopes her years in dance will find a way to circle back to her. Finn would like to thank Tracy Julias and Charlene Hannibal for giving her a strong background in ballet, Sara Martins and Claire Olberding for helping her realize what dance truly means to her, and Steve Gonzales for giving her the amazing joy and opportunity of being a part of the Jefferson Dancers.


Sydney Haynes is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is her third year with the company. She began dancing when she was eleven at da Vinci Arts Middle School with Claire Olberding and Sara Martins. Soon Sydney decided to expand her dance training, taking hip-hop, contemporary, modern, jazz and tap classes at NW Dance Project and Polaris Dance Theatre. She also attended Èowyn Emerald’s Dancescape summer intensive and after-school dance programs. Before joining the Jefferson Dancers, Sydney was a company member with the Jefferson Dancers II her freshman year with Bunky Williams. After high school, she would like to attend a university furthering her education with dance. Sydney would like to thank Steve Gonzales, Bunky Williams, Cynthia Tosh, Claire Olberding, Sara Martins, and her fellow company members for supporting her and always being an inspiration to look up to. Being a Jefferson Dancer has been an incredible experience for her and she is more than grateful for the opportunities and people it has come with. Sydney would like to thank her friends and family but mainly her parents for their constant love and support.

Eli Bryan is an eighteen-year-old senior and this is his second year with the company. He started dancing at the age of 10 under Jefferson Dancer alumnus Damon Keller, and took classes in modern, ballet, tap, hip-hop, and jazz, as well as from Rachel Slater, Jenny Dubac, Randy Davis, and Anna Cushman. He has done summer intensives with many studios, including Polaris Dance Theatre, NW Dance Project, and Open Space. He trained with Jefferson Dancers II for two years before becoming a Jefferson Dancer. After high school, he would like to keep dancing and pursuing a creative career. He would like to thank the dance staff at Jefferson Middle College, Cynthia Tosh, Steve Gonzales, Rachel Slater, and Bunky Holden-Williams, as well as his parents, and his close friends and company members who have helped him continue to progress in dance.    


Kaelei Wilford is a seventeen-year-old junior and this is her third year with the company. She was first introduced to dance when it became a requirement to take ballet and jazz for competitive gymnastics at the kids club. Shortly after starting dance, she joined a hip-hop class. She ended up finding she had a greater passion for dancing and decided with her hip-hop teacher, Andre Baker, to pursue dance. She began training at Dance Fusion NW at the age of nine with the direction of Carla Kendall-Bray, starting with hip-hop, jazz, ballet, and tap. Throughout her years of dancing with Dance Fusion, she also trained in theater jazz, contemporary, modern, the studio's performance company, and the competitive team. Along with competing, she attended many dance conventions that pushed her and improved her in ways that will forever have a great impact on how she’s been shaped as a dancer. Kaelei hopes to pursue her dance career by becoming a majorette at a HBCU. Kaelei would like to thank her family and Carla Kendall-Bray for their amazing support and opportunities they gave her. She’d like to also thank a few of her dance teachers, including Steve Gonzales, Randy Davis, Darvejon Jones, and Megananna Griffin for helping her grow tremendously as a dancer. Kaelei has really enjoyed her years as a Jefferson Dancer, and is looking forward to growing as a dancer with the company!

Henry Roth is a fifteen-year-old freshman and this is his first year with the company. He began dancing at the community center near his home when he was six, then joined Oregon Ballet Theatre, where he danced in many shows. At the start of the pandemic, he joined Steps PDX, where he began his training in contemporary dance. He also attended da Vinci Arts Middle School.




Evan Haynes is a seventeen-year-old senior and this is his first year with the company. He has grown a lot as a dancer, especially the past couple years developing through the amazing JD II’s, learning so many different styles and learning how to become a part of a company. He would like to give a big thanks to Bunky Williams and Cynthia Tosh for giving him the opportunity to improve and grow through the art form. They have inspired him to keep dancing and have given him so much time to find himself in dance. He would also like to thank family and friends for supporting him through the whole process and journey.

Nya Brown is a sixteen-years-old junior and this is her first year with the company. She started her dancing journey in 6th grade at Ockley Green Middle School. Her favorite styles of dance are African, ballet, and modern. She has also trained in theater with Shalanda Sims, and says she gets her stage presence from acting. Nya would love to go to a school in California or New York. If dancing doesn’t work out for Nya, her next goal is to conquer the medical field as a psychologist or therapist. She enjoys working on her technique in ballet, spending time with family and friends, and working at her job. Her main goal for high school is to be happy and learn as she grows into the best version of herself she can be!

Akayla Cole is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her first year with the company. She started her dance journey with her school belly dancing group and continued on to dance with multiple dance groups, such as learning Stomp and Shake cheer and learning the art of majorette dance with a well-known company. She then went on to do multiple performances and parades with said company, where her love for dance grew. After high school, Akayla wishes to continue her dance career at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Becoming a Jefferson Dancer, and being a JD II a year prior, have both been amazing opportunities that she is very grateful for. She would like to give a huge shout-out to the friends and family that come support at every performance and push her to be the best she can be. Akayla also would love to give a huge thanks to the directors and teachers that help her achieve this goal, like Sylvia, her godmother, and Bunky Williams, her JD II director, as well as Steve Gonzales for awarding her this amazing opportunity!

Addyson Razo is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her first year with the company. She began dancing in the SUN Community School, an after-school program that supports academic success and enrichment. She started dancing through SUN in third grade at Beach Elementary and continued through middle school at Ockley Green. SUN Community School allowed her to find her passion for the art of dance. Addy would like to thank all the teachers who supported her through the years, including Damon Keller, Bunky Williams, Joyce Olivo, and Cinda Jackson. Addy is very excited about what the future holds for her in this new company; she is incredibly grateful for the development it will bring her in dance.

Nasia Fitz is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her first year with the company. She started dancing at the age of four and has been dancing ever since. Her love for dance started when she was in third grade, when her school went to see the Jefferson Dancers perform at the Newmark Theatre. She later went to da Vinci Arts Middle School to continue with her passion for dance. Her sophomore year at Jefferson, she was on Jefferson Dancers II. Nasia would like to thank her dance teachers, Sara Martins, Claire Olberding, Bunky Williams, Cynthia Tosh, and Steve Gonzales. She’d also like to thank all of her friends, family, and everyone who has constantly supported her in her dance journey and pushed her to be the best she can possibly be.

Finn Chisholm is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is his first year with the company. His love for dance started in second grade when Damon Keller began teaching hip-hop at Chief Joseph Elementary School. He kept dancing exclusively during school hours up until his sophomore year at Jefferson. He took a single, week-long dance intensive at Polaris Dance during the pandemic, then kicked off his sophomore year joining Jefferson Dancers II. Finn still has yet to decide his career path after high school, but would love to thank his dance teachers, Damon Keller, Bunky Williams, Cynthia Tosh, and Steve Gonzales, not to mention all the people who have supported him through his tough years in dance. He still has much to learn as well, but could not be anymore excited to see what comes next in his life; he hopes to have all those same people by his side as he ventures through dance and his coming career.

Conlan Savalli-Smith is a fifteen-year-old sophomore and this is his first year with the company. At the age of nine, he started ballet and acro/contemporary for a year at Evo, in Sarasota, Florida. He took ballroom classes for two and a half years at Dynasty Dance Studio, then started taking ballet, jazz, and contemporary classes with Reflex Dance Studio. At age 12, he and his family moved to Oregon. Since then, he has taken an Afro-Caribbean class at Jefferson Middle College with Oluyinka Parsons-Akinjola. After high school, Conlan plans to get his associates degree at Portland Community College before transferring to the University of Oregon to get a bachelors in biotech while taking a pre-med course. From there, he plans to attend medical school at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He would like to give thanks to his mom, dad, and stepdad for encouraging him and helping him in his dance career, as well as his grandparents, aunt, and uncle for supporting him and giving excellent advice in every aspect of his career.

Amira Quaranto-Aziz is a fourteen-year-old freshman and this is her first year with the company. She began her dance career at age four and studied at Portland Metro Arts for eight years, learning ballet from Nancy Yeamans, Russ Caps, Kadee Kall, Virgie Daigle, and Scott Trumbo. She studied tap from Carter Currie and Nancy Yeamans and hip-hop from Damien Rice. She would like to give a special thanks to Nayomi Cunningham, Noah Cunningham, and Emilie Larison for their continued instruction and support. Amira aspired to be a Jefferson Dancer from a very young age. She is passionate about sharing her creative expression and love for dance with the community. Amira is excited to grow in her dance career as a JD. She hopes to study dance in New York and after high school attend college in Florida.

Piper Bott is a fifteen-year-old freshman and this is her first year with the company. She started performing at the age of eight, learning to twirl baton under the instruction of Shannon Barker of Stites Performing Arts Center. By the age of ten, she was learning tap at Portland Metro Arts. There, her love of dance grew, and she decided to take ballet and jazz classes at Stites, studying under Amy Bonaduce Gardner. Simultaneously, she studied aerial arts at Echo Theater with various instructors. She was accepted into the Youth Performance Ensemble, the Tik Toks, where she was a member for two years before deciding to focus more exclusively on dance. After several years of both online and in-person jazz and ballet, she added contemporary, hip-hop, and gymnastics to her schedule. She has performed at various venues across Portland, including the Festival of the Trees, the Junior Rose Parade, the Echo Theater Company, and University of Portland. Dance is a very important part of Piper’s life and becoming a Jefferson Dancer is a dream come true! She would like to thank her amazing support system at home and all of her teachers who consistently encouraged and pushed her to grow and improve.

Payton Nabors-Hilburn is a fourteen-year-old freshman and this is their first year with the company. Ever since they learned to walk, Payton has been dancing with their mom and grandma, who both trained at Jefferson Middle College. They started cheer at Central Catholic and danced at Beaumont at the age of two, and continued in school dance lessons through middle school. They performed in musicals with Portland Drama Club, starring as Nala in The Lion King Jr., and Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz Jr. Payton also trained at YMA with Sara Martins and Sakou Soumah, in modern, tap, and West African dance. Payton would like to thank their baby cousins ReRe and Leah for inspiring them to keep dancing, even when they felt like they couldn't, and for allowing them to share their love for dance and teaching with them. They would also like to thank their mom for going out of their way to expose them to new dance opportunities. They are so grateful for everyone who has helped them grow as a dancer. And they're very excited to share more of their art in the years to come!




Over $5000 – MASTERS

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$500-$999.99 – CREW

Portland Family Church

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Jeff Hadd

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Michelle Glass

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Ann Ellett

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Sarah Dorsey

Jo Jorgensen

King School PTA

Julia Stewart 

Charlotte Faillard

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Lynn Remley

Dean Richardson

Ana Andueza

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John Wilhelmi

Kathy Cumiford

Jo-Ann Bleich

Jeanne Carlson

Robert Rawson Jr

Jan Verduin

Daniel Hess + Melora Neminski

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Jaime Bott

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Jimi Bott

Diane Zipper

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Daniella Young

Jessica Niella

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Friends up to $99


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Heidi Sprecher

Jon Easton

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Luke Groser


In-Kind Donations –

Nike Jordan

Por Que No?

Saint Cupcake


In Memory and Special Dedication of Performances –

In Honor of Trinidad Eutsler

In Honor of Anne M. Kearney

In Honor of Jasmine Garcia





  • Artistic Director Steve Gonzales is  largely responsible for the dancers’ current level of professionalism. —David Plechl, The Portland Observer 


  • The Jefferson Dancers have sprinkled America’s professional dance troupes with performers, and they routinely move on to elite performing-arts colleges.  Bob Hicks, –The Oregonian 


  • Energetic, entertaining, and a joy to behold. –Phil Hunt, The Oregonian 


  • Gonzales has resparked the program’s energy, skill, and pride.–Bob Hicks, The Oregonian 


  • Teenage dancers ecstatically pushed their bodies past their limits.  –Kelly Clarke, Willamette Week 


  • The Jefferson Dancers are so well trained, so energetic and enthusiastic that their student status is forgotten the instant the curtain goes up. –Martha Ullman West, Willamette Week 


  • ...last winter’s sold-out White Bird/PSU Series show at Lincoln Hall to wowing the international set in the south of France, Portland’s Jefferson Dancers have had the equivalent of their performance SATs this school year. The Jefferson Dancers get an A+ for effort this year in my book. –Kelly Clarke, Willamette Week


  •  The Jefferson Dancers were voted the best local dance company. –Willamette Week, Best of Portland (2003)




  • Powerful, playful, mesmerizing, and at times gravity-defying, Jefferson Performing and Visual Arts Magnet High School’s elite troupe of dancers drew a long standing ovation Saturday night in the Astoria High School Auditorium. --Darren L. Dunlap, The Daily Astorian 


  • Gonzales has raised the technical bar; his dancers are also fluent in African, hip-hop, tap, and jazz.  –Catherine Thomas, The Oregonian 

Reinvigorated by Gonzales, a former Jefferson Dancer himself ...exciting dancers and a wide variety of forms and moves by some of the best choreographers in the world. The combination the company will take to the Kennedy Center. –Barry Johnson, The Oregonian

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Special Events Performances available! Celebrate your organization's special event with a performance by the Jefferson Dancers.

School Performances:  The Jefferson Dancers are available for lecture/demonstrations at schools in the Portland area.

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