Our Staff

Our teachers come from diverse backgrounds and bring a variety of complementary 
 skills to the table for our students' benefit. They are the heart and soul of this studio 
and we are blessed to have them.

Nicola Hanson, R.A.D, R.T.S

Nicola Hanson, Artistic Director - R.A.D., R.T.S., (Royal Academy of Dance) Registered Teacher, Ballet, Pointe, Dance Team, Jazz, PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) Certified Teacher

Nicola is a certified and registered teacher with the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance), she also holds a teaching certificate with PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique). Nicola moved to Idaho from England in 2011 after an 18-year career working and performing as a professional dancer. Nicola trained at the prestigious Urdang Academy of Ballet and Performing Arts in Covent Garden, London, England. While there she also took her teaching examination with the Royal Academy of Dancing and obtained her teaching certificate with merit. Since leaving college she has performed professionally on four continents from London's West End to Japan, Hong Kong and most recently on Carnival Cruise Lines where she was both Lead Dancer and Dance Captain, performing with and managing a cast of 18 dancers and singers. Nicola is the owner of Northern Dance Academy and its principal ballet teacher. She is also active locally having choreographed CYT North Idaho's production of Walt Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tarzan" in addition to other local area productions.

Sara Agueros

Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Conditioning
For Sara every moment she gets to dance is a moment she can share a piece of her heart with you. She began formal training at the age of three and hasn’t looked back. In 1997 Sara created Hot August Nights and followed up with Hot August Nights Returns in 1998, both of which she produced, choreographed and co-starred in. Since then she has been involved in Isabelle’s Dance Time Company Theatre in Spokane and has benefited from years of professional instruction in Hip Hop, Jazz/Lyrical Jazz, Modern/Contemporary, Funk, Celtic Soft Shoe and Ballet. She has taught workshops throughout the Northwest and has participated in benefit auctions including that of the Boys and Girls Club. Since 2001, Sara has been teaching for our studio in Hayden, ID where she primarily teaches Hip Hop and Lyrical/Contemporary Jazz and Classic Jazz.

Lisa Bennett

Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Dance Team
Lisa Bennett is an experienced dancer who loves to perform and has a passion for teaching dance. She started taking dance classes at the age of four at a studio in Northern California and continued learning, performing, and competing with her home studio till her senior year of high school. Once she entered college, she quickly knew that she wanted to continue following her dreams to be a professional dancer and went on to get her B.S. in Dance at the University of Idaho. While at U of I, she was given the opportunity to choreograph and perform in pre-professional shows put on by the dance program. She was also hand-selected by faculty to represent the University of Idaho, presenting an original piece at the American College of Dance Association Conference in 2017. Her dance, "The Waiting Room" was acknowledged by one of the conference’s adjudicators as "a noteworthy and beautiful piece of art." After graduating college, Lisa went on to be a professional cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons. She performed not only at the team's home games, but also at different events around the Seattle area. In her off time, Lisa taught dance to children of all ages at the Ballard Academy of Music and Dance. She also continued to learn from other professional dancers through classes at Velocity Dance Center. Lisa continued to pursue professional dancing and was cast as a backup dancer for Ciara's "Level Up" music video and also joined the New Kids On the Block 2019 tour as a dancer for their shows in Tacoma, WA. Lisa has now settled in Coeur d'Alene with her family and is a Pure Barre Instructor. She continues to follow her passion for dance and is very excited to pass that along to the students of Northern Dance Academy.

Kiara Klinkefus

Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz
Kiara Klinkefus (Tap and Hip Hop) began dancing at the age of 3 at Susie’s Tap and Jazz. She has been dancing non stop, and at the age of 10 she added musical theatre performances to her repertoire. From Willy Wonka, where she played an Oompa Loompa, to playing the title role in Annie, to her recent performance as Judy in A Chorus Line, she has been honing her skills on the stage and in the studio. Kiara was a member of the competitive dance team at NDA for 4 years, winning multiple awards at area competitions. Her time at Northern Dance Academy also included learning tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical and hip hop. Other notable theatre experience has been in productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Catch Me If You Can, and Sweet Charity. In 2017, Kiara began teaching Tap and hip hop to the students of Northern Dance Academy. Kiara would like to thank her parents for all they do for her, and Clayton for his constant support.

Cheryl-Ann Rossi

Musical Theater, Drama, Jazz, Ballet
Cheryl-Ann Rossi has trained with dance greats Bob Fosse and Michael Bennet. She has performed on Broadway as the original Maria Gonzales in SMILE, directed by Howard Ashman (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) with music by Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line). Ms. Rossi has performed on National stages and on tour in roles from Mabel in Pirates of Penzance to Diana Morales in A Chorus Line and has directed and choreographed for more than 50 professional companies nationwide.
She has a master’s degree in teaching, has written an integrated arts curriculum for children’s theater and developed a transitional vocal methodology which she has taught in high school and college theater and vocal programs across the United States.

Paisley Siemens

Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Choreography Creation
Paisley Siemens began dancing at age four and started teaching dance at age 16. She has been a part of Northern Dance Academy since 2012, taking classes in ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical. She also teaches and choreographs for CYT North Idaho, most recently choreographing their show, "Hercules: a Hero’s Tale". Paisley is currently a full time student at North Idaho College, pursuing her Associates of Arts degree in music. She plans to transfer to a university next year in order to complete a Bachelor's degree.

Brittany Taylor

Ballet, Acro, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, Pilates, Improv
Brittany Taylor graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA with a BFA in dance with a focus on teaching and relocated to San Diego in 2009. As a professional dancer, she premiered the evening length work "Walking Through Ghosts" with Joe Alter Dance Group (2010). She joined Blythe Barton Dance in 2011 and The Malashock Dance Company in 2012 and continued to work and perform with these companies until her return to North Idaho in 2020. She has been very fortunate to perform with Compulsion Dance and Theatre, Ion Theatre, [the] movement initiative, Khamla Somphanh, Andrew Holmes, and other independent San Diego artists. She was awarded “Most Compelling Performance by a Single Dancer” at the 2014 Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize performing for Jaime Nixon. Brittany and long time dance partner Desiree Cuizon-Fejeran premiered their work Avenue Lexicon in August 2016 and also co-produced the mixed media event Doublespeak prior to establishing the BAD Dance Collective in which they performed and produced Til Death at the 2018 San Diego International Fringe Festival. Brittany's choreography has been seen at the Spotlight 360 festival, Fresh Dances, Diversionary Theatre, Malashock Dance's student showcase and on the students of The Lynch Dance Institute in San Diego. Brittany teaches various dance styles, levels and ages but has a special love for teaching modern for teens and adults. She is also a Second Generation Pilates Teacher and Lolita San Miguel Pilates Master™ and International Educator. It is her passion to instill the love of dance in her students of all ages and to harness the power of movement, well-being and accomplishment that Pilates and dance bring to all.

Holly Vesterby

Holly Vesterby started dancing when she was 7 years old. She began her training under the acclaimed choreographers Eric and Diane Gaumond Hyrst of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and New York City Ballet, Michael Falotico of Joffrey Ballet, and Erika DeLap of the Paris Opera Ballet. She performed as a guest dancer for the Eugene City Ballet and Chehalis Ballet. At the age of 17 she was invited to study at Pacific Northwest Ballet, but made the difficult decision to follow another passion and become a Physical Therapist. During her college years, she continued to fuel her love of dance at Washington State University as a member of the dance team where she performed and choreographed. After receiving her Masters of Physical Therapy at Western University of Health Sciences, she then auditioned and joined Dance Theatre Northwest to became a soloist. She is excited to be teaching a new class for boys’ ballet.

Isabel daSilva

Front Desk
As a recently retired tax preparer, Isabel daSilva is very happy to be contributing to Northern Dance Academy as Front Desk Manager. With a great commitment to the values of discipline, grace and flexibility that expressive movement through dance brings to an individual's life, Isabel looks forward to being part of the thriving and vibrant community here. Also a certified Yin Yoga instructor and professionally trained Himalayan Singing Bowl specialist, Isabel provides and supports healthful healing practices throughout the Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint areas.

Jim Hanson

Jim is Nicola's other (definitely not better) half. He has been fortunate to spend most of his life immersed in music. Originally from Montana, Jim served 3 years as an Army trumpeter before obtaining his Music Education degree from the University of Montana. In 1989 he spent several months in Vienna singing in UM's Chamber Chorale under Don Carey. After attending grad school at the University of North Texas he traveled and performed extensively as Musical Director with Carnival Cruise Lines, where he met his wife, Nicola. Since moving to North Idaho in 2011 he has been active writing, arranging, producing, performing and teaching music. He has written and produced well over a thousand musical arrangements for both live performances and recordings. His most recent achievement, and the one of which he is the very most proud by far, is becoming a father (Dadpa) to a wonderful little girl named Charlotte Rose and her baby sister, Harriet Faith. Jim helps out at the desk sometimes and is grateful to be associated with such a wonderful group of people.

Koreen Boydstun

Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Conditioning Body & Mind, Progressions, Audition Choreography
Koreen is a native Idahoan who is eager to share her knowledge with others. She trained and performed with Ballet Idaho, andexplored other forms of dance with Pat Harris School of Dance. She earned dual undergraduate degrees in Exercise Science and Dance Choreography and Performance from Idaho State University. She went on earn a Master of Athletic Training degree from the University of Idaho, where she completed clinical rotations working with dancers in the Washington, D.C. and New York City areas. She is also a certified Personal Trainer and Mind-Body Specialist through the American Council on Exercise. She is passionate about building better, stronger, smarter dancers!

Ali Day

Tap, Hip Hop
Ali Day has been dancing for 27 years. She grew up dancing at a studio in North Spokane and was a part of the competitive teams by 6th grade. She was Captain of the Mead High School Dance Team and her senior year won first place in the tap division at Nationals in Las Vegas. Ali coached the Mead High School color guard for two years and winter guard for one. She also worked at a local dance studio in Spokane for 5 years teaching tap, jazz, and hip hop as well as choreographing tap for the competitive teams. She has now been a licensed massage therapist for 8 years and has remained actively involved in dance primarily through serving as choreographer for local theaters including The Modern Theater, Spokane Civic Theater, and CYT. Ali’s passion is teaching and helping kids to be the best performers they can be.

Ashley Gunn

Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre
Ashley’s early classical ballet training was with Neil and Camielle Hess at the Lone Star Ballet Academy in Amarillo, TX and Ceci Klein at The Ballet School of Coeur d'Alene, ID. Ashley attended Pacific Northwest Ballet's Summer Intensive in Seattle on full scholarships from 1997-2001 and was groomed to join the Corps d'Ballet in PNB's company under Artistic Directors Francia Russell and Kent Stole and School Director Denise Bolstad. She also attended the Ballet Intensive from Moscow at Northern Illinois University under Demitri Roundnev on full scholarship in 2001 where she was awarded Elite Dancer with an article about her in Pointe Magazine 2001. At age 16, she received her first professional ballet experience when she rehearsed and toured Swan Lake with Ballet Idaho. Despite her shift into Musical Theatre at age 18, she has continued to grow as a teacher of not only ballet, but tap, and musical theatre jazz as well. Ashley holds her MFA in Musical Theatre from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Choreography credits include: The All Night Strut, The Boyfriend, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Lil Abner, Oklahoma!, High School Musical 2, Happy Days, White Christmas, The Little Mermaid, Bring it On, Oliver!, Buddy-The Buddy Holly Story, & The Music Man. Ashley has coached multiple finalists in Idaho's District and State Drama Competitions, finalists in the Vienna International Ballet Experience - VIBE, and has been a Community Judge at the NCFC Debate competitions. She is currently open to teach private lessons in Coeur d’Alene at Northern Dance Academy as well.

Miriam Haliday

Miri grew up in England where she studied The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) under Nicky Wright from age six. She has passed all her RAD ballet exams from primary to Intermediate. She is proud of gaining nearly perfect scores and passing with distinction multiple times. She is passionate about teaching children excellent technique and creating a solid foundation before mastering more complicated moves. She loves the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus because it gives children goals and sets a very high standard. She feels that succeeding in an internationally recognized program gives kids a huge confidence boost and provides them with a knowledge and skill base that will serve them well wherever dance may take them. Miri is a proud Mama of a little boy and lives with her husband in Spokane where she is also a full-time Doula and Mom advocate. When she is not dancing, she loves to hike and snowboard. She is also First Aid, CPR and AED certified.

Shawna Huff

Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Progressions
Shawna Huff began dancing at the age of 3 at Starstruck Academy of Dance in Englewood, Colorado. She started doing competitions at the age of 6. Along the way, Shawna danced in many charity shows working with professional athletes. She continually expanded her dance education by traveling to Los Angeles every year for training and auditions with choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Mia Michaels, Greg Russell and many more as well as traveling to many other cities across the country for conventions and competitions. She appeared in multiple Denver Bronco commercials and danced at the Pro Bowl half time show in Hawaii. She was also a dancer for the Denver Daredevils. Shawna has choreographed for multiple studios as well as high school dance teams around many states. Now settled in North Idaho with her husband, Brian and her son Drayson, she continues to find her passion for dance and is so grateful for the opportunity to share her knowledge.

Mikaela Martinez

Ballet, Contemporary, Combination Ballet/Tap Classes
Mikaela Martinez grew up dancing in North Idaho at Expressions School of Performing Arts where she trained in Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz, and Hip Hop and was a member of their competitive dance team. She also taught classes in all styles and for all ages there and choreographed for their dance team. Mikaela attended Western Washington University where she received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. While at Western, Mikaela started a contemporary dance company, The Storytellers, which allowed her to grow professionally as a choreographer. She is currently a kindergarten teacher at Northwest Expedition Academy and is excited to be sharing her love of dance and choreography again at Northern Dance Academy!

Amy Reneau

Tap, Ballet, Combination Ballet/Tap
Amy Reneau has been dancing for over 25 years. She studied various genres of dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Spanish Folkdance, and Square Dancing, among others. At the age of twelve she was asked to be a student teacher at Mauldin’s Dance Studios: Dance with Shari in southern Idaho. This is when Amy discovered her love for children and talent for teaching. Since 2003 Amy has taught many dance classes and cheerleading clinics for Post Falls Parks and Recreation. Most of her time is spent with her husband of 15 years and caring for her five amazing children. She does manage to be actively engaged in the community teaching choreography to Atlas Elementary Special Chorus and CYT students. Amy believes dancing teaches some of life’s most beautiful lessons.

Tracy Tortora

Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz, Acro, PBT
(Progressing Ballet Technique) Certified Teacher
Tracy began her dance career at 3 years old. While studying under Nolan Dingman (a student of Balanchine’s) and under Becky Columbus of the Columbus Dance Studio, she won numerous trophies and awards in ballet, jazz and tap. At age 18 she was hired to dance for Tokyo Disneyland in Japan performing in shows as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Upon returning home, Tracy was offered the role of Dance Captain and Swing for the Disney World Corporation. She was featured in numerous filmings, trained in adagio and harness work for the Animal Kingdom’s Lion King Show and worked with celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Betty White, Regis Philbin, Sandi Patty, Bryan White, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. While living in New York she assisted the Disney Casting Director in recruiting and was offered the role of the White Cat, Victoria, in the Broadway show, “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Tracy has also trained in stunt work with her husband, professional stunt coordinator Chris Tortora. Recently, she choreographed several numbers for the Festival of Trees Gala in Coeur d’ALene and she assists with the casting and training of talent for Silverwood.

Trigger Weddle

Trigger Weddle began dancing at the age of 5 and continued her training until she got side-tracked into the world of theatre. While studying and performing in theatres from Singapore to New York City, she continued to find a home in a dance studio. In New York, Trigger studied under Lee Theodore of American Dance Machine as well as Luigi Faccuito of Luigi's Jazz Centre. She received her acting training at Circle In The Square in NYC, and also holds an MA in Drama from the University of Arkansas. She has choreographed and directed many theatre productions, most recently Oklahoma (Choreographer/CDA Summer Theatre), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Choreographer/Aspire), 9 to 5 (Director/Co-Choreographer), to name a few. Trigger serves as Artistic Director for Aspire Community Theatre and is the Theater & Events Manager at the Kroc Center Theater in Coeur d’Alene. When time permits, Trigger performs locally in productions such as Guys & Dolls (CDA Summer Theatre), 42nd Street (Aspire) and Company (Lake City Playhouse).

Rayna Wells

Ballet, Pointe, Combination Ballet/Tap
Rayna Wells has been dancing for 20 years and teaching for 16. She began her study of Classical Ballet under the instruction of Ceci Klein and then continued with Nicola Hanson after Ceci’s retirement. Rayna has a passion for children; she recently received her RN and has become a Nurse in Pediatrics in Spokane. Rayna loves teaching and being able to share her love of dance with new, young, inspiring dancers.
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Dalton Gardens, ID 83815


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