Faculty

Veronica Mendonca
Owner/Director

Veronica is the founder and director of VAM Studios. Her career as a performer, choreographer and teacher spans over 30 years. She has performed and choreographed everything from classical ballet to cabaret as well as directing her own dance company to creating choreography for feature film.

As a dance instructor, Veronica was on the faculty at the prestigious Westside School of Ballet in Los Angeles for over ten years. She has taught master classes at Cornish College of the Arts and has also taught at the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp, Oakley Ballet Center and at Arc School of Ballet here in Seattle. Veronica trained with Yvonne Mounsey (New York City Ballet) and Rosemary Valaire, (England’s Royal Ballet). She studied jazz in Los Angeles with Wayne Bascomb.

Veronica has also worked with legendary choreographers Toni Basil and Mark Morris among others. Read More

Mark Mendonca
Co-Director

Mark Mendonca is the co-director of VAM Studios. He has been a sought after performer and dance educator worldwide for the past three decades.

Mark has taught master classes across the world in France, Spain, Germany, U.K., Indonesia, and Sweden as well as at dance festivals across the US including the Colorado Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival and festivals in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, Portland, Anchorage, and Atlanta among others. He has been on the faculty at Loyola Marymount University and Santa Monica College, and has also taught classes at UCLA, Cal State LA, Cal State Long Beach, Los Angeles County High School of the Arts and Orange County High School of the Arts.

Mark is excited to share his experience and knowledge with dancers from all over the Pacific Northwest and to establish VAM Studios as a new, permanent home for tap dance in Seattle. Read More

Nicole Beerman
VAM Studios Program Director/Instructor

Nicole Beerman has been a performer, choreographer, teacher, and producer for 20 years in both Seattle and New York City. She holds a BFA in Acting from Cornish College of the Arts and is a certified Simonson Technique Teacher. As an actor, singer, and dancer she has performed in New York at HERE Center, The Duplex, Samuel French Festival, and tons of Lower East Side Off-Off Broadway theaters. Regionally she has performed at the Seattle Repertory Theater, 5th Avenue, Village Theater, Seattle Children’s Theater, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and many more. Nicole has choreographed on Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and regionally across the USA in such styles as Hip-Hop, Musical Theater, Contemporary, and Jazz. She is the proud mother of 5-year-old Max and 1-year-old Huxley. www.nicolebeerman.com

Aminda Bowen
Instructor – Dance

Aminda Bowen graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Washington. She has also earned her psychology degree with a focus on child development and a K-12 performing arts teaching certificate. Aminda spent time teaching and performing in Ohio, Indiana, and New Mexico for nearly a decade before returning to Seattle. She taught and choreographed in public school arts programs, professional dance teams and private studios. Aminda danced professionally with the NBA, as a guest artist with dancers from the Albuquerque Ballet, and studied with the Keshet Dance Company.

Since returning to Seattle, Aminda has focused on building a dance curriculum influenced by Anne Green Gilbert’s philosophy of holistic dance education combined with Cecchetti ballet technique.

Amanda White
Instructor – Dance

Amanda White has been dancing, and loving it, for as long as she can remember. She has been trained in a multitude of styles, including ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and modern. As a performer, Amanda has danced with the Eastside Moving Company at Bellevue College, Steppin’ Up Performance Group, Drybones Artist Collective and for choreographers Anna O’Conner and Amy O’Neal as part of the Strictly Seattle Dance Festivals in 2015 and 2016. She has also recently performed with VAM Performance at the 1st Annual REVEAL: Northwest Innovation in Fashion event at EMP.

Amanda has taught jazz, tap and ballet to children of all ages at numerous dance studios throughout the greater Seattle area. In 2015 Amanda was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Chop Shop Dance Festival. Amanda truly enjoys sharing her love and passion for dance and life through teaching others!

Annie St. Marie
Instructor – Ballet

Annie St.Marie was born and raised in the greater Seattle area and has been dancing since the age of four. She studied ballet for nine years at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School where she performed in eight consecutive years of the Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker in addition to Pinocchio (as Pinocchio) choreographed by Bruce Wells. Annie received her BFA in dance from Cornish College of the Arts in the three year Accelerated Degree Program. She has studied ballet, modern, jazz, pointe, burlesque, musical theater, performance art, dance composition, and teaching methods. While at Cornish, Annie choreographed for Cornish’s Terpsichore’s Landing and has danced in works by Michele Miller, Alia Swersky, Gerard Theoret, Bruce McCormick, Karen Baskett, Wade Madsen, and Danielle Agami (excerpt staged by Sarah Butler). During her final year at Cornish she was teacher assistant to Pat Hon and was awarded the Kreielsheimer Foundation Scholarship.

Mellanie Stephenson
Instructor – Ballet

 

Kelly Colegrove
Instructor – Tap

Kelly began her dance training at two and a half years old.  She was trained in a variety of styles but always felt an extra special devotion to tap dance.  Participating in many tap festivals and other intensives taking her across the United States, Canada, and Sweden, Kelly has had the honor of working with Michelle Dorrance, Sam Weber, and Sarah Reich to name a few.  In 2011, Kelly became a member of the Alchemy Tap Project, under the direction of Josh Scribner.  Performing with ATP, she has danced at Benaroya Hall, the Folklife Festival, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Walla Walla Dance Festival, as well as working with Microsoft Production Studios.  Kelly is now teaching and choreographing at several studios in the greater Seattle area and working as the assistant director of the Alchemy Tap Project.

Keoni Mendonca
Instructor – Dance

Keoni has been dancing for 10 years, doing ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary. She has studied dance at Arc School of Ballet and VAM Studios. For the past 2 years she has been a teacher’s assistant at VAM Studios and loves working with children. Keoni has performed with Twelfth Night Productions in the musicals The Music Man and Amahl and the Night Visitors. She has had the pleasure of appearing in a Dreamworks commercial and a music video by Emmy nominated director Matthew Brown. Keoni loves dancing with her friends and is always excited for the next VAM Studios show.

JACKSON KNAPPEN

INSTRUCTOR – BALLET

Jackson Knappen is a dance artist from the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California who discovered dance at age fifteen in the Nevada Union High School Theatrical Dance program. He later relocated to Los Angeles where he studied at Santa Monica College, and Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet, under the instruction of Mark Tomasic, Seda Aybay, Nader Hamed, Alina Volynsky, and Arkady Nikolaev. He also performed works by local choreographers Seda Aybay, Nate Hodges, and Michael Nickerson-Rossi, and competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Jackson made the move to Seattle in 2017 to explore the incredible community here and expand his experience as a contemporary dancer, teacher, and choreographer.

Izo Tissot
Instructor – Pre-Ballet

Izo has been dancing for 8 years, with experience in ballet, modern, lyrical/contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, and tap. Prior to dancing at VAM Studios, she studied at Exit SPACE for 3 years, including 2 years as a member of their competition team. Izo also studied at Ravenna-Eckstein community center for 3 years, where she assisted kids classes with Aminda Bowen. Izo has been dancing at VAM Studios for 1 1/2 years and she loves it. Izo is a sophomore at Nathan Hale High School. She enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Interested In Joining The VAM Team?

We are always looking for talented instructors who have a passion for sharing their dance teaching skills in a supportive and fun way. Contact us and share your interest.

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