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2022/2023 CORE FACULTY

About Our Core Faculty

Evergreen City Ballet’s core faculty ​consists of the Artistic Director, School Principal, and a select group of instructors who are committed and dedicated to providing the highest quality dance education to all of our students. Each instructor is passionate about instilling ECB’s core values of excellence, integrity, discipline, respect, inclusiveness, professionalism, and teamwork. ECB’s unique dance curriculum offers a rigorous, well-rounded, and holistic approach to learning and development.


Core Faculty instructors may periodically rotate within their designated levels, at the discretion of the Artistic Director and School Principal, to ensure that ECB delivers a comprehensive and dynamic learning experience. Each instructor is available for one-hour coaching or private session to work with a student one-on-one and help advance their technique and artistry. At ECB, our goal is to help each student ​learn​, ​grow​, and ​thrive​.

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Interim Artistic Director

Level V and Performance Division, Ballet & Contemporary

Marte Osiris Madera was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He graduated with an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington and a BFA in Dance from San Jose State University. Marte has danced professionally with companies across the U.S., including Spectrum Dance Theater, Dance Kaleidoscope, Lustig Dance Theater, Central West Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Menlowe Ballet, Robert Moses Kin, sjDANCEco, and the Margaret Wingrove Dance Company. He has also choreographed and taught dance at various institutions to students of all ages and abilities. 



School Principal

Nathan Cook began his ballet training at the age of four at Washington Contemporary Ballet in Tacoma, WA, where he studied classical and contemporary ballet under the direction of Kay Englert. He has studied a wide variety of other dance styles including modern, tap, jazz, and flamenco. He received further training from Spectrum Dance Theatre and Pacific Northwest Ballet, where he spent four summers dancing on a merit scholarship.


Over the years, Mr. Nathan has studied with many notable directors and instructors including Peter Boal, Vikki Pulkinen, Eva Stone, Sonja Dawkins, Donald Byrd, Bruce Wells, Timothy Lynch, and Stephanie Wood. As a professional dancer and guest artist, he has had the privilege of working with esteemed choreographers such as Adam Miller, Julie Tobiason, Jennifer Porter, and Stanko Milov. Major roles danced by Mr. Cook include Peter Pan, Hilarion, Franz, Sugar Plum Cavalier, and Prince Charming.


Mr. Nathan recently retired as the Director of Washington Contemporary Ballet and is currently dancing with Khambatta Dance Company. This is his third year as a School Principal at Evergreen City Ballet.

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Programs & Rehearsal Coordinator

Level IV Performance Division, Ballet & Pointe

Former alumni, Denali trained with ECB through her graduation in 2014. Following graduation she danced with The School of Ballet Arizona and Oregon Ballet Theatre's OBTII company. When not dancing, choreographing or running show rehearsals, you'll find Denali backpacking the globe or competiting in Spartan races. 




Student Division

Level I-V, Ballet, Pointe, & Jazz

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Margarita Armas began her ballet training at Artistic Dance Center and Miami City Ballet School.  In 2014, Margarita took a brief break from her ballet training to explore Modern and Contemporary Techniques with Marie-Louise Gaschler. She attended summer programs in Miami City Ballet School, American Ballet Theater, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. At age 15, Margarita was selected by Miami City Ballet to perform with the company’s 2015-2016 Season  & MCB Tour to New York City and Chicago.

Margarita was featured in the second season of the Teen Vogue’s Strictly Ballet Series. She was also the recipient of the Silver Award in the 2018 Young Arts Ballet Category. Margarita began to explore choreography for Miami City Ballet School’s Student Choreography Showcase.

In 2019, during her second year as a Professional Student with Pacific Northwest Ballet,  she choreographed at the Guggenheim in New York City for a collaboration with Dance Lab New York and the Joyce for "Female Choreographers of Color in Ballet.” In 2021, during her last year as a Professional Division student at the Pacific Northwest Ballet, She choreographed for PNB’s Rep 4 Bonus Content for their 2020/2021 season. Margarita is now pursuing a career as a freelance dancer and choreographer.



Student Division

Level II-III, Ballet

Julia James danced as an apprentice with New York City Ballet from 2000 to 2002 after training year-round at the School of American Ballet from age 15 to 17. She attended summer sessions on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and San Francisco Ballet School and, before moving to New York, studied at the Ballet West Conservatory and as a concurrent student at the University of Utah. She earned a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences and a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University and works full-time as a digital media strategist.
As an apprentice with New York City Ballet, Julia performed in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Richard Tanner and Eliot Feld. In workshop performances at the School of American ballet, she appeared in “C
oncerto Barocco,” “Stars and Stripes,” “Danses Concertantes,” “Konservatoriet,” and the world premier of Chris Wheeldon’s “Scènes de Ballet.”
Her former teachers include Suki Schorer, Susie Pilarre, Kay Mazzo, Antonina Tumkovsky, Jock Soto, Peter Boal, Andre Kramerevsky, Victoria Pulkkinen, Flemming Halby, Abbie Siegel, Louise Nadeau, Phillip Otto, Marjorie Thompson and Francia Russell, Gloria Govrin, Jorge Esquivel, Sandra Jennings, Bené Arnold and Conrad Ludlow.


Julia taught advanced pointe and technique at the Pacific Ballet Academy, in Mountain View, California, between 2005 and 2016. She lives in Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood with her husband and two kids.  



Student and Performance Division

Level IV - Performance Division, Ballet & Pointe

Jennifer Porter grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. She trained with Ballet West and First Chamber Dance Company and attended high school at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts. She began her professional career dancing with The Washington Ballet in Washington, DC, and then with Pacific Northwest Ballet where she performed works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Kent Stowell, Jerome Robbins, Nacho Duato, and many others.


Ms. Jennifer was the Artistic Director of Ballet Bellevue for three years where she created two original full-length ballets, The Snowman and Firebird. She has also created other contemporary works including With Remorse, Velvet Romance, Disconnected, Duet, and Childish ThingsShe has also created works for The Katy Hagelin Dance Project, Inception Dance Theater, and Burmer Music. Her choreographic works have been praised and recognized nationally and internationally. Ms. Jennifer's work for Burmer Music titled Sacred and Profane was highly acclaimed and her piece Vim was recently performed in Croatia.

In February of 2017, she won 1st Prize at The Rocky Mountain Choreography Festival in Utah for her piece Duet. She was invited to return and present a full evening of her choreographic works. In October of 2017, she brought with her ten dancers to perform her original choreography, including a selection of shorter works and Firebird, her modern-day ballet interpretation of the Russian fairy tale of the same name. Her dances and dancers were well received by an enthusiastic audience at Peery's Egyptian Theater, an 800-seat theater in Ogden, Utah.

In addition to choreography, Ms. Jennifer has been teaching for 20 years and has enjoyed working with not only professional dancers, but students and non-dancers. She has taught all over the state choreographing musicals, graduation dances, and the occasional flash mob. Ms. Jennifer loves coaching, mentoring, and nurturing in her students the passion for dance, which she has celebrated her whole life.



Open Adult Division

Open Adult Ballet (Sundays)

Dean Speer is thrilled to be joining the ECB Core Faculty. He brings over four decades of teaching experience in ballet, pointe, variations, contemporary (the Martha Graham Technique), and character. Most recently he was the guest teacher for Company Class of Ballet Bellevue and NW Dance Intensive. Mr. Dean is the Founding Director of Chehalis Ballet Center (dba, SW WA Dance Center), was the AD of Chattanooga Ballet, and he currently teaches at dance studios across the Greater Seattle area. Mr. Dean's hobbies include singing, reading, enjoying the great NW, rubbing the tummy of his kitty, and sampling yummy treats. Dean is also the author of the acclaimed book, On Technique (University Press of Florida, 2010), and of All Steps Considered.

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