All of our classes are taught by highly trained professionals who are devoted to the Academy of Dance and to the development of each individual student’s abilities.

Carla Olson 



Carla began dancing at the age of six studying Ballet, Tap and Jazz. She began teaching at the age of 15. Post high school, Carla continued her dance study at Cornish Institute College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington.  After her time at Cornish Carla moved to Hollywood, California to study at Dupree Dance Academy. She then went on to obtain her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration at University of Portland in Oregon. Post College, Carla continued her dance studies at Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, Washington. Over the years, she has studied with many dance masters such as Michael Rooney, Carol Connors, Jackie Sleight, Van “The Man” Porter, Dianne Walker, Jason Samuel-Smith and many more. Carla opened Academy of Dance in 1997.

Jennifer McKinstry-Dean 

Owner/Synergy Director/Competition Choreographer

perfect365 7Jennifer brings with her over 20 years of dance training with an extensive background in Ballet, Modern, Lyrical, Jazz, Broadway, Tap, and Audition Technique for TV, film and commercials. She has studied and performed with Westlake Dance Center, Cornish College, Spectrum Dance Theatre, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Jennifer has performed in and choreographed many local musical and stage productions including: Hello Dolly, Music Man, Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn and many more. She has competed in both regional and national dance competitions taking top honors. She has been a back-up dancer for both Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. She continues her career in modeling, commercials and film, appearing in numerous local and national commercials and documentaries. Jennifer shares her passion for dance and performance in the classroom and on-stage. She began teaching at Academy of Dance in 2000 and is now an Owner and Director.

Alicia Peerson


Alicia brings 10 years of experience as both a dance mom and employee to Academy of Dance. As a board member for “Synergy Dance Company”, Alicia helps organize community events throughout the year that “Synergy” performs at and is involved in many fundraisers to help support the art of dance. Alicia is a homeschooling mom to 3 children, all of which dance at our studio. Her oldest has been dancing at Academy of Dance for 10 years and is a member of “Synergy”. Being actively involved in the studio and Synergy Dance Company as a dance mom for so many years has given Alicia insight into how the studio operates, which  enables her to answer many of the questions that students and their families have. Alicia’s strengths include attention to details, excellent communication skills, and the ability to effectively multi-task.

Mackenzie Wojtanowicz


20160602_140145Mackenzie graduated from Grand Canyon University with her Bachelors of Business Management Degree in Spring of 2016. Mackenzie’s innovative take on business strategies, excellent communication skills, and motivation to succeed is what makes her such a valued team member at Academy of Dance. She will also begin teaching Kids Yoga and Ballet/Tap classes this summer at Academy of Dance.

Rylee Altenburg



My name is RyLee Altenburg. I have been dancing since I was five years old and started teaching at the age of fifteen. I am currently a senior at South Kitsap High School and was recently accepted into American Music and Dramatic Arts (AMDA), a performing arts school in Los Angeles, California. I have studied in lyrical, jazz, tap, hip-hop, modern, ballet, and pointe receiving convention scholarships in hip-hop and ballet. I have competed in many competitions at the highest level including YAGP “Youth America Grand Prix” which is the world’s largest international student dance competition. I have also attended many conventions taking classes from renowned instructors such as Tyce Diorio, Travis Wall, Talia Favia, Tabitha & Napolean D’umo, and Mia Michaels. I attended DancerPalooza in Long Beach, California and was chosen to participate in their music video. As an instructor I want each of my students to enjoy coming to dance class each week and feel like they learn and improve each time they step into my classroom.

Melissa Rasband

Acro Instructor

Amanda Hancock

Instructor/ Choreographer

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My name is Amanda Hancock. I’ve been dancing at Academy of Dance for four years. I currently study ballet, jazz, contemporary, and pointe. I have attended Cornish College of the Arts for their summer intensive. I also compete my solos in group numbers for our studio at local competitions. Dancing in teaching is a big part of my life, and I take it very seriously. I’m always excited to teach and share my love of dance with anyone willing and ready to learn!

Sarah Gasky

Instructor/ Choreographer

Dance has been my passion for 14 years. My entire dance career has been at The Academy Of Dance where I began classes in 2002 and have studied pointe, ballet, jazz, lyrical-contemporary, hip hop, and tap. I have been a devoted member of the Synergy Dance Company since 2005. I have extensive stage and performance experiences with lead roles in hundreds of productions, ballets and recitals . I have even performed on the stages and parades of Disneyland and Disneyworld! Since 2005, I have competed solo, duo, and group routines annually in hundreds of regional and national competitions such as The Youth American Grand Prix of Ballet, Showstoppers, Hollywood Connection, Nuvo, Rainbow, Starpower, and Spotlight . I have been awarded hundreds of first place trophies, judges awards,and even multiple dance titles such as Miss Teen Spotlight. I continually study dance throughout the years by taking workshops, dance clinics , and intensives such as ballet and pointe classes at the Pacific Northwest School Of Ballet. I have also been the captain of the State and Nationally award winning South Kitsap Dance High School Dance Team for 3 years. I am extremely excited to share my passion of dance with others!

Nikki Fenten

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Katy Helfrick

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My name is Katy Helfrick. I have been dancing for 10 years in a variety of styles. I recently completed a six month training program at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. There I trained with some of the world’s most renowned teachers and choreographers such as Lane Napper, Karla Garcia, and Germaine Salsberg. I have performed in many local productions as well as Broadway Dance Center’s student showcase. This past summer, I finished my 4th year at the Rockette’s Summer Intensive. I have also been accepted into the Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center, their most elite dance program. I love sharing my passion for dance and encouraging children to always strive towards their goals.