Katie is a proud native of Dallas, Texas, and graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Point Park University, from where she graduated cum laude. Katie's performance carer began at the young age of nine, as one of fifteen selected to represent Team USA abroad in the Sydney, Australia 2000 Olympics. Since then, Katie has had the pleasure and privilege of working with such artists as Twyla Tharp, Robert Battle, Camille A. Brown, and Larry Keigwin — to name a few. Professionally, Katie has performed for such companies as Pittsburgh's Attack Theatre, New York's Shen Wei Dance Arts, and most recently Portland's Fault Line Dance in the premier of In Circadia. As a Charles and Stephanie Reinhart Scholarship Recipient, Katie attended the American Dance Festival during the summers of 2011-2013. Finding a home both in her ADF family and in Contemporary Dance, Katie aims to instill in her students a mad love of technique and performance modeled after her time in Durham, NC. She aspires to one day return to the ADF as a choreographer and teacher. Currently, Katie is thrilled to teach and assist Ballet, Creative Movement, and Contemporary classes for the Aspire Project and she is elated to be involved in such a wonderful organization. Katie owes the world to her family and friends for their constant love and encouragement and would like to thank both them and you for supporting the arts through dance. Let's move!
Susan Darrow, Executive Director, has been dancing since she was three years old and started teaching when she was 16. Her background includes tap, jazz, ballet and acrobatics experience with several professional groups, including the Kansas City Civic Ballet, the Kansas City Starlight Theater and the Kansas City Chiefs dance team, as well as performing in many professional productions. Sue’s teaching expertise is in classical ballet and tap dance technique. After 20 years as a dance instructor and choreographer and 30 years of working for corporate America and raising a family, Sue is now enjoying her grandchildren and directing The Aspire Project.
Hello, I am a big, big, big Zumba fan! I believe I am a lot like a lot of you out there; I danced when I was young, and I love a good beat (sometimes not even noticing the words). I was an athlete when I was a teen and kept in decent shape and then I had children. Bouncing back from that was very difficult for me and then I walked into my first Zumba class. I have been hooked ever since. I admit, with all the workouts and classes I have taken, none have drawn me back in like Zumba. Ask me about my weight loss sometime. Dance speaks to my soul, and to not even notice or feel like I worked out is amazing.

Come join me Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings! Let’s dance and have an amazing time….oh and sweat and workout, shhhhh! Bring your friends and Join us at The Aspire Project and get your dance on!
Kayla Durham is a certified yoga teacher in the Hatha Vinyasa style. She studied under Daniel Stewart and Claire Hartley at Rising Lotus Yoga in Los Angeles for two years. During her training she found personal transformation in the areas of physical strength, overcoming self-doubt and letting go of the egoic self. Kayla is known for her enthusiasm, non-judgmental teaching style and compassion-centered philosophy. She weaves yoga philosophy into her classes, where she applies ancient wisdom to the modern world. Kayla encourages growth of the physical and spiritual self to her students. For inspiration, Kayla cites the inter-connectedness of humanity, the earth and the universe.
Katie Janovec is a freestyle dancer, popper, performer, teacher and event organizer. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, she has lived the last 11 years in Oregon and calls Portland her home. Beginning her education in modern dance, she eventually fell in love with street dance styles and culture. She enjoys incorporating angles, tutting, robotics and grooves into her movement. Katie graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Child & Family Studies and a minor in dance. She enjoys sharing her passion with youth and is excited to teach Hip Hop with The Aspire Project.
Annie was raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She enrolled at The Academy of Ballet & Jazz at age 8, where she studied under Susu Hale Prout, Thor Sutowski, and Jaime Tarbox Dunn. Annie is a diverse performer and teacher, specializing in Ballet, Rhythm Tap, Jazz-Funk, Contemporary, and more. As a Company Member at The Academy of Ballet & Jazz, she attended national competitions: Jump, Nuvo, Applause and Dance Masters of America, where she was a title winner, class assistant and scholarship recipient. Her time as a convention dancer afforded her training opportunities from renowned choreographers like Sheila Barker, Danny Tidwell, Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Mark Meismer, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Tyce Diorio, Dave Scott and others. As a member of Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, she studied under Wes Chapman and Roger van Fleteren through a partnership with The Alabama Ballet. She also attended summer training intensives through American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program and the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Upon graduating from high school, Annie earned Bachelor degrees at the University of Alabama in both Dance and French in 2012. During her time there, she was a recipient of the The University of Alabama Dance/Theatre Scholarship. She was a member of the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre, a Dance Alabama! artist, and her original choreography was selected and presented in The Next Dance Experience. Most recently, she attended the 2017 Portland Tap Alliance Dance Festival to learn from tap legends, Diane Walker and Derick Grant. After relocating to Portland in October 2016, Annie is continuing to follow her passion for dance as an educator and an aspiring choreographer, focusing on Contemporary and Rhythm Tap styles.
Jacki grew up dancing in a small studio in Martinez, California. She started ballet at age 3 and since then has attended many summer intensives including American Ballet Theatre and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and a minor in dance. During her time in college she explored other dance genres and found a new love for hip hop. She became coordinator and choreographer for PSU's recreational dance club where she still teaches and choreographs contemporary and hip hop routines. She has always loved sharing her passion for dance with others and is excited to be a part of The Aspire Project.
Nicole is a Bay Area native and brand new to the Portland area. Following in her older sister’s footsteps (Aspire Project instructor Jacki Mascorro) she began her dance career at the age of 4, studying ballet at the California Academy of Ballet. She attended summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre, Diablo Ballet, and School of Creative and Performing Arts. In high school she performed and competed with her high school’s Dance Team and also trained as an apprentice for Moving Arts Dance. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Economics and a minor in Dance. Upon graduation, Nicole has continued her dance education in as many styles as possible. She is extremely excited to be joining The Aspire Project where she will not only begin her career in teaching, but be able to share her love and passion for dance with others.
Born and raised in Akron, OH, Ella Matweyou has been a dancer since the age of eight, studying primarily ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz at The Dance Institute of the University of Akron. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with Distinction from The Ohio State University with a BFA in Dance (concentrating on Performance & Education) and a minor in English.

She has had the opportunity to perform choreography by Ohad Naharin, Bebe Miller, Robert Moses, Alex Ketley, Susan Hadley, Abby Zbikowski, Melanie Bales, and other distinguished professionals.

While attending Ohio State, Ella completed her Yoga Alliance Registered 200 Hour Certification in Hatha Yoga from Yoga on High in Columbus, OH. She has also furthered her dance education at summer intensives with Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, The Equus Projects in NYC, Trinity-Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance.

Here in Portland, in addition to teaching for The Aspire Project, Ella works as an instructor for Zenality Yoga and Pure Barre Portland (Lloyd District location). She remains actively involved in the Portland dance community by taking classes at various studios and dancing in freelance performance projects.
Victoria (Vicki) is a Certified Athletic Trainer with a Master’s Degree in Sports Medicine. She has thirty-five years of professional experience in the fields of physical rehabilitation, fitness, and health maintenance. Victoria has trained in the Pilates method for 24 years, and has an extensive background in the therapeutic value of nutrition.

As a Certified Athletic Trainer, Victoria has worked with athletes of all levels to prevent, evaluate, and rehabilitate injuries. Working in various physical rehabilitation settings, Victoria has developed and applied many skills and techniques to assist in the recovery and rehabilitation of numerous injuries and conditions. As a Pilates teacher, Victoria enjoys developing individualized programs to meet the needs of her diverse clientele, as well as leading group mat classes.

Victoria has a strong passion for whole foods nutrition and a desire to help others understand the importance of healthy digestion/absorption and a proper diet. Victoria knows her limitations, though. If it’s evident she does not provide the appropriate service to meet a specific need, she would be happy to assist in determining what is necessary for a successful outcome.
Baret Pinyoun is a certified “Imagination Yoga” Instructor and an Oregon-certified classroom teacher. She holds a BA in Sociology and an MAT in Spanish. She has been teaching Spanish and Yoga/movement classes for the past 14 years to kids of all ages. Her personal yoga practice began over 20 years ago as a way to complement her cycling and long distance running endeavors. Today she uses Imagination Yoga to teach kids how to access their inner and outer strengths, how to practice mindfulness and be kinder to themselves and each other, and how to “go” on imaginative adventures while doing kid-friendly yoga poses. Baret entwines her love of nature into each yoga class and teaches the kids about various animals and their natural habitats. Baret is passionate about working with kids to help them find and celebrate their own unique strengths and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in School Counseling.

When not teaching, studying or practicing yoga, Baret enjoys trail-running, hiking, biking, traveling, reading, playing and spending time with her family and friends.
Hello! My name is Edith Shamrell.

I’m a certified yoga therapist who has been teaching yoga for the last 15 years. I believe that yoga is for every BODY, and given the appropriate tools and guidance, anybody can benefit. I apply my knowledge of yoga therapeutics to design classes that are safe and adapted to the needs of my students. My teaching is inspired and creative.  And my yoga style is eclectic and infused with accents of different yoga styles and traditions.

In my classes I try my best to encourage a nonjudgmental practice where each student sets his or her own pace in a noncompetitive atmosphere.  I believe that yoga allows us to create spaces and freedom in our body, helping us to feel more grounded and closer to HOME, and this is supreme quest!
Laura offers a fresh and unique approach to her jazz and theatre dance classes, incorporating various styles into her classes, drawing influences from such jazz greats as Jack Cole, Bob Fosse, Nat Horne, and Fred Benjamin, with an emphasis on individual growth and performance, clean technique, stylization, breath, and musicality.

Laura trained in ballet with Jacqueline Schumacher, Nanette Charisse, and Finis Jhung and in jazz and modern dance with Jaime Rogers, Claude Thompson, Phil Black, Les Watanabe, and with Jose Meier, Nat Horne, Denise Jefferson, and Fred Benjamin at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.

Laura established her own professional dance company, “Dance Alive!” at the age of twenty. She then became a member of two dance companies in the Northwest – The N.W. Repertory Dance Co., and the Joe Orlando Dance Theatre. She went on to perform in music videos, television commercials, and regional and international musical theatre productions including, “Evita”, “Me And My Girl”, “West Side Story”, “Pirates Of Penzance” with Martyn Green, and “Pacific Overtures” with Mako, among others.

Laura has conceived, directed and choreographed several noteworthy theatrical productions in the U.S. and abroad. Her most recent choreography was seen Off Broadway in New York at Theatre 80, The Supper Club – formerly Broadway’s own Edison Theater, The Blue Angel Theater, The 13th Street Repertory Theatre, St. Marks Church in the Bowery, The USO Of Metropolitan New York, and The Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.

Laura has taught for Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT), Jefferson High School Of Performing and Visual Arts, ‘Stage 7’ in San Diego, Orlando Ballet in Huntington, New York, The Bridge For Dance in NYC, Portland Community College, and Stumptown Stages.

Laura instills confidence, strength, and a feeling of accomplishment in her students, enabling them to evolve into their own self-discovery of moving through space in a non-competitive, invigorating atmosphere.
Susan was born and raised in San Francisco, California. She began dance lessons at the age of 10, after being inspired by some tap dancing on an episode of The Little Rascals. She begged her parents for tap lessons and has been dancing ever since. She studied tap, jazz, ballet and acrobatics at the Lorna Fordyce Dance Studio, with an emphasis on tap, which has always spoken to her the strongest. At 16, she began teaching beginning tap to children and loved sharing her passion and enthusiasm for dance with others. After moving to Portland, she danced for 6 years with Cami Curtis Performing Arts Center in downtown Portland. After that studio closed, she found her way to The Aspire Project, where she is excited to share her love of dance by coming full circle and teaching again. Susan loves all things creative, and is a nature photographer and jewelry maker, too. She lives in St. Johns with her husband, Brian, and Monty (the amazing beagle dog).