Northwest Tap Connection Instructors
Dora Oliveira Newman has performed and taught Afro-Brazilian dance for over 50 years. She has lived in Seattle, Washington for over 30 years.
Dora¹s career as a professional dancer began in 1976 when she joined
renowned Brazilian folkloric dance troupe, Exaltacao A Bahia. Ms. Oliveira
has learned a repertoire that ranges from Afro-Brazilian dance forms through jazz, ballet, and modern dance.
After obtaining a professional dance degree from the prestigious Federal University of Brazil, Ms. Oliveira Newman moved to the US. Starting in 1991, Dora has developed a large dance student following teaching at many studios and other locations across the city of Seattle.
Dora Oliveria (Afro Brazilian)
Dora has toured the world as the principal dancer with Olodum – the world famous samba bloc. She was also a featured dancer on the opening credits and in the Brazilian dance episode of the PBS' "Dancing" series.
Ms. Newman has worked as choreographer for Washington state based samba schools: Vamola and SambaOlywa. Currently, she continues to tour the US, Canada, and South America as lead dancer with Occeami and Show Brazil. Dora also works for Seattle Theater Group teaching Dance for Parkinson’s. Ms. Newman also teaches dance for Tap Connection. Dora Newman is the Creative Director of her own dance organization and troupe, Dance with Dora, LLC.
Dora was awarded a BFA from UFBA (The Federal University of Brazil) and was a surgical nurse in Brazil. She also holds a BA in Early Childhood Education from UW.
Ayanna Omar (Hip Hop & Tap)
Ayanna Omar (she/her) is a Seattle based dancer/choreographer trained in hip hop, house, modern, tap and ballet. She currently coaches for Purple Reign Dance at Washington Middle School and works for Northwest Tap Connection, a dance studio that focuses much of their work through the lens of race and social justice. Ayanna has participated in STG’s DANCE This and in the nationally recognized dance number by the legendary Donald McKayle "Shaker Life" in 2017 at the Moore Theatre. Her credits include participation in Hamilton's mixed tape "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" choreographed by Shakiah Danielson, the GROOVEMENT, and various dance performances through Northwest Tap Connection.
Dani Tirrell (Modern and House)
Dance artist, performer, choreographer and dance educator. Dani has danced with Jazz and Spirit Dance Theater of Detroit, Monroe Ballet Company, Full Circle Dance Company, Natural Locz Dance Company and Dani Tirrell and The Congregation that Dani founded and serves as Artistic Director. Dani also created Color Lines Dance Ensemble for youth dance artist ages 12 to 18 (currently not active).
Dani has performed and shown work at Seattle International Festival of Dance (Seattle), Black Choreographers Festival (San Francisco), Gay City Arts (Seattle), Bumpershoot: Velocity Dance Center Showcase (Seattle), Showing Out: Black Contemporary Choreographers (Seattle), Young Tanz Sommer (Austria), Northwest New Works Festival: On The Boards (Seattle), Risk/Reward (Portland), Seattle Art Museum (Seattle), Erased (Color Lines Dance Ensemble) as part of Nights at the Neptune (Neptune Theater, Seattle), Monticello Wakes (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles) and Central District Forum of Arts and Ideas.
Dani has choreographed works for Kaleidoscope Dance (Seattle), 3rd Shift Dance (Seattle), Jazz Intoxication (Seattle), Broadway Bound Children’s Theater (Seattle), Stone Soup Theater (Seattle), Northwest Tap Connection (Seattle), Full Circle Dance Company (Detroit), Jazz and Spirit Dance Theater of Detroit (Detroit), Detroit Windsor Dance Academy (Detroit) and Vision Center Stage Dance Company (Detroit). Most recently Dani choreographed for the premier of House of Dinah written by Jerome A. Parker and Directed by Andrew Russell. House of Dinah premiered at On the Boards in the 2016/2017 season. Dani has also conducted workshops centered on gender/sexuality/race at Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (Seattle), Texas Festival of Dance Improvisation (Texas Women’s University, Denton, City Arts Magazine 2017 Genre Bender Artist paired with Mary Anne Carter and Allied Media Conference (Detroit).
Dani’s latest work Black Bois premiered at On the Boards (Seattle) in April 2018. And was brought back to a sold out audience at The Moore Theatre in Seattle, WA (February 2020). Black Bois has been awarded Seattle Dances: 2019 Dance Crush award for choreography and performance.
In 2018 Dani is also part of Arts Matters Foundation 2018 Fellowship.
Currently Dani’s work focuses on the queer, gender non-conforming and black experience. In March of 2018 Dani curated On the Boards Open Studio Showcase. Dani curated the 2018/2019 Season of Central District Forum of Arts and Ideas (Seattle). Dani will continue with the position of lecture in the Dance Department of University of Washington, teaching Street and Club Styles. Dani also incorporates House, Vogue, Whacking and African Diasporic movement in Dani’s artistic practice and work. Dani teaches throughout the Seattle area with Northwest Tap Connection and formally at Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon.
Cipher Goings (Tap)
Cipher Goings is an accomplished dancer. He is a 2019 YoungArts Finalist. He has been dancing since the age of 7 at Northwest Tap Connection Dance Studio and has been teaching since the fall of 2017. He has been trained in Ballet, Hip Hop, Modern, and Rhythm Tap. Cipher has performed professionally since the age of ten, first as a member of the New Horizon’s Modern and Tap Company and then with the Youth Tap Ensemble (YTE) beginning at the age of 12. From 2017-2019 Cipher was the dance captain of Northwest Tap’s YTE. He has received additional training and performance opportunities at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, DC Tap Festival, the Floripa Tap Festival in Brazil and the Tap Fam Reunion in New York. Cipher has taken master classes from many talented, notable dancers such as Savion Glover, Chloe Arnold, Sonia Dawkins, Michelle Dorrance, Derrick Grant, Jason Samuels Smith, Gene Medler, Matthew Rushing, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dianne Walker, Chester Whitmore and many more. He also was a part of the original cast of Black Bois by Dani Tirrell. Cipher also has premiered in music videos and short films such as Kwanza Jones: Problem- A Public Service Announcement, Awolnation- Bad Wolf which has over 15 million views, and Youngarts mini film- Hell You Talmbout featuring Northwest Tap Connection. Cipher currently is a junior at the University of Washington where he is studying dance.
Shaina Proctor (Tap)
Shaina was born and raised in Seattle, WA. She started dancing at Martin Luther King Elementary at the age of 8 under Dr. Darrlyn Smith. At age 9, she received a scholarship to Pacific Northwest Ballet through the first Dance Chance Program where she continued with the school for 4 years. Although she has studied all types of dance, her main focus is Tap. She has performed at many venues: Minneapolis Tap Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Tap City: The New York City Tap Festival, LA Tap Festival, Tapology Festival, Floripa Tap Festival (Brazil) and Seattle’s Annual Dance This: 2003 – 2006. She was in the case of Intiman’s Theater Black Nativity for 2 years and appeared on Dancing with the Stars along with Savion Glover.
Currently, Shaina is the Artistic Director of Northwest Tap Connection's Youth Tap Ensemble.
Pamela Yasutake (Tap)
Pamela Yasutake (Performer - Choreographer - Instructor) recently made her Broadway debut in the original cast of "Shuffle Along, Or , The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed". Directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by Savion Glover, the critically acclaimed production received ten 2016 Tony Award Nominations including Best Musical.
Originally from Seattle, WA and now residing in New York City, Pamela's television credits include the 70th Annual Tony Awards (CBS), Maya & Marty (NBC) and So You Think You Can Dance (FOX). Other credits include sold-out concerts with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies in New York City, Washington, DC and Dubai, performing with Emmy-Award Winner Jason Samuels Smith and his company Anybody Can Get It (A.C.G.I.) at Davidson College in North Carolina, performing and choreographing for Seattle Theatre Group’s production of “Dance This…”, eight seasons of the Black Nativity Play of Seattle in which she performed the lead dancer role of Mary for two consecutive seasons, and performing at various tap festivals across the country alongside legendary masters of Tap.
Jason Holley (Tap)
Jason Holley started tap dancing at the age of 3 in Washington D.C. under the direction of Yvonne Edwards. At the age of 5, he then joined “Tappers With Attitude:, a tap company directed by Yvonne Edwards and Renee Kreithen. In 1998, Jason performed in “Brothers Of The Knight”, starring Debbie Allen, which influenced him to study other forms of dance. He enrolled into the Duke Ellington School Of The Arts, where he studied Ballet, Modern, and African Dance. At 15, Jason moved to Los Angeles California alone, to continue his training at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. In Los Angeles, Jason appeared in a stage play starring Tatyana Ali called “If You Don’t Believe”. He also began dancing for the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks as a side job for 3 years. His final year he was the head choreographer for the dance team. Some of his other show credits include “Pepito Story”, “Dreams”, and “Dancing In The Wings”, all under the direction of Debbie Allen, and the 1996 Kennedy Center Honors, honoring Shirley Temple.
Jason just recently finished choreographing and performing for Tokyo Disney in Tokyo, Japan, in a Broadway Musical Review titled “Big Band Beat”. He was the Associate Artistic Director of the Metropolitan School of the Arts, and the Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Youth Tap Ensemble in Alexandria, Virginia, from 2011-2015. A member of the Motion X Dance DC contemporary company for 2 years based out of Washington, D.C.. He was a swing in the 10 time Tony nominated hit Broadway show "Shuffle Along", and a contestant on NBC’s World Of Dance season 2 with The Jam Project! Jason’s recent credits include; “Anything Goes” episode 11 on “Encore” streaming on Disney +, All Rise on CBS. Crosswalk The Musical (Aladdin, Frozen, Harry Styles; The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Tai Anthony McMillan (Tap)
Tai Anthony is repping South King County having been born and raised in Skyway. He is currently a rising junior at Stanford University and plans on majoring in Environmental Systems Engineering. Having a mother who is Filipino and a father who is African-American, his upbringing was a blend of the two cultures. Nonetheless, he still had to navigate this world with caution as a young black man. In turn, he has worked in different capacities to address the injustice and inequality facing young men and women of color. In the greater Seattle community, he has worked with organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to bring awareness to these issues and guide educators on how they can better serve students of color.
As a dancer, Tai Anthony grew up in NW Tap Connection having been with the studio since he was 8 years old. He went on to represent NW Tap at dance festivals like the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, DC Tap Festival, and the Florida Tap Festival in Brazil. Tai Anthony was even selected to perform at the esteemed Kennedy Center in Washington DC, dancing in a piece taught by Michelle Dorrance.