Nikki Wells 
Contemporary Program Director 

Jazz, Tap, & Ballet

Nikki Wells is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, earning a BFA in Visual Art in 2007. Originally from Houston, Nikki studied ballet, tap, jazz and modern dance at Dew Ann Cotten Dance Academy for 15+ years.  She also spent 3 years dancing with the University of Houston Dance Ensemble before moving to Seattle in 2004.  A teacher at Momentum since 2005, Nikki has had the pleasure of teaching all levels of jazz, tap, and ballet and creating original choreography for the studio’s biannual productions.

A singer, dancer, and actress, Austin has been honing her triple-threat ability since childhood. She grew up among the Lake Washington studios of Spectrum Dance Theater, the company her mother, Jenny Hillock, co-founded. And, with two parents as dancers, Austin developed a passion for the performing arts at a young age.  After training at Spectrum for many years, as well as Seattle Children's Theater, Austin studied at Dance Fremont! during her teen years.

Austin Sexton

Jazz, Tap, Ballet, & Contemporary

Mario Manansala

Hip-hop, Ballet, Jazz

& Partnering 

Mario Started dancing at Momentum in 2014 and found his passion of dance while dancing various shows with Momentum. Mario has danced with Moscow ballet (on full scholarship) and Evergreen City Ballet. He has attended summer courses with Evergreen City Ballet, Momentum Dance Ensemble, and International Ballet Theater. He has participated in local events such as BoostMeUP, Dance to Make a Difference, and Burien Art Walk. Now he is working with retired Principal dancer Karel Cruz from Pacific Northwest Ballet.



Tristan Carver-Cox


Mr Carver Cox is a dedicated and passionate dancer who has danced with industry leading instructors throughout the south sound, as well as attending yearly workshops with L.A.‘s Tony Bellissimo. He has spent the last year and a half being mentored by Charles Carson and currently dances professionally with the Hip Hop Crew Icon Lion.

Philippa Myler

Ballet, Contemporary, & Tap

Philippa Myler is a freelance contemporary dance artist trained in ballet, modern, and jazz from the age of four. Myler has had the privilege of dancing in works by Michele Miller (Catapult Dance) and Kim Holloway. Myler was a core company member of Karin Stevens Dance and Associate Director with Ktisk Contemporary Dance, creating and producing works as well as performing with the company. Myler has danced for Anna O’Conner and Nathan Blackwell in Velocity’s Bridge Project, Sarah Kathryn-Olds’s Serendipity Dance Brigade, Xaviera Vandermay’s 3rd Shift Dance, and Erin Boyt’s Version Excursion. 

Denise Smithhisler

Tap, Tumbling, & Ballet

Denise Smithhisler, Teacher Denise started dancing at the age of 7. At 23, she opened her own dance studio which she ran for 31 years. She taught Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Acrobatics and Musical Theater to students ages 3 to 65. Her students have performed at Disneyland twice, a Seahawks half time, 3 Sonic's games, Silverwood Theme Park and numerous community events. Denise has been teaching at Momentum since 2016.

Kathleen O’ Grady-Graham


Kathleen O’ Grady-Graham comes from a varied dance background. She began taking dance at an early age in areas of ballet, tap, jazz, Polynesian and Irish. She started taking Irish dance from the Keane-Raney School and joined the non- competitive Northwest Irish Dancers in 1992 and was one of the founding company members as well as an instructor. She then joined the competitive school of Tony Comerford School of Irish Dance and competed in the North American Irish Dance Championships and the Western regional Oireachtas. She also is the main Irish ceili and set dance caller for the area and calls Irish dances at the Tractor Tavern and for the Vashon Island Celtic Society regularly.

Erin Taylor


Erin Taylor is an Irish Dancer who has competed locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. She has danced since her formative years, first with the Keane-Raney School, the Doonan School of Irish Dance, followed by Rosemary Turco School of Irish Dance, and completed her competitive tenure with the Tony Comerford School of Irish Dance in Seattle. Mrs. Taylor was a member of the Comerford School's 2004 World Irish Dance Championship team placing 3rd in figure choreography.

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Did you know that Momentum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is providing over $24,000 in financial aid scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year? Or that our Boy’s Scholarship Program provides approximately $20,000 in scholarships and free classes to encourage boys to pursue a performing arts education? Please help us fund and continue these programs by donating today!

Questions? Call us at 206-242-1239
15811 Ambaum Blvd SW, Suite 160, Burien, WA 98166

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