Graceful. Innovative. Athletic.
About Studio Pulse Center for Dance & Faculty
Studio Pulse Center for Dance is a locally owned dance studio in Anchorage, Alaska. Our mission is to provide well-rounded, technical dance education, and to nurture and inspire movers of all ages. Our beautiful, three-studio facility allows for individualized student attention and fosters meaningful connections within our dance community. Our studios are professionally outfitted with extra large mirrors, barres, and floating floors bedecked with Harlequin marley, imperative for safe dancing and pointe work.
Our experienced, award-winning faculty compassionately challenge students to become the very best dancer they can be. Students are exposed to a variety of styles of classical ballet, contemporary modern, acro, jazz, and hip hop, with a minimum of two performance opportunities throughout the season.
Studio Pulse is a body-positive environment that places emphasis on proper warm ups and alignment so that our dancers can continue dancing for years to come.
Stephanie Wonchala is an Anchorage choreographer, dancer and dance educator who L O V E S dance. She founded Studio Pulse Center for Dance in 2013 and serves as the Executive Director of Pulse Dance Company, founded in 2010. She is a 2017 Connie Boochever Fellow, a 2016 Alaska Journal of Commerce "Top Forty under 40" awardee, and a 2015 Rasmuson Fellow.
Wonchala served as Artistic Director of the 2014 Arctic Winter Games, and on faculty with UAA's department of Theatre & Dance as instructor of Modern dance. She has produced and directed numerous community dance events, including 10 evening-length concerts for Pulse Dance Company, three annual local Nutcrackers, and work for the Anchorage Concert Association and Cyrano's Theatre. She has been commissioned by the Anchorage Symphony, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Anchorage Museum Polar Lab Initiative, and the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her work has earned highest rankings in the NUVO dance convention.
Wonchala is a UAA dance ensemble alumna and has trained in acclaimed studios in New York, Seattle, Vancouver, Long Beach, and Berlin, as well as attended multiple American College Dance Festivals across the U.S. She has interned, instructed, performed and choreographed for dance intensives in Homer, Seward, and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Her competition and drill team experiences include performing with the Crestview High Dazzlers in FL, as well as serving as Officer with the Chugiak Chaparrals, a nationally recognized, award-winning girls dance drill team at Chugiak High School.
She has held the titles of Miss Anchorage 2005, Miss Chugiak/Eagle River 2006, Miss Alaska 2006, and competed in the Miss America 2007 pageant on Country Music Television. In addition to a lifetime of dance training and 18 years as a dance educator, she is certified in Yoga Sculpt, Buti Yoga, Barre Pilates, and Zumba.
Most importantly, Wonchala feels that dance is the most visceral shortcut to joy, and is incredibly grateful to live a life in the arts - especially in Alaska. She continues to be inspired by the beautiful souls who share her passion for dance, and feels deeply privileged to work with them every day.
ALICE BASSLER SULLIVAN
Instructor of Ballet
Ms. Sullivan began her dance training in Anchorage with Lynda Lorimer and Steve Primis, earned a BFA from the prestigious University of Utah Ballet Department in 1975, performed with Ballet West, apprenticed with the First Chamber Dance Company in Seattle, and worked as a company dancer with the Minnesota Ballet for five years.
Alice returned to Alaska in 1982 and led Alaska Dance Theatre to unprecedented achievements as its Founding Artistic Director. Under her stewardship, ADT received the Mayor’s Youth Arts Award (2004) and the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Arts Organization (2005). In recognition of her outstanding leadership within the community, Ms. Sullivan was named a finalist in the BP Women of Achievement Award (1990), and a finalist in the Athena Award (1996). Ms. Sullivan was awarded the Lorene Harrison Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mayor’s Arts Awards (2010) and honored with a Rasmuson Individual Artist award (2013). In 2007, the in-house theatre at ADT was named the Alice Bassler Sullivan Theatre to honor her legacy.
She has instructed or choreographed for programs across the state, including the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, Studio Pulse Center for Dance, Pulse Dance Company, The Alaska Club, and as guest instructor for the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy. She launched Eagle River Ballet in 2011 to serve the broader Eagle River community, and has groomed many dancers and mentored faculty who have joined prestigious programs and dance companies nationwide.
Administrator, Instructor of Hip Hop
Creacy Boggess has been dancing for over 20 years. She has trained in Hip Hop, Modern, and Jazz dance. While in high school, she became very involved with Dance West under the direction of Lori Bradford, where she began honing her focus to Hip Hop dance. Creacy minored in dance at UAA while training and competing with Underground Dance Company's team Hardcore. She has traveled across the U.S to study dance at leading studios, including Millenium Dance Complex in LA, and has trained directly with the creator of the Angelina Ballerina program, Beverly Spell. Creacy has choreographed for UAA's dance production New Dances, as well as The Alaska State Fair pageant in 2018 and 2019. She has choreographed for many local dance productions, and performed across the state. In addition to many years as a dance educator, She is also Zumba certified. Creacy loves sharing her passion for dance with her students, and continues to instruct across Anchorage, AK.
Administrator, Youth Instructor
Silvea Fast was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She started dancing when she was 6 years old, training primarily in ballet and contemporary. As Silvea got older she started branching out, trying new styles of dance from swing and ballroom to salsa and bachata. Silvea traveled to Cuba to study Cuban salsa from a professional dance company for several weeks.
In 2019, she had the opportunity to join Pulse Dance Company as a peforming artist. Silvea loves to be part of the Pulse team because of the warm and fun work environment, and also for the creatively quirky twists director Stephanie puts on projects for the Pulse Dance Company. When Silvea isn’t dancing, she loves to be doing things outside like hiking, camping, and in the summer, just laying out in the sun. She also loves to spend time with her family, especially her little niece Ava.
Administrator, Ballet Instructor
Maggie Johnson was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She began her dance training at the age of five, and graduated from the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy at age 18. Ms. Johnson has also trained and performed with The Nutmeg Conservatory, Milwaukee Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Bossov Ballet Theater, UAA, and Pulse Center for Dance. She has studied under numerous instructors from all over, including Farah Zoetmulder, Regina Pilkus, and Alice Bassler Sullivan. Her training had a concentration in ballet, jazz, and modern/contemporary, but she has also received training in Bolero, character, African, Afro-Cuban, and Hip Hop. Some of Ms. Johnson’s performance highlights include “Chinese Empress in Nutcracker," “Big Sun in Aurora: A tail of Northern Lights," “Queen of Dryads," “Bolero," “Giselle," “Coppelia," and an excerpt from “Cats” with the Anchorage Ballet, Don Quixote with the Bossov Ballet Theater, and “The Scarf Dance” with The Nutmeg Conservatory, and recently performed with Indie rock band Ayla Ray. Ms. Johnson is passionate about dance and enjoys sharing her love of dance with others.
Instructor of Stretch & Strength/Youth Classes
Katerina Lewis is the youngest in a family of 10 children. All being dancers/gymnasts, it was no surprise that she had a love for dancing and tumbling. When her dance teacher broke both feet, Katerina, 9 years old, helped assist by demonstrating and helping provide corrections. Katerina further studied and gained experience teaching Russian ballet, jazz, tap, tumbling, and working with disabled children. Katerina participated in a NYC Ballet workshop in Jackson, Wyoming, and studied Cecchetti with Mrs. Dienhart, at BYU-Idaho. Her junior year in high school she participated in the Distinguished Young Woman Program. She choreographed a lyrical pointe number to Josh Groban’s song “Starry, Starry Night,” and received the Physical Fitness and Talent awards. Her dancing also won first place with this dance at the Bingham County Talent show. She helped choreograph and dance in The Phantom Of The Opera as Meg, The Secret Garden, and Peter Pan as Tinker Bell. Her past performance roles include The Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Spanish Dance, and the corps de ballet.
Instructor of Ballet
Shalah Rose McCarthy is a multifaceted artist from Westchester County, New York. She began her career as a children’s dance instructor when she was just a freshman in high school. Her dance instructor approached her after class one day and asked her to assist in teaching Angelina Ballerina classes. Shalah gladly accepted, and has been teaching dance classes ever since! Shalah’s passion for dance and early learning has supported her teaching for nearly ten years now. Shalah graduated Cum Laude with an Arts Degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she studied Dance, Theatre, and Early Childhood Education. She is a certified BalletBeFit instructor, and teaches various levels and forms of dance. When she’s not in the dance studio, Shalah is choreographing and starring in music videos, songwriting, and recording music in the studio. She can also be seen playing live shows with her jazz trio, The Jazzlings. In her free time, Shalah loves being immersed in nature with her son.
Instructor of Ballet
Aurora began her training in ballet and tap under the tutelage of former dancers from the Royal Danish Ballet and Broadway. She is trained in Bouronville and Cecchetti and continues her studies in the Vaganova method. Aurora performed with the Galle and Collins company in the Festival of Nations in Albany and in annual Scandinavian festivals throughout the northeast. She has performed in numerous roles with Pulse Dance Company, including as the stepmother in Cinderella, Dew Drop in The Nutcracker Redux, and as part of Pulse's installation of In Darkness and Light at the Anchorage Museum. Aurora continues to share her passion with dancers of all ages in Anchorage.
Instructor of Contemporary & Hip Hop
Robyn Minor is an artist, esthetician, baker, crocheter, and most of all - dancer. She grew up in Alaska where she trained in a variety of styles including Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Modern, and Ballet. She has performed/competed/choreographed in countless competitions including but not limited to World of Dance Bay Area, Top of the World, Hiphop International, 5678 Showtime, Alaska State Cheer and Dance Competition, and America’s Got Talent. Her choreography has won numerous awards in state and out of state. As a performer, she has opened up for 2 chainz, August Alsina, and J.Holiday with the adult Hip-Hop dance crew Artistic Drift who is undefeated in Anchorage. After years of performing, she wanted to share her craft and began teaching in 2014. She has been teaching ever since and enjoys sharing her knowledge and love of dance with her students.
CADY LYNN O'BRIEN
Instructor of Ballet & Jazz
Cady Lynn O'Brien, a proud mother of a rambunctious daughter and two young sons, is a life long Alaskan who is passionate about dance, music, and the arts. She began her training in Sitka, Alaska. After two years with UAA's Dance Ensemble, Ms. O'Brien attended Trinity Laban, a conservatory for dance in London, England. Ms. O'Brien spends her days teaching preschool, instructing various ages in dance classes, and dancing professionally for Pulse Dance Company. She has taught and performed internationally.
Instructor of Ballet, Jazz & Contemporary
Brittany trained for 15 years at Alaska Dance Theatre, studying various styles of dance with focuses in Ballet, Modern, and Jazz. As a student and member of their performing company, she worked with many esteemed instructors and choreographers, including Lori Bradford, Alice Bassler-Sullivan, Noelle Partusch, and Jin Min “Jimmy” Hao. She’s performed in numerous productions, including collaborations with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Anchorage Opera, and Alaska Theatre of Youth.
After a lamentable hiatus from dance, Brittany started dancing again in 2013 by completing Studio Pulse’ "Black Swan Challenge." She went on to become a member of and featured soloist for Pulse Dance Company, as well as an instructor at Studio Pulse, teaching Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, and fitness to both adults and kids. Brittany’s choreography has been featured in PDC’s seasonal concerts and their Nutcracker Redux. She has twice been a Bloom artist in residence, and created a short dance-on-film project for Pulse's Freshly Squeezed in the fall of 2020. She is married, has two dogs, co-owns a business with her husband, and enjoys getting outside in Alaska.
Instructor of Youth Programs
Theresa owned and operated Children's Dance Theater for 16 years. She specializes in Creative Movement, Ballet, Tap, and Jazz instruction. Theresa has her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Dance from Montclair State College in New Jersey, and has frequently participated in the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. She has studied Belly Dance and danced with Alaska Silk Road, and is Zumba and Zumba Kids/Jr. certified. You may or may not recognize her from her role of Mother Ginger in Pulse's Nutcracker Redux! Her greatest love in the classroom is watching the youngest dancers discover, develop, and blossom, all because they danced.
Instructor of Contemporary/Competition Teams
McKenna Young started dancing at the age of two, training in a variety of styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, ballet, contemporary, and hip hop as she grew up. She began teaching at the age of 14 at Candice’s Dance Studio in Eagle River, Alaska, where she led a junior competitive team that went on to win several first place trophies in state, and placed in the top three at nationals in Disney World in 2016. McKenna began working at Studio Pulse in 2018. In 2019, she created the competitive program that has since grown to be very successful, earning three first place trophies and a choreography award at Top of the World 2020. McKenna’s choreography has been featured in Pulse Dance Company’s Nutcracker Redux, and Valley Performing Arts’ production of White Christmas. McKenna is passionate about helping her students reach their fullest potential and fostering their love of dance.