Karen Daggett Austin
Karen earned her Bachelor of Arts at California State University, Long Beach with a specialization in Dance Education. She has held state teaching credentials in both California and Oregon and has taught for more than 20 years in public education, private schools and dance studios. A Screen Actor’s Guild cardholder, Karen has a background in theater/voice/dance, appearing on stage in “Oklahoma”,”Carousel”, “Born Yesterday” and others, in Long Beach State University’s Dance Collaborative… as a featured actress in television commercials for Oscar Mayer, Mick’s Alehouse, Beach’s and more… and in the ABC Movie of the Week, “Inherit the Wind” starring Kirk Douglas.
Karen has choreographed and/or directed dance sequences for Rogue Music Theater (The Wizard of Oz), tv’s Star Search (junior dance trio: Wes Veldink, Mary Harry and Tara Massey), The Miss Rogue Valley Pagaent, Tanzsommer Dance Festival Stars Of Tomorrow (Austria, Europe), various regional high schools, and adjudicated for the Oregon State Thespian Finals as well as Spotlight National Dance Events.
Off the stage, Karen is a published writer of regional articles in California and Oregon, the Health & Nutrition writer for DAKIKI online Dance Magazine, has been a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for foster children in Josephine County, and is an Internationally Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who was the Founder and previous owner of True Juice organic juice bar and Cafe’ .
As the co-founder/owner of All That Jazz and the director of its Advanced Production ensemble since 1991, Karen has had the privilege of leading the group to numerous national dance titles, to perform on tour throughout Austria, Europe by invitation for 4 seasons, and to appear in interviews, a national ad & rankings in both Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit magazines.
Karen is known for her positive and encouraging teaching style, love for musical/dance theater, emphasis on the importance of good early technique work, and fostering an atmosphere of ‘ fun … with focus’ in the classroom.
With a background in Ballet, Musical Theater, Tap, Voice and acting, Jessi received early training at Heartland School of Dance, with Kate Skustad in theater and Julie Lehnhadrt in voice for several years in the Rogue Valley. She has performed on stage in major roles for such theater favorites as “Oklahoma”, “The Pajama Game”, “The Boyfriend”, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”, as Millie in “Thouroughly Modern Millie” (Rogue Music Theater 2015), and co-choreographed sequences for the Grants Pass High School Cabaret and Sounds Unlimited.
In addition, Jessi is a Certified Doula and attended Southern Oregon State University on a Vocal Music Scholarship.
As a mom herself, Jessi has an inherent love for children and a unique ability to inspire and transfer her joy for the performing arts to students of all ages. In 2022, Jessi was an ensemble member and soloist in the Edgewater production of GODSPELL, and assisted with choreography for One Eleven Evelyn’s Kids Theatrical Camp production of Aladdin.
The name Penny King has been synonymous with high quality classical ballet education in Grants Pass for almost thirty years. Originally from Santa Monica, CA, King began her dance training at a young age. She studied ballet, tap, and performed on many stages throughout Southern California, including Santa Monica Civic Ballet and Opera Company while studying ballet under Andrei Tremaine. Eventually, King added modern and contemporary techniques to her dance repertoire.
While back in Santa Monica, she went to dance classes at Santa Monica College, met Linda Gold and also toured Europe with the Linda Gold Dance Ensemble. She also danced as an apprentice with Rudy Perez, took classes with Stanley Holden, and studied tap with the great Sam Weber.
After moving to Oregon, King stopped to take a class at the school of the Eugene Ballet and was asked if she would like to perform with the company. She spent five years dancing with the company and others in the area and under the direction of people including the late Eric Hyrst.
In 1991, King opened Stillpoint Dance Studio in Grants Pass. Many former students have gone on to professional dance careers with companies including Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. 1991 was also the year she staged her first production of The Nutcracker Ballet, which has become an annual Grants Pass holiday tradition and regularly performs to sold-out audiences.
In addition to running a studio and producing The Nutcracker, King has been extensively involved with local theater. She has performed in, choreographed, and directed dozens of shows for Barnstormers, Rogue Music Theatre, and the GPHS drama department.
Over three decades Penny King has played an important role in the lives of the countless children who have called her teacher, many of whom have returned as parents to enroll their own children in her classes. She believes passionately in the unifying and healing power of the arts in general and dance in particular, and looks forward to many more years of sharing this passion with the community of Grants Pass.
(Lyrical, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop) – Shannon has been dancing since she could walk. She has won numerous awards throughout her performance years, including Performers of the Year with her ensemble of All That Jazz Dance Studio in Grants Pass, OR. Following that award, All That Jazz was chosen 1 out of 5 dance companies across the nation to travel to Europe and tour with Tanzsommer. After high school, she was a lead dancer for a pre-professional dance company in Portland, OR; currently known as Moveo.
At 21, she received the Assistant Teacher award with Co. Dance Convention where she traveled to multiple cities around the country as an assistant to the convention teachers. She has trained and worked with many of today’s well known choreographers including Gregg Russell, Mandy Moore, Jesse Santos and Super Cr3w. Shannon has performed at various venues such as Town Square in New York City, stages through Europe, NBA half time shows, Universal Studios, and the list goes on. She has found a new form of love in the dance world…teaching. She taught at Grande Finale Dance Studio in Gladstone, OR for 10 years, where she received multiple choreography awards on the regional and national level. She has recently moved her and her two boys (Deandre (JR) and Devonne (Von Von)) to her hometown of Grants Pass.
In addition to teaching, she launched A New Dance Experience: Portland’s new edge dance competition.
Shade began dance classes as a young child, and early on, her love for Ballet flourished. As a teen and member of the select performance group Advanced Production with All That Jazz at the time, Shade was a student assistant for both Ballet 1 and 2 classes under the Direction of Rosemary Adams. She taught classes in Rosemary’s absence and assisted with choreography and other creative aspects of the dance education process.
As a member of Advanced Production, Shade attended/excelled/earned recognition for her technique and ballet mastery at many dance conventions throughout the Pacific Northwest. She was name Dancer of the Year in 2014 for her extraordinary talent and for being an exemplary role model. She has studied with Elyse Roxander of Studio Roxander, Jocelyn Schmidt (All That Jazz), as well as Faculty @ New York City Dance Alliance, Wes Veldink (Broadway Dance Center) and others. Shade has had lead roles on stage in ballet and pointe in numerous concerts through the years. She toured with All That Jazz across Austria, Europe in 2015 in the TANZSOMMER Dance Festival performing in 5 cities and studying ballet technique with The Paris Opera Ballet and Innsbruck Ballet. Additionally, she has had private session time with acclaimed American Ballet Theater dancer/teacher, Leann Underwood. Shade continues in her passion for dance/performance as a current member of professional contemporary dance company, the Southern Oregon Dance Collective.
After a brief hiatus to live on the East Coast, Shade has returned to the Rogue Valley and is excited to share her love of Ballet and the joy of dance with SODC’s young ballerinas-in-the-making!
Evan Daggett has been playing music since he was a toddler (on his first drum set), and later on piano and in vocal music in lessons as a young boy. As an 8th grader he began teaching private percussion lessons to elementary school children and by the 9th grade was in the award-winning percussion line at Grants Pass High School where he performed as percussion section-leader in countless competitions and concerts in marching, concert and jazz bands.
After graduation, Evan attended the University of Oregon and played in the renowned UofO marching band drum line, and then finished both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Southern Oregon University in Music Performance/Education.
After earning his teaching credential, Evan taught Elementary music in Medford and then at Parkside in Grants Pass for several years, while coaching the GPHS percussion section and drum line to many competition victories as well as writing musical arrangements and teaching private lessons. His professional performance and directing career spans a mountainous array of listings including as Percussion Director/Coach for GPHS, as drummer for local favorite band, Funktional Fusion, as a guest-artist musician for Rogue Music Theater, One-Eleven Kids Theater, The Green Garter Band and countless community music events, SOU ensembles, and more! From vocal choir/singing, to guitar/ukelele, band instruments and percussion… from general music classes, private lessons, hand drumming, rock band, jazz band, orchestra, choir, or instrumental music classes … with more than a decade in the public schools as a K-12 music educator and the last 25 years as a performer, Evan has seen what quality music education can do for young people. His goal is to give all students, regardless of school choice, age or ability, a positive place to learn and develop their musical “chops”.
Molly Myers… began her dance career at age 3 in Creative Movement classes. At 9 she was invited into All That Jazz’s youngest select dance performance group, Kids Company showing exceptional skill and technique for her age. As an 11 year old she auditioned and excelled as an Intermediate Production member, contributing to a Regional Title for Top Teen Hip Hop/Overall Score at Onstage NY in Portland. As an 8th grader , Molly was asked to fill in and perform with Advanced Production due to her exceptional hip hop skills. As a member of Advanced Production through high school, Molly trained in all dance genres (hip hop, tap, jazz, musical theater, ballet, pointe, etc.) -mastering each of them- contributed to Regional awards for excellence with the group, performed across the Pacific Northwest and beyond including at both Disney World and Disneyland, and assisted, taught, choreographed at SODC starting at the age of 16.
While still in high school Molly attended numerous national dance conventions, master classes, and dance workshops throughout Oregon, Washington and Florida to perfect her skills and technique. At the close of her senior year, she was booked – along with her Advanced Production group – to perform across Austria, Europe with the TANZSOMMER concert series based on their excellence in technique and ability to inspire and entertain international audiences. Molly was awarded SODC’s most prestigious recognition in 2020 by being named DANCER OF THE YEAR.
Post graduation, Molly continues as a choreographer for all three youth performance groups at SODC, and her dance pieces consistently win high recognition at competition and performance venues everywhere. She is now also a member – both as a dancer and contributing choreographer- of the professional contemporary company in residence at SODC, Southern Oregon Dance Collective, where she continues to inspire on and off the stage.
Xeric Meraz (aka “Otherwise”) was born in Phoenix, AZ, and started Breakin at a young age of 8. Growing up in a competitive breaking community taught him how to use experimental movements and his Native American roots with a solid Breakin foundation to express himself in the Break Dance arena.
Xeric has competed in local and National events all over the Southwest, Washington, and Oregon. Notable competitions have included: Furious Styles Anniversary –Arizona,
National Breaking League –Arizona, Heart break -New Mexico, Hip Hop international -Las Vegas, Culture Clash – Sacramento, Sweet 16 PNW finest -Seattle, *and at Skilfest Portland ,August 2022 as a National qualifier for Olympic 2024 Paris Games.
Julia began her dance training at Turning Point and as a young teen auditioned for Advanced Production where she grew exponentially as a dancer, teacher’s assistant and young choreographer. In addition to her training, performing and competing with All That Jazz and Southern Oregon Dance Center, Julia also attended summer intensives in California where she studied with Dean Elex at EDGE Performing Arts Center as well as Wendy Rosoff, Chryssie Whitehead, Alexis Carra Girbes and Taye Diggs at BROADWAY ARTS.
After being named SODC DANCER OF THE YEAR for 2021, and post-graduation, Julia was accepted into the Dance/Fine Arts program at the University of Nevada where she studied Ballet, Modern, Jazz and more with Michael Jarrett, Louis Kavouras, Ari Mayzick and Cathy Allen, among others. Not only did Julia perform with the UofN dance program, she also honed her skills as a stage manager and crew assistant as well.
Julia has returned to southern Oregon and jumped back in with both feet as a Director’s Assistant for Intermediate Production as well as a choreographer in the spring of 2022. She is excited to teach, encourage and support our young dancers on staff at SODC now and into the future.