our people

IMG_3481 Shannon Gee
co-founding director | instructor

shannongee@ecdysiaststudio.com

Pole dancing for over 10 years, Shannon’s love for the beauty, danger, and grace of the dance has only grown more over time. She is excited to see pole dance continually evolve, from being known only in strip clubs, to where it is today, for everyone. The acrobatic contortion and gravity defying components of pole dance are, she feels, what separate this dance from any other, making it the most unique and exciting discipline of its kind. She believes pole dance allows an outlet for one to express themselves, without taboos, giving the individual the real freedom to create.

Born in Korea, but raised in the Pacific Northwest, Shannon calls Portland home. When not at the studio, she spends much of her time with her daughter and loved ones. Passionate about music and dance; cooking, baking, and home decor are also hobbies of hers. How fortunate she feels to do what she loves, and to work side by side with such an amazing and inspiring team of staff and students!




Rain Smith
administrative director | instructor

rain@ecdysiaststudio.com

Rain has been an instructor at Ecdysiast since February of 2010. She trained aggressively to begin teaching, falling in love with pole dance immediately. Her adoration for jazz-ballet as a young lady lends to her dance style, as well as her interest in other disciplines, such as belly dance. She also studied at South Puget Sound Community College and in 2006 received her Bachelors in Business. Rain’s daily experiences inside and outside the studio continue to transform her performance. Though she never imagined herself a pole dancer, she now finds herself in the world’s greatest job! Excited to go to work every day, she encounters so many amazing and empowered students. In her own words, “I feel lucky to be here at Ecdysiast. It’s my home away from home!”




Jennifer Jennings
lead instructor

jen@ecdysiaststudio.com

Jennifer began studying pole dance in 2009 at Ecdysiast, when she became obsessed with her new-found avocation. She works tirelessly to improve upon her skills in an effort to bring something fresh to her performances. Jen’s talents have been showcased in the Pole2Pole Cup 2012, Pacific Pole Championships 2012, International Pole Convention 2012 and most recently, the 2012 Pole World Cup in Brazil! She absolutely cherishes the opportunity to share her love of pole dance.

Having been involved in the performing arts since she was five years old, Jen’s dance background includes ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary. She studied at Shenandoah University and achieved her Bachelors in Biology, 2007. She continued to mature and refine her dance and choreography skills in high school and college cheer squads. Jennifer’s adoration for music inspired her to study and perform various instruments–clarinet, guitar, and piano–in elementary, high school and college, and lead her to Europe, where she toured with the “Sound of America” choir in the Spring of 2002, which included the best of high school and college honor choir students. You can see Jen frequently, on the pole at the studio, defying gravity. Currently, she also works 2 days/week at Oregon Health and Sciences University in the Pathology Department.





Ashley Nelson
instructor

ashley@ecdysiaststudio.com

Ashley has been pole dancing for over seven years and is drawn in by the grace and power of the form. A lifelong mover and performer, her style is influenced by aerial, ballet, jazz, tap, African, and modern dance. She’s also a black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate. Ashley draws from her theater background, and has performed with Triangle Productions, toured local schools with Arts and Communication Magnet Academy’s Theater Ensemble, and interned with Northwest Children’s Theater. She earned her B.A. at the University of Idaho, where she majored in English: Creative Writing, and moved back to Portland in spring of 2011 to pursue her passion for dance more seriously. After six months of lessons, she began teaching at Ecdysiast and feels blessed to work in such an inspiring environment. She also teaches and performs with A-WOL Dance Collective. When she’s not flying through the air, Ashley enjoys knitting intricate socks, lounging with her cats, and exploring the outdoors.




IMG_3527 Jasper Morrow
reception | instructor

jasper@ecdysiaststudio.com

Jasper started lessons at Ecdysiast in early 2010, when her youngest daughter was just 9 months old and she was looking for a new and exciting way to get back into shape. Although she never had any formal dance training growing up, dance has always been a part of Jasper’s life, whether performing in musicals, or taking recreational Jazz, Ballet, or ballroom dance classes. When she started pole dancing, she found her home. Pole dancing satisfies her desire to move to music and gain strength and flexibility while doing so.

Jasper completed her BA in Writing and Literature in 2003, and became a Licensed Massage Therapist in 2007. In addition to massage and pole, Jasper loves to read and occasionally write poetry, cook, garden, help with home improvement projects, spend time with her husband and three girls, and is an all-around domestic super-woman.




NWPAC14-TaiSammons-2881Tai Sammons
reception

tai@ecdysiaststudio.com

Tai was introduced to the amazing world of pole in July of 2012 and it was love at first spin! With a background in various forms of dance and gymnastics, she was eagerly drawn to the incredible strength and beauty of pole. Since her first class at Ecdysiast, she has continued to grow and advance her skills as a dancer and performer. Tai competed in the 2014 Northwest Pole Art Championships where she placed 1st in the Level 4 Entertainment category as well as taking 1st with her teammates in the Group/Doubles category.

A transplant from Ashland, OR, Tai is a graduate of Southern Oregon University where she majored in Theatre Arts/Perfomance. Outside the studio, Tai is a barista, actress and audiobook narrator. She also prides herself in being a big goofball, loves to laugh and isn’t afraid to get silly! Tai is the proud mother of an adorable black pug named Oscar.