our people


IMG_3481 Shannon Gee
co-founding artistic director | instructor


Pole dancing for over 12 years, Shannon is excited to see pole dance continually evolve 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. Passionate about music and dance; cooking, baking, and home decor are also hobbies of hers. Shannon also spends much of her time with her daughter and loved ones. 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!


004 Martina Thornhill


Martina helped co-found Ecdysiast in 2008 and was one of the main instructors for the first three years. She has dabbled in dance and acrobatics throughout her life and found pole dancing to be the perfect combination of strength, grace and challenge. Martina is now solely involved in an administrative capacity and can be found behind the desk answering phones and juggling paperwork. She spends her time outside the studio doing ceramics, weaving and taking care of her jungle of houseplants.


image (1)Rain Smith
administrative director


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!”


Katie Collins
marketing and promotions manager


Katie started taking classes at Ecdysiast in April of 2015 and immediately felt connected with the pole dancing community and the aesthetic of such a disciplined art form. Growing up with a computer whiz dad and a scrap-booking mom, she feels right at home doing graphic design work for the studio. Her past experience in sales and promotional work across many different work environments adds to her skills in her administrative position in marketing at Ecdysiast, and she is thrilled to apply her knowledge to something she wholeheartedly believes in. Currently in school working on her bachelor’s degree in marketing, when not studying or in the studio, Katie spends her spare time singing harmonies, exploring Portland, and puzzle piecing her schedule together to squeeze as many pole classes in as possible.


IMG_3582Jasper Morrow


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.


Attachment-1Tai Sammons


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.


Allison Hergert


Allison has been dancing as long as she can remember. She spent seven years on her middle and high school dance teams and began more formal training in college. She studied ballet, jazz, and modern dance at Portland State University where she earned a B.S. in Arts and Letters with a minor in Dance and Theater Arts. She first started pole dancing at Ecdysiast in 2011 and instantly fell in love. No other dance form has ever been so challenging and gratifying at the same time. Allison had the pleasure of performing with the Ecdysiast Training Company in the EPDC’s shows “Calculated Frequency” and “elemente” and is thrilled to be teaching now. When she’s not dancing, Allison works at the Flight Operations Center for Horizon Air and enjoys travelling, hiking and spending time with her Rottweiler Ivy.


Ariana Armstrong


Ariana began her pole journey right here at Ecdysiast in August of 2011. Her background in dance – includes ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop, as well as many performances in high school musicals – has shaped her great affinity for choreography, which she loves to share by creating solo and group pieces for studio performances. Ariana is proud of having taken Silver in her group performance at the 2014 NW Aerial Arts competition in Seattle, WA, and is excited to be competing again in November 2015. Her participation in the Ecdysiast Training Company for the beloved Ouroboros show blossomed into an Apprentice position in the Ecdysiast Pole Dance Company, an honor that she revels in! When Ariana is not in the studio, she is a nanny to two lovely children, and finds great joy in volunteering at the Pixie Project.