Staff & Board

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Emily Running :: Founder + Executive Director

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In addition to being the Founder and Executive Director of Dance Wire, Emily is also a freelance performer, choreographer, teacher and creative consultant.

She has been dancing since age five, started dancing professionally in 1998, and received a BFA in Choreography and Performance in Dance from the University of Montana in Missoula in 2003. She danced for 7 years with Freshe Tracks Dance Company in Missoula, then moved to Los Angeles where she worked with Diavolo, Method, and Vox dance companies as well as freelancing. After a year stopover in Paris where she explored life as an artist, Emily decided to set up her roots in Portland. She was an aerialist for 7 years performing with AWOL Dance Collective and teaching for AWOL, Polaris, & Circus Project. She has served as Development Specialist for White Bird and Interim Director for Conduit.

Adding a twist to her story, on Halloween of 2011 Emily's pelvis was intentionally broken and restructured by a highly qualified team of surgeons to correct hip dysplasia, a structural imbalance she had from birth. The circumstance, which challenged the role dance played in her life, eventually lead to her founding of Dance Wire. It also inspired her book Anatomy Riot which was published in 2013.

Dance has been analogous to Emily’s identity for as long as she can remember. Her vision for Dance Wire is driven by her experiences, observations, frustrations, love, and dedication to dance. More on her personal projects at

Equity and Inclusion Formal Trainings/Groups:
-White Arts Leaders Confronting Racism Cohort 1 (ongoing action group)
-Racism in Dance workshop with Karida Griffith 2020
-Center for Equity and Inclusion Training Reframing Racism - 2017

Top 3 Influential Resources:
1) Createquity Podcast

2) How to be an Anti-Racist

3) Seeing White Podcast

Current Action Item:
Reading: Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance by Edgar Villanueva

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Sarita Persaud :: Marketing and Membership

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Sarita recently earned a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis on Nonprofit Management. A dancer all her life, Sarita went to undergrad at California State University Long Beach where she got her BFA in Dance and her BASI Pilates certification with a dance specialization. She has performed professionally with ConDanza Repertory Dance Company and PUSH Dance among others in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently dances with Shaun Keylock Company in Portland.

Top 3 Resources of Influence:

1) The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice by Fania Davis

2) Waiting on Reparations Podcast by Dope Knife and Linqua Franca

3) Color of Change Website and Social Media

Current Action Item:
We Too Sing America by Deepa Iyer

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Jessie Nowak :: Funds Development and Strategic Planning

Jessie holds a degree in dance from Western Oregon University, where she traveled to perform at American College Dance Festival, Dance Coalition of Oregon Benefit Concert, and Dance Mosaic, as well as presenting choreographic works in formal and informal concerts on campus. Upon graduation, Jessie sought out choreographic opportunities, continuing to present at Dance Mosaic from 2011-14, and danced a season with Lyrik Contemporary Dance Company. After Jessie had her children, she lost dance for several years. Her journey back has formed her new approach to dance, an approach that is welcoming to anyone with interest and hopes to spark interest in those who don’t have it yet. From 2018-19, Jessie completed an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Funds Development through University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. She completed her Teacher Certificate through DanceAbility International in 2019. She is passionate about everyone finding their inner dancer.

Equity and Inclusion Formal Training/Groups:
DanceAbility International Certified Teacher- Zero Project 2019 Award Winner for practices and policies that improve the daily lives of persons with disabilities

Top 3 Resources of Influence:
1) Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution - Documentary
2) America Magazine: The Jesuit Review - Website
3) The History Website

Current Action Item:
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi


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Megan Armand :: Marketing + Communications Manager at ORM Fertility

Native to the Northwest, Megan started dancing at the age of 9 when her grandma enrolled her in a summer dance program at the local performing arts studio. From tapping her toes on the car dashboard to pas de bourrees through the grocery store, dance quickly became her passion. As a teen she competed with her local performing arts company around the United States and carried that training and experience with her to college. While pursuing a bachelors degree in Interpersonal Communications at the University of Portland, Megan was a dancer for the NBA Portland Trail Blazers Jam Squad along with teaching classes for local studios, high schools and colleges in the community. After graduating college, Megan moved to Chicago to pursue a career in marketing communications and knew that she needed to continue having dance apart of her life.  She received the opportunity to push herself creatively and found a dynamic blend of how dance + fitness fuse together. Megan led classes for Women’s Health Magazine and SELF Magazine in both Chicago and Miami and is the lead instructor for a fitness DVD, part of the Dance Off The Inches series. She also developed a Cardio Dance Fusion training program for Coach Club, an at-home interactive workout series in Paris, France.

Currently Megan works as the Marketing Communications Manager at ORM Fertility and is the Director and a choreographer of Mixd Dance Company, an all-lady dance team working together to share their love of dance with Portland Community and beyond.

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Montserrat Andreys :: Chiropractic Sports Physician at Evolution Healthcare and Fitness + Founder of Healthcare for Artists

Montserrat was afraid she could not survive an academic program without art, so she graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in dance/pre-med. She then moved to Portland to attend the University of Western States, where she earned a doctorate in chiropractic medicine and a masters in exercise science. ​She is currently a sports chiropractor, practicing at Evolution Healthcare and Fitness. She is also the founder of HEART Healthcare for Artists, where she brings the principles of sports medicine to the arts community. 

Montserrat spent 5 years with a Middle Eastern dance company before transitioning to a Flamenco focus in college and dancing with the National Institue for Flamenco's pre-professional company. Since moving to Portland she has been deeply involved with Espacio Flamenco and continues to hone her craft both in and out of the studio. In reality, she dances all the time. She dances when she's happy, when she's victorious, when she's sad, when she needs to rally, or when a good song comes on at the bank...

A current participant in The Art of Leadership through RACC, Montserrat is excited to be learning how to best support organizations in their missions. She hopes to use her experiences and position on the Dance Wire board to advocate for dancers from a healthcare provider perspective, while also understanding the nuances of the dance community, ebb and flow of dance seasons and the demands of training and performing.

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Jenna Watanabe :: Content Writer and Copy Editor - Swaim Strategies

For Jenna, dance is an avenue for storytelling, for connection, and more than anything: dance is a moving meditation to feel alive. In her younger years, Jenna fell in love with high-energy dance classes and learned how to dance with a hula hoop while living in Salt Lake City, Utah. In her mid-twenties, she moved to San Francisco, California, where she learned from some of the most notable hip-hop teachers in the Bay Area and joined dance workshops that enabled her to build an amazing community and perform at the Palace of Fine Arts, Fort Mason Center for the Arts & Culture, and Dance Mission Theater.

After moving to Portland in 2018, Jenna continues to grow her nonprofit expertise in marketing, fundraising and event management through her work with socially-enriching organizations, including her most recent position as Community Engagement Manager for the Beaverton Arts Foundation where she led the community campaign for the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts. With a fusion of passion and experience, Jenna is thrilled for the opportunity as board member to champion Dance Wire’s initiatives that contribute to the health, vitality and connectivity of the dance community and she looks forward to exploring the vibrant dance scene of the Greater Portland area.

Additional Important People

George Thorn - The most incredible mentor any arts administrator could ask for.

Kerry Schaefer - Founding board member and ongoing resource council.

Kate Rafter - An early champion of Dance Wire and our first Member Services Coordinator

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