photo Tabitha Padilla

Studio Director - Instructor


photo Madi Russell

Competition Team Coach, Hip Hop Instructor

Madi Russell first realized her love for dance at a young age & she taught herself by watching Youtube videos and music videos, and this has influenced her style and work ethic. She later joined the Glacier Peak HS Dance Team and became a captain and choreographer for the team in her last 3 years on it. Now after high school and still wishing to pursue dance she is going to the University of Washington majoring in Marketing and minoring in Dance. She loves the new students and new experiences each year at Applause brings! Her main passion is hip hop and looks up to dancers like Keone and Mari Madrid, Lyle Beniga, and Shaun Evaris. & It is her passion to encourage young hip hop artists to work hard and never give up.

photo Kelly Smith

Ballet & Lyrical Instructor 

Kelly Smith teaches Ballet, Jazz, and Lyrical. She’s had Royal Academy of Dance training into the Majors levels and has done several summer courses with the American Academy of Ballet. She has taught ballet, jazz, lyrical & hip-hop for several years, and in 2006 Kelly instructed an award winning jazz competition team. She recently completed her minor in dance at the University of Washington and is looking forward to sharing her diverse dance background with students. She strives to instill a love of dance in all of her students while having fun and allowing them to grow as dancers and individuals. Kelly is thrilled to be a part of Applause Studio and looking forward to sharing her high energy and knowledge of dance with her students!

photo Candace Larson

Jazz & Tap Instructor 

Candace Larson is excited to teach tap, jazz, and ballet at Applause Studio! Candace recently moved to Washington from Utah with her husband and two cats. As a daughter of a dance teacher, Candace has danced since she could walk and has been teaching various forms of dance and musical theatre arts for 12 years. Candace is a tapper at heart but has a deep love and respect for all forms of dance. She has choreographed several musicals including Crazy For You, Joseph and the Amazing Techinicolor Dreamcoat, and Once on This Island. Candace is also a certified Zumba instructor.

During the day, Candace is a Medical Writer for Seattle Genetics, Inc. When she isn't working or teaching, Candace enjoys exploring the lovely neighborhoods of Seattle, spending time with good friends, and singing with her church band.

photo Emily Chadwick

Contemporary Instructor

Emily is an Applause Studio trained dancer.  She has been through our internship program and has excelled in teaching.  She is currently teaching a wide variety of classes for us: hip hop, ballet, and contemporary. She is a member of our Competitive team, Acclaim. She is also a member of her high school dance team. 

photo Laura Garber

Laura Garber has been involved with the studio since the doors opened teaching Jazz, Tap, Voice, Piano and Acting. In addition, she founded our Musical Theatre Company, Applause Players.

After a sabbatical, she returns to us for one semester of voice through December 2020! Vocal Instruction is geared towards enhancing the singer to a performer; focusing on the voice plus stage presence and logistics. 

Laura has been performing since 1997 and travelled for various performance contracts with regional theatres throughout the U.S. Locally, she's performed with The Museum of Flight, Driftwood Players, and a few cover bands. You can also see her musical choreography/stage combat with Lynnwood High School and Lakewood High School.

photo Mark Holt - Private Guitar & Piano

Mark Holt has been recording, performing, teaching guitar and piano in the Northwest for years. He has a BA in Music Performance from The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma,Wa. His recent focus on solo guitar has led to a variety performances, videos and competitions.  In 2017 he was one of 16 chosen nationally for the Guitarslinger event at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle. He has performed at Master Classes with Duo Melis from France and Brazilian virtuoso Carlos Barbosa from Lima. This vast background allows for guitar performances that incorporate elements of Classical, Spanish, Rock, Pop, Jazz, and improvisation. He has also performed on keyboard live on KEXP and at several laptop battles. He currently teaches piano privately at several Seattle Public Schools. He has written full range of original music and more that can be found at

photo Annie Hughes

Annie is the dancing mother of two energetic little boys and one independent daughter.  She believes that dance can be a vehicle to create, enrich and enhance regardless of age or experience. Her experience in modern, contemporary, improvisation, and choreography has given her opportunities to teach both beginning and experienced dancers. She has taught for over fifteen years at various locations including Precision Dance Center, The Dance Conservatory and BYU Young Dancemakers. She directed, choreographed, and taught dance at Provo High School from 2012 to 2014. During her time at Provo High she created 14 original works. She also choreographed for productions of Les Miserables and Suessical the Musical. Before teaching at Provo, Annie graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelors of Arts in Dance Education. While at BYU she performed and choreographed with Contemporary Dance Theater, performing in India and various parts of the United States. She studied dance in China and enjoys integrating cultural reasearch into her work.  

  Oceana Dunsire