Damaris Caughlan is passionate about children and being creative. Damaris has a strong desire to bring artists from different backgrounds and cultures into our community to teach and share their gifts. This is why you will see such a long list of professional dance companies and dancers listed in the information of those who have come to teach alongside MBT staff. Bringing over 25 years of teaching, directing, and choreographing experience to her school, Damaris still enjoys being in the classroom the most and cherishes the hands-on time with students.
Damaris Caughlan began her teaching with the Metropolitan Park District. She taught classes at South Park Community Center and was the head of the dance department. Eventually the program that Damaris was in charge of, grew to over 250 dancers strong. Dissatisfied with equipment, politics, and the inability to use live music for her dancers, Damaris decided to open her own school. This school was just up the street on 54th and South Tacoma Way. Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma has flourished in this neighborhood for 25 years.
MBT is unique in at least two ways. Leading by example, Director, Damaris Caughlan desires very much to continue learning and studying herself. Being open to the ideas of other master teachers and pass along is paramount in the success and building of a dancer. Damaris receives to give back to her dancers. MBT is also unusual in that Damaris challenges her dancers to be people of grace physically and spiritually. Damaris studied in the former Soviet Union and is certified by the Minsk Choreographic School, Byelorussian Ministry of Culture. Damaris was also invited to teach in Naples, Italy and taught for the dancers of Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Over her career, Damaris has choreographed over 45 original ballets including Celebrate His Birth, Pegasus, Dance Me to the End of Love, Some Suite Dances and Those Who Trespass. Damaris has the title of wife to her firefighter husband Kent and is mother to two wonderful daughters Helena and Naomi.
Brenda Mabus is a founding member of MBT. She has had many different roles throughout the years, starting as a dancer in the company division and performing for over 15 years. She has
enjoyed teaching all of the different class levels and is having a great year with the level III dancers! Being on the administrative side of things has also been very rewarding. Brenda really enjoys all of the relationships she has built with the parents and students. Last but not least, she is very humbled and grateful for the excellent training her two daughters Charlotte and Selma are getting at MBT!
Jehrin Alexandria is a director/teacher/performer/dancer for the last 42 years. She grew up in Detroit and danced with the Severo Ballet Company. At 17 she moved to New York City and studied ballet under the famous Maggie Black. She was a soloist and principal dancer with Annabella Gonzalez Dance Theater, Off-Broadway’s Buffo, Syzgy, The Brattleboro School of Dance, Yashindah and Ballet Northwest.
Jehrin trained in the Zena Rommett Floorbarre system, Pilates, Gyrotonics and the Beamish Bodymind Balancing Technique. She is certified in Sports Injury and Massage from The Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, MA as well as trained in Developmental Movement Therapy under the direction of Bette Lamont of Seattle, WA.
Currently she directs the Northwest Dance Intensive summer workshops, teaches at the Evergreen State College, Eagles Ballroom and Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma. She is the mother of a “dancing son.”
Her mission as she sees it is to help facilitate students and teachers to have access to techniques that help maintain a healthy body and attitude in the field of dance.
Carol Munsey teaches ballet and pilates. She has been dancing since 1968 and while her training has focused mainly on ballet, she has also trained in modern, jazz and tap dance. Carol performed with the Purdue Repertory Dance Company in the 80’s. She is a Licensed Physical Therapist’s Assistant, a Licensed Massage Practitioner and a Certified Pilates Mat Class instructor. She was a member of the Army National Guard for almost 28 years and is now retired from military service. She enjoys riding her motorcycle, and counts sewing and knitting amongst some of her favored past times
Debi Viertel-Rinehart, School Accompanist, is proud to have been Miss Damaris’ first piano accompanist beginning 32 years ago! She was a Nordstrom pianist as well as a piano teacher for many years. Debi earned Bachelor’s Degree in Art from the University of Washington, Seattle. She worked as a 2nd and 3rd Grade Teaching Assistant for 11 years at Concordia Lutheran School. Currently, Debi works as a Library Assistant at the Pyuallup Public Library. Debi is mom to Alex, Luke and Max. In her free time she enjoys being an artist, jewelry maker and church musician. Debi is blessed to work creatively with her sister Damaris and cherishes the relationships with the young dancers in ballet class!