Dance Wire PDX Portland Oregon's Dance Community

Staff & Board

Emily Running :: Founder & Director (+ Manager of Marketing, Finances & Development)

In addition to being the Founder and Executive Director of Dance Wire, she is also a freelance performer, choreographer, teacher and occasional nonprofit 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

Kate Rafter :: Member & Patron Services

Kate – choreographer and performance artist – holds a BA in Dance from Colorado College. She studied modern dance under Patrizia Herminjard and exchange artists from the Taipei National University of the Arts. In 2011, she founded AUTOMAL, a project-based dance company with a focus on risk and interactivity. She has presented work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, American College Dance Festival, the Fertile Ground Festival, Lindsay Matheis’s (a)merging, PDX Pop Now, and OSCON.

By day, she is the Assistant Box Office Manager at Chamber Music Northwest. Before that, she managed the marketing of Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, interned with White Bird and tEEth, and served as a production assistant for TBA performances by Emily Johnson and Miguel Gutierrez.

dark haired woman looking off to the side

Jessie Nowak :: Funds Development Intern

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, continuting 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 is currently working on completing her Teacher Certificate through DanceAbility International. She is passionate about everyone finding their inner dancer.


Kerry Schaefer :: Owner of Healthy Living Family Medicine

Kerry has been dancing since age 4. Obviously a dancer at heart, at ages 6 and 7 she talked her piano teacher into playing at the end of each of her lessons while she danced.  She danced all through high school and was quite pleased to discover that you can get into medical school without majoring in biology. She majored in "Theater and Dance" at Amherst College to keep her soul balanced while she also spent time in the science building finishing her pre-med classes. Her focuses were dance improvisation, choreography and set and costume design. She attended the University of Wisconsin School and Medicine and Public Health, continuing to dance through yearly medical school talent shows. She has now returned home to Portland and is a holistic family doctor. She owns her practice and wellness clinic, Healthy Living Family Medicine in Southeast Portland.

Kerry continues to dance (though not as much as she would like) doing modern, aerial, pole, blues and swing. Kerry is honored to be a founding board member for Dance Wire board and advisory council for the Dance Wire Health Network. Kerry feels that the Dance Wire Health Network is going to provide great information, tools and resources to professional, amateur and growing dancers!

Megan Armand :: Marketing and Communications Manager at Oregon Reproductive Medicine

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 Oregon Reproductive Medicine 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.

Carl Perkins :: Owner at Rhino Digital Printing Inc.

Carl was born with two left feet and no sense of rhythm. However, he does enjoy watching other talented people perform all types of dance and art.
Having co-owned and operated a small printing company for over 17 years he has continually looked for ways to give back to the local community some of the success the business has enjoyed. These efforts include providing print services to organizations such as: Growing Gardens whose mission is to promote home-scale organic food gardening to improve nutrition and self-reliance in under served communities, Compassion and Choices who continues the fight for death with dignity in our life cycles, and CASA (Court appointed special advocates for children).
Due to a long series of fortunate circumstances, he met fellow board member Dr. Kerry Schaefer who introduced him to the rest of the brilliant members of the board of Dance Wire and decided that surrounding himself with extremely talented people was a good idea. As a board member and printing expert he is excited to help further the mission and vision of Dance Wire.

Brian Rapp :: Senior Tax Manager

Brian has always had a love of singing and dancing.  Going all the way back to the time he was captured performing a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” on 8mm film with his younger brother, he has been in love with performing and the musical arts.  With his performance days behind him, he currently enjoys providing tax consulting and compliance with McDonald Jacobs, a downtown Portland CPA firm and a company that has strong ties to the local arts scene.

Being a transplant to Portland, Brian is seeking more ways to become involved in the arts community and enjoy everything that the city has to offer.  Brian believes that the public needs access and education when it comes to the local arts scene and believes Dance Wire is a great tool for achieving this.

While his dreams of becoming a backup dancer might be in the past, he still enjoys witnessing others live and experience their passions through song and dance.

Kathleen Adam :: West Region Marketing Manager for US Bank Private Wealth Management

Kathleen Adam is the West Region Marketing Manager for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. She develops integrated marketing solutions to help deliver outstanding client and advisor experiences that enable growth and meet top-level goals. She equips client facing team members with appropriate marketing tools and resources, executes marketing communications in alignment with brand, and champions the client experience. Working in marketing has been a change from past nonprofit work, but also an exciting challenge.

Prior to joining U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management, Kathleen worked at the historic NTC Foundation event venue, curated exhibits and managed programs at the Women’s Museum of San Diego, worked in the archives and with board members at the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, and developed children’s programs with SMARTS Farm. A bachelor’s degree in history from California State, Los Angeles and master’s in museum studies from the Lorenzo de' Medici Institute laid the groundwork for her interest in nonprofits.

RACC’s Art of Leadership program led to Kathleen meeting Emily Running and Brian Rapp. Their enthusiasm for Dance Wire caught her attention, and made her think maybe one of those Fred Astaire dance numbers will go from dreams to reality someday. As a board member she looks forward to getting involved in the Portland nonprofit community, bringing her marketing expertise as well as past museum experience and passion for arts and culture to the table.


Rachael Brown ::

Rachael Brown is a Pittsburgh, PA native who has been dancing since the age of three. She attended American University in Washington, DC, graduating with a BA in Theatre, Business and Education. It was in Washington, DC where she became actively involved in the non-profit dance community as a teacher and choreographer, and began to dive into development and fundraising work. She moved to Portland in 2004 to serve as the Executive/Development Director for Portland Community Ballet, and she co-founded the contemporary dance company, PDX Dance Collective in 2009 where she continues to direct, choreograph and perform. She was also the Customer Experience Manager for the non-profit Energy Trust of Oregon for 4 years, before ultimately deciding she needed to return to teaching dance, and making the performing arts a larger part of her everyday life. She now teaches at Hollywood Dance and Multnomah Arts Center, and is an independent project manager and consultant. Rachael became involved in Dance Wire because she has seen the dance community grow exponentially in the past 10 years, which is really exciting, but also means Portland needs a support organization to bring us all together. As the Access Committee Chair, she hopes to foster that growth and help ensure all companies and dancers are able to find a path in Portland that allows them to express their art.

Resource Council

George Thorn  Arts Action Research, Art of Leadership 

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