our Staff

Our instructors are certified ballroom dance teachers. They teach students of all ages and levels and are also available for Pro/Am competition and to perform at special events. Please contact info@briora.com or 425.641.5123 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

 
 
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Jessica McMorrow Stefanov, Founder and CEO

Jessica is a professional ballroom dancer. Together with her husband, Slava, she is a US National Professional Rising Star Finalist and World Open Professional Semifinalist in the American Smooth division, which includes the elegant American style Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, and Viennese Waltz. She is also a US National Professional 9-Dance Finalist. Jessica is a certified dance instructor with DVIDA and the U.S. Terpsichore Association, and she enjoys teaching students of all levels and seeing the joy dance brings into their lives.

Jessica has been dancing since the age of seven and is experienced in a variety of dance forms. Her early dance experience was in classical ballet, and she trained intensively as a ballet major at the Washington Academy of Performing Arts conservatory program. In addition to her dance training, Jessica holds a BA in history from the University of Washington. She was born and raised in the Seattle area.

Some highlights from her professional accomplishments include:

  • United States National Professional Rising Star Professional Smooth Finalist, 2015

  • World Open Professional Smooth Semifinalist, 2014, 2015

  • Rising Star Smooth Champion, Ballroom Beach Bash, 2015

  • Rising Star Smooth Champion, San Francisco Open, 2015

  • Open Professional Smooth Champion, Seattle Star Ball, 2013

  • United States National Professional 9-Dance Finalist

  • Rising Star Rhythm Champion, City Lights Ball 2010, Hollywood Dancesport Champions 2009, Autumn Dance Classic 2009, Volunteer State Dance Challenge 2008

  • Open Professional Rhythm Champion, Seattle Star Ball 2007-08

  • Rising Star Smooth Champion, Seattle Star Ball 2008

 
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Slava Stefanov, Co-Founder and Dance Director

Slava is a Bulgarian National Professional Standard Champion, US Open Professional Rising Star Standard Finalist, and United States National Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist. Slava is also a successful Pro/Am teacher and competes regularly with his students, many of whom are champions in their divisions. He enjoys teaching students of all levels and is an expert at finding tools to help them achieve their personal best in dancing.

Slava was born in Moscow. Soon after his birth, his parents moved to Sofia, Bulgaria, where Slava grew up and developed his dancing skills. He started dancing at eight years old and for many years he represented Bulgaria at ballroom dance competitions domestically and abroad, with great success. He turned professional in 2005. After living for a brief time in Norway, he received an invitation to live and work in Orange County, CA, where he later met his wife and dance partner, Jessica McMorrow Stefanov.

Some highlights from his accomplishments include:

  • United States National Professional Rising Star Professional Smooth Finalist, 2015

  • World Open Professional Smooth Semifinalist, 2014, 2015

  • Rising Star Smooth Champion, Ballroom Beach Bash, 2015

  • Rising Star Smooth Champion, San Francisco Open, 2015

  • Open Professional Smooth Champion, Seattle Star Ball, 2013

  • Rising Star Smooth Professional Champion, Heritage Classic, 2013

  • 2 time Bulgarian National Professional Standard Champion

  • US Open Professional Rising Star Standard Finalist

  • 16th in the European Professional Standard Championship

  • 18th in the World Professional Standard Championship

 
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Ruslan Kaliuzhnyi, Dance Instructor

Ruslan was born and raised in Odessa, Ukraine and moved to the United States when he was twenty years old. He has been dancing since the age of four and is trained in both International Latin and Standard. He is a Ukrainian Youth and Under 21 Standard Champion, Italian Youth and Under 21 Champion, and was the Vice Champion at the World Amateur League in Paris. He also has a passion for music and studied saxophone and piano for many years. Ruslan is currently teaching, traveling, and competing with his Amateur partner, Sonya Tsekanovsky. He enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, but specializes in helping students understand their body to create natural and graceful movement.  

Some highlights from his amateur accomplishments include:

  • California Open Vice Standard Champion, 2019

  • Emerald Ball Amateur Ballroom Finalist, 2018

  • National Amateur Ballroom Finalist, 2014 – 2015

  • Columbia Star Ball Adult Open Scholarship Ballroom Champion, 2014

  • Quest For The Best Adult Championship Standard Champion, 2014

  • City Lights Ball Amateur Open Ballroom Champion, 2014

  • BYU DanceSport Amateur Ballroom Champion, 2013

  • Northwest DanceSport Adult Championship Standard Champion, 2013

  • Seattle Star Ball Under 21 Open Standard Champion, 2013

  • Seattle Star Ball Adult Open Standard Champion, 2013

 
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Alan Barney, Dance Instructor

Alan was born and raised in Provo, Utah. His love of dancing began in Middle School where he took his first dance class. He continued to dance on the Timpview High School Competition Team, the BYU Youth Formation teams, and the renowned Utah Valley University’s Ballroom Touring Team. In the Spring of 2015, Alan traveled with the UVU Ballroom Company to Europe to perform in various countries and to compete at the Blackpool Dance Festival Championships, where they won the World Standard Formation Team title. In 2017, he moved to Washington to begin his professional dancing career. He is currently traveling and competing Professional American Smooth with his partner Megan Rund. Alan is a certified DVIDA instructor and enjoys teaching students of all levels and ages.  

Some highlights from his accomplishments include:  

  • City Lights Open Professional Smooth Finalist, 2018 – 2019

  • Seattle Star Ball Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • Colorado Star Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • San Diego Ballroom Beach Bash Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • California Open Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • Dancer in Hallmark’s “My Summer Prince”, 2016

  • Ohio Star Ball Amateur Smooth Champion, 2016

  • California Open Amateur Smooth Champion, 2016

  • Blackpool Standard Formation Team Champion, 2015

 
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Megan Rund, Dance Instructor

Megan was born and raised in New Palestine, Indiana. She began gymnastics at the age of three, competing nationally until the age of 17. She then began ballroom dance and was awarded a scholarship to perform with the renowned Utah Valley University Ballroom Dance Touring Company. In the Spring of 2015, Megan traveled with the UVU Ballroom Company to Europe to perform in various countries and to compete at the Blackpool Dance Festival Championships, where they won the World Standard Formation Team title. In 2017, she moved to Washington to begin her professional dance career. Along with competing professionally, Megan is a certified DVIDA instructor and has a passion for working with beginner students, wedding couples, and competitive dancers.

Some highlights from her accomplishments include:

  • City Lights Open Professional Smooth Finalist, 2018 – 2019

  • Seattle Star Ball Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • Colorado Star Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • San Diego Ballroom Beach Bash Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • California Open Professional Rising Star Smooth Finalist, 2018

  • Dancer in Hallmark’s “My Summer Prince”, 2016

  • Ohio Star Ball Amateur Smooth Champion, 2016

  • California Open Amateur Smooth Champion, 2016

  • Blackpool Standard Formation Team Champion, 2015

 
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Eva Tibenska, Dance Instructor

Eva is a Professional Ballroom dancer from Slovakia. She started dancing when she was six years old and trained in both International Standard and Latin. She is a two-time Slovak Youth National Latin and 10 dance Champion and four-time Slovak Amateur National 10 dance Champion with her partner Lukas. In 2016 the pair turned Professional and were German Open Standard and Latin finalists. She moved to America in March of 2017 to pursue her teaching career. Eva is currently a successful pro/ am teacher and enjoys working with students of all ages and backgrounds.

Some highlights from her accomplishments include:

  • Slovak National Amateur 10 dance champions, 2011-2014

  • Professional World 10 dance finalist, 2016

  • World Cup 10 dance Professional Vice Champions, 2016

  • German Open Rising Star Professional Standard and Latin Finalist, 2016

  • Sardinia Dance Cup Processional Standard Vice Champion, 2016

 
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Elna west, Dance Instructor

 
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Matt Gregory, Director of Operations

Matt has been in the ballroom industry since he was 19.  Being given a few lessons in Colorado Springs, Colorado during Winter Break from college, he fell in love with the elegance and fun of partner dancing and soon couldn’t imagine his life without it.  After a couple years of taking lessons, Matt began training to become a professional instructor.  Moving to Southern California in early 2005, the next step in his career was to focus on his own dancing.  Working for one of the largest and most successful studios in the US, Matt quickly found his footing and became one of the nation’s Top 20 instructors.  In 2009, he founded South Coast Dancesport, which had a six-year run as a destination studio in Orange County for the top students, teachers and coaches on the West Coast.  In 2015, Matt moved back to Colorado and began Evolution Dancesport, a competition-focused studio that allowed him to return to the ranks of the Top Teachers in the United States.  While traveling with students in 2019, Matt was approached to help manage operations at Briora Ballroom in the Pacific Northwest.  Given the opportunity to guide this established ballroom and Latin powerhouse to new levels of success, Matt is thrilled to be a part of the future of the dance industry. 

 

sophia mckean, Front desk receptionist

Sophia McKean has won exactly zero ballroom dance titles in her lifetime. She did perform in a hip hop group number to a Macklemore song their senior year of high school – there’s even video evidence of this, although it is currently trapped in their parent’s basement, never again to see the light of day. Sophia grew up in Grass Valley, a small mountain town in Northern California, then moved to Portland to attend Reed college, graduating in 2018 with a degree in religious studies. Sophia has done research in biology labs, worked at a community center in London, and is now happy to get to help facilitate a great ballroom dancing experience for everyone at Briora.