Denele Sweet began her dancing career at the tiny age of 2 years old in Portland Oregon. Competing and traveling was a large part of her dance life while growing up, and at age 8 she expanded her repertoire to include competitive ballroom dancing which took her all over the Pacific North West and Canada. A combination of ballet training and a desire to be on stage landed her a role with Ballet West and their Nutcracker production at the Keller Auditorium.
In 1992 her well rounded commitment to performance and being active in her community lead her to be crowned Miss Umatilla County. Embracing her love of performance and the stage, Denele's choreography credits include musical theatre productions such as "The Wiz", "Grease, and "Anything Goes" to name a few. But tap dancing has always been in Denele's heart and led her to become a member of the Northwest Tap Consort.
After seeing the positive impact dance had on her own life, Denele wanted to encourage the next generation of dancers to strap on their tap shoes, and in 1996 she began teaching to a group of local children out of a garage in Seaside Oregon. The class grew rapidly and Encore Dance Studio was born. Now over 20 years later the studio has grown to two locations, 19 teachers and staff, and services over 250 students. Her innovative studio embraces participants of all ages and abilities, finding ways to push each dancer and tumbler to reach their potential, with some students continuing on to successful careers with dance companies including the Chicago Ballet and Bodyvox. Continued teacher education plays a large role in the success of her studio, along with a philosophy centered around encouraging a well rounded base and building all students self esteem. A happy student is the best performer!
Along with founding and running a successful studio, Denele strives to stay involved in the community. Between judging dance competitions from Portland to Canada, starting and running an annual Toy Drive, and founding and volunteer coaching a local high school dance team and cheerleading team, Denele is well known in the community. She has also produced Miss Clatsop County, and was a Miss Oregon contestant choreographer for over 10 years. Pulling inspiration from her own childhood, she also encourages the students at Encore Dance Studio to be active in the community by traveling with them to local retirement homes to perform routines twice a year.
Constantly moving her feet and having a home away from home at the studio, Denele will always have a lifelong love of dance! “It is with gratitude everyday, that I get to do what I love and share a talent that makes me and so many others smile.”