Kiki Bentzen- Principal Instructor
Originally from British Columbia, Canada, Kiki began dancing at age 7 and had a very successful dancing career competing at the Regional, National and World Championship levels. Kiki naturally progressed into teaching where she passes on her passion for the art of Highland dance to her many students and now as she joins the RSOBHD World Wide Judges panel.
Currently in her 30th year of teaching, Kiki’s enthusiasm for Highland dance hasn’t diminished and she loves running a successful dance school with her twin sister Inge Merry, producing many champions over the years of teaching together.
Their students participate regularly in high-level competitions and championships throughout Canada, the USA, and Scotland, in addition to being nominated regularly for the North American Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA) scholarship invitational held each year. Several of their students have also had the opportunity to participate in the Basel, Edinburgh, and Sydney Tattoos.
Kiki takes great pride in the promotion of the Scottish arts and BSHD dancers actively participate in local shows, parades, exhibitions, and theatre productions. She also prepares students for SDTA examinations and mentors them thru level-tests, student-teaching and fully accredited teaching certifications.
Highland dance can be highly competitive and very technical, and it is very important to both Inge & Kiki that they provide a nurturing learning environment in their studio that develops well-rounded dancers. Different teaching techniques and a very family-orientated studio helps promote the health and wellness of each dancer while working toward individual goals.
In her free time Kiki likes to spend time with her family traveling, camping, boating and sailing. She is a side drummer in the Keith Highlanders Grade 3 Pipe Band competing throughout North America and Scotland.
Inge Merry - Principal Instructor
Inge Merry has a passion for Highland dance, teaching and her students. she began Highland dancing at the age of 7. Born in BC, Canada, Inge relocated with her family to the United States in 1986 and continued her dancing lessons with her sister Kiki Bentzen and has never stopped since! Now she lives in Bellevue, Washington with her husband and son, where she successfully runs the Bentzen School of Highland Dance with her sister Kiki.
These two are a dynamic team, going into their 30th year of teaching together and they find themselves surrounded by talented, successful students. Their students work hard toward competition, choreography, shows, parades, exhibition, dance conferences, workshops, Medal Testing, over-seas Military Tattoos & performances. Together they have students participate in the US Regional & Inter-regional championships each year, and the World championships held in Dunoon, Scotland. Not only are their students successful competitively, Inge & Kiki beam with pride toward their efforts and to the dedication they show to their sport.
Inge’s goal is to teach each student the culture of Highland dance with grace and precision and she understands the importance of how dance can contribute to a child’s development. Being able to nurture the excitement, creativity and seeing the confidence grow in each student is what inspires Inge most and is a constant reminder of why she never stopped dancing. She also understands that dance builds personal character and that her students will develop lifelong skills. Inge continues her education each year gaining knowledge in dance conferences, professional development lectures and workshops. She believes that participating in these events will keep her current to mentor eligible students to become associate teachers, full member teachers and in preparation for Judges exams.
Not only dose Inge enjoy her dancing community, she also plays Scottish tenor drum with the Keith Highlanders Pipe Band where she enjoys making music with her fellow players. In her free time, she enjoys taking her boat out on Lake Washington & the Puget Sound and loves to travel and visit family in Canada, Scotland and Denmark.
Emily- Member Instructor
A proud student of BSHD since its founding, Emily has been Highland dancing since the age of 6, when her family would attend local highland games representing their ancestral clan. Under the instruction and coaching of Kiki and Inge, she has represented the Northwest Region at the United States Inter-Regional Championships on 7 occasions and competed in events across the U.S., Canada and Scotland. In fall 2019, she performed at Edinburgh Castle as a member of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and has traveled to Switzerland and Australia to perform in other tattoo productions. An SDTA Member teacher, Emily loves sharing her passion for Highland dancing with dancers of all ages and stages. She’s honored to work with and support BSHD students and their families, present and future.
Calum- Associate Instructor
Calum became an Associate teacher of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA) in 2018. He is currently a full time student attending university with a focus on film. He looks forward to when he can get back into the studio to dance. Calum is also a Grade 2 side drummer and plays with the Keith Highlanders Pipe Band.
Hailey- Associate Instructor
Hailey became an Associate teacher of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA) in 2018. She is currently a full time student attending university with a major in pre-health sciences and hopes to have a career in the medical field. Hailey is super excited for the up and coming year and is always eager to teach & meet new students!
Connor became an Associate teacher of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA) in 2019. He is currently a full time student attending university with a focus on business & finance. Connor is currently retired from competitive Highland dancing, but still enjoys volunteering his time in the studio. Connor is a Grade 2 bagpiper and competes locally, nationally and overseas playing with the Keith Highlanders Pipe Band.
Connor- Associate Instructor
Lilly- Associate Instructor
Lilly became an Associate teacher of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA) in 2020. She is currently dancing, singing and in 2021 will focus her university studies in linguistics. She is always eager to dance whenever given the chance & looks forward to sharing her love of Highland dance with new students.
Bentzen School of Highland Dance