top of page
Coaches and staff

Present Head Coach

Founder and 

Program Director


Ballet Program



Former Member of USAG National Team, 

Competitive Team Coach

Coach Pre Team

Drama and Presentation



Team Coach

Junior Team and

Competitive Team



Ballet Teacher

Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, Performing Art: Development levels and Professional Division 


Junior Team

Supervisor and 



Level 2/3/4 

Team Supervisor and Coach


Coach Pre Team 

in Dance and Ballet

Arzu Karaali

Coach Arzu Karaali is the present head coach, the founder and program director of La Luna Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy.  With over 20 years' experience in the sport, she was able to establish her own training technique in the Seattle area.  Many gymnasts she has trained have become State and Regional Champions and National Qualifiers with most finishing in the top 10 at the Junior Olympics.  She has been selected "Coach of the Year and Best Choreographer" numerous times between the years 2005-2022 by the USAG Rhythmic Region 2, including Level 9 gymnasts in Region 2.

She worked with the former USA Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team Coach Marina Davidovich and was able to train Olympian Qualifiers for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  Coach Arzu was a former National Brevet judge by FIG and she is a USAG safety certified professional.

Coach Arzu holds a bachelor's degree in Physical Education and Sports and a degree in Classical Ballet from MEB Neriman Balle Okulu in Turkey.  Born in Bulgaria, she began her rhythmic and ballet training at the age of 7.  She became the only solo gymnast and the youngest performer with the local circus and traveled around the country. She was selected to train at the Bulgarian National Gymnastics Center. As a performer, she was a principal artist/dancer at the Mersin University D.K. Turkey and at the East Athens Educational Dance Center in GA, USA.

Some of her achievements are:

-  Published writer of the book "Rhythmic Gymnastics" in 1993

- "First Rhythmic Coach" introducing the Rhythmic program in Bursa, Turkey with Bulgarian World Champion Maria Gigova

-  Chosen the "Best Sport Team" in her city Bursa, Turkey in 1993

-  Ballet Program Designer- Turkish National Team, 1993-1994

-  Trained her gymnasts National Team Qualifier in 1995

- Trained children with intellectual disabilities that participated at the 1990 Special Olympics in Canada

Coach Arzu feels lucky because she is able to follow her dream by helping children reach beyond what they think is possible.  Her fulfillment and victory lie in believing in each child. ​


"I'm very happy we have established a powerful program that serves our community with grace and beauty!  Truly proud that so many of my gymnasts are coaching with me at the Academy.  Some of them are in college, some of them are married and some are working.  I have to say that they all have grown to be wonderful and remarkable young women, living with a purpose, working toward a goal.  Rhythmic gymnastics has taught them discipline, elegance, and strength."-  Arzu Karaali

Shawnene Hersey

Shawnene has been with the La Luna RGA since 2012, helping gymnasts with presentation and drama.  In 2016, she received the “Coach of the Year” award from the USAG Rhythmics Region 2.  She is currently the artistic and creative design consultant for the annual La Luna Kiss performance.  Shawnene is a USAG safety certified professional.


She obtained her strong background in music and drama from being part of numerous community theater musical productions.  Her most memorable production was “The Baker’s Wife” at the Everett Performing Arts Center.  Shawnene thrives in creating things- from stage props and paintings to crafts and costumes.  Through all her experience, she is able to help build the gymnasts’ confidence and artistry.  Prior to joining La Luna RGA, Shawnene spent over 20 years working as a corporate technical project manager.  She has lived in Washington state since 1994 and is married with 3 beautiful children, all heavily involved in sports.

“I love the stage, performance, and everything that goes with it.  I contribute to the girls by teaching them how to deal with all that nervous energy and showing them ways to make it work for them with confidence.” - Shawnene Hersey

Glika Mitro

Coach Glika has been with La Luna RGA since 2013, initially as one of Coach Arzu's and Coach Lyudmila's competitive gymnasts while also continuing with 6 years of ballet training and competed in 2018 Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition. She started coaching at the academy in 2019, training gymnasts in all levels for competitions, specifically levels 4 and 5. Glika is passionate about teaching young gymnasts in rhythmic gymnastics and preparing them for their long journey to success. She is a USAG safety certified professional.

She started her rhythmic gymnastics training at 7 years of age. She has been Region 2 champion five consecutive times (2015-2019), and USAG athlete of the year in 2016. Glika has qualified for the Junior Olympic team two years in a row and competed at the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships in North Carolina. Before retiring as a Level 8 gymnast to focus on academics, she competed in the 2019 USA Junior Olympics at Lake Placid and achieved first place in every event and the all around.

Glika is currently a hardworking high school student in the rigorous Royal Cambridge Program at Juanita High School, class of 2022. She has earned a 4.0 GPA and continues strong. Her future plans are to attend university and find herself a career in medicine that matches her diligent energy.

Ludmila Machado

Ludmila Rodrigues Machado is a professional ballet dancer with a degree in Physical Education, a postgraduate degree in Rhythmic Gymnastics and a master's degree in Political Sociology. She specializes in personal training, rhythmic gymnastics, stretching and flexibility, facial gymnastics, jazz dance and creative dance. Graduated in classical ballet with specialization in classical technique and teaching methodology from the Royal Ballet School of London, Cubana School, Vaganova School of Russia and AAB American Academy of Ballet, of NY.


Received the title of “Delegate of the CBDD,  Brazilian Dance Council in ES” and “Member of CID, International Dance Council”.


She was a high-performance rhythmic gymnastics coach, ballet teacher and personal trainer at COES, Olímpicos Center of ES, working for State team, National team and Olympic gymnasts Natália Gaudio, Débora Medrado, Geovana Santos, Ana Paula Ribeiro and Carolina Garcia.


She was the Head Coach of the GR team from the City of São José dos Campos, SP, in 2016, which became champion, unprecedentedly, in ALL competitions of the year, including the Cups, Festivals, State, Games, Regional Games and Games Open from the Interior.


Creator of the Ludmila Machado Methodology for training ballet teachers for rhythmic gymnastics.


She is currently a state referee for RG. Former Director and Head Coach of Ballet and RG Ludmila Machado.


Ludmila welcomed to La Luna Family in 2023  as a  ballet teacher for all levels in Rhythmic Gymnastics and also a Director of the Ballet Program at La Luna Academy.

Alla Shalimova

Coach Alla Shalimova is a distinguished coach in high-performance rhythmic gymnastics, with a storied career that has established her as a Master of Sports in Russia. Her tenure with the Russian National Team in both individual and group categories from 2008 to 2012 was marked by remarkable achievements, including multiple regional championships in the Novosibirsk Region from 2005 to 2011. Her prowess in the sport is further highlighted by her numerous victories in national and international individual championships, where she consistently earned gold in group categories.

Recognized as the best athlete of the year from 2006 to 2012, Alla’s contributions to rhythmic gymnastics are rooted in a solid educational background, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education & Sport. She embarked on her coaching career in 2015 and has since become the head coach and choreographer for the "Crystall" club in Berdsk city, Russia, where she oversees a large competitive team of over 120 gymnasts.

Alla’s expertise extends to training national gymnasts in high-performance FIG programs and leading regional champions to success. Her role as a national judge of the second category complements her active involvement in organizing regional and national competitions. In 2017, her exceptional service was honored with special Appreciation Awards from the Russian Gymnastic Federation. Additionally, Alla is certified in Myofascial Release for gymnasts, adding another layer to her comprehensive skill set in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics.

Emma Potra

Coach Emma started her rhythmic gymnastic training with coach Arzu in 2015 at La Luna Rhythmic Gymnastic Academy. In 2019 she was able to make L7 Junior Olympic Region II Team by ranking in the top 3 at the Region II Championships and participated at the National Championship. She ended her career as a gymnast in L9 and started coaching at La Luna. She is very happy coaching all levels from L2 to L9.

Isabella Ivanova

Coach Bella has been with La Luna Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy since 2011, initially as one of Coach Arzu's competitive gymnasts. She started her gymnastic career at the age of 7. She became a Regional Champion multiple years in row along with an "Athlete of the Year" making to Junior Olympic Team for Region 2. In 2018 Bella spent the year training in Bulgaria with world renowned coach Neshka Robeva. In 2019 she became "Master of the Sport", a level 10 Elite gymnast & represented La Luna at the National Championships becoming Ribbon National Champion. The following year she made the National Team, she have been coach by Lyudmila Polovinova, Margarita Mamzina and Natasha Kiryienka & trained at the Olympic Training center in Lake Placid. Her team "rgroups" went to the World Championships in 2021 placing 10th overall the world." Since then, she has represented the USA in multiple World Cup across the globe most recently she competed at the 2023 National Championship placing 2nd in [illegible] player. Since then she has chosen to retire & focus on her academics. She is a student at Arizona State University, pursuing her major in sport business. She is passionate about teaching younger gymnasts the beauty of rhythmic gymnastics & she is beyond grateful to be working alongside her lifelong mentor Arzu Karaali."


Coach Anna trained Rhythmic Gymnastics at La Luna Academy for 11 years under guidance of coach Arzu Karaali. Anna started Rhythmic in the year 2010 when she was 6. Before that, she did ballroom dancing, modern dance and artistic gymnastics since the age of 3.  Her love of dance and desire to take part in performances brought her to Rhythmic Gymnastics. She started attending sessions with coach Arzu and she has stayed with this beautiful sport as a gymnasts and now as a coach to this moment.

Anna has achieved many great results at a multitude of competitions in Washington state, Region II USAG, many other states in the USA, and in Canada. In 2015, Anna participated at Junior Olympics in Chicago, Illinois. In the next years, she qualified and successfully participated in USA National Championships four times. In 2016 it was Providence, Rhode Island. In 2018, Greensborough, North Carolina. In 2019, the Championship was in Des Moines, Iowa. And 2021, in Saint Louis, Missouri. Under the coaching of La Luna trainers, Arzu Karaali and Ludmila Polivanova, she took many medals from these Championships. In 2018 Anna wom All Around Champion of Region II and Athlete of the Year. She has stood up on the victory podium countless times.

All this time she has been a top student in school, a member of Honor Society, kept a 4.0 GPA in the rigorous International Baccalaureate program at Inglemoor High school. After Anna’s career as a competitive gymnast has finished as a proud Level 9 gymnasts, she continued being part of the La Luna family as a coach assistant and she train younger gymnasts to help them achieve their dreams. Rhythmic Gymnastics has played decisive role in her life.  

Now Anna is studiyong in sport medicine at the University of Washington beside her coaching.. 

Anna’s motto is "Once a gymnasts — Always a gymnast"

Jane Ironmonger

Coach Jane stared taking ballet from the age of 4. Later on, she also tried out some other types of dances while continuing taking ballet. She learn one year of Jazz and was able to go pointe in ballet.

Jane started to help with coaching at La Luna Rhythmic Gymnastic Academy in the summer of 2022. She is very happy for being able to teach little children about ballet and dance and spending time in the gym.

Kaelyn Hersey

Coach Kaelyn started rhythmic gymnastics with Coach Arzu at age 4, 2010. She competed in many out of state and regional competitions over the years, made the region 2 team, and qualified for the level 8 nationals. She competed her last season as a level 9, and began coaching at La Luna since 2022 and helping younger gymnasts teaching her skills.

Anna Karpukhina

Anna is Choreography Coach, Theater Choreographer &Director for 20 years.
She came to the dance studio at 5. Over the years, Anna's dream to dance evolved into a goal to be come a director of choreography. Anna graduated from the Moscow college of arts and then Moscow university of culture and arts, Choreography department.
Anna worked with children, youth & adults teaching classic dance, folk & theater dance, modern choreography. Her main direction was work at a drama theater. Anna conducted dance classes for actors, contemporary, partnering, contact improvisation. Was the director of choreography for many theater plays, working closely with the director on plays' composition and style. Anna organized a plastic drama fest PRO position in 2020 and was the director of choreography in Ronia, the Robber's Daughter” play by Theater33, Bellevue, WA.

bottom of page