FACULTY & TEACHING STAFF
Our professional faculty brings years of experience as teachers, performers, and choreographers to students.
SADC is a community of lifelong learners; we are teaching artists passionate about the intersection of teaching and art making.
Hannah Ayasse (she/they) is dance artist, curator, and educator born and based in Oakland, CA. Hannah received their early dance education between the Oakland Public Schools and Shawl Anderson Dance Center. Specializing in early child development, Hannah received a BA in Dance and Psychology from The George Washington University and dance educator training from the Luna Dance Institute. She has been teaching dance and creative movement to students aged 2 through 14 since 2012. Besides teaching, Hannah creates and performs her work throughout the Bay Area and is the Program Manager at CounterPulse dance theater in San Francisco. They believe that their role as an educator is to hold structures within which all children can explore, offer opportunities for learners find joy and meaning through movement, and facilitate communication about each child’s body autonomy and perspective through sharing and response.
Suzanne Beahrs teaches at ODC and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, and has taught at Elon University, ADF Scripps Studios, Ninth St. Dance (NC); Gibney Dance Center and Mark Morris Dance Center (NY). She has shown work and performed in NY, MA, AZ, and CA. The New York Times said that her movement has a “grounded, silken quality." Suzanne has set work on the Shawl Anderson Youth Ensemble, Branson School, Marin Academy, and Las Positas Community College. Suzanne has also had the opportunity to perform for Garrett Moulton Productions, Chelsea Brown, Mo Miner, Christine Cali, Ishika Seth and Dancers, Brianna Taylor, Mare Nostrum Elements, and others. She holds an MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and a BA in Geology from UC Berkeley. She is also a consultant with environmental organizations. suzannebeahrs.com.
Youth Ballet/Modern, Director of SAYE and Ballet Perf Group
Crystaldawn earned a BFA in dance, composition, and performance from California Institute of the Arts. Since relocating to the Bay Area, she has worked with Labayen Dance/SF, Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers, Stranger Lover Dreamer, and as a guest artist with ODC. She is currently a member of Robert Moses' Kin and, since joining the company, has performed works by Molissa Fenley, Sidra Bell, and Greg Dawson. Outside of the performance community, Crystaldawn is a certified personal trainer and enjoys helping people reach new goals.
Driven by the bias Bacchus before Buddha, Bianca Cabrera’s work is built by a vibrant amalgamation of baton twirling, burlesque, ballet, go-go, club, cabaret, camp, contemporary and modern dance. Cabrera directs the Oakland, CA based performance company, Blind Tiger Society, which is her main conduit for choreography and performance creation. Between 2012-22, Bianca created 11 full length works and many more short works, with performances and commissions for The Garage, ODC Theater, ODC Youth Company, CounterPULSE, vîv dance collective, SAFEhouse Arts, the Seattle Inter|National Dance Festival, Links Hall/Midwest Nexus, RAW Concept Series, Ann Schnake/Mobile InTent, Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest, Sheridan College, SweetPea Festival and Kate Mitchell Creative. Cabrera has been awarded artistic residencies from organizations in Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and Wyoming. Her work was nominated for a 2014 Soul of Oakland award and has been supported through the Fleishhacker and Rainin Foundations.
Jazz & Filipino Folk Dance
Noelle is a mover, creator, and educator based in the Bay Area. She comes from a long line of educators in her family, therefore teaching comes naturally for her. Noelle believes in shaping the future generations so that they can normalize inclusivity in all dance forms.
Marcia was born in Santiago de Chile, where she was trained in classical ballet and modern dance at the Arts Conservatory of the Universidad de Chile and Ballet de Santiago. Later, she broadened her focus to include dance pedagogy in addition to her continued training in ballet, modern, and choreography. Beginning her career in the last years of the Pinochet dictatorship, Marcia found in dance a vehicle for personal expression and collective reconciliation. Marcia traveled the world as a dancer and choreographer with a variety of dance companies in Europe, Latin America, and North America. She has also worked as a ballet and modern dance teacher in multiple countries and languages. Making inclusion a pivotal part of her dance career, Marcia partnered with Amnesty International and centers for rural communities in Latin America to bring dance to underserved communities. Marcia moved to the Bay Area in 2005 to study at UC Berkeley, and has taught at Shawl-Anderson, Berkeley Ballet Theater, and Orinda Ballet.
Maurice has danced and taught in the Bay Area for over 20 years, including Berkeley City Ballet and Shawl-Anderson. He has performed many duets with his wife, Reenie, and was a member of the RPMs, Jade Dance, Sara McLennan and Rebecca Saltzer Dance Theater and more. His exposure to European Dance theater (Pina Bausch, Maguy Marin & more) has made him a natural fan of that form and infuses his teachings with its energy. Adept at both classical and modern styles he designs his classes as a laboratory for both technique and improvisation, on the principle that there's only one lesson: to learn how to learn. He is also the drama teacher at Ecole Bilingue.
Mae Chesney is a classically-trained professional ballet dancer and teacher, Mae received her BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati: College-Conservatory of Music. She began teaching dance and fitness in 2010 to clients who range from young ballet budding dancers to adults.
Mae is certified in STOTT PILATES Mat and Reformer. In 2002, Mae was introduced to Pilates as a method to improve her ballet and support her dancing. She immediately fell in love with Pilates as a way to improve performance, strength, and most importantly prevent and rehab injury. Through the years, her love for the method has continued to grow. You can find Mae teaching Pilates and Ballet in studios throughout the Bay Area. Mae dances professionally with companies around the Bay including Menlowe Ballet, Peninsula Ballet Theatre and smaller projects with SAFEhouse Arts and San Francisco Movement Arts Festival. Most recently Mae toured with Nakissa Art Company based out of Paris. Before moving to the Bay Area, Mae performed with the Columbus Dance Theatre as a Soloist for four years.
Youth Modern, Youth & Adult Ballet
Tanya Chianese is the Artistic Director of contemporary dance company ka·nei·see | collective (kaneisee.org). Her choreography has received two audience choice awards, five residencies, twelve festival invitations, four tours, four commissions, and multiple grants. Tanya was named one of Dance Magazine's 2019 "25 to Watch" and one of San Francisco magazine's "100 Artists Putting the East Bay on the Map" in 2018. In addition to her work as a choreographer, Tanya has performed professionally throughout the United States and parts of China as a freelance dancer. She teaches at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Roco Dance, Ace Dance Academy, and Berkeley Ballet Theater, as well as guest teaches at ODC/Dance, LINES Ballet, San Francisco State University, Dance Mission Theater, and City College of San Francisco. She has worked as an administrator for Oklahoma City Ballet, SF Trolley Dances and Dance Anywhere, and holds a BFA in Modern Dance and BA in Art History from the University of Oklahoma.
SANDRA CHINN - Emeritus
Sandra Chinn is a ballet teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a teacher for Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program, ODC Dance Company/SF, Smuin Ballet Company, and returning guest ballet teacher for Paul Taylor Dance Company and Matthew Bourne's New Adventures (Nutcracker!, Swan Lake, and Edward Scissorhands). Most recently she has also conducted company classes for Abraham.In.Motion, Lucinda Childs Dance Company (Einstein on the Beach), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Body Traffic, Aszure Barton and Dancers, Amy Seiwart's Imagery and Post:Ballet by Robert Dekkers. In New York City, she was a company member of Dennis Wayne's Dancers, Finis Jhung's Chamber Ballet USA and Bob Bowyer's American Ballet Comedy. She was featured in the off-Broadway dance show "Funny Feet," and received a Drama Desk Award nomination as "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical." She is delighted to be on the faculty at Alonzo King LINES Ballet.
Annalise Constantz is a performer, dance maker, and teaching artist based in Berkeley. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Annalise has always been captivated by the magical, ephemeral nature of dance, as well as the healing power that physical embodiment holds. She graduated with honors from UC Santa Cruz, where she received a B.A. in Modern English Literature and a minor in Dance. She is a collaborator with the improvisational performance group, Big Plate Dance, and has performed in works by Gerald Casel, REYES Dance, Alex Law, Chloe Rosen, and Amelia Nommensen. Additionally, Annalise has presented her own work at Motion Pacific in Santa Cruz, SAFEhouse Arts in San Francisco, and experiments with other mediums including writing, visual art, and film.
Youth Ballet & Modern
Julie Crothers is a freelance dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Berkeley, CA. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Julie grew up training in ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary. In 2014, she graduated from Elon University in North Carolina, earning a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a BA in Arts Administration. Following graduation, Julie moved to the Bay Area to join AXIS Dance Company, where she worked for 3 years- performing, teaching, and touring nationally and internationally. Professionally, Julie has also danced for Renay Aumiller Dances (RAD) based in Durham, NC, and has presented her choreography on stages throughout the southeast United States. Julie is an energetic and passionate teacher who is dedicated to making dance accessible to all people.
Youth and Adult Ballet
KJ Dahlaw is a bay area dance artist and makes work under the name of Unruly Body Tanztheater. They hold an MFA in Dance from Saint Mary's College of CA and a BFA in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University. KJ teaches ballet, contemporary dance and improvisational practices tending to the Aliveness of the dancing body.
Wendy has trained in the Bay Area, London and New York. She has had a wide range of experience in ballet and modern dance and has performed throughout California, New York, and toured various other states. Her mentors include Sally Streets (ballet) and Terry Sendgraff (aerial modern dance). Her ballet teaching credits include Shawl-Anderson Dance Center since 1988, SFSU Dance Department since 1996, NYU Tisch Dance Summer Intensive, Oakland Ballet Company and school Summer Bootcamp, Paul Taylor Dance Co company class, BBT, SF SOTA, CSU Summer Arts Festival, Lamorinda Ballet, EB Center for Performing Arts, Cazadero Music and Art Camp. Wendy has also taught modern dance, improvisation, partnering and repertory. She believes that elements of many forms of dance are interconnected and that a breadth of training will improve all dancers.
Jessica Damon is a dancer, choreographer, video artist and teacher of dance and somatic therapies. Her work with young children emphasizes the joy and wonder of movement, encouraging the individual artistry of each child. As a young dancer she had the honor of working with Mel Wong and later performed with a handful of Bay Area companies before pursuing her MFA in Performance and Choreography from CU Boulder. She now dances regularly around the house with her 5 year old daughter, as well as teaching Pilates in Berkeley to the young and the young at heart.
Amal ElWardi trained and taught classes in London-based RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) classical ballet, jazz, and tap, before focusing on her BFA at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and furthering her professional career as an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Fellowship recipient in New York City. Amal also studied and performed modern works with Twyla Tharp, Mary Cochran (Paul Taylor), Bill DeYoung (Bela Lewitsky), and David Parsons. Limón and Horton based modern techniques have advanced Amal's scope of teaching methodologies through San Diego, CA, natives Pablo Ruvalcaba, Jean Isaacs, Monica Bill Barnes, and Terry Wilson. Currently, Amal is an MFA candidate at Saint Mary’s College of California, where she cultivates creative practice with a somatic emphasis under the advisorship of Rogelio Lopez Garcia, Dana Lawton, Shaunna Vella, and Rosanna Barragan.
Melecio is a Bay Area born and raised artist with a background in dance theater, aerial dance and contact improvisation. Melecio is the co-director of Fog Beast, the Artistic Director of BANDALOOP and a former member of Joe Goode Performance Group. He is thankful to have worked with Scott Wells, Rachael Lincoln, Erika Shuch, Frieda Kipar, Jesse Hewit, Carol Swann, Nancy Stark Smith and others over the years. Melecio is a graduate of the Moving On Center School for participatory arts and research and he relishes in a somatic, community based approach to dynamic embodied practice.
Andy Gaudet was born in Berkeley, California and has been teaching all levels of Classical Ballet for over thirty years. Andy's training began with Jane Stamps and continued with Grace Doty's Berkeley City Ballet. Her professional experience includes dancing as a soloist with Ballet Idaho and Sacramento Ballet where she danced roles in, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Gisele, Don Quixote, Firebird, A Mid Summers Night Dream and Cinderella. Andy's Ballanchine repertoire includes, Allegro Brilliante, Rubies, Four Temperaments,The Prodigal Son, Theme and Variations, Donezetti Variations and Concerto Barocco. Andy's teaching experience includes, pre professional teacher and rehearsal mistress for Sacramento Ballet, Artistic Director Berkeley City Ballet, teacher for Marin Ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theater, San Francisco School of the Arts, Lines, Ah-Lan Dance Studio and Shawl Anderson Dance Center.
Rosselyn Rameriz photo credit
Carolyn has a cumulative experience of 30 years teaching beginning, intermediate and advanced levels for both children and adults. Her earliest influences were Merriam Lanova, Alan Howard and Richard Gibson. Her influences as a professional dancer include Henry Berg, Sue Loyd and Maggie Black. As a Principal Dancer with Oakland Ballet and Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio her experiences ranged from La Sylphide, Coppelia, Nutcracker, La Boutique Fantasque to Cakewalk. She has worked with choreographers spanning ballet history from Leonide Massine, Eugene Loring and Ruthanna Boris to contemporaries such as Betsy Erickson and Val Caniparolli. As a teacher, it is her desire to do more than demonstrate what dance and technique look like, but rather to Impart an understanding of How to achieve desired results. Her teaching seeks to achieve a blending of artistry, integrity and musicality along with a knowledge of movement, placement and technique.
Valerie is a modern dancer and children’s dance teacher. She has practiced Pilates for 30 years and yoga for 12 years, and credits these and her three years of Alexander technique with keeping her dancing open, fulfilling, and injury-free. Valerie discovered dance in music school, began studying alignment techniques as a dance major at Connecticut College, and hasn’t stopped yet. Her movement mentors include Kathy Grant (Pilates), Michael Protzel (Alexander Technique), Martha Myers (Laban), Marcus Schulkind, Christine Wright, Joan Lazarus, Nina Haft, and Randee Paufve, (dance), Ada Lusardi, Gay White and Mary Lou Weprin (yoga). Valerie has been fortunate to work as performing dancer in New York and the Bay Area, most recently with Paufve | dance. She currently performs with MoToR, a dance/singing/body percussion ensemble directed by Evie Ladin, and with Jill Randall. She teaches dance to children in the Berkeley public schools, yoga at Island Yoga in Alameda, and has two teenage daughters.
Adult Modern; Youth Hip-Hop and Stretch+Strength
Dominique is a powerhouse. A divine vibrant being. She is a storyteller; revisiting and reimagining all aspects of herself, allowing her experiences to shape her reality. Diving
into realms of love and collaboration, she is exploring empathetic and compassionate ways of listening and learning from her ancestors, family, and friends on how to cultivate and sustain a thriving community. She is creating a blueprint that explores healing through integration of spirit, mind, body, and emotions. She is inviting the process of self reflection in her teaching and encouraging her students to swim in the pools of
their inner truth. She is opening up again and is so excited to be back in the sacred space of the studio;diving into the ritual form that is movement medicine.
asé. amen. and so it is.
ArVejon Jones is a Bay Area freelance dance artist and educator. Originally from Los Angeles, CA he received his B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University and has performed with Copious Dance Theater, Robert Moses Kin, PUSH Dance, SOULSKIN Dance, ODC Dance/ SF, Concept o4, Sean Dorsey Dance, Prometheus Dance Theater, Jean Appolon Expressions, Kambara+, Garrett+Moulton Productions among others. He has taught for multiple institutions including San Francisco State University, BodyVox, Boston Ballet, LINES/ SF Dance Center, and various private dance studios.
Youth Hip-Hop & Creative Movement
Chelsea fell into a life of creative movement at age 4, when she pierced her ears and joined ballet, devoting her tiny self to being magnetic, outspoken, and wiggling her body. Since then, her life has changed drastically, but these aspects of Chelsea remain the same. Chelsea grew up inside her small dance studio in Northern Michigan, and began teaching when she was only 16. She trained in ballet, pointe, contemporary, modern, jazz, Celtic, tap, and clogging. At University, she found a love for Contemporary Movement and studies of Dance History. Chelsea holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Contemporary Dance from Michigan State University, and her Master’s of Arts in Dance Movement Therapy & Counseling from Columbia. She began studying yoga in 2013 to heal herself from a severe illness, and understand both the science and philosophy behind the human trinity - body, mind, and soul. Chelsea has lived in the Bay Area for 9 years, performing with Roxanne Gray, Cat Call Choir, Sarah Bush Dance Project, Stephanie Unger & Co., and Caroline Liviakis & Co. She has studied Aerial Dance with Bandaloop and Flyaway Productions, and her own dance film was featured in the Bliss Dance Film Festival. She has studied and presented choreographic work in Michigan, Chicago, New York, and California, including productions with Loft This, One Billion Rising, Chicago School of Ballet, and the TVC Global: Hair Art Fashion Show. Chelsea has danced with toddlers, elders, alter-abled bodies, prisoners, and ex-convicts in rehabilitative centers. As a yogi, poet, dancer, and wellness coach, she urges her students not just to sweat and move, but move with passion and purpose. “Dance and other movement practices help establish healthy boundaries, train you to resource internally, and create a community. Each day I dance, I fall in love with my body and the endless possibilities. But no matter how strong, energetic, exhausted, or old you are…remember, you are not just a body, you are SOMEbody”
A Bay Area native, Antoine is an award-winning American Deaf and Hard of Hearing choreographer, dancer, dance instructor, actor, poet and deaf advocate. The founder and artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance, Antoine has also performed with Savage Jazz Dance Company, Nuba Dance Theater, Alayo Dance Company, Robert Moses’ KIN, Man Dance, Sins Invalid, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Amara Tabor-Smith, Kim Epifano and many shows produced by the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, performing throughout the Bay Area and the world including, Cuba, Rome and Paris. Antoine is a faculty member at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Youth in Arts and Dance-A-Vision. He is the founder and co-director of Iron Tri-Angel Urban Ballet in Richmond, and the director and dance captain for Expedia.com commercials. Awards include the 2011 National Bay Area People’s Dancers Choice Award, Margaret Jenkin’s CHIME (2011), and the 2009 VRS Award. He has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine and Dance Magazine and is currently the president of the Bay Area Black Deaf Advocate and Director at Large for the Northern California chapter of the California Association of the Deaf. In 2013 Antoine founded and directed the first annual Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival. Please visit the website at www.AntoineHunter.com.
Carol is a professional dancer and choreographer teaching in the Bay Area. She holds an MFA in dance from New York University (Tisch School for the arts) and a BA in Theater with a Dance Emphasis from UC Santa Cruz. She was a founding member of the New York based modern company David Dorfman Dance and toured internationally with the company for eleven years. Carol also performed in France with the New York Baroque Dance Ensemble. She has been dancing in the Bay Area with Nina Haft and Company.
Dana Lawton is the Artistic Director of Dana Lawton Dances (DLD), founded in 2007, in addition to being a tenured faculty member at Saint Mary's College in the Performing Arts Department, a faculty member at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and Co-Director of the Enchanted Ridge Dance Retreat. A founding member of Bay Area's acclaimed dance company, Janice Garrett & Dancers,(now Garrett+Moulton), Dana has had the honor of performing works by Joe Goode, Randee Paufve, Nina Haft, and Cathy Davalos. Lawton was awarded Outstanding Performer in the 2000 Vision Series, for her own solo choreographic performance, and nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award (Izzy) for her performance in Garrett’s Wayfarers in 2002. DLD was Artist in Residence at the Flight Deck (Oakland) in 2014-15 and is a permanent Company in Residence at Shawl-Anderson. Lawton holds an MFA in Choreography from Mills College and a BFA in Dance from California Institute of the Arts.
Christopher Lam was born in Brisbane, Australia and studied with Betsy Sawyers before joining the Australian Ballet School. A recipient of the prestigious Graeme Murphy Scholarship Christopher graduated from his studies passing the Royal Academy of Dancing's Advanced examination with Honours. Performing with The Australian Ballet he covered a vast classical repertoire and worked with illustrious master teachers and choreographers including Eugene Polyakov, Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, Johnny Eliasen, Olga Evreinoff and Sonia Arova. Christopher has danced for the Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve, Gothenburg Ballet, Croatian National Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal expanding his repertoire to include ballets by Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato and Jean-Christophe Maillot. Since retiring from the stage he has taught dance and staged works in Australia, Europe and the United States of America. A resident of the Bay Area since 2016 he has taught in youth and adult divisions as well as the professional companies of Smuin Ballet, Oakland Ballet, ODC, BayPointe Ballet, Dance Theater of San Francisco, Jessica Lange Dance and Alonzo King Lines Ballet.
KATIE LAWSON GILL
As a ballet dancer for her first 13 years of dance, Katie performed around the Bay Area with South Bay Ballet Arts. She soon after obtained her B.A. in Dance: Choreography & Performance, where she received her Modern dance foundation. While in college, Katie completed a residency in Cork, Ireland where she premiered her first work entitled “One Way or Another.” She also had the opportunity to collaborate with multiple guest artists including KJ Dahlaw and Jermaine McGhee. After graduating, Katie was invited to join Dana Lawton Dances, an Oakland-based Modern dance company. She is currently performing and teaching domestically and internationally with them. Katie also teaches at Ace Dance Academy in Walnut Creek, CA.
Molly Levy (she/her) is a performing artist drawn to the heart and humanity of dance making. Her training has included classical and contemporary ballet, Horton, Limón, Graham, Piso Movil floorwork, Jack Cole based jazz, and improvisation. She has performed with independent artists and companies throughout the Pacific Northwest, East Coast, and Bay Area. Her collaborations include Cantankerous Creatures, Seattle Opera, Katie Scherman + Artists, Post:ballet, Sharp & Fine, and Paufve Dance. Her work has also brought her into live theater, movement direction, burlesque, visual art, and teaching dance to many generations from creative movement for toddlers to classes for seniors with Parkinson’s.
Marlayna Locklear hails from Milwaukee, WI. She began her training at the age of 12 at City Ballet Theatre and went on to graduate from Milwaukee High School of the Arts and University of the Arts In Philadelphia, PA with a BFA in Ballet and Jazz. Marlayna was one of the founding members of The Milwaukee Dance Connection and has gone on to dance with Eleone Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, Owen Cox Dance Group, NuWorld Contemporary Dance Theatre, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company where she served as the company Jazz and Contemporary instructor as well as resident choreographer for DCDC II. She has performed works by Christopher Huggins, Dwight Rhoden, Ron Brown, Donald Byrd, Ronen Koresh, Donald McKayle, Diane McIntyre, and Ray Mercer to name a few. Marlayna is a freelance artist who teaches and choreographs at Universities and studios around the nation.
Cookie Harrist (she/they) is a dancer and a questioner. She has danced with Joe Goode Performance Group, Sara Shelton Mann, LEVY Dance, NAKA Dance Theater and others. Through writing and activism, Cookie seeks to disrupt the traditional systems of power in the Bay Area dance field and promote consent forward practices and dancer autonomy.
Rogelio is a dancer, dance instructor, choreographer, costume, lighting, and scenic designer. He earned his MFA in dance at California State University Long Beach where he graduated with honors in 2005. Presently he is on faculty at Saint Mary’s College of Moraga, and teaches regularly at Shawl Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley. He is currently producing his own work.
Youth Jazz, Director Jazz Perf Group
Elena Martins grew up in Massachusetts and received her early training at Donna Miceli Dance Center and The Academy of Ballet Arts. She went on to graduate magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo with a BA in dance and a minor in speech and hearing science. After graduation Elena moved to Boston where she taught dance at many prestigious schools including The School of Classical Ballet, Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, Dana Hall Upper School, and Boston Dance Company, among others. She was a long time member of Prometheus Dance, as well as performing with Lorraine Chapman The Company, Luminarium Dance, Hyperbole Dance, and as a dancer in W.B. Mason television commercials. She relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015 and has since had the privilege of working with LEVYdance, Sarah Berges Dance, Robert Moses' Kin, RAWdance, West Edge Opera, Axis Dance Company and CALI & CO dance. Elena continues to create, innovate and educate using dance as a means of expression for herself and her students. She is thrilled to be on faculty at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center.
Andrew graduated from California State University Long Beach with a BA in Dance in 2008. From there, he completed a 200hr yoga certification through Laughing Lotus in San Francisco. Andrew has danced professionally with Keith Johnson and Dancers as well as Holly Johnston’s Ledges and Bones. He shares a Lester Horton Award for Best Group Ensemble for his part in Keith’s piece Presence of Absence. He has also been commissioned to choreograph works for Santa Ana College and Cerritos College. Since moving to Oakland in 2010 he has had the privilege to work with bay are choreographers such as Rogelio Lopez, Catherine Galasso, Abigail Hosein , Cathy Davalos, and Nina Haft.
Mo Miner came to the Bay Area from Illinois where she was an Assistant Professor of Dance at Illinois State University. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Western Illinois University and then went on to get her MFA in Dance Performance at the University of Iowa. Last year, Mo became a certified MELT Method Hand and Foot instructor, and completed a week-long Human Anatomy Intensive Dissection Lab with Gil Hedley. She also has been studying experiential anatomy, restorative movement, and other somatic practices that are weaving their way into her modern dance technique classes. In the Bay Area she has performed with Nina Haft & Company, Nichele Van Portfleet, Rogelio Lopez, Fog Beast, Randee Paufve, little seismic dance company/Katie Faulkner, Rebecca Chun, Jessica Damon, Deborah Karp, and Bandaloop. Mo currently teaches at USF, UC Berkeley, and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, where she also directs the Shawl-Anderson Youth Ensemble. mominer.com
Juliana took her first modern class at Shawl-Anderson and is thrilled to be here combining her loves of movement and community. After graduating magna cum laude from Amherst College with a BA in psychology, she danced professionally in NYC, before leaving to teach yoga in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. In the Bay Area she has danced for Mo Miner, Nina Haft, Randee Paufve, Lizz Roman, and Chris Black, and performed works by David Dorfman, Marc Brew, Yvonne Rainer, and Alex Ketley as a dancer with AXIS Dance Company. She currently heads up the dance program at Bentley Upper School in Lafayette teaching a mix of modern/postmodern/contemporary dance. Here at the Center, her yoga classes emphasize breath and embodiment. She wants all of her students to delight in their simultaneous strength and softness.
Aiano Nakagawa is a queer educator, artist, and maker based in the Bay Area and Portland, OR. They aim to support people in the process of uncovering the ways in which dominant systems of power manifest in the body while aiding in the recovery of one's innate, body-based wisdom and power. Aiano's dance classes are designed to meet the developmental needs of each student while combining their love of both freedom and form, making space for who is present in the room. They teach both movement-based and non-movement-based community classes rooted in the desire of moving toward an embodied, liberated, and life-affirming future.
Robin Nasatir started dancing at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center as a child and has been performing and teaching modern dance on and off since 1980. In her earlier career, she was a founding member of Mobius Dance Company and then worked with various choreographers in the Bay Area and New York City. She has been performing Dana Lawton Dances, a resident company at Shawl-Anderson, since 2010. In recent years she has also had the pleasure of working with Nina Haft, Kate Mitchell, Carol Kueffer, Mira Katz, Risa Jaroslow, and AXIS Dance Company, among others.
Youth Ballet & Modern
Catalina O’Connor is a dancer and teaching artist based in the Bay Area. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2019 where she studied Dance, Hispanic Literature, and Art History. Catalina was an assistant teaching artist for Jia Wu’s AAIACE (American Alliance of International Arts, Culture, and Education) inaugural Summer camp in Suzhou, China in Summer 2019. She is currently an Assistant Teaching Artist with the HeART with LINES program, an instructor at Ace Dance Academy, and subbing classes for the Shawl Anderson Youth Program. She is a member of Davalos Dance Company and has performed their work in Panicale, Italy and around the Bay Area. Catalina has also collaborated with Kaveri Seth, Hailey Yaffee and Andrew Merrell & Randee Paufve. Photo by Andrio Jordan Fong
KAORI OGASAWARA - Emeritus
Kaori was born in Japan where she studied ballet with her grandmother, Kazue Ogasawara and Takao Hisamitsu. In 1993, she came to the US to train at the Boston Ballet school and later danced at Boston Ballet before joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 1999 with her husband, Christopher Rendall-Jackson. She was promoted to soloist in 2004. She has performed in several galas and appeared as a guest artist in roles of Swanilda in Copperia, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Sylph in La Sylphide, and balcony pas de duex from John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet. She has performed many featured roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy and Marie in Terrence S. Orr's The Nutcracker, Myrtha in Giselle, and Mercedes in Don Quixote, Russian girl in Balanchine's Serenade. She and her husband retired from the stage in 2009, and they are the proud parents of two children, Emiya and Hana.
RANDEE PAUFVE is the Artistic Director of Paufve Dance. Randee is a 2019-2020 Fulbright Senior Scholar Grantee, and was named one of five dance artists in San Francisco Magazine’s 2017 “100 Artists Putting the East Bay On The Map.” Randee received the 2015 Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Individual Performance; previous works have received 7 nominations total. Paufve Dance has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, and Randee was awarded the inaugural Della Davidson Prize for Innovations in Dance-Theater. A two-time recipient of the E.E. Ford award for dance research in Europe, Paufve’s choreography has also been supported by residencies at Ucross Foundation, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and Red Cinder Creativity Center. Randee’s choreography has been commissioned and produced by (select list) ODC Theater, SummerfestDance and The West Wave Dance Festival, University of San Francisco, the Mondavi Performing Arts Center, The Joyce SoHo Theater in Manhattan, Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts, On The Boards/Seattle, Max10 in Los Angeles, the Dance Complex in Boston, Phantom Theater in Vermont and the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival.
Youth Hip Hop
Katana is a Chicago born dance performance artist, battle dancer, choreographer, and teacher now residing in the Bay Area, CA. She has trained in all different styles of dance such as popping, hip hop, house, ballet, jazz, etc; but has truly found her passion in the street style dance community. Katana’s main style of dance is rooted in popping, waving, and Egyptian bang tuts; a style created by her mentor OG Teabuggz from Chicago. Katana has been traveling and competing in battles all across the country for about 9 years, and she wishes to continue her journey internationally. Katana is also an experienced event host/organizer for the Chicago dance community, hoping to bring that skill forward in the Bay Area. She is the leader of Chicago crew; The Electric Samurais, and a team member of Bay Area crew; IT’s THEM. Katana wishes to continue her training while being able to share the knowledge she has gained.
ELIZEBETH RANDALL RAINS - Emeritus
Elizebeth grew up dancing in Santa Cruz and has been a part of the Bay Area dance community for many years. She earned her BA in Dance from SF State, and her MFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied on full scholarship. Elizebeth has had the pleasure of teaching students of all ages at Boston Ballet School, Endicott College, SF State, as well as in numerous dance studios and public schools. She has performed with professional modern dance companies on both coasts and internationally, and is currently choreographing and performing with the Oakland-based collective Stranger Lover Dreamer. In addition to SADC, Elizebeth is honored to be on faculty in the dance program at St. Mary's College. She believes in dance education as a collaborative experience of personal and artistic growth, joy, and transformation.
Jill Randall began teaching at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in 2000. At SADC, she has taught a wide range of classes and ages in modern dance, from preschoolers through adults. Her 25 years of teaching experience includes work in K-12 public and independent schools, dance studios, summer programs, preschools, and teacher training programs through the Lincoln Center Institute. As a performer in the Bay Area for 18 years, Jill worked with Nina Haft and Company, Paufve Dance, Dana Lawton, and Martt Lawrence. As a dance writer, Jill maintains several websites and blogs about professional dance in the United States, arts education, books on dance, and service-learning, and also writes for publications like Dance Studio Life Magazine. Jill holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah and an MFA in Creative Practice from Saint Mary’s College. In 2013, she received the Herbst Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence for her middle school dance work at The Hamlin School in San Francisco.
Neela Reed received her ballet training from the Petaluma School of Ballet with Ann Derby and Robert Nichols. Her teaching is influenced by her years of work in special education classrooms, degrees in French language and Sculpture, and a passion for increasing body, racial and gender diversity in ballet. This combination of influences gives her an egalitarian and compositional approach to Ballet. Her classes emphasize clean, musical technique and artistry through the cultivation of presence and self acceptance. In the summer of 2018 Neela studied Vaganova pedagogy at the Hartt school with Carol Roderick. Neela has danced locally with Ballet Afsaneh, Ruth Botchan, Joan Lazarus, Lisa Rosario, and Chingchi Yu. She is currently the owner and artistic director of Piedmont Ballet Academy.
Born and raised in Santiago, Chile, Andi Salazar is a dancer, choreographer, dance educator, and sociologist living in the Bay Area since 2017. She began dancing at the age of 4 years and started her professional training at the age of 8 at the Professional Institute School of Modern Music where she was trained in Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, and Jazz for 10 years.
She got her BA degree in Sociology at the Catholic University of Chile, the same place where she founded Kazé Dance Company, a Contemporary dance company where she was the Artistic Director and Choreographer for eight years. With Kazé, Andi premiered original full-length works as well as several short pieces, winning local and international awards. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Chile, Kazé also developed and operated dance workshops for primary school students in vulnerable schools, inspired by the idea of sharing arts with people that do not have access to them.
Since relocating to the Bay Area, Andi obtained her MFA in Dance and Choreography from Mills College and has had the opportunity to perform with Emergence Dance Company, Mogli’s Movers Dance Collective, and the Mills College Repertory Dance Company, among others. She also has shown her own work with her Contemporary dance company “A Pulso Dance Project" in different festivals and showcases in the area like Push Festival, Spector Dance, and SAFEhouse Arts SF. Currently, she is a faculty member at the Bay Area Ballet Conservatory and Spindrift School of Performing Arts and works as a Teaching Artist for the Kids and Community programs at Alonzo King Lines Ballet Dance Center. Andi is also an ABT Certified teacher in Pre Primary through level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Creative Movement/Youth Ballet and Youth Co
Natalya Shoaf is a Bay Area teacher, choreographer, dancer, and mentor. Born and raised in North Hollywood, CA – Natalya was inspired by the vibrant culture around her. Movies like Center Stage & The Cheetah Girls and watching Missy Elliot’s infamous music videos are just a few of the things that influenced Natalya to take her first dance lesson, at the age of 11. She is trained in Classical Ballet (French + Vaganova), Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, Tumbling, Lyrical, Hip-hop, Improvisation, and Composition. Since her completion of Alonzo King LINES BFA program at Dominican University of California her choreographic and dancing abilities has allowed her to travel and share her love for dance with many from across the globe! She enjoys teaching at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center because she has a hand in nurturing and mentoring the next generation of dancers. She enjoys inspiring young dancers to honor and hone in on their own innate dancing abilities, move with imagination and honor/love their bodies. Natalya’s love for dance formed in her early years – this is why she strives to be a kind and nurturing inspiration to all her students so that they may too, grow a love for dancing!
Nol Simonse grew up in Washington, D.C., and trained at the Boston Conservatory of Music. He moved to San Francisco in 1997 and is a founding member of Kunst-Stoff, Janice Garrett and Dancers, Garrett+Moulton Productions, and Sean Dorsey Dance. He is also a long time collaborator/performer of Sue Roginski, Eric Kupers, Christie Funsch, Stephen Pelton, and Kara Davis. He produced his own work with fellow choreographer Todd Eckert at Dance Mission Theater for eight home seasons in the 'Shared Space' series, from 2007-2016, and has had residencies at Dance Mission and Studio 210. He has set work on the Lines summer program, ODC's Dance Jam, Dance Brigade's Grrrl Brigade, students at USF, and the Shawl-Anderson Youth Ensemble. Nol teaches modern at the Alonzo King's Lines Dance Center and Shawl-Anderson. He has taught technique, repertory, and choreography workshops for adults and teens. In 2009 he received a 'Goldie' (Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery) in dance, and in 2011 an 'Izzy' (Isadora Duncan Bay Area Dance Award) for individual performance. He was the first to win Luna Dance Institute's Choreofund prize.
APRIL C. TAYLOR
Dance with Me and Youth Modern
Movement, breath and flow are three things that inspire April C. Taylor. A Bay Area transplant from Los Angeles she graduated from Mills College with a BA in Women's Studies and Dance. A performing and ritual artist, as well as a trained actor/singer/dancer, April has been performing her entire life and working in a variety of artistic areas. Her passion for the expressive arts, and education have led her to teach children and adults for the past ten years at local schools and studios. The focus of her teaching is Dance For All, a program she is developing that emphasizes awareness, acceptance and expression for all bodies and all ages. Currently she is a company member of the butoh-based, Bad Unkl Sista under the direction of Anastazia Louise Aranaga and Goyo Aranaga (whose wedding April officiated in 2014). She has worked extensively with the Dandelion Dancetheatre, Mary Armentrout Dancetheater, and Dana Lawton and Dancers. April has guest lectured/taught at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, St. Mary’s College, and the University of San Francisco. A graduate of CIIS's Sound, Voice and Music Healing Certification program, April is adding the magik of sound to her love of dance and theater. She is a teacher and facilitator within the Reclaiming Community and a fifteen veteran performer and participant of the Burning Man festival. For the past six years, April can be seen (and heard) emceeing large-scale performance events.
Shaunna Vella is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher who explores the unseen layers of the world through movement, and the ritual of performance. She has been teaching in the Bay Area for over ten years, and currently teaches at St. Mary's College, Shawl-Anderson, and ACE Dance Academy. Her movement invention and classes are influenced by her study of Limon, Cunningham, Ballet, Bartenieff fundamentals, Release,Yoga, Jazz, Hip-Hop, African, and Butoh styles of moving, while incorporating playful experiences for authentic movement investigation. As a dancer, she continues to dance for local companies such as with Davalos Dance Company, Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers, Liss Fain Dance, Paufve Dance, Agora Dance Project, Dance Ceres and Deborah Slater Dance Theater, and with them has had exciting adventures touring the states and abroad. Her choreography and performance installations have been seen at ODC Theater, Counterpulse, Dance Mission Theater, The Garage, Studio 210, and The Ashby Stage. Shaunna is curious and expansive. She is inspired by the many teachers, artists and students she has the pleasure to be around daily.
Rudy Apffel began accompanying dance classes as a sideline while in college earning his BA and MFA degrees. Upon moving to the Bay Area in 1975 he played for Margaret Jenkins Dance Company modern classes and performed as musician in collaboration with his long-time friend, choreographer John Henry (1947-1996). By 1976 Rudy began to focus on ballet class as a specialty, playing in many schools and studios throughout the Bay Area, but working more and more at Shawl Anderson Dance Center through the 80’s and 90’s (notably with Jenifer Johnson, Debbie Isaacson, and the late Evelyn Schuert).
Rudy continues to work at Shawl Anderson Dance Center, Contra Costa Ballet, and in the summer program of Summer Rhatigan's San Francisco Conservatory of Dance.
In 2000 Rudy began issuing a series of ballet class CDs, the 9th and latest of which was issued in 2014. A Christmas Holiday Class album is scheduled for release in September 2015. Rudy's cd’s reflect the 40 years of his experience as a ballet class pianist in terms of a traditional but very broad repertory of music tailored to the structure of a typical ballet class and typical barre and centre combinations. They also reflect Rudy’s deep interest in, and respect for the unique institution that is Ballet Class, an institution that is central to many dancers' earliest training as technicians, and ever-present in those dancers' life-long practice as artists.