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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.

Andrew Merrell


Adult & Youth Modern

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.



Adult Jazz

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 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

Piano B&W



Bio pending. 

Carolyn Goto Photo by Rob Kunkle 2008


Adult Ballet

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.



Adult Ballet

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.

Dana Lawton


Adult Modern

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.



Adult Ballet

Erik Wagner is a dance artist, educator, and choreographer based in San Francisco, California, where he leads both ballet and contemporary movement practices. He was a company member with San Francisco Ballet, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Ballet X, and the Stadttheater Bern, in Switzerland.

Since 2012 Erik has been on faculty with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Training Program, and Dance Center. From 2013-2015, he guest lectured at Stanford University, during which time he was selected to perform in Jerome Bel’s, The Show Must Go On. Dance Teacher Magazine has published his views on teaching, and Dance Magazine live-streamed his class via FaceBook. Other teaching credits include Wayne McGregor Random Dance, Les Ballet Jazz du Montreal, Basel Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Complexions, University of South Florida, Gibbs High School for the Performing Arts, and internationally with the ProART Festival in Prague, Czech Republic.

Erik has performed his own solo work in the West Wave Dance Festival, KUNST- STOFF, Joe Goode-Feedback, The News: Fresh Queer Performance, and the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida. His choreography has been commissioned by Lake Tahoe Dance Festival, University of South Florida, Dance Theater of San Francisco, and the Lines Ballet Training Program. Film credits includes, AS IF, for the San Francisco Dance film Festival, 2016, and Rare Birds, a film he directed, choreographed and shot in 2021.

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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.

Juliana Monin



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.



Afro Dance Workout

Karma Smart is a Bay Area based dancer, choreographer and educator and is passionate about dance fitness. In 1996, Karma started studying and performing West African dance in Hawaii. Since then, she has had the opportunity to learn from many of the prominent choreographers from West Africa, Brazil, and the Congo, in addition to other parts of the African diaspora. This has informed how she teaches and helped her develop her unique style of dance fitness. Dance is Karma’s first love and she brings all of that love, joy and passion to her teaching. Outside of teaching dance Karma enjoys spending time with her son, spending time with friends, and studying Pilates.

KJ Dahlaw


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. 

mae chesney headshot.jpg


Adult Ballet

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.  

Melecio Estrella


Adult Modern

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.



Integral Dance

Miriam Peretz weaves movement and ritual together to create safe, communal spaces for healing and empowered embodiment. She is a life-long dancer and movement educator who has immersed herself in the study of dance forms and sacred movement practices from around the world, contemporary dance, somatics, martial arts practices and pilates. Miriam received her BA from Saint Mary's College of California and her MFA from Mills College of California. She currently teaches regular weekly classes throughout the Bay Area, and tours internationally to offer workshops and immersions.

Mo Miner.jpg


Adult Modern

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.

Molly Levy


Adult Ballet

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. 

Ballet Casey Ishisan 2017_300dpi


Adult Ballet

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.



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.

Nol Simonse


Adult Modern

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.

Randee Paufve


Adult Modern

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.

Robin Nasatir 2 - by Tony Nguyen high re


Adult Modern

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.

Rogelio Lopez


Adult Modern

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. 

Rudy Appfel



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.

Sara T.jpg



Sara is a choreographer, teacher, and dancer born and raised in San Francisco.  She started her professional hip-hop career at sixteen, dancing with Culture Shock S.F. and L.A. and guest performing with independent artists throughout the Bay Area.  While earning her dance degree at Loyola Marymount University, Sara expanded her training to include ballet, modern / contemporary, and dunham technique, and also began a focused re-engagement with salsa and other Latin dances connected to her Puerto Rican heritage.  It was during this time that Sara truly honed in on her passion for choreography and teaching, and the ways in which the intelligence of different dance techniques could cross pollinate for the benefit of the artist.  During her hip-hop performance career Sara worked alongside notable artists Allan Frias and Jesse Lee Santos, and did commercial work with musical groups Blue Boy and Spanish Fly. Locally Sara has performed and presented work at Dance Mission Theater and ODC, and is blest to have trained with exceptional Bay teachers such as Janice Garrett, Robert Dekkers, Brett Conway, Pat Cruz, and others.  Sara has most recently choreographed the Center Repertory Company’s Spring 2023 musical production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights.


Sara strongly believes in the joy of dance, and is dedicated to fostering a safe and playful space where students can work on sound dance technique while feeling motivated to grow.  When Sara is not in the studio teaching or choreographing, she is experimenting with dance for film, and running her online dance merchandise store ObjectsForArts.  Besides dance, Sara is an ardent, 20-year practitioner of Iyengar yoga, and a strong believer in massages and chocolate.



Adult Modern

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.



Salimpour Belly Dance

A Middle Eastern American woman, Suhaila Salimpour is a highly-acclaimed belly dance performer, teacher, and choreographer. As a teenager, Suhaila began integrating Middle Eastern dance passed on to her from her mother, Jamila Salimpour, with her own extensive training in ballet, jazz, tap, and Americannstreet styles. In the late 1990's, after working as a professional belly dance performer in the Middle East for over 10 years, she took over directing Salimpour School of dance (founded by her mother in 1949) full time and created the first certification program in Belly Dance. Suhaila has choreographed hundreds of dances, from the classic to the avant garde, and was nominated for an Isadora Duncan award for solo performance in 2005. Her methods and approach to teaching belly dance is a true artistic breakthrough: a revolutionary technique that has elevated belly dance practice and performance. Her technique and methods are now used by dancers in all stylizations, and the Salimpour School is one of the most respected and influential schools of belly dance in the world.

Suzanne Beahrs


Adult Modern

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.

Valerie Gutwirth



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.

Wendy Diamond


Adult Ballet

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.

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