Pacific Dance is proud to have the finest professional teachers in the Orange County and Los Angeles areas.
Lori Murphy - Owner/Director has been a teacher at The Irvine School of Dance since 1985. She has had the pleasure of owning Pacific Dance since 1994.
As a professional dancer her credits include: dancing aboard the Azure Seas Cruise Ship, Disneyland, The Elvira Show at Knott's Halloween Haunt, and various industrials at the LA Mart, for Pacific Bell, Nordstrom, May Co. and Saks Fifth Avenue. She also performed for the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Community Education Program.
Lori earned her MFA in Dance at UC Irvine. During her time at UCI, Lori was chosen to choreograph for the Chancellor's Inauguration Ball. She has taught at various community colleges and studios in LA and Orange County and enjoys teaching dancers from age 3 to 93.
Her emphasis is on building strong technical dancers who are prepared to meet the challenges in the ever changing dance world and on helping kids to enjoy dance and have a great time in class.
Bobby Amamizu is a graduate from Orange County High School of the Arts and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from UC Irvine, where he performed classical rep, Balanchine, and Forsythe. Currently he is represented by Movement Talent Agency in Los Angeles as a professional dancer. He has been an assistant to many choreographers including: Monie Adamson, Laurie Johnson, Cory Finn, Tina D'Amato, Joe Loera, Jodie Gates, Tokyo Inouye, and Bonnie Story. Stage credits: Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis (original cast), Industry Dance Awards, Tokyo the Company, Unity LA, Loving The Silent Tears (original musical), International Ballet Festival of Miami, Laguna Dance Festival, National Choreographers Initiative. Film: Fame, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Dear Dumb Diary. Television: Dancing with the Stars, Miss Universe, Strictly Come Dancing, Fiona Apple music video "Paper Bag," Jerry Lewis Telethon. Industrials: L'Oreal, Mattel, and Morinda. Competitions and awards: William Gillespie Ballet Scholarship, winner of Tomorrow's Stars at OCPAC, YAGP (2007 gold medal contemporary category, 2008 silver medal contemporary category, 2008 bronze medal classical category.) He has judged and taught at conventions/companies/Studios including: Cirque du Soleil, Edge Performing Art Center, The Houston Met (company guest ballet teacher), OCSA, Bay Area Houston Ballet and Theatre (Company Class), Tremaine Dance Conventions (guest faculty), LA Elite/Elite Dance Conventions (faculty), and West Coast dance Explosions (nationals). He served as a rehearsal assistant to Jodie Gates to set an original ballet for Kansas City Ballet. He has worked with Vincent Paterson, Bonnie Story, Marguerite Derricks, Michael Rooney, Courtney Miller Jr., Donald McKayle, David Allan, Diane Diefenderfer, El Gabriel, Molly Lynch, Jodie Gates, Jim Kolb, Cindy Peca, Monie Adamson, Quincy Jacinto, Kelley Devine, Joe Tremaine, and Napoleon & Tabitha Dumo.
Rochone Anderson started out singing in Choir and Musical Theater. At the age of 15 he took his first dance class and quickly fell in love. This spiraled into a wide interest in the performing arts. Mr. Anderson attended the Orange County High School of the Performing Arts, West Coast School of the Arts and Dance precisions. Mr. Anderson is currently a part of recording "Radio For The People" which is currently working on their debut album out Paramount Recordings. His professional credits include Stiletto Entertainment (Holland America Cruise Line), Fame, Aida, Dreamgirls (the movie), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (Judah), and his most inspiring role as Mr. Misstoffelees in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Cats." Mr. Anderson's teaching credits include Maple Conservatory of Dance, Pacific Coast Academy of Dance, V&T Dance, Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy and American Ballet Theatre (Summer Intensive program). Mr. Anderson is passionate about the arts and enjoys sharing his love of dance with his students. He feels that being a part of the arts has truly shaped his life as well as his dancing.
Sara Arvizu first discovered the joy of dance through a week long dance outreach program offered at her elementary school by the Wooden Floor (formerly known as Saint Joseph Ballet). She was accepted into the Wooden Floor program at the age of 9 where she continued until graduating at the age of 18, taking regular classes and performing yearly in their programs and concerts. Through the Wooden Floor she was able to perform in works choreographed by renown choreographers such as Mark Heim, Sally Silvers, Sean Curran, Melanie Rios Glaser, Beth Burns and others. After high school she attended Santa Ana Community College where she participated in the dance program under the direction of Heather Gillette. There, she participated and was recognized for her two choreographic works presented at the American College Dance Festival. Her piece "Hold Fast" (2010) was honored at the Gala concert 2011 at the Southwest region among ten works by choreographers Christian Burns from Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Mike Esperanza, Teresa Jankovic and others. Sara graduated from the Dance Department at Santa Ana College and went on to pursue teaching as her passion while also continuing to take part in annual summer workshops for the Limón Dance company, the Jenny Backhaus dance company and Keith Johnson to extend her dance education and experience. Teaching her first class back in 2012 opened up a new path which she enjoys very much and only wishes to continue as long as she can. In teaching kids her wish is to share her appreciation for dance and to best prepare these dancers for a long and successful journey in the field.
Arpine Azlvyan was a dancer in the Armenian National Theatre of Ballet and Opera for ten years and graduated from the School of Choreography in Armenia. She has more than fifteen years of experience as a ballet dancer, and has performed in many ballets such as Nutcracker, Giselle, Don Quixote, Le Bayadere, Paquita, Gayane, Les Sylphydes, Le Corsaire among many others. She has been a dance instructor and choreographer since 1993 teaching ballet to children and adults in all aspects of dance, preparation and performance. She has a comprehensive knowledge of all forms of dance and loves to teach young children.
Jennifer Beith is from right here in Irvine. Jennifer began dancing at 5 years old at The Irvine School of Dance which later became Pacific Dance. She started with Jazz and quickly expanded her training to include Tap, Pointe, Lyrical and Hip Hop. As part of the studio's competition group she competed and performed all over Southern California. Jennifer had the privilege of performing with Ballet Pacifica in their production of "The Nutcracker" for 4 years. She continued to dance throughout high school and went on to attend Loyola Marymount University from which she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance, graduating in 2003. While there, she studied modern and musical theater, and also trained at Edge PAC with many notable teachers and choreographers in all genres of dance.
Since 2006, Jennifer has been working in the Entertainment Department at the Disneyland Resort performing in numerous parades, shows, and special events including the 2007 Rose Parade, and dancing back-up for such Disney stars as Demi Lovato and the cast of High School Musical. During that time she also had the privilege of doing a contract at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan dancing in their highly acclaimed show, "One Man's Dream II." She has also performed in summer shows at Knott's Berry Farm as well as during Halloween Haunt, danced and sang in musicals such as "Anything Goes" and "Guys and Dolls" with local theater companies, been a featured performer on the comedy sketch television show "Whose Line is it Anyway," and danced in music videos for artists Leki and DreadStarr. For the last 4 years she has been traveling the world as a dancer onboard the Holland America Cruise Line, where she met her British husband. Now that she is back home, Jennifer is excited to get back into teaching and hopes to instill in her students great technique and her passion for the art of dance.
Laura Berbaum, a seasoned teacher, has been teaching for over 20 years and brings a wealth of experience to Pacific Dance. She began her pre-professional ballet training and performing at Dieman and Bennett, the school for Dance Theatre of the Hemispheres in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is where Laura became acquainted with "real" ballet, performed her first "Nutcracker", and fell in love with the classical music, high standards, and the beauty and timelessness of ballet. Laura continued her training in California, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance at the University of California, Irvine. After graduation, Laura taught, choreographed, and performed professionally with the Lake Arrowhead Classical Ballet Company. There, she performed as a company corps de ballet dancer as well as a soloist, a 6 year tenure that left her with a valuable and pleasant memory and learning experience.
Most recently Laura is pleased to associate with Stela Viorica of the Stella Dance Company and with Lois Ellyn of the Nouveau Chamber Ballet. Laura continues to choreograph, perform and take class, and she teaches in the classical tradition so the art of ballet remains pure.
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Bradford Chin received his BFA in Dance (May 2017) from California State University, Long Beach and has studied on scholarship at the American Dance Festival and with Backhausdance. He has trained under numerous teachers including Sophie Monat, Gracie Whyte, Lorin Johnson, Keith Johnson, and Rebecca Lemme. He has danced with Laurel Jenkins, Jennifer Backhaus/Backhausdance, Jestoni Dagdag/DAGDAG Dance, and Caron Eule/C. Eule Dance, and he has performed works by choreographers such as Sidra Bell, Beth Gill, William Forsythe, Rebecca Bryant, Andrew Vaca, and Kim T. Davis. An emerging choreographer, Chin's work has been presented at CSU Long Beach, the American Dance Festival, Highways Performance Space, the Torrance Art Museum, the Southern California Dance & Choreography Festival, danceXchange, ArtX Long Beach, and George Washington High School.
Jestoni Dagdag was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the United States at the age of 14. He is a freelance dancer, instructor, and choreographer based in Southern California. He graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BFA in Dance Performance in 2015. There, he trained under the tutelage of sought after ballet faculty such as Tong Wang, Molly Lynch, Diane Diefenderfer, and Shaun Boyle. Currently, he trains under Paula Vreulink, director of Southern California Dance Theatre, and performs principal roles in their ballet productions such as the Nutcracker and Cinderella. He has performed with companies such as Shaun Boyle & Artists, Multiplex Dance, Donald Mckayle’s Etude Ensemble, Re:born Dance Interactive, and Kelly Alvarez & Artists to name a few. In 2017, he founded a project-based contemporary dance company called, DAGDAG Dance, whose mission is to create collaborative works with local artists through live performances, photography, and screendance. In the same year, he co-coordinated SoCal Dance and Choreo Festival hosted by Southern California Dance Theatre. He teaches ballet, contemporary/modern, and jazz at various dance studios in Orange County and Los Angeles area. He also has taught master classes at several venues such as West Hollywood Dance Festival in 2016, Fuse Dance Co. Intensive in 2016, and Pasadena Dance Festival in 2017. He hopes to inspire people through teaching and creating dance.
Danielle Daguman is originally from Palm Springs, California. She attended University California, Irvine where she majored in dance and minored in education. Upon graduation in 2003, Danielle moved to New York City where she continued to pursue her passion for dance and dance education. She taught throughout NYC and became faculty for Broadway Dance Center's Children & Teen Program. Danielle believes teaching is a special gift and loves to share her knowledge and passion with each student she has the opportunity to work with. Her vigor for dance led her to also co-direct BDC's CTP and the Summer/Winter Workshop Series. Danielle is grateful for the opportunities she has been given and proud to be associated with former students who are currently in the Broadway musicals "The Lion King, Matilda, and Kinky Boots." Danielle is thankful to be a member of the dance community and looks forward to this year with Pacific Dance.
Kayley Estrada has been dancing since the age of six. Dance has become her true passion and she wants to make dance and teaching her lifelong career. Kayley has danced competitively for over nine years with Pacific Dance and won various overall awards for both solo and group competition dances. Kayley also competes in the Pacific Dance advanced hip hop group. She studies many styles of dance and has performed at Disneyland as well as various roles in the Nutcracker with Montage dance.
Kayley loves teaching hip hop classes to kids in Fountain Valley at Artegy Dance and has been a popular substitute at Pacific Dance. She looks forwards to inspiring her dancers in the same way her teachers have inspired her.
Brandi Freas, born and raised in Southern California, started dancing at the age of seven. In her younger years she trained at Clifton Dance Project, ABDA, Dance Precisions and Edge PAC. She started working professionally at the age of 16, and has been fortunate enough to travel the world dancing professionally. Her works include five contracts at Tokyo Disney for "One Man's Dream 2", Knotts Scary Farm, Glory of Christmas, and Holland America cruise line. She has also performed for artists such as Heather Smalls, Zoey Badwi, and Ellenie Galestian. Film includes High School Musical 2 dancer, dancer for Panic at the Disco music video and various commercials for Tokyo Disney Resort. She has also performed for magicians such as Ed Alonzo, Chris Mitchell and Leo Ward, and has performed in multiple shows around Japan and here in Southern California. Her passion for dance is why she continues to expand her knowledge and expertise in the field, and is eager to share and teach others.
Sophia Gleason began dancing at the age of six. She started with ballet and later moved onto jazz, tap, lyrical, hip-hop, and modern. At the age of 14 she was accepted into Alvin Ailey's Summer Dance Intensive. She competed in regional and national competitions for eight years.
In 2003 she graduated from the Orange County High School of the Arts where she studied with top dance industry professionals such as: Liz Imperio, Dee Caspery, Cory Finn, Ron Brown, and more. She was also involved in OCHSA's Community Dance Company that performed for charity and educational events. In 2003, she received the Best Student Choreography Award for the Spring Student Dance Concert.
She is currently enrolled in Orange Coast College and is highly involved in the dance department. She participates in the annual Student Dance Concert and was thrilled to receive the prestigious Karen Shanley Scholarship for her solo performance in 2005.
Sophia was a company member of a Latin dance company called "I am Cuba." She performed in the historical Ford Amphitheater and charity events around the Los Angeles area.
Vanessa Gumerman was born and raised in Southern California where she took her first jazz class at the age of eight. Since then, she has gone on to study ballet, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, musical theater, and modern dance. In high school she was on the Dance Team and was Choreography Director for the school's Choir Department. Outside of school, Vanessa was also a company dancer with Clifton Dance Project from 2000 to 2004.
Vanessa's teaching experience extends through LA and Orange County. In 2005, she was hired as a personal choreographer for a contestant in the Miss Teen California Pageant. She has also been an assistant dance instructor alongside Victor Robles at Glendale Community College, where she got the opportunity to choreograph for their annual Faculty Concert.
Vanessa graduated Cum Laude with her B.A. in Dance Science from California State University, Long Beach in Fall 2010. She is interested not only in dance itself, but how proper dance techniques and the mechanics of movement can greatly reduce a dancer's risk of injury.
Vanessa has been working in the Entertainment Department at Disneyland since 2006 where she has had opportunities to perform in numerous parades, shows, and special events. She has also choreographed for Flashback, an annual charity event at Disneyland since 2011. Vanessa is currently dancing and choreographing for the Dance Ministry at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa, is a company member in Jazzworks-Long Beach under the direction of Andy Vaca, and is coaching cheer and dance at Whittier Christian High School in La Habra. Vanessa is very grateful for the opportunities that God has presented for her, and is excited to be on staff at Pacific Dance!!
Erin Jefferson-Foley has been dancing since the age of three. She has taught dance for twelve years at various studios throughout Southern California. She is trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern dance. Her professional career has included performances with American Ballet Theater and Metropolitan Ballet. Erin was an original cast member for Disneyland's "Hunchback of Notre Dame" show. She is a former company member of Mandala Danceworks, a modern dance company in Orange County.
In late 2004, she took a break from teaching and performing to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine. That "break" didn't last long though, as she soon discovered how much she missed teaching dance. She is back with a deeper understanding and enthusiasm for the art of dance; as well as passing that appreciation on to her students. Erin is very excited to be teaching at Pacific Dance while still finishing her prerequisites for Vet. school at Mt. San Antonio College She is a nurturing, dedicated, warm teacher who encourages her students to do their best.
Alexis Johnson was born and raised in San Diego. Alexis spent her childhood dancing and competing with a local studio and with her high school's Varsity dance team. She moved to Orange County in 2007, where she attended UC Irvine as an Economics and Education major. She danced for UCI's Dance and Spirit Squad, was a member of her university's Delta Delta Delta chapter, and studied abroad in Spain. She then spent a year on scholarship at Defore Foundation for the Arts and has performed multiple times in PULSE, their annual faculty concert. This past summer she was accepted to and attended the Rockette Summer Intensive in New York. She danced in a production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Curtis Theater and White Christmas in Huntington Beach. She teaches ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling, musical theater and assists with competition rehearsals.
Lissa Johnson is a high energy teacher who strives to instill her creative style and passion for dance in her students.
As a dancer her credits include: dancing along side Gene Kelly, Shirley Maclaine and Liza Minelli at the Liberty Celebration in New York. Her television credits include an episode of Family Matters and as a principal dancer on the Disney Channel. She has performed in various conventions and fashion shows for Kawasaki and Benetton clothing.
Lissa has been teaching at various studios in LA and Orange Counties for over 10 years. She is a technically challenging teacher that demands correct technique in her classes. Her students enjoy Lissa's creative choreography and current style. Lissa performed in the 1984 Olympics at the Los Angeles Coliseum. She trained with The Edge, Millennium and Joe Tremaine. She has been instructed by Mia Michaels, Bill Prudich and Jackie Sleight.
Roberta Kay has been directing and/or choreographing musicals for summer stock, civic light opera, grand opera, night clubs, community theater, private schools and educational programs for over 29 years. Some of her credits include, LITTLE WOMEN, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, NUNSENSE, GUYS AND DOLLS, CINDERELLA, ANYTHING GOES, MY FAIR LADY, PAJAMA GAME, WONDERFUL TOWN, BELLS ARE RINGING, SWEET CHARITY, OLIVER, WOMAN OF THE YEAR, OKLAHOMA, THE WIZ, BRUNDIBAR, and DIE FLEIDERMAUS.
Starting out as a singer/dancer/actress at age four, Roberta's stage career took her to the Sahara in Las Vegas, Mexico City, New York, Boston and Los Angeles. Some of her favorite roles are: Molly (UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN), Charity, (SWEET CHARITY), Adelaide, (GUYS AND DOLLS) and April (COMPANY.) She also appeared on national television for: The Tonight Show, The Andy Williams Show, and various NBC specials.
After raising a family, she switched gears and had an outstanding 22 year career at KOCE-TV, PBS, as the Director of Programming. She also produced and field-directed various local PBS programs, was KOCE'S on air-Pledge drive host/writer for over 15 years and appeared in national PBS television series and specials: A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, MATHWISE, THINKABOUT, PROJECT UNIVERSE and DOLLARS AND SENSE, for which she garnered a Los Angeles area Emmy award.
Roberta has been practicing Hatha yoga for over 18 years -- longer if you take into account that she's been a dancer all her life and dance warm-ups include yoga.
She has been certified twice as a Hatha yoga teacher and has been teaching for over 12 years. In 2007, she also became certified in Laughter Yoga (a great way to relieve stress.)
Yoga will help you to increase your flexibility and strength, relieve stress, and improve an aching back. Roberta's level 1-2 classes touch on the many styles of yoga including: Viniyoga (adapting to each students needs), Vinyasa (flowing through poses), Iyengar (using props), Partner yoga, Laughing yoga, acupressure with tennis balls, a variety of pranayama (breathing techniques), many kinds of sitting and walking meditations, affirmations and even some dance!
She continues to study and expand her knowledge going to yoga retreats and conferences whenever time allows.
Autumn Mortenson fell in love with dance at the age of three and has never stopped. She trained nationally and internationally in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Improvisation, Capoeira, and West African. Autumn holds an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine, a BA in Theatre and Dance, Dance Emphasis, Magna Cum Laude, from Santa Clara University, and a teaching credential from ACSI. Autumn has been teaching dance for more than twenty years for ages two through adult in multiple studios and schools. She directed and chaired the Dance Department at Valley Christian High School’s Conservatory for nine years. In addition to teaching at Pacific Dance, she currently teaches at Concordia University, Fullerton College, Golden West College, and Great Oaks Christian School. Autumn has toured professionally as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher in Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Ukraine, Venezuela, and throughout the U.S. She was awarded the “Artistic and Academic Achievement Award” from Santa Clara University, the “Talent Award” at Miss California, a full scholarship to UCI’s MFA in Dance program, and was named in the “Who’s Who of America’s Teachers” for her work at Valley Christian High School in San Jose. To date, she has choreographed more than 300 pieces. Her work has been showcased at Project Dance NYC, LA Invitational Dance Consortium, Pasadena Dance Festival, UC Irvine, Concordia University, Fullerton College, Santa Clara University, the Sydney Olympics and ParaOlympics with “More Than Gold,” Valley Christian High School, Kings Academy, Leigh High School, USA Regional and National Competitions, and multiple studios’ productions. She is thrilled to be a part of the Pacific Dance family. She and her husband have three beautiful children and serve actively at their church.
Fiona Murphy began her ballet training at Alameda Ballet Academy under the direction of Abra Rudisill, former prima ballerina of Oakland Ballet, and has also trained at the intensives of American Ballet Theatre, The Joffery Ballet School, The Rock School, and The Kaatsbaan International Dance Center. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the Department of Dance at California State University, Long Beach, where she has continued her training and education in dance and lighting design. Currently she is working on a Teaching Credential in Physical Education at California State University Long Beach.
Linda-Joy “LJ” Tashiro Nafarrete, a founding member of the OC renowned Backhausdance Company, established in 2003, received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre and Dance while on scholarship at Chapman University. During her tenure at Chapman, she specialized in Dance performance and received several awards, including Freshmen of the Year, Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Performance. Prior to Chapman University, Ms. Tashiro Nafarrete, attended the Orange County High School of Arts and graduated from their Commercial Dance Department. Additionally, she studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City on scholarship. She has extensive training in Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Ballet, Hip Hop and Dunham (Afro-Caribbean) dance techniques and holds a certiﬁcation in Pilates from Body Arts and Science International.
In addition to concert performances, she has danced in a variety of modern media, including music and ﬁtness videos and live television. Ms. LJ has taught in various seminars and master classes and continues to teach and Choreograph through out Southern California. As an award winning choreographer, she has the ability to create moving pieces that are authentically molded for each dancer and group.
Ms. LJ ﬁnds great fulﬁllment in sharing her passion of dance with her students. Her classes focus on experimenting with center of gravity, individual expression and creativity, use of space and proper technique. Her goal is to uniquely challenge each student so they can achieve far beyond their personal expectations.
Sam Neas is a dancer originally from Atlanta, Georgia and is currently based out of Los Angeles, California. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2013, he has performed in various shows, including the television show Angie Tribeca, the Choreographers Carnival for Melody Lacayanga, and the contemporary show “Daylight Come” choreographed and produced by Ricky Palomino, to name a few. In 2015, Sam was a featured dancer in the Dance Excellence showcase and the video “Bad Blood”, choreographed by Rudy Abreu. Sam has trained extensively with and assisted many choreographers and educators such as, Marguerite Derricks, Melody Lacayanga, and Stacey Hamada. Sam’s passion for teaching and choreographing has brought him to many different studios around the country, in cities such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, Irvine, Cincinnati, and various studios on Maui. Sam has also enjoyed traveling nationally with the dance convention In Studio Dance as a contemporary teacher. His goal in teaching and choreographing is to challenge and expand the kids' comfort zone while creating an enthusiastic and constructive environment.
Stacey Orleans was born and raised in Mountain View, CA, and began her life as a dancer at the age of four. Throughout her teen years, she was a core dancer in The Dance Company of San Francisco under the direction of Chris Jacobsen. In 2003, Stacey moved the Los Angeles to attend her dream school, UCLA, where she received Bachelors Degrees in both Psychology and World Arts and Cultures with a concentration in Dance. During her years at UCLA, she was a Director for NSU Modern as well as a dancer on the award winning hip-hop group, Team Millennia. After college, Stacey traveled the world as a principal dancer and company manager on the beautiful Holland America Line cruise ship, the ms Amsterdam. Some of Stacey's other credits include Viennie V, Quadron, and Unity Dance Company (under the direction of Tessandra Chavez), to name a few. Stacey is currently represented for dance and on-camera by MSA. In 2013, Stacey founded In Studio Dance and she currently travels around the country sharing her passion for teaching with dancers of all ages.
Ashley Lauren Paul (affectingly called "AP") is a high energy hip hop teacher with a contagious spirit. A Los Angeles native, Ashley was introduced to the world of dance, acting and entertainment where she found her home. As a professional dancer, Ashley has worked with numerous directors, producers, and photographers. Some of her most credited work has been featured in commercials for Sony, Toyota, Forever 21 and she has danced for Disney, BET, Missy Elliot and many more! She is also passionate about acting and Journalism. With a strong background in religion and family ethics, her goals are simple; to live a life of faith, success, humility, progression, prosperity, wealth, and integrity.
Ashley's classes are loved all over the LA area. It's where you want to be to improve your style, get an edge at auditions and have a great time!
Nazgul Ryskulova Shinn has been teaching ballet for the past ten years. Having experience teaching all age levels from toddlers to advanced, her students have gained great growth and success, as shown by them placing in various ballet competitions such as the YAGP.
Nazgul received her training from the Almaty Ballet Academy in Kazakhstan. Upon graduation, she was invited to work at the Kyrgyz National Ballet Theater as a coryphée. She was then awarded a scholarship to study at the Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington D.C.; whereupon she was recruited to work at the Universal Ballet Company, under the artistic direction of Oleg Vinogradov in Seoul, Korea.
As a dancer she has toured throughout Asia, Europe, and North America, including performances in Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, France, England, Austria, Canada, and the US. Her professional repertoire includes classical ballets such as La Sylphide, Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Chopiniana and Sleeping Beauty, as well as contemporary.
Hank Schmidt began dancing in the ninth grade at Glendale High School on both the coed and all male hip hop teams. Since then, he has trained in hip hop, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. In high school, he competed in USA competitions and took home 10 championships during his 4 years on the team. He was also a competitor and finalist in the Mr. Dance California, and USA pageant in 2014.
Since graduating in 2015, Hank has been studying Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton and is aiming to reduce injury and lengthen the careers of dancers. He also dances and competes with the award winning Team Millennia, as well as the non-profit Happiness is NOW. He is also a camp instructor and judge for the United Spirit Association, where he has taught several high school dance teams throughout southern and northern California. Hank loves working with kids of all age groups, and is looking forward to dancing at Pacific Dance!
Brittni Sinift is originally from up north in Vacaville. She has been dancing since she could basically walk! Growing up she studies ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, tap and musical theater. Brittni grew up and became a Principal Dancer with the Vacaville Ballet Company and performed in many leading roles. She also was a Company member for Dance Direction that won many National Competition titles. While dedicating most of her time studying dance, Brittni also was working as a model in San Francisco. She was discovered at the age of five by top talent/model agencies doing what she loves; dancing.
As a child Brittni, did print work for national and international magazines as well as runway for Gap and Esprit. With these opportunities, Brittni became a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and remains a member today. Brittni went on many auditions through high school. She was awarded a Scholarship to study at the Joffery Ballet in NYC.
Brittni then went on to get her B.A. in Dance at UC Irvine along with a certification in Pilates. While in college, Brittni joined the Walt Disney Company and has been dancing and performing with the company for 10 years. Within these years, she traveled the world! She has been on a US tour and a seven month contract in Hong Kong with the Disney Company. Brittni continues to dance in many shows today at the Disney Annual charity production, Flashback for the past several years. Since High School Brittni has shared her passion and technique of dance with children. She hopes not to just instill good direction and discipline to technique but also passion and love for the art of dance. She is honored to join the Pacific Dance Staff!
Connor Trahan began dancing at age ten, and grew up training in his home state of Michigan. He danced on a competition team where he trained in Jazz, Lyrical, and Acrobatics. He eventually continued on to further his training with a pre-professional Ballet and Modern program at an academy in northern Michigan. During his senior year of high school, Connor traveled and assisted iHollywood Dance Convention and studied under some of the industry’s top teachers and choreographers. Since moving to Los Angeles, Connor has continued his training at the following professional studios: Millennium Dance Complex, Edge Performing Arts Center, and Movement Lifestyle. He is signed with Go 2 Talent Agency, and has worked professionally for Capezio, Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzy Feet Foundation, and most recently, Disney! Connor teaches in Los Angeles and Orange County, and is thrilled to be teaching at Pacific Dance to share his love of the arts with children of all ages.
Nicky Wagg began dancing at the age of four. She received her ballet training under the direction of Glenda Carhart and Mary Lynn at the prestigious Riverside Ballet Arts School. There she performed in various roles with the company including Swan Lake and Nutcracker as well as performing as a company soloist.
Nicky is a graduate of University of California Riverside where she played on the tennis team and started teaching lessons to children and teens. She received the MVP award and was nominated for the U.C. Riverside Academic Athletic Award for her accomplishments as a college player.
She taught tennis for many years, but was drawn back to dance, especially after both of her daughters began to dance.
Both parents and students enjoy Nicky's patient and fun style of teaching.
Kyle Elizabeth Walker began her dance training at the age of three at the Orange County Ballet Company under the direction of Tamara Elganova. Her mother a dance teacher and her grandmother a ballet pianist; Kyle spent her entire childhood at the dance studio. Kyle's dance background includes ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical and Hawaiian. Kyle is especially skilled in the area of acrobatics where she competed as a team member on SCATS (Southern California Acro Team) under the direction of Bud Marquette, Scott Crouse, and Mitch Rigby. Kyle was also coached by Cathy Rigby and later taught for Cathy Rigby's Gymnastic gyms. At the age of 14, Kyle studied under Joan Golden and by the age of 16 was dancing andcompeting in the Joan Golden Jazz Dance Company.
As a professional dancer Kyle danced for Disneyland for 8 years and also danced for Disneyland cable television.
As a choreographer, Kyle's acrobatic dances have won many top and overall awards. She has also won many awards for her Jazz, Tap and Lyrical choreographies including many top and overall awards.
Kyle has studied dance at Orange Coast College and later earned her BS in Clothing and Textiles/Marketing at the University of Arizona in 1990.
After college Kyle enjoyed managing Dance Rags, a dancewear company and teaching dance part time for 10 years.
Most recently Kyle has decided to dedicate her entire career to teaching dance and acrobatics. Kyle plans on furthering her education in dance and is planning on joining DMA's chapter (1) after completing her testing.
Kyle's emphasis is on building strong acrobatic technique and enforcing safety in a dance studio setting by proper progressions and completion of beginning principles before execution of advanced skills, encouraging ballet technique and other forms of dance for the prevention of injuries, accidents and treating acrobatics as an enhancement to all dancers to make them stronger and more versatile in a more demanding dance world. Kyle's motto, "Every dancer should be able to do a cartwheel".