Artist In Residence: Vincent E. Thomas
Vincent E. Thomas, dancer, choreographer and teacher, received his MFA in Dance from Florida State University and a BME in Music from the University of South Carolina. He has danced with Dance Repertory Theatre (FSU), Randy James Dance Works (NY/NJ), EDGEWORKS Dance Theater (DC), and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (MD). He is the Artistic Director/Choreographer of the national touring What’s Going On project. Read more about Vincent >>
Carrie Woodson – Ballet 101 and Beyond
Carrie Woodson earned her MA degree in dance from CSU Long Beach and her BA degree in dance from CSU Fullerton. Her performance credits include Disneyland Resort, Glory of Christmas and Easter Productions (dancer and assistant choreographer for 10 years), and co-director of His Grace Dance Ministry. She has toured internationally with CSU Fullerton’s Dance Repertory Theatre and with His Grace Dance Ministry. Carrie’s modern influence comes from master teachers, Robin Johnson, Colin Connor, Sharon Kinney, Susan McLain and Loretta Livingston. Over the last 25 years, Carrie has been teaching, directing, choreographing, and producing artistic work for public, private schools, studio venues. She is on dance faculty at Santiago Canyon College, teaching dance history, ballet, modern and jazz, and on staff at Dance for Joy Ministries, teaching ballet, modern, jazz, dance conditioning, and worship dance. Carrie has completed the teacher training program with Ballet Magnificat and is certified in Progressive Ballet Technique. Carrie is an advocate for fitness and dance serving as VP of Dance for CAHPERD. Her passion encompasses her love for movement in ballet, modern, jazz, and worship dance. She values the following famous quote….“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion. ” ~Martha Graham
Donna Flournoy – Tap Class
Donna Flournoy currently teaches at San Diego Mesa College as an Assistant Professor and the Co- chair of Dance. Donna has extensive training and dance experience. She began formal training at Mesa College and Stage 7 where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theater, Tap and Acting. While training under her mentor Jan Ellis, she found the passion of dance and received an Associate of Fine Arts degree from Mesa College. She then transferred and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in dance with the emphasis of Choreography from the dance program at the University of Irvine California. After several years of teaching and choreographing she then received her Master of Art degree from California State Long Beach.
Professor Flournoy has taught at numerous dance studios teaching and choreographing from New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Orange County, Utah and in San Diego. She has danced with several production companies such as the American Broadcast Corporation touring company as a character dancer and was assistant choreographer for Common Ground Dance Company in Orange County. Stage credits include dancer/singer in Starlight Musical Theater Production of the King and I In addition, she Choreographed and danced in the play For Colored Girls, Directed by Dr. Floyd Gaffney, Professor of Theater UCSD. Donna has a great passion for the arts and is looking forward to sharing her passion for Dance movement with all of her students.
Hank Schmidt – Jazz Progressions
Hank Schmidt is a dance teacher and student at California, State Universiry where he is studying Kinesiology and Physical Education. He has been studying dance for 7 years and hopes to use his love of fitness to help prolong the careers of dancers. He works for the United Spirit Association, where he teaches to high schools all across California in the summer, and judges competitions in the Spring. He has danced for the award-winning Team Millennia, as well as the non-profit “Happiness is NOW”.
He also coaches the All Male and Pom team at Troy High School in California and teaches Hip Hop at Pacific Dance in Irvine and Center Stage in Long Beach as well as for the Anderson Enrichment after school program. He also choreographs for schools all across California.
Jennifer La Curan – Modern Dance Technique
Jennifer La Curan is the Chair of Dance Department and Assistant Professor of Dance at Irvine Valley College. She has her BFA in Dance from CSULB and her MFA in dance from NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Jennifer has her comprehensive Pilates certification from Body Arts and Science International. Jennifer also is the artistic director for her own dance company, Merge Dance Theatre. From 2007-2012, Jennifer was the Director of the Dance Department and Associate Professor at Darton College in Albany, GA. While at Darton, Jennifer received the Campus Technology, Education Futurists Award for the use of motion capture technology that she developed for the dance department. In 2010, she was given the Darton College Service Award. Jennifer worked at Knott’s Berry Farm as the Assistant Coordinator for the Entertainment Technical Department for Halloween Haunt. She also worked at Disneyland as a dancer in their parades and shows department. Jennifer is an adjunct professor at El Camino College and was an adjunct at Cypress College, Cerritos College, and Moorpark College. Jennifer is also a freelance lighting designer, choreographer and teacher. She has a great interest in technology and the arts.
Jessica Wolf – Contemporary and Combos To Go
Jessica Wolf holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Chapman University. She is a diversely trained dancer in Ballet, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern and Tap dance styles. In her early professional dance Career she was an opening cast dancer member for Disneyland’s “Parade of Dreams” and also danced in the “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade. She spent six weeks at Duke University attending the American Dance Festival, an acclaimed modern dance technique training program, where she was able to study the works of Martha Graham and train under Laura Dean, Larry Keigwin, David Dorfman, Pilobolus and many other legends of modern dance.
Commercially She has danced for Music Videos, Television and worked with artists such as Beyonce, LMFAO and opened for Steve Augeri (Journey) to name a few. She has also performed as a company member with the professional dance company “Unity Dance Ensemble” Under the Direction of Tessandra Chavez and Theo Ivey. She has performed in Carnival and Club Jete in Los Angeles, two highly acclaimed revue LA dance shows under the direction of Tiffany Billings, Elm Pizarro, Cameron Graham and Maryann Chavez.
John Depalma – Ballroom Dance
John’s enthusiasm and affection for dance started at an early age. Training began with modern, then a little bit of jazz, and then into a lot of hip hop. But his commitment to dance began with Ballroom Dancing. As a professional ballroom dance instructor for Fred Astaire Dance Studios, he competed at the national level before he ventured out on his own to further his practice and studies in dance, movement, and health. For the past twenty years, John has brought this passion and devotion to the world of dance, group fitness and personal training. He is certified in a variety of formats, including Zumba® and Pilates, to name a few. He currently teaches dance and physical education classes for Seattle Colleges and a Ballroom Dance program for Studio 206 in Seattle, Washington.
Kellie Johnston – Buti Yoga and Yoga
Kellie Johnston has over 30 years of extensive dance training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and hip hop and has been teaching since 2001. While dance was her first love, yoga has become not only one of her favorite physical practices, but has completely changed her life and perspective in every situation. When Kellie found Buti Yoga, it felt really meant to be. It was the perfect marriage between her two loves, yoga and dance and the practice truly captured her heart.
She holds a BA in Organizational Communication from CSU, Chico and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Physical Education from National University. She completed her RYT-200 at Cloud Nine Yoga, her Buti Yoga certification in Tustin, CA with creator Bizzie Gold, and her Prenatal Yoga (RPYT) certification through Ma Yoga. She also has certifications in Buti Sculpt and Barre Fitness. An Orange County native, Kellie lives with her husband, Kyle and two beautiful boys, Jake and Sam.
Kenneth Green – Jazz and Musical Theater
Producer and Director, Kenneth Green has produced events, special projects and theatrical presentations nationwide. He has appeared with Donny and Marie Osmond, choreographed for Vanessa Williams and Target Stores and produced tributes for Eartha Kitt, Diahann Carroll and Chita Rivera for Walt Disney Entertainment. He served as the television choreographer for the Walt Disney World’s Easter Parade Special and is a former casting director for Walt Disney World Entertainment where he was responsible for identifying talent for their global partners. He has choreographed for Kodak, Head Sports Wear, Addidas, and Wendy’ Hamburgers. At Spelman College, he served as Director of Cultural Initiatives in the Office of College Relations. He has directed half-time productions for the Atlanta Falcons and productions for Six Flags over Georgia. Kenneth has a B.F.A. in Musical Theater Dance from the United States International University and an M.A. in Dance from California State University at Long Beach.
Mark Haines – Jazz Master Class
Mark A. Haines is an Associate Professor of Dance where he teaches Jazz Technique, Modern Repertory, Choreography, and Dance Appreciation. In addition, Mark also serves as the primary Lighting Designer and Graphic Designer for RCC Dance. Mark has choreographed for television and stage, and during his tenure at RCC, Mark’s choreography has been honored numerous times by the American College Dance Festival Association. Mark also serves as co-Artistic Director and Board Member for the Trolley Dances Riverside. Mark holds a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts and an MFA in Dance from University of California, Irvine.
Mindy Copeland – Tap Dance
Mindy Copeland was a featured soloist in the international tour of Caution Men At Work: Tap! in mainland China and a featured member of Rhapsody in Taps where she has performed the choreography of Linda Sohl-Ellison, Gregory Hines, Foster Johnson, Fred Strickler, Sam Weber and Brenda Bufalino. Mindy and her husband, Gabe, direct Tap Overload, a tap dance production company. They recently co-created choreographed and performed Office Beat at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2017 and 2017. The show received rave reviews and the official festival award Best of Physical Theatre and Dance as well as the Robby Award for Best Choreography of LA Theater in 2016.
With over 25 years of teaching experience Mindy has taught all over Southern California, including master classes at Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, Rhapsody In Tap’s National Tap Dance Day Celebration and as a faculty member of the LA Tap Fest. International master classes and coaching include teaching in Hangzhou-China, Bremen-Germany, and Barcelona-Spain.
Monik Jones – Hip Hop and West African Dance
Monik is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer who began dancing in church at the age of 8, under the leadership of Sandra Shackelford. Trained at the Los Angeles County High School of Arts, she had danced with the Ka-Ron Lehman Dance Company, UCLA’s African Art Ensemble Modern Dance Group, and The Gospel Music Workshop of America Liturgical Dance Company.
Ms. Jones received her Bachelor’s of Arts in World Arts and Culture, concentrating in dance, with a minor in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. In March of 2005 she received her Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of California, Irvine where she was mentored by outstanding faculty including the legendary Donald Mckayle. Under his direction she presented work at the UCI’s graduate students’ choreography concert “New Slate” and collaborated with the music department in an opera titled “Dido and Aeneas”.
David Hilal – West African Drummer
David Hilal has been a student of music since he was 4 years old. Coming from a family who supported music and the arts, he gained an appreciation for music at an early age. It wasn’t long before that appreciation developed into a passion, and the journey to perfecting his musical craft was in motion. David’s career began with Alternative Rock music, where he became proficient as a song writer, vocalist and rhythm guitarrist. Today, he continues to write music and perform as the lead vocalist for the band, Above The Noise, based in Orange County, CA.
While attending college as an Anthropology major at Cal State Long Beach, David was introduced to West African drumming and dancing. He applied his collective jexperience as a Rock artist and composer to his study of West African drumming and progressed rapidly in this new style of music and dance. Eventually, his priority shifted toward learning Djembe and Dunun music full time. David feels blessed to have studied Djembe drum and dance for over a decade with Grand Masters and world class musicians. He has spent the most time studying under Grand Master, Mamady Keita from Guinea, Dramane Kone from Burkina Faso and Sidiki Dembele from Ivory Coast. Always, considering himself a student of music, David Hilal continues to study the musical art form and perfect what comes naturally to him.
Morgan Beckman – Vinyasa Yoga Class
Morgan Beckman has fifteen years of experience working in the dance and fitness industry. She is currently a dance and yoga educator at Corona Del Mar Middle and High School in Newport Beach, CA. Growing up in Orange County, Morgan developed a love for movement and dance at a young age. She currently choreographs and teaches at a variety of high schools and studios throughout California. Her love for yoga developed in adulthood after she was introduced to the practice in an effort to help improve a chronic back injury. Today, Morgan loves sharing the practice of yoga to dancers and yogis alike, in effort to help students prevent injuries and achieve overall physical, emotional and mental wellness.
Oscar Gonzalez – Pilates-Floor Barre Fusion and Musical Theater
Oscar Gonzalez was born and raised in Orange County, California. Oscar trained at the Anaheim Ballet School, American Ballet Theater and the Joffrey Ballet School and has been accepted into the Alvin Ailey school and The Rock school summer intensive. He is formally trained in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Musical Theater and Contemporary. Gonzalez has been a soloist with the Anaheim Ballet, Festival Ballet, and was a resident company member and instructor for Diavolo. Oscar has worked with talented choreographers such as, Jacques Heim, Robert Mahler, Roberta Mathis, Mark Esposito, & Sha Newman. Oscar has performed in professional musical theater productions such as, Hello Dolly, WestSide Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, A Chorus Line, Evita, White Christmas, and has been a principal in The Glory of Christmas at the Crystal Cathedral. His ballet credits include, Cinderella, Napoli, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Nutcracker and Alice. Oscar performed for the grand opening of the King Abdulah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Oscar was chosen by former ABT dancer Kristine Elliott to create and teach a 2-week dance intensive in Capetown, South Africa. Gonzalez was formerly the ballet director at McCoy Rigby Conservatory of the Arts, under the direction of Broadway star and former Olympic athlete Cathy Rigby. Oscar recently received his BA in Liberal Arts Education from St. Mary’s College. Oscar has been teaching for over 15 years and is committed to educating and inspiring young dancers and pushing them to their fullest potentials. Oscar recently moved to Omaha as Ballet Director with Smitty’s Performing Arts Center.
Robin Kish – Injury Prevention
Robin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at Chapman University. Robin has an MS in Kinesiology from CSU Fullerton and an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine. Robin blends her background in dance and science to create innovative educational programs supporting the development of safe and effective dance training programs. As a certified instructor through BASI and a teacher trainer for Balanced Body she incorporates the work of Joseph Pilates in the training of dancers. She has presented research and developed education lectures for the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) and the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS). She has sponsored 6 regional PAMA conferences and in 2018 hosted the 36th Annual PAMA International Symposium at Chapman University. She received the Dawson Award along with Jennie Morton in 2018, for contributions to the field of Performing Arts Medicine. As a keynote speaker during the IADMS Regional meeting in conjunction with USC, Robin addressed issues educators face when dealing with injured dancers. In 2013, she developed and continues to teach the first online dance kinesiology class for the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). She serves on the US Advisory Board for Safe in Dance International and is on the Dance Wellness Panel for 4dancers.org. Her recent paper The Invisible Injury: Supporting the Recovery of Dancers with Concussions was published in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She has recently co-authored two books with colleague Jennie Morton. The Embodied Dancer: A Guide to Optimal Performance is a first of its kind interactive iBook now available on iTunes and Amazon. The second edition of Dancing Longer Dancing Stronger: A Dancer’s Guide to Improving Technique and Preventing Injury will be published through Princeton Books in late 2018. In addition to teaching at Chapman, she is a Structural Integration and Reiki practitioner. Current research includes the effectiveness of Structural Integration on the performance of dancers. A former modern dancer and a product of the private studio / competition environment, she is passionate about bringing dancer wellness and safe teaching practices to the industry.
Shayan Chalan- Bollywood
Shayan Chalan is a freelance dancer, choreographer and visual artist. Her training in dance started with Bharathanatyam under Guru Malathi Iyengar of Rangoli Dance Company at the age of 4 yrs and led her to perform her Arangetram at the age of 12 yrs. Her dance style was further nurtured under some well known dance Gurus from India like Praveen Kumar, Sanjay Shantaram, Bragha Bessel to name a few. Her passion for dance gave her an opportunity to train in Kathak and Indian Folk under Guru Murali Mohan Kalvakalva from India and Guru Anjani Ambegoankar, a Kathak exponent in the US. As an alumni of UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures program with a focus in Dance Choreography and Production, Shayan’s training expanded to western and international dance styles such as Cambodian, West African, Tai Chi, Hip Hop, House, Contemporary, Salsa, Odissi, Modern and Post-Modern. She also furthered her Bharathanatyam technique under Guru Viji Prakash whilst attending UCLA. During her time at UCLA, Shayan was also a part of the Hindi Film Dance Team Nashaa from 2010-2013 and led the team as captain and lead choreographer to Bollywood America 2013 Nationals in Miami. She was an esteemed judge of Southern California’s #1 Hindi Film Dance Competition Jhoomti Shaam in 2015 and 2016.
Zachary Groenewold – Contemporary and Hip Hop
Zachary Groenewold is a dance educator and choreographer based out of Southern California. As a faculty member of the Chapman University, Cal Poly Pomona, Orange Coast College, and Mt. San Antonio College dance departments, he specializes in hip hop and jazz/contemporary techniques. Zach began dancing at a young age where he was fortunate enough to perform in a variety of media including New Line Cinema’s The Wedding Singer, a commercial for Saban’s Power Rangers, and as part of ABC FAMILY presents WESTLIFE : LIVE. As a performer, Zach was a member of the San Diego based company Axxiom Dance Collective. During his time with the Axxiom, he was selected to represent the company as a soloist. In 2010, Zach became a member of Team Millennia and in 2012, his dancing and leadership skills earned him the position on the team’s artistic board. During his two years in the position, his leadership helped head the team to 1st place at San Diego’s prestigious Fusion Dance Competition, as well as placing top 5 at other dance competitions, including World of Dance LA and Ultimate Brawl. Concurrently, Zach was also fortunate enough to perform and choreograph in a variety of venues including LA Fashion Week, OC Fashion Week, the World of Dance Industry Awards, and Vidcon. Zach is currently performing as a member of Kings and Queens dance company. In 2018, his work “Focus” received high praise from the American College Dance Association, and was selected for national performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He is a sought after choreographer and guest teacher, with credits across the country, as well as internationally, reaching all the way to Taipei, Taiwan. Zach obtained his Master’s degree in Dance Education from the University of Northern Colorado.