<p>Chair's Welcome Message</p>

Chair's Welcome Message

Greetings! Welcome to the School of Dance information page. Here you will find all you need to know about the happenings of both the Classical/Contemporary Dance & Commercial Dance Conservatories.  Use this page to keep up to date with scheduling, read about our exceptional faculty, check out the incredible opportunities our students will receive throughout the year with guest artists and choreographers, and so much more.  Thank you for taking the time to see what the School of Dance is all about. I’m excited you’re here.

Warmly,

Alison Dambach 

Program Mission Statement

California School of Arts — San Gabriel Valley's School of Dance provides a home for the safe and effective education of aspiring dance artists and community leaders through unrivaled programming, collaborative opportunities, and incomparable training in a positive and engaging environment.

The Classical & Contemporary Dance Conservatory

Information on the Classical & Contemporary Dance Conservatory Curriculum is coming soon.

THE COMMERCIAL DANCE CONSERVATORY

Information on the Commercial Dance Conservatory Curriculum is coming soon.

Meet Our Faculty

Alison Dambach

Alison Dambach

Chair of Dance

Ballet, Jazz, Pointe

Alison Dambach graduated from New York University with her master’s degree in dance education: ABT® Ballet Pedagogy. She is also a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and Orange County School of the Arts. Ms. Dambach’s performing career has taken her all across the world from New York City to Japan. Her broad range of experience includes concert dance, television, theme parks, regional musical theatre, and international touring companies. Ms. Dambach was an original member of BARE Contemporary Dance Company and performed the role of Frenchie in the international tour of Grease the Musical. In 2011, she created and directed "Friends For Japan," a Broadway community concert in New York City, which raised funds to benefit victims and survivors of the Japan earthquake/tsunami.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Dambach was the director of a dance school in the New York metropolitan area; she has taught, choreographed, and adjudicated significantly for over a decade throughout the United States and Canada. She has won numerous awards for her choreography on both the regional and national levels. Her dancers have gone on to dance with Beyoncé, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Idaho, Nashville Ballet, Dana Foglia Dance, as well as with numerous other companies and artists. Ms. Dambach is an ABT® Certified Teacher and has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 and Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She is also an Acrobatics Arts Certified Teacher through Level 6.

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Kyreeana Alexander

Kyreeana Alexander

Conservatory Instructor

Conditioning, Dance History

Kyreeana Alexander ​holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography and a Minor in Digital Arts from California Institute of the Arts. She is currently part of B.Dunn Movement and Invertigo Dance Theater, and is adjunct dance staff at Chadwick School. Her choreographic works have been selected to premiere at the New World Center, Los Angeles Theatre Center, The Curtis Theater and universities including UCSB, and Cal State LA, and El Camino College.

Ashley Allen

Ashley Allen

Conservatory Instructor

Modern

Ashley Allen began her training in Fresno California where she danced professionally with fresNO dance COllective under the direction of Amy Querin. She has since continued her professional career dancing with Los Angeles based company, DANCE AEGIS directed by Andrea Gise, in their second and fourth annual Tethering show. Ashley is a graduate from California State University, Long Beach where she received her BFA in Dance. She has worked with established artists such as Robert Moses, Colleen Thomas and most recently, Dafi Altabeb from Israel in the creation and performance of their individual choreographic works.

In the spring of 2016 her piece, Habit of Composure, created in collaboration with fellow dancer Colleen Hendricks, was selected to represent CSULB at the 2016 ACDA Adjudicated Concert and was chosen for the conference gala. Ashley is currently creating work for NEW SHOES 19 to debut at Highways Performance Space Summer of 2018. Ashley teaches modern dance at California School of the Arts- San Gabriel Valley and looks forward to building new connections for future choreographic and performance opportunities.

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Austin Crumley

Austin Crumley

Conservatory Instructor

Ballet

Austin William Crumley has been surrounded and involved in the performing arts all of his life.  Coming from Musical Theater, he decided to try Ballet and loved it enough to pursue his training at The University of Oklahoma, School of Dance. There he achieved his Ballet Pedagogy degree under the training and direction of Mary Margaret Holt, Clara Cravey Stanley, Ilya Kozadayev, and Jeremy Lindberg—to name a few.  

While at the university, he was blessed to be able to perform the following (selected few): Conrad, Le Corsaire Grande Pas de Deux; Pas de Quatre & Corps Dancer, Raymonda Pas de Dix; the Grande Pas, Arabian Pas, Dew Cavalier, and Snow Pas in The Nutcracker; and the Principal Couple in an original World Premiere entitled Someday Sideways, choreographed by New York City Ballet’s Jock Soto.  After receiving his degree, he joined the Sacramento Ballet for two years and performed the following roles: Arabian Prince and Demi-Soloist for Waltz of the Flowers, The Nutcracker; Soloist & Corps Dancer, Blood Rush (Ma Cong); Corps Dancer, Silent Call (Gina Patterson); Corps Dancer, Viva Vivaldi (Gerald Arpino).  He has been fortunate enough to perform the following Balanchine works: Third Theme, The Four Temperaments; Poet, Los Sonambulas; Corps Dancer, Donizetti; and Corps Dancer, Theme & Variations.  After two years of dancing professionally, Austin is enjoying his time teaching Ballet and creating a new outlook for the industry by pursuing and applying kinesiology and sports conditioning on dance.

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Liezel De Guzman

Liezel De Guzman

Conservatory Instructor

Hip Hop, Conditioning, Dance History

Liezel Marie, born and raised in Los Angeles always had the heart and love of dance since she was three years old. With her continuous ballet, tap and jazz training over the years at Art of the Dance Academy, she fell in love with the culture of hip hop while pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology Dance at Cal State Northridge.

This journey triggered her teaching and choreography career. While in college, she choreographed for the Los Angeles WNBA Sparks, Anime Impulse, Carnival Choreographers Ball, Club Jete, World of Dance, & Urban Street Jam. She became dancer for Universal Studios Hollywood and toured with Antics Dance Company across the world. She not only has the passion to choreograph and direct dance productions however she found a greater love to teach the history and philosophy of dance artistry. She taught concert urban street dance theatre and history at Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, Orange County and Studio School Los Angeles. She is currently an Adjuct Professor at Cal State Northridge, College of the Canyons, and Zulu Dance Foundation. She as well teaches recreationally and professionally at Conekt Los Angeles Performing Arts Center, Debbie Reynolds Legacy Studios, BoogieZone, and Crystal Arts Dance Academy. She continues to grow as a dancer, director, educator and choreographer with Eleven Talent Agency along with her company Project LaVaude whom performed for aspiring music artists such as Chocoquibtown (Latin Award Winner), American Idol Jessica Sanchez, Chris GoLightly, growing music artist Derek "DHX" Jordan, Alexa Friedman and Lanita Smith. She is currently in progress to soon pursue her Masters of Art in Secondary Education to hopefully touch and inspire others with her voice through dance, culture, and education.

 

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Mark Harootian

Mark Harootian

Conservatory Instructor

Ballet, Men’s Technique

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Mr. Harootian received his early dance training at the Performing Arts School of Worcester and the Burncoat Senior High Dance Department. During that time his main line of training was in classical ballet, but he also had extensive training in Modern dance, Jazz, and Musical Theater. He attended the University of Utah on scholarship and graduated with a BFA in ballet performing and teaching. At this time, he also became a member of Utah Ballet.

While he was with Utah Ballet, he performed in and choreographed many of the department’s seasonal shows while dancing leading roles, including the company’s tour to Taipei, Taiwan in 2001. Mr. Harootian also performed at Disney’s Epcot Center, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics Medal Plaza and the Festival of White Nights in Pushkin, Russia. From 2004-2011 Mr. Harootian was a company dancer and choreographer for Festival Ballet Providence and from 2010 -2012 he was also the company’s Director of Educational Outreach. Memorable dance roles include The Captain in Carmen, The Sailor in Con Amore, Doug Spivey in The Widow’s Broom, The lead in Anthony Tudor’s The Leaves Are Fading and the Chief of Thieves in Eldar Aliev’s A Thousand and One Nights. Mr. Harootian captivates Festival Ballet Providence’s Up Close on Hope Performance Series audiences annually with his choreography, and has presented a number of notable premieres there.

Mr. Harootian was awarded the Fellowship Choreography Grant Award from the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts in 2007 and 2011. He also was awarded by the Worcester Educational Development Foundation the Distinguished Alumni & Friends of the Worcester Public Schools Achievement Award in 2014. Most recently Mr. Harootian was an adjunct professor at Dean College and Salve Regina University and taught and choreographed at Island Moving Company, Ballet Arts Worcester B.A.W., Inc. Hanover Theater Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Sally McDermott Dance Center, Cathy Taylor School of Dance, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Red Shoe Dance Company, and Paula Meola’s Dance and Performing Arts Inc.

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Simon Harrison

Simon Harrison

Conservatory Instructor

Tap, Modern, Choreo/Comp

Simon Harrison is a dancer, choreographer, educator, and arts administrator born in Kawasaki, Japan, and now based in Southern California. He began formal dance training in Santa Cruz, CA at age eight, and attended the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) in 2012, where he was recognized as a California Arts Scholar. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance, B.F.A. in Dance Choreography, and B.A. in Education Science.

He earned numerous scholarships and awards at UCI including the Claire Trevor School of the Arts Award for Excellence in Dance Choreography, Donald McKayle Scholarship, Arts Ambassador Scholarship, Distinguished Anteater Scholarship, Kris & Linda Elftmann Scholarship, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program Fellowship, and the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction for his commitment to research, leadership, and service.

He has performed and choreographed internationally at the University of Rome-Tor Vergata, Santa Ceceilia Conservatory of Music, and Teatro Forma in Bari, Italy with the DTM2 Ensemble (director Lisa Naugle), and taught dance to at-risk youth throughout Panama with the non-profit organization Movement Exchange. He has danced professionally with Tandy Beal & Company, MoveSpeakSpin, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and consecutively received first place at international Latin ballroom competitions for two years. Currently, Mr. Harrison teaches Dance in the Elective Program and School of Dance at the California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley, and works with Re:borN Dance Interactive (director Boroka Nagy) as Performer and Company Manager

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Mary Hong

Mary Hong

Conservatory Instructor

Ballet, Pointe

Mary Hong has taught ballet in the United States and the Netherlands, most recently at New Dance Center in The Hague.  Prior to living in Europe, she taught at dance schools in California, Maryland, and Virginia.  She has danced with various opera and ballet companies, including the Pasadena Dance Theatre, St. Louis Ballet, the Los Angeles Opera, the Washington National Opera, the Baltimore Opera, and Tony Powell Music and Movement in Washington, DC.  She toured with the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration’s production of The Nightingale.  She is a graduate of Pomona College and holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the Johns Hopkins University.

Jia Huang

Jia Huang

Conservatory Instructor

Hip Hop, Jazz

Ms. Huang graduated from The University of California Irvine with a bachelor's degree in dance, where she trained under renowned faculty members such as Donald McKayle, Israel Gabriel, and David Allen. UCI is also where she first fell in love with hip-hop when she joined one of Southern California's most cutting edge hip-hop teams, Kaba Modern, which she directed from 2003-2005. In 2007-2008 she appeared on television shows such as Dirty Dancing and America’s Best Dance Crew.

She spent 2009 on The Circus Tour Starring Britney Spears as one for four female principle dancers. She is founding member, choreographer and dancer for the professional Jazz company Rhetoracle, Mischief Makers and KM Legacy. This is her seventh year on dance staff for the United Spirit Association and has been awarded Rookie of the Year, Hardest Working and MVP for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. She is an experienced judge, having judged competitions such as WOD, USA High School Dance Nationals, UDA College Dance Nationals, and Dance Worlds. She is also a faculty member at the prestigious Orange County School of the Arts, but spends most of her time teaching and choreographing for high school teams and studios in California. She continues to teach master classes in places such as Canada, Australia, Norway, China, Mexico, Japan and all over the US.  She is so excited to be part of California School of the Arts’s conservatory faculty this year. 

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Mindy Krasner

Mindy Krasner

Conservatory Instructor

Ballet, Conditioning

Mindy Krasner, a professional ballet dancer who trained in New York City, was a member of major ballet companies in the United States and Europe, including Dutch National Ballet, Basel Ballet, Le Grand Ballet Canadian, American Ballet Theatre II, and Pennsylvania Ballet. For over a decade, she danced in productions such as “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “Cinderella,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Mid-Summer Night’s Dream,” as well as other modern and contemporary productions and toured internationally.

More recently, she danced Flamenco in the production of Heart Song at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

Mindy has extensive training and experience for teaching Ballet and Creative Dance to people of all ages from children all the way up to seniors. Mindy also has extensive training in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies and Yoga. 

She has also received Professional Development Grants, BETA grants, and Development grants for various projects.  Ms. Krasner founded and directed the Freedom Dance Company from 2007-2010, which provided dance performances for people facing life-threatening illness. She received a grant from the Met Life Foundation and the National Guild for Community Arts Education for a Creative Aging Project in partnership with the Adult Day Care Center of Las Vegas, which resulted in a successful Creative Dance program for seniors.

Her unique approach to teaching combines a high standard of technique along with a holistic view point which embraces the whole person and encourages self expression.  Mindy’s passion and love for dance shines through her teaching as she helps people find their joy and creativity through movement.  

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Leo Matsuyama

Leo Matsuyama

Conservatory Instructor

Hip Hop

Leo Matsuyama was born and raised in Torrance California as a second generation Japanese American. Growing up he’s always had a huge affinity with music as his parents loved listening to anything from Japanese classics to American pop songs during his childhood. He had also picked up the guitar and piano during his younger years which helped him develop a strong sense of rhythm and understanding of music. In 2009, he had moved to Japan by himself to study abroad in a high school located in Osaka Japan, where he joined the school’s hip hop dance drill team and started learning urban dance styles.

He first picked up locking, which he fell in love with, and went on to train in numerous other street and funk styles. After his return to the states in 2012, he joined non-profit dance organization Culture Shock Los Angeles and later become a regular choreographer as well as an assistant director. He also joined Maker Empire in 2013 which he would eventually become an assistant director of as well, along with Club House LA which he would become a regular choreographer for. His most recent work in the industry includes dancing for singer Sabrina Carpenter at iHeartRadio’s Wango Tango as well as dancing in an episode of Nickelodeon’s popular show “The Thundermans”. Currently he teaches a regular slot at renowned studio Movement Lifestyle and continues to share his art and knowledge through workshops and dance events throughout Southern California.

 

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Bridget McNally

Bridget McNally

Conservatory Instructor

Jazz

Bridget McNally is an enthusiast dance educator.  She earned her BA in Dance from Loyola Marymount University and is also certified to teach Jazz, Ballet and Tap through Dance Masters of America.  She received her early dance training at the Diane Kelley Dance Studio in West Boylston, MA.  That is where is her love for dance was born and nurtured, while training vigorously in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, tap and modern as a competitive dancer. 

Ms. McNally has been teaching dance and setting choreography full time since 2009.  She is passionate about teaching and sharing her knowledge and love of dance with her students.  She still considers herself a student, continuously striving to push and educate herself further to help her students succeed.  Her students have gone on to study at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The University of the Arts, Boston Conservatory, California Institute of the Arts and AMDA.  Ms. McNally also teaches and trains the competitive dance team at Elements Dance Space in Pasadena.  She is thrilled for SEASON TWO here at CSArts!

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Jekyns Pelaez

Jekyns Pelaez

Conservatory Instructor

Ballet

A dancer, actor, educator and filmmaker. Jekyns Pelaez began his studies in Drama and Dance at Bellas Artes in his native Colombia. Later, he graduated in Dance at the Instituto Colombiano de Ballet, and subsequently joined the Ballet de Cali. Also, he has danced with Ballet Arizona, Ohio Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Histrion Theatre of Art, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley, American Conservatory Theatre, Oakland Ballet, Diablo Ballet, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, among several guest artist appearances.

His principal dance repertoire includes Balanchine’s Apollo, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Serenade, Esplanade, Carmen. In theatre, The Man of the Suitcase, The Tosca Project and No Exit, as well as appearances in films like Love Hurts and Blue Jasmine. In opera, in addition to the principal roles in Marta Domingo’s La Traviata and  Zambello's Aida at San Francisco Opera, he has performed in Barber of Seville, Cyrano de Bergerac, Turandot, Nixon in China, Madame Butterfly, Moby Dick, Show Boat, Sweeney Todd, among others. At the Los Angeles Opera, in Simon Boccanegra, Barber of Seville and Carmen.

Along with extensive national and international touring, Jekyns has appeared in international dance festivals in Thailand, Cuba and Colombia, as well as in the international Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. 

He graduated with honors both with a B.A in Performing Arts from the LEAP Program at St. Mary’s College as well as with Master of Fine Arts Degree in Performance in Film, Theatre and Television from California State University. Additionally, he is proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AGMA performers' unions.  In addition to receiving the Colombian State Department Honor in Excellence, other careers highlights include being a recipient of the Sono Osato award scholarship from The Actor's Fund, a Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fellowship, a Dance Pedagogy Certificate from The National Ballet of Cuba, and a featured article in Pointe Magazine.

Lastly, he has also lectured at California State University and Orange Coast Community College.

 

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Cameron Shim

Cameron Shim

Conservatory Instructor

Conditioning, Dance History, Jazz

Cameron Shim holds a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology Dance from California State University of Northridge where he will also be receiving his Masters in Science in Kinesiology Dance this Fall. He is also a certified trainer for the program Conditioning with Imagery (CI Training) for Dancers created by Dr. Donna Krasnow. Please see www.citraining.com for more information.

He has been a theme park entertainer since 2006 starting at Six Flags Magic Mountain and has been at the Disneyland Resort since 2009. He currently teaches for the Integrated Arts, International Dance Ballet Folklorico and Elective Program at Orange County School of the Arts. In the Integrated Arts Department he is the Founder/Director of the hip hop crew manIA Dance Crew. His course work includes Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, Kinesiology Dance, Conditioning and Choreography Composition. His work has been featured at Children's Theater of Long Beach, The Music Room, Dance Spot LA, RawArtists Hollywood, and Urban Street Jam. He has also been a featured dancer for Lanita Smith, Anime Impulse, LA Sparks Half Time Show, Club Jete, RawArtists Hollywood, Dance Spot LA, LA Unbound, QueenV Entertainment, Choreographer’s Carnival and Urban Street Jam. 

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Productions Donation

Production donations are VERY IMPORTANT, and are a big part of why we are able to provide performance opportunities.
Please note that these donations are not part of the Parent Funding Agreement (PFA). 

If you should have any questions or concerns regarding these donations, feel free to contact Alison Dambach, Chair of Dance at Alison.Dambach@sgv.csarts.net.


CSArts-SGV is organized as a non-profit organization under IRS code 501(c)(3), our Tax ID is 81-3919990.
All cash donations are fully tax deductible as provided by law.