Full Time Faculty
Judith Douglas, Dance Department Chair
Ballet, Dance History, Dance in American Culture, African, Mexican, World Dance Performance
Professor Judith Douglas currently serves as Chair of the SMC Dance Department and she has been teaching dance at SMC since 1974. She is the founder and former Artistic Director of Global Motion, World Dance Company (formally Folklorico de SMC). Since coming to Santa Monica College, professor Douglas has taught Dance in American Cultures, Dance History, all levels of Ballet, Modern dance, Jazz dance, Tap dance, African dance and Mexican dance. From childhood through adulthood she has performed dance on stage and television. She holds a B.A. in Art, M.A. in Dance, and a lifetime Secondary Teaching Credential.
Judith Douglas began dance training in Cecchetti Ballet as a young child. She continued with the Imperial Society of Dance to pass all of the ISTD examinations in Cecchetti Classical Ballet Technique. She then went on to study and perform regional Mexican Dance, Traditional West African, Katharine Dunham Technique and Tap Dance. She has also taught at Los Angeles Pierce College, West Los Angeles College and Mission College.
Aside from SMC, Judith has served four years as a board member of Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos and has taken students to study and perform Mexican dance throughout the U.S. and Mexico. She has adjudicated the Amalia Hernandez National Ballet Folklorico Competition for two years and has created performances for the Los Angeles Mayor's Office. Judith Douglas has been an active participant in the SMC Academic Senate. She has served on the Sabbaticals and Fellowship Committee for four years, as the Senate Treasurer for two years, Chair of the Social Committee for two years and has served as chair of the Professional Development Committee for the past four years. She has served on the SMC Global Council, the Basic Skills Initiative Committee, and the Facilities Planning Committee. She was the recipient of the SMC Foundation Chair of Excellence Grant and was sent by the college to attend the Salzburg Global Seminar. She has recently been awarded a Sabbatical to write a course reader in Dance in American culture.
Jae Young Lee
Ballet, Modern, Dance History, Choreographer
Jae Lee began her dance training in South Korea where she earned a B.S. degree in ballet from the Han Yang University. In Korea, she was a member of the Lee Ballet Company and danced professionally from 2001 to 2002. In 2003, Lee attended the State University of New York, College at Brockport and earned an M.A. degree in dance. From SUNY Brockport, she studied under Bill Evans, Juanita Suarez and Suzanna Newman. Lee also holds an M.F.A. degree in dance with an emphasis in choreography from the University of California, Irvine. Through her training and education in Southern California, she has had the opportunity to work and study with well-known choreographers, dance researchers and filmmakers, such as Donald McKayle, Lisa Naugle, Jennifer Fisher and John Crawford.
In 2007, Lee presented one of her major works, Searching for My Voice (2007) at the Orange County Performing Arts Center as part of the Fall for Dance Concert. She has been actively participating the American College Dance Association (ACDA) and her choreographies have been selected to be performed in 'best of festival' Gala Concerts. In 2014, Lee’s contemporary ballet, Interwoven (2013) was one of the 11 dances selected for the Culminating Gala Concert in the ACDA. Recently, Lee was honored as recipient of the Luis Nazar Chair of Excellence in the Performing Arts and will use the award to implement a guest artist series; exposing our students to international leaders in the field of dance. Lee is a full time faculty at Santa Monica College teaching ballet, contemporary modern dance, choreography, and dance history, while co-directing Synapse Dance Theatre as an artistic director.
Ballet, Modern, Dance History, Choreographer
Mark Tomasic has worked with a variety of renowned dance companies in his 20+ year career as a professional dancer including Ballet Contemporaneo de Buenos Aires, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, Tom Evert Dance Company, The Dancing Wheels Company & School, and Verb Ballets. Among others, Mark has performed principal and featured roles in the masterworks of such notable choreographers as Martha Graham, Donald McKayle, Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Sean Curran, May O’Donnell, George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Flemming Flindt, Heinz Poll, Talley Beatty, Dennis Nahat, Mauricio Wainrot, Nils Christe, and Agnes de Mille.
On national television, Mark has been seen in the principal role of Big Boss Man in Dennis Nahat’s Blue Suede Shoes (PBS), as a featured performer on Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope (ABC), and as a dancer on The Drew Carey Show (ABC). Theatrical credits include the Great Lakes Theater Festival and Cleveland Opera.
As a choreographer, Mark has created work for Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Verb Ballets, the Dancing Wheels Company & School, Laguna Dance Festival, Ashland Regional Ballet, Belhaven University, Loyola Marymount University and University of California, Irvine.
Mark has worked extensively in the field of physically integrated dance with the Dancing Wheels Company & School, one of the premier arts and disability organizations in the United States. He currently serves as Artistic Consultant to the Company and travels nationally and internationally to teach physically integrated dance to students and professionals alike.
Mark holds an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine and a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music. He has taught at various institutions including the University of Cincinnati, Ohio Northern University, Hiram College, University of California, Irvine, and Loyola Marymount University.
Caleb Mitchell was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where he received early ballet training at the age of 16 under Rose Marie Floyd. After graduating cum laude in 1998 with a BFA in dance from the University of Arizona, Caleb joined the Houston Ballet under Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.-emeritus and later Stanton Welch, artistic director.
During his tenure with Houston Ballet (1998-2007), Mr. Mitchell performed many featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Frederick Ashton, Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., Glen Tetley, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Christopher Bruce, Ronald Hynd, Lila York, Natalie Weir, Julia Adams, Trey McIntyre, Stanton Welch, James Kudelka, and David Parsons. In 2007, Caleb was awarded a Chancellor's Distinguished Fellowship (Helen Russell Scholar) at the University Of California-Irvine. In June 2009, Mr. Mitchell received a MFA in dance, and soon after became full-time dance faculty at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. He joins Santa Monica College Dance Department as full-time faculty fall semester 2016.
Vanessa Van Wormer
Vanessa Van Wormer is a choreographer, dancer, and instructor. Her diverse career includes dancing for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Bill Evans Dance Company, James Hansen Assemblage/Dance, Ballet Spokane and The Spokane Opera. She has toured nationally and internationally to venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The American Dance Guild Festival, the Royal Academy of Music in London, The American School in Switzerland, and with numerous regional festivals. Van Wormer’s choreography has been regularly featured internationally in Ticino in Danza, Lugano Switzerland, and at the American School in Switzerland. Nationally her work has been commissioned for Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Pop's series, Eastman School of Music, Memorial Art Gallery, Yards Collaborative, and for festivals including REVERBdance in NYC and Boston, Take Root Festival at Green Space NYC, Core Project Chicago, Pasadena Dance Festival, DUMBO Dance Festival, Ballet Spokane, Dance New Amsterdam, and Movement Research, among others. Van Wormer regularly collaborates with live musicians and multi-media artists, including the Andrew Alden Ensemble, Jeff Tyzik of the RPO, Stephen Kennedy, Director of Music and Organist at Christ Church Rochester and Instructor at the Eastman School of Music, Costume designer Emma Scholl, and Heather Jefferies of Nylon Theatre, UK.
Van Wormer has taught at Nazareth College, and comes to SMC Dance to teach ballet & modern fall semester 2016 directly from SUNY Brockport where she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance. While at Brockport, Van Wormer implemented and served as Artistic Director of Chamber Ballet Brockport, a multidisciplinary performance ensemble.
Originally from Spokane WA, Van Wormer received her MFA in Dance Choreography and Performance from The College at Brockport, State University of New York, and completed graduate work at Roehampton University in the UK. She earned her BA in Theatre and Minor in Dance from Belhaven University. Van Wormer is an ABT® certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teaching Training Intensive in Pre- Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Part Time Faculty
Seda Aybay: born and raised in Istanbul/Turkey, began her dance training at the age of five with ballet. She completed the exams of The Royal Academy of Dancing/England while studying modern, jazz and tap dance forms. After being awarded three-times first place in modern dance at the Turkish National Dance competition, Aybay came to Los Angeles/USA, graduated with honors from SMC and with Summa Cum Laude from UCLA Worlds Arts and Cultures in dance/choreography. After completing Alvin Ailey program in New York, she returned to LA and found her company Kybele Dance Theater (2003) which won her choreography awards from Dance Under the Stars Festival, MAD BAD Festival as well as RAW 2011 Los Angeles Performing Artist Award. Her works had been toured and presented in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Fresno, Concord, San Jose, Palm Desert, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, and Seattle.
Aybay has also been invited to choreograph for Calstate Fresno, LACSA, Santa Monica Collage, Praxis Project, Cerritos College, Pierce College, Spectrum, Why Dance, La Dance Festival and Pasadena Dane Festival. She also created solos and small group pieces for Youth America Grand Prix 2012- 2014 and got invited to NY finals. Mrs. Aybay has performed with numerous dance companies including "Praxis Project", Lion's Pounds Theater, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Kin Dance, Brockus Project, Bethune Danse Theatre, Paradigm Dance Theater, Magan and Jefferey Hornaday. She was featured as a dancer on KTLA channel 9, Univision Kmex34, and Fox11 as performer.
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Modern, Dance History
Meri Bender has been teaching, dancing and choreographing in the Los Angeles area for over 30 years. She received her BA (with honors) and MA in Dance from UCLA and was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. Ms. Bender was director of choreography at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts for 16 years and received seven grants from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department and other organizations to bring dance/dramas to underserved high schools. Ms. Bender's dances have appeared on "Dance Kaleidoscope" at Cal State LA, the Fountain Theater, the Miles Playhouse and Barnsdall Park. Videotapes of her dance/dramas have been used to stimulate discussions in ESL classrooms around the country. Recently, she presented a full length evening of dance at Highways entitled "Dance Cycles".
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Laura Canellias, also known as the "First Lady of Salsa," is one of the foremost salsa instructors on the west coast. Originally from Texas , Laura started dancing jazz, ballet & tap at an early age and continued on into musical theater where she developed her skills as an actress & stage performer. She later focused her energies on various social dances which encompassed everything from ballroom to swing, Latin & country western. After moving to Los Angeles 16 years ago, Laura has made a name for herself in the world of salsa, affectionately referred to by som e of her students & friends as "The Salsa Queen," she has been teaching as well as choreographing for television & stage while also appearing as a featured dancer in films such as "The Mambo Kings," "Out To Sea" & "Dance With Me." One of the high points in her career was choreographing & performing "Oye Como Va" & "Ran Kan Kan" with the great Tito Puente at the 1998 4th Annual Achievement in Arts Award Show sponsored by The Whitney Houston Foundation. She was most recently honored in San Juan , Puerto Rico at the 2000 Bacardi World Salsa Congress with the Anibal Vasquez Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the salsa community. She was also recognized for her contributions to this industry at the 1999 & 2003 West Coast Salsa Congress.
She has taught in Japan , Europe , Canada & Puerto Rico. Five years ago Laura was invited to join the eclectic salsa performance group, Salsa ConFunkshon, but soon after, assumed the role of artistic director & choreographer for the group. They are best known for their unique blend of theater, comedy & originality, while experimenting & incorporating various rhythms & dance styles in their theme-based performances. They have performed every year at the West Coast Salsa Congress in Los Angeles. She also teaches at Rudolpho's in Silverlake, Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City & Cafe' Roberto's in Culver City .Laura's honors include: "Outstanding Achievement Award" West Coast Salsa Congress 2003,Los Angeles , CA, "The Andy Vasquez Award" Bacardi World Salsa Congress 2000,San Juan, Puerto Rico, "Outstanding Achievement Award" Bacardi West Coast Salsa Congress 1999 Los Angeles, CA.
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Keali'i Ceballos is an internationally acclaimed teacher, dancer and choreographer of Hawaiian and Polynesian dance in Los Angeles. he is also Director of Halau Keali'i O Nalani a Los Angeles based Halau Hula (Hula School). He studied under renowned teachers such as Cecilia Cissylani Ceballos, Nona Beamer, George Na'ope, Kawaikapuokalani Hewett and Robert Uluwehi Cazimero. Ceballos has taught over 2000 dancers over the past 30 years and Halau Keali'i O Nalani is today one of the largest schools for Hawaiian dance in southern California. Through his school Kumu Ceballos shows tremendous dedication to teach and bring the work of the students to the concert stage. Halau Keali'i O Nalani regularly enters competitions in Hawai'i and on the mainland, and placed 4th in the 2008 Merrie Monarch Hula competition (Kane Kahiko).
Most recently his school performed in the 2008 Emerging Voices Youth Project for the World Festival of Sacred Music. He is also knowledgeable and teaches the dance of Tahiti, Maori and Samoa. Keali’i strives to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture - its art, its identity, its language, its sense of ’ohana.
Kristin grew up in Philadelphia, PA where she first received her dance training at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet before attending both the School of American Ballet as well as the Miami City Ballet School. She started studying modern dance with mentor Cheryl Clark while earning a B.A. in History from Drew University and later continued to train under Marion Hopkins as she pursued a Masters in History from UNC Chapel Hill. In 2012,
Kristin received an M.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University where she performed original works by Pamela Pietro, Sydney Skybetter, and John-Mark Owen.
Also a certified yoga teacher through the Mind Body Dancer® 200 Yoga Teacher Training, as well as a Reiki Master and an advanced Integrated Energy Therapy Practitioner, Kristin continues to investigate the body in a myriad of ways. Most recently, she has performed with Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance and Ensemble Dance in NYC and is currently on faculty at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Relativity School, and Santa Monica College.
Sheetal Gandhi’s work has been described as “eloquent, inventive, virtuosic dance-theater” by the Philadelphia Inquirer utilizing “incisive commentary offset by brilliant touches of humor” (Narthaki). She is a multi-hyphenated artist (singer, dancer, choreographer, actor) with a career that has spanned genres and disciplines including work as a creator and performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion, playing a leading role in the Broadway production of Bombay Dreams, dancing throughout Ghana with the traditional West African dance company Novisi, and singing with the New York based, all-female a cappella group, Anamcara.
Today, Gandhi is based in Los Angeles where she initiates her own creative projects, choreographs and acts for theater, film, and television, and offers workshops and school-assembly shows that serve to educate, inspire and entertain. She holds an M.F.A. in dance from UCLA and teaches at various universities. She collaborates with artists and theater companies including Cornerstone Theater, Dan Froot and the Who’s Hungry project, Post Natyam, South Coast Repertory, and more. Gandhi’s acclaimed solo dance-theater work, Bahu-Beti-Biwi, which received the 2012-13 NDP Touring Award has been performed widely across the U.S. and in over 5 countries. She was also awarded two prestigious artist residencies in 2014 (Djerassi and Montalvo), the 2012 Annenberg Community Beach House Choreography Residency, a 2011 COLA Individual Artist Grant, the LA Dance Advance Grant, and was a participating member of the 2012 Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME) Program. Her passion for intercultural exchange has been supported by the 2010 Asia Pacific Performance Exchange (APPEX), a Cultural Exchange International (CEI) fellowship in Amsterdam, and an invitation to attend the Tanzmesse International Festival for Contemporary Dance in Dusseldorf, Germany. Gandhi received her formal training in dance studios in Northern California, New York City and at the University of California Irvine (UCI). While here, she studied with and performed for her most influential dance mentor to date, world-renowned modern dance choreographer, Donald McKayle. McKayle encouraged Gandhi’s love for rhythm and character work. This love for rhythm and culture inspired Gandhi to spend a year in Ghana, West Africa, where she was deeply immersed in the music, dance and culture of the region. It also returned her back to her roots in India for an extended time to study the North Indian classical dance form, Kathak.
Gandhi’s commitment to artistic innovation, personal transformation and social change continues to lead her to work with various artists and non-artist communities - both locally and abroad - where she strives to build bridges across class, gender, age and cultural differences through the arts.
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Dance in American Culture, Dance History and Choreography
Gustavo González is an accomplished dance artist and adjunct faculty here at Santa Monica College where he teaches Dance 2-Dance in American Culture, and Dance 5-Dance History. Mr. González is known for creating dance works and developing his own dance technique and style that celebrate the Mexican American experience. He has worked and/or participated with accomplished artists and various dance companies with whom he toured throughout the United States and Mexico. In 1996, he founded AguaLuna Dance Company as a vehicle where to express his creativity and research findings as well as his advocacy for the field of dance and arts in education.
Hence, his professional development, community arts and arts advocacy involvement, Mr. González has taken part in participatory arts projects and arts in education programs throughout Southern California including: Orange County, City of Santa Ana, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Los Angeles County, City of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation, Cultural Affairs Department of Los Angeles, City of Long Beach Parks and Recreation, Arts Council of Long Beach, Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Los Angeles Music Center on Tour Education Division, as dance master, teacher, grant panelist, consultant, advisor, committee member, and producing artistic director.
During his postgraduate studies at Pacific Oaks College, Mr. González expanded his views of dance to include dance in a social, cultural and historical context of human development.
Ballet, Modern, Jazz
Originally from Paris, Cati has studied classical ballet since the age of 8. She studied extensively with renowned teachers and choreographers of the Cuban Ballet, the famous Rosella Hightower fro Cannes, the Marais School in Paris and the Opera de Paris. Modern and contemporary dance were introduced to her as she went on to study Jose Limon and Martha Graham techniques in Paris. Before moving to Los Angeles, Cati worked in television for 5 years in Paris while performing in the famous cabaret shows Aleazar de Paris and Le Paradis Latin. She is the creator and choreographer of the highly acclaimed stage performance, L'effeur de Sens, a French variety cabaret. Cati Jean has been a guest choreographer and judge for Bravo's dance reality show "Step It Up and Dance" . She has also choreographed for MGM Grand's new television campaign and judged for CBS's "Big Shot Live".
Middle Eastern Dance
Jennifer Jesswein holds a BA in Fine Art from California State University, East Bay. Beginning with Baton at age four, her background also includes Ballet, Tap, Turkish-Egyptian Dance, Theatre Arts and Fine Art. Jesswein began studying Turkish-Egyptian dance in 1996 and has been teaching classes and workshops since 2001. She began teaching Mother-Daughter Bellydance for Santa Monica College's Continuing Community Education in 2005. Jesswein has been a faculty member with the SMC Dance Department since 2008 after guest choreographing in 2007 for Folklorico de SMC. She was a founding troupe member of both Al Rakasaat Turkish-Egyptian Dance Company, under the direction of Karen Custer-Thurston, and Tahiya and the Staggering Goddesses of the Omphalos with the YWCA in Santa Monica.
As a student of world renowned, Ansuya, and Los Angeles based, Tahiya, she has been professionally performing Middle Eastern Dance since 1997. Venues include Cairo Caravan on the Long Beach Queen Mary, Santa Monica's Chamber of Commerce Buy Local Expo, and The Children's Burn Foundation of Los Angeles at LA Ballet. Jesswein is Artistic Director of the Bellydance troupe, Raqs Nouveau, and has choreographed for SMC's Global Motion for the past seven years. She was the five-time Director and Producer of the collective Bellydance showcase, Raq the Casbah, in Flagstaff, Arizona. She was a member of the regional non-profit organization, Theatrikos Theatre Company for 15 years. Backstage credits include scenographer and assistant director with lead acting credits as "Sister Woman" in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, "Rowena" in Biloxi Blues, and "Doris Walker" in Miracle on 34th Street. Jesswein is also a volunteer seamstress for Westside School of Ballet, productions include The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote.
Angela Jordan holds a BA and MFA in Dance from UCLA where she received several fellowships. Angela also studied and researched West African dance in Guinea, West Africa. She has taught dance at UCLA and Bates College. She currently teaches at Santa Monica College, Debbie Allen Dance Academy and Lula Washington Dance Theatre. She has choreographed music videos and independent films.
Jessica Kondrath, originally from Oak Park, IL, began her training studying and performing the techniques of Doris Humphrey, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Charles Weidman, and Martha Graham training under Karoun Tootikian, Deborah Carr, Lori Belilove, Ernestine Stodelle, Linda Hodes, and Perl Lang. Jessica holds a BFA in Dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MFA in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. She has shown work throughout Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and New York City, in particular at Dance Chicago, Dance Mission Theater, D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival, The Merce Cunningham Studios, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. Jessica has had works commissioned by Moorpark College, CSU Long Beach, Beverly Hills High School, Momenta! Performing Arts Company, and Malleable Dance Theater, and has been a guest instructor at Loyola Marymount University, Fullerton Union High School, and Cerritos College. As a dancer, Jessica has performed with Earl Mosely's Diversity of Dance, in the community cast of Underground with David Dorfman Dance, as well as in the works of John Pennington, Sandra Kaufmann, Pavel Zustiak|Palissimo, Carol McDowell, and Doug Varone, among others. Jessica is the Artistic Director of JESSICA KONDRATH | THE MOVEMENT, as well as a lighting designer and Pilates Instructor.
Ms. Mc Donald’s Broadway credits include Purlie, Two Gentleman of Verona, and she was featured in both The Wiz and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies. After returning to Los Angeles, Karen began choreographing theatre shows including, Voices, Sing Out Sweet Gospel, and Show Girls for which she received an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for “Best Choreographer.’’ She has also worked as Associate Choreographer and Assistant Director on productions such as Bigger Than Bubble Gum at the Pasadena Playhouse, the Broadway musical Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope (rewritten and remounted with a Los Angeles cast), and Jezebel presented at the Vision Theatre.
She has received the Lester Horton Award for “Excellence in Teaching” as well as an N.A.A.C.P. Image Award nomination for best choreographer for the theater production of Dark Legends In Blood. Karen has appeared on both stage and screen with artists such as Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson (Thriller) and Diane Reeves. Ms. McDonald joined the Debbie Allen in 2001 and is the Director of the Academy.
In January 20014, Ms. Mc Donald filmed a Commercial for Toyota featuring Beyoncé entitled “Get Going".
Cynthia was born in Virginia, where she began to study ballet at age six. Upon moving to Los Angeles her training continued with David Lichine and Tatiana Riabouchinska, as well as with Stanley Holden at the Los Angeles Music Center. Cynthia received her advanced training on a full scholarship to both the San Francisco Ballet School in San Francisco and the Stuttgart Ballet Co. in Stuttgart, Germany.
Cynthia Molnar continued her ballet career as a professional with David Lichine’s “Ballet Society of Los Angeles”; starring in his acclaimed ballet “Graduation Ball”. Ms Molnar performed with the San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, under the direction of Kent Stowell, performing as soloist in such ballets as George Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco” and “The Four Temperaments”.
Ms. Molnar is enjoying a successful career as teacher, choreographer and coach. Teaching ballet beginning through advanced levels at Santa Monica College, Carla Luna’s Dance Arts Academy, The Edge and Y.N.S. Has taught at Westside Ballet, Agoura Hills Dance and choreographed for the Agoura Hills Youth Ballet Theater, master classes and choreographer at the Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena and The Downtown Dance Loft at The New Los Angeles Theater Center. Her teaching style encompasses her training in ballet with the Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dance techniques. Cynthia’s approach to ballet training creates an atmosphere of attention and caring that allows each student to grow and strengthen, to develop awareness, confidence, and grace.
Ms. Molnar is a sought after choreographer and coach for local and visiting artists, music videos and performing groups. Cynthia’s original works have been performed by SMC “Global Motion Company, “Kybele Dance Theater”, Sarah Burges’s “Lions Pounce Dance Theater”, “Katnap Dance Presents” and in “BIR” and in community outreach programs for the city of Los Angeles. She directed and choreographed and danced in the music video “Tracks of My Tears”.
Described as a “…young, powerful dancer.” by Dancemagazine, Cihtli Ocampo began her classical dance studies at the age of eight and first stepped onto the stage at the age of nine. At seventeen, Ms. Ocampo moved to New York City where she spent over ten years studying Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern (Horton & Graham), Dunham Technique and Theater Dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center studying under greats such as Judith Jamison, Ann Reinking, Joan Peters and Honi Coles, among others. In 1999 Ms. Ocampo was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Spain for the study of Flamenco and Spanish Dance. From 1999-2010 Ocampo lived in Sevilla where she trained, performed and toured with the legendary Farruco family and many of Spain’s most important gypsy flamenco artists. In 2004 she was the featured female dancer in Tony Gatlif’s award winning film “Exiles”. In 2006 Ms. Ocampo and her husband formed the Arte y Pureza Flamenco Co. dedicated to diffusing flamenco in its purest form throughout the globe. Her performance credits include: The Farruco Family, Miguel Funi, Concha Vargas, Ines Bacan, Manuel Molina & Montse Cortes.
Mexican Dance, World Dance Performance, Co-Director of Global Motion
Raquel Ramirez holds a BA in Dance and is an accomplished dancer and alumna from Santa Monica College. She is the co-director of Global Motion, SMC World Dance Performance Company, part time instructor at SMC and the founder and director of Ballet Folklórico Flor de Mayo. Her performances include the International Mariachi Festival in New Mexico; Asociacion Nacional de Grupos Folklórico in Mexico and the U.S.; and a tour with El Mariachi Azteca del Sol in New York City. She most recently directed a nation-wide tour to promote the tradition and culture of the state of Jalisco, Mexico sponsored by Tequila Cazadores.
Sarah Reich (Performer, Choreographer, Instructor) has emerged as one of the new leaders in the Art Form of Tap Dance. At the young age of 15, this Los Angeles native was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s article, “20 Hot Tappers Under 20” and was named one of the “25 To Watch” in the 2009 Dance Magazine article. Ever since, Sarah has been sought after to perform, choreograph, and teach in over ten countries outside of the United States including France, Spain, China, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Honduras, Belgium, Canada, and Sweden.
Sarah was most recently seen on Season 11 of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies. With her own company, Tap Music Project, she has choreographed and performed at the Ford Amphitheatre, UCLA’s JazzReggae Festival, Blue Whale, and the LA County Holiday Celebration. Sarah was also a performer at Madison Square Garden for the opening of the NY Knicks 2013-2014 season.
In addition to her vast international travels and countless television appearances, Sarah has had the honor to perform at some of the most prestigious venues back home in Los Angeles such as The Hollywood Bowl, the Ford Amphitheatre, the Greek Theater with Mexican Pop-Star, Cristian Castro and the Kodak Theater with the great Herbie Hancock.
Currently Sarah is developing new exciting works with her company, Tap Music Project and Sole Sisters – a collaboration with Melinda Sullivan. Sarah produces a weekly class/tap jam for the Los Angeles tap community, Monday Night Tap Experience. She also frequently performs around the city with popular local bands, Magnolia Memoir, Oskar Cartaya's Latin Jazz Band and Dessy DiLauro.
Charlotte Richards is a former founding member with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, dancer with Pittsburgh BalletTheater, London Dance events, Los Angeles Ballet and Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, where she also held the position of Ballet Mistress for three years. After a ten year performing carreer at home and abroad, she returned to los Angeles, to become a prominent teacher of Ballet in Southern California. Known for her lively, dynamic teaching personality, she truly motivates and inspires her students to reach past their limits and improve with remarkable speed.Ms. Richards has been on staff at the major private studios in Los Angeles such as The Stanley Holden Dance Center, Westside Ballet Academy and The Dance Arts Academy.She is currently an Associate Professor at Santa Monica College.Ms. Richards was also on the faculties of Loyola Marymount Universty and Long Beach State University.
Charlotte Richards assists many local dancers and choreographers in presenting their work to the public and has been a health and fitness consultant for Shape Pregnancy Magazine. Ms. Richards has also taught for the Inland Pacific Ballet School and Company since their inception in 1991.
Dr. Aparna Sindhoor, is a choreographer, director, actor and singer. She was awarded the NPN creation award and was nominated for Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Choreography in 2013. Critics have hailed Sindhoor as a powerful voice for creating contemporary works of extraordinary artistry and works that challenge the boundaries of traditional Indian dance, yet contribute to strengthening that tradition. She has created more than fifteen contemporary dance theater works that have been touring at numerous venues and festivals, including the ARATANI World Series, Lincoln Center, Asian Art Museum, Jacob's Pillow, East West Players, Asian American Theater Festival, New Haven Festival of Arts and Ideas, World Social Forum, New World Theatre, USA, Teesri Duniya Theatre (Montreal, Canada), Ragayana, Nitya Nrutya, and Amol Palekhar’s Theater Festival, India. She had choreographed for Indian films including Santhosh Sivan’s,Anandabadhram and S M Raju’s Varnam. She has collaborated with various theater and dance companies including Cirque du soleil famed Franco Dragone’. Sindhoor trained in the Mysore style of Bharatanatyam for more than fifteen years with legendary teacher, Dr. K. Venkatalakshamma (Mysore palace dancer). She is trained in yoga, martial arts (Kalari ppayattu), contemporary, aerial dance, music and theater for more than a decade. Her current work has synthesized these distinct art forms into a unified whole. She is a Gold Medalist in Dance from Mysore University and she has a PhD in Dance, Cultural and Women’s Studies from the Boston University. She was the artist in residency at the prestigious Bates Dance Festival, University California at Santa Barbara and at Brandeis University. Sindhoor is the founder and Artistic Director of Navarasa Dance Theater . Originally from Mysore India, she currently lives and works in USA and India.
Laura Ann Smyth
Los Angeles based dancer, instructor and choreographer Laura Ann Smyth began her journey as an artist at age 4 in Canada.
Smyth obtained a BA in Sociology from the University of Calgary in 2004, a Journalism Certificate from Mount Royal University in 2008 and an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine in 2012. She has choreographed for the faculty concerts at Santa Monica College, Long Beach City College and Loyola Marymount University where she also serves as an Adjunct professor. Smyth is also on faculty at Golden West College and has worked in the theatre department at Pepperdine University as well.
She is currently a member of JazzAntiqua Dance and Music Ensemble, Brockus RED and Donna Sternberg and Dancers. Passionate about the preservation of jazz dance and its role in the academy, Smyth has presented at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference (IABD) in 2013 and 2016, The World Dance Alliance Conference (WDA) in 2014 and the National Dance Education Organization Conference (NDEO) in 2012, addressing these topics. Most recently, Smyth completed her Simonson Method Teacher Training Certification (SMTT) in NYC.
Indonesian, World Dance Performance, Co-Director of Global Motion
Sri Susilowati is a dancer, choreographer, and storyteller. Originally from Indonesia she has choreographed extensively in the U.S. and Indonesia establishing dance groups and teaching students. She is the producer of Dancing in the Margins Festival, and the director and founder of Sri Dance Company, a dance group that creates and performs contemporary works on the subjects of community, gender, and ethnicity through dance and multi-media. She has been the recipient of many fellowships and distinctions including Rainbow Award, Lester Horton Award, City of Los Angeles Artist-in-Residence (AIR) and COLA grants, the Puffin Foundation grant, the James Irvine Foundation grant, Center for Cultural Innovation grant, and Global Citizenship Initiative grant. Sri received her BFA from Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta and MFA from UCLA.
Sri currently teaches at Santa Monica College. Her current projects include collaboration with David Rousseve on a dance-on-camera work, Two Seconds After Laughter. Sri recently made her directorial debut in Shimmer, a new dance-on-camera film.
Modern, Choreography, Dance History, Fundamentals, Dance Teacher Training
Roberta Wolin-Tupas, a professional in the field of dance for over 40 years, has a BA in Literature from Reed College and MA in Choreography and Performance from UCLA. From 1999 - 2007, she was Producer of Marian Scott's Spirit Dances series, and was nominated for two Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Production of the Spirit Dances series. Wolin-Tupas is Co-Artistic of R Dance Company, and has created a large body of original, critically acclaimed modern dance works. Her choreography has been presented at Bergamot Station, Broad Stage, Highway Performance Space, Miles Playhouse, UCLA, Wilshire Ebell, California Choreographers Festival, Brand Library Modern Dance Series, L.A. Open Festival. Wolin-Tupas served as Co-Artistic Director of SMC's Synapse Dance Theater and has been involved in bringing students to American College Dance Festival. Her choreography was performed at ADCFA in 2012 and 2014.
Since 1996, she has also brought creative dance experiences to thousands of pre-K and elementary school students in the Los Angeles area. She has been a faculty member at California State University, Los Angeles and Glendale College, and continues to teach at Santa Monica College.
Pamela Nemeth was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has a BA and paralegal certification from UCLA and adult education credentials. With mediation and arbitration certifications, Pam has experience mediating with the Superior Court and facilitating in community events as well as public arbitrating with the NASD/Finra. Working in both the Dance and ESL Departments at SMC, Pam is also active in the SMC CSEA Chapter 36 Classified Union with the intention of promoting the highest quality of life on campus for all.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dance Production Specialist
Mark attended the State College of Arts in Krasnoyarsk, Russia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano. In 1984, he attended the State Conservatory in Tashkent, Russia and received a Masters Degree in Piano and Music. As a student of the Conservatory, he began working as a concert pianist with the State Philharmonic Orchestra and toured internationally to Germany and Poland as a soloist with the Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon graduation, Mark began working with the State Theater of Opera and Ballet and the State School of Ballet as a pianist and piano instructor. During that period he was sent to the Theater of Opera and Ballet “Bolshoi” in Moscow for additional training.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1995 and attended the “Evans School of Languages” studying English and working as a pianist for the Lula Washington Dance Theater. He has been teaching piano at the “Evergreen Music Conservatory in North Hollywood, CA since 1996. Since that time he has been an accompanist at Santa-Monica College Dance Department, California Arts Institute, UCLA’s Department of Arts and Culture, Pomona College’s Dance Department and California State University of Fullerton’s Department of Theater and Dance.
He has also worked with such ballet masters as: Susan Jones (American Ballet Theater), Charles Maple (American Ballet Theater), Stanley Holden (Royal Ballet), Margaret Hills (Royal Ballet),Evelyn Cisneros (San Francisco Ballet), Finis Jhung (Ballet Techniques, New York), Yuri Grigoriev (Moscow Stanislavski Ballet), Marat Dukaev (Kirov Ballet),as well as worked with such companies as:Les Ballets De Monte-Carlo, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Houston Ballet, Pasadena Dance Theater, California Dance Theater, Inland Pacific Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, Ballet Pacifica.In July 2014 Mark was accepted for the Summer Intensive Program to the L’Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra national de Paris – Paris Opera Ballet School.
Kirk Brundage, percussionist
John L. Carbone
Rozanne Muradyan, pianist
Alla Plotkin, pianist
Gnenemon S. Soro
Malik Sow, percussionist