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
Lee began her dance training in South Korea where she earned a B.S. degree in ballet from Han Yang University. She was also a member of Lee Ballet Company where she 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 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 2006, 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 Festival and her choreography has been selected to be performed in 'best of festival' Gala Concerts. Currently, Lee is a full time faculty at Santa Monica College, teaching ballet, contemporary modern dance, choreography, and dance history, while continuously producing her creative works for Synapse Dance Ensemble.
s 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 works for Verb Ballets, the Dancing Wheels Company & School, Laguna Dance Festival, Ashland Regional Ballet, Belhaven University, MN² Productions, 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.
(Emeritus) as the first full time faculty in dance at SMC, Linda Gold was able to initiate a full curriculum Dance Program (now Department), Dance Major, numerous dance series, university transfer agreements, travel-studies in Dance, and Synapse Dance Theater, the SMC Contemporary Dance Ensemble. She has taught in the Mentor Program, been advisor to Dance Club, arranged interdepartmental performing/arts events, community outreach and intercollegiate dance consortium, and has served on a variety of college committees. She has performed with the Joffrey Ballet Co., Wolf Trap Company, Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Dance/L.A. and won critical praise from international tours with her own Concert Ensemble. She has received grants for her creative work, presented papers at scholarly conferences, and adjudicated dance and film competitions. Professor Gold has a BFA in Dance and a Special Education Teaching Certificate from the University of Cincinnati, a MA in Performance and Choreography from UCLA, and is completing work on her doctoral degree from the University of Helsinki.
Part Time Faculty
Argelia Andrade (Mexican Dance , Flamenco) lives in the borderlines, specializing in traditional dance forms emerging from cultural collisions: Mexican folklorico, Spanish Flamenco, and traditional Mexican danza. Argelia Andrade has been performing Mexican folklórico since age three in the United States and abroad. In addition, she founded and directs Nuestras Raíces, a non-profit dance and music academy serving over 150 families. Andrade has studied and performed Flamenco in the United States, México, and Spain since 1996. In 2001, Andrade experienced traditional Danza Azteca-Chichimeca in Mexico for the first time, an event that amplified her interests in pre-Hispanic dance forms. As a scholar, Argelia Andrade is mostly interested in studying the intersection between language and the performance of changing identities by individuals. She received a doctorate in Hispanic Linguistics from UCLA, where she is currently teaches and conducts research.
Seda Aybay was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Aybay is Kybele Dance Theater's (KDT) founder, artistic director and choreographer (2003). Ms. Aybay has produced and choreographed multiple works with KDT/ Los Angeles, which won her choreography awards from Dance Under the Stars Festival, MAD BAD Festival and 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 also had been invited to give workshops and create new pieces for Mar Vista Performance Magnet, LACSA, Santa Monica Collage, Praxis Project, Cerritos College, and Pierce College. Aybay has performed with "Ney Nava Dance", Liliana de Leon Torsiello, "Praxis Project," Lion's Pounce Theater, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Magan and Jefferey Hornaday, Kin Dance, Bethune Theatre Danse, Reggie Brown, and Pradigm Dance Theater and was a featured dancer on KTLA channel 9, Univision Kmex34, and Fox 11.
Aybay’s dance foundation started in Turkey at the age of five with French & Russian Ballet techniques, and later she completed the exams of The Royal Academy of Dancing/England. She came to the United States to continue her education. After receiving her AA in Dance with Honors from Santa Monica College, she received her BA with honors from UCLA World Arts and Cultures Department. She completed the Alvin Ailey summer program in New York, and came back to Los Angeles to form her multi-media contemporary dance company, Kybele Dance Theater.
Meri Bender (Modern Dance , Dance History) 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."
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.
Laura Canellias (Ballroom, Salsa ), 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 some 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 1999Los Angeles , CA .
(Chinese) started studying Traditional Chinese Dance at an early age in her hometown of Beijing, China. A frequent performer, at 13 she won 3rd place in the Beijing Dance Competition, showing that she had already achieved a deep understanding of Chinese Dance. She continued studying dance as an extracurricular activity until she entered Beijing's Capital Normal University where she began more formal study of Traditional Chinese Dance Instruction. After earning her Associate's degree from Beijing's Capital Normal University, Jade joined a dance company with which she traveled throughout China performing dance pieces and musical theater productions. In addition to performing, she also choreographed dance pieces and managed the production for a total of four years. Interested in completing her Bachelor's degree, Jade matriculated to Beijing Normal University, a top-tier university in China, to continue studying Traditional Chinese Dance Instruction. While studying there she also taught students of all levels. In Beijing, and prior to graduating she received her certification from the Beijing Dance Academy certifying her abilities in teaching all levels of Chinese dance. In 2007 she moved to Los Angeles, and in 2009 began choreographing dance pieces for the biannual Global Motion student dance performances, and she also teaches a Traditional Chinese Dance student group at USC.
Sean Greene (Modern) At 19, Sean Greene began dancing at Pierce Junior College. Three years later, he joined the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, where, as Principal Dancer and "Master Teacher" he danced and taught all over the world for 19 years. In 1978, he appeared on the cover of Dance magazine. Beginning in 1988, Sean directed Transitions Dance Company and the Advanced Performance Course at the Laban Centre, London for 5 years. He served as Rehearsal Director for the Phoenix Dance Company in Leeds, before returning to the United States. In 2003, Sean was nominated for a Lester Horton Lifetime Teaching Award. In 2004, his duet from "La Famiglia del Inferno" was reconstructed and nominated for a Lester Horton Award. Sean teaches at Chapman University as well as Santa Monica College. Sean also directs, choreographs, and dances for Gallimaufry and Greene, which completed 30 performances in 31 days at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland during Summer 2008.
Gustavo González is an accomplished dance artist and adjunct faculty here at Santa Monica College where he teaches Dance 2, Dance in American Culture. 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.
Malathi Iyengar, (Classical East Indian) originally from Bangalore, India is a Los Angeles based choreographer, dancer, writer, and visual artist. Malathi holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Choreography and Performance from University of California, Los Angeles. Malathi studied Bharatanatyam (classical dance of India) from guru Narmada of Bangalore and choreography and improvisation under the mentorship of Marion Scott.
Iyengar is a recipient of several prestigious awards for her choreographic works and is recognized as a Master Artist of Bharatanatyam dance by the Alliance for California Traditional Artists. Some of her other distinctions include Hind Rattan Award, Rainbow Award, California Culture-place Award, Hindu Temple Asthana Vidushi Award, Durfee Foundation Award, Brody Fellowship for Performing Arts, Alma Hawkins Award for Excellence in Choreography, John Lennon Performing Arts Award, Glorya Kaufman Award, J.. Watumull Award, and the NEA. Iyengar is the author of 'Dance & Devotion' published by Rangoli Foundation. Drawing from her extensive experience as an artist, Iyengar regularly teaches Bharatanatyam, production and presentation seminars, and intercultural dance theater.Malathi Iyengar is the artistic director of the Rangoli Dance Company & Rangoli Foundation for Art & Culture, a non-profit organization, which was founded in 1985.
Cati Jean (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"
Jennifer Jesswein (Middle Eastern Dance) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from the California State University, East Bay. Her background in dance (ballet and tap), theatre, and fine arts informs every aspect of her life. Jesswein has been teaching bellydance for Santa Monica College since 2005. She is a former troupe member of the Al Rakasaat Turkish-Egyptian Dance Company and student of the world renowned, Ansuya. She has been professionally performing and teaching Middle Eastern dance since 1997. Jesswein's choreography credits include Folklorico de SMC, Global Motion, and the annually produced contemporary bellydance showcase, Raq the Casbah, in Flagstaff, Arizona
Angela Jordan (Modern Dance, Jazz) holds a B.A. and M.F.A. 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.
Yeko Ladzekpo-Cole (African Dance) Yeko's passion for dance began at the age of three and she has been dancing professionally ever since. Her parents are natives of Anyako, Volta Region, Ghana, and have been teaching traditional West African music and dance in the United States for the past thirty years. Yeko's extensive dance background consists of over four hundred performances and half as many workshops, spanning over twenty-one years, dozens of cities, nine states, and four different countries, in African dance alone. At age nineteen Yeko decided to expand her gift of movement by attending the California Institute of the Arts, where she received a Bachelor of fine Arts degree in the field of Dance.
Her training includes Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Latin and her second love- Indonesian dance from the islands of Bali and Java. Yeko has toured with New York Based choreographer Ralph Lemon, she performed numerous works in his trilogy called Geography. Yeko has worked with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre and has danced under the direction of Frit and Frat Fuller and the Liz Lerman Dance exchange, Yeko has also worked on choreographing for other independent projects such as the premier party for the Lion King II "Simba's Pride", and the L.A. Stars, a team in the A.B.A (American Basketball Association). Yeko has danced and choreographed for Marshall Dance Company, a newly formed company that is based on Katherine Dunham technique. Yeko has worked closely with it's artistic director, Sarah Anindo Marshall who is a certified technichian, learning and studying the proper forms of Dunham dance technique. Yeko is passionately working towards her certification, and hopes to help in keeping the Dunham legacy alive. Yeko believes dance is her calling and she hopes to spend her days carrying on the tradition of her culture, and teaching to those who aspire in the art of dance.
Denise Leitner (Jazz Dance ), born and raised in Los Angeles, started her dance training at age 3. As a serious ballet student she received her training from Stephen Wenta, Stanley Holden and Margaret Hills. After her studies at the Royal Ballet School in London, Denise returned home and discovered her love for jazz and contemporary dance. She became assistant to master teachers and choreographers including Hama, Ben Lokey and Joe Bennett. Denise has choreographed across the globe for stage, screen television and music videos. She travels throughout the United States and abroad conducting workshops and master classes. Denise has trained numerous dancers who have gone on to work in all entertainment mediums and she is a private coach to many artists including Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, Topher Grace and Elizabeth Berkeley.
She has worked with many artists including Bjork and Nona Hendrix. Her company, Dancer's Voice was founded in 1993 and has been critically acclaimed by the Los Angeles Times, and was nominated for a 2008 Lester Horton Award. The company continues to perform for dance festivals throughout the country. Currently a faculty member at Edge Performing Arts Center, she works intensely with young dancers working towards their professional careers. Denise is also a faculty member at Loyola Marymount University where she just completed her third commission for the University. Other faculty positions include Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, , Innerspark, UCLA, Maui Performing Arts Academy, and Idywilld School for Music and Art.
Her adjudicating credits include the great Canadian Dance Festival and Loyola Marymount University. Most recent choreographic credits include Tommy the Musical, choreography for Olympic and World Champion ice dancers Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, and movement coordinator for Columbia Pictures. Her work was recently featured at Pasadena's Dance Theater "Conversations with Choreographers" As a photographer Denise has photographed dozens of dancers and companies throughout Los Angeles including Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Theater, Body Traffic, Donna Sternberg and Dancers and Vaughn Dance Company.
Joeseph Lettery (Tap)
Joseph Lettery is a Los Angeles based Choreographer/teacher/dancer who is currently on the dance faculty at the University of Southern California where he teaches rhythm tap for the USC School of Theater. He has also taught ballet, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater dance and movement for actors for the program and at many other schools and studios. Joseph has taught and choreographed for the dance programs at Moorpark College, Glendale College, Los Angeles City College and Mount St. Mary’s college. In addition to regular classes he is currently teaching special workshops for the Visions and Voices program at USC and elsewhere in the community.
Mr. Lettery has taught dance, additionally, at the Conservatory for the Arts, California State University, Los Angeles for the Gifted/Talented programs where he served as a Judge and Auditioner for the program, identifying gifted children in dance for the Los Angeles Unified School District. In addition to teaching throughout southern California for many studios he has also worked for dance conventions serving both as teacher and judge.
Joey has choreographed for numerous live dance concerts and theater productions both locally and internationally. Among them are West Side Story (USC) , Anything Goes, The Rocky Horror Show and Working by Studs Terkel (Moorpark College Theater Dept.) and numerous vignette Casino shows in Nevada.
Most recently, Mr Lettery returned from China where he served as the tap choreographer for the famous Hong Kong singer, Jacky Cheung for the Jacky Cheung ½ Century World Tour which recently finished it’s 2nd year of touring internationally.
Victoria Looseleaf (Dance History) Victoria Looseleaf is a freelance arts journalist and regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Performances Magazine and KUSC-FM radio, among other outlets. In addition, she is the producer of the long-running cable access TV show on the arts, The Looseleaf Report (currently airing in New York City), as well as a blog of the same name. Included among the thousands of interviews she has conducted are dance luminaries such as Angelin Preljocaj, Helgi Tomasson, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato, Alicia Alonso, Edward Vilella, Merce Cunningham, Judith Jamison, Tina Ramirez, Diana Vishneva, Garth Fagan, Svetlana Zakharova and Dwight Rhoden.
In 2005, Ms. Looseleaf was the recipient of a special Lester Horton Award, "Furthering the Visibility of Dance." She has also been an adjunct faculty member at Cal State Los Angeles and is currently an adjunct faculty member at USC, where she teaches Historical Approaches to Dance. Covering music and dance festivals around the world, Ms. Looseleaf's recent travels have taken her to Havana, Lyon, Montpellier, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, The Hague and Vienna. In addition, Ms. Looseleaf has given pre-concert lectures on dance at the Music Center of Los Angeles and at the Central Library and at various arts festivals.
Ms. Looseleaf holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California Berkeley and a master's of fine arts in the performance and literature of the harp from Mills College in Oakland. As a professional harpist, Ms. Looseleaf recorded two albums of solo harp music, "Harpnosis," and "Beyond Harpnosis," both registered trademarks, and, as a songwriter, she is a member of ASCAP. Ms. Looseleaf has also published a book of poetry and a biography of Leonardo DiCaprio, "Leonardo: Up Close and Personal" (Ballantine Books).
Carla (Reed) Luna (Flamenco) Her career as a Flamenco Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer spans over four decades. Her fine artistry and dedication to the Art of Flamenco has earned her the respect and admiration she has enjoyed throughout her extensive career. She toured worldwide with such prestigious Spanish Ballets as the José Greco Company and the Lola Montes Company. In Spain she danced with many renowned Flamenco artists and as a soloist in the dance companies of Ballet Español de Paco Mundo y Maria Velasquez, Alhambra Ballet Español, and Rafael Cruz Ballet Español. She also danced in such well known flamenco tablaos as Corral de la Pacheca in Madrid and Los Rombos in Mallorca. While working in Spain she had the privilege to study with several flamenco masters including Matilde Coral, Rafael el Negro, Antonio "El Farruco" Montoya, La Tati, Ciro and Jota specialist Pedro Azorin.
Returning to Southern California, Ms Luna produced and directed numerous productions and in 1991 founded the Carla Luna Flamenco Dance Ensemble. In 1996 Carla began her successful collaboration with composer/guitarist Guillermo Rios, a 1991 recipient of the Meet the Composer Inc. Grant. Together they created several new modern flamenco works that premiered with the company that same year.
As a highly regarded teacher and choreographer Ms. Luna has been invited to teach Workshops, Master Classes, and lecture programs in numerous colleges and universities around the country such as Pomona College, CalArts, and Loyola Marymount University. She also choreographed productions for the Orange County High School for the Arts, City Hearts Performing Arts, and Southern Oregon State College Dance Collective and for many other professional dancers. Carla Luna is an Adjunct Instructor in the Dance Department and Theatre Arts Department at Santa Monica College since 2002.
Karen McDonald (Modern Dance) began her dance training in Los Angeles, California with Carolyn Skyers, the woman who truly inspired her to become a dancer. At age seventeen Karen moved to New York City to continue her training at Dance Theatre of Harlem. She studied under dance masters such as Arthur Mitchell, Karel Shook, Tommie Johnson, Thelma Hill, James Truit, and many others. It was in New York that her professional career began. She was first a member of Fred Benjamin's Company and then lead/principle dancer with George Faison's Universal Dance Theatre. Ms. McDonald went on to Broadway, appearing in shows such as Purlie, Two Gentleman of Verona, and 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. 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. Karen has performed on both stage and screen with artists such as Michael Jackson (Thriller), Janet Jackson, El DeBarge, Freddie Jackson, Marla Gibbs, Sheree Brown, Billy Higgins, Horace Tapscott, Diane Reeves and Dwight Trible.
Karen McDonald has been teaching dance in the Los Angeles area for over thirty years. She taught for five years at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) in Valencia, CA and sixteen years at Susan Miller Dorsey High School. She is currently director of the LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) Gifted Talented Program at Cal State LA and associate director of the Dance Department at Alexander Hamilton High School in West Los Angeles. In 2001, Karen joined the faculty of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and was appointed the position of Dean of the Pre-Academy Program. In 2007 she was appointed Dean of the of the Academy as well as sharing assistant director credit with Ms. Allen on the musical Alex In Wonderland.
In 2003 Karen McDonald received the Lester Horton Award for "Excellence in Teaching." She also received a nomination in February 2004 from the NAACP for best choreographer for the theater production of Dark Legends In Blood. Ms. McDonald is currently the Artistic Director of the New Age Dance Workshop, which she founded in 1985. She still continues training professional dancers and students at Dance Arts Academy in Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), Santa Monica College, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Alexander Hamilton Music Academy in Los Angeles.
Cynthia Molnar Cynthia was born in Alexandria, Virginia, where she began to study ballet at age 6. Upon moving to Los Angeles her ballet training continued with David Lichine and Tatiana Roubenshinska. Soon after, she became a student of Stanley Holden's celebrated ballet school. Cynthia received her advanced training on scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School. Early professional training included a summer intensive with the Stuttgart Ballet Co. in Germany.
Cynthia Molnar continued her ballet career as a professional with David Lichine's "Ballet Society of Los Angeles". Performed with the San Francisco Ballet, with artistic director Lew Christiansen. Cynthia later danced as soloist with the Pacific Northwest Ballet with Kent Stowell as artistic director.
Ms. Molnar is enjoying a successful career as teacher and choreographer. Cynthia's approach to ballet training is embraced by dancers and non-dancers alike. She creates an atmosphere of attention and caring that allows each student to grow as an individual and to develop strength, awareness, confidence, and grace. Currently Cynthia teaches adult ballet at Carla Luna's Dance Arts Academy. She teaches levels beginning thru advanced. She has also taught the children's academy classes for Inland Pacific Ballet under the direction of Charlotte Richards. Cynthia is currently guest teacher and choreographer at Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena.
In addition Ms. Molnar is a sought after guest choreographer and coach for local and visiting artists as well as performing groups. Original works performed by "Kybele Dance Theater", Sarah Burges's "Lions Pounce Dance Theater","Katnap Dance Presents" and in "BIR" at the Electric Lodge, Venice. .
Michael Owens (Jazz Dance) has been teaching jazz dance for over thirty years. He began his training in college at the Boston Conservatory of Music, then in New York with ballet teacher Wilson Morelli and jazz master Lynn Simonson. He has been on the faculty at The David Howard Ballet School, Studio Paris Centre, The Princeton Ballet, The Ailey School, Broadway Dance Center and Steps in NYC.
He has taught guest jazz classes at the International Summer Academy of Dance in Cologne, the Montpieller Dance Festival in France, Edinburgh Dance Festival, Broadway Dance School in Japan, NYC High School for the Performing Arts, the Boston Summer Dance Festival, Jacques D'Amboise National Dance Institute, Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America, the Jazz Dance Seminar in Finland, AMDA in Los Angeles and returns annually to teach master classes at Steps in NYC.
Raquel Ramirez (Mexican Dance, World Performance, Co-director Global Motion) Raquel Ramirez, Director, holds a B.A. 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.
Charlotte Richards (Ballet) 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.
Greg Schreiner has performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Concert Orchestra, Santa Monica College Symphony, UCLA Symphony Orchestra, Cypress Orchestra and performed at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics. He has several recordings in release including the soundtrack from Hollywood Revisited on the LML Music label which was chosen in 2005 for United Airlines "In Flight Channel. He is on the piano faculty at Santa Monica College and also Cerritos College and performs extensively around Southern California. He is also accompanist for the Mansfield Chamber Singers of Beverly Hills. Mr. Schreiner performed the Shostakovitch 2nd Piano Concerto for the PBS series "In Search of Wisdom". He has given two recitals at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California as well as six recitals at the Bellflower Civic Auditorium.
He has been chosen in 2003-2008 for inclusion in Who's Who in America. He is musical director for Broadway singer, Karen Morrow. He is also producer-performer for the touring show, Hollywood Revisited. He holds Master Degrees in piano performance from UCLA and Western Illinois University. Mr. Schreiner is also president of the Marilyn Monroe Fan Club.
Ellen Sinatra (Music for Dance) teaches Music for Dance at Santa Monica College. A musician and artist, Ellen was a Senior Musician at UCLA for many years, where she accompanied and composed for dance and taught Music for Dance courses, and received an Outstanding Service award om 1994. She graduated with her M.A. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2001 and continues to follow her passions for the visual arts at SMC.
Sri Susilowati (Indonesian, World Dance Performance) 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.
Robert Whidbee, (Modern Dance, Jazz) second place winner in the William Couser Black Choreographer Awards, is a choreographer, director, and performer in film, theater, and video. He received his BA in film and television from Norfolk State University and MA in Choreography/Performance from UCLA. Whidbee is Artistic Director of R Dance Company and was Guest Co-Artistic Director of Synapse Dance Theater in Spring 2007. From 1999 to 2007, he choreographed and performed for Marion Scott's Spirit Dances. Whidbee teaches at Santa Monica College and Santa Monica High School.
Roberta Wolin-Tupas, (Co-Director Synapse, Modern, Choreography, Dance Teacher Training) a professional in the field of dance for over 30 years, has a B.A. in Literature from Reed College and M.A. in Choreography and Performance from UCLA. From 1999-2007, she was Producer of Marion Scott's "Spirit Dance"s, and was nominated for two Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Production of the Spirit Dance series. Wolin-Tupas is Co-Artistic Director of R Dance Company, and has created a large body of original, critically acclaimed modern dance works. Since 1996, she has brought creative dance experiences to hundreds of elementary school classrooms in the Los Angeles area. Wolin-Tupas taught at California State University, Los Angeles for fourteen years. She continues to teach at Santa Monica College, and work as a free lance choreographer and performer. She has recently created two new courses at SMC in teaching dance that will be part of the Dance Teacher Certificate at SMC.
Linda Yudin ( Brazilian Dance, Dance in American Cultures), who earned her MA in Dance Ethnology from UCLA in 1988, has devoted more than two decades to researching, performing and teaching Afro-Brazilian dance. She is an adjunct dance faculty member at Santa Monica College, where she teaches Afro-Brazilian dance and Dance in American Culture. In 2003 she was awarded a faculty fellowship to create a course reader for Dance 27. She has also been a guest choreographer for Global Motion.
She is the artistic/executive director of the Los Angeles based dance company, Viver Brasil. The company's growing repertory reflects Yudin's unique blend of artistic excellence, rigorous research and continuous dialogue with living masters in Bahia and younger virtuoso musicians and choreographers. She has secured funding for the company from the New England Foundation for the Arts/National Dance Project, the James Irvine Foundation, and other national and municipal granting agencies
Yudin co-leads annual educational study groups to Salvador, Bahia, which serve more than 500 dance and music participants. Her principal Afro-Brazilian dance teachers are Raimundo B. dos Santos, a.k.a. Mestre King, VB co-founder Luiz Badaró, Rosangela Silvestre, Gilmar Sampaio, Joselita Moreira da Cruz Silva, Nancy de Souza e Silva aka Dona Cici and Augusto Omolu.
Yudin received the prestigious "excellence in teaching" award from the board of directors of Dance Resource Center of Greater LA/Lester Horton Dance Awards 2009. She is the recipient of three Durfee Foundation grants. She recently was awarded a Sacatar Foundation grant to spend to begin her book project entitled, Divine Elders, Divine Dancing.
Yudin was a guest artist/scholar in residence at Stanford University, the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, at North Carolina A & T and Riverside Community College and at Florida A & M University's Africa Brazil Connection Festival. She also taught at Florida International University's Inter Cultural Dance and Music Institute and continues to guest lecture throughout the US. Ms. Yudin was also a consultant for WNET public television series, "Dancing", in the "New World, New Forms" segment. Yudin was a visiting assistant professor of dance at UCLA in 1994-95. She was a keynote speaker at the University of Cape Town, South Africa's first international dance conference. She has presented academic papers at the Congress on Research in Dance Conference, Dance History Scholars Meeting and the American Anthropological Association Meeting. Yudin appeared in Janet Jackson's ESCAPADE music video. The Los Angeles Times included Yudin among the shakers and movers in the Los Angeles dance community.
Steve Zee (Tap Dance) Steve has danced with Gregory Hines and the Nicholas Brothers and has shared the bill with numerous tap notables. He has been a featured soloist in the Jazz Tap Ensemble and a member of Rhapsody In Taps. He has performed and taught across the United States, Canada, Brazil, France and Germany and has been an artist in residence at the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.
Steve was previously an original cast member in the American premiere of the musical Hot Shoe Shuffle and has received a number of grants for tap choreography, including one from the National Endowment for the Arts. His choreography is performed by professional dance companies and youth groups across the United States, in Europe and in South America and his choreography was featured at the Beijing International Dance Festival. Steve trained Kiril Kulish for the Broadway production of Billy Elliot for which Kiril won the Tony Award.Steve edited the Oral History/Biography of tap master Stan Kahn (archived at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum) and the Oral History/Biography of Robert Scheerer (archived at the New York Public Library and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) and has made five instructional tap videos.
As a theater artist, Steve trained at UCLA, the Sorbonne/Universite de Paris III and with the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. By the way, if you've ever seen tap dancing Hershey's Kisses on your television set, then you have heard Steve dance! Steve is currently performing his club act at the M Bar in Hollywood and is on faculty in the dance departments at Cal State Long Beach and Santa Monica College and teaches on-going weekly classes at the Tap Academy in Santa Monica, the Dance Arts Academy in Los Angeles and for the Gabriella Axelrad Education Foundation in Los Angeles. He is the director of the nonprofit organization, LA Ironworks.
– Administrative Assistant: Born, raised and lives Los Angeles. B.A. 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.
Mark Litver - Permanent Accompanist: 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 Subjects. 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 teacher. 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 Lulu 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 Cal 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: Stanley Holden (Royal Ballet), Susan Jones (American Ballet Theater), Charles Maple (American Ballet Theater), Margaret Hills ( Royal Ballet), Evelyn Cisneros (San Francisco Ballet), Finis Jhung (Ballet Techniques, New York) Marat Dukaev (Kirov Ballet) and Yuri Grigoriev (Moscow Stanislavski Ballet) as well as worked with such companies as: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Moscow Stanislavski Ballet, Houston Ballet, Inland Pacific Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, Ballet Pacifica and most recently Pasadena Dance Theater. In January of 2002, Mark became a Citizen of the United States of America.
Patricia Oliva (Global Motion Costume Designer/Coordinator)
- Luiz Badaro, percussionist
- Kirk Brundage, percussionist
- Kahlil Cummings, percussionist
- Rozanne Muradyan, pianist
- Alla Plotkin, pianist
- Te'Amir Sweeny, percussionist
- Malik Sow, percussionist
- Patrick Xenakis, pianist, percussionist