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Your Premier Dance Studio

Staff

Cathy Jelic

Cathy Jelic

Executive Director

Cathy’s dance & performing arts journey began in middle school, where she first started cheerleading in her hometown of Willow Glen. It was during various cheerleading camps and conventions that she was introduced to dance—a love affair that’s lasted a lifetime. When she first came to work for Action Day Primary Plus in August 1993, she became involved in the company’s extensive Dance Program. After obtaining her BS from San Jose State University, she accepted the position of Director of Human Resources. She took a break from teaching while raising her two daughters, whom she enjoyed watching perform on stage. When her oldest daughter was in fourth grade, she noticed that she was very serious about pursuing the passion of dance and desired to be part of a team. It was at this point she began to examine the possibility of founding a dance team with her own talented instructors and students. A performance and competitive dance team was founded titled the West Valley Dance Cats in September 2009, and the Company has since continued to expand and thrive. Cathy has provided support and wisdom to all of the performance/competition team coaches, as well as her creative vision. It is with her guidance that West Valley Dance Company continues to blossom into the large, close-knit dance “family” it is today. Currently, Cathy is a Partner of ADPP and the Executive Director of the Dance Program.

Shannon Claude

Shannon Claude

Studio Director

Shannon quite literally grew up on stage. She began performing and competing at the age of five—and instantly fell in love with the environment. In her early years, she was featured on “Star Search,” where she met other talented choreographers and dancers who remain very active in the dance community to this day. She has also danced on several middle school, high school, and studio teams and won numerous awards and scholarships. She has taught and choreographed at various studios since 2002, and came to teach for Action Day’s Dance & Performing Arts Program in the fall of 2005. At the time, she taught mostly preschool and young child dance classes. Her experience and love of dance were soon recognized and paved the way of her filling the role of Assistant Director of the Dance Program and Director of the West Valley Dance Cats. In 2015, she became the Studio Director of West Valley Dance Company. Her ever-pervading goal for the dance family she directs is to create a fun, professional environment where she is able to share her passion with the children and young adults she teaches.

Nancy Taylor

Nancy Taylor

Director of Enrichment

Nancy joined the WVDC team at the corporate office during the summer of 2021 as the Director of Academics and Enrichment after working at a local private high school as a Vice Principal, Counselor, and Department Chair. Nancy has an MA in Educational Administration from Santa Clara University as well as a Master of Social Work (MSW). Nancy’s love of dance was fostered while she watched her two young daughters fall in love with the art as toddlers.  Throughout their time growing up in dance, Nancy was involved in every production behind the scenes, sewing costumes, doing quick changes, and helping to manage the backstage operations for all of their productions. Both of Nancy’s daughters have connections to WVDC – one danced competitively with WVDC and teaches classes when she is home from college, and the other is a dance teacher and Bascom Studio and Billing Manager.  Nancy is excited to join the WVDC family to share her love of dance!

 

Julie Andresen

Julie Andresen

Julie’s passion for dance began at the age of 4 and her love of teaching soon followed. She celebrates her 40th year as a dance instructor and her 5th year here at WVDC!

She has taught various styles of dance and technique including jazz, ballet, tap and musical theater at several studios, elementary schools, community theaters and summer academies on both the recreational and competitive levels.

Julie earned her BS in Elementary Education with a specialization in early childhood from the University of NE at Omaha. During the day, she teaches Kindergarten and First Grade at Pinewood school. Julie is pleased to be a part of the WVDC team!

Malvin Black

Malvin Black

At the tender age of 2, Malvin began learning to Tap, and 36 years later, he has not stopped learning.  The art came naturally to him, but it was instilled in him early, that no matter how good you get, you always have to practice your “basics”.
Malvin has received instruction from LEGENDS of the art form such as Fayard Nicholas, Eugene Pineapple Jackson, Chester Whitmore, Skip Cunningham, and Sue B. (who he lovingly refers to as “Mom”). Malvin has made it his mission to bring back the foundations of Tap- rhythm, musicality, improvisation, and just plain fun.  By doing that, he hopes to return Tap to its greatness for the next generation.
After countless competitions, recitals, music videos, tv shows, ensembles, and random performances, Malvin discovered his love for teaching, and he has been doing that for over 20 years.  The next chapter of his story starts here at WVDC.  Stay tuned.
Sabine Blyth

Sabine Blyth

Sabine started dancing in 2005 after her mom watched the first season of “Dancing with the Stars” and enrolled her in dance lessons. She was hooked instantly and knew that one day she would become a professional dancer. Since then, she has won several titles, including United States Ballroom Amateur Champion, International Grand Ball Rising Star Smooth Champion, and Ballroom Blackpool Pro/Am Champion. Sabine loves competing, but her true passion lies in teaching, as she hopes to inspire young dancers the same way she was inspired when she started her dance journey.

Dana Brown-Jones

Miss Dana has been dancing for over 15 years beginning her dance education at the age of 3 at Dance Attack Los Gatos where she also began her competition career at the age of 5. She then moved on to the team at a local dance studio where she continued to compete for the next 11 years and had the opportunity of dancing on the field along side the San Jose Saber kittens.  Dana recently graduated from Lincoln High School where she was a member of the esteemed Convertibles Dance Team. Additionally this past year Dana has had the once in a life time opportunity to perform in the Pregame and Halftime shows at Super Bowl 50 along side Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyoncé. Dana is excited to share her love for dance with the next generation of performers.

Anna-Buonomo

Anna Buonomo

Anna Buonomo is an Italian-born contemporary choreographer who has worked in the UK as a dance artist, performer and teacher. Her works have been performed in UK, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland gaining audience and critic acclaim. Alongside her artistic career, she has taught since the age of 16. She has 18 years of experience teaching ballet and music/dance to 2-5 year-olds, 5 years of teaching dance and hip hop in Elementary Schools, 6 years of lecturing students for BA: Urban Dance Practice at University of East London and many years of teaching young dancers, professionals and adults.

Sarah Chinn

Sarah began dancing at the age of four at Schumacher’s School of Dance, now known as Tiffany’s Dance Academy, and has continued her passion every since. She specializes in ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary and hip-hop. Since her graduation in 2006, she continues to teach and co-direct the dance program at her alma mater, El Camino High School in South San Francisco. She attends the Pulse on Tour Teacher Workshop in New York City every year to learn new teaching techniques from the best choreographers and educators in the dance industry. She currently studies Early Childhood Education at Foothill College. She hopes to continue to spread positivity and love for dance to younger generations.

Dosya Conley

Dosya Conley

Dosya gained a love for dance at the early age of four. She trained at Vision dance studio where she was taught various styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, acro, contemporary and lyrical. After graduating high school she became a part of faculty and started her teaching career. Dosya competed from the ages of twelve to eighteen with Vision Dance Company, as well as Vision Dance All Stars.  In 2015, she was able to be a part of Vision Dance All Stars and won National Champions, as well as getting second in the nation as a soloist. She also had the amazing opportunity to be a dancer in the Superbowl 50 halftime show with Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars. In 2017 she gained the title of senior Miss Showbiz. Dosya was also a United Spirit Association All American recipient, which gave her the opportunity to be a United States representative in London for the New Year’s Day parade. She is currently at San Jose State University working towards her BFA in dance. While at San Jose State she has trained in Ballet, Jazz, African, various Modern techniques such as Limon, Graham and Gaga technique. At San Jose State she is a third year returning member of a pre professional dance company called University Dance Theater. Through this company she has been able to work with many amazing companies and choreographers from New York, such as Mike Esperanza, Kyle Abraham and his company Abraham in Motion, as well as Gallim created and directed by Andrea Miller. Dosya is very excited to be a part of the West Valley Dance Company team and can’t wait for the new season ahead!

 

Krista Dana

Krista has been dancing for over 30 years in the styles of ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, modern and tumbling. Years in the studio led her to join her high school dance team, the Fremont Featherettes. Krista attended UC Riverside where she received a BA in dance with a focus in modern dance and choreography. Over the years she’s had the opportunities to study with several dance masters including Gloria Mohr, Fred Strickler and Keith Banks. She has been teaching for 8 years now and continues to take studio classes. She’s excited to bring her knowledge and style to WVDC.

Elena Esparza

Elena Esparza

Elena’s love for dance started at the early age of 5, where she attended Sheri’s Born to Dance, now known as Nor Cal Dance Arts. There she trained in various different styles such as ballet, tap, hip hop, and jazz.  She continued her dance career during high school in 2013. Where she would join the dance team, which soon led her to join the competition cheer team shortly after. She cheered throughout high school, where her team would be ranked 3rd in California. Qualifying for Nationals 3 times. Placing top 5 in the Nation. In 2016, she had the amazing opportunity to be a dancer in the Superbowl 50 halftime show with Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars. Elena also worked as a JAMZ staff member before graduating High School in 2016. She attended San Jose City College to complete her AA. While studying at SJCC she joined the Lady Jags Cheer team, where her teammates and herself volunteered as UCA (United Cheer Association) staff during the summer seasons to teach cheer camps. Elena is very excited to be a part of the West Valley Dance Company family and cannot wait to share her dance experience with everyone!

Marissa Germano-Jackson

Marissa started dancing at the age of 5 and began her training in classical ballet and folk dance at the San Jose Cleveland Ballet, then changed to Ballet San Jose, under the direction of American Ballet Theatre’s Dennis Nahat and Roni Mahler and later former prima ballerina of the Royal Danish Ballet, Lise LaCour. At the age of 6, she was cast in Dennis Nahat’s The Nutcracker and continued on into the Professional Trainee Division at the school, where she performed in several productions both with the school and the Ballet San Jose company, also receiving additional training at the San Francisco Ballet School. She also performed with the Moscow Ballet in The Nutcracker, performing soloist roles Harlequin Doll and Coffee/Arabian. She then later on studied and performed in Paris under former Paris Opera Ballet Étoile. She also has a background in jazz, tap, modern, folk dance, and Ballroom/Latin. Marissa was also a Captain of the Castillero Showstoppers team. While obtaining a B.A. at San Jose State University in Communication Studies she minored in dance, studying ballet and modern with Gary Masters, Heather Cooper, and Mark Foehringer, dancing reportoire including José Limón’s “Chaconne” and Isadora Duncan’s “Primevera.” She also choreographed and performed original pieces for the SJSU Communication Performance Studies Department, Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus,” “Dancer Interrupted” and in honor of the “Heavenly Hundred Heros’” who perished in the 2014 Ukraine Euromaiden War, folk song “Plyve Kacha.” She has also completed work towards an MA in Comm. and International Business having studied abroad in China, Finland, Sweden, Russia.  Marissa also studied and perform under the prestigious Vaganova Russian classical ballet technique in St. Petersburg, Russia. A dancer with San Jose Dance Theatre, under Linda Hurkmans, formerly of the Royal Danish Ballet, Marissa was a guest dancer for Italian Tenor Pasquale Esposito on his 2016 Holiday tour. Marissa’s favorite ballet repertoire includes Sugar Plum Fairy, Romeo and Juliet, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Carmen. Marissa is thrilled to be a part of the West Valley Dance Company and cannot wait to pass down her knowledge and passion to her students!

Gianna Jelic

Gianna Jelic

Gianna literally grew up dancing, beginning her career at “Dance Action” over 17 years ago.  She was instrumental in the origin of Action Day Primary Plus’ competition team in 2010, being one of the 20 original Dance Cats that started WVDC.  Gianna has danced competitively for the majority of her life, excelling in all genres of dance:  lyrical, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, tap, ballet, modern and acrobatics.   She has danced for Ballet San Jose, Children’s Musical Theater, participated in 9 years of dance conventions, regional and national competitions and performances; as well as dancing her way into multiple leading roles for WVDC in our annual dance productions at the Center for Performing Arts, most recently playing Belle in the Beauty and the Beast.  Gianna graduated from Presentation High School where she was part of their Nationally ranked dance team, trained by award-winning choreographers over her 4 years while there. During this time, her team brought home 3 National Titles!  She has competed in both regional and national competitions with WVDC and earned many titles; has performed all over the country, attended numerous dance conventions, worked with many specialists such as Franco De Vita, and we are so pleased to have her join our elite group of dance instructors.

Malena Jelic

Malena Jelic

Ali Lambrecht

Ali Lambrecht

Ali has been teaching and choreographing in the San Francisco Bay Area for 22 years. Most recently as Owner/Director of Coastal Vibe Dance Company in Santa Cruz, California. Her dancers have been accepted into the nations top dance programs such as Chapman University, the Boston Conservatory, the Alvin Ailey School, Loyola Marymount University of Manhattan, Alonzo Kings Lines, UT Austin, UC Irvine, Julliard, and USC. Ali’s students have gone on to perform on FOX’S So You Think You Can Dance, The Ellen Show, and Holland America Cruz Lines to name a few.

Vanessa Lange

Vanessa Lange

Melissa Leza

Melissa is a graduate of SJSU with a BA in Child Development and Education. Melissa has danced competitively in the styles of ballet, hip-hop, acrobatics, tap, jazz, and lyrical—earning numerous awards and scholarships at local dance competitions while managing to spend a great deal of time training in gymnastics. When attending Independence High School, she joined both the cheer and dance teams. After graduating, she continued to coach high school cheer and danced as part of an adult dance group. She came to ADPP/WVDC in 2013 with her wealth of knowledge as the Program’s Gymnastics Coordinator. Melissa coaches many of WVDC’s performance and competitive dance teams and also performs at our Santana Row Mommy & Me events.

Grace Lu

Grace Lu

Grace trained in Chinese Classical Dance at the FeiTian Academy of Art. She performed as a Principal Chinese dancer in various world-class theaters around the world. Miss Lu has been teaching Chinese classical dance and tumbling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many of her students have won 1st and 2nd place awards in competitions, due to Miss Lu’s unique teaching methods and experience.

Kim Macias

Kim Macias

Kim has acquired over 30 years of dance training and experience since she first developed her passion for dance. She had the opportunity to train under the direction of Jackie Sleight, Dave Carter, and Liz Imperio in her early years. Aside from competitive dancing, Kim also danced on Independence High School’s Dance Team where she was a student choreographer and director. She has since coached Oak Grove High School’s successful competitive cheer and dance team which included an NFL Pro Bowl half-time performance in Hawaii. Kim began working for ADPP/WVDC in 2007 as a dance instructor with a wealth of dance knowledge. Currently, she keeps herself on her toes as a mother to her own tiny dancers and continues to teach for WVDC.

Vanessa McGautha

Vanessa McGautha

Vaness’s love of dance began in early childhood while a competitive baton twirler. With choreography and teaching experience spanning 25 years, Vanessa was a dance team member for the San Jose State dance team Sparta Gold as well as the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. While obtaining her bachelors degree in Public Relations, Vanessa was also a staff member for Univeral Dance Association teaching high school/college dance team camps across the country and judging the National Dance Team Championship as televised on ESPN. Vanessa’s unique fusion of hip hop with a jazz/funk twist give her students a challenging yet fun experience they can enjoy.

Jessica Metter

Jessica Metter

Jessica has been dancing competitively since the age of 5, winning numerous awards , titles and scholarships.  At the age of 10 she won the title of “Dancer of the Year” in the Las Vegas nationals and was sent to Australia to compete in the Aussie World National Championships.  The following year, Jessica appeared on the TV show “America’s Most Talented Kids”, and after high school was hired by award winning choreographer Tessandra Chavez, to be a part of her own company “Unity Dance Ensemble”. Jessica performed for several years with the Disney Corporation and Stiletto Entertainment as a dancer for Holland America Cruise Line.  Recently, she began teaching and choreographing for local competition dance teams, winning “Best Choreography” and overall high point awards in numerous dance competitions and conventions.  Jessica loves sharing her passion for dance through teaching, and looks forward to sharing her extensive experience!

Marie Pedraza

Marie Pedraza

Marie has acquired over 30 years of dance training and experience. She began dancing at the age of three at Escuela de Danza Frank in Morelia, Mexico under the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance ballet technique. She has extensive training in ballet, jazz, Hip-Hop, musical theater, and Latin dance and had the opportunity to train under the direction of Fidel García, David Howard, Liliana Belfiore to mention some. Over the years she had the opportunity to train in different schools like Centro Cultural Virginia Fabregas in Mexico City, Estudio Liliana Belfiore in Argentina, Broadway Dance Center, and Alvin Ailey Dance school in NYC where she also learn to model and participate in several fashion shows. In 2019 she became a Royal Academy Of Dance registered teacher and she has taught various styles of dance and technique at several studios for 18 years in México, Ecuador, NYC, and California. In Quito, Ecuador she directed, choreographed, and performed in several plays like Mamma Mia, Wizard of Oz, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more. She also performed soloist roles at different ballets like Kitri in Don Quixote, Clara and Sugar plum fairy in Nutcracker, and Lily Fairy in sleeping beauty. She is very excited to share the art of dance with WVDC students.

Rory Pete

Rory has been dancing for over a decade, where he first began at a San Jose-based dance company by Krisuan Rosalejos. He has since trained with various dance teams and choreographers throughout the Bay Area. Rory’s professional credits include performing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, various NBA Golden State Warriors half-time events/shows, and several concerts. Currently, Rory not only dances but also teaches and choreographs award-winning routines. He continuously evolves as both a dancer and an artist. Rory has learned that dancing is both an experience and a way to express oneself; he believes that dancing freely and authentically is the most beneficial way to improve and to showcase one’s talents.

Anna Prenares

Anna Prenares

Anna Prenares is thrilled to be part of the directors team at WVDC and is proud to be the ADPP Dance Director. Working with the preschool program and inspiring young dancers is her niche. She has been teaching dance for over 25 years and has 14 years of experience running a dance studio in west San Jose. Before teaching became her passion she had the opportunity to dance in the professional world entertaining many in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Reno, and Japan before returning home to finish her degree. She earned a BA in Dance from San Jose State University and joined the Faculty there for 5 years teaching Tap and Pilates for the dance program. Anna was the coach and advisor for the Wilcox High School competitive Dance team for over 7 years. She has also worked with many musical theater groups as a choreographer and guest instructor. Anna taught at many local dance studios before eventually opening her own in 2007. She has worked with many young dancers and helped them on their dance journeys performing for professional teams, entering college dance programs, and dancing professionally around the world. 

Janice Rich

Janice Rich

Leandra Saenz

Leandra Saenz

Leandra trained in acro/gymnastics as a child and has been teaching Acro for over 20 years in a dance studio setting.  In 2018 she became certified with Acrobatic Arts and has transitioned her acro teaching style to rely heavily on the Acrobatic Arts curriculum.  The program is designed to teach acro through safe proper progressions and really stresses the importance of alignment and training everything on both sides.  She is very passionate about her students having proper strength and awareness of alignment before attempting advanced skills.
She has experience teaching levels primary through pre-pro, ages 3-18.  In addition to being a certified Acrobatic Arts instructor she is also certified in the Alixa Flexibility Method which helps her students to progress with their flexibility training needed for both acro and dance.  With a BS degree in biology and love for the arts and teaching dance, Leandra has a passion for the biomechanics of AcroDance and endorsing safe and progressive training.  She is excited to introduce this curriculum to the students at West Valley Dance.
Marcello Salvatierra

Marcello Salvatierra

Rose Sanchez

Rose Sanchez

Katie Schaaf

Katie Schaaf

Katie is excited to join WVDC and brings with her nearly 20 years of dance teaching experience, including 14 years as a Studio Owner and Director in Campbell. Katie holds a BA in Dance from San Jose State University where she was an honored member of their advanced performance company, University Dance Theatre. Katie grew up in Montana training at the Bitterroot Academy of Dance, a premier ballet school. She also competed heavily in both dance and gymnastics at the local, state, and national championship levels. Katie has studied at Ballet West Conservatory, Ballet San Jose, Montana Dance Arts Associations, Western Ballet, and Broadway Dance Center. Since moving to San Jose Katie has danced professionally for companies and organizations such as Radio Disney, Great America, Jeff Nuss Productions, and M Production Company. Katie is passionate about fostering a love of dance within all of her students through energetic, positive, and engaging dance classes that balance technical development with performance artistry and expression.

Nada Sedki

Nada Sedki

Nada moved to California in August 2018. She grew up dancing in Michigan; taking ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and hiphop. She immediately fell in love with dance and started competing shortly after that. She was on her high school’s dance team all 4 years and became captain her senior year. Nada choreographed her own solo during her last year of high school and received many special awards for it. She had the opportunity of dancing with the Detroit Pistons Dance Team at their halftime show. Nada graduated with a bachelors degree in dance education from Wayne State University. At Wayne, she focused on ballet, modern, and improvisation. She also got the chance to attend master classes led by amazing choreographers like Sonya Tayeh, Ray Mercer, and many more. After graduating, she started teaching at various dance studios around Michigan as well as coaching a high school pom/dance team. She attended many local competitions with her students and won a great deal of awards. Nada is very excited to be in California and be a part of the WVDC team. Nada has a special place in her heart for hiphop and she can’t wait to share her love of dance with the upcoming generation!

Emma Taylor

Emma began dancing at the age of three at South Bay Dance Center.  There, Emma trained in all styles of dance offered including ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and tap.  She was a member of the ballet performing company, South Bay Ballet Arts, performing in 8 full length story ballets.  Additionally, Emma was a member of Pure Dance Production, a jazz and tap performance company affiliated with SBDC. With Pure Dance, Emma performed for San Jose State athletics, the Harlem Globetrotters, Great America and Disneyland.  Emma was also a member and volunteer of Dance Masters of California. During her high school years at Presentation, Emma found a love of teaching and taught several classes at SBDC and worked as an assistant on all productions affiliated with the studio.   Emma is excited to join the WVDC family and continue to share her love of dance.

Alondra Torres

Alondra fell in love with dance at the age of 5. She started dancing ballet, folkorico and Aztec at the age of 13. In high school she danced hip hop and jazz competitively. She continued to expand her knowledge of dance by taking classes at school and in college made San Jose State’s advanced folklorico company. Alondra is excited to be apart of the WVDC staff and cannot wait to help her students grow into amazing dancers.

Audry Vaughn

Audrey Vaughn

Brittany Watts

Brittany first discovered her love for dance performing with Children’s Musical Theatre of San Jose. While she portrayed various roles from dancers to leads, her thirst for dance grew.  From teaching classes to choreographing, Brittany has had a wide variety of professional dance experience. Her passion grows through helping young dancers discover their talents in dance and musical theatre.

Shiyo Yamamoto

Shiyo Yamamoto

Shiyo has been dancing since the early age of three.  She has extensive training in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, contemporary, hip hop, modern, tumbling, and Chinese dance. Shiyo began competing at the age of seven and has received numerous titles and scholarships. Along with competitions, she has performed for many organizations and events including Tesla Auto Show, Hollywood Vibe, Disneyland Anaheim, Beijing Summer Concert, Bellarmine Fashion Show, Sacramento Kings, and much more. Currently, Shiyo coaches Homestead High School’s Equestriettes Dance Team and travels around the states as a choreographer for United Spirited Association.  In addition, she works with elementary and middle school musical theatre programs directing and choreographing Disney Jr. Stage Productions.  Shiyo enjoys the art of dance and can’t wait to share it with talented and dedicated dancers!