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 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 Team Coach of the West Valley Dance Cats. In the fall of 2013, she became the Director of the Dance Cats’ Competition & Performance Teams and remains the Dance & Performing Arts Program Assistant Director. Over the years, Shannon has trained several national and overall winners on the dance teams she’s coached for. Most recently, her “All We Got” routine became a huge success for the Dance Cats, earning several Overall Regional and National Awards. Her passion has always been in teaching and performing lyrical/contemporary dance, and her musical choreography speaks for itself. 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.
Julie’s dance journey began several years ago as a young child. She has taught various styles of dance and conditioning for over 34 years for dancers age 18-months through 80. She has taught large motor movement, jazz technique, ballet technique, tap technique, and musical theater at several studios, elementary schools, community theaters, and summer academies over the years 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 is a K-1 teacher at Willow Glen Elementary. Julie is excited to join the staff of WVDC for the 2015-2016 season.
Erin is a graduate from UCSC with a BA in Sociology. Erin has danced for over fifteen years, and has experience teaching various styles including hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, and Zumba. She has taught for several studios and centers throughout the Bay Area. Her professional credits include earning the title of Miss Santa Clara in 2008 and competing on stage at the Miss California awards. Erin has taught at several dance studios and community centers throughout the Bay Area. She began teaching for ADPP’s Dance & Performing Arts Program summer 2014 with a great deal of dance experience, and has since become an invaluable member of WVDC’s team. She has coached the Tom Cats Team and choreographed several award-winning competitive routines for the company.
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.
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. Brittany joined the competition dance team at Dancyn Studio and blossomed into the dancer she is today. 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 well as musical theatre.
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.
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.
Chelsea Sioxson has her M.A. in Special Education from California State University-Los Angeles, as well as a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Dance Studies from Santa Clara University. During the school year, she is employed full-time as a preschool special education teacher. For the past 20 years, Chelsea has trained in various studios around the Bay Area in styles such as classical ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary, and modern. In high school, she danced competitively and was a co-captain on Presentation High School’s award-winning dance team. She is also currently a member of a professional Philippine folkdance company. Chelsea works with all ages, infants through adults, and is enthusiastic about sharing her passion for dance and the arts with today’s youth. She hopes to continue to find ways to link together her two passions of dance and special education, both in the classroom and on the stage.
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!
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.
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.
Jessica’s dance journey began when she was 3 years old. She was inspired by her older sister’s love for dance. She has training in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap. She began competing at the age of 6 where she won numerous awards and scholarships at local dance competitions. She was part of her middle school and high school dance teams. She enjoys working with her tiny dancers and loves being a part of WVDC.
Jena’s dance career began at a very early age. While Ballet is her favorite style and first love, she enjoys Tap and Jazz as well. She had the opportunity to perform and compete locally for many years, and was also on her high school dance team. Jena now enjoys passing on her love of dance to her daughter and the many other students at WVDC.
Vanna Ruiz has been dancing for almost her whole life. She has studied dance throughout the bay area at workshops, conventions, and San Jose City College. At age 14 she was a member of her first hip hop team, HIP HOP CRAZE. There she was chosen to perform on national television on the show BET “W.O.W” in 2006. Vanna received a scholarship award for Top 10 Dancer of 2008 at HOLLYWOOD VIBE and got the opportunity to train and work with famous choreographers in Los Angeles . Vanna has also trained with well known hip hop teams VIP and MVP SAN JOSE. She was a member of the dance team WRAWSOME SAN JOSE, Allan Waltz Entertainment Company, and other small projects. Vanna has danced on commercials, and music videos, and worked with artists Too Short, James Elizabeth, Ja Rule, Adrienne Bailon, and Alana Hyland.
Breanna Van Gastel
Breanna won her first dance competition at the age of four! She instantly fell in love with the stage, and hasn’t stopped loving it since. Breanna was hired as a principal dancer with South Bay Ballet Arts where she performed the lead roles in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Swan Lake. She was the captain of her high school’s dance team, and went on to join the United Spirit Association staff. She has been traveling the United States, teaching camps and judging dance competitions, for the past 8 years. Breanna also had the opportunity to choreograph and perform in many major sporting events, including dancing with Fall Out Boy in the NFL Pro-Bowl halftime show. She now keeps her passion for performing alive by appearing in several professional musicals around the Bay Area. Breanna is so excited to share her passion with the next generation through teaching Jr. Kindergarten and dance with the students of ADPP and WVDC.
Kristina received a BFA from the University of Utah with an emphasis in teaching, performing and character. She performed with Utah Ballet and the Character Dance Ensemble while attending the university. While traveling to Australia, Spain, Russia, and China she studied at Elance Ballet School, the University of Eibar, the Vaganova Dance Society, and the Beijing Dance Academy. She trained with the Ripon City Ballet in California, where she performed several lead roles including Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. She attended summer intensives at ABT in New York City, Lines Ballet in San Francisco, and Contra Costa Ballet in California. She has extensive experience teaching at several studios in Utah, Idaho, California and Australia over the past 15 years! Kristina is excited to share her knowledge and love of ballet!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Apple was introduced to Martial Arts at the young age of 3, and has never left! She was born in Mountain View, CA, and raised right here in San Jose. She currently owns and operates PRIMETIME Martial Arts in south San Jose. She is lovingly known to her student base as “Coach Apple” and has been surrounded by the martial arts her entire life. Within the last decade, Miss Sioson has actively traveled the nation competing, working and promoting at Sport Martial Arts tournaments. She holds 6 world title and produces an international martial arts tournament, entitled “Sin City Rumble”. Teaching martial arts and sharing lessons is the number 1 thing in Coach Apple’s life and she hopes to influence as many lives as possible through the programs at West Valley Dance Company.
Sara is a native of Chicago who grew up with a love of music and has been dancing since the age of three. She has her bachelors degree in early childhood education from Illinois State and is a Jr. Kindergarten teacher at Action Day Primary Plus Campbell. Sara combines her love of dance with her passion for teaching young children. She loves teaching everything from ballet to hip hop. She is excited for her baby girl Shelby to join the WVDC family as soon as she can walk!
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.
A San Jose native, Adrian has 14 years of extensive training and competition experience in the disciplines of Break Dancing, Hip Hop and House dancing. He was first introduced to the world of dance through his friends – together they formed the HeadHunters Crew, attending events and workshops in California, Texas, Seattle, New York and Florida. Adrian and his crew have performed won awards at some of the most prestigious dance events in the country such as Empower SJ, Out for Fame Seattle, Out for Fame Oakland and Evolution FL. The HeadHunters Crew also puts on a yearly break dancing battle in San Jose, entitled “II Birds, I Stone,” that draws in crews from around the Bay Area. As a dancer, he is always looking to sharpen and extend his own dance skills by continuing to challenge himself to seek new knowledge of his craft. He attends workshops in the area, most regularly at City Dance in San Francisco that draws in top choreographers from around the country. He looks up to and has learned from some of the best including Elite Force Crew, Soul Sector Crew, and DS Players.
Nicole began dancing at the age of 3 at Branham Dance Studio and started competing at the age of 7. At the age of 11, she was invited to participate in a ballet and pointe master class that was taught by a Juilliard instructor. She assisted classes at her dance studio throughout high school and fell in love with teaching. She had the pleasure of cheering on the varsity cheer team at Pioneer High School. She also has attended elite training camps such as USA cheer/dance camps and has had many opportunities to perform and compete at Regional and National competitions. Nicole is excited to share her passion for dance with her students at WVDC.