Your Premiere Dance Studio

Staff

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

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 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 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!

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 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.

Noelle Campos

Ms. Noelle started her ballet training at the tender age of five while she was residing in the Philippines. She immigrated to the United States at age eight, and from there her training continued at Westlake School for the Performing Arts, where she was able to hone her skills in different dance genres. She was able to participate in various ballet productions as a soloist, compete in prestigious dance competitions, and attend summer intensives like the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. Ms. Noelle earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at San Jose State University in 2016, and is continuing her career as professional dancer and dance educator in the Bay Area.

Sara Carnett

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!

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.

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.

Nicole Ferris

Beginning dance classes at just two years old, Nicole has trained in techniques of dance ranging from ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, and acrobatics for many years. Her dance career started at a local studio in New York, and by the age of ten, she transferred to High-Performance Dance Center where training became more rigorous. At eleven years old she started competing in dance competitions up the east coast and dancing with her studio’s ballet company. Traveling to many conventions, and master classes including JUMP, Broadway Dance Center, Dance Masters of America, NUVO, 24/7 Dance, and Saratoga Dance Center, she broadened her technique, style and ability to train amongst a variant of methods. After assistant teaching within her studio for many years, she went on to teach in the city school district. Working with The Boys and Girls Club, she brought dance into after-school programs throughout the whole school district, along with teaching at a local studio. Nicole is continuing to spread her passion for dance and teaching, and is delighted to be joining the faculty of West Valley Dance Company.

Shayla Freeman

Shayla began dancing at the age of three learning ballet, jazz, tap, and hip hop. She continued with her love for dancing by growing her knowledge in hip hop and ballet in college. Shayla has worked with children most of her life and is doing her best to bring as many different forms of art into their world as possible! She’s looking forward to sharing her love of dance with the WVDC dancers.

Maia Guilloty

Maia began dancing in musical theatre shows and found a love in learning and performing choreography. She started with tap at the age of 12 at the Dance Spot Eastlake in San Diego and fell completely head over heels in love. Maia remained competing, teaching, and taking class. She truly understands how satisfying and uplifting it feels to see her students succeed and reach their goals. She believes dance classes help children grow in technique as well as their confidence and responsibility.

Erin Heath

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.

Amber Holman

Amber began dancing at the young age of only two years old. Her passion for dance began at South Bay Dance Center where she continued on for 16 years. She became a principal dancer in many companies in the Bay Area including South Bay Ballet Arts and Pure Dance Company. She was captain of her high school’s award winning dance team for two years in a row. She has danced alongside many professional artists and performed at the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show in Hawaii. She has gained extensive training through the United Spirit Association where she danced annually each summer. She went on to study the art of music and dance throughout college. She is passionate about sharing her love of dance with others and continues to grow daily!

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.

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.

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.

Jena Lockwood

Office Manager

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.

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.

Tiffany Lynn

Tiffany first began dancing at the age of four. Growing up in Oklahoma and Kansas, she studied and performed with several local dance companies, including Dance Theater for Young People. She attended the University of Oklahoma with a ballet scholarship to the School of Dance and graduated with a BA in Sociology. Over the years, Tiffany has attended many workshops and conventions as a dancer and as a teacher. She began her teaching career in Austin, Texas and has been teaching ballet, pointe, jazz, and tap for 10 years. In Texas, she also created and ran a performance team for dancers aged 7-10. Tiffany lives in San Jose with her husband and two children.

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

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 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!

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.

Nicole Ruocchio

 Nicole started dancing at the age of 2 and also trained as a competitive gymnast until the age of 13. She has trained in many styles of dance including two, jazz, ballet, pointe, contemporary, lyrical, modern, and hip hop.
Nicole was on her middle school, high school, and now college dance teams and is currently dancing half time at both football and basketball games for San Jose State University. She also grew up competing in both local and national dance competitions. She has been teaching dance since she was 16 years old and also has a background coaching gymnastics.
This is her first year at West Valley Dance Company and she is so excited to teach acro this year!

Rose Sanchez

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!

Chelsea Sioxson

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.

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.

Adrian Vasquez

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.

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 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!