E-mail: info@menloparkacademyofdance.com | Telephone: 650-323-5292

Faculty

Sarah-Jane Measor

PhotoDirector/Owner

Sarah-Jane Measor was born in England and realized her love for dance at an early age. She was trained in the Royal Academy of Dance & Imperial Society Techniques and holds the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Teaching Certificate with distinction. Her knowledge of dance extends beyond ballet, encompassing tap, jazz and European folk dance. Ms. Measor taught and performed professionally in Hong Kong before coming to the United States in 1990. She joined the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance as a teacher in 1992, became co-owner and Director in 2005, and in 2015, became sole owner and Director.
Ms. Measor is the recipient of numerous regional and national competition choreographic awards, as well as many studio awards recognizing “best technique” and “overall highest scores”. In 2016, under her leadership, Menlo Park Academy of Dance submitted the most student entries of any U.S. school for Royal Academy dance exams. She has successfully coached students through all RAD levels of exams including the prestigious Solo Seal Award.
In 2016 and 2017, she and her husband, Michael Lowe, were presented with the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award by Youth America Grand Prix where many of her students have placed in the final rounds held in New York City.
Ms. Measor nurtures her students to achieve their best and many have gone on to enjoy professional dance careers, including former student, Cheryl Burke, of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”. Ms. Measor made her professional choreographic debut in 2016 with Menlowe Ballet’s world premiere of Portraits.

 

Joyce Aranda

Joyce has taught our Adult Ballet classes for 20 years. She has trained extensively in Ballet and Character dancing. She taught and performed professionally in Chicago.

Sarah Arnold

Sarah trained in Atherton with Kimiko Sugano Jonsson, Sacramento Ballet and San Francisco Ballet after receiving a Ford Foundation scholarship. After a 10-year professional career in Europe and the USA, she became the Director of Ballet Idaho’s company school as well as directing her own ballet academy for 25 years.  She is certified in “Progressing Ballet Technique”, has augmented her studies with David Howard, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Finis Jhung, Jurgen Schneider/Vaganova syllabus, Lisa Howell (Perfect Form Physiotherapy), and most notably, Maria Vegh. Her students have joined companies such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Lines. Sarah is also the creator of “The Accidental Artist”, an online ballet blog and instructional site for dancers and teachers. To Ms. Arnold, teaching is a lifelong pursuit and she is always motivated to share her knowledge and experience with her students!

Nicole Banta

Nicole has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Theater while growing up in the Bay Area. MPAOD is excited to add her to the faculty teaching morning children’s classes. (Nicole has two boys of her own). Her fun and innovated classes for children will be very welcome at the studio.

Leonor DeLope Friedeberg

Leonor DeLope Friedeberg started dancing at an early age. She received her ballet training from the Royal Academy of Dance system for twelve years. During the same time she danced jazz and folkloric ballet until she moved to Boston to study scene design at Boston University, and later a Masters at the Rhode Island School of Design. She attended intensives at the National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance INBA and at the Royal Academy of Dance in London. Since moving to California and having her beautiful children, she has been dedicated to design and teaching.

Kimberly Dodge

Kimberly trained and graduated from Professional Ballet School under directors Carmela Zegarelli Peter & Zoltan Peter. She joined Queen City Ballet Company in 2006 under the director Campbell Midgley and was promoted to soloist in 2008.  Returning back to the Bay Area, Kimberly has performed with Peninsula Ballet Theatre Company and Western Ballet Company.  She holds a degree in Radiologic Science and also continues to dance and instruct as a freelance artist in the Bay Area. Kimberly is very excited to join the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

Janice Miller Fager

janJanice grew up dancing in the Studio and has taught tumbling and tap for Menlo Park Academy of Dance in the past. Janice is an accomplished acrobatic instructor. MPAD welcomes her back as a teacher with many talents. 

Julia Giordano

Julie_GiJulia Giordano from Scottsdale, Arizona, began studying at age three with Nina Marlow and Rena Becker at Nina Marlow School of Ballet. Her training continued at Master Ballet Academy under Slawomir and Irena Wozinak. She attended intensive programs with American Ballet Theater Alabama, Ballet Arizona, Joffrey Midwest, Master Ballet Academy, Ballet Austin, and State Street Ballet. Julie danced professionally with State Street Ballet and with Ballet Tucson where she had the joy of working with John Gardener and Amanda McKerrow. There, she performed ballets by George Balanchine and Anthony Tudor, and appeared in productions of Giselle, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Graduation Ball. Julia joined Menlowe Ballet in 2013. Julia is thrilled to be joining the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

Peter Hershey

5559990_origPeter hails from New York, where he attended high school at the Nassau B.O.C.E.S. Cultural Arts Center and trained at the School of American Ballet. He went on to attend The Juilliard School under the artistic directorship of Benjamin Harkarvy. As a member of Ballet San Jose for twelve seasons, Peter was best known for dancing the role of Johnny in Dennis Nahat’s “Blue Suede Shoes”. His repertoire also included leading roles in “The Nutcracker” and “Rodeo”, as well as soloist roles in works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Donald McKayle, Dennis Nahat, Twyla Tharpe, and Stanton Welch. In addition to his work with BSJ, Peter was most recently a closing member of Company C Contemporary Ballet, where he was featured in works by Charles Anderson, Maurice Causey, Susan Jaffe, Charles Moulton, and Yuri Zhukov. Peter has performed as guest artist with Menlowe Ballet and has also enjoyed teaching at many ballet schools throughout the Bay Area. He is thrilled to be joining the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

Vinnie Jones

Vinnie Jones received her early dance training in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with Mihailo Djuric. She trained in ballet, jazz and modern dance. She went on to attend the University of Utah and obtain a degree in dance teaching with a focus on Ballet and Character Dance. She has toured and performed all over the world including Spain, Canada, Ukraine, Greece, Mexico and France. She has danced with companies including San Diego Ballet, Ballet Tucson, Menlowe Ballet, and LaMov Compania de Danza of Spain. Her professional dance career has included contemporary dance, folk dance and classical ballet companies. She has been teaching for several years and specializes in ballet, contemporary styles, and character or folk dance. Vinnie has a passion for bringing out the potential in her dancers as well as choreographing challenging and engaging works for them.

Jayvin Lee

Jayvin started dancing age of 12. He started off teaching himself styles such as popping, breakdancing, and even turfing. During high school, he then joined local dance teams to learn urban choreography which lead him to compete and showcase. During college, he continued to perform as well as take master classes and workshops with leading choreographers in the Hip Hop community. He was then given the opportunity to teach at multiple studios in the Bay Area. Jayvin has also choreographed Hip Hop numbers with the Foothill College Dance Company. He’s ecstatic about being able to inspire and help more students achieve their dance goals at MPAOD.

Michael Lowe

Michael danced principal roles with Oakland Ballet from 1972 to 2001. He toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, and worked with legendary choreographers such as Agnes de Mille, John Butler, Leonide Massine, Frederic Franklin, Willem Christensen, Eugene Loring and Mark Morris to name a few. In 2003, Michael won the prestigious Isadora Duncan Award for Best Choreography for his ballet “Bamboo”. His works have been seen all over the US, Belarusse, Poland and in Paris. Michael has also served as Assistant Artistic Director of Oakland Ballet from 1997-2000 and co-ordinated the company’s Outreach program through the East Bay from 1982-1999. In addition, Michael also directed Peninsula Ballet Theatre from 2004-2008, Oakland Ballet in 2009 and served as resident choreographer for Moving Arts Dance. Michael is a company teacher for Smuin Ballet and Artistic Director of his own exciting new company, Menlowe Ballet. Students of Michael have enjoyed success in many competitions including the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Many have gone on to careers with company’s such as San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and Ballet San Jose.

Amanda Marquez

Amanda is a versatile Performer, Instructor and Choreographer in multiple dance styles including Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet and Latin Dance.  She specializes in Latin Jazz and NY Style Salsa On 2, otherwise known as Mambo.  Her extensive dance training began with classical ballet, musical theater and modern dance at the school of the Garden State Ballet in NJ and continued throughout the years in Los Angeles, San Francisco and NYC. Amanda has been an instructor at some of the most prestigious dance institutions in NYC including: The Joffrey Ballet School, Ballet Hispanico, Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Center and Peridance.  She was also the Primary Dance Specialist at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan and a Choreographer for Central Park Dance Academy’s Elite Dancers in Scarsdale, NY. In 2012 Amanda signed with MSA Talent Agency in NY and worked closely with Latin Choreographers Sekou McMiller and Maria Torres.  Performance credits include Broadway Bares Equity Fights Aids at the Hammerstein Ballroom, The Latin Billboard Awards where she danced for Popstar Don Omar, New York Knicks Latin Family Night at Madison Square Garden, The 33rd New York Salsa Festival at the Barclays Center,  featuring Willie Colon, Grupo Niche, Eddie Palmieri, Frankie Negron, Eddie Santiago and Jerry Rivera, multiple benefits for The Latino Commission Against Aids, The Latin Nutcracker, and television appearances on Telemundo, Univision and The BBC Vancouver.  Amanda has also traveled as a Performer and Instructor throughout the US and Internationally in China, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle and Boston.

Hannah McNany

Hannah McNany, hails from Valencia, CA, and studied under the directorship of Gary Masters at San José State University. Earning her B.F.A. in Dance, she has danced with Quicksilver Dance, Insomniac, Peter & Co. (SF), REACH BC Dance Company, SjDANCEco, and previously worked with Robert Dekkers, Rogelio Lopez, and Project Agora (Kara Davis). Prior training includes Santa Clarita Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, BalletMet and R.A.D. (Through Advanced Two). Now living in Pacifica, Hannah performs professionally in addition to freelancing while also finding time to study for her two-year RAD teacher training program. Hannah is excited to be joining the teaching faculty for MPAOD this fall!

Lauren Mindel

Lauren trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and Contemporary in the Bay Area. She attended intensive programs with ABT and Lines Ballet in 2005 and 2007. Lauren performed with PBT in 2005 and 2008 and Black Diamond Ballet Theatre in 2010, both under the Artistic Direction of Michael Lowe. She also trained with UCLA’s dance program staff, and with LA’S Hip-Hop and Jazz Funk choreographer Saleemah E. Knight. Lauren us currently dancing with Menlowe Ballet and is thrilled to join the MPAOD faculty.

Elizabeth Perez

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Born in Central Queensland, Australia, Elizabeth has completed a Diploma of Musical Theatre at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and gained her Members teacher accreditation in Dance. After moving to Sydney to train at the Brent Street Performing Arts Centre and The Sydney Dance Company she was quickly signed to one of the leading dance agencies in Australia. From there she worked extensively around Australia and performed as the lead dancer on the Sydney Showboats with back-to-back contracts.  Elizabeth also completed a Bachelor of Education in Human Movement, receiving Honours at completion.  Since having her two beautiful children and moving to California, Elizabeth now choreographs for various theatre productions and loves teaching young dancers.

Chantelle Pianetta

Chantelle Pianetta, a Bay Area native, began her training at the Contra Costa Ballet School. At age 14, she was accepted into the School of American Ballet in New York City. While at SAB, she performed with the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Scherzo a la Russe, Christopher Wheeldon’s Scenes de Ballet, and Susan Stroman’s Double Feature. In 2008, Chantelle enrolled in Columbia University’s School of General Studies and was a member of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. Chantelle joined Company C Contemporary Ballet in 2010, where she originated leading roles in works by Susan Jaffe, Charles Anderson, Patrick Corbin, and Brian Reeder. She has also performed as a principal guest artist with the Oakland Ballet, Contra Costa Ballet, and Central California Ballet. Chantelle joined Menlowe Ballet in 2015. In addition to performing, Chantelle has taught dance and fitness throughout the Bay Area for the past 5 years. She is excited to bring her knowledge and passion for teaching to the Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

Ommi Pipit-Suksun

A native of Thailand, Ommi started her ballet training in her homeland and completed the highest examination from the Royal Academy of Dance’s Solo Seal Award. At age 15, she moved to London to study at the Royal Ballet School where she was offered a 3 year full scholarship. She then proceeded to become the youngest person to win a gold medal at the Genée International Competition in 2001. During her study at the Royal Ballet School, Ommi was chosen to perform at international galas and was also selected to perform with the Royal Ballet in many productions. In 2004 Ommi joined San Francisco Ballet as one of its youngest Soloist dancers. Her repertoire include Principal and Soloist roles such as Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy, Bluebird Pas de Deux in Sleeping Beauty, Tomasson’s 7 for Eight, and many others. She has also worked with world renowned choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Yuri Possokhov, among others. Until 2016, Ommi performed as a Principal dancer with Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley. Her performances include lead roles such as Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote, Roland Petit’s Carmen, Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Karen Gabay’s Nutcracker, and Alicia Alonso’s Giselle. She has also worked and created new works with various choreographers including Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Yuri Zukhov, Jorma Elo, and many others. In the past few years, Ommi has been teaching and coaching ballet extensively to students of all ages and levels. She is also an ABT® Certified Teacher from Primary to Pre-Professional levels. She enjoys sharing her passion, experience and knowledge with others and believes that ballet class should be a fun and positive learning environment where students can thrive. Her goal is to establish a strong classical ballet technique in her students while encouraging them to develop their artistry and performance skills.

Patricia Ortiz

Patricia has trained extensively in ballet, modern, jazz and contemporary styles at various schools in the Bay Area. Her professional career began at the age of 15 and she has had the opportunity of performing with Peninsula Ballet Theater, Moving Arts Dance, Black Diamond Theater and is currently with Michael Lowe’s Menlowe ballet company. Patricia has competed and placed in high rankings representing the US in competitions such as International Dance Challenge, Youth America Grand Prix and in 2008, won Miss Teen Starquest at Starquest nationals. Patricia has also been awarded scholarships to several intensives including Bolshoi Ballet and LINES Ballet, to name a few. When not pursuing dance, Patricia is working toward her degree in Performing Arts and Business as well as giving back to the community through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald house and a wide-range of church outreach programs and missions. Patricia’s passion for teaching developed at the ripe age of 16 and she has, since then, enjoyed leading dancers of all ages through classical technique, musicality and vibrant expression. She is humbled and excited to be teaching the students of MPAOD.

Patricia Retanubun

Patricia Retanubun graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance, with a Jazz emphasis. While studying at SJSU, she was a company member of University Dance Theatre under the artistic educators of Gary Masters and studied under Jill Yager, Heather Cooper, Dominique Lomuljo, and Keith Pinto. Patrica grew up dancing, studying ballet and pointe with the Royal Academy of Dance technique, as well as jazz and lyrical dance. She has performed with the American College Dance Association at Cal State Long Beach and is a recipient of the Outstanding Student in Dance award from Ohlone Community College. Patricia worked and interned at Disney World Florida as a performer for 3 years. She is excited to be part of the Menlo Park Academy of Dance family.

Justine Rockwood

Justine was born in the Bay Area and fell in love with ballet while watching the Bolshoi Ballet’s Kingdom of the Shades on tour in London. She has trained in the Russian Vaganova method at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet, City Ballet School, and the Kirov Academy of Dance. In 2016, she attended the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in Saint Petersburg, Russia for a Certificate in Ballet Mastery. From 2011 to 2017, Justine served as Ballet Mistress of Presidio Dance Theatre in San Francisco, participating in two international tours and assisting with the creation of The Little Lantern, an original full-length ballet. Justine has a master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in Performance Psychology, a field that seeks to understand the mental attributes that lead to success in performers various domains, and has held performance workshops for the Menlo Park Academy of Dance Summer Intensive Students. She looks forward to working with the students and faculty at Menlo Park Academy of Dance. 

Fabiana Santiago

Fabiana Santiago, from Crystal Lake, Illinois, began studying at age four under Judith Svalander. She attended intensives with Boston Ballet and with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy (BBA) in New York City, resulting in a full scholarship to study in Moscow, Russia. Fabiana completed her sophomore year with BBA in Moscow training with the international graduating class under the direction of Marina Lionova, and performing on the historic Bolshoi Theatre stage as the Lead Gypsy in La Fille Mal Gardée and in the Spanish Duet from La Cachucha. She was awarded a talent scholarship to attend Butler University in Indianapolis where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Performance. Upon graduating, she was invited to perform with New York’s Ajkun Ballet Theatre under Chiara Ajkun. There she performed Ajkun’s Carmen at the Egg Center for Performing Arts, the Mark Morris Dance Center and at the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture. Fabiana’s passion for dance also transcends through her teaching. She was a faculty member at the Rockford School of Dance in Rockford IL, where she taught and choreographed performances for her students. She has also taught at various schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and is thrilled to be joining the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

Isabelle Sjahsam

Isabelle is a performer, director, teacher and creator in works ranging from traditional ballets to interdisciplinary public performance installations. She received her early dance training with Bay Area Royal Academy of Dance teacher, Connie Vaughan, and later studied with RAD examiner Susan Robinson in England. Contemporary dance became Isabelle’s passion after seeing the Mark Morris Dance Group, prompting her to attend the Taylor School in New York and complete a BA in Dance at Mills College. Sjahsam has performed with several Bay Area companies including Em Space Dance, Jenny McAllister/13th Floor Dance Theater and Anna Halprin and Dancers. She appeared in the works of Michael Lowe while working with Moving Arts Dance and Black Diamond Ballet Theatre, and has toured internationally with Leyya Tawil’s Dance Elixir. Currently Isabelle co-directs ArtFace Performance Group, an Oakland based dance-theater troupe with Malinda Trimble.

Marilyn Trounson

Marilyn Trounson was born and raised in San Francisco. She danced with Royal Ballet, London for 9 years. Two years in the school and seven years in the Company. Roles were created for her by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and Sir Frederick Ashton.

Dottie Lester-White

dottieDottie danced professionally on Broadway for 10 years. She grew up in the Studio and is now an independent choreographer and director for both stage and musicals. Dottie’s morning and evening Tap classes are fun and challenging.

Nicole Yip

Nicole Yip grew up in Colorado where she received the majority of her ballet training.  She studied under Mark Carlsen, German Zamuel, and Irina Brecher.  After high school, she moved to California to join Ballet San Jose dancing in ballets such as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphide, and the Firebird among other classical and contemporary works.  She has also performed as a guest artist with Western Ballet, Peninsula Ballet Theater, and other ballet schools and companies in the Bay Area.  Nicole has enjoyed teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced ballet classes at many different dance schools in the Bay Area.

 

 

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