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.

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. 

Nicole Ferris

Begging 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 started competing in dance competitions up to 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 faulty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

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.

Kirsten Livingston

Kirsten Livingston is a ballet instructor, a choreographer, a musical theater enthusiast, and (her favorite ‘job’ title) a Motherof three. She was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, where she began training with Santa Cruz Ballet Theater at a young age, and went on to dance as a soloist and principal dancer with the company. Over the course of her ballet career, many of her proudest moments took place on the stages and in the studios of prestigious schools around the United States, including School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Pacific Northwest BalletHer teaching style was inherited from her own training with some of ballet’s most inspiring teachers. Since beginning her teaching career over 25 years ago, Kirsten has taught and choreographed at studios from Carmel and Santa Cruz, to the San Francisco Bay area. Nothing feeds her soul quite like the feeling of encouraging young women to be bold, strong, and confidence through ballet arts education. Kirsten is delighted to be returning to teach at Menlo Park Academy of Dance after several years hiatus.

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.

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.

Brandi Minter

Brandi is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. She began moving her little hips at age 5 in ballet, tap, and tumbling. In middle school Brandi continued her ballet training and found her love for jazz at Menlo Park Academy of Dance. She later started teaching hip hop for the studio at 15. Even though Brandi saw herself going to UC Davis to become a veterinarian her mom encouraged her to attend college for dance. In Fall of 2002, Brandi attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington and majored in dance and continued teaching. Within three and a half years Brandi had the opportunity to work and train with teachers and choreographers: Wade Madsen, Amy O’Neill, Amii Legendre, Bebe Miller, Kitty Daniels, Terri Sparks, Gerard Theoret, Pat Hon, Michelle Miller, Deborah Wolfe, Daniel Cruz, and Marie Chong. Brandi never saw herself as a dance instructor but has been teaching for the past 20 years to students ranging from preschoolers to adults. The main compliment she received from parents is how well she disciplines the students. Brandi continues to empower and encourage her students to grow and move to their fullest capacity by instilling a strong technical foundation and belief within themselves. If you could sum up her up in three words it would be fun, sassy and positive.

 

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.

 

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.

Giulia Settimo

Giulia SettimoGiulia Settimo, from Foggia, Italy, began her training at the Danzàrea school under the direction of Marina Castriota. She attended workshops like the Balletto di Toscana in Florence, the National Competition Danza Firenze, the National Competion of Dance Omaggio del Sud Salento in Presicce and the inaugural session of the International Dance Award San Nicola in Bari where she earned scholarship for her achievements in contemporary dance, and was invited to attend the Tanzcompagnie of Giessen. In 2013 she joined the Trainee Program of American Repertory Ballet in Princeton, New Jersey, where she eventually became a company member and danced until 2018. Giulia has trained under an array of a esteemed International teachers including Lazzaro Carreno, Tony Candeloro, Irina Rosca, Frederic Olivieri, Elisabetta Terabust, Clarissa Mucci, Giorgia Maddamma, Victor Ullate, Fabrizio Monteverde and Eleonora Abbagnato. Giulia joined Menlowe Ballet in the fall 2018.

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.

Chelsea Tamulevich

Chelsea Tamulevich has thirty two years of classical training, performing and teaching. Her professional career spans many decades and includes performing in the parades for Disney. Chelsea obtained a BFA in Dance from UC Irvine, and an MFA in Dance Design from St. Mary’s College, Moraga. Chelsea is currently a Pilates Master Trainer at UCSF and teaches ballet barre. She is thrilled with the opportunity to teach the students of Menlo Park Academy of Dance.

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.