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.

 

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!

Lani Dickinson

Lani Dickinson began her training in Towson, Maryland. She performed in many consecutive years of The Nutcracker, and studied the RAD Ballet syllabus including taking the examinations. Lani attended two summers at the Boston Ballet Summer Intensive and continued her dance when she moved to Massachusetts. In 2010, Lani attended Idyllwild Arts Academy, a boarding high school for the arts, in southern California. She graduated with honors and attended a summer at Alonzo King LINES Ballet. In 2016, Lani graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Dominican University of California, in collaboration with Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program, in San Francisco. In 2015, she was awarded the Princess Grace Dance Award. Lani joined AXIS Dance Company in August 2016 through November 2019. Lani has been interviewed for CNN (2017), Dance Spirit Magazine (Oct 2017), KGO-TV (2013), and The Boston Herald newspaper (2010). She danced as a soloist in a short film that won honorable mention in San Francisco Dance Film Festival (2018). She also appears in a UCSF nationally televised commercial, “How UCSF Health is Redefining Possible (2018). Lani is enthusiastic to begin working with the students at Menlo Park Academy of Dance. She wants to help children and teens develop their creative voices while improving their health and well-being. Lani is an advocate for inclusive practices, especially in dance.

Julia Ferrari

Julie_GiJulia Ferrari from Scottsdale, Arizona, began studying dance at age three at the Nina Marlow School of Ballet. Her training continued at Master Ballet Academy under Slawomir and Irena Wozinak through high school. 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 ot Giselle, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Graduation Ball. With State Street Ballet, Julia performed many classical and contemporary ballets, as well as touring the United States.  Julia joined Menlowe Ballet in 2013, where she performed multiple ballets by Michael Lowe and Sarah- Jane Measor, Val Caniparoli, Greg Dawson, Ray Savage, and many others. Julia graduated from St. Mary’s College in 2017 with her Bachelors Degree in Performing Arts. In 2019, Julia retired professionally with Menlowe Ballet to focus on teaching and growing a family. Julia joined the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance in 2014 and is looking forward to many more years to come. 

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.

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 grew up in the Bay Area training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, character, and more.  She danced professionally with Menlowe Ballet since its inauguration in 2011 up until 2016 under the artistic direction of Michael Lowe.  Prior to that, she performed with PBT in 2005 and 2008 and Black Diamond Ballet Theatre in 2010, both under the artistic direction of Michael Lowe.  Lauren has been teaching a variety of dance forms to children and adults for the past 12 years, with 9 of those years at MPAD.  Lauren has also had the opportunity to teach open classes at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center and summer intensive classes at MPAD and San Francisco Ballet School.  She has used her versatile dance background to her benefit as a choreographer, and has had the honor of winning both national and regional choreography awards at dance competitions.  Currently, Lauren is finishing up her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at UCSF and San Francisco State with the hopes of improving healthcare for the dance community.

Ashia Myers

Ashia Myers began her training at the San Francisco Ballet School on merit scholarship for ten years.  After she began training in contemporary ballet at Lines taking open classes and there she discovered jazz with Cecilia Marta.  She trained with Cecilia expanding her technique and knowledge of dance and later performed with the Cecilia Marta Dance Company in New York.  At twenty-two she moved to Los Angeles where her first job was performing the lead role in a full length contemporary rock ballet called La Sparizione.  As a performing artist she is always trying to expand what is possible, her last performance piece incorporated stilt-dancing a technique she learned with Trey Knight of StiltWorld, a professional stilt-dancing company.  Together they developed a pointe-shoe based stilt which she most recently spent two years in Berlin performing.  She is thrilled to join the faculty of Menlo Park Academy of Dance hoping to share her experience in dance and to give back to the next generation of 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 at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet. She attended intensives with Boston Ballet and with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy 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 performed on the new and historic stages at the Bolshoi Theatre 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. Upon graduating, she was invited to perform with New York’s Ajkun Ballet Theatre under Chiara Ajkun. In the fall of 2017 Fabiana moved to the west coast and joined Menlowe Ballet under the direction of Michael Lowe, performing a variety of ensemble and soloist roles. Fabiana’s passion for dance also transcends through her teaching. She was a faculty member at the Rockford School of Dance in Rockford IL, and has also taught at various schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Fabiana has been teaching at Menlo Park Academy of Dance for the past 2 years as a contemporary, jazz, and pre-ballet instructor. She has choreographed contemporary lyrical works for competition and her work has been recognized and awarded in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and California Dance Classics (CDC). Fabiana looks forward to another year of teaching as a member of the MPAD family.

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.

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.