2016 Biographies — Dance

Ryan Beck

Ryan Beck

Jazz

Ryan grew up dancing and performing on the Central Coast, then all around the world. Performing credits include: Olympic Games, Kalinka Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, the world premiers for Disney of Tarzan, Atlantis, Inspector Gadget and Toy Story 2. He was the lead in Celtic Fusion and Waves, the Irish Dance World Tour. Local performances include the principle dancer in Firebird, The Nutcracker and Beauty and the Beast. He has received scholarships to many workshops, including a full scholarship to The Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles, CA. Ryan is now the owner and director of Studio @ Ryan's American Dance, where he directs several dance companies and trains/teaches in the areas of Jazz, Tap, Ballet & Hip Hop. Ryan teaches and studies Hatha Yoga at Bikram Yoga SLO.


Stefani Borrego

Stefani Borrego

Ballroom and Swing

Stefani Borrego danced internationally with Brigham Young University's undefeated U.S. National Formation Champion Ballroom Dance Company. She is the founder and director of the Lathrop High School Ballroom Dance Team. Stefani says ballroom dancing is a lifelong skill that is good for the soul!


Katie Cueva

Katie Cueva

Tango

Katie grew up primarily in Anchorage, Alaska, and has been teaching, learning, and performing social dances since 2001. She began social dancing while a college freshman in the bay area of California, and turned her attention to tango while visiting Dustin in Buenos Aires in 2007. Katie then honed her salon style tango on the dance floors of Taipei before returning to Alaska where she taught social dance at UAA from 2009-2012. Her energetic dance teaching style emphasizes respectful communication and partnering and has earned her a place as a Teaching Artist with the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and won over students from Seldovia to Shanghai.


Fiaoo Fonoti

Fiaoo Fonoti

Polynesian Dances

Fia has competed in numerous competitions such as the San Jose Tahiti Fete, Las Vegas Tahiti Fete and Western Samoa’s Cultural Festival. Fia danced with Kaea Mauna Lani at Paradise Cove on the island of Oahu and has been teaching Polynesian Dance, including Hula, Tahitian, Samoan and the style of Cook Islands in Fairbanks for 6 years. Fia formed the Polynesian group Tupu Tafa'ifa O Samoa and has performed at numerous community events including a special performance for world renowned artists Te-Vaka.


Bohuslava (Slávka) Jelínková

Bohuslava (Slávka) Jelínková

Character Dance

A native of the Czech Republic, Ms. Jelinkova received her early training at the National Conservatory of Dance in Prague, where she studied not only classical ballet technique, but a variety of other dance forms, including Eastern European folk dance. Upon graduation, she was invited to join the Opera Ballet of the National Theatre in Prague, where she danced and toured worldwide for ten years. She later attended the Prague Academy of Fine Arts, receiving a Master’s Degree in ballet pedagogy. Slávka taught extensively in the Czech Republic, including at the National Conservatory of Dance. In 1993 she was awarded a Dutch State Arts grant to pursue pedagogical studies at both the schools of modern dance and the conservatory of ballet in Rotterdam, The Hague, and Amsterdam. In 1999 Slávka moved to Michigan, where she continued to perform as a free-lance artist with Michigan area choreographers, and serves on the faculties of the Flint School of Performing Arts, the Ann Arbor Arts in Motion, and the University of Michigan. For three years she taught character dance classes and choreographed for the summer program of American Ballet Theatre. Additionally, she has had considerable experience in choreographing works for her students, and has appeared as a guest teacher at dance schools both within and outside Michigan, including the Cape Town City Ballet and Cape Junior Ballet, South Africa.


Dustin Madden

Dustin Madden

Tango

Dustin was raised in Nome, Alaska, and began dancing as a college student in California, where he performed waltz and square dancing. Dustin started learning Argentine Tango in Buenos Aires in 2007 where he immersed himself in the traditional “milonguero” style that emphasizes a comfortable connection, rhythmic musicality, and steps made for social dancing. He and his partner Katie have taught tango and other social dances as UAA adjunct faculty, and for a variety of dance communities throughout Alaska, and most recently, at MIT in Boston.


Terri Massa

Terri Massa

Persian Dance

Terri Massa has studied the folk dances of the Middle East for the last 27 years. Her current focus is on Persian Classical Dance and the folk dances of Iran. She is the founder of Tundra Caravan and is currently the co-director of Cold Fusion Tribal Dance and a member of Simorgh - Farima Dance Company of Alaska, a Persian dance company.


Ruth Merriman

Ruth Merriman

Pilates

Ruth is the Director and principal teacher of the Creative Movement Program for the North Star Ballet School in Fairbanks, Alaska. She was introduced to Pilates through the dance program and went on to complete her first mat certification in 2009. She became certified in the Peak Pilates Program integrating mat and apparatus in 2011. Ruth became comprehensively certified with the Pilates Method Alliance in 2015. The PMA is a certifying agency with the only NCCA (National Commision for Certifying Agencies) accredited certification program for Pilates teachers. Ruth currently teaches mat and apparatus classes for the school and general public.


Melodee Morris

Melodee Morris

Core Strength

In addition to Core, Melodee is certified in Cycling, Centergy and with the AFAA. A personal fitness instructor since 2005. Her passion for core work compelled her to develop Core Strength and Cardio Core. A wife and mother of two, Melodee recently achieved her Master Degree in Community Counseling and is an adult therapist in Fairbanks.


Dante Puleio

Dante Puleio

Modern dance

Dante Puleio is a Jersey Boy. He began dancing shortly after learning how to walk, when at 2 and 3 years old had choreographed and performed for his tirelessly supportive parents, countless dances to everything Michael Jackson and Donna Summer. He didn't begin training though until he was 19 years old in London, UK at the Laban Centre. While abroad in London he was afforded the opportunity to dance with members of the Royal Ballet, then continued his training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, UK. In 1999 he graduated with a BFA from University of the Arts in Philadelphia where he danced with Koresh Dance Co., Brian Sander's of JUNK, and Pennsylvania Ballet Theatre. Upon graduation he moved to NYC and danced with Carolyn Dorfman, Gabriel Masson and the Limon Dance Company. After several years with Limon, he took a hiatus to explore his first love, musical theatre, and performed in Broadway shows such as The Who's Tommy and The Wizard of Oz, as well as getting involved with commercial and industrial work with Tony Stevens and Jason Robert Brown. Before rejoining Limon in 2008 he danced with his step mom on Lifetime TV's dance competition Your Mama Don't Dance with choreographer, Marguerite Derricks, where Ben Vereen told him, "I love watching you dance, its so delicious, it feels like butter". Now with Limon, he is a principal and soloist. He spends most of the year rehearsing and touring with the company as well as setting Limon work and holding residencies as a teacher and choreographer with dance schools, universities and companies in North, Central, and South America as well as Europe and Asia.


Dongsheng Wei

Dongsheng Wei

ballet

Registered in USA and China’s national “Who is Who”, Ballet dancer Mr. Wei Dongsheng was graduated from Beijing Dance Academy in 1987 and become to leading principal dancer with the National Ballet of China till 1991. After 14 years of dance as principal dancer with the Atlanta Ballet, Mr. Wei is working full time with his beloved wife Ms. Jenny Jue Chen in his own dance school The Atlanta Professional Dance Academy founded in 1997. With his profession and acknowledgement in dance, he is leading his school become to internationally recognized dance school. It is famous as Quarter finalist in NBC’s America’s Got Talent season 9 live TV show in NYC’s Radio City Music Hall in 2014 and the grand tile “Amazing Star” winner in Amazing Chinese-Chinese Got Talent TV show hosted by CCTV China in 2015. Now, he is working on culture exchange program between USA and China besides teaching classical Ballet in Johns Creek Georgia and teaching as guest teacher around world.


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