2017 Biographies — Dance

Lucia Artacho

Lucia Artacho

Flamenco & Latin dance

Lucia Artacho started dancing ballet and Spanish classic at age 4 in her native Madrid, Spain. However, it was not until her early adulthood that she discovered the connection with Flamenco under the mentorship of Marisel Salascruz, creative director of Saint Louis Cultural Flamenco Society (SLCFS), where Lucia learned, taught, and performed for seven years. She had the privilege to learn from, and share stage with international Flamenco artists such as Maria del Mar Villau, Beatriz Rubiales, and Edwin Aparicio. Lucia considers herself a perpetual student of any dance discipline you want to teach her.


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!


Bohuslava (Slávka) Jelínková

Bohuslava (Slávka) Jelínková

Ballet/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.


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.


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.


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