Stephanie Elder-Briones grew up dancing in St. Louis, Missouri under the direction of well-respected instructors Norma Buetell and Mark Krupinski. She performed as a company member of Gateway Ballet of St. Louis and spent her summers performing at "The Muny". Despite an emerging career, she decided that her heart was in teaching and guiding young dancers in a positive, balanced environment. She, alongside her sister, Lauren, founded Stephanie Elder School of Dance (now Camarillo Academy of Performing Arts) in Camarillo, California in 1999. Under her direction, the studio flourished and was recognized at the local and national level. Many of her students have gone on to pursue professional dance careers: Broadway/regional theater, Ballet/Modern companies and some have even followed her footsteps and became teachers and studio owners themselves. After an absence while she focused on raising her five beautiful children, she is beyond excited to be back in the studio!
Rashelle, born and raised in Southern California, began dancing at the age of three and hasn't stopped ever since. She grew up competing as a member of CAPA's performance company and attending summer intensive programs all over the country. Those experiences moved her to pursue dance as a career, so after High School, she moved to New York City to attend college at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy(AMDA). She graduated with her conservatory degree in Dance Theater from AMDA. After graduation, she moved back to Los Angeles where she fell in love with teaching. She loves sharing her experience and passion with all aspects of dance and performance with her students and her students thrive because of the positive, creative energy she brings to every one of her classes at CAPA!
Jo Bliss has been teaching dance to children since 1983. She owned and operated her own dance studio in Oklahoma City, Okla. from 1989 until 2005 when she moved to California to nanny for her daughter. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education from the University of Central Oklahoma, studied dance on a dance scholarship at Oklahoma City University from 1983 to 1987 and enjoyed taking class with Ballet Oklahoma for over 10 years. She danced in over 20 musicals including “Annie”, “My One and Only”, and “Crazy for You”. She was awarded the “Gypsy” award twice and served as dance captain in “Dames at Sea.” She is a member of Dance Masters of America.
Christina Sanchez studied dance on scholarship at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She was invited to join the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble by Director Sylvia Waters. It was there she performed the works of Alvin Ailey as well as many other notable choreographers, touring and teaching extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad. She continued her performing career in New York City, performing with Ballet Hispanico, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Buglisi Dance Theatre. In 1996, Christina joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater where she performed and toured throughout Europe, South America and the US. In 2012 Christopher Pilafian invited Christina to become a member of Santa Barbara Dance Theater. She has taught modern dance at UCSB and also teaches and choreographs at SB Festival Ballet as well as for the Professional Track program at State Street Ballet.
Justin de Vera grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Watching his sister dance growing up, he soon followed in her foot steps at the age of 6, studying hip hop, tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. He booked his first professional job when he was 12 years old as a dancer on Gilmore Girls. After graduating high school, he studied at the University of Arizona furthering his craft as a dance major and while he was on winter break, he booked the Britney Spears World Tour at the age of 19. Since then, Justin has continued his career dancing for Artist, TV shows, awards shows, and movies. Some credits include dancing for Madonna, Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello, Usher, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, Paul Abdul, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Glee, The Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Video Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and Footloose
Ms. Hanna Chudinova comes to CAPA with a graduate degree from Kyiv Choreographic College in Kyiv, Ukraine. She has toured the world with Young Kyiv Ballet, St. Petersburg Ballet, Ukrainian Ballet Theater, Russian Grand Ballet and Moscow Ballet. As much as Ms. Hanna loves being on stage, she loves being in the classroom sharing her love of dance with up and coming ballet dancers just as much. She presents the structure and consistency of ballet in a warm and positive way.
Maggie put her first pair of tap shoes on at 12 years old, and she knew she had found her passion in life. She met Danny Daniels along with her twin sister Mary, and as the saying goes “the rest is history”. She learned her craft exclusively from Danny. Thanks to Danny Daniels, she has pursued a wonderful career in tap dancing. She had a starring dancing roll with Danny Daniels in The John Denver Variety special for NBC in the 1970’s. She went on to dance with him in a television show for HBO called “Opening Night." She was a charter member of the Danny Daniels Dance America Company and went on the road with The Columbia Artist Tour production of “Dance America." From there, she went on to dance in the MGM Movie "Pennies from Heaven." She has taught dance for celebrities such as Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Gallager, Holly from the” Girls Next Door”, Julie Kavner, and Andy Dick, just to name a few. Her choreography life started with competitions. She was named Top Choreographer for LA Dance Force and Dance Masters of Southern California 5 times each. She won The New York City Dance Alliance's highest honor, “The People’s Choice Award”, in 1999. Maggie also received the honor of top trio for the "Showstoppers" television show. Her favorite award to win, is not "Top Choreographer”, but "Most Entertaining”. She feels the most accomplished when she receives this. She was honored twice as one of LA’s Top Choreographers in the Los Angeles Dance Invitational. Maggie has choreographed more recently for the television show "Gilmore Girls", and “Grandpa for Christmas” for the Hallmark Channel starring Ernest Borgnine. She choreographed a show for Tahj Mowry, "The Smart Guy," at the Greek Theatre for the ABC Network, as well as for "An Evening with Golda Meir" staring Renee Taylor and directed by her husband Joe Bologna. Most recently, she choreographed and starred in JC Penny’s and Big Sexy Hair Industrial atop the Kodak Theatre. Maggie went back to New York be a master teacher at "Tradition in Tap" with Avi Miller and Been Ofer, celebrating the Works of Danny Daniels. Maggie is currently the President for Dance Masters of Southern California Chapter 1.
Olivia Johnson, a CAPA alumni, joins us after receiving her BFA in Dance from the University of Michigan. During her time there, she was selected to teach dance and perform at a conservatory in Mexico, as well as, worked with Urban Bush Women, VimVigor Dance Company and Rosie Herrera. She is excited to return to CAPA and bring her knowledge and experience to her students back in her hometown. We are thrilled to have this positive force and rising talent back in our studio each week!
Nyanna is a dancer and actress originally from Chicago. She discovered her passion for dance at 16, evolving it from a hobby to a serious pursuit. At 21, she relocated to Los Angeles to pursue dance and acting while simultaneously earning a Bachelor's degree in Math education. Post-graduation in 2023, she secured representation from an esteemed talent agency, BlocLA and working as an assistant director for Hannah Gallagher Dance Conpany. She is thrilled to be teaching for CAPA and is excited to pass on her knowledge and passion for dance to the next generation.
Jennifer Whalen, a Ventura County native, was a full company member of American Ballet Theatre from 2002-2017. Prior to joining ABT, she danced professionally for State Street Ballet, was awarded the Gold Medal at the New York finals of Youth America Grand Prix, and received first place at the Spotlight Awards in Los Angeles. She appeared in the movie Black Swan, on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and in numerous national ad campaigns, including Under Armour with Misty Copeland. She is very excited to share her vast performing and educational experience with our CAPA dancers!
Dramatic soprano, Tara Wallace is a musician and performer comfortable in an array of genres ranging from classical stage to cabaret houses. Past credits include: “Doris”, Damn Yankees at Five Star Theatricals (formerly Cabrillo Music Theater), “Sally”, Pack of Lies, title roles in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida, “Lily Craven” The Secret Garden, “Georgie Bukatinsky”, The Full Monty and “Casilda”, The Gondoliers to name only a few. A frequent recitalist, Tara debuted her SongFest Series, The History of American Operetta in 2019 as part of The Somis Thursday Club Recital Series. She has also performed in New York’s famed cabaret houses Upstairs at Rose’s Turn and Don’t Tell Mama’s.
She made her vocal film debut backing up Zach Galifiniakis in “The Three Best Friends Song” in the hit film The Hangover and her rendition of “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka can be heard on Feenix Film’s indie-feature Dealer.
Garnering dual Bachelors of Music from the Hartt School, Tara currently studies with Claudine Carlson and has trained with Val Underwood, Rita Shane, Barbara Dever, and Robin Buck. She is the owner and voice teacher at The Hummingbird Conservatory where her students have received national and state awards for singing and have performed at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall in London and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, to name only a few. Her singers have been selected as featured performers with Eastman and UCLA’s summer vocal institutes, the Los Angeles Youth Philharmonic Chamber Series, The Los Angeles Opera Spring and Summer programs. They regularly appear in regional vocal competitions and have been finalists with the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight series.
A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the Southern California Vocal Association, Tara currently sits on the Board of the Pleasant Valley-Ventura County chapter of the Music Teachers’ Association of California where she holds the position of Recording Secretary and is Chair of the Ensemble Festival. She has also been a vocal adjudicator for the Certificate of Merit competition. She is the founder of Hummingbird Puppet Opera Theater! You can find out more about The Hummingbird Conservatory at www.thehummingbirdconservatory.com.
Alexa is originally from Austin, Texas where she pursued her love for musical theatre at the ZACH Performing Arts Academy and had the opportunity to perform in several regional shows including Matilda and A Christmas Carol. Over several summers, she attended Intensives at both Joffrey and BAA in NYC. Most recently, Alexa has moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams in Commercial Dance and Film. She has gotten to work on music videos with choreographers such as Guy Groove and Hamilton Evans as well as train with theCREW, be apart of HMG the company, and meet so many wonderful people! Alexa is excited to share her love and enthusiasm for dance with her students at CAPA.
Brandon Maxwell is a Los Angeles-based educator, dancer, and choreographer. A graduate of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance, he has experience teaching styles including commercial choreography, hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, and more to all ages. Some of his recent choreography credits include the Hollywood Reporter, Carrie Underwood, Chapman University, World of Dance, Contra Coffee + Tea, Chozin, and more. Some of his recent performance credits include the Super Bowl Tillamook "Block Jams" commercial, the Apple "HomePod" commercial, Peacock's series Based on a True Story, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Carrie Underwood, Sub Urban, Jordan Fisher, Champs Sporting Goods, and more. He is excited to join the CAPA faculty and looks forward to a great year!
Tetiana Sklyarova is an interdisciplinary dancer, choreographer and teacher residing in the Los Angeles area. She received a BFA in Dance in 2021 from California Institute of the Arts. Tetiana’s work is a reflection of the sensibility within the body. She practices movement through sensation, impulse, control, and release.
In her recent years, Tetiana has studied and performed works by Jinglin Liao, Peter Chu, Micaela Taylor, Spenser Theberge, Roderick George, Dimitri Chamblas, Rennie Harris, and Rena Butler. In 2021, Tetiana developed a film titled, “The Headless” in collaboration with Christy He and Austin Roberts. Later on, Tetiana performed “Within a Sketch” by Peter Chu. More recently, she performed and choreographed “Doubling” at Torrance Art Museum in collaboration with Beck+Col, Kayla Aguila and Nadia Maryam. She was also the choreographer for the “Red Night” film by Beck+Col in 2022. Tetiana has performed at REDCAT, Torrance Art Museum, LA Dance Project, and Baryshnikov Arts Center.
Sabrina Phillip is an innovative choreographer, passionate dancer and engaging teacher. Sabrina is originally from Canada where she trained intensively in Ballet, Jazz and Modern dance in her early studies and went on to work at the international level in London, England. She taught Master classes at The Pineapple, Danceworks and The Urdang Academy. She has since been asked to travel the globe to work as a teacher and choreographer at countless dance studios, workshops and conventions, most recently in Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Holland and Singapore.
Sabrina is on faculty with Transcend Dance Convention, on guest faculty with Artists Simply Human (ASH) and a proud finalist of the 2016 and 2017 Capezio ACE Awards! Her degree in Exercise and Health Physiology provides her with a special understanding of the human body and the mechanics of movement. As a teacher, her intention is to challenge dancers; focusing on placement, correct technique, strength, agility and musicality. She is currently on faculty at EDGE Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles and is a guest teacher at Movement Lifestyle and the the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School: West LA.
Sabrina has performed with dance companies including Sera Danza, S.H.E., EnCorps, and Unity Dance Ensemble. She appears in commercials for Dex, Hip Hop Abs, Corvel and appeared as a dance expert in Hollywood’s 10 Best Dance Movies. Her choreography has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance as well as a commercials for MoBeam and BCBG, as well as My Fair Wedding with David Turtero. Live performances she’s also choreographed for include the Carnival Choreographer’s Ball, LA Dance Magic’s Final Cut, EDGE scholarship showcase, Jete, and Silverlake Contemporary Ballet’s modern rendition of Swan Lake. Her music video credits include choreography for Stay and Play by Holly Conlan and Jenna Bryson’s Clear.
Chloé Grace Roberts was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Chloe is trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, musical theatre, hip-hop, tap, ballroom, and improvisation. She has worked with choreographers including Jodinik Jo of the Centre du Danse Marais in Paris and Tucker Knox of So You Think You Can Dance. Company work includes Urbanity Dance Company (Boston), Selah Dance Company (SB), Nebula Dance Company (SB), The Prague Shakespeare Company (CZ), and Reject Dance Theatre (NYC). Recent productions include Chicago (Liz and Dance Captain), American Psycho (Choreographer, West Coast Premiere), Grease (Cha-Cha and Dance Captain), How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (Choreographer), and High Society (Mavis and principal dancer). Chloe travels across the US to set choreography for studios and companies for both the competition and concert stages. She is a judge and member of Impact Dance Adjudicators. She is also the Jazz and Contemporary Director at Santa Barbara Dance Arts. @chloerobertsdance #chloerobertschoreo
LeConte Banks is a Louisiana native that moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of his dream to be a professional dancer. While growing up, he was able to train and perform in theatre productions such as Brothers of the Knight and Just Dance which were produced and directed by Debbie Allen. LeConte later started working with Royal Carribean Cruise Lines performing as a dancer, aerialist, and tumbler.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, LeConte became a professional assistant for Hollywood Vibe Dance Convention and Radix. LeConte has worked with artists such as Alicia Keys, Kanye West, JoJo Siwa, Derek Hough, Blake McGrath, RKCB, Hilary Roberts and can be seen on World of Dance with Season 3 Runner ups Unity LA and on Season 2 with Embodiment. He traveled the world on tours with JoJo Siwa and Mystic India. In addition to dancing, LeConte loves to give back to his community by teaching and inspiring kids across the world.
With 15 years of experience in LA, Justine Menter brings industry knowledge and professionalism to every project she works on. Best known for teaching Kim Kardashian on Keeping Up the Kardashians, her choreographic work spans Paris Jackson, America’s Got Talent, LMFAO, CBS, FOX, HULU and more. She is the former Owner/Creative Director of FLIRT, the current host of the podcast Dance Careers: Unfiltered which runs alongside her business MNTR MGMT, as well as an internationally-renowned dance educator. Justine is repped by Movement Talent Agency (choreography/education) and Jenny Stricklin Talent Agency (commercial/print).
Bio Coming Soon...
Alanna grew up dancing at CAPA from the age of 3. She was a member of the competition team starting in 2006 and became a teacher at CAPA in 2015. After graduating high school in 2017, she began choreographing for the competition team while attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. While in college, she was a member of Orchesis Dance Company and the Urban Hip Hop Crew, as well as participating in the annual spring concert. Alanna loves her CAPA family and is excited to continue to work with these wonderful dancers!
Hannah Gallagher is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer located in Los Angeles, California. Hannah has performed with numerous artists including Janet Jackson, Lil Wayne, KidFresh, and Eden XO. Most recently she was working with Tessandra Chavez’s Company, UnityLA, and performed in the UnityLA Live Company Show. She has performed in “Othello’s Touch” in Romania directed by Mario Atelier and was also Assistant Choreographer for this show. Hannah has also taught different styles of dance all over the world in places such as Mexico, Europe, and all over the United States.