castro valley performing arts staff
“Behind every dancer who believes in themselves is a teacher who believed in them first!!”
The Castro Valley Performing Arts faculty are professionals in their field of study. CVPA’s faculty is comprised of some of the most sought-after teachers in the Bay Area who understand that teaching dance is not just about teaching good technique. It is inspiring, encouraging and nurturing the artist in every student.
With over twenty-five years of experience in the entertainment industry, Janet has toured with such names as the Temptations, JoAnn Castle, Bob Hope and Dorothy LaMour. She also spent several years performing aboard Princess Cruise Lines (The Love Boat) singing and dancing in their nightly musical productions. Her television credits include “Dick Clark’s Special of the Year Show” and various commercials for Princess Cruises and American Express. Her choreography credits include a dance fitness television pilot featuring Joanie Greggins, Billy Hufsy from FAME and MC Hammer; The Teen Miss California Pageant; Miss CA Pageant; Outstanding Teen of California Pageant; Ohlone College Summerfest theater productions of “Grease” and “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to The Forum;” and numerous industrials throughout the state of CA. She also served as dance director of the syndicated television program “Morning Stretch.” Prior to opening Castro Valley Performing Arts, Janet was the director of The Academy for the Performing Arts in Fremont and Newark and a member of the faculty in the drama department at Ohlone College in Fremont.
As a director, choreographer, educator and administrator, Gia has been involved with performing arts production for over twenty-five years. Creative credits include Legally Blonde, The Musical (Dir./Chor. – Diablo Theatre Company), Sweet Charity (Dir./Chor. – American Conservatory Theater MFA3 Series), Dreamgirls (Assistant Dir. – West Coast Tour), Little Shop of Horrors (Assistant Dir./Chor. – AMTSJ), Evita (National Youth Theater Award, Best Choreography – CMTSJ), national projects for the Golden State Warrior Girls Dance Team, America’s Junior Miss, Universal Dance Association, regional work with American Musical Theatre of San José, Diablo Theatre Company, Center Repertory Company, Willows Theatre Company, Theatre on San Pedro Square, Pocket Opera, Children’s Musical Theatre of San José, among others. A member of Actors’ Equity, Gia’s favorite performing adventures include national tours of Evita (25th Anniversary Tour / Dance Captain, Dir. Harold Prince) and The Hot Mikado (Dance Captain), twelve shows with American Musical Theatre of San José, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Nickelodeon. An adjunct faculty member at California State University, East Bay and Notre Dame de Namur University, she has taught for the Universal Dance Association, Mills College, U.C. Davis Experimental College and Music Theatre Conservatory. She proudly served as Artistic Associate for American Musical Theatre of San José and Producing Director for Diablo Theatre Company and was a member of the Castro Valley Arts Foundation Board of Directors from 2009-2012. She holds a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Health and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance. Gia’s MFA thesis is entitled “Curriculum Implementation in Dance Education: How Benchmarks and Goal Setting Affect Student Learning Experiences and Outcomes.”
A dancer from the age of three, Lindsey moved to Southern California to pursue her dance career. Through her time there, she has been lucky enough to work with artists such as Beyoncé, Kat Graham and Lil’Wayne. She was requested to train Charlie Sheen for his dance scene in the Roman Coppola film “A Glimpse in the Mind of Charles Swan the III,” in which she also appeared on-screen as a dancer and actress. She has been a part of the Grammys, the Latin Grammys, the Olympics and has appeared on television shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” “America’s Got Talent,” “First Look LA” and the news. Commercial credits include Old Navy, SENSA and Salon Pas, with industrials for NIKE, Amway, Sexy Hair Company. and Oakley Sunglasses. She has performed and taught internationally in places such as the Costa Rica, Guam, the Bahamas and has performed for one of the Saudi Arabian royal families. Lindsey trained a troupe of Chinese acrobats and was the dance captain and assistant choreographer for a major production overseas. Her company credits include Terry Beeman’s Dance Co. as a dancer and aerialist, Joelle Martinec’s SoleVita Dance Co. and RhetOracle Dance Company. She also attended college and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and is a certified diversity trainer. She is the director of “Perspectives Dance Company” – a new and innovative professional company located in the Silicon Valley.
Ever since Kristina eagerly slipped her feet into her first pair of ballet slippers at the tender age of five, it has been difficult to keep her out of them! Kristina has studied at three different dance studios in Castro Valley, but CVPA was always been the place that felt most like home to her. After being a passionate student at CVPA, Kristina was inspired to give back to the community and spread the love of dance to children of a variety of ages. She dabbled in choreographing and teaching for Douglas Morrison’s theater camps and has been teaching at CVPA since 2007. Helping to foster positivity, creativity and self-confidence in children is her number one passion in life. She currently has a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in childhood studies and a multiple subject teaching credential for grades K-6. While she is not dancing her heart away at CVPA, she can be found molding the young and eager minds at Stanton Elementary where she teaches Kindergarten. Kristina’s dance classes are both fun and challenging. She has a large following of tiny dancers who adore her – appropriately calling her the “the little old lady who lives in the shoe” – tap shoe that is!
Carolyn Wilson began her ballet career in Alameda at the Alameda School of Dance and with the Alameda Chamber Ballet under the direction of Ms. Victoria Turner Rosas where she quickly made her way from Apprentice to Principal dancer. In 1996, Carolyn moved to Boston, where she continued her training under Elena Solovieva and the faculty of the Boston Ballet. She moved to Las Vegas in 1998 to continue her professional career with the Nevada Ballet Theatre. Carolyn moved back to the Bay Area and graduated from California State University, Hayward with a degree in Business Marketing and received a Wedding Consultant Certificate. She continues to pursue her other passion – working in the Weddings & Special Events Industry as a Certified Wedding Planner and owning her own business, Carolyn Wilson ~ Weddings & Events. In 2003, Carolyn joined the newly formed Alameda Civic Ballet as Soloist and in 2004 was promoted to Principal. No longer performing, Carolyn has dedicated her spare time to teaching for Alameda Ballet Academy, Castro Valley Performing Arts and assists Alameda Civic Ballet as Ballet Mistress.
Amanda is a versatile Performer, Instructor and Choreographer in multiple dance styles including Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet and Latin Dance. She specializes in Latin Jazz and NY Style Salsa On 2, otherwise known as Mambo.
Amanda has been an instructor at some of the most prestigious dance institutions in NYC including The Joffrey Ballet School, Ballet Hispanico, Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Center, and Peridance.
In 2012 Amanda signed with MSA Talent Agency in NY and worked closely with Latin Choreographers Sekou McMiller and Maria Torres. Performance credits include Broadway Bares Equity Fights Aids at the Hammerstein Ballroom, The Latin Billboard Awards, where she danced for pop star Don Omar, The New York Knicks Latin Family Night at Madison Square Garden, The 33rd New York Salsa Festival at the Barclays Center, featuring Willie Colon, Grupo Niche, Eddie Palmieri, Frankie Negron, Eddie Santiago and Jerry Rivera, multiple benefits for The Latino Commission Against Aids, The Latin Nutcracker, television appearances on Telemundo, Univision, The BBC Vancouver and The Fox Upfronts featuring Terry Bradshaw and Regis Philbin at the Marquis Theater.
Amanda is a certified Yoga Instructor through Greenpath Yoga in San Francisco and holds her BA in Sociology with a concentration in Family Studies from San Jose State University.
Hannah loves to solve the body’s mysteries, carefully amd systematically unlocking its truest and freest movement potential. A lifetime student of ballet and modern dance, she has trained professionally since her youth and now enjoys encouraging and assisting in their personal movement goals. As a ballet teacher, Hannah Varga is passionately committed to sharing both the discipline and the joy of ballet training. Her formal training began in 1984 at the Lexington School of Ballet in Kentucky, where she was fortunate to be exposed to a wide range of internationally certified instructors from the Vagonova, Cecchetti, Bournonville and R.A.D. schools. She holds an M.F.A. in dance from the University of California Irvine, where she studied under Donald McKayle, Jodie Gates and Yvonne Rainer. After college she moved to New York where she continued to train in both ballet and modern dance. There, she studied at Ballet Arts, the Martha Graham School, the Limon Institute, Alvin Ailey, and Steps on Broadway among others. While dancing and training in NYC, she was constantly seeking ways to both maximize her body’s athletic potential and address injuries that would inevitably arise from that pursuit. This is how she met and fell in love with the Gyrotonic(R) method. The system gently and methodically improved her alignment, flexibility, strength and well being, resulting in less injury, and a more sophisticated connection to her body. She began formal training in the Gyrotonic(R) method in 2004 at Studio Riverside in NYC and was certified in 2010 at San Francisco Gyrotonic under master trainer Debra Rose. Since arriving to the bay area in 2009, she has held various positions as a professional dancer, ballet instructor, and Gyrotonic(R) practitioner. Ms. Vargas has performed works by William Forsythe, Yvonne Rainer, and various other choreographers nationally and internationally as well as presented her own work in New York City and Sevilla, Spain. Hannah’s teaching style is influenced by all of these disciples, and she seeks to establish proper alignment and movement efficiency in her students . She hopes to inspire her students to unlock their full, expressive movement potential in the most constructive and efficient way.
michelle tara lynch
Michelle Tara Lynch hails from Los Alamos, New Mexico. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies and a BFA in Dance from the University of California Santa Barbara. While at UCSB, she received the Patricia Sparrow Dance Scholarship, the Tonia Shimin Award for Excellence and Promise in the Field of Dance, and graduated with honors after creating a full-length evening work, entitled Roots. After graduating, Michelle was asked to reset one of her works, Through the Valles, for the UCSB Freshman Company. Michelle moved to New York City in 2012, where she became a company member and instructor with Jennifer Muller/ The Works. While with JMTW, she had the privilege of touring throughout the United States, as well as internationally in China, and Italy. During her time with JMTW, Michelle worked as a teaching assistant to Jennifer Muller, also assisting Ms. Muller with residencies at the University of California Irvine, Cal State Fullerton,and Jacksonville University. Michelle taught regular technique classes to JMTW company members, scholarship students,and apprentices. She also coordinated programs for young choreographers, and taught creative workshops for elementary schools. Outside of her work with JMTW, Michelle presented her own choreography in California at the HH11 Festival in Santa Barbara, as well as in New York at Greenspace, Hatch Series, and Columbia University.
Michelle recently relocated to the Bay Area, and is thrilled to be teaching and performing on the west coast again. In her classes, Michelle emphasizes the importance of proper alignment, specificity of detail within choreography, and the importance of individuality. Each student receives direct attention, as she believes that every dancer has a unique and tremendous ability to perform.
Chlo Waldrep grew up dancing at Castro Valley Performing Arts. Their love for dance and love for children along with their advanced skill levels in a large array of dance genres eventually landed them a teaching position at CVPA. For the past 7 years, Chlo has been a popular teacher at CVPA teaching tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and creative movement classes. They are currently a teacher for CVPA both at our studios and through the Hayward Area Recreation Department. Students find their classes to be both fun and challenging as they encourage their students to step out of their safety zone in a safe and nurturing environment. In addition to teaching at CVPA, Chlo attended CSU East Bay where they graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration. Their dance goals are to continue teaching and to encourage young dancers to have fun while gaining valuable mental and physical skills.
LaRissa began training at Castro Valley Performing Arts at the age of 12. Being a passionate and dedicated dancer, LaRissa soared through classes, eventually earning a spot on CVPA’s senior competitive tap team and senior hip-hop crew. While in high school, LaRissa was a member of the Varsity Song/Pom team. She was also a member of the Honors Dance Program in which she choreographed dances and participated in performances and festivals. She is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University where she minored in Dance. During her time at Loyola Marymount, LaRissa continued performing as a member of their hip-hop crew and also enjoyed sharing her passion for dance as a creative dance teacher for under-privileged children. Now, back in the Bay Area, LaRissa is looking forward to once again sharing her passion for dance as a member of the CVPA staff.
Born in to a family that owned their own dance studio, Dallas has been dancing since she could walk. Dallas began her dance studies at her family’s dance studio. Upon its closing, she joined Castro Valley Performing Arts. Throughout her teenage years, she studied tap, ballet, jazz and hip-hop at CVPA where she quickly became known as the girl with the “fast-talking feet.” While in college, Dallas continue studying tap dancing with an emphasis on “rhythm tap”. Dallas is now the “rhythm tap” specialist at Castro Valley Performing Arts. In addition to her teaching at CVPA, Dallas is also a first grade teacher in the Dublin Unified School District where she can often be caught tapping down the hallways of Frederiksen Elementary School!
Meredith has been dancing since the age of two, spending the majority of her training under Janet Taddie, Janel Tomblin-Brown, Bob Macke and Deborah Skinner. She received her B.A. in Dance Performance/Choreography as well as a minor in Musical Theater in June of 2000 from San Jose State University. Her most recent training comes from Robert Moses, Janet Van Swoll, Janie Scott, Fred Mathews and Gary Masters. Her professional career started at a young age with numerous performances in The Oakland Ballet’s Nutcracker and with Joannie Greggains “Dance Fitness” television show. She, then, moved on to perform in many shows at Paramount’s Great America as well as becoming their Entertainment Manager. Most recently, she could be seen as a dancer and performer in various shows in Disneyland. Meredith’s teaching style is warm, calm and affirming. She believes every child is a unique individual and makes it her goal to help them discover and nurture their individuality through dance. She enjoys teaching students of all ages – toddler through adult. Her specialties are tap, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical as well as musical theater.
Stephanie Mihalyi began dancing at the age of three. Her first debut in the dance industry was at the age of eight , when she was a featured as a character in the video game, “Dance Dance Revolution”, which was influenced by Tap and Hip Hop. Stephanie then went on as a representative for Castro Valley Performing Arts, to audition for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She was invited to join the opening number in New York City for two consecutive years.
Stephanie has also had the privilege to work under many amazing choreographers. Learning most of her dance knowledge from Janet Taddie, Stephanie has also worked under Sam Weber, Al Blackstone, Jason Samuel Smith, Mark Goodman, Lisa Hopkins, Heather Cooper, Gary Masters, Fred Mathews, as well as many others. She has danced at halftime at Oracle, home of the Warriors, and at Candlestick, the retired home of the 49ers. Stephanie also danced as the entertainment between events at the Miss California pageant for over 10 years, and was employed as a professional Miss California dancer.
While at San Jose State University, Stephanie was a member of University Dance Theatre, a modern company run by Raphael Boumaila and Heather Cooper, where she also earned a minor in Dance Arts as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. Stephanie has spent the last few years working at Dance Attack as their Tap Director and Artistic Director of the Performing Company. We are excited to have her back again with her dance family at CVPA, as she joins our faculty teaching tap, jazz, lyrical, children’s classes and tumbling.
kimberley pereira satele
Kimberley’s dance training began at the age of four from various dance studios and companies throughout the Bay Area. During her teen years, she attended many conventions throughout the United States. Through these conventions, she was awarded numerous scholarships which provided her with extraordinary training opportunities which included the opportunity to travel to New York City to study with notable dancers such as Mia Michaels, Brian Freidman, Laurieann Gibson, Dave Scott, Christ Judd, Wade Robson and Gil Duldulao. Kimberley also studied on scholarship at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles. Kimberley was featured in Trendy Trends’ Dance Catalog. She and her dance partner were also semi-finalists in the CBS television show, “Dance Revolution”.
Kimberley has been a member of two renowned Bay Area Dance Companies: “Independent Dance Company”, based out of San Jose and “APT” (aka Apprentice), directed by members from “The Company” based in Daly City.
Kim joins the CVPA faculty, where she teaches hip-hop and contemporary classes. Kim’s classes are very popular. She prides herself in always providing a fun and welcoming dance environment for both advanced dancers and beginning dancers alike! CVPA is excited to have Kimberley join our faculty this year!
kyleigh p. carlson
Kyleigh is originally from Sacramento California, where she trained extensively in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Pointe, Contemporary, and Musical Theater. She has performed with the Sacramento Ballet, and danced professionally with CORE Contemporary Dance and comedian Hannibal Buress. Kyleigh received a BFA in dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her time at the University she served as an intern for Dr. Carol Press, History of Dance Professor. She was awarded the Dance Education Laboratory Scholarship, which extended her education and training in New York (2013), the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship to further her dance studies in New York (2014). A scholarship to the Joe Goode Workshop in San Francisco (2014), and the Emerging Choreography Award (2015) presented by Professor Mira Kingsley. Kyleigh’s choreographic work has been awarded on the National level and commissioned for shows such as, Teen Dance Star(2017) and adjudicated at the American College Dance Association western region concert (2019).
Kyleigh was a Professor at Humboldt State University in the Theater, Film and Dance Department where she was delighted to teach a variety of courses and choreograph for department concerts. Most recently she has moved to San Jose California and is looking forward to meeting new students and filling her days with dance.
Specializing in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Tumbling, Stretch and Strengthen, Turns and Leaps, Musical Theater and Zumba for children and adults of all technical levels from beginners to the advanced. Group, private and semi-private classes are available. Boys’ classes are also available.