San Clemente Dance and Performing Arts Center
1321 Calle Avanzado
San Clemente, CA 92673

(949) 498-7571
info@sanclementedance.com
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Our Team

David Kelly
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR  |  CREATIVE DIRECTOR

David Kelly's academic career in the fine arts includes graduate degrees from Kent State University, Carnegie Mellon University, and The Cleveland Institute of Art. His fine-art skills have translated into a 25 year career as a television and film art director that includes a long list of distinguished credits for prime time television sitcoms and variety specials for all the major networks. He is best known for his production design of the MTV Movie Awards short film comedy vignettes from 1994 to 2004.

David has also been the art director for many musical tours and concerts, including Diana Ross's world tour and Barbra Streisand's farewell tour and most recently Cher's new show at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas. He is also working on a new show for the San Diego Zoo's outdoor amphitheater set to open this summer. Additional works in progress include 4 live show attractions being developed for a major casino resort currently under construction in Singapore. In addition to being an art director David has produced many live dance/variety shows around the world.

In honor of Miss Judy, and as the owner of San Clemente Dance and Performing Arts Center, David is dedicated to making the school continue to grow and flourish as a world class center for the performing arts.

 

GretchenGretchen Akers
STUDIO DIRECTOR

Gretchen Akers leads SCDPAC studio director efforts. She provides superior leadership in all aspects of managing a small business. Her background includes hiring professional and technical staff, implementing budget reductions, writing business plans, and installing effective management information systems.

Gretchen has been responsible for managing a family owned restaurant, Branch Manager at American Savings Bank, Senior Product Manager at Ingram Micro and President and Owner of Tahiti Sweetie. She has several years of community service in San Clemente. She has served on the Board of Directors for SCLL. She was an officer and board member for the SC Tritons Travel Ball nonprofit program.

She has experience in all aspects of financial forecasting, resource allocation, fund management and budgeting. Gretchen has a proven track record in administrative expense reductions, while improving overall staff morale and client confidence. She has been very active in raising thousands of dollars for charitable causes both locally and nationally. In addition, she has been involved in various startups and joint ventures.

Gretchen grew up in the Bay Area where she came from a family of performers. She moved to Orange County after she got married. She grew up with the love for dance starting with the Filipiniana Dance Troupe. Gretchen has been with SCDPAC since 2007 along with her daughters who are now continuing the family's passion.

 

JCJesicris (JC) Bato
HIP HOP INSTRUCTOR
SOCIAL MEDIA ADMINISTRATOR

COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER

Jesicris Diputado Bato (most commonly known as JC) was born in Fountain Valley and later moved to Mission Viejo where he began dancing as a Hip Hop Freestyler competing in solo dance competitions. The free-styling foundation became the basis of his dance philosophy that then carried into his choreography career at the age of twelve.

Performing became his new passion as he began to choreograph with early influences from Wade Robinson to Marty Kudelka. In high school he became well known as a freestyle hip hop dancer and began a club called Urban Legends to further express his passion. As a president and coach for the team he brought the culture of Hip Hop to Tesoro High school performing alongside the award winning cheer and color guard teams. In college he co-founded the Hip Hop dance crew Boomkaz and is currently a director of two growing dance projects in Anaheim.

JC plans to inspire all he can with what he has learned transitioning from freestyle to choreography, and how it has contributed to his success as a dancer, and preserve the philosophy of dancing with the heart.

 

BrittanyBrittany Bentley Wells
DEPARTMENT HEAD: TECHNIQUE, LYRICAL, JAZZ AND CONTEMPORARY
COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER

Brittany Bently Wells began her formative dance training as a child at Rolann's School of the Dance (one of Dancer Magazine's top 50 competition studios). While studying at that studio, she also continued her classical training at the Southern Ballet Theatre/Orlando City Ballet School and Boca Ballet Theatre.

Brittany attended the prestigious summer program at the Joffery Ballet School in NYC while training with Ballet Mistress Trinette Singleton as well as Pacific Coast Dance Fest in Long Beach, CA and UCLA's summer intensive. Brittany is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles, where she was accepted on scholarship. While in college, Brittany trained with original Fosse Dancer Jane Lanier, broadway veteran Jon Engstrom, Marina Benedict, and mentored by Chryssie Whitehead. Film/TV credits include "Glee", "90210", "Vamps", "Platypus: the Musical" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". She was a dancer for electro pop artist Cheeks and danced with the hip hop group Urban Blush. Regional theatre credits include "Dream Laurey" in Oklahoma, "June" in Gypsy, and "Ruby" in Dames at Sea.

Brittany has received numerous choreography awards for her solo and group routines at regional and national dance competitions; believing that technique comes first and trains all her students to go on to have a professional dance career.

 

DanielleDanielle Braithwaite
CONTEMPORARY INSTRUCTOR
COMPANY CHOREOGRAPHER

Danielle Luna Braithwaite began her dance training with some of the industry's top professionals. She joined Youth America Ballet at age 11 and began competing with local competition teams. Danielle received her jazz, lyrical, and modern training from Cheryl Klaft. She earned her classical ballet training with Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky, former principals of the Moscow Classical Ballet in Russia.

After training as a classical and commercial dancer for eight years, Miss Luna began dancing with the SCHS Dance Team, where her team earned four national titles. Danielle had the privilege to train with Kelly Devine, Tim Stevenson, Leann Alduenda, Tyson Garner, & Mike Esperanza. In 2006, Miss Luna was one of seventy-five dancers selected internationally to study with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City where she continued training in ballet, jazz, modern, African, and Horton.

Throughout her training, Miss Luna competed as a soloist at the regional and national level and earned several overall awards and titles. In 2009, Miss Luna was accepted as 1 of only 25 freshmen into the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Dance Department, which ranks in the top 10 in North America and has earned a degree in Communications and Dance. She remains a member of the CSULB National Society of Collegiate Scholars for undergraduate students who academically rank in the top 20%. She has been invited to teach several master classes all throughout Southern California. She is also assistant coach to the national champion, SCHS Dance Team. Her students have been accepted to many renowned college dance departments throughout the U.S.

Miss Luna's classical and commercial training has inspired her to train well-rounded students who involve themselves in several forms of dance, and continues to produce award-winning pieces of choreography. Her students have achieved many overall and special judges awards throughout various regional and national competitions. She also continues to win several choreography awards throughout various dance competitions. Miss Luna continues to produce exceptional dancers and pieces and hopes to continue in her successful career in choreography and dance education.

 

SaraSara Grace Day
BALLET INSTRUCTOR

Sara Day was raised in San Clemente and began training in ballet at age 9. By age 11 she was selected by Peter Martins to be a featured dancer in New York City Ballet's "Song's Of The Auvergne" at the grand opening of the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Her early training was at Ballet Pacifica with Lila Zali, Molly Lynch, and Paul Maure. Though her main focus of study was in ballet she also studied Tremaine and Giordano jazz styles, and Horton and Graham modern. Sara Day trained with full scholarship at the School of Chicago Ballet where she was taught Balanchine technique and coached for roles in "Serenade" and "Who Cares?" by the great ballerinas Maria Tallchief, Allegra Kent, and Melissa Hayden. The Joffrey Ballet's Artistic Director, Gerald Arpino, invited her personally to be a Joffrey Trainee with full scholarship at age 14 where she enjoyed training with John Magnus and Trinette Singleton. Mrs. Day danced with Joffrey II, Joffrey, and The San Francisco Ballet in a wide variety of classical and contemporary ballets such as "Romeo and Juliet"," La Fille Mal Gardee", "Suite Saint Seans", "Nutcracker", "Light Rain", and "Giselle" as well as appearing as a guest artist for regional Nutcrackers for their Grand Pas De Deux.

Mrs. Day trained on full scholarship with the Ballet Master Jeno Gal of Magyar Tancmûvészeti Fõiskola in the method of teaching Vagonova Technique and became certified in ballet instruction through Dance Masters of America (Chapter One). Mrs. Day has served on the Board of Directors for the Newport Beach Theater Company and choreographed for Opera Pacific. From 2001-2009 Mrs. Day owned and directed American Ballet and Conditioning, a ballet school with a secondary focus of Pilates conditioning. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Dance Discovery Foundation, and founded and was the Artistic Director of South Coast Ballet Theater in addition to teaching ballet to ages 5-adult, beginning through advanced levels at South Coast Conservatory. She has choreographed, produced, and directed her own versions of Cinderella, Le Corsaire, Paquita (full length), Firebird, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, Les Sylphides, Giselle, Swan Lake, and Coppelia in addition to choreographing numerous contemporary and collaborative works.

Sara Day is has a vast knowledge of classical variations and ballet history and uses that to coach students for both performance and competitive applications. Students trained by Mrs. Day have been accepted to San Francisco Ballet, Bolshoi Academy, Joffrey Trainee, Pittsburgh Ballet, School of American Ballet, Kirov Academy, ABT, Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Orange County High School of the Arts, and Alonzo King's Lines Ballet and received top 12 honors at Youth America Grand Prix as well as advancing to the NYC finals.

 

Heidi Drinkward
TAP, CONTEMPORARY INSTRUCTOR

Heidi has been studying dance in Southern California since the young age of three. She began her training at Saddleback Dance Center where she went on to compete nationally in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary and Modern. While obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Chapman University, she continued studying various dance forms at Chapman and entertaining crowds at Disneyland as a parade performer. Heidi was a scholarship recipient at Jimmie Defore Dance Center where she trained extensively in many styles of dance. She has performed locally and abroad in China as a member of the company Tap Overload. Heidi was also a member of the modern dance company Embark Dance Theatre and danced in various projects with the Concrete Dance Initiative. Along with teaching and sharing her passion for dance with her students, Heidi is currently performing with Tap Overload throughout Southern California.

 

Michael Houston
BALLET INSTRUCTOR

Michael received his first 10 years of training from former principle dancers of Houston and San Antonio Ballet. His Supplemental training and classical education over the following 18 years includes master classes and private coaching from world renowned ballet masters and principle dancers from Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi,Kirov,and Joffrey Ballet. Michael’s stage experience includes lead roles in Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Black Swan, Coppelia, La Bayadere, and Paquita. As Ballet Master, Mr. Houston’s students have received countless awards from the prestigious Youth American Grand Prix over the past 15 years, including senior division regional Champion and many year round pre-professional scholarships, including a full tuition scholarship to Ballet West this year.Mr. Houston’s trained students currently hold contracts with many professional ballet companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet West, Alberta Ballet, Alvin Ailey, and so far in 2017, with Boston Ballet. Mr. Houston’s long term student was just nominated for the National Princess Grace Award Scholarship in classical Ballet.Mr.Houston has recently been acknowledged for his ballet training in both Pointe and Capezio magazine respectively.

 

AmyLauren Jackson
BROADWAY JAZZ, CONTEMPORARY, JAZZ, TEHCNIQUE, COMBO CLASSES

Lauren Jackson is an accomplished dancer, choreographer and energetic teacher who has been training since the age of two. She received the majority of her training at various competitive and ballet-focused studios throughout Riverside County. Her love for dance has led her to perform at many venues including World of Dance, The Rose Parade, Disneyland, and Carnival Cruise Lines, The Claire Trevor Theatre, San Diego White Box Dance Theatre, and numerous college campuses. In addition to her 21 years of dancing, she has 9 years of teaching experience. Lauren’s distinctive choreography has received numerous high point and top choreography awards at regional and national competitions. Her students have been recipients for many scholarship awards, cash prizes and have gone on to be represented by top agencies. Lauren recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and is proud and extremely excited to share her knowledge and love for dance, the arts, and life with her students!

 

AmyAmy Macon
 ABT CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR

Amy Macon has more than 30 years of classical ballet experience as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She is trained and certified to teach all levels of ABT’s National Training Curriculum, Primary Level through Level 7 and Partnering. Amy received professional training at several conservatories, colleges and private dance schools throughout California, Arizona, Boston, MA and Washington D.C. area, including Ballet Pacifica, Anaheim Ballet, California Conservatory of Dance, Southland Ballet Academy, Festival Ballet Theatre, Reston Conservatory Ballet, Harvard University and Dance Arts. She has worked with many renowned ballet masters and choreographers, including ABT dancers and faculty Melissa Allen Bowman, Alaine Haubert and Charles Maple, Larry Rosenberg, Maud Wachter, Richard Bowman, Israel “El” Gabriel and Betty Downs.

Amy also trained extensively in tap, jazz, musical theater and voice performance while working towards a B.F.A. in Dance Performance at U.C. Irvine and a B.A. in English Literature at Santa Clara University. She has performed featured roles in numerous productions of the Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote and other full-length ballets and ensemble pieces throughout California and the Washington D.C. Metro area.

Amy served as Ballet Mistress and Company Director at the Academy of Dance & Movement in the Washington D.C. area and is an award-winning choreographer and costume designer with extensive experience staging classical ballet productions. She comes from a family of clinical musicians and developed a passion for music while studying piano, classical vocal performance and musical theatre. Amy’s teaching, dancing and choreography are continuously inspired by her sense of musicality and her great appreciation for music.

 

SaraSara Masters
TUMBLING INSTRUCTOR

Sara Masters has been coaching tumbling and gymnastics since she was 15 years old, and has been tumbling since she was 6. She started competitive cheerleading at the gym Magic All Stars, now known as Pacific Coast Magic. As her cheer career went on she competed in competitions all over the nation, including Worlds and Nationals. Her last year as a competitive cheerleader in 2014 was at OC all stars on a Level 6 team and placed 7th out of 97 teams from around the world - an extremely rewarding experience.

Sara cherishes her relationships with her students at San Clemente dance studio and hopes to be their mentor in not only tumbling but in life skills as well. She has a passion for all sports that require tumbling and loves to share that with the kids here at San Clemente dance.

 

StephanieStephanie Mehuys
BALLET INSTRUCTOR

Stephanie Mehuys began her classical training at the age of 8, attending the Académie de Ballet Classique in Montreal, Canada. At the ages of 14 through 16 she attended the School of American Ballet's summer intensives on full scholarship. She then went on to train with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Hartford Ballet School, also on scholarship. At the end of her first year at Hartford's professional program, she was asked to join the company.

Stephanie has also danced professionally with the Connecticut Ballet and Ballet Ouest de Montréal where she performed soloist and principal roles. Some of these include Princess Aurora, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, Swanhilda, Giselle, and the principal solo from Lambarena by Val Caniparoli. At this time, she had the privilege to work with Joanna Berman from the San Francisco Ballet. Stephanie was also a guest artist at the Teatro Melico in Costa Rica, where she performed the Corsaire pas de deux and the leading role of the Tourist in Gaité Parisienne. In 2003, she owned and directed Dance Creations which she later merged with l'Ecole de Ballet Ouest de Montréal. During that time she taught classical ballet, pointe, variations and choreographed and coached all ages for Ballet Ouest's competition team. As well, she has been a Lululemon Ambassador and trained the 2013 Quebec Sectional Champions in Ice Dance.

 

Emily Ortega
LYRICAL, JAZZ, CONTEMPORARY, COMBO CLASSES

Emily's bio is coming soon.

 

EmoryEmory O'Steen
BALLET INSTRUCTOR

Emory began her dance training at the age of 4 in Mission Viejo, CA. Emory is trained in all styles of dance. She was trained in Classical Ballet at Laguna Dance Theater where she intensively studied Balanchine style of Ballet. Emory also trained the Vaganova style of Ballet with V & T's dance instructors, Victor and Tatiana Kasastsy. She has undergone intensive additional training with Pacific Northwest Ballet WA, Bolshoi Ballet Academy NY, and Washington Ballet School. Her love of teaching began at a young age and she aspires to teach ballet for the rest of her life. She loves to watch the younger dancers find there passion for dancing and grow into the dancer they only dreamed of becoming.

 

Erik Sandoval
HIP HOP INSTRUCTOR

Erik started dancing at age 4, receiving extensive training from many master teachers. He received his ballet training from Lisa Thorngren and Elizabeth Huebner, as well as contemporary instructions from Leona Morimune. He has been a member of notable Hip Hop crews such as Team Millennia under Kenny Jones, The IV League led by director Austin Fernandez and Academy of Swag under director Jay Chris Moore. During his career, Erik has performed at UCI, the LA Clippers halftime shows, as well as won many awards at various competitions such as: Fusion, World of Dance LA, Ultimate Brawl, and Body Rock with his crews. Erik was brought to Las Vegas during his auditions for the famous television show So You Think You Can Dance. In 2009 he created the Smurf Kids Dance Crew. Smurf Kids is a team consisting of young people that compete and perform across America, based out of Southern California. Under his teaching, they have won several awards including first place at Maxt Out Dance Competition.

 

AmberAmber Slaybaugh
BALLET INSTRUCTOR
ALL STYLES & LEVELS

Amber Slaybaugh has over 20 years of ballet experience. Growing up in Mission Viejo, she started dancing at Saddleback Dance Center and performing with the studio company the Golden State Ballet Company. She also trained at Ballet Pacifica's school and had the privilege of performing with the company in their annual Nutcrackers.

Amber has danced in many competitions in the United States where she received various special awards for performance and technique. Amber also attended the Orange County High School of the Arts under the direction of Alaine Haubert, performing various ballet pieces including George Balanchine's Serenade.

Ms. Slaybaugh attended the School of American Ballet in New York City, in that time she had the pleasure of learning even more of the Balanchine technique. She also attended the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet where she had the privilege of learning ballets such as Balanchine's the Stars and Stripes. More recently Amber has danced and performed with a contemporary ballet company called Alive Dance Co. in Orange County where she had the privilege of being choreographed on by one of the Alvin Ailey company members. Ms. Slaybaugh has also danced with Christian dance ministries in Southern Orange County performing at different churches in the area. She currently leads, directs, and choreographs for a Christian dance ministry of about 25 young dancers. The group of Jr. high and high school girls meet together weekly and perform in church services in Southern Orange County.

Amber has been teaching ballet for 9 years now and has had the pleasure of teaching many different levels and age ranges. She has a deep love for ballet and a great passion to teach.

 

Monica Stephens
MINI BASICS CLASSES, CONTEMPORARY, TAP, JAZZ

Monica has been dancing since she was four years old, and has always wanted to keep dancing as a part of her life. She decided to train more intensely at the age of 12, so she started taking classes at San Clemente Dance and Performing Arts Center and competed with the studio until she graduated from SCHS. During her last year at SCHS, she was fortunate enough to join a hip hop team based in Irvine called Boomkaz and was able to compete with them and further her training outside of the studio. Boomkaz allowed her to be involved in the very large dance community in and around UC Irvine which led to her attending UCI in pursuit of a BA in Dance and a BA in Studio Art. Monica’s career is young but she hopes to keep training in workshops or intensives in pursuit of a career in dancing and she hopes to pass on the knowledge she gains every day to her students in order to share the growth she has experienced since graduating from SCDPAC.

 
Connie Sutorius
ACRO INSTRUCTOR

Connie started training in gymnastics at the age of 7 and fell love. She competed in the Jr Olympics through level 8. Connie then went on to compete in nationals in acrobatics and power tumbling. Connie has a passion for dance as well. She has danced in some college performances and she loved it. Connie has taught gymnastics throughout the years to keep it fresh. Connie's love for the sport and her students shines through!

 

Ellen SwerdlowEllen Swerdlow
CHILDREN'S COMBO CLASSES
INSTRUCTOR  |  ALL STYLES & LEVELS

Ellen Swerdlow was the director and owner of a Dance Center for many years.  She established the studio in the North County area of San Diego in 1989.  Ellen began her training as a child at Jerry Singers Dance Studio in La Puente, California.  In 1975, Ellen attended U.C.L.A. and was a member of the UCLA Dance Company.  She graduated in 1980 with a B.A. Degree in Dance.  After graduating, Ellen furthered her dance training and studied with the Bat Sheva Dance Company of Israel and became a member of the Bat Sheva II Dance Company. 

Ellen went on to perform in many shows including “Halleluyah  Hollywood”, a show produced by Israel Stage Productions in Tel-Aviv.  She also performed in the Israeli Opera Production of “Oklahoma”.  With the Karmon Dance Company of Israel, Ellen danced at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas as well as Lincoln Center in New York City.  In Germany, Ellen was in the stage production of “Halleluyah Broadway”, a show which played at the Alte Opera House in Frankfurt as well as the Deutche Theatre in Munich. 

Ellen has also worked with Cannon Film Studios and danced in the film production of “Sleeping Beauty”, a Golan and Globus Production. 

Ellen recently produced and directed a local commercial for the VW Car Dealership in San Juan Capistrano, California. 

Ellen has enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and Mexico judging dance competitions and teaching at dance conventions nationwide.  She enjoys the opportunity of being able to share the art of dance with all of her students at San Clemente Dance and Performing Arts Center. 

 

Lindsey Veale
PiYo INSTRUCTOR

A former competitive gymnast, Lindsey has always had a love for fitness. She was a gymnast for seven years with the United States Gymnastics Federation and for her High School. She thoroughly enjoyed those years of competing and performing with various dance & choir groups. Since then she’s been an avid Yogi traveling to yoga festivals for practice & retreat. With her gymnastics and dance background, combined with her love of fitness, PiYO has been a natural fit and has become her passion. After practicing the format for three years, Lindsey is excited to be in the studio and share it with others. The Veale family has been part of SCDPAC since 2012 when her girls started taking dance classes and discovering their own passion for performing. She is excited to be sharing her love of fitness and fun exercise with her kids and everyone in her classes. Lindsey grew up in San Diego where she was part of a military family who made California there home base. In 2004, she and her husband, Marc, moved to San Clemente when they were ready to start a family and be closer to grandparents. A mom of three, Lindsey can often be found driving her kids to dance, gymnastics and soccer.

 

 

San Clemente Dance and Performing Arts Center  •  1321 Calle Avanzado  •  San Clemente, CA 92673  •  (949) 498-7571  •  info@sanclementedance.com

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