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Faculty

  • Dawn Sue

    Dawn Sue started her early ballet training with Irine Fokine in Ridgewood, NJ. She then went on to train at the Joffrey Ballet School in the trainee program. Following her studies in Government and Sociology at Cornell University, she trained at the Princeton Ballet School with Douglas Martin, Mary Barton and Kyra Nichols.

    She was then invited to dance with the American Repertory Ballet under Septime Webre and later Graham Lustig. Among her favorite ballets she performed with ARB, were Romeo and Juliet, Serenade, Paquita and Midsummer Night's Dream. Dawn started her teaching career at Princeton Dance and Theater under the ownership of Susan Jaffe (upon her retirement from ABT) and Risa Kaplowitz (of Houston, Dayton and Pennsylvania Ballet).

    Dawn teaches her students all levels to move in a way that is anatomically correct, to see the correct muscles doing the work so that the lines turn out correct. She also emphasizes on allowing your body to tell a story through the mouvements you do.

    Besides her passion for ballet, Dawn is committed to bringing wellness and relief to dancers everywhere. She is the founder and CEO of Verima, a wellness company that uses premium, plant-based ingredients such as CBD, arnica, boswellia and coconut oil to relieve inflammation and bring healing. For more information, visit: www.tryverima.com

    Pronouns: She/Her/Her
  • Hao Lueckhoff

    Hao Lueckhoff, movement coach, ballet instructor, and founder of HaoExpression Dance Studio in Mountain View. With over thirty years of training in music, dance, voice, and expressive arts, Hao bridges American, European and Asian influences in her uniquely intuitive and empathetic teaching style. Her storied life has seen her fleeing a war-torn Vietnam aboard a French hospital ship, working as an IT Analyst in Paris, studying meditation with zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, training in Movement Based Expressive Arts Education and Therapy with Anna Halprin, and ultimately founding HaoExpression to give people of all backgrounds a safe haven to express themselves artistically.

  • Joyce Aranda

    With a teaching career that spans over 40 years in the Bay Are, Joyce is one of the most respected Ballet instructors in Silicon Valley.

    She trained at the Stone-Cameron School of Ballet in Chicago and went on to study with and teach for the legendary Gus Giordano.

    In Chicago, Joyce danced in the Stone-Camryn Ballet Company. After more than a decade of teaching in Illinois, Joyce moved to the Bay Area. She has performed with the Palo Alto Theater Company and the Picalilly Players, an improvisational comedy group.

    Joyce provides a comfortable atmosphere for dancers of all levels.

  • Kirsten Livingston

    Kirsten Livingston is a ballet instructor, a choreographer, a musical theater enthusiast, and (her favorite ‘job’ title) a Mother of three. She was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, where she began training with Santa Cruz Ballet Theater at a young age, and went on to dance as a soloist and principal dancer with the company. Over the course of her ballet career, many of her proudest moments took place on the stages and in the studios of prestigious schools around the United States, including School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

    Her teaching style was inherited from her own training with some of ballet’s most inspiring teachers. Since beginning her teaching career over 25 years ago, Kirsten has taught and choreographed at studios from Carmel and Santa Cruz, to the San Francisco Bay area. Nothing feeds her soul quite like the feeling of encouraging young women to be bold, strong, and confidence through ballet arts education.

    Kirsten’s passion for teaching strong, technical dance goes beyond the ballet studio, by implementing curriculum that radiates a positive and uplifting message for children. She creates a studio atmosphere that encourages students to accomplish things they thought were impossible, and to grow increasingly confident with each drop of sweat, every cramped muscle, and best of all, every smile.

    Mission Statement -
    To provide strong technical training to aspiring dancers in a compassionate, positive learning environment, and to instill a love of dance while providing a space for joy and expression.
  • Mikhael Plain

    Mikhael Plain was born and raised in Northern California. His training included a 5-year apprenticeship with the Sacramento Ballet as a teenager.
    Mikhael began his professional career with the San Francisco Ballet in 1995. While with SFB, Mikhael distinguished himself in featured roles that included the American premier of William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, David Bintley’s The Dance House, Mark Morris’ Sandpaper Ballet and Pacific, Stanton Welch’s Maninyas, and Nureyev’s Raymonda.
    Mikhael was invited to join Miami’s Maximum Dance Company as a principal dancer in 2000. He thrived in numerous works by artistic directors David Palmer and Yanis Pikieris, as well as such internationally respected choreographers as Ivonice Satie, Nicolai Kabaniaev, KT Nelson, Paolo Mohovich, Jean Christophe Blavier, and Daniel Rosseel.
    Mikhael rounded out his full-time ballet career with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2004. Over the next three seasons, he captivated audiences as Franz in Coppelia, Jonathan Harker in Dracula, Goro in Madame Butterfly, and the First Movement Principal in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto.

    Pronouns: He/Him/His
  • Ommi Pipit-Suksun

    Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Ommi received her early ballet training in her homeland through the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and achieved the highest award ‘Solo Seal’ at age 14. At 15, she was offered a full scholarship to study at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London, England. She then proceeded to become the first youngest person to win a gold medal at the Genée International Ballet Competition in 2001, also known as “A Vintage Year”.

    During her study in London, Ommi performed with the Royal Ballet School throughout Europe. Upon joining the Upper School, she was selected to perform with the Royal Ballet company in many productions including Snowflakes in Sir Peter Wright’s The Nutcrackerand Willis in Giselle, Stars in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Shade in Marius Petipa’s La Bayadere, and 2ndMovement in George Balanchine’s Symphony in C.In her graduate year she was chosen to represent the Royal Ballet School and the United Kingdom at international galas in Milan and Moscow, performing Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto 2ndMovement.

    In 2004, Ommi was recruited by artistic director Helgi Tomasson of San Francisco Ballet and joined the company as one of its youngest Soloists at age 18. While at San Francisco Ballet, she performed many Principal roles such as Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy and Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty. Her repertoire also includes lead roles of many works from various choreographers such as Balanchine's Divertimento No.15, The Four Temperament and Serenade, David Bintley's The Dance House, Christopher Wheeldon's Rush, Tomasson's 7 for Eight andFifth Season, and many others.

    Ommi joined Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley in 2012 and shortly thereafter was promoted to Principal dancer. Her performances include Principal roles such as Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote, the title roles in Roland Petit's Carmen, Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Karen Gabay’s Nutcrackerand Alicia Alonso’s Giselle. Her repertoire also includes lead roles from various ballets such as Stanton Welch's Clear; Sir Frederick Ashton's Méditation from Thaïs, Vicente Nebrada's Nuestros Valses, Jerome Robbins’s Fancy Free, and many others.

    In addition to her professional dance career, Ommi served as a ballet master with Bay Pointe Ballet for 2 full length productions in 2016 and is currently Menlowe Ballet company guest teacher. She is a Power Pilates Mat certified instructor and a Balanced Body Comprehensive certified instructor. She is also an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary Level through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Most recently, Ommi attended the Royal Academy of Dance’s “Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma” program in London and became a RAD registered teacher. Ommi has extensive teaching and coaching experience to students of all ages ranging from young children to adults and has taught and guest taught at many schools in the Bay Area and in Thailand.

    Pronouns: She/Her/Her. YouTube channel: Dancing with Ommi

  • Rudy Candia

    Born and raised in Havana, Cuba. At age 9, Mr. Rudy Candia was selected to study at the Cuban National Ballet School (Escuela Nacional de Ballet de Cuba). At the age of 13, Mr. Candia moved to Uruguay and continued his ballet training at the Uruguayan National Ballet School. While still a student, Mr. Candia was selected to perform and work with Ballet National SODRE. He then became a member of the company at the tender age of 15.

    In 2001, Mr. Candia was offered a contract with Carolina Ballet in the United States. His repertoire includes lead roles in many of Balanchine's works such as; A Midsummer Night's Dream, Prodigal Son, Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Square Dance and Who Cares, Timour Bourtasenkov's Inscapes, Robert Weiss's Carmen, The Nutcracker, and Christopher Wheeldon's The American.

    Mr. Candia joined Ballet San Jose of Silicon Valley (most recently known as Silicon Valley Ballet) in 2005 and was promoted to Soloist in 2007. Ever since then he has been featured in many company's advertisements and promotions. Mr. Candia has performed in many title roles such as; Albrecht and Peasant Pas de Deux in Dennis Nahat’s Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, Prince Vladimir in The Firebird, Don Jose in Roland Petit's Carmen, Toreador in Fleming Flindt's The Toreador, and Albrecht in Alicia Alonso’s Giselle. His repertoire also includes lead roles from many works including; Sir Federick Ashton's Meditation from Thaiis Pas de Deux, Espada in Wes Chapman’s Don Quixote, Jorma Elo's Glow Stop, Stanton Welch's Clear, George Balanchine's Agon, The Four Temperaments, Stars and Stripes, Serenade and Square Dance, Dennis Nahat's Carmina Burana, Coppelia, and Blues Suede Shoes, Twyla Tharp's Sinatra Songs and Bakers Dozen, Jerome Robbins’s Fancy Free and many others.

    During 2001- 2010, Mr. Candia has made his guesting appearance dancing many lead roles with ballet companies in South America such as; Incolballet in Cali, Colombia, Ballet Clasico y Moderno Municipal of Asuncion in Paraguay. He also has traveled and performed in many countries in Central America including Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. In 2015, Mr. Candia was invited as an international guest artist to perform in Thailand with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra to celebrate her Majesty the Queen’s birthday anniversary. In 2016 Mr. Candia performed as a guest artist with local companies in the bay area including Bay Pointe Ballet, Oakland Ballet and Menlowe Ballet.

    Since moving to the United States, Mr. Candia has found a distinct way of utilizing his early training technique to enhance his American repertoire. He is excited to share the knowledge that he has acquired over the years, in particular his native Cuban training to young generations of dancers in the United States.

    At HaoExpression Rudy is Ballet Artistic Director and teaches Adult Ballet, Partnering, Men's Ballet, Variation, Choreography Workshops, and Pointe classes.
  • Erin McMahon

    Erin McMahon is originally from Houston, Texas where she trained under Caryn Stoll, Kathleen Waltz, Miroslav “Misha” Bart, and Milena Leben before attending City Ballet of Houston. From there she attended Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre where she performed in the school and with the company.

    After graduating high school, Erin attended The University of Utah where she received her BFA in Ballet, BS in Economics and a minor in Modern Dance. She performed in many works both with the ballet and modern department as well as a guest artist with Salt Lake City Ballet.

    After graduation, Erin danced with Central West Ballet where she danced soloist and principal roles such as Lucy in René Daveluy's Dracula, Winter Fairy from Cinderella, Prayer in Coppelia, and Mrs Madlock from The Secret Garden. From there, she moved to Virginia to dance with Roanoke Ballet Theatre where she performed roles such as Snow Queen from The Nutcracker, Spring Fairy from Sleeping Beauty, Helena from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the Evil Queen in Rolando Sarabia’s Snow White. She currently is a dancer with San Jose Dance Theatre. Erin has worked with renowned teachers like Oleg Vinogradov, Ronn Guidi, Margo Marshall, Soili Arvola, Leo Ahonen, and Norbert Nirewicz.

    Erin has taught at many studios including Ballet West summer intensive, Kingsport Ballet summer intensive, Central West Ballet Academy, San Jose Dance Theatre, and at Depelchin Children's Center where she taught underprivileged children ballet.

    She is also a 200 Hour Yoga Certified Teacher, Level One Character Dance Instructor under Inna Strabrova, Rhythm Works! Integrative Dance Certified Teacher where she has taught Sensory Ballet to children on the Autism spectrum.

  • Tian Tan

    Tian Tan was born in China Guang Dong. He start professional dance training at Guang Dong Professional Dance School between 2000-2004.
    Year 2005 Tian immigrated to United States, He continued to dance training with Marat Daukayev Ballet Academy, Milwaukee Ballet and Miami City Ballet all with full scholarship.
    In 2008, Tian joined Los Angeles Ballet Company under director Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen. While in company Tian had opportunity to performed roles in the Nutcracker production, the La Sylphide production, the Balanchine's Prodigal Son production and the Swan Lake production.
    Year 2010, Tian danced with California Riverside Ballet and performed their cavalier role in the Nutcracker production.
    Between 2011-2014, Tian travel to bay area joined Company C Contemporary Ballet under director Charles Anderson. While in the company Tian had opportunity to performed solo role with Dannis Nahat's Ontogeny work, Yuri Zhukov's Railroad Joint work and many great works from Charles Anderson.
    During 2012 Tian is glad he received his USA Citizenship.
    Between 2014-2020 Tian danced with different great production with Los Angeles ballet company again, Atlantic City ballet under director Phyllis Papa and Roxy Ballet under director Mark Roxey.
    Year 2021-2022 Tian had return to California to teach in different school also helped South Coast Conservatory under director Maria Tikhomirova and Enton Hoxha to guest performed their cavalier role in the Nutcracker production.
    Current year 2022 Tian is happy to living in berkeley bay area United States to preparing upcoming project and teach his accumulated ballet techniques.

    ​Pronouns: He/Him/His
  • Alexander Griffith

    Currently a company dancer with Oakland Ballet, formerly with Rochester City Ballet in NY, and with over a decade of training from Charlotte Ballet in NC, Alexander has been dancing more than half of his young life. He also attended Northwest School of the Arts from grade 6–12 as a Dance Major, where he received several nominations and accolades.
    Alexander has a solid foundation in classical ballet, with many other interests sprinkled in.
    Raised in the South, hospitality is second-nature, along with his charming drawl. From there, he launched his professional career in the North, where his parents now reside. And this year, he took the leap out West to continue the pursuit of his passion.
  • Duran Andrade

    Bio coming soon
  • Ellis Broderick

    Born in New York and raised in Bennington, VT, Ellis Broderick trained in the Cecchetti Method for her early years of training.

    She later attended Boston Ballet School's Pre-Professional Program, and alongside classical ballet training, had the opportunity to perform in productions such as Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht and Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker with Boston Ballet's main company.

    She then furthered her training at Ballet Academy East in New York under Darla Hoover, performing featured roles in Bournonville's Napoli, and Balanchine's Scherzo à la Russe.

    Ellis joined Ballet Austin's trainee program and later was promoted to apprentice with the company. At Ballet Austin, she performed classical renditions of Swan Lake, The Firebird, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

    In 2022, Ellis joined New Ballet in San Jose, performing principal roles in both classical and contemporary productions.
    She is certified through the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in levels Pre-Primary through Level 3.

    ​Pronouns: She/Her/Her
  • Hui Kiu

    Hui moved to the Bay area in April 2022. She has enjoyed having the opportunity to perform in several productions with Western Ballet, San Jose Dance Theatre, Oceanica Ballet and New Ballet San Jose. Growing up in Singapore, she started in Chinese Dance, and completed the vocational levels with the Royal Academy of Dance and Commonwealth Society of Teachers of Dance under Mr. Donato C. Ferrer and Mr. Antony Tay. She then joined Singapore Ballet’s pre-professional program under Mr. Janek Schergen. She danced soloist and lead roles with Tampa Ballet Theatre for 2 seasons, then moved to The Georgia Ballet for 4 seasons where she learnt to appreciate the Cuban style of training. In her dance journey, she has enjoyed performing a myriad of classical and contemporary works, including Paquita, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Carmen, Giselle, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coppelia, Les Sylphides, Una Danza Para Ti, Haydn.
  • Rebecca Nugent

    Rebecca Nugent is originally from Ethiopia and was adopted at the age of Ten by
    an American family located in Sacramento CA. At the age of 12, Rebecca enrolled in
    dance classes at a local competition Studio, where she trained in, Tap, Jazz,
    Hip-Hop, Contemporary, and modern. Ultimately, she fell in love with ballet and at the
    age of 16 she decided to pursue it in a serious manner. While training and performing at
    a local ballet school, she also attended Humboldt State University where she
    received her AA in Kinesioloogy, with a focus on Pre-PT, with a minor in Dance.
    Rebecca moved to San Jose in 2019 to join New Ballet as a Studio Company Dancer and
    was promoted to Company Artist in 2023. Throughout her dancing career, she has
    performed the role of Sugar plum fairy, snow queen, Clara, in the Nutcracker as well
    as soloist and corps de ballet roles in Sleeping beauty, Cinderella, Paquita, La
    Sylphide, Swan Lake, and Stars and Stripes. Rebecca believes that dance is a
    dignifying and healing artform that everyone, regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity
    deserve to experience.
    Rebecca holds a certification in American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum as
    well as a certification in The GYROTONIC Method.

    Pronouns: She/Her
  • Sarah Stevens

    A Southern California native, Sarah trained at the Anaheim Ballet school and enjoyed performing classical and contemporary repertoire with the small company there as an apprentice, with corps and soloist roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, La Esmerelda, Ondine, The Little Humpbacked Horse, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and even the opportunity to perform the White Swan pas de duex from Swan Lake.

    She moved to the bay area in 2018 to dance with New Ballet’s Studio Company, where she began training according to the ABT Curriculum, which draws from the Cecchetti, Vaganova, and French training techniques to create well rounded and adaptable dancers. She completed her ABT level 6 exam with honors under the teaching of Linh Mai Le, and went on to receive her promotion to New Ballet Company Artist in 2020. Though her experience with the company had a slow start due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, in time she had the chance to dance corps de ballet, soloist and principal roles in several classical productions, including The San Jose Nutcracker, Cinderella, La Boutique Fantasque, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Her most notable roles include Sugar Plum Fairy and Lilac Fairy, as well as extensive rehearsal for Odette/Odile, though the shows were ultimately cancelled due to the Covid-19 shutdowns. Over the years she also worked with exciting choreographers such as Amy Seiwert, Ben Needham-Wood, Keon Saghari, Peter Merz, and Marika Brussel on new contemporary pieces created for the company.

    Like many dancers, Sarah began teaching to supplement her income, and quickly caught the bug for guiding others through movement and experiencing the excitement and joy of growth together. In 2020, she became certified in the first level of the ABT National Training Curriculum, and really enjoyed the emphasis on supporting dancers’ psychological and physical well being during the training process. Sarah began teaching at New Ballet’s school and saw the positive impact the curriculum had on the students. She went on to receive her second level of certification with ABT in 2021, and has since successfully presented 15 exams from a wide range of levels, earning her ABT Fellowship status in 2024.
    ABT Examinations include in depth feedback for the presenting teacher, and Sarah was grateful to have guidance and mentorship in her teaching methods from highly knowledgable and experienced dance educators, including Susan Brooker, Pamela Levy, Sonia Jones, Sayako Harada, Mads Erikson and many more. Sarah found teaching extremely fulfilling: each new class was like an enticing puzzle to solve, with unique and diverse students who would require skillful and often inventive presentation of the material according to their backgrounds, personalities, physicality, and developmental stages.

    During this time of learning to teach ballet and honing her own skills as a classical dancer and performer, Sarah practiced Gyrotonic and Pilates at Urban Body San Jose to prevent and heal from injuries which had been persistent and discouraging in her dance career. She went on to receive her certification to teach Gyrotonic, and currently teaches sessions at Urban Body San Jose, where she loves working with clients of all backgrounds and aspirations to reach their unique movement goals. Whether instructing a ballet class or Gyrotonic session, Sarah hopes to provide mindful, skillful, and expressive movement that strengthens the internal sense of calm, self-agency, and an overall feeling of being at home in one’s own body, no matter where the rest of the day may lead.​

    ​Pronouns: She/Her/Her