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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.

  • JUNGHYUN HWANG

    Junghyun’s movement and style are rooted in her extensive background in dance with an emphasis on Traditional Korean Dance and Jazz Dance. Since 2008-2012, she has taught jazz dance and children’s ballet and performed with the Kimsukja company at Seoul Arts Center, National Gugak Center, Guangdong Arts Center, Nowon Arts Center, and History Hall in Korea. Since performing in the USA, she has also taught a jazz master class at Mission College. In addition to her extensive dance career, Junghyun is a certified Yoga and Pilates instructor.

    Mission Statement:

    To teach proper motion through ballet positions, jazz steps, and modern floor techniques, participants should be ready to improve line and strength as well as flexibility. There is an emphasis on executing techniques properly as well as on the artistry. Be part of training to help you increase flexibility and strength.

    Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsURwOosKU0b7AdUbq4SZag/featured

    Pronoun: she/her/her
  • 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

  • RODOLPHE CASSAND

    Rodolphe Cassand was born in Dijon, France. He started ballet at age 7 with his mother Monique Dornier, principal dancer at Grand Theatre de Dijon and former student of the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet school.
    He then joined Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, studying with Paris Opera ballet masters Daniel Franck, Roger Ritz, Serge Golovine, and graduated with honors in Technique and Theory.
    From the Conservatoire, Rodolphe was invited to join Ballet National de Marseille directed by the legendary Roland Petit, who offered him his first contract at age 17. He then rapidly rose to the rank of soloist and was featured in Petit's TV special Ma Pavlova as The Black Swan.
    In a span of 22 years, Rodolphe had danced in over 1,000 performances worldwide, including productions led by such stars of ballet as Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Natalia Makarova, Patrick Dupont, Carla Fracci, Alessandra Ferri, Peter Shaufuss, Vladimir Vassiliev, Ekaterina Maximova.
    Rodolphe has been part of the Japan Ballet Festival, The Dance Theater of Harlem, American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Lines Ballet and Smuin Ballet.
    Rodolphe has taught at Smuin Ballet and on tours was assigned Master Teacher. At Shenandoah University he gave choreography workshops additionally to his ballet classes. Rodolphe has also taught at Western Ballet, Santa Clara Ballet, Lines Ballet and Cassand Ballet where he also served as Artistic Director.
    Working closely with renowned choreographers - Roland Petit (pictured above), Glenn Tetley, William Forsythe, Alonzo King and Michael Smuin - has definitely shaped Rodolphe's uncontainable creativity. He successfully produced J'aime (a five act ballet) at Shenandoah, Awakening at Dance Mission Theatre. During his 9 years directing his own school Cassand Ballet, he has created numerous works: Persephone, The Fairies, Faun, Forms and Etudes, The Dancing Princesses, The Wild Swans, and The Snow Queen.

    Pronouns: He/Him/His
  • 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.
  • VICTORIA WILLIAMS

    Victoria (Tora) found her love of movement at a young age. Her experience in gymnastics, drum and bugle corps, dance, and physical therapy have contributed to her interest and education of the body. In addition to dancing ballet, she is a member of a local Contemporary dance company. She is currently gaining her Pilates Mat certification through Balanced Body.



  • RACHEL O’RYAN

    Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of my life, I am fortunate to have received more than 30 years of excellent training in music and ballet. I studied ballet with Ken Delmar, Daniel Simmons, Shannon Chain and others. My ballet training included character dance classes, which quickly became my favorite class. Always hungry for interesting choreography, I was captivated by the originality of the steps, the emphasis on epaulement and the expressive use of the hands. Over the last 10 years I shifted my focus from ballet to character dance. I started with Egyptian dance with Hala Fauzi and Tatiana Werya and performed with a local folklore performing group. During this time, I had the good fortune to meet and work with professional dancer Vakhtangi Ioseliani who had danced with National Ballet of Georgia. He taught me the beautiful dances from the area around the Black Sea. These dances are the focus of my character class.

    When I wasn’t dancing I was working full-time as a software trainer, teaching English as a second language, and tutoring Algebra to high school students. I have always enjoyed teaching and helping students achieve their potential.

    My goal in teaching character dance class is to share the joy I get from character dancing with students who love the dance form as much as I do.