Owner/Founder/Director, Tap Program Dept. Head

Monie Adamson

  • B.F.A. in Dance Choreography and Performance
  • Orange County Lifetime Teaching credential
  • CTG Talent Agency & TRIO Talent Agency
  • 3 time Emmy Nominee
  • American Choreography Award Recipient
  • Television Academy Member

Monie Adamson’s diverse choreographic abilities have earned her three Emmy Nominations, five American Choreography Award Nominations, and winner of the American Choreography Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Television Variety Series” (MAD tv) in 2003. She is a recipient of the Choreography Media Honor for her choreographic work in the television industry, and is currently a member of the Television Academy, and represented by both CTG and TRIO Talent Agencies.

For almost a decade she was Resident-Choreographer for Warner Bros. Television on such shows as Family Matters and Step-By-Step. For nine years Monie held title as Resident-Choreographer for FOX’s MAD tv, and choreographed for Taco Bell, Blue Collar Television, and the music video “If I Didn’t Have You” starring Hannah Montana’s Mitchel Musso & Emily Osment.

In 2015 Monie performed as a dancer in the movie La La Land, the television show Crazy Ex-Girl Friend, and was “on screen talent” for “I Can Make You Dance”. She has performed in Music Videos, at Disneyland, and was a Principal Dancer with the highly acclaimed dance company, Rhapsody in Taps, for eight-years. Monie has studied with such Tap-Masters as Gregory Hines, Arthur Duncan, Pat Rico, Sandman Simms, and Eddie Brown. Other training includes such teachers as Joe Tremaine, Doug Cauldwell, El Gabriel, Jere Curry, and Linda Sohl-Ellis.

She holds a B. F. A. in Dance and Performance from the University of California, Irvine, and has her Orange County life-time teaching Credential. She has been on the faculties of the University of California Irvine, United States International University, Cypress College, Chapman College and held a Professorship at California State University, Chico. She was an Adjunct Faculty Member at Orange Coast College for 20 years and, while Director of Orange Coast College’s Danc’N E.T.C. (Educational Touring Company), was named “Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year” and received a “2000 Dance in Action Award” for her work with Danc’N E.T.C.

Monie is known for her vivacious teaching style and creative choreography. As a Choreographer as well as Director/Founder of FOCUS Dance Center for the Performing Arts (Irvine, CA), her contagious energy and fresh approach are well known. Monie has a great enthusiasm and immense passion for dance, and a huge desire to instill this in her students and dancers.

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Joan Acklin

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Edgar Aguirre

  • B.F.A. Dance Choreography and Performance Candidate
  • BS Educational Sciences Candidate
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Gassia Barin

  • B.F.A. in Kinesiology Candidate
  • CSUF Dance Team

Gassia was born and raised in Orange County, California. She started dancing at the age of four and started competing at the age of five. She began training in styles such as ballet, lyrical, jazz, contemporary, acro, tap, musical theatre and pom. She has won numerous awards and titles and she was chosen OC 2016 Varsity top 10 Artists of the Year. She was part of her high school dance team and she was co-captain her senior year. She is currently attending Cal State University of Fullerton studying Kinesiology and is part of the 16th time National Championship winning CSUF Dance Team. She is excited to share her love and passion for dance at Focus Dance Center.

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Shauna Bradford-Martinez

  • B.A. in Biology with a minor in Forensic Science

Shauna has spent more than half of her life in the world of dance including modern, ballet, lyrical, jazz and tap. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Shauna’s training began with the Cincinnati Ballet Company. She is a graduate of the Orange County High School of the Arts. Throughout her formative years Shauna was a Spotlight Music Center Award recipient and multiple national competitive titles. Her professional career spanned the wide gamut of film, television, music videos, commercials and theatre. She’s worked some of today’s most coveted jobs with the hottest choreographers; Paula Abdul (Disney Channel), Debbie Allen (Academy Awards), Kenny Ortega (NBC-Hull High & High School Musical), Tina Landon (MTV Music Awards), Fatima Robinson (Michael Jackson).

She’s also had the honor of being a part of the creative team for Elvira Mistress of the Dark stage show and Disney’s Tokyo Seas “Mystic Rhythms”. Shauna honed her teaching skills as an assistant teacher for Cindy Peca, Eddie Garcia, Alex Magno and Jackie Sleight. As a teacher and choreographer, she’s had the honor of teaching, coaching and choreographing all over the U.S. and Japan.

Currently, she is head of choreography for One More Productions at the Gem Theater in Garden Grove. During the day she is a Senior Vice President in Global Treasury for Bank of America. She lives locally in Irvine with her beautiful daughter Khloe.

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Amy Bui

  • A.A. in Art, Humanities and Communications
  • A.A. in Social Behavioral Sciences
  • B.A. in Educational Sciences Candidate with emphasis on Digital Learning & Media

Amy Bui has been dancing since the age of three and entered the field of competitive dance at the age of nine. As a FOCUS Alumni, she has had the honor of being trained by the FOCUS faculty at the competitive level of dance. She has been teaching and has had the privilege of assisting Monie Adamson since the age of fifteen.

Her passion and enthusiasm for dance can not only be seen while performing on stage, but also in the classroom. As an aspiring artist, she hopes to inspire and teach her students the joys dance can bring to one’s life.

She hopes to continue to work with the current talent within the dance industry and in doing so, develop her own artistic talent. In addition to her for passion dance, she is currently studying Journalism and hopes to pursue a future in that field.

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Gina Cerato Fiume

  • ABT Certified
  • Pilates Certification

Gina began her ballet training at Ballet Pacifica in Laguna Beach, Ca. at the age of 6. There she received the highest level of training in the classical Vagonova and Cechetti methods. She has also trained in all styles of dance. She started performing with Ballet Pacifica right away and was dancing with the company in all productions by age 13. Within Gina’s training, she attended Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Joffrey summer intensives. With Ballet Pacific she annually attended and performed in the Pacific Regional Ballet Festivals. She also received further training in a more contemporary style when Molly Lynch took over Ballet Pacifica and turned the company to a contemporary ballet company. She was trained and worked with well known teachers including David Allan, Alaine Haubert, Janek Schurgen, Lynn Cox, Charles Maple and Robert Sund. Also with many well-known choreographers including Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Ann-Marie DeAngelo, Rick McCullough, Paul Vasterling, Peter Pucci and Stephen Mills among others. Many of the roles she performed throughout her career were created on her and she has been recognized for her precise technique, strength and flexibility.

With a request from others for Gina to start teaching, she has carefully honed her teaching skills through study, observation, and her own dance/performance experience and continued education. Gina is a certified instructor by ABT® National Teachers Training Curriculum at ABT-NY and is certified for levels Pre-Primary to level 3. Her teaching career that has spanned over 20 years, her knowledge and instruction of classical ballet technique has proven to develop strength and fluidity of movement that is necessary for today’s dancer and she strives to instill the importance of a strong foundation of technique as a means to freedom of movement. Her experience includes the instruction of all levels and abilities including beginning through professional and adults. Gina is also a certified Pilates instructor which she has been teaching just as long.

Gina’s own professional dance career was spent not only as a 20 year company member of Ballet Pacifica but also guesting for other local companies, theater productions and studios. During her time with Ballet Pacifica, she was very close to both directors and was transitioning to become Ballet Mistress or future Director. Gina knew choreography to not only all ballets within the repertoire, but also the well renowned Ballets for Children.

During several years of teaching at Ballet Pacifica and their summer intensives, she had a chance to re-stage several classical ballets including Les Sylphides, La Sylphide (excerpts), Swan Lake (Act II), Paquita, Giselle, the Nutcracker(exerpts), and many female and male variations required in the training of young dancers. She has also produced full length classical Nutcracker Suite and several other classical and contemporary choreography.

Many of Ms. Cerato’s students have been accepted to and attended well known summer intensive programs and year around schools such as ABT, SAB, PNB, SFB, OBT, North Carolina School of the Arts, Austin Ballet, Julliard, Harid Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, The Bolshoi Academy, and Kirov Academy among others. Also, they have been trained/coached and competed in several ballet competitions like Youth American Grand Prix and Spotlight. Many have gone on to achieve professional dance careers with such companies as listed. Gina has held an annual winter and summer intensives for more than 5 years that she has solely taught.

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Michelle Chong

  • B.F.A. in Choreography Candidate
  • Minor in Business Management Candidate
  • Certified in Yoga Candidate

Michelle has been dancing since she was 4, first learning ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theatre at the Pasadena Civic Ballet Center. She began dancing hip-hop in 2012 when she joined Miniotics, the junior crew established by Poreotics (ABDC Season 5 Champions). Under the mentorship of Dumbo Nguyen, she has been trained in the funk style of popping, additionally learning waving and tutting as supplemental genres. From 2013 to 2016, Michelle has placed Bronze in the Junior Division, Gold in the Varsity Division, and Bronze in the Adult Division while competing with Miniotics in Hip Hop International, USA Championships. In 2016, she appeared with Miniotics on America’s Got Talent as a televised competitor. Currently, Michelle is a student at the University of California, Irvine as a Dance Major with a Business Minor. She aims to earn a B.F.A in Choreography and to eventually found her own dance company in the future! For Michelle, dance is not only her passion but her philosophy for life. She hopes that she can spread the joy she has for dance with her students!

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Kameryn Denaro

  • B.S. Statistics
  • M.S. Statistics concentration in Biostatistics
  • Ph.D. Computational Science with an emphasis in Computational Statistics

Kameryn Denaro, a native of San Diego, is now based in Orange County, where she is thrilled to be a faculty member of FOCUS Dance Center of the Performing Arts. Kameryn’s extensive dance training covers many areas of the art including tap, jazz, contemporary, and west coast swing.  Kameryn was a company member of the Rocket Swing Dancers for six years where she appeared in many live performances and music videos for the band, “Speak Easy Spies”. In addition to studying dance at San Diego State University, she received her M.S. degree in Statistics. She has been working in the business since the age of 18 and continues to perfect her art attending regular classes at the Edge Performing Arts Center. Kameryn’s classes have a deep focus on stretch, strength and placement. Her combinations are creative, athletic, and unique. Kameryn believes that dance brings balance and a creative outlet to a dancer’s life.

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Chelsea Freeman

  • BFA Dance Choreography
  • BA Psychology and Social Behavior
  • Registered Behavior Technician (Candidate)

Chelsea began her dance training in Northern California where she competed as a studio dancer for 11 years. She received further training traveling to numerous conventions throughout the Bay Area where she was granted a scholarship to Broadway Dance Center’s intensive as well as an invitation to perform on Carnival Cruise Line as an apprentice with Celebrity Dance Competition. She began teaching at the age of 16, training young dancers in multiple disciplines and choreographing for high school dance teams and competitive studios.

Chelsea holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography along with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior from University of California Irvine, where she graduated in June 2017. While at UCI she performed in original works by graduate students Leann Alduenda and Darlisa Wajid-ali and appeared in a rendition of Jose Límon’s original work “There is a Time”, under the direction of Límon Company member Dante Puleio. Chelsea has created and produced original choreography for several undergraduate dance concerts and was awarded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program to fully fund her final dance thesis concert under the mentorship of Loretta Livingston.

Chelsea began her professional career in 2014 as a dancer in the Pixar Play Parade at the Disneyland Resort and appeared in Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour promo where she worked with award-winning director Diane Martel. Recently, Chelsea completed an internship in arts administration at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Orange County’s top performing arts nonprofit organization. She continues her work as a choreographer for competitive dance studios along California, and is currently gaining experience working with children with disabilities as a Behavioral Interventionist. Chelsea strives for excellence in each of her students by setting high performance standards that are met with passionate energy and challenging movement vocabulary.

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Jayne-Mari Garland

Bio coming soon…

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Jonica Glenn

Jonica began dancing at the age of 2 as a shy little girl in the corner. Once she stepped on stage, Jonica found her new home. Dance turned from a hobby to a passion where she dedicated her time, energy and heart to her art. Jonica attended Orange County High School of the Arts as a Commercial Dance major, while competing for West Coast School of the Arts. After attending a high school football game Jonica gained the desire to become a song leader. She enrolled at Northwood High School during her junior year where she was on Varsity Song for two years. As captain of the song team, she led the team to earn the Nation Champion title in Jazz and Lyrical small groups, Ultimate National Champions for Lyrical small group, and her Jazz solo. In addition, she earned a scholarship through Nation Dance Association. After graduating from Northwood, she jumped into coaching song for multiple high schools throughout Orange County. In her eight years of coaching, she has earned multiple choreography titles and championship titles through competitions including USA, US Spirit leaders, Jamz and NDA. While Jonica was seeking more knowledge of injury prevention and movement training, she found her second passion of yoga. She is a Expert Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and received her certifications through Corepower Yoga, where she now teaches full time. Jonica is excited to bring her passions for dance and yoga to FOCUS Dance Center. She has a passion for creating strong dancers through strength training and injury prevention techniques in a fun and engaging environment.

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Megumi Iwama

  • B.F.A. in Choreography and Performance

Megumi was born and raised in Southern California and began her dance training at age 6. She danced competitively for 6 years with Pacific Dance in Irvine, winning numerous awards while training in diverse styles and movement vocabulary. She has been teaching since the age of 18, choreographing for many competitive groups and passionately training young students. Meg recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance as well as Bachelor of Fine Arts in Choreography. She trained under highly distinguished professors including Molly Lynch, Diane Diefenderfer, Tong Wang, and was a member of modern dance legend Donald McKayle’s Etude Ensemble, earning the 2017 Donald McKayle scholarship. She has worked with diverse companies both in concert and commercial dance, having trained with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (2015, 2016) and BODYTRAFFIC’s intensive programs. Commercially, she has had opportunities working with award-winning choreographers such as Ryan Ramirez in the KAR TV Industry Awards, and assisting master classes taught by Bobby Amamizu and Marguerite Derricks. Meg is currently a company member for contemporary dance company, Re:borN Dance Interactive under the artistic direction of Boroka Nagy. She is a freelance dancer, recently performing works by choreographer, Charlotte Griffin, in NYC at the Gibney Dance Center. As a dancer, Meg finds curiosity in the means of embodying emotional connection and intensity, and the potential movement has to deliver raw and honest experiences of the human body. Meg has a strong passion for teaching and sharing her knowledge of dance, exemplified in her enthusiasm to share this beautiful art form of dance with her students!

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Sam Katz

A native Southern Californian, Sam has been teaching tap for over 30 years in Orange & L.A Counties. She also trained over many years in ballet, jazz & modern dance. Specializing in rhythm tap, over the last 20 years, Sam studied intensively with Linda Sohl-Ellison of Rhapsody in Taps. She studied locally with Sam Weber, Monie Adamson, Cathy Lozano, Liz Hess, Joan Golden & the late Eddie Brown, Leonard Reed & Henry LeTang. She has also studied as a scholarship student at tap festivals in Boston, Colorado & Portland & later at the So-Cal, Vancouver & LA Tap Festivals with such Tap Masters as: Honi Coles, Steve Condos, Cookie Cook, Chuck Green, Buster Brown, The Nicholas Brothers, Willie Covan, LaVaughn Robinson, Dianne Walker, Heather Cornel, Sarah Petronio, Brenda Bufalino, Anita Feldman, Lynn Daly, Sam Weber & assisted in a class at the Portland Tap Festival. Sam was the assistant choreographer/rehearsal director for the Orange Coast College Performing Dance Ensemble for 2 years in the early 90’s & has choreographed concert pieces in both tap & modern dance. She can be seen in Gene Nelson’s video “Come Tap With Me” and the “Leonard Reed’s Shim Sham Shimmy”. Sam has performed with two So. Cal. tap companies, including working for over 3 years as the artistic director of “The Next Step”, choreographing & performing with special electronic tap equipment & has performed in several states across the U.S. She has been commissioned several times to choreograph pieces for selected dancers at Laguna Beach High School and has worked as a choreography coach for students in the LA Unified School District. In August, 2010 Sam was on faculty at “Tap into a Cure” In Edmonton, Alberta Canada as well as performing in “Magical Rhythms.” at Festival Place, Sherwood Park, Alberta.

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Kari Klimuck

Kari is originally from Phoenix AZ. She started dancing at age 2 and has had a strong passion ever since. Kari grew up as a competitive dancer, danced with Diana Ross at the 1996 Super Bowl in 2001, and toured the United States with Dance Olympus. In addition to her 24 years of dance experience, she has won choreography awards for her creative and innovative works. Most recently she was a maintenance choreographer for Disney including such shows as Disney’s Christmas Parade, Mickey’s Magic Calalcade, “CELEBRATIONS” 50th anniversary Block Party Bash. Kari opened Innerlight Dance Center in Arizona in 2008. In 2015 she sold “innerlight Dance Center” and moved to San Diego. She’s very excited to continue teaching and educating dancers.

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Dante Lara

(B.A. Theater Arts – Chapman University)

TAP DANCER, Dante Lara, based in both NY and L.A., has been seen in performing in nightclubs, major music festivals, jazz clubs, restaurants, corporate events, hotels, videos and on TV. A graduate of Chapman University with a BA in Theatre Arts, Dante Lara earned his SAG card at age seven, and has been performing professionally ever since.

As a soloist, Dante recently performed at LA.’s Ford Amphitheatre; The Dolby Theatre; The W Hotel Hollywood; The Culver Hotel, The LA Film Festival; The Big Apple Tap Festival, and many other venues in California and New York.

RAWArtists.com named Dante one of their ”Top Three Performing Artists for 2014.”

In addition, Dante is a successful and well-known street performer in New York City, where he hones his craft collaborating with jazz musicians, including the viral jazz band, Receta Secreta. Together, they have performed at hotels, bars, restaurants, and parks in NYC over the past three years.

Dante’s television appearances include World of Dance (NBC), The Talk (CBS), The Nikki Show (WB), Dance Revolution (CBS), and many commercials. Most recently, Dante appeared in the just-released music video for the band, The Dispatch.

Company work includes Chloe Arnold’s NY-based Apartment 33, Parris Mann’s Here’s II Lyfe, Chris Scott’s The Nitty Grittyz and Steve Zee’s LA Ironworks.

Dante teaches at renowned festivals, colleges and studios, including The LA Tap Fest, RIFF: Dallas 2018 (Alongside Savion Glover), Pittsburgh Steel City Tap Festival 2018, The Las Vegas Tap Festival 2018, The Washington DC Tap Festival 2018, Rhapsody in Taps National Tap Day Celebration and Chapman University. Recently, he had the honor of serving as Artist in Residence at Colorado Mesa University.

Dante’s choreography has been showcased at several venues and festivals including The 2017 Hollywood Fringe Fest, the Phoenix Area National Tap Dance Day Celebration, the LA Tap Fest and at many university, high school, and competition stages.

“My mission is to spread Tap Dancing to new audiences and to inspire everyone – especially the next generation of dancers – to sign up for classes, and explore this wonderful, musical dance form.”

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Terre Marriott

  • Certified in Jazz and Ballet through Dance Masters of America

Terre Marriott has been teaching dance for over 35 years. She started teaching dance at the young age of 17. She received her certification to teach dance from Dance Masters of America, Inc. in 1983. As a member of the Executive Board of Directors for Dance Masters of Southern California, Terre formerly served as the 1st Vice President. Terre directed the Miss and Mr. Dance of Southern California Competition for three years. Terre was one of FOCUS Dance Center’s competition choreographers from when the studio opened until 2011. Terre is now the director of FOCUS Dance Center’s Dance Stars Workshop and Summer Intensive programs, and she puts together the photo gallery on the FOCUS website each year. In addition to her status at FOCUS, Terre is currently the Student Activities Director, Dance Drill Team and Boys Crew Director, Head of the Jr. High Puppet Ministry and School Webmaster for Bethany Christian Academy. Terre received commendation from the City of Westminster Mayor and City Council for being one of Westminster’s finest and dedicated performing arts teachers. Terre danced with and was the assistant director, for Orange Coast College’s Educational Touring Company, under the direction of Monie Adamson. She also danced for choreographer Monie Adamson on the Warner Bros. Television pilot entitled “New York Daze”. She was the choreographer and teacher of the 1984 Jr. Star Search Dance Champions. Terre was the former owner of the Marriott Dance Center, which she directed for seven years. Many of Terre’s students have gone on to successful dance careers on Broadway, major Ballet companies, dance videos, film, television, and many have become successful dance teachers and choreographers. Her motto to all of her students is “The sky is the limit!”

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David McMahan

  • B.F.A.
  • M.F.A. Candidate
  • Fletcher Pilates

David McMahan is a graduate of the dance program at Orange Coast College and the highly competitive University of Arizona School of Dance, where he studied under Linda Sohl-Ellison, Jose Costas, Amy Ernst and Douglas Nielsen. During his time dancing in New York, David furthered his studies at the Martha Graham School and the Merce Cunningham Studio. Currently working with modern dance company, Habitat Dance, David has performed with Copious Dance Theater, RAW Dance Project, Marie de la Palme’s motion/TRIBE, Opera Pacific and UA Dance Ensemble, as well as in the masterworks of Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Bella Lewitzky, George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton. David has taught throughout Arizona and California, including California State University Long Beach and the University of Arizona, and been an international guest teacher in Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Philippines and South Korea.

Through the influence of first-generation Pilates visionary, Ron Fletcher and the mentorship of master teacher Kyria Sabin, David discovered his passion for empowering people toward their movement potential. David serves as Faculty and Director of Marketing for Fletcher Pilates® and has taught educational programs in Europe and Asia. He has been featured in Pilates Style Magazine and Pilates Anytime, and has presented at industry conferences for Fletcher Pilates and the Pilates Method Alliance. David is certified through the Pilates Method Alliance and has his personal training certification through National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Through his multifaceted background incorporating dance, Pilates, kinesiology and neuromuscular conditioning, David’s classes emphasize the importance of correct body alignment and clean dance technique to support dancers toward achieving their full potential.

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Maria Paula Medellin

  • B.A. in Child Development Candidate

Maria started her training at the very late age of 11 years old. Training at different studios in Orange County she found her love through many different styles, modern being her first love. Though time was of essence, Maria was determined to train as much as she could in order to keep up with her now colleagues and peers. Maria has worked with Several different choreographers and teachers in Orange County and at the ripe age of 14 she started taking classes at FOCUS dance center where it’s original location was at the university town center! Competing only one year at the age of 16 she started taking her path with her art to another level and continued training hard until her senior year ended at FOCUS! Maria has join multiple dance groups and teams after that time including the Orange Coast College dance team, Irvine Valley College performing dance ensemble with the late Marie De La Palme (may she Rest In Peace), The Elle Vie Dance Company and many more versatile groups. As well as contemporary and lyrical/ballet etc., she also has an immense love for the art of hip-hop and has been involved in many of the dance community’s groups and projects whether she has choreographed or been a part of someone’s work! She is currently heavily involved in many different avenues of dance in different communities, Boogiezone Utopia (under the direction of Elm Pizzaro) being one of them which is a big part of her life now. She teaches there as well and is a part of their dance company who has given her many amazing industry opportunities and the courage to put her name and herself out in the industrial world of dance. Maria prides herself in her versatility in different styles and strives to spread the love of her art to younger generations for years to come in hopes they will deliver a positive message through movement and interpretation. Already having a heavy load, Maria was also inspired by Miss Sarah Johnston, which has carved the path to a separate career to be a child development major in the works of being a preschool teacher. She is humbled and honored to always be around amazing talent and mentored by some of the biggest influences in the dance world INCLUDING her FOCUS Family which has molded her and put her in the right direction to where she stands now.

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Holly Mehling

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Deana Occhipinti

  • B.F.A. Musical Theater Performance Cum Laude
  • Associate Faculty Irvine Valley College (present)
  • Performing Arts Director Red Hill Lutheran School
  • Master Teacher/Judge California Association of Dance and Drill Teams

Deana Occhipinti has been a dancer for over 25 years and her passion for dance has led her to both perform and teach for the last 20 years. Deana holds a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from California State University Fullerton (cum laude 2000), where she toured regionally with both The Kaleidoscope Players and The Preeminants’ One Hundred Years of Broadway tours. Deana has performed in many reviews, industrials, musicals, dinner theatres and theme parks throughout the Southland. Leading roles in Annie, West Side Story, The Pajama Game, Steppin Out and Cabaret, have earned her many rave reviews. “Her energy and charisma are a standout”-OC Register.

Deana (aka “Mama D”) currently is a Senior Choreographer and the Competition Coordinator for FOCUS Dance Center. Other teaching credits include California Association of Dance/Drill Team (Master Teacher/Competition Judge), Cal State Fullerton, Costa Mesa High School, Los Alamitos High School, Golden State Ballet, and DNA The Dance Lab (Owner/Director). She is also the resident Director/Choreographer for both Trinity United Presbyterian Church and St. Hyacinth Academy. She is PROUD to have BOTH her daughters dancing on and off the stage with her. Where there is no heart, there is no art—A. Pavlova

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Mychelle Perez

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Tien Pham

  • B.S. in Biological Sciences

Tien Pham teaches a specialized style known as breaking or B-Boying. Tien started breaking in 2009 with a couple friends in high school. Later on, he joined a free style dance club at UCI called BBoys Anonymous. At BBoys Anonymous also referred to as BBA, He pursued deeper into breaking as well as learning the history of Hip Hop. He is also part of several dance crews such as Miles of Styles and Urban Motus. He’s done various competitions and performances within in the breaking community and the UCI dance community.

He wishes to further improve his teaching ability and educate the youth on real hip hop culture as well as the foundation of breaking. He wants the students to respect the culture as well as enjoying his particular form of art. He’s goal is to develop and train his students to bring a different type of style to FOCUS

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Adi Pollack

  • B.Ed in Education and Dance
  • Yoga instructor Certificate
  • Yoga Therapist Certification
  • Anatomy Instructor certification

Born and Raised in Israel, Adi earned her Bachelor of Education and Dance from the leading College of Education in Israel. Adi has been dancing since the age of 6, and join the world renown Bat-Dor company and School of Dance when she was 12.

Adi’s Professional career and love to Dance earned her the Lead Dancer position in the Fresco International Dance Company during 2002-2005.

Adi has been teaching and choreographing dance for the past 13 years. Her teaching styles include Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Contemporary.

In Addition to Dance, Adi is a Certified Yoga Instructor. Her passion for Dance and Yoga helped her develop a new Fitness Method (“Body in Motion”), that incorporate Yoga, Pilates and Dance techniques, and focuses on core strength, improved flexibility, balance and posture.

Adi resides in Irvine, California, with her Husband and 3 beautiful kids.

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Jill Porter

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Frank Restrepo

Coming Soon…

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Santiago (Santi) Rivera

  • B.A. Drama and a Minor in Education

Santiago was born in Los Angeles, CA where he started his dance training in eighth grade. He trained in many styles from Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Musical Theatre etc. Throughout his training he discovered his love for choreography and teaching. He recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2016 with a B.A. in Drama and a minor in Education and feels blessed for what he has accomplished. He has been cast in productions in and outside of school, he has choreographed for events like Take Back the Night and Bare Bones Dance Theater’s “Erased and Retraced”, he has self produced two dance concerts “The Process” and “The Promise”, choreographed for companies like Breed Dance Company. And most recently made his Off-Broadway debut not only as a performer but also as a choreographer through UCI’s New York Satellite Program 2016. He has had the privilege to dance for companies and ensembles like; The Hubbard Collective, Jess Harper and Dancers, Interface Ensemble, Celeste Lanuza Dance Theatre and Insight Jazz Ensemble. He loves working with children, and teaching dance at an early age is something he wants to implement in the Hispanic community. Aside from teaching he aspires to be a professional dance concert choreographer. Not only does he want to share his love for dance with aspiring artists but expose concert/commercial dance to the Hispanic community as well.

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Geminise Robin

Bio coming soon…

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Laura Russom

Is a passionate and dedicated dance teacher who has been teaching since the age of fourteen. She has been dancing since the age of three and won numerous awards and titles while competing. She also danced with the Joffrey Ballet, in the role of Clara’s friend, and with The San Francisco Ballet in the role of Arabian. After high school, she was a member of the national award winning Long Beach State Dance Team. She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Girls for two years. In addition she has appeared in numerous commercials, including Target and Subway, and television shows, including dancing in the opening number of The Emmy Awards on CBS. She currently teaches lyrical, jazz, modern, ballet and pointe. She has a strong ballet background and believes good ballet technique is the core of every good dancer.

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Hanne Schmidt

  • B.S. Elementary Education
  • CA Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
  • CA Clear Single Subject-Physical Education
  • Utah Life Time teaching Credential
  • Adult, Child, and Infant CPR & AED Certified

Hanne holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University, where she was also a member and choreographer of the NDA national champion dance team, the Cougarettes. She has performed in BYU football and basketball games, NBA Utah Jazz half times, and the many venues of the Salt Lake Winter 2002 Olympics. Upon returning to California, Hanne danced on the streets of Disneyland and California Adventure in “A Christmas Fantasy” and “Block Party Bash”. She has also worked professionally for the Crystal Cathedral’s “Creation,” Mattel’s Barbie Doll Collector’s Convention, and “The Rick Thomas Magic Show’. Hanne has worked with the dancers at many Orange County high schools and was the dance director  at Tarbut V’ Torah for several years. She has been dedicated to developing talent within the dancers at FOCUS Dance Center in Irvine over the past 12 years and in doing so has received special recognition for her choreography at various competitions. Hanne has choreographed musicals for both University High School, Edison High School, Orange County Children’s Theater, and local churches.  She is wife to Justin and mommy to Chase, Garrett, and Tanner.

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Jazley Faith Sendjaja

  • B.A. English
  • B.A. Literary Journalism

Jazley Faith was born and raised in Southern California—a valley girl at heart. She started dancing when she was five, training in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and lyrical. Jazley has been teaching dance since she was sixteen, and has also traveled to Panama to teach dance to underprivileged kids through profit organization, Movement Exchange. Jazley is also an anteater–graduating from UCI with degrees in English and Literary Journalism. She is a freelance journalist, photographer, and videographer. When Jazley is not working, she is shimmying to mambo at a salsa club.

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David Slaney

David Slaney II is 25 years of age, he began dancing at the age of 13 but quickly fell in love with teaching and has been doing so since the age of 16. Along with traveling in & out of state, David currently teaches throughout the southern California area. He was a performer at Disneyland from 2010-2016 and has also had the opportunity to choreograph/dance for several up & coming young artists. Some of David’s Dance credits include: Mary j. Blige, Nyx Face Off Awards 2015, Disney Channel, Mischief Makers, & more. He is very passionate about sharing his gift for dance & bringing out that inner fire that is inside every dancer. David currently continues to pursue his passion while training up the next generation.

“Be inspired to inspire” is his motto for life. The message he shares with all of his students is this– “If you can dream it, live it! Anything is possible as long as you love what you do & support others along the way.”

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Noelle Snavely

  • B.F.A. in Dance, Performance and Choreography
  • M.F.A. in Dance
  • Pilates Certification

Noelle Snavely holds a Masters of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from University California, Irvine. Noelle also holds a Pilates Certification from Studio De Corps. Her formal training includes studying with dance masters David Allen, Donald McKayle, Loretta Livingston, Linda Sohl-Ellison, Tong Wang, Diane Diefenderfer, and Molly Lynch. Dancing since the age of three, Ms. Snavely has been teaching and choreographing for the past 13 years. Her teaching styles include ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, modern, swing and Latin dance. As a diverse dancer, she has performed with Ballet Pacifica, Dance N’ ETC, Fiesta Latina, Orange Coast College and UCI Jazz Ensemble.

Ms. Snavely began her teaching career at age 16 at Irvine Dance Academy, where she continued to teach for eight years until its closure. For five years, Noelle assisted the administration office and was a faculty member of the Ballet Pacifica Conservatory. She collaborated with the annual Ballet Pacifica production of The Nutcracker, the Ballet for Children Series and other company productions. While choreographing for Ballet Pacifica’s Summer Intensive program, Ms. Snavely facilitated summer enrollment and Nutcracker auditions. Before Ballet Pacifica’s retirement, Ms. Snavely performed in Robert Sund’s production of Alice in Wonderland.

Ms. Snavely has studied acting with South Coast Repertory and performed in SCR’s Much Ado About Nothing with Tony nominee, Douglass Sills. She has appeared on the television production The Great Pretenders and has been featured in Orange Coast Magazine as well as Dance Magazine. Ms. Snavely competed in the professional division of Palm Desert’s Dance Under the Stars festival dancing in Blue Java. Ms. Snavely was also honored as a top solo performer with the original choreography of The Awakening which continues to be requested by audiences. Ms. Snavely’s awards for teaching and choreography include the Karen Shanley Scholarship, Anita Mann Grossmann Memorial Scholarship, Tremaine Dance Scholarship and the OCC Dance Award.

Ms. Snavely is also on faculty at Saddleback College, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, and Maple Conservatory where she teaches a myriad of other forms of dance. Ms. Snavely is also a member of the Orange County-based ArchiTexture Dance Company which has performed in various sites such as The Pilgrim in Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano Mission and in San Francisco.

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Nick Sosa

  • B.A. in English
  • A Director for Under Ground Hip-Hop Team
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Andrew Tran

  • B.A. Business Administration Candidate
  • Co-Director The G.O.O.D. Project
  • Dance Company Member of Maker Empire
  • Dance Company Member of Academy of Villains

Andrew born and raised in Orange County, Andrew Tran began his dance journey at the age of 14 on Mater Dei High School’s All Male Hip-Hop team. Shortly after, he began dancing with junior team Underground Dance Team and professional exhibition team The G.O.O.D. Project. During his short move to Los Angeles, California, he joined the Maker Empire Company, ACA and Academy of Villains Contemporary Company, which helped him expand his style to what it is today. Andrew is currently back in Orange County and is one of the directors of The G.O.O.D. Project and a regular instructor at Artegy Dance Academy and Snowglobe Perspective. He has also taught various workshops in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and Las Vegas just to name a few.

Andrew Tran is very passionate about his love and growth for dance and hopes to inspire students to work hard on their craft while loving the process. He is currently pursuing his dream of traveling as a choreographer while training the next generation. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle” is the message he wants to carry out to all his students. You can achieve anything if you work hard for it.

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Will Tran

  • B.A. in Dance
  • Teaching Credentials in PE/Dance Candidate

Will Tran has been dancing since he was 15. He started on his high school dance team at Fountain Valley High School where he won numerous awards and titles with both his team and solos. He trained at Saddleback Dance Center under Kelly Reed-Devine and won Mr. Starpower in 2006. Before he danced, he trained in gymnastics at Newhope Gymnastics and continued it at Saddleback Dance Center under Theresa Turner. After high school, Will carried on his education at Chapman University as a Dance major and Advertising minor. While at Chapman, Will started and lead the nationally ranked dance team to 2 national wins. His legacy lives on and has won 7 consecutive years in a row. He was also on an all-star dance team called Pace Empire in 2012 under Dan Saap. Pace competed at Dance Worlds and won 2nd in jazz and 1st in pom. They were also chosen to represent USA at International Cheer Union that year and won 1st place for pom and jazz. Right now he dances for Disney and coaches at FOCUS Dance Center and University High School. He has won many 1st place and choreography awards with his acrobatic, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, and pom routines. He loves what he does and continues to be inspired by everyone he teaches.

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Laura-Ashley Whittaker

  • B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography
  • Minor in Creative Writing

Laura-Ashley Whittaker started training at the age of two at Pacific Dance Center. She later continued her training at FOCUS Dance Center of the Performing Arts, where she spent the remainder of her competition years until her senior graduation. Laura-Ashley will be graduating from the California Institute of the Arts in spring of 2017 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography, as well as a minor in Creative Writing. She has trained around the world in France, Japan, and South Korea. With 5 years of teaching experience and counting, she has taught dancers as young as age 3 to adults. Laura-Ashley has worked with choreographers such as Andre Tyson, Sarah Swenson, Marie de la Palme, Laurence Blake, Cynthia Young, and Colin Conner. Miss Whittaker has advanced diverse performing experience in many dance styles, and training, in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, Musical Theater, and Hip Hop, which she delights in sharing with her students at FOCUS Dance Center.

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Shannon Willard

  • B.F.A. Dance Performance
  • B.F.A. Dance Choreography
  • B.S. Mathematics
  • Certified Pilates Instructor

Shannon Willard is a Southern California native, born and raised in Irvine, California, where she discovered her love and passion for dance at a young age. She primarily trained at FOCUS Dance Center in Irvine under Monie Adamson. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine in the spring of 2015. Shannon earned, with honors, a B.F.A. in Dance Choreography, a B.F.A. in Dance Performance, and a B.S. in Mathematics, Cum Laude. During her four years at UC Irvine, she performed as a member of Modern Dance legend Donald McKayle’s Etude Repertory Ensemble, danced in various BFA and MFA thesis projects, and choreographed for many shows, including presenting her forty minute long BFA Honors Thesis concert at the end of her senior year. During Shannon’s last two years on campus, she was the club accountant for Bare Bones Dance Theater, a student-run nonprofit organization that encourages and supports all art, but especially dance, on campus. After graduation from UCI, Shannon trained and received her certification as a Pilates instructor under Diane Diefenderfer at Studio Du Corps in Costa Mesa. In addition to her choreographic work at UCI, Shannon is currently on Faculty at FOCUS Dance Center where she teaches all levels, gives Pilates privates, and choreographs for the competitive competing program. She also teaches both Pilates private lessons and Pilates group classes at Studio Du Corps. Shannon loves inspiring today’s youth through creativity and movement, and enjoys incorporating elements of both the concert dance world and the commercial dance world in her classes and choreography.

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Bret Yamanaka

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Note: All FOCUS faculty have been background checked.