FOCUS Instructors

Monie Adamson

Owner • Founder • Director 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…

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Shannon Willard

Competing Director • Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member B.F.A. Dance Performance B.F.A. Dance Choreography B.S. Mathematics Certified Pilates Instructor Certified Barre Instructor Shannon Willard has been a member of the FOCUS fam since the day the studio opened in 2003. She trained as a competition dancer under Monie Adamson and others for eight years, as well as attended numerous summer intensives, such as ABT,…

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Robert Duran

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member Member of the American Guild of Variety Artist For the past 30 years, Robert Duran has been shaping the lives of children and adults through dance. At the age of 5, Robert accompanied his twin sister to her dance class and stated “I can do that” and the rest is…

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Dante Lara

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member 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…

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Terre Marriott

Instructor 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…

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Chris Zou

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member B.S. in Biology at UC Riverside Raised in the Bay Area, Chris found his passion for dance at a young age while standing in front of the TV imitating the moves to “Eye to Eye” from “A Goofy Movie” before actually even knowing what dancing was. It was much later…

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Maria Paula Medellin

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member 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…

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Nicholas Kitchen

Instructor B.A in Dance, University of California, Irvine B.A in Education Sciences, University of California, Irvine Nicholas Kitchen’s background in arts established an early interest in videography and performance culture. Starting his dance career on school teams, Nick was given an opportunity to dance that would not have normally been within his or his family’s…

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Kameryn Denaro

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member San Diego State University B.S. Statistics M.S. Statistics concentration in Biostatistics Claremont Graduate University 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…

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Olivia Katz

Instructor B.F.A in Dance and Choreography from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Olivia Katz grew up in Pasadena, California where she studied ballet at The Collenette School of Dancing and was a part of the Mayfield Senior School Dance Conservatory, where she studied under Denise Darnell and Frit and Frat Fuller. Her training background…

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Joanne Arakaki

Instructor BS in Accountancy from the University of Illinois American Ballet Theatre (ABT) certified teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum) Progressive Ballet Technique Joanne’s love for dance started in Hong Kong at the age of 5. Joanne has always wanted to be a ballet teacher and believes that dance…

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Anessa Davies-Pier

Instructor BA Candidate in Dance, Cal State Long Beach Anessa, a native Californian, has been dancing for 14 years and has participated in competitive dance for eleven years. Anessa represented Team FOCUS competing from 2018-2021. Anessa has trained in many styles such as hip hop, jazz, ballet, musical theatre, tap, contemporary, and pointe. She was…

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Ryley Polak

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member Hussian College In Studio, Los Angeles, CA – BFA Ryley Polak was born and raised in the state of Rhode Island where he began his acrobatic training at age 10 and dance training at age 11. Ryley’s passion for teaching and choreographing began quickly after starting dance which inspired him…

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Mariel Conel

Instructor Since the age of six, Mariel Cornel has been dancing competitively in jazz, ballet and hip hop. Mariel has continued to excel throughout her adulthood competing on several dance teams, including Emanon, The Neighborhood, and is currently on Team Ferosha and The Bangtan Buds. Mariel has earned first place in multiple competitions while officially…

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Toni Austin

Instructor Toni Austin’s passion for dance and performing started at the young age of 5. The majority of her dance training was received at Underground Dance Company in Laguna Hills, California where she was taught ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, improv skills, and more. Here she was also given the opportunity to choreograph recital…

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Taylor Johnson

Instructor Taylor Johnson grew up in Denver, Colorado, where she trained in all styles of dance including ballet, hip hop, modern, tap, ballroom, jazz/contemporary, and musical theater. She participated in multiple dance intensives, including The Colorado Ballet Summer Program and The Collective Intensive, and was invited to compete for “Best Dancer” at The Dance Awards.…

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Anne Elise Garrison

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member Anne Elise Garrison began her dance training at Augusta West Dance Studio in Augusta, GA at the age of 10, studying styles such as Jazz, Musical Theatre, Ballroom, Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, and Hip Hop. While in Georgia, Anne Elise worked with choreographers such as Kathryn McCormick, Kayla and Casey Frails,…

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Kimberly Nguyen

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member B.A. Business Administration with an Emphasis in Marketing and Management Masters of Business Administration Born and raised in the Bay Area, Kimberly trained and competed at Yoko’s Dance and Performing Arts Academy in various styles such as ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap and has won many national champions and…

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Alyssa Urritia

Instructor B.A in Dance from CSULB Alyssa started her training at the age of 3 at Alegria Dance Theater under the direction of Alia Harlan. After her chapter at Alegria Dance Theater came to a close, she began training under the direction of Robert Prescott Lee and Alex Arnold Lee at Elevation Studios from its…

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Rotating Faculty

Faculty who train competition dancers and by exception non competing serious dancers in various genres and techniques on a weekly rotation so each dancer gets the benefits of working with each instructor.    

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