FOCUS Instructors

Monie Adamson

Owner • Founder • Director • Co-Competing 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…

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Shannon Willard

Co-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 • Rotating Faculty Member 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…

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Kameryn Denaro

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member 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…

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Chloe Andersson

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member Originally from Dallas, Chloe Andersson developed the majority of her dance training at Kj Dance in Plano, Texas, and now studies at Chapman University with the intention of graduating in the spring of 2022 with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and a double minor in nutrition and digital design. She…

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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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Ashley-Nichole Medina

Instructor Fullerton College, 2016 Ashley Nichole is an American dancer. Ashley Nichole began her dance career as a cultural dancer due to her Boriken background and New Yorker Dancing Father with Latin dances (Samba, Salsa +), Afro Caribbean, Hip Hop, and Ori Tahiti. Later, Ashley Nichole explored and developed through concert dances in various styles…

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Lani Yamanaka

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member BFA Dance Performance and Choreography, UC Irvine Lani Yamanaka is a San Diego native. As a young dancer, her training focused on versatility and discipline. She competed in Dance at Carlsbad Dance Centre and Judo under her father and sensei at San Shi Judo Club and is eternally grateful for…

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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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Thel Moore

Instructor • Rotating Faculty Member Baltimore School for the Arts The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory Thel Moore III was born and raised in Baltimore MD. Thel grew up around dance but did not start his formal ballet training until the age of 13 at the Baltimore School for the Arts under the direction of Norma Pera.…

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Anessa Davies-Pier

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 nominated…

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Ryley Polak

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 to obtain his Bachelor of…

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Sasha Samodouroff

B.S. California state University, Fullerton M.A. Azusa Pacific University Sasha developed her love of art of dance at the age of 3. Sasha entered studio competitive dance at age 12 and continued after to pursue competitive school dance teams including Los Alamitos High School (2009-2012) and California State University Fullerton (2016-2017). At CSUF, Sasha and…

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Shae-Lin Turner

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Mariel Conel

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Gabrielle Damian

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Alyssa Urritia

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Sophia Chung

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Toni Austin

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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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