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Ava began her dancing career at the age of 2 at La Mesa Recreation Center. She was too young, hated it and so quit the class. At 3 years she decided that she was finally ready and took tap and ballet at the El Cajon Recreation Center. While continuing her studies in tap and ballet, Ava also trained in Mexican Folklorico and Aztec dancing. She performed professionally through-out California with the "Lanuza Brothers Ballet Folklorico." With a desire to learn all kinds of dancing, Ava returned to La Mesa Recreation Center where she trained in Hawaiian and Tahitian. From this experience she became a Luani Hula Dancer working mainly in the San Diego area. At the age of 15 she was asked to take over teaching the Hawaiian and Tap classes at the La Mesa Recreation Center. While teaching at La Mesa, Ava took classes at the San Diego Recreation Center (Balboa Park Club) where she became a member of the first San Diego Performing Company, which lead to being a Sue Hamilton Dancer. Also at this time she danced in Starlight Opera's production of "Once Upon a Mattress". After High School, Ava continued her dance studies at Grossmont College and returned to the City of San Diego's dance program, this time as an instructor of tap, jazz and Hawaiian at the age of 18. She has been teaching for the program for 43 years. Outside of dancing, she is a wife of 40 years, mother of two, has been very active in PTA, and a founding member of the classic car club, "Tri-Five Revolution".


Angélica began dancing with Miss Kathy Landry at the Paradise Hills Rec Center when she was 4 years old. After a few years, she decided to take a break from dancing and follow her brother around the world of sports opting to play soccer and little league baseball. She made her return to the stage in 2004 after finding Miss Kathy again at the War Memorial Rec Center and adding jazz to her repertoire with Miss Rachel Mitchell. She spent 4 years as a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company and has spent 5 years in the Young Adult Ensemble. When she's not dancing, Angélica has enjoyed working behind the scenes as the light board operator for the last 7 years. She's more than thrilled to be expanding her involvement with the program as a staff member this year and looks forward to the new adventures it will bring.


Mary Allison began dancing at age three under the direction of Bobbi Adams. At age twelve she became a company dancer. She took the 'Overall Best Dancer' award at a Dupree convention, sending her to "Jazz camp USA" where she studied under Roland Dupree. At Chula Vista High, School of Creative and Performing Arts she joined Show Choir and Musical Theatre. She enjoyed four years under the direction of Tony Atienza, Joyce Schumaker, and Jack Tygett. Some of her roles included Zaneeta in "The Music Man", and Polly Browne in "The Boyfriend", as well as dance captain and assistant director in both the female and mixed show choir. She graduated as the first mixed major student in the art of musical theatre. She attended The American Musical and Dramatics Academy in NYC; studying under elite New York choreographers and directors such as Casey Colgan, Billy Johnstone, Lyndsay Chambers, Virginia Sandefur, and Mark Santoro, to name a few. Professional credits include: Story Salad Productions (NYC), 2 contracts with Disney Cruise Line (dancer), Starlight Theatre: "The Wizard of Oz", "Crazy for You", and "My Fair Lady". Moonlight Stage Productions: "Hairspray" (Shelly), and "My Fair Lady". She has also worked as a teacher and choreographer for CYT and CCT. She is trained in Spanish Web, and some training in Aerial Silks. She is thrilled to be part of the staff here at San Diego Civic Dance Arts, it's such a pleasure to be working with such a talented group!


Jennifer has been dancing since the age of five. She started at Mira Mesa Rec Center, then took at War Memorial, and from there joined the SDCDA Company, under the guidance of Don and Bonnie Ward. She also studied at California Ballet with Maxine Mahon and Denise Debrowski. In high school she was introduced to musical theater, and to Kelly Grant, who gave her her first teaching job. After high school Jennifer continued dancing at Palomar and Mesa Colleges, and again at CSU Chico, where she majored in Psychology and French. She has choreographed and taught since her junior year of high school for all ages, levels and styles of dance. Jennifer is currently at National University pursuing her Masters in Education with a Multiple Subject Credential so she can teach elementary school.


Sheryl started dancing when her mom enrolled her in her first tap class at the age of two. She began dancing with SDCDA 33 years ago, with her first instructor being Lori Allyn Groves. She then began taking class with Kathy Landry at the Kearny Mesa Rec Center. She continued attending classes at the Mira Mesa Rec Center. She has performed in Finales/Recital Productions with her first being "The Love Boat", "Snow White", "Nursery Rhymes", and "Mary Poppins". Sheryl has also been a member of "Performing Level", now called "Company", and our "Adult Ensemble" under Dorothy "Dottie" Jones and Jonathan Taylor. She continues her passion in dance through SDCDA as a proud original member of our "Young Adult Ensemble" and as Choreographer/Dance instructor. She also passed her love for dance onto her daughters, one who began dancing at the age of four with SDCDA, was a member of T-Troupe, Company, and is still dancing nineteen years later as a first year member of our "Young Adult Ensemble". Her other daughter began dancing at the age of three and continued at multiple recreation classes with many of our wonderful instructors for 15 years. Sheryl hopes to pass her true love and passion onto others and wants them to have just as much fun as she does dancing!


Andrea's love for dance blossomed at an early age—2 years old! At age 5 she entered ballet class, but like our Recreation Centers located throughout San Diego, it ended up being a small dance studio in Andover, MA that fueled Andrea's lifelong passion for dance. Like she did at other studios over the years, Andrea studied a number of dance disciplines, including tap, ballet and jazz, as well as related activities such as acrobatics and even baton, but it was at Joe Dussault's studio (the one in Andover) that instilled a love of dance that burns just as brightly within her now. The camaraderie of getting together with other dancers and studying all day every Saturday (even in snowstorms), as well as the numerous opportunities to perform in front of a live audience in varied surroundings created an atmosphere that truly brought home to her the joy of dance. It is this atmosphere that Andrea sees within Civic Dance Arts and why she handles her role as Dance Specialist with such passion. Andrea earned her BFA Degree in dance from the dance program at The Julliard School, New York City's renowned Performance Arts Institution, after attending the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center under full scholarship. Given her impressive educational background, as well as her career as a professional dancer spanning more than thirty years, Andrea brings a diverse dance vocabulary that includes expertise in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, creative movement, and Musign Dance (a discipline which combines sign language with dance movement). Andrea's professional dance and choreographic credits are extensive and diverse. While in New York City, she served as Artistic Director of American Dance Theatre of the Deaf, and as a performer helped found several performance arts companies, including Neta Pulvermacher and Dancers, Doug Elkins and Dancers, and Hit and Run Theatre among others. She also danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company; danced at the renowned Rainbow Room; and danced throughout the region with several other NYC-based Dance Companies. Locally, she has performed at La Jolla Playhouse, the San Diego Ballet, the San Diego Repertory Theatre, and under the direction of Don and Bonnie Ward at Starlight Theatre (where she met her husband). Her diverse talents also include that of artist, where she founded her own successful line of greeting cards called Feierworks. Presently, Andrea's capacity of Dance Specialist for San Diego Civic Dance Arts programs, require her to handle a myriad of functions—all of which require planning, coordination, implementation, maintenance, and a constant use of her directorial and teaching skills. It is Andrea's passion for dance that was fostered in her as a young dancer that she hopes to impart on our program's dancers—and it is with her experience, dedication, and love of the arts that the dance program is thriving under her supervision.


Tiffany began dancing 25 years ago with Civic Dance Arts. During that time, she was a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company for 7 years in which, she has had the privilege to work with choreographers such as Bonnie and Don Ward, Tony Caligagan, Kelly Ward and Kirby and Beverly Ward. In addition to dancing in Company, Tiffany studied with Tessandra Chavez, founder of Unity Dance Ensemble for 3½ years, and San Diego Civic Youth Ballet for 4 years. She has been in many Collage and Recital productions including Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Annie. While teaching, Tiffany has studied dance at Grossmont College and is a former member of the tap dance company California Rhythm Project. This is Tiffany's eleventh year teaching for Civic Dance.


Debbie's career in dance began at age three with Linkletter Totten Dance Studio and Leah Walker. She has studied under a variety of choreographers from various disciplines throughout her dance career. Prior to being hired by Janet Groves to teach for the Civic Dance program, Debbie was a member of the Civic Dance Company. She has taught at various Recreation Centers and private dance studios throughout San Diego, Irvine and in Guam. Many of Debbie's former students have gone on to teach dance, several of whom are currently on staff with Civic Dance Arts. Debbie earned her Bachelor of Arts, Dance, from UC Irvine with an emphasis in Choreography. While there, she had the pleasure of meeting legendary dancer / choreographer Gregory Hines, and produced and directed Bare Bones, an undergraduate dance concert. She also studied technical theater and stage management. She's created original lighting designs for Collage and Recital Productions. In addition to her BA, Dance, Debbie also has her Master of Science, Nursing and is a Clinical Nurse Specialist. After retiring from the United States Navy Nurse Corps and a 20 year career in nursing, Debbie has returned to her dance roots and is looking forward to the opportunity to work with a new generation of dancers.


Arika began dancing when she was 8 years old with Oceanside Dance Academy and The Element Dance Center where she danced in their competition dance companies, winning many awards and competing at Nationals in Las Vegas. She began with Civic Dance Arts at the age of twelve, including four years in the San Diego Civic Dance Company where she worked with talented choreographers such as Maud Arnold of the Syncopated Ladies, Megan Williams, Daniel Lewis, and Michael Mizerany. She graduated from the San Diego High School of Creative and Performing Arts and is a student at San Diego Mesa College majoring in Japanese. She has a great love for choreographing and teaching ballet, jazz, tap, modern and contemporary dance. Arika feels that dance is very personally expressive, and wishes to spread love for dance to her wonderful students.


Kathy Landry began her involvement with this program at age 7; taking tap classes with Inge Dickens, former Cultural Arts Manager, and ballet with Maria Fielding, the founder of the Playground Program which we now call "Civic Dance Arts". Kathy has been teaching for Civic Dance Arts for 38 years! She has taught students who have then sent their children and grandchildren to study with her; teaching multiple generations of family members. Through the years, Kathy has transformed thousands of beginning level recreation students into confident and accomplished dancers. Civic Dance Arts and teaching dance has been her life's work which she continues to share passionately and enthusiastically with all.


Alexis has danced with San Diego Civic Dance Arts for 15 years and is now a 3rd generation dance teacher for the program. At age 3 her first dance class was taught by her grandmother, Dana Daly at Cabrillo Rec. Alexis has been a part of T-troupe for 2 years and Company for 5, getting to work with Mia Michaels, Daniel Lewis, Maud Arnold, and Kirby and Beverly Ward. Aside from dancing with SDCDA, Alexis has taken classes as part of Step n' Time Dance Studio's small competition team. In High school she participated heavily in technical theater and performed in the production Once upon a Mattress. Alexis was also active in Cheer and Gymnastics, being named Varsity captain for both teams, as well as being rewarded Gymnast of the Year for Districts Valley League Finals:2017. Alexis has had many teaching and choreographing experiences in and outside the program but is very excited to be new to staff and to show the company what she has to offer!


This is Katie's thirteenth year teaching with the San Diego Civic Dance program, however, she has been dancing with the program since she was 4 years old. Katie was a member of the Civic Dance Company for four years and appeared in Dance Collage and several Recital Productions including "Swingin' Cinderelly", "The King and I", and "Tom Sawyer". Many teachers have come out of the Civic Dance Arts program and Katie is no exception with her years of excellent training put to good use.


When Rachel was 5 years old, she saw tap dance on TV and said "I want to do that". She then began dancing with San Diego Civic Dance Arts where later she was a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company for seven years. From there, Rachel went on to study dancing and acting at Palomar College and UCSD, where she trained with the likes of Jean Isaacs, Faith Jensen-Ismay, and Margaret Marshall. (Rachel received her B.S. in Biology from UCSD). Rachel has taught for Studio West Dance Company, San Diego Civic Dance Arts (since 1994), where she choreographed her first major piece under the tutelage of Don and Bonnie Ward. She has choreographed for many Civic Dance Arts recital productions including, Peter Pan and Annie, and San Diego Civic Dance Company's annual Dance Collage. She has choreographed for Action, a performing group that combines dance and sign language. Rachel has expanded her scope of work to include stage managing and directing. She has directed Dance Collage since 2005 and recital productions "Swingin' Cinder-relly" and "The Adventures of Stan Starburst". Rachel would like to thank her music genius, Thanks Dad:) and to my dancers, thanks for having no fear!


Starting off at Kearny Mesa Rec Center, Elizabeth began her love of dance at the age of three. In her early years she danced in several productions such as Alice's Adventures and Sleeping Beauty. At age twelve she joined the Company and was blessed to work under the direction of Don and Bonnie Ward. During this time she was able to work with other great choreographers such as Jon Engstrom, Peggy Hickey-Perez, and Kelley and Kirby Ward and also choreograph her first piece. In addition to her training with Company and the program, Elizabeth studied dance at Palomar College and Culture Shock. After a seven year run, she joined The Rock Dance Troop. Here she expanded her passion to reach the souls in NYC and encourage them after the loss of 9/11. She now continues her passion for dance as she passes it on to her students here at SDCDA.


From interior and graphic design to dance, theatre and writing, Leslie's lifetime artistic pursuits have taken her from NY to San Diego. At Grossmont College, San Diego Academy of Ballet, and various master classes and workshops, she continued to broaden her skills in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and other dance forms. Leslie has participated in Civic Dance Arts classes for years and has been dancing with The Adult Ensemble since its inception. She also served on the SDCDA Board of Directors for five years, and proudly watched her son, Vincent grow to become an accomplished dancer and instructor through the Civic Dance program. Leslie had the honor of performing with Will Ferrell in his Cancer for College benefit shows at the SD Civic Theatre, and USC's Shrine Auditorium, also thanks to her Civic Dance Arts' experience! As a teacher and choreographer, Leslie has come full circle in her involvement with the program, and hopes to continue to inspire a love of dance in adults and children alike.


Vincent Padilla began dancing with Civic Dance Arts at age 4, and has grown up in the program. He attended SD SCPA, where he was a member of the Theatre Dance and Ballet Ensembles, studying Tap, Jazz, Irish, Ballet, and Contemporary, and performed in several productions in both vocal and dance roles. Vincent has gone on to study ballet in the Vaganova method with various teachers in San Diego and New York, and currently dances with California Ballet in The Nutcracker as well as other seasonal productions. Some of the local theatre venues Vincent has performed in include the Starlight Theatre, Moonlight Amphitheatre, and San Diego Fringe. His most recent dance appearances include The Nutcracker and The Great Gatsby with California Ballet, as well as various community performances with California Rhythm Project. In December of 2011, Vincent graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and a minor in Computer Science, maintaining his practice of having both a creative and practical aspect to everything he does. He enjoys sharing his love of dance with his Civic Dance Arts students, and with audiences whatever the venue may be. Vincent is very grateful for all the teachers he has had over the years and the work they've put into helping him, both in dance and the life lessons learned along with it.

Elaine Remple

Elaine Remple, formerly Elaine Steinman, began dancing at the age of 8 through the Parks and Recreational dance programs offered by the City of San Diego. She went on to earn her Associates in Dance and Liberal Arts through Palomar community college as well as earning her Bachelors of Arts in dance, graduating cum laude at Cal State University, Long Beach. In all her years of dance training, Elaine has had the pleasure of studying under and working for various professional dance instructors. On top of Elaine's education, she has had the pleasure of being a dance instructor for many years which has brought her back full circle to the beginning of her dance roots, becoming an instructor for the San Diego Civic Dance Arts program. When Elaine realized her calling and passion involved reaching out to more students, she began to take graduate classes at Cal State University, San Marcos. Elaine now also works as a middle school teacher. She is the director and sole dance teacher at her school and is grateful that her school recognizes the importance that art has in the education system. She continues to spread her enthusiasm and knowledge of dance to many. Outside of dance, Elaine enjoys spending time raising her son and spending time with her family and friends.

Caitlin Thomas

Caitlin began dancing with Civic Dance Arts when she was four years old, including four years in the San Diego Civic Dance Company where she worked with choreographers such as Jonathan Taylor, Doug Elkins, and Colleen Kelly Beaman. During her time studying at Aberystwyth University she was an active member of Aberystwyth Youth & Community Theatre, appearing in productions such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, Oh, What a Lovely War, and Danny, Champion of the World whilst continuing her training in tap, ballet, and musical theatre.

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