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Angela AmorosoExecutive Director and Founder
Angela Amoroso as a professional dancer & choreographer in New York. She studied with some of the finest teachers in New York in all of the disciplines of Dance. Ballet with Wilson Morelli and at The Joffrey Ballet, Jazz with Phil Black, Pepsi Bethel and Alvin Ailey, Modern with Martha Graham, Tap with Bob Audy and Phil Black. Her involvement with Community Theater on Long Island for both performance and choreography include Oklahoma, Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes and West Side Story. Angela has also been a member of NYC's "Dance Circle" Repertory Company where she has choreographed as well as performed. In 1982, Angela performed in the Equity Showcase of Jesus Christ Superstar in Manhattan. Her creative talents as a dancer & choreographer combined with her love for children have made the Academy a great success since it's inception in 1987.
Miah NwosuArtistic Director, Academy Senior Director
Began seriously studying ballet at age eight at The Scripps Performing Arts Academy shortly after participating in a Miramar Ranch Elementary After School Program. That June she performed in her first production with the SPAC, "Earthkalah". She trained at Scripps Performing Arts for seven years, primarily under Lili Griffths, former Soloist dancer of the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet. She spent the next two years continuing her studies at City Ballet of San Diego in their pre-professional division. She performed with the company in the Nutcracker, their company premiere of "Don Quixote," and various other productions and spent a summer training at The Ailey School in New York City. Miah later attended Fordham University in New York City, where she took classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. Miah also trained extensively in Jazz and Tap.Upon her return to San Diego, Miah joined C. Anthony Cole Repertory Theatre and later La Diego Dance Theatre for its inaugural season. She was rehearsal coach and dancer representative for the company and has had the pleasure of teaching audition classes for both companies and has served as a guest teacher at several local dance schools.Miah has served as head choreographer for SPAA since 2003 and has successfully mounted original productions and set full length classical ballets including an annual all youth production of The Nutcracker, The Storyteller (2003 and 2004), Earthkalah (2005), Over the Rainbow (2006 and 2007), Our Favorite Ballets (2007), Prokofiev's Cinderella (2008), Ballet Does the Rat Pack (2009), La Passion La Danse La Vie (2009), Glazunov's The Season (2010), La Boutique Fantasque (2010), Grand Pas de Quatre (2011), an original version of Les Rendez-vous (2011) a full length ballet original, Thumbelina (2013) and a beautiful restaging of Coppelia (2014).Since 2003, Miah has developed a cohesive ballet training program at The Academy that has provided students with the spring board and support system to launch them successfully into collegiate and professional dance programs including The Boston Conservatory (SPAA graduates from '09 and '10) and California Institute for the Arts ('10) and multiple summer intensive acceptances (several with scholarships) to prestigious programs across the nation. Most recently, a 15 year student begins her professional career this season with Nevada Ballet Theatre.Miah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art with a Photography concentration and handles all Graphic Design, Photography and Print Work for SPAA and SBT.She currently teaches Ballet III and up at both locations and overseas all Academy programs. She is also the Artistic Director of SPAA's youth company in residence, Scripps Ballet Theatre.
Drew SkinnerDirector of Operations
Drew is a talented musician, accomplished craftsmen and father to 4 girls and 3 granddaughters. He spent 9 years performing as Mother Ginger in San Diego City Ballet's Nutcracker. He is Chief Executive Officer for Scripps Performing Arts Company. We know that Drew is the Giant Heart "Beat" - behind this expanding organization.
Kris AnelliTheatre Department Co-Director, Scripps Ranch Site Manager
Kris Anelli first became involved with theatre in high school to overcome his case of stage fright. In addition to participating in school productions, he also performed with the traveling teen theatre group Anti Tobacco Action Campaign (A.T.A.C.), a collaboration between the San Diego Health Services Department and Lamb’s Players Theatre Group. From there he attended Sonoma State University where he received his BA in Theatre Arts with an Acting Emphasis and graduated with honors. After college, he Co-Directed the Summer Camp Musical Theatre Program for Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond where he wrote original scripts directed for their summer presentations. Putting his theatre training to use in the work place, Kris was a corporate instructor for 10 years. He also continues to work in film and is very excited to work with the students at the Academy. He makes it a point to learn from them as they learn from him!
Audrey BondocPrimary/Children's Ballet, Lower/Upper Division Jazz, Pilates
Audrey began dancing at the age of 4 ½ studying ballet, jazz and modern. She quickly rose to higher levels and was accepted into the Junior Company and performed in many productions.Audrey continued her dance training at Academy of Performing Arts & at Mesa College performing with their dance company around the southern California area. She was also a member of Unity Dance Ensemble and Unity II under the direction of Tessandra Chavez.In 2007 she moved to San Francisco and trained at SF Dance Center, ODC School and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from SFSU also performing & touring with their dance company. While studying in SF, she found her love for Pilates which encouraged her to receive her certification. Audrey found her passion in teaching dance in 2000 and has been teaching all over San Diego and the Bay Area ever since. Her students have been accepted into many prestigious summer intensives around the world and have been accepted into collegiate and professional dance programs. She currently is a guest instructor teaching dance courses at Mesa College.She wants her students to thrive not only as dancers but as unique individuals. “Dance is not just about technique; it’s about how we feel when we dance or when we witness the heart and soul of movement and music and it’s just magical.”
Stephanie CottonChildren's Division Ballet
Stephanie Cotton, a San Diego native, trained at SPAA for 15 consecutive years under Miah Nwosu & Angela Amoroso. She has danced on scholarship at Texas Ballet Theatre under Ben Stevenson, Boston Ballet School, The Rock School, Milwaukee Ballet School, and The Washington Ballet. Stephanie was also one of the inaugural company members with Scripps Ballet Theatre where she performed soloist and principle roles. She then started her professional career with the Nevada Ballet Theatre under the direction of James Canfield where she collaborated with Cirque du Soleil. Stephanie was also a finalist in the Vienna International Ballet Competition. A budding choreographer, Stephanie has been grateful for the opportunities to set new works on youth companies and pre-professional students in Southern California. Now bringing her passions into teaching, Stephanie is certified in Primary – Level 3 in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum. “See the music, hear the dance.” George Balanchine
Rebecca DeNiesChildren's Ballet Mistress
Rebecca DeNies, began her dance training with Connecticut Concert Ballet, under the direction of Wendy Fish-Lawrence and David Lawrence. After studying for several years, she began to assist in teaching classes and was offered a position on faculty. Rebecca attended summer intensives with The American Ballet Theater, The Rock School and The Hartt School’s Summer Program, From Studio to Stage with Bruce Marks. Rebecca received her BFA in Ballet Pedagogy from The Hartt School of Dance at The University of Hartford on scholarship. While in the BFA program, she was cast in works by choreographers including Victor Plotnikov, Emory LeCrone and Charlotte Griffin. While pursuing her degree she accepted a faculty position in the Hartt Community Dance Division, where she later served as the Program Director.
Michael KirschTheatre Department Co-Director, Carmel Valley Site Manager
Michael Adam Kirsch is a Southern California native with a huge passion for Musical Theatre. He began his theatrical career at age 3 and performed locally and professionally through-out Southern California.His most notable performing credit was the National Tour and BroadwayProduction of Cathy Rigby’s Peter Pan. He recently relocated from NewYork City where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Theatre Arts Performancewith a minor in Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College. Whilethere, he was elected the President of the Musical Theatre Association;where he created multiple performing opportunities for the students,including full length musicals and workshops. During his second year atMarymount, Michael was exposed to the world of directing andchoreographing. His most notable directing credit was for the New YorkMusical Theatre Festival (NYMF) where he was the associate director forMother, Wife, and the Complicated Life. He is excited to be in San Diegoand loves sharing his passion and knowledge of theatre with his students.
Brik MiddlekauffLower/Upper Division Ballet
Brik trained with Barbara Crockett at Crockett-Deane Ballet in Sacramento and attended summer intensive programs with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, and at Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. Brik performed with The Sacramento Ballet in child and student roles for more than 15 years. As an apprentice with Sacramento Ballet, she danced in Ron Cunningham’s Bolero, Romeo and Juliet (friend of Juliet), The Nutcracker (Solo Candy Cane), as well as performing in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Western Symphony, and Stars and Stripes. Last year she performed in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs (One For My Baby), Stephen Mill’s The Taming of the Shrew, Ron Cunningham’s Etosha, Septime Webre’s Where The Wild Things Are (Max’s cousin, Dream Max) and has performed numerous works for the ballet’s annual Beer & Ballet. Brik danced with the Sacramento Ballet for two season before relocating to San Diego where she currently dances with California Ballet.
Angelika PasechnikPiano Instructor
Angelika Pasechnik first fell in love with music as a child, watching her dad improvise on the piano. At the age of nine, she began taking private piano lessons, and quickly excelled to higher levels, finishing Advanced Level of Certificate of Merit and receiving National Piano Guild High School Diploma in her senior year of high school. Angelika decided to continue her studies in music at Point Loma Nazarene University, receiving her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. During her studies at PLNU, Angelika received Point Loma Nazarene University’s Music Award, the G & C Pomeroy Music Scholarship, and the Hussong Memorial Scholarship. She also performed a Junior and Senior Solo Piano Recital and accompanied the Concert Choir. Angelika has now been teaching private piano lessons and theory to students of various ages, for three years. Angelika is also a member of Music Teachers National Association and attends the yearly MTNA piano pedagogy conferences to enhance her teaching techniques.
Cassandra ReamJazz, Contemporary Jazz
Cassandra Ream is a production specialist, art enthusiast and a lead educator in personal development through the art of dance for over 15 years. She is inspired by life and the infinite possibilities one can experience. She finds great enthusiasm in original ideas, innovative concepts and creative vision. Contemporary, Ballet and Musical Theater are her areas of expertise. She has an extensive training background that includes work with San Jose Ballet, Steps on Broadway, The Internationally Acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Edge Performing Arts, Dee Hillier and Debbie Allen's Dance Academy to name a few. Terri Beeman and Debbie Allen furthered her professional career, which lead her to the development of Art In Motion. Cassandra has a passion for curriculum advancement and development for dancers. Creativity is the essence of life“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” “Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much”
Mandy SantiagoPrimary/Children's Dance, Jazz & Tap
Mandy started dancing when she was just 3 years old at the Conroy Dance Centre in Brisbane, Australia. She trained in Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, Tap, Acrobatics, Ariel Acrobatics, Musical theatre and RAD Ballet. At 16, Mandy was awarded the C.S.T.D (COMMONWEALTH SOCIETY TEACHERS OF DANCE) Teachers Diploma in Theatrical dance and C.S.T.D Teachers Diploma in Tap. She started her career as an Australian commercial dancer at the age of 15- Stage, TV, theatre and touring, choreographing her first TV commercial "Kicks" at 17 years old. Mandy toured Australia with The Boogie Woogies, an Australian Stage and Television show. After her tour, she traveled the world as a dancer for Princess Cruise Lines and as a Commercial dancer. Mandy has been teaching at Scripps performing arts since 2008. She is thrilled to be apart of such a nuturing, encouraging and supportive learning environment, one which she calls family.
Robyn ShifrenLower/Upper Division Ballet
Robyn Shifren trained at the Royal Ballet School in London and performed with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet, London and PACT and NAPAC in South Africa. Robyn has worked with many dance notables including Dame Ninette de Valois, Kenneth Macmillan, Ashley Killar and Patricia Neary. She has had the opportunity to dance several featured roles including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Giselle in Giselle and several other roles throughout her career.Robyn's high energy class and desire to pull out the best in her students makes her an SPAA favorite!
Lisa LeMayVocal & Piano Instruction
Lisa LeMay is a music director, composer, arranger, conductor, performer and educator. She earned her BM (Music Education/Jazz Studies) and MM (Music Composition) degrees from the University of Arizona. She is a busy vocal coach and has co-produced the “iGym Vocal Workouts CD.”Her performances on Broadway/National Tours include Avenue Q, Bring It On, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, All Shook Up, Disney’s The Lion King, and Will Rogers Follies. Regional credits include How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old Globe), Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer-World Premiere, Les Miserables and more as well as a dozen productions with the Welk Resort Theatre in San Diego. Lisa has taught at TA DA! Youth Theater (NYC), NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, Broadway Performing Arts School (NJ), the University of New Hampshire and the University of Arizona. For many years she was Music Supervisor at Camp Broadway (NYC). She maintains a busy teaching studio, working with vocalists, pianists and has taught classes in music production/technology, jazz, musical theatre and music theory.The New York Pops Orchestra, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, world- renowned Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of San Diego, Lawrence Welk Orchestra, and scores of school and regional music ensembles have performed her compositions and arrangements.