JULIA DUGAN

Director

Julia began studying ballet with the Sacramento Ballet under the directorship of Barbara Crockett. Her training also included study with the Boston Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and scholarship study with the San Francisco Ballet. After graduating from high school, Julia began dancing professionally with the American Festival Ballet. While dancing with the Eugene Ballet and Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Julia toured throughout 45 of the continental States, and performed overseas in Taiwan. After dancing professionally for five years, she began her university studies and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Economics and an MA in Dance Education. Julia founded Stanford’s first ballet company, taught university ballet classes, and received a full-scholarship from former Provost Condoleezza Rice.

Julia has been teaching dance for over twenty years, and has directed Nutcracker and other productions for fifteen years. She has extensive training in Pilates and Feldenkrais which she tries to incorporate into her teaching. Julia opened AAB in the fall of 1999 with a vision to improve dance training methods and provide a progressive approach to coaching dancers.

Julia is also a proud wife, and mother of three children.

 

TANYA GUNTON-CARROLL

Assistant Director

Tanya has studied ballet, contemporary/modern, hip-hop, jazz, and lyrical. She has performed and trained with many artists including Julia Dugan, Catherine Marie Davalos, FRIT & FRAT, Nina Haft, Dana Lawton, Randee Paufvee, Benedicte Schoyen, Jill Strauss, and Pepper Von. Tanya has held positions of Assistant Director for Ballet America and Saint Mary’s Dance Company, Cheerleading/Dance Coach for Pacific Palisades HS, Program Director for dance and movement clinics for the Girl Scouts and guest choreographer/instructor for Santa Maria College, Santa Monica Dance Studio, Saint Mary’s College, and HS dance programs. She has performed in professional and community settings in musical theatre, reader’s theatre, a Disney production, and many dance productions. Tanya holds a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Dance from Saint Mary’s College and is obtaining her Teaching Credential and M.S. in Special Education. She currently teaches at the Academy of American Ballet and is a Behavior Therapist for autistic children. Tanya is grateful to be a part of the AAB/BA Staff and wholeheartedly supports its mission!

 

JENNY NAGEL

Modern

Jenny Nagel graduated magna cum laude from UC Irvine with her BA in Dance, and is a certified Pilates instructor. She teaches Ballet, Modern and Pilates/Yoga for AAB, and is thrilled to be on staff with such a wonderful studio that shares her same movement philosophy. Upon graduation from college, Jenny traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska (yes…it was cold!) to teach dance and, upon returning to the central coast, was on staff at Allan Hancock College, Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and Infinite Dynamics Pilates Studio. She has performed extensively, and choreographed, at UC Irvine, Allan Hancock College and with various modern dance companies including: Variable Velocity, Transit, Taproot, Liminal and Printz Dance Project. Jenny hopes to squeeze all that she can out of the Bay Area dance community by continuing to teach, perform and choreograph, and is currently working toward her certification in Gyrokinesis. Jenny is currently on staff at AAB and FORM Fitness in Palo Alto.

 

ERIC SPARKS

Ballet Instructor

Kendall Eric Sparks, a native of Walnut Creek received his early training from Lareen Fender and Kathy Hirai at the Ballet School.  Mr. Sparks also studied with Sally Streets at the Berkeley Ballet Theatre.  Mr. Sparks has performed with the Sacramento Ballet, the Boston Ballet, the Dennis Wayne Dancers, Cynthia Gregory and Friends, the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and the Miami City Ballet where he performed as Principal dancer until March of 1997.  Mr. Sparks has danced principal roles in the Nutcracker, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Flemming Flint’s Toreador and Paul Taylor’s Company B and Aureal.  Mr. Sparks has also danced principal roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Theme and Variations, Valse Fantasie, Allegro Brillante, Emeralds, Western Symphony, Four Temperaments, Tin Soldier, and Pas e Dix.  In ’97 Eric joined Diablo Ballet where he was featured in K.T. Nelson’s Escaping Game and Walk Before Talk, Sean Kelly’s Jig, and Nicholai Kabaniaev’s the Groove, Hidden Land, Rhapsodia and E-Medley.  This marks Eric’s return to the stage after retiring from professional dance in 1999.  Currently Eric resides in San Francisco, close to the ocean, where his love for surfing, teaching, and healing can thrive.

 

NICOLE YIP

Ballet Instructor

Nicole has taught beginning, intermediate and advanced ballet classes at several local ballet schools, as well as rehearsed students for various performances. As a professional ballet dancer she has performed with Ballet San Jose in ballets such as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphide, and the Firebird among other classical and contemporary works. She has also performed as a guest artist with Western Ballet, Ballet Arts Center, and Morgan Hill Dance Center.

 

BLAIR BROWN

Ballet and Modern Instructor

Blair is a modern, yoga, and ballet instructor in the bay area as well as a professional dancer. Blair received her Bachelors of Arts in Dance, Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University. Blair studied classical ballet with Pamela Hayes in Sacramento and modern at the Laban Conservatory of Dance in London in 2009 where she trained in Release Technique and Cunningham Technique. She currently dances with Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble in the city. She also recently joined the company ZiRu Productions led by Philein Wang. Blair also has created such dance films as Entre Nous, which showed in two concerts at LMU, and in the dance concert Art with the Colorado based company 7Dancers.

 

LAURA BALDINI

Ballet Instructor

Laura was trained in Royal American Ballet, jazz dance, and musical theatre. After working in children’s recreation and dancing in college, Laura obtained her Teaching Credential. For the last 23 years, she has been teaching at John Gill, a multi-age performing arts school. She also teaches ballet at the Academy of American Ballet.

 
 

KEVIN HOCKENBERRY

Ballet Instructor

 
 

KRISTEN WRIGHT

Jazz Instructor

 
 

LOIS WOOD

Pre Ballet and Tap Instructor