Instructors

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.

 

PETER HERSHEY

Ballet

Peter Hershey comes to us from New York, where he attended high school at the Nassau B.O.C.E.S. Cultural Arts Center and trained at the School of American Ballet. He continued his studies at The Juilliard School under the artistic directorship of Benjamin Harkarvy. As a member of Ballet San Jose for twelve seasons, Peter was best known for dancing the role of Johnny in Dennis Nahat’s Blue Suede Shoes. His repertoire also included lead roles in The Nutcracker and Rodeo, as well as soloist roles in works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Donald McKayle, Dennis Nahat, Twyla Tharp, and Stanton Welch.In addition to his work with BSJ, Peter was most recently a closing member of Company C Contemporary Ballet, where he was featured in works by Charles Anderson, Maurice Causey, Susan Jaffe, Charles Moulton, and Yuri Zhukov. Peter is also an accomplished teacher and has enjoyed teaching ballet at many schools throughout the Bay Area, including Ballet San Jose School, Santa Clara Ballet, and Western Ballet, among others.

 

KRISTEN WRIGHT

Jazz Instructor

Kristen Wright has been teaching dance for 13 years. She studied dance at Scottsdale Community college & danced in the performing Jazz company & a local breakdancing company while living in Arizona. Kristen is a member of Dance Educators of America & is constantly taking class at conventions to bring new choreography to her students. Kristen owns a mobile dance company in Arizona & her groundbreaking choreography has won numerous awards. She has a passion for dancing & teaching & it shows in her work.

 

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.

 
 

ALANNA FISHER

Ballet Instructor

Alanna Fisher began her training with Nadine Cole at the Academy of Ballet Arts. For her last three years of high school she attended the Rock School for Dance Education, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She attended various summer programs including, Long Beach Ballet’s China Tour, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and the School of American Ballet.
In May 2011, she graduated from the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet. While there she had the opportunity to travel internationally to Berlin, Germany, where she trained and learned choreography at the Berlin State Ballet School. As well as to Athens, Greece, with the University of Utah’s Character Dance Ensemble, where she attended a workshop with the Dora Stratou Greek Dance. After graduating from the University of Utah, Alanna joined Ballet Fantastique Chamber Company in Eugene, Oregon. During her two years with Ballet Fantastique she had the opportunity to be Cindy, in their 60’s Rock Opera of Cinderella. This past summer she also toured with the company to San Benedetto, Italy. While dancing with Ballet Fantastique she also taught various classes for their Academy. These classes included creative movement, ballet to all ages, and character class. Alanna is so excited to be involved in the Bay Area dance world!

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.

 
 

FRANCESCA TAN

Ballet Instructor

Francesca is a classically trained ballet dancer and teacher, and began dancing at Western Ballet at the age of three. She has since worked with choreographers such as Raissa Simpson, Todd Courage, Yanis Pikieris, and Mark Foehringer, studied with American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet, and danced with the Los Angeles Ballet. She is currently working with Alonzo King Lines Ballet as a trainee, and dances with a San Francisco-based performance art group, with whom she performed at the internationally-acclaimed Lightning In A Bottle Music and Arts Festival in 2014. Francesca teaches adult classes, as well as all ages of youth classes throughout the Bay Area, and is grateful to be able to share her knowledge and passion with her students.

 

LEXI GILMAN

Pre-Ballet and Ballet Instructor

Lexi Gilman began studying ballet at Mariposa Academy of Performing Arts at the age of 6. She then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where she danced at Academy of American Ballet for 6 years under the direction of Julia Ball-Dugan. While there, she performed several lead roles including Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, acting also as that ballet’s Student Director at the age of 15. She moved to China in 2010 where she was Student Director, performer and choreographer for several performances at Kunming International Academy, including the lead role Belle in the musical Beauty & the Beast. While in China, Lexi studied at the Yunnan Ballet Academy under professional Russian dancer Madam Katya, and was invited as a guest artist to perform for Yunnan TV and a live audience of 20,000. She also performed and choreographed ballet, modern and contemporary dance at Nordica Arts in Kunming. Lexi is currently studying at De Anza College where she is pursuing a degree in Chinese/Law and Dance. She is passionate about teaching and encouraging others to reach their full potential and joy as a dancer.

LOIS WOOD

Pre Ballet and Tap Instructor