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 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 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.
Mr. Marazita, received his training at the Institute of State Ballet of Budapest which utilizes the Vaganova method. As a Principal Dancer for 38 years, he performed with companies such as Opera Theater of Rome, Paris Opera Ballet, Italian National Ballet, and Opera of Spalato. Mr. Marazita danced classical ballet repertoire and toured in Europe and the United States with ballet stars such as Fernando Bujones and Maya Plisetskaya. He was lauded by dance critics as an elegant, precise, and great dancer. Mr. Marazita received his teacher certification in the Vaganova method at the National Academy of Ballet in Rome, and has extensive teaching experience.
Francesca is a classically trained ballet dancer and teacher, as well as a contemporary dancer and choreographer. She began her training in the San Francisco Bay area in 1998, and has since studied notably with American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet. Francesca danced with the Los Angeles Ballet a trainee, and graduated from the Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program. She has worked as a company member with the Mark Foehringer Dance Project and as an internationally touring member of the Samantha Giron Dance Project, in addition to dancing with internationally-acclaimed arts festivals Lightning In A Bottle and Electric Daisy Carnival. She participated in the creation of original works with choreographers including Greg Dawson of Dawson Dance, Maurya Kerr of tinypistol, Erik Wagner of Dance Theatre of San Francisco, Sandrine Cassini of Post:Ballet, David Harvey of Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Julia Steifel of Company E, and Todd Courage of Courage Group. She has appeared in principal roles in the full-length ballets of Don Quixote, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, and The Nutcracker. Francesca teaches all ages of dance students throughout the Bay Area, and is grateful to be able to share her knowledge and passion with her students.
Pre-Ballet and Ballet Instructor
Lexi graduated magna cum laude from University of Hawai’i with a B.A. in Chinese and a minor in Dance. Lexi grew up studying ballet under Julia Dugan at the Academy of American Ballet. At the University of Hawai’i she studied modern dance with Elizabeth Fisher, as well as modern dance technique, anatomy and Bartenieff Movement Fundamentals with Gregg Lisenbery. She has danced and performed in mainland China and was featured on Yunnan TV. She has directed theater and dance productions and continues to pursue her love of choreographing contemporary and ballet styles. Lexi is happy to be back at AAD and be a part of the studio’s continued growth and success.
Ballet, Jazz, and Tap Instructor
Minna has been professionally trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. Her personal style of dance and teaching is to integrate technical excellence with emotional and spiritual expression. She began her professional studies at Ballet Arts in Tucson, AZ. Minna has studied at Master classes and workshops at the University of Arizona, Vienna Opera Ballet School, Vienna Conservatory Ballet, among many others. She teaches Ballet, Jazz, and Tap at AAD, and performs and choreographs locally in Musical Theatre productions.
Ballet and Modern Instructor
Sarah Cook was born and raised in Seattle Washington, where she found her love for dance. At the age of 15 she was accepted into the Professional Division Program at the International School of Classical Ballet. Sarah then went onto CalArts to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance with a focus in Choreography, Modern and Ballet. Since graduating Sarah has has had the privilege of dancing professionally through-out Los Angeles, Spain, Russia, and Germany. Outside of Dance Sarah finds joy in nature, yoga, and paddle boarding.
Vincent Michael Chavez was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. He received his dance education and training from Dance Theater Southwest, Ballet Hispanico, Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre and Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program. Vincent’s dance company experience includes New Mexico Ballet Company, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of SF and Robert Moses’ Kin.
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 and 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.
OWEN GRADY has been teaching Pilates and Yoga full time in the Bay Area since 2002. He is a certified Physicalmind Institute® Pilates Apparatus, Mat, and Standing Pilates instructor as well as Franklin Method® movement educator. Owen began his studies and teaching of Pilates with nationally recognized Pilates Master teacher Tom McCook, founder of Center of Balance in Mountain View, CA. Owen has also studied extensively with Eric Franklin, founder of the Franklin Method®, and incorporates the Franklin Method® in his teaching to combine vivid imagery and experiential anatomy which helps people navigate their bodies with greater ease and facility. Owen is also a teacher trainer for Yoga Tune Up® a ‘whole body’ regenerative fitness system integrating elements of Yoga, calisthenics, and body therapy created by Jill Miller. Most recently Owen has added NeuroKinetic Therapy® to his skill set. Owen’s fully equipped private studio, Motio, is located in the Academy of American Dance where he has taught pilates mat classes to the dance students for years.
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.
Sara studied dance for 10 years as a child, then restarted as an adult when her own children became interested. She holds certifications in Pilates and EBAS. Sara has danced in Ballet America’s Nutcracker for 10 years, as lead variation and in the corps de ballet. Outside of the studio, Sara teaches k-5 music in local public schools with the Music for Minors non profit.
Pre Ballet and Tap Instructor
Lois is a life-long learner in the fields of dance, art and music. Growing up in New York, she attended musical theater camps and learned song and dance Broadway stylings. Formal ballet training began with Istvan Rabovsky, and a scholarship to a summer-long intensive where she studied ballet, pointe, Pas de Deux and Character. Continuing her training in college where Martha Graham technique was offered as an elective minor, she achieved a degree in Art and Elementary Education. Her dream was to bring dance education to public schools where children could realize their own unique qualities of self-expression while combining art with dance and music. Relocating to California she studied Tap Dancing, Figure Skating , Voice and Piano completing a skill set which would lead to a professional career. Lois is a certified instructor in Pilates Mat 1 and 2, as well as EBAS and Pilates Ballet.