Guest Instructors

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Ashley Carter

Both internationally as well as in the U.S., Ashley is passionate about her work as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. Primarily trained in New York, she has studied and worked in many different styles from ballet to lyrical, modern, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, and musical theatre. She has had the opportunity to perform and/or choreograph at venues such as Jacob's Pillow, Teatro Madrid, The Gerald Lynch Theater, The Barrow Street Theater, SummerStage, The Highline Ballroom, Webster Hall, BB Kings and the Ailey Theatre. Ashley is also on faculty at Ballet Academy East, and Joffrey in New York, various schools in Mexico and Spain; former faculty at Peridance, and has taught at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and Ballet Arts in New York City, Lines Dance Center in San Francisco, Tony Williams Dance Center and Green St Studios in Boston and Tarrytown Dance in Austin. She can be seen working alongside artists such as Ricky Martin, NeYo, Lady Sovereign, Nicki Minaj, Cam'ron and Mila Kunis, for companies like Pilobolus, Derek Mitchell, Daniel Gwirtzman, Hanna Q Dance, Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Expressions, Ruddur Dance, Momentum Dance Theater, Variations Theatre Group, the Little Opera Theatre of NY, Moochaloo and Balasole, and for brands such as Netflix, Nike, Athleta, Nokia, Ursus Vodka, Microsoft, Heineken, Yahoo, Ameriprise, the Rachel Ray Show and Lush Cosmetics. She has been seen off-Broadway in shows like West Side Story and 3 to 1. She was invited to Madrid to teach at the Association of Dance Professionals and choreograph for Spanish recording artist Nuria Elosegui. Ashley performed in Sia's music video "Soon We Will Be Found", in Central Park Summerstage, in a Boost Mobile commercial, danced in a feature film with Justin Timberlake, and is credited with choreographing independent feature film "The Ride of Tom and Valkyrie". She has performed with the European show "Compradores de Sueños", premiered the Legendary Dance Project at the Museo del Barrio and has completed her fourth season of New York City's Summerstage. Recently, Ashley was featured in the original dance film "Here We Go Again" (dir. Nathan Cohen), has performed two seasons as Fritz/Rat King/Russia in "DIY Nutcracker", danced in "The Barber of Seville" with the Amore Opera, and worked on a production of "Peter Pan" for Broadway Asia. Ashley has co-choreographed several full-length shows for the company DoubleTake Dance (www.DoubleTakeDanceCo.com) that she co-directs with Vanessa Martínez de Baños, and is very proud of DoubleTake's performance in the City Parks Summerstage festival, Battery Dance Festival, Carnival Choreographer's Ball, etc. Additionally, with the company, she is credited with directing/choreographing a benefit for Japan and the latest commercial for Fuse TV and Dropps laundry detergent; and routinely traveling to the West Coast, Europe and Mexico to teach contemporary workshops. Recent credits include choreographic commissions for the world-renowned Dancing Wheels Company, HT Chen's NewSteps, JPAC's Next Stage Residency, and the Montclair Performing Arts program; choreography for the new musicals "Dragula" and "Parallel Lines", and was also a choreography grant recipient from Eryc Taylor Dance. Ashley's and Vanessa's choreography has been featured in the YAGP finals 2 years in a row. Ashley's choreography has won many awards at regional and national competitions, and is in high demand in New York, throughout the US, and abroad.

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Vanessa

Martinez De Banos

Vanessa is a recognized dancer, teacher and choreographer who currently co-directs the company DoubleTake Dance in NYC (www.DoubleTakeDanceCo.com). Featured twice in Dance Informa Magazine DTD has recently received several commissions: Rock that Rolls choreographic commission for Dancing Wheels in Cleveland, OH; HTChen New Steps residency NYC; Next Step commission and performance for JPAC NYC and alongside Ashley Carter their choreography has been featured in the YAGP finals 2 years in a row.

Honored with a professional development scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Culture to study abroad, she later became the resident choreographer for the musical theatre production company Tela-Katola in Spain. Shows: “I Love You, You're Perfect ...Now Change” and “Tick Tick...BOOM!”.

Currently she dances and choreographs for DoubleTake Dance (SummerStage; Battery Dance, NY Half Marathon, Ailey Theater; Carnival, Webster Hall; Gerald Lynch Theater, Dixon Place, Teatro la Tea, Jazz Choreographers Project, T. Madrid, Triángulo), Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. Other companies: De Funes Dance, BalaSole Dance, Noir Tribe Media, Burnt Sugar, Ikada, J.T Lotus Dance Co. She ́s had the pleasure to work for choreographers such as Germaul Barnes, Ryan Beck, Derek Mitchell, Guillém Alonso, Gabrielle Lasner, Alan Onickel, Lynn Schwab (Tap City -Symphony Space) and Tony Waag (Career Transition for Dancers Gala at City Center) Featured dancer in “DIY Nutcracker” (NY), “Rabi Thakur: A ballet on the Life of Rabindranath Tagore” (NJPAC); Momentum Dance Theater: “The jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker” (Washington D.C ), “Steel City Rhythm" workshop by RSW & associates; "Where Dreams Become Reality" (NY). Other shows include The Little Opera Theater of NY ́s “Mitridate” ; ABT’s “The Golden Cockerel” at the MET, “Arrival” at Theater 80; “LOVEartJAPAN” Benefit show for Japan. She has performed as a dancer, model or actress for international brands and commercials: L ́OREAL, Heineken, Ameriprise, Athleta, NYRoadRunners, Tag Heuer, Yahoo, Ursus Vodka, KDDance, Lush Cosmetics/Gorilla Perfumes, El Pais newspaper, channel Tele5, Fuse TV, X-Box/Kinect (Times Square with NeYo and Lady Sovereign) Fashion Center Arts Festival, One Truth, Dru Cutler and the Rachel Ray Show. Film credits include “The Ryde of Tom & Valkyrie”, & "Friends With Benefits" with Justin Timberlake (IMDB 2011) Vanessa is passionate about her teaching career. Faculty at Steps, BAE, Joffrey Ballet School, Peridance and a Tap City Leader she’s been featured on CNN and NBC. Vanessa has also been a guest teacher in numerous studios around the world (Alonzo Lines in San Francisco; LeHigh Valley Alliance in Pennsylvania; Round Rock Repertory, and Tarrytown Dance in Austin; V. Ullate, Arte de Bailar, Luthier, Latelier, Ross in Spain; T- Stage in México...) and she also teaches and judges at conventions around the USA.

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Jekyns Pelaez

A native of Colombia and Graduate from Incolballet. His professional credits include a wide range of Principal work in the classical repertoire like Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Corsaire, Gisselle, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia, Apollo, Who Cares? to name a few. He also has worked with Ballet San Jose, Diablo Ballet, Ohio Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Arizona, Chautauqua Ballet, Western Ballet, Ballet de Cali, Colombia, among others. A few of his lengthy list of contemporary works include Carmina Burana, Esplanade, Carmen, Lady of the Camellias, Midsummer's Night Dream, Diadorim. A number of countries he has toured include the USA, Thailand, Cuba, Japan, Colombia and Puerto Rico. After obtaining his BA from the LEAP Program in St. Mary's College, he currently pursues his MFA Degree in Film, Theatre and Television at CalState L.A. He also has worked with San Francisco Opera in La Traviata and Cyrano de Bergerac to name a few, L.A Opera, American Conservatory Theatre's The Tosca Project. As a dancer, as well as an actor, some of his theatre and films appearances include, Love Hurts, Hemingway and Gellhorn, Untitled Woody Allen (2013), and recently No exit.

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Jazon Escultura

Jazon Escultura graduated from San Jose State University in 2006 with a B.A. in dance. At SJSU, Mr. Escultura trained in Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop, Tap, and was honored to study Jazz technique with fellow South Bay Dance Center teacher Jill Yager-Rumpf. While at SJSU, Mr. Escultura was a member of the University Dance Theater, a modern dance company directed by Gary Masters in which he performed a solo from “The Unsung” by Jose Limon. While with UDT, Mr. Escultura traveled to Sacramento and San Francisco to dance premiere works at the American College Dance Festival.

Mr. Escultura has been a member of Visual Rhythm Dance Company, a theatrical jazz company directed by Judy Pearson since 2007. Credits include i-Time, My Darkness, My Gift, and Open The Door. He has also worked with Cabrillo Stage, a professional musical theater company in which he was an ensemble member for Guys and Dolls in 2006 and Kiss Me Kate in 2007, both under the direction of Janie Scott. In 2009, Mr. Escultura was sanctioned to perform a masterpiece by Donald McKayle, Songs of the Disinherited, in which he was part of the trio “I’m on my way” and the group piece “Shaker Life”, which was presented at the Visual and Performing Arts Center at DeAnza College. Working with M Production, under the direction of Michelle Dirck, he has performed her contemporary piece “Everything Must Change” for Dance Effects, Winter Showcase and Dancin’ Downtown, all in 2010.

Mr. Escultura is proud to have also been part of SBDC’s Pure Dance Productions and South Bay Ballet Arts, where he not only choreographed, but also performed. Credits include Spanish Chocolate in Nutcracker 2006 and 2008. His strength is Hip Hop, but he also uses the training he has gained to teach Contemporary at Morgan Hill Dance Center and Castro Valley Performing Arts, and Jazz at Dance Theater International and Ballet San Jose. He is also Zumba certified and has several Zumba classes a week at SBDC, Sapphire Studios, Studio Rincon, and the corporate facility, Santa Clara Towers. Mr. Escultura has been a teacher at SBDC since 2005.

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Charles Torres

Mr. Torres was born in Mesa, Arizona. He began his ballet training under Judy Churma and Florence Davich. From there he received full scholarships to San Francisco Ballet School, Cleveland Ballet School, Royal Danish Ballet School Workshops, School of American Ballet, Arizona State University, and recently earned his Master’s Degree in 21st Century Leadership from Saint Mary’s College. His wide range as a performing artist encompasses the contemporary works of Balanchine and other 20th century choreographers as well as the full-length classics. Since 1998, Mr. Torres has been a principal guest artist with several bay area companies: Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Diablo Ballet, and with Company C under Charles Anderson. He has danced or created principal roles for Smuin Ballets/S. F. for internationally renowned choreographer and director Michael Smuin. In addition to his work with Smuin Ballets/S.F. he danced as a principal with Ballet West Arizona, Ballet Austin, The Carlisle Project, Chautauqua Ballet under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and with the Sacramento Ballet (as Principal Dancer and Ballet Master). He also is a frequent guest artist with several companies in the Los Angeles and bay area, including appearing with the San Francisco Opera Ballet as a principal guest artist. He has danced principal roles in Rubies, Allegro Brillante, Donizetti Variations, Scotch Symphony, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and the son in Prodigal Son. Full length classics include Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, La Fille Mal Gardee and Swan Lake.

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Nhan Ho

Nhan Ho is a 2008 graduate of the Dance Program at SJSU where he was “Outstanding Graduating Senior.” He ventured into the world of dance at the age of sixteen under the guidance of Kellye Dodd, Director of the Dance Program at Independence High in East San José. During that time, he was a member of IndepenDANCE, the school’s performing ensemble and part of the Mentoring Program, under the direction of Gary Masters, where he had the opportunity to perform José Limón’s masterwork, The Unsung, as part of the Around the World Festival at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Theatre in 2002. In 2005 he was honored to have his choreography, Echoes, selected for adjudication at the American College Dance Festival with SJSU's University Dance Theatre. Eager to explore his creativity in new ways and to share his passion for dance, Nhan became a member of the SBDC faculty in 2005 and East West Music and Dance in 2007. Professionally, Nhan has most recently worked with BodyArt Dance Company, Sasha Soreff Dance Theatre, I-Danse, and Faye Driscoll in New York. He had also performed with Facing East Dance & Music of Oakland & Berkeley and performed with the Margaret Wingrove Dance Company of San José, Push Dance Company of San Francisco, sjDANCEco of San José, and KTDavisDance in Modesto.

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Natalie Duong

Natalie Duong began her dance training at South Bay Dance Center. Ms. Duong was a member of the student company, Pure Dance Productions, for two seasons and has been a soloist with South Bay Ballet Arts since 2012. Soloist roles include Snow Queen and Swanilda. Ms. Duong has performed with local contemporary companies Moving Sculptures and Nhan Ho Project since 2012. Ms. Duong attends school at Santa Clara University where she is minoring in Dance.