Léna Alvino is originally from Switzerland. She started ballet at 5 and modern and contemporary dance at 14. Léna had the chance to dance in a variety of performances such as Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan, What a Small World, The Carnival of the Animals, Collection, Romeo and Juliette, Cinderella, Chatouille and Alice in Wonderland. After graduating from an artistic high school, she joined Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program. In August 2017, she danced in Santa Barbara in State Street Ballet’s Professional Track Program. She is very excited to have joined eMotion Arts Dance Co. in March 2018.
Ashley Burdick is from Gilroy, California. She began her serious ballet training with South Valley Dance Arts in Morgan Hill and Lise La Cour’s LaCademy of Ballet in San Jose under the direction of Lise La Cour, former Royal Danish Ballet Prima Ballerina and over summers, Ask La Cour, current New York City Ballet principal dancer. She has spent her summers training with American Ballet Theatre in Texas in 2015 under the direction of Wes Chapman and New York in 2016 under the direction of former ABT principal ballerina Julie Kent. She attended the ABT Summer Intensive in New York again in the summers of 2017 and 2018 under the direction of Kate Lydon and Ethan Brown. Ashley attended the University of California Santa Barbara as a dance major for one year before joining the professional track program with State Street Ballet in 2016. As a trainee with State Street Ballet, she has performed excerpts from classical ballets such as Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, Paquita, and Giselle among modern and contemporary works. Throughout her three years at State Street Ballet, she has also had the opportunity to dance with the professional company in their productions of the Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Modern Masters. She is excited and honored to join eMotion Arts.
Jessica DeFranco is a Bay Area native and began her dance training with ballet classes in her hometown of Santa Clara under the instruction of former San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer Kimberly Davey. She then trained with Pacific Ballet Academy, Western Ballet, and the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Intensive. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. She performed with the University Dance Theater company for three consecutive years, and has traveled to represent the University as a dancer and choreographer at the American College Dance Association conferences. She’s performed in works by Garrett + Moulton Productions, Alma Esperanza Cunningham, Tanya Chianese, Katie Faulkner, Cathleen McCarthy, Ray Tadio, and Alyssa Mitchel. She is currently a ballet instructor for young dancers in the Bay Area. This is her first year dancing with eMotion Arts Dance Co.
Susannah Faulkner is an Erie, Pennsylvania native who started her training in ballet, modern, jazz, and hip-hop at Erie Bayfront Dance (now Erie Dance Theater) and Lake Erie Ballet. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, as a ballet major, and attended various regional intensives and festivals. After performing, teaching, and choreographing for schools and companies in New York, Colorado, and England for a decade, she is now dancing with eMotion Arts Dance Co. in San Francisco and teaching master classes locally and nationally. Her passion for dance blends with her studies and work in public policy, politics, and activism holding a BA in Politics from Ithaca College and an MPA in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.
In addition perform with eMotion Arts Dance Co, she is the newly appointed Managing Director for the company.
Sierra Heller was born and raised in Durango, Colorado and began dancing at age three. During her high school years, Sierra danced as a member of the Pre-Professional Program at the Colorado Ballet Academy. She then moved to Santa Barbara, California to train with State Street Ballet. She has spent the last four years as a member of the Professional Track Program and has performed in numerous professional productions with the company including the Nutcracker, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, and Jungle Book. While in Santa Barbara, she has also been an instructor at Gustafson Dance, where she taught ballet, tap, jazz, and conditioning classes. Sierra developed and implemented a dance program for students with special needs while at Gustafson Dance. Additionally, Sierra is a certified Gyrotonic instructor and has taught at Gyrotonic Santa Barbara for the past three years. She is currently completing her Gyrokenisis certification as well. Sierra has spent her summers training with American Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet, Ballet Met, and the Colorado Ballet. Sierra is excited to begin her first season dancing with eMotion Arts Dance Company.
Mariko Ishikawa, a San Francisco native, received her classical ballet training under the tutelage of Ayako Takahashi. In 2012, Mariko competed for and won the prestigious Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts by the Steve Silver Foundation. She has been dancing professionally with companies such as Albany Berkshire Ballet, Mandance Company San Francisco, and Menlowe Ballet, Imaginatio Arts, and eMotion Arts, and has been invited to perform as a guest artist with Peninsula Youth Ballet, Diablo Ballet and DManagement’s “Performing in Chicago”. In 2017, Mariko graduated from Saint Mary's College with a BA in Performing Arts through the LEAP program, and is currently a freelance artist, and a dance and fitness instructor in the Bay Area. She has been dancing with eMotion Arts since the very first season.
Rachel “Shellie” Jew, a Bay Area native, received her early training at Marin Ballet under the direction of Cynthia Lucas, and attended summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre and Los Angeles Ballet. After graduating from UCLA, she returned to the Bay Area to study at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, where she performed works by Sandrine Cassini, David Harvey, Gregory Dawson, Maurya Kerr, and Erik Wagner. Shellie has performed with Alameda Civic Ballet, dawsondancesf, Garrett + Moulton Productions, Peninsula Ballet Theatre, and ZiRu Dance. She joined eMotion Arts in February 2019.
Alyssa Mitchel is a San Francisco based dancer, choreographer and teacher. Her project is fiscally sponsored by Dancers’ Group. The recipient of a Trustee Merit Scholarship, she earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies/Teacher Preparation with a minor in mathematics from the Dominican University of California, graduating Summa Cum Laude. Alyssa has danced with Garrett+Moulton Productions, SpectorDance, Peter & Co., Labayen Dance and SOULSKIN Dance. Her original, collaborative works have been set on several professional Bay Area dancers and companies and she has shown her work at numerous festivals nationwide. Festivals and residencies include ODC Pilot 70 and 71, Bay Pointe Ballet New Works, LEVYdance, SAFEhouse Arts, Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF, PUSHfest at ODC Theater, San Francisco Movement Arts Festival at Grace Cathedral, Seattle International Dance Festival and the Youth America Grand Prix. Alyssa teaches all levels of contemporary dance, choreography, ballet, and core strength. She’s also a devoted math/study skills tutor for students ranging from elementary to college.
Sophia Rumasuglia is a Bay Area native who began her training at Ballet San Jose and Los Gatos Ballet. She has performed professionally with Joffrey Ballet in New York, Ballet Austin, Ballet Bernasconi, Bay Pointe Ballet, and Metamorphosis Ballet. In addition to dancing, she is a certified yoga teacher and holds a Bachelor in Performing Arts from St. Mary’s College. This is her first year dancing with Emotion Arts.
Angelica Velez is a current Honors student at the University of San Francisco, earning her BA in Performing Arts/Social Justice and a minor in Mathematics. She has performed works by Kara Davis, Hien Huynh/Courtney Hope, Nicole Klaymoon, Jennifer Polyocan, Dexandro Montalvo, Byb Chanel Bibene, Kao Vey Sebastian Saephanh, Eli Nelson, and Curtis Speck. She started her dance training as a young student at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she also studied at Marshall Performing Arts Center and Keshet Center for the Arts. Angelica is a versatile mover with performing experience in ballet and contemporary styles, as well as jazz, hip-hop styles, and Philippine cultural dance. Her passion for somatic exploration and desire to learn about the human experience through movement shapes her choreographic work, colors her identity as an artist, and influences her as a world citizen. This is her first year dancing with Emotion Arts.
Haley Friend Wilson is a San Francisco Bay Area multidisciplinary performance artist. As a Choreographer, Haley has produced six original pieces of choreography with Dance Mission, Little oxes Theater, Beloved Festival, Pranam, Portland RawArtist Event, and Dance for a Change. She has performed at the San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, SF How Weird, and SafeHouse Arts. In 2017 Haley was selected as an Emerging choreographer at Dance Mission’s Emerging Choreographers Showcase. Also in 2017, Haley co-directed, produced and performed in Dive, a Dance Film chosen for the 2017 SF Dance film festival. Haley received a BA in Dance from the University of Oregon. This is her first year dancing with Emotion Arts.
John Bridenbeck (Musician) bio coming soon
Peter Colclasure (Composer) is from Merrill, Wisconsin. He studied music at the Wausau Conservatory of Music, and graduated with a degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After college Pete spent a decade touring with various rock bands and recording albums, before shifting to teaching and ballet accompaniment. From 2007 to 2012 he lived in Seattle where he played for Dance Fremont, Spectrum, and Evergreen Ballet, providing live music for dance rehearsals, as well as composing and arranging original music for choreography.
He currently teaches piano at Evergreen Studio of Music and the Arts, and plays piano for The New Ballet School in San Jose.
In 2017 he released at album of instrumental compositions entitled “Antigo.” In 2019 he released his second album, "Long Form."
John Ligda (Visual Arts) is a California native who supports himself with information technology and data science. His drawings win local juried awards, are currently shown in several European galleries, and can be found in private collections across the globe. His only formal art training came in Taiwan from an intimate collaboration with Chinese painting master Liang Dan Fong.
He also studied Mandarin and Chinese art history at the National Palace Museum. Recently, John has performed socially conscious live mark-making in London and California. He successfully funded, performed and exhibited the conceptual artwork, A Mark for Peace in Palestine, Israel, Egypt, London, and Poland. This is John’s first year collaborating with Emotion Arts.