Class Descriptions

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2023-2024 Youth Faculty

Micha Scott


TWDCC Artistic Director // Garth Fagan Dance

Micha Scott is a dance professional with 29 years of performing, teaching, and choreographic experience. She was a senior member of the world renowned Garth Fagan Dance in New York for 13 years before coming to the West Coast. She is currently TWDCC Artistic Director, resident choreographer at Mountain School in Soquel, CA, an instructor at Dancenter, and lead teacher with Tandy Beal’s Dance Around the World program. Micha has been a lecturer at Santa Clara University, UCSC, SUNY Brockport as well as a guest choreographer for numerous companies and schools.

Angela Chambers

Contemporary Jazz

TWDCC Youth Program Manager

Angela Chambers, an Oakland native, raised in Berkeley, is a long time resident of Santa Cruz county where she has established her role as a deeply rooted community leader, fierce youth empowerment advocate, and dynamic dance artist. As an artist, Angela spent her youth performing Musical Theater. Upon moving to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC, Angela was introduced to formal dance training where she developed and expanded her knowledge of and relationship with dance not only as an art form, but as a tool for personal growth and as a catalyst for social change. At UCSC, Angela performed, directed and choreographed in many productions. After graduating in 2014 with a BA in Intensive Psychology and Dance, Angela further pursued her dance training with intensives and residencies and continues to work as a performer, choreographer, and now producer within the Santa Cruz/Bay Area dance communities. Alongside performing, Angela spends most of the season as a lead teacher and Community Engagement Director at the Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center (TWDCC) the only Black, female led non profit dance arts organization in the county, where she focuses on the development and commitment to their mission of access, equity, and excellence. She is also a seasonal teacher at Motion Pacific and a guest artist/choreographer at local universities, festivals, and productions. When not dancing, Angela, a Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D) certified Health and Wellness teacher, pursues her passion for elevating and supporting youth development and community activation as a mentor and coach for young dancers and as the director of the SCC Black Health Matters Initiative Youth Ambassador program. She also serves as the Program Manager and on the award winning Initiative’s advisory panel. To this end, Angela continues to find ways to successfully engage her dedication to community organizing, youth empowerment, and the power of dance & the performing arts.

Heather Wilder

Modern Expressive
Heather Wilder has been teaching Modern and Partner dancing to people of all ages for 26 years. In 1996, she graduated with a minor in dance from Humboldt State University. In 1999 she won the WOR swing dance championship in New York and in 2003 she was cast as a dancer in "Swing, The Movie". Heather's love of dance inspired her to develop her own dance program which teaches modern dance basics with an emphasis on joy and acceptance in the dance environment. "When I consider my teaching philosophy, I think about what dance has given me. #1 JOY! I want my students to have fun and love what they are doing. I want dance to bring them joy. #2 CONFIDENCE! I want my students to believe in themselves, love their bodies, and appreciate what they can do. I want dance to raise their confidence. If I can bring either of these elements to class (and maybe slip a little technique in there too), I have succeeded!"

Eddie Standifer

Hip Hop
An enthusiastic and inspirational dancer that loves to connect the moves with the grooves. I have had this passion for dance since the early 2000s as a kid. In high school a few of my close friends were boys and we would meet up every break, lunch, before and after school just to break. Throughout those few years I was introduced to a plethora of styles branching from Popping, Tutting, Waves, House, Turfin, JerseyClub just to name a few but what made it all connect were the grooves. 2010 was my introduction into choreography and competition teams. My roots began with a small team in Hollister called Villains Inc, dedicated within the Popping style mixed with choreography. After Villains Inc came to an end, my new home team is Syndicate. While earning my degree at SJSU, the tools I received to better develop and formulate my movement were essential for me to fully allow myself to create and express myself. I apply my knowledge and experience through the styles with the structure and formula taught through the studios.

Rachel Peterson

Rachel Peterson walked into her first tap class at the age of four, instantly falling in love with movement. Her education included tap, ballet, jazz, acrobatics, musical theatre, contemporary and modern dance. Her love for teaching began at the age of seventeen when she took over her first youth jazz class. While studying at UC Santa Cruz, Rachel continued to train through the Physical Education and Theatre Arts departments, graduating with a major in human biology and a minor in dance in 2016. Since graduating, she has continued to teach dance classes consistently in Santa Cruz and, in the last year, began coaching gymnastics in San Jose. As an instructor, she hopes to inspire students to develop a life-long relationship with dance.

Molly Katzman

Molly Katzman (they/she) started dancing in middle school at Nevada City School of the Arts, and then danced all through high school in the Nevada Union Theatrical Dance program. They attended Cabrillo College where they won the Roberta Bristol award for dance in 2009, then went on to earn their B.A. at UCSC. While living in Santa Cruz, she has danced for choreographers such as Cat Willis, Gerald Casel, Cid Pearlman and is a member of FLEX dance company directed by Leslie Johnson. Katzman and Sierrah Dietz, who started their own company, HOMEbodies, debuted their first show in April 2012, presented their second show in 2013, and entered the New Orleans Fringe Festival in 2014 where they were nominated for the award, Outstanding Choreography (New Work). In 2015, Katzman joined Joe Goode Performance Group in San Francisco as a company member and teaches through their educational outreach program while also teaching at Motion Pacific and Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center in Santa Cruz. They are also a certified Dance for Parkinson's Disease instructor and teach through multiple organizations and studios throughout the Bay Area. Molly recently stepped into the Queer Ambassador role at Motion Pacific where they build LGBTQIA programming for the organization and curate events such as Drag Story Time and the Queer Majesty Marketplace.

Mercedes Ross

Mercedes Ross was first introduced to dance at the age of 3 and continued to dance ever since because of the creative JOY it brings! Today she is a new mother, a choreographer, dance instructor, and dancer in Santa Cruz Bay Area. She has choreographed large local youth musicals such as Lion King Jr, Thirteen, Honk Jr, Fiddler on the Roof, and Mount Madonna’s original play “The Ramayana” along with many others. With a BA in Dance from The University of Hawaii at Manoa, she has danced in Hawaii, New York, and locally with Tandy Beal and Company, Empire Dance Company, Stellaria, Circus of Nations and more. Serving as the executive director for Modern Collective Dance Company, providing entertainment to the Bay Area events and productions. Mercedes has had the pleasure of sharing the art of movement at The Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center, Pacific Arts Complex, and Motion Pacific Dance. On her free time she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and visiting Kauai where she grew up. Mercedes looks forward to sharing the JOY of movement and hopes her passion will inspire others to dance!

Raina Sacksteder

Raina began dancing at the age of 5 in the small town of Grass Valley, CA. She went on to train with schools across the country including Nevada City Ballet Academy, Holt Ballet Conservatory, Capitol Ballet Company, American Ballet Theatre, Cincinnati Ballet, and LINES Ballet. She attended Reed College, where she studied biology and developed and performed several choreographic works while training in contemporary dance, and then obtained her master’s degree in microbiology from UCSC. She is now a performer, choreographer, and dance instructor in Santa Cruz and the surrounding areas. Raina is passionate about sharing her love for ballet with her students and strives to emphasize excellent technique and artistry while maintaining a caring and supportive space where every dancer can thrive.

Nicolette Hernandez-Kaempf

Nicolette began dancing at the age of 3, and began rigorously training at age 5. She has trained in Jazz, contemporary and ballet and competed with jazz/contemporary studios for 12 years. She was born and raised in Santa Cruz and has danced at No Limits, IAD, Coastal Vibe and Santa Cruz Ballet Company. She grew up attending dance conventions and taking classes from world-renowned choreographers. They now dance at Motion Pacific and have participated in choreography showcases performing pieces by local artists . Nicolette comes from a family of educators and is super excited to be a part of dance education at the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center.

Ava Barrett

Youth Teaching Assistant
Ava Barrett is a recent graduate of TWDCC Youth Dance Company. She is attending Cabrillo College in the fall to study dance, psychology, and kinesiology. She looks forward to connecting with youth dancers with intention to create positive relationships with peers and mentors.
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