Malu Rivera-Peoples - Artistic Director
Malu Rivera-Peoples Artistic Staff – Artistic Director Malu Rivera-Peoples was a principal dancer of Philippine Dance Theater, and a soloist of Ballet Philippines. Under her directorship, WSPA has gained an excellent reputation in the community and for being an “Outstanding School” that continues to receive top awards for their ensemble and solo entries in local and international competitions. She has set several award winning choreographies for competitions and was a recipient of the “Outstanding Choreographer” Award of the Youth America Grand Prix in 2004 and 2006. In the Filipino community, she was honored with a Pamana Arts Legacy Award from the Filipino-American Arts Exposition and selected as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the US’ in Washington D.C. by the Filipino Women’s Network. In October 2013, Malu was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Organization.
Cristina Fargas-Newell - Ballet Mistress & Lyrical
Cristina, fondly called Ms. Tina has been a teacher and choreographer at WSPA for 10 years. Her choreography has garnered the school top awards in various dance competitions. Tina began her ballet training at the age of 5 under the tutelage of Lydia Gaston. At 16 years of age, she began her apprenticeship with the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance Company, also known as Ballet Philippines (BP). In 1980 she was accepted as a member of BP and danced as soloist soon after. For 11 years she danced for BP and assumed the position of rehearsal mistress from 1985 - 1991. She taught ballet and modern dance to the apprentice of BP, CCP Dance School & The Philippines School of the Arts. While with BP she had the privilege to perform alongside internationally acclaimed artists like Natasha Makarova, Fernando Bujones, Patrick Bissell, Martin Van HameI, John Meehan, Leslie Brown, Joyce Cuoco, Yoko Morishita, and Alicia Alonso. In the Ballet Classics, she performed lead roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadere, Cinderella, Les Sylphides, Paquita and Napoli.
Her most memorable modern pieces are For the Gods, Te Deum ,Sebastian, Mga Babae, Rama Hari, Black Brown and Blues, and Carmina Burana, to mention a few. In 1991, Tina was invited to join the City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong. She performed in all contemporary and experimental productions, was involved in the educational program and joined all of their international tours until 1996. In the 16 years of her dancing career, Tina has toured Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, Canada, USA and most of Asia. The mentors who inspired her most are Alice Reyes, Norman Walker, William Morgan, Luminita Dumitrescu, Mikael Kukarev, Armin Wilde, Laura Alonso, Takako Asakawa, Helen Lai, Gener Caringal, Enrico Labayen and Denisa Reyes. Tina has a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce major in Marketing Management from De La Salle University, Philippines.
Irene Liu - Ballet, Performance Program
Irene Liu received her classical ballet and contemporary training under Viktor Kabaniaev and Tina Kay Bohnstedt. She was a critically acclaimed dancer by the SF Chronicle and LA Times for her performance in West Wave Dance Festival, Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival and Celebrate Dance LA. Irene is a graduate of UC Irvine with a BFA in Dance Performance and was a recipient of the William J. Gillespie Scholarship for all four years. Irene taught contemporary and ballet at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy and staged works by Viktor Kabaniaev for their performances. In 2011, she staged Viktor Kabaniaev's "Series of UnRelated Events" for Sacramento Ballet.
Jessica Manalo Angeles - Ballet
Jessica Manalo Angeles is a student pioneer of WSPA since its inception in 1991 and by 1994 was a ballet soloist in WSPA’s dance company. She has studied a variety of dance disciplines and styles ranging from classical ballet to modern to Polynesian, under the tutelage of world renowned artists and teachers. Jessica has performed in numerous award-winning routines in various dance competitions throughout the nation, most recently a proud part of WSPA's award-winning Te Orama performance in Heiva I Kauai (Hawaii) in the summer of 2017. Known for her stage projection and character, she has performed lead roles in The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Cinderella. Jessica has traveled with WSPA to represent the school in the Philippines in 1995 and to Macao, China to represent the United States in the Macao International Youth Dance Festival in 2008. She has completed summer intensives with the LINES Ballet School, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and with the Oberlin Dance
Company (ODC). Jessica completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Liberal Studies and Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Santa Clara University in June of 2005. Currently, Jessica teaches the Junior Performance Program ballet students and serves as a rehearsal mistress for WSPA's full-length production of "The Nutcracker" which is presented annually in December. She also choreographs for Archbishop Riordan High School and will be directing their upcoming production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" in the spring of 2018.
Reina Victoria - Ballet ‘n Tap, Ballet & Musical Theatre
Reina began her training at the age of three and joined WSPA in1993. As a member of the Performance Program she rose to the rank of principal dancer with leading roles in “Raymonda”, “Paquita”, “Cinderella”, “Don Quixote”, “La Bayadere”, Sleeping Beauty”, and danced the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutctracker. In 1999, she was voted the most outstanding student of WSPA. In 2001, she received the highest score award at the American Dance Awards Regional and garnered top honors in North American Dance Championships the year after. In 2003, she was Senior Dancer of the Year for the American Dance Awards and qualified for the national finals of Youth American Grand Prix. Reina continues to be a principal dancer of the company and a valued member of the WSPA faculty while earning a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco State University.
Hannah Hapin - Ballet
Hannah was involved in competitive Gymnastics until she discovered her love for dance at the age of 5. She quickly switched and began her training in Classical Ballet under the tutelage of Inna Bayer and Malu Rivera-Peoples. Hannah has played multiple roles in the Nutcracker production from playing the most coveted role of Clara and worked her way up to perform solo roles as Arabian Snake, Dancing Doll, and the principal role of Princess Flora and Sugar Plum Fairy in the last two productions of The Nutcracker.
Hannah has attended Ballet Summer Intensives from American Ballet Theater in New York, NY and in Orange County, LA. In 2010, awarded a scholarship by YAGP, Hannah attended a 6-week Summer Intensive Program at Ballet West, Salt Lake City, Utah. Hannah has participated in competitions for YAGP, Spotlight, IDC, NYCDA, World of Dance, and has received multiple top awards and scholarship opportunities. Hannah has represented WSPA as one of the delegates at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland in 2009 and 2012.
Jasmine Cruz - Ballet
Jasmine began dancing at the early age of 3 ½ at WSPA in a variety of dance styles including jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and classical ballet. Jasmine’s exceptional technical skill at age 9 was commended with the Hope Award at the Youth America Grand Prix, SF. Winning top awards in both classical and contemporary in YAGP, World Ballet Competition, ADC-IBC, Tanzolymp in Berlin Germany, and Spotlight Dance Cup, she was also voted as WSPA’s 2012 Outstanding Junior Student, awarded the New York City Dance Alliance 2013 and 2015 National Outstanding Dancer and featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s April 2014 among the “You Should Know” feature, spotlighting upcoming young dancers. Jasmine was recognized by the Mayor of Daly City as the 2015 Youth of the Year Awardee for her contribution to the arts. In addition to receiving several summer intensive scholarships, she was also invited to perform in the Young Medalists Gala of the 2013 Miami International Ballet Festival and had the honor to represent WSPA in the 2017 CMAP in Bacolod City, 2016 Dance MNL, and 2014 Homecoming Gala
of Ballet Philippines 45th Anniversary in Manila. As a Company member of the Professional Ballet Division Jasmine had the privilege to perform leading roles in “Don Quixote” and “Swan Lake” and performed as Sugar Plum in WSPA’s production of the Nutcracker. Jasmine is also currently a sophomore at Lowell High School.
Jonalyn Montero - Ballet & Jazz
Jonalyn began dancing at WSPA at the age of four and has been a member of the Performance Program for the last ten years. As a member of the Performance Program, she has danced the roles of Clara, Princess Flora, and Snow Queen in the Nutcracker, and has had leading roles in "Paquita" and "Swan Lake". Jonalyn began competing as a soloist at the age of 7 and has received top awards in ballet and contemporary from Youth American Grand Prix, New York City Dance Alliance, Showstoppers, Spotlight, and Onstage, as well as in Polynesian from Manahere, Tarena Tahiti, and Tahiti Fete. Jonalyn has competed at both YAGP and NYCDA National Finals in New York and performed at the Ballet Philippines 45th Anniversary Homecoming Gala. Jonalyn currently trains in the Ballet Professional Division, is a Company member of the Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Polynesian Performance Programs and is a member of APT. She is a junior at Summit Shasta High School.
Mia Fuerte - Ballet
Mia began her dance journey at WSPA when she was 4 years old and has been in the Performance Program for over 10 years. She trained in the Ballet Professional Program for five years and is currently in the Company level for neo-classical ballet, contemporary and modern. She has recently become a member of WSPA’s junior urban dance team, APT. Mia has danced many roles in WSPA’s yearly Nutcracker production including lead roles as Snow, Butterfly, Merliton and Spanish, but her most memorable and favorite role was Clara in 2013. Her participation as a soloist or as a part of award-winning group ensembles in numerous dance competitions like Youth America Grand Prix, New York City Dance Alliance, World Ballet Competition, Spotlight, Showstoppers and Onstage has helped her grow as a dancer, becoming more focused, hard-working and disciplined. In addition, she has received many awards and scholarships. She has traveled with WSPA to New York City to attend the New York City Dance Alliance National Finals, Orlando, Florida to attend the World Ballet Competition, and Bacolod, Philippines in July 2017 to participate in the CMAP Dance Festival. Mia is currently a junior at Saint Ignatius College Preparatory where she furthers her dance education as a member of the Performing Arts Program. Mia has enjoyed aiding classes for many years but is now excited to begin teaching her own classes and hopefully pass on her passion for dance to aspiring young dancers.
Jadyn Rozzano-Keefe - Ballet
Jadyn began dancing at WSPA at the age of three. She has been a member of the Performance Program for 12 years. Jadyn began competitions at the age of 7 and competed as a soloist at the age of 9. She has received many awards from from New York City Dance Alliance, Showstoppers, Spotlight, and Onstage. Jadyn has trained in a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz, modern/contemporary, and Polynesian. Jadyn currently trains in the Ballet Professional Division and is a Company member of the Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Polynesian Performance Programs. She is a junior at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory, where she also pursues her passion for dance as part of their Visual and Performing Arts Dance Program.
Amy Beltrami - Tap Director
Born into a "Dancing family ", Amy began her training here in the Bay Area at the age of three. Amy studied Ballet, Tap and Jazz for many years and later on focused on Tap and Jazz in her teens. Her Ballet training includes training at the former S.F Dance companies Dance Spectrum and The San Francisco conservatory of Ballet. She received her tap and jazz training from many highly talented teachers including Ann-Marie Garvin and Ann Barrett of the Dancers Synectics Group. She enjoyed the opportunity of taking Master Classes with such tap legends as Sam Weber and Steve Zee. Amy enjoyed performing professionally in several shows and industrials for major companies such as the Coca-Cola Corporation. She developed the Tap program into the competitive level it is today, winning top awards in competitions. She has been a member of the WSPA faculty since 1999.
Angela Jacobs - Ballet n' Tap & Tap
Angela began to dance at the age of three at the South San Francisco Recreation Center. At the age of six she continued her dance education at Schumacher’s School of Dance and then to WSPA’s Performance Program in 2000. Angela has garnered numerous high level competition awards at Showstoppers, Showbiz, International Dance Challenge, the California State Talent Competition and various other national talent competitions. She is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Political Science. In 2010 Angela moved to London, England to complete a Masters in Business Administration in International Business. Upon her return to the Unites States, she now works in Operations for TaskRabbit and continues to teach dance. She finds great joy and happiness in teaching Ballet n' Tap as well as Tap to her many students.
Brigette Guldbeck - Ballet n' Tap
Brigette has been dancing since she was three years old. She joined WSPA in 1998 and trained in tap, jazz, ballet, modern, polynesian and musical theater. She made it to the company levels in all her dance disciplines where she participated in competition-level dance training. She has had the opportunity to compete in tap and jazz solos, as well as small groups in ballet, tap, and jazz over the years. From 2000-2006 she participated in WSPA annual Nutcracker performance where she played the roles of the Tapping Toy Solider, Spanish Maiden, Geranium and Chelsea’s Friends. She currently dances jazz and modern at SF Dance Center to keep up with dance training, and also at San Francisco State University where she plans to graduate in December 2012. In the Summer of 2008, she was one of the delegates who toured with WSPA on the island of Macau in China . She joined the teaching staff in 2003 teaching ballet & tap classes. She is a very dedicated and creative teacher for the ages 3-6, with her specialty on tap choreography. In 2011, she took on the Tap General School program where she was able to work with students up to the age of 14 in tap technique and choreography.
Katie Kerwin - Musical Theatre Director
Katie Kerwin earned her degree in the performing arts, holding a B.F.A. from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts CAP21 Conservatory. She has had experience performing professionally and teaching voice and dance for over 20 years. She offers private training in vocal technique, audition, and performances ages 5 to adult. Her vocal background from NYU is classical with training in musical theatre/pop vocal performance. She also teaches classes in Theatre Jazz and Broadway and contemporary tap dance styles from beginner to advanced. Katie is a Bay Area native, but after college joined the artistic staff and acting company at the professional Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Florida in 2003 as an assistant to the Artistic Director. In 2004, she became the Resident Choreographer for the Show Palace where she directed, choreographed and performed in many shows there. Katie’s teaching expertise is Vocal Technique and Performance, Tap (Broadway and Contemporary), Musical Theatre Performance, and Acting. You may have seen her in TONY award-winning director Walter Bobbie and Broadway choreographer Randy Skinners production of Irving Berlin’s WHITE
CHRISTMAS in San Francisco at the Orpheum Theatre in 2005, and subsequent performances at the FOX Theatre in Detroit in 2006, and the Ordway in St. Paul in 2008. You can also hear her singing in the ensemble of the Broadway cast album of the show which was released in the fall of 2006. Katie is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association and is currently the Musical Theatre Director of Westlake School for the Performing Arts in Daly City, and the Director of the Musical Theatre program at the Ruth Asawa School for the Performing Arts in San Francisco.
Meredith Cecchin Galvin - Musical Theatre
Meredith Cecchin Galvin is Dance Teacher and Fine Arts Department Chair at St. Ignatius College Prep. in San Francisco. Meredith grew up training at the Daly City Dance Academy and performing with the Young People's Teen Musical Theatre Company. Meredith graduated from St. Ignatius and moved on to Santa Clara University where she received her B.A. in Theatre Arts & English. Meredith received her Secondary Teaching Credential in English and her M.A. in Teaching in 2003 from the University of San Francisco. Meredith returned to teach Dance at S.I. in 2001 and has also taught Drama. Meredith directs the annual Dance Concerts and has served as choreographer and director for the Spring Musical, Fall Play, and Student Arts Showcase. At WSPA, Ms. Meredith teaches Tap in the General School and Jazz & Tap to Musical Theatre Company dancers. Meredith is actively involved in the National Dance Education Association and serves on the Executive Board of the California Dance Education Association.
Maia Siani - Jazz
Maia Siani is taking over the lower levels of the jazz performance program and the general school. Maia Siani is a long time member of the Savage Jazz Dance Company in Oakland. Ms. Siani joined the company in 1995, while attending San Francisco School of the Arts. She not only blossomed as a beautiful dancer but as a choreographer whose work Mr. Savage highly approved of for the company. Maia Siani began studying Ballet at an early age with Ballet Celeste International and with the Lines Ballet Program. Her dance education continued at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, as a fellowship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance School, with Dayton Contemporary Second Company and in the Alonzo Kings professional workshop. Upon her return to the Bay Area; she trained and performed with Savage Jazz Dance Company. While the majority of her teaching career has been with Oakland School for the Arts Dance School, she has taught in the outreach programs for San Francisco Ballet, Oakland Ballet and Performing Arts Workshop of San Francisco. For the last twelve years Maia has developed excellent teaching and choreographic skills, she is able to inspire and motivate children of all age groups and dance interests. Maia believes that dance can be used to inspire discipline, elevate self-esteem, and create personal success for young people.
Kumu Hula Anthony Waipa Manaois - Te Orama Director
Anthony is an instructor, choreographer, musician and composer for the Tahitian Dance Group "Otea Api" in Fremont. He has led the group Otea Api to Overall Titles at the San Jose Tahiti Fete, Kiki Raina Tahiti Fete, Kauai Tahiti Fete, and Kauai Polynesian Festival. Actively performing and teaching throughout the state of California and abroad, Anthony comes from a family dedicated to the Polynesian culture and arts. His mother is Kumu Hula Ruth Nalua Manaois. She is a graduate of Kumu Hula Aunty Loeklani Noeau Thomas and graduate/understudy to the late Kumu Hula Master Joseph Kamohai Kahaulelio. His sister is Katrina Haleemaile deJesus Kumu Hula. They are a family that shares the knowledge of a rich culture with pride and respect for their art. Kumu Anthony Manaois will be visiting his family in Tahiti more often this year and has appointed Junelle Mallari, Katrina De Jesus, and Bernard Tubera to teach in his absence. Kumu Anthony will continue to direct Te Orama and assures continued education of the music and culture of Tahitian and Hula.
Kumu Hula Katrina Hali'imaile Dejesus - Te Orama Director
Katrina joined the WSPA faculty in 2011 to assist in directing Te Orama. She is also an instructor and choreographer for the Tahitian dance school/group "Otea Api" in Fremont. Her mother is Kumu Hula Ruth Nalua Manaois. She is a graduate of Kumu Hula Aunty Loeklani Noeau Thomas and graduate/understudy to the late Kumu Hula Master Joseph Kamohai Kahaulelio. Katrina graduated along with her brother Anthony KUMU HULA in 2000. In 2011, she graciously assisted her brother in leading Te Orama in winning the OVERALL title at the SAN JOSE TAHITI FETE. She is a daughter, she is a sister, she is a mother, she is a grandmother and she is a care taker of her Culture.
Morgan Ashley Chang - Polynesian
After trying out ballet at the age of 5, Morgan she continued to explore other styles of dance until she found her love for Polynesian dance at the age of 10 while training at Hokulea Star of Gladness in San Francisco. Morgan joined WSPA’s Polynesian Performance program at age 14, which allowed her the great opportunity of traveling to Scotland for the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2007. Morgan has also trained and competed as a Tahitian Soloist under the instruction of Nene Nemenzo in San Jose Tahiti Fete, Heiva I Reno and won 2nd place in Manahere I Ori Tahiti in 2010. She has performed with Te Orama under the direction of Kumu Hula Anthony Manaois in San Jose Tahiti Fete 2011 and 2013, where the group garnered top awards. Morgan has led the Tamari'i group of Te Orama with the mentorship of Kumu Hula Anthony to 1st place in both Aparima and Otea at Heiva i Reno in 2013 and 2016. Morgan absolutely loves teaching Hula and Ori to her students and hopes to share her passion for the dance and culture with them.
Patrick Rivera Cruz - Urban Dance Director, The Company Director
Patrick Rivera Cruz started his dance journey at WSPA. As a young student at the age of 6, he studied everything the school had to offer. Pat trained for ten years in many different styles including, tap, jazz, ballet, and Russian character. At the age of 15 he was first introduced to street dance styles and instantly fell in love. Knowing that he wanted this to be his main focus, he devoted all of his time to pursing his new found passion. At the age of 18 he met Shaun Evaristo and his life forever changed. With his new found mentor he was able to train in Urban Dance at the highest level. Together they founded the dance team, The Company, which is now considered one of the top teams in the world. At age 25 Pat moved to LA to further pursue his dance career. During this time and with the help of Movement Lifestyle, he found his calling as a traveling choreographer. Pat would spend the next five years teaching at camps and workshops throughout 32 different countries around the world. While in LA he would also find a brotherhood and sense of belonging in the Kinjaz. Together they have become one of the biggest Urban Dance brands and are most recognized for competing on television shows like, ABDC and NBC’s Wold of Dance. Pat has recently moved back to the Bay Area to focus on building and growing the Urban Dance department at WSPA. He is still teaching abroad and continues to pursue his dance dreams with The Company and Kinjaz.
Jason Rillera - Urban Dance, The Company Co-Director
Matthew Montenegro, Urban Dance
Matthew started dancing at WSPA in 1997 training in Musical Theater, Ballet, and Russian Character; under teachers Malu Rivera-Peoples, Tina Fargas-Newell, Ming-Hai Wu, and Alexei Badrak to name a few. He has performed in many of WSPA’s productions: Bali Hai, Mulan, Fiddler on the Roof, and his favorite Cats and Dogs. He has also performed in WSPA’s Nutcracker as Fritz, Russian, Arabian Prince, Spanish Lead, The Nutcracker Prince, Mother Ginger and The Mouse King.
As an original member of APT (2004) and The Company (2005), he has done various performances and competitions around California such as World of Dance, Prelude, VIBE and Body Rock. He has trained extensively under Pat Cruz and Shaun Evaristo. With The Company he has traveled to represent the United States at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Aberdeen, Scotland in 2007 and 2013 (with APT) and the International Youth Dance Festival in Macau, China in 2012. As a Co-Director for WSPA's APT, he has found success in competitions, garnering top awards at Collaboration Dance Competition (1st Place) and NYCDA (Judge's Choice - Santa Clara Regional, Senior Overall High Score, Critics' Choice Regional - Santa Clara, and Senior National Critics' Choice - 2015), and Bridge Norcal - Junior Division 1st Place Champion.
Matthew completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise and Sports Science with an emphasis in Youth and Child Studies from the University of San Francisco and a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. Currently, Matthew serves as a Co-Director for the Urban Dance Performance Program for WSPA and is the Dean of Community Life at Sacred Heart Preparatory, Atherton.
Melissa Batesting - Urban Dance, Office Staff
Melissa Batesting began her dance training at the Westlake School for the Performing Arts in 2007. She found herself under the direction and mentorship of Patrick Cruz, dancing and competing with WSPA’s Urban Dance performance program group, APT. It was during these early stages of her dance journey that she quickly found herself directly aligning with the school’s values and goals. She truly found her passion for Urban Dance at WSPA and owes so much of her success and opportunities to the training and guidance of the school and it’s staff. Fast forward to the present, Melissa is now in her seventh year with WSPA's professional dance team, The Company, as both a dancer and choreographer. Over the years she has found herself traveling both domestically, up and down the California coast, Texas, and Boston, and internationally, to Macau, Vietnam, Philippines, and China with the opportunity to teach and share her love for dance. Melissa has been teaching the General School Urban Dance department for the past five years and loves working with our beginner dancers as they begin their own dance journeys at WSPA!
Alfred Remulla - Urban Dance
Alfred Remulla began dancing at WSPA 2005. His mother would spy on him and catch him singing and dancing along to Nsync music videos, Usher albums, and other early 2000s RnB artists, leading her to place him in a class with Chris Aldeguer (former WSPA Urban Dance instructor). Alfred has called WSPA his second home for the past 13 years, dancing his way through our general school and performance programs under the direction and guidance of Jason Rillera and Patrick Cruz. To date, Alfred has flown internationally to teach Master Classes in China and Russia, domestically to New York, as well as up and down the California coast. Alfred currently dances and choreographs for WSPA's professional dance team, The Company.
Jessie Munoz - Urban Dance
Jessie Muñoz started his dance training with his high school dance team. In 2012 he began worked his way through WSPA's general school program and into the performance program group APT under the direction of Matthew Montenegro and Jason Rillera. He is now in his third you with WSPA's professional dance team, The Company as both a dancer and choreographer. Over the past few years, Jessie has been given the opportunity to teach Master Classes in and around the Bay Area. He hopes he can inspire all of his students the same way his directors and teammates inspire him every day.