Vicki Suemnicht – Owner/Director, Footnotes Company co-director
Vicki has been teaching, choreographing, directing studio operations and producing shows in Sonoma County for 40 years. Her background includes tap, jazz, ballet and musical theatre and she’s had the privilege of training with tap greats Gregory Hines, Eddie Brown and Honi Coles. Vicki has choreographed shows for the Sixth Street Playhouse and Santa Rosa Players including The Producers, The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Shop of Horrors, Chorus Line, Urinetown and others. She has also choreographed for Montgomery High School’s musicals including Some Like It Hot, Bye, Bye Birdie, Music Man, Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
Vicki is on the board of the Santa Rosa Sister City Committee student exchange program to Jeju, South Korea. She brings Dance Center company dancers to perform at the Jeju Fire Festival in Korea every other year where they wow the international audience as dance ambassadors extraordinaire! Vicki’s goal is to tap dance in every country and she regularly attends international dance workshops to train with international teachers and to connect with choreographers who come to The Dance Center for master classes and workshops.
Danielle Maca -Contemporary Companies Director
Danielle began dancing at the age of 3 in Fremont, CA, competing her first tap and jazz solos at the age of 5. She has loved the stage ever since. Her training at The Dance Center began at age 11 with tap, jazz, hip hop and modern. She was a member of the studio’s jazz, tap, and hip hop companies for 7 years and has performed in Jeju South Korea, Washington D.C., South Carolina and at San Francisco’s Hip Hop Fest. She was a member of Shadow Optix and Secret Society hip hop companies, and also in the InnerActions performance group, performing for teens with a message of prevention through inspiration. Danielle has been part of The Dance Center faculty since 2008. Her two daughters are now dancing at the studio.
Anakarina Swanson – Hip Hop Companies Director
Anakarina, also known as AK, has been dancing for 11 years and is trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical jazz, modern, contemporary, musical theatre and hip hop. She has choreographed for Santa Rosa Junior College and has won 1st place in dance competitions, winning senior awards for her choreography. She has been a member of the hip hop dance company Prophecy from Chapkis Dance Studio in Suisun City. With them she competed and performed in Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Vacaville, and Vallejo.
Anakarina also teaches hip hop at Twin Hills Middle School in Sebastopol and has held a number of master classes throughout Sonoma County. She loves teaching, inspiring, and sharing the art of dance with as many people as she can.
Emily Hartley – Tap Companies Director, Jazz, Musical Theatre
Emily fell in love with tap dancing at age 9 and grew up dancing at The Dance Center with Nina Raggio and Vicki Suemnicht as her first teachers. After discovering musical theatre at age 14, her career path was set. She a attained a BA in Theatre Arts from CSU Fullerton and her college job was working next door at Disneyland. After college, Emily spent an amazing 8 years dancing in L.A. and worked with choreographers Paula Abdul and Kenny Ortega. Some of her favorite projects include dancing in the film Pearl Harbor and the television show Commander-in-Chief.
Emily is thrilled to be celebrating her 15th year teaching tap, jazz and musical theatre at The Dance Center, where it all started. She has enjoyed watching her students grow and flourish as both dancers and people. Emily is the proud mom of four-year-old twins, Lily and William, who started tap this year.
Katy Lohse – Jazz Companies Director
Katy started dancing at age 4 and hasn’t stopped since! She danced throughout high school and college, training at Santa Rosa Junior College, and then onto Sonoma State University where she earned a bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in Theatre Arts with a dance concentration. Katy has choreographed for the student showcases at SSU and worked alongside Kristen Daly, Christine Cali, and Scott Wells. Post college graduation, Katy started dancing with Maligrad Contemporary Dance Company under the direction of Molly Fletcher-Lynch in San Francisco. The company was awarded a grant that gave them the opportunity to perform in Arezzo, Italy at an arts university. Katy joined The Dance Center in 2019 as the new Jazz Director. She is thrilled to bring her passion for dance to the studio!
Gregg Geoffroy – Tap
Gregg is an innovative performer and teacher who highlights technique as it pertains to liberating movement and enhancing musicianship. Beyond his ongoing classes throughout the bay area, he has taught for the San Francisco Tap Festival, Tap Into the Network, Dance Masters, and workshops stretching to both coasts.
Gregg has learned from and trained with the finest ranging from “the young lions” (Savion Glover, Vincent Bingham, Roxane Butterfly & Mark Mendonca) to the masters (Gregory Hines, Diane Walker, Sam Weber, & Linda Sohl-Ellison, to name a few). Gregg has been a pianist since the age of nine and his teaching is infused with music theory and tap history. While he doesn’t prioritize performing Gregg’s favorite experiences have been dancing with the internationally known percussion family The Escovedos, a lecture demonstration where he provided the percussion to a jazz combo, Mittens and Mistletoe for the Sweet Can Circus, and collaborating with middle eastern percussionist Mary Ellen Donald.
Nina Raggio – Tap
Nina has been teaching at The Dance Center for over 25 years. She started dancing at the age of 3 in her hometown Long Beach, CA. From age 12 through high school, she studied in Hollywood with tap master Louis DaPron. She began her professional career dancing with Donald O’Conner performing in Las Vegas and on television shows including the Smothers Brothers and Glen Campbell.
Nina achieved her BA in theatre arts and has choreographed many local community theatre group productions such as Summer Repertory Theatre at SRJC, Santa Rosa Players and the Sixth Street Playhouse. She enjoys going to Broadway shows in San Francisco and loves to trade tap steps with her son, Vince, who lives in Southern California and grew up at The Dance Center. Nina is often the director and producer of the opening/closing numbers for our fall company shows including Gotta Dance in 2015 and La La Land in 2017.
Danny Wallace – Rhythm Tap Company Director, Tap
Danny is happy to be returning to Sonoma County after his tap career has taken him all over the world! Danny grew up dancing at his home studio, The Dance Center, and we’re so proud to have him back on staff. At age 18, Danny worked with the Las Vegas company of Tap Dogs and performed with the show in cities throughout the United States as well as France, Germany and Asia. He was featured in the film America’s Sweethearts (with Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones), in numerous industrial productions including Coca Cola, Audi and Compaq and worked as an opening act for LeAnne Rimes. Danny has choreographed shows for various corporate productions including Little Tykes, Footlocker and Discover Card as well as an equity production of Funny Girl in North Carolina. Danny cowrote, choreographed and directed an original dance musical entitled At the Diner that was featured in the International Dance Festival in New York. He has been on the faculty of Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center in New York and has enjoyed teaching tap all over the world for the past 20 years.
Gabrielle Thompson – Ballet
Gabrielle Thompson is a native of Sonoma County with over 20 years of teaching and performing experience in classical ballet, modern, and jazz. Gabrielle began her pre-professional training under the tutelage of Tamara Grose and Anna Bribiescas receiving Highest Honors in the Royal Academy of Ballet Examinations. She has trained extensively throughout the US earning full scholarships from the Sarasota Ballet in Florida, Princeton Ballet in New Jersey, and the Nutmeg Ballet in Connecticut and studying ballet in La Marais Paris, France. Gabrielle danced professionally in the San Francisco Bay Area for ten years with Landini Dance Company and Ballet Counterpointe, while also freelancing with several other dance companies. Gabrielle helped to build the foundation of the ballet and jazz programs as a highly acclaimed teacher and choreographer for sixteen years at Roco in Mill Valley. For ten years, Gabrielle choreographed and trained students in state and national dance competitions as an honorary member of Dance Masters of America. Along with currently teaching ballet and jazz at The Movement Lab and The Dance Center in Santa Rosa, Gabrielle has been directing the dance program at Cardinal Newman High School since 2011. Gabrielle holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts from St. Mary’s College LEAP Program and will receive her Masters in Dance from CSU Long Beach in 2020.
Gabrielle enjoys creating dances that are technical, adaptive, intuitive, entertaining, and thought provoking. Gabrielle is motivated by being in the moment, challenging her dancers to find personal growth and to build trust within themselves in an inclusive and collaborative learning environment. By pushing the limits and embracing open-mindedness in a creative process, Gabrielle discovers unique qualities in her dancers and guides them to find freedom and deep expression in their movement. “As I open my mind to allow the dance to reveal itself, I ask my dancers to do the same.
Shannon Lee – Ballet
After taking nearly 20 years off, Shannon is happy to be back studying and teaching dance! As a young dancer in San Diego, she fell in love with theater and movement and gravitated to tap and lyric/musical theater jazz. Her longtime tap teacher was Pam Thompson-Spinner, now of the California Rhythm Project. In her teens, she embraced ballet because it is important in evolving as a balanced, well-rounded dancer. Shannon attended UC Santa Cruz, where she was involved in the theater/dance program and had the opportunity to work with Mel Wong, Tandy Beal and others. She also taught jazz and turns classes at a hip-hop studio in Santa Cruz. She migrated from dance to shaolin chu’an fa, a Chinese martial arts form, in which she earned a black belt in 2012. She doesn’t know if dancing makes her happy, or being happy makes her dance… either way, she’ll always be dancing.
Alissa Pearce – Tap, Contemporary
Alissa has been dancing around the Bay Area for more than 40 years. At age 4 her passion for dance and movement was sparked in classes with the late tap legend, Bea Blum at the Fairfax dance studio . She began teaching at age 9 and has studied tap, jazz, ballet, artistic/rhythmic gymnastics, musical theater, Hawaiian and Flamenco. In middle school, she was a national rhythmic gymnastics champion and was invited to attend the Olympic Training Camp in Colorado Springs. While still in high school, she performed in the first National Tap Tour in Washington sharing the stage with Honi Coles, Brenda Bufalino, Eddie Brown, and Mark Mendonca. She expanded her studies in college and in her professional career to include hip hop, Afro-Brazilian, and several styles of modern dance. While studying modern and hip hop in the bay area, she was one of the founding members of the Stacey Printz Dance Project dancing with the company for 15 years in Los Angeles, New York City, and Memphis, as well as Russia, Lithuania, and Ireland. She is thrilled to be dancing with FootNotes tap company and to be part of the teaching staff at The Dance Center.
Annette has been dancing for 6 years in various styles including modern, tap, jazz, musical theater, and ballet. Before coming to the Dance Center, Annette trained and competed as a figure skater both in Los Angeles and in Santa Rosa. She loves kids, dance, teaching and choreographing and has a great love of singing, playing music, song writing, and theatrical performance.
Katie Carlin – Jazz
Katie began dancing four years ago after a long career in gymnastics. She performed with the Dance Center’s advanced contemporary and jazz companies before becoming a part of our staff two years ago. She loves being able to teach and choreograph for such enthusiastic and talented students. Katie is currently studying nursing at the Santa Rosa Junior College and plans and teaching and dancing all the way through college.
Lyndsey Johnson – Ballet
Lyndsey started dancing when she was three years old and hasn’t stopped since. She was in the ballet company at Petaluma School of Ballet and performed in festivals within the Pacific region. Lyndsey performed in principal rolls with the company such as Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She has studied many forms of dance including tap, ballet, jazz and modern. Lyndsey has been teaching tap and ballet at the Dance Center for seven years. She is also the mom of two girls, Kylee and Eliana who are also dancing at the studio.