The Instructors

Studio Owner/Director

Vicki Suemnicht
Footnotes company co-director

As the owner/director of The Dance Center, Vicki has been teaching, choreographing and producing shows in Sonoma County for over 30 years. Her background includes tap, jazz, ballet and musical theatre and she’s had the privilege to train 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 choreographs for Montgomery High School’s musicals-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 in Korea every other year where they wow the international audience as dance ambassadors extraordinaire! Vicki recently attended the Australian Tap Dance festival where she trained with international teachers. She connected with a guest choreographer there who came to The Dance Center as a guest choreographer this summer.

Little-known fact: Vicki’s goal is to tap dance in every country.

 

Performance Company Directors

Anakarina Sanchez – Hip Hop
Director of the DC hip hop performance companies

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. She also teaches hip hop at Twin Hills Middle School in Sebastopol and has held a number of master classes throughout Sonoma County. Anakarina loves teaching, inspiring, and sharing the art of dance with as many people as she can.

Little known fact: Anakarina’s fiancé proposed to her onstage at one of our June shows (in front of 500 people), they are now married.

 

Christina Kitchen – Jazz
Director of the DC jazz performance companies

Christina has been dancing for 17 years and is trained in jazz, ballet, contemporary and tap. She started her dance career at Revolution Dance Center in Los Angeles and was a part of the studio’s competitive dance company for 11 years. She just graduated Cum Laude from Sonoma State University with a major in dance and theater. She has choreographed jazz pieces for many SSU dance concerts and has performed in numerous other shows featured at the university. Christina is very excited to be teaching dance and to be sharing her passion of this incredible art form with others.

Little known fact: Christina loves to bake pastries.

 

Emily Hartley – Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre
Director of the DC tap performance youth companies

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 teachers. After discovering musical theatre at age 14, her career path was chosen. She has a BA in Theatre Arts from CSU Fullerton. 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 10th 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.

Little known fact: Emily’s college job was working at Disneyland.

 

Nina Raggio – Tap
Co-director of the DC tap performance adult company

Nina has been teaching at The Dance Center for over 20 years. She started dancing at the age of 3 in her hometown of Long Beach, CA. From age 12 through high school, she traveled to Hollywood to study with tap master Louis DaPron. She began her professional career dancing with Donald O’Connor and performed on television shows including the Smothers Brothers and Glen Campbell, as well as in Vegas. Nina received her BA in theatre arts and has choreographed many productions for local community theatre groups, such as Summer Repertory Theatre at SRJC, Santa Rosa Players and the Sixth Street Playhouse. She enjoys 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 directed and produced the opening number of our 2015 Company Show “Gotta Dance”.

Little-known fact: Nina worked as a magician’s assistant.

Rebekah Green – Contemporary
Director of the DC contemporary performance companies

Rebekah has been directing The Dance Center’s modern dance companies for 11 years. She grew up dancing under her mentor, modern dancer Dorothy Sturtevant, and competed in all styles of dance including modern, tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet. Rebekah came to Sonoma County 13 years ago after dancing all over California and Western Europe. She studied in Belgium for 5 years where she attained her Masters Degree in graphic design and speaks fluent French. Rebekah is our resident graphic designer for our logos, performance flyers and programs. She has been teaching for 20 years and enjoys the styles of Jose Limón and Dorris Humphrey. Movements are inspired by the use of gravity, aka, “fall and recovery”.

Little known fact: Rebekah is an avid cosplayer

 

Teaching staff

 

Alissa Pearce – Contemporary

Alissa has been dancing in the Bay Area for over 40 years. At age 4 her passion for movement and teaching was sparked by the late tap legend, Bea Blum, at her studio in Fairfax. Her early years were spent studying tap, ballet, jazz, artistic/rhythmic gymnastics, musical theater, Hawaiian, and Flamenco. In addition to her studies, she began teaching at age 9. In middle school she was a national rhythmic gymnastics champion, and was invited to attend the Olympic Training Camp in Colorado Springs. In high school she performed in the first National Tap Tour in Washington, where she shared the stage with Honi Coles, Brenda Bufalino, Eddie Brown, and Mark Mendonca. In college and in her professional career she expanded her studies to include hip hop, Afro-Brazilian, and several styles of modern dance. While studying modern technique with Annie Rosenthal Parr at RoCo in Mill Valley, and also performing with a local hip hop dance company, she met contemporary choreographer, Stacey Printz, and became one of Printz Dance Project’s founding company members in 1997. For 15 years Alissa was lucky enough to dance professionally with PDP. She got to utilize ALL of her dance disciplines and had the opportunity to travel to places like LA, NYC, and Memphis in the states- all the way to Russia, Lithuania, and Ireland abroad. After retiring from PDP in 2012, she is thrilled to be dancing with Footnotes tap company at the Dance Center, and to be on staff, where she can share her dance experience with others.

 

Annette Lee- Ballet

Annette loves kids, dance, teaching, and choreographing. Annette has been dancing for 6 years in various styles including modern, tap, jazz, musical theater, and ballet. Previous to coming to the Dance Center, Annette trained and competed as a figure skater both in Los Angeles and in Santa Rosa. Annette has a great love of singing, playing music, song writing, and theatrical performance.

 

Danielle Maca – Contemporary, Jazz

Danielle’s training began at The Dance Center at a young age in jazz, hip hop, tap and modern with teachers Nina Raggio, Heather Visser and Gary Kendell. She competed for 7 years and has been teaching for 4 years. Danielle has performed in Jeju South Korea, Washington D.C. South Carolina and at San Francisco’s Hip Hop Fest. She has been a member of Shadow Optix and Secret Society and is also in a traveling performance group called InnerActions where she performs for teens with a message of prevention through inspiration.

 

Gabrielle Thompson – Ballet

Gabrielle Thompson is dance director at Cardinal Newman High School and has been teaching in Sonoma County for many years. 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. During her extensive training throughout the US and France she earned full scholarships from the Sarasota Ballet in Florida and the Nutmeg Ballet in Connecticut. Gabrielle danced professionally with several contemporary ballet and modern companies in the Bay Area including Ballet Counterpointe. As a highly acclaimed teacher and choreographer at Roco in Mill Valley for more than fifteen years, Gabrielle helped to build the foundation of the ballet and jazz departments. For ten years, Gabrielle choreographed and trained students in state and national dance competitions as an honorary member of Dance Masters of America. Currently, Gabrielle teaches ballet at the Movement Lab and directs a co-ed dance program at Cardinal Newman High School where she produces 2 full productions per year.

Gregg Geoffroy – Tap

Gregg’s music training is evident in his teaching of rhythm tap as an innovative teacher/choreographer. His background includes the study of piano, jazz music, gymnastics and psychology. Gregg has studied with tap masters such as Steve Condos, Eddie Brown, Honi Coles, Cholly Atkins and Jimmy Slyde. He has been called a teacher/artist/performer and his passion for tap is expressed through teaching. Gregg’s been teaching at The Dance Center for 7 years. He has performed with many local groups, among those the Escovedo Family and as the percussionist for a jazz trio. Little known fact: he used to perform a bullwhip demonstration and can take a cigarette out of a bystander’s mouth.

Katie Carlin- Contemporary, Jazz, & Tumbling

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 – Tap, Ballet

Lyndsey started dancing at three years old and hasn’t stopped since. She was in ballet company with Petaluma School of Ballet and performed in festivals within the Pacific region. Lyndsey performed in principle 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 a mom of two girls, Kylee and Eliana.

“I dance because I can express feelings and emotions through movement, and that is beautiful to me.”

 

Max Prosser – Contemporary, Jazz

Max Prosser found a love for dancing at 6 years old, when he took his first tap class at The Dance Center. From then on, he continued to pursue his love for dance by expanding his knowledge in other styles, such as: jazz, hip hop, ballet, musical theatre & contemporary. He is currently on three companies here at The Dance Center: DC Gravity Contemporary Co., Elite Jazz Co., & Rhythm Tap Co. This is his second year teaching contemporary and jazz classes. Max enjoys teaching because he loves to see students grow each week, and watch them find a love for dance, the way he did.

 

Meagan Ryall – Ballet

Meagan has a diverse dance background and she has doing ballet and contemporary dance for the past 10 years. She has mostly studied RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) and Vagonova methods of classical ballet. Meagan is finishing up her B.A. at Sonoma State University where she is majoring in communications and minoring in Theater Arts (Dance Concentration). She’s very excited to be joining the teaching staff at the Dance Center and looks forward to continuing to grow her teaching career.

 

MIa Galletti – Hip Hop

Mia Galletti has been dancing for 13 years and started at the Dance Center when she was 10 years old. She trains in multiples styles such as: jazz, contemporary, hiphop, and ballet. She is currently in three dance companies at The Dance Center: DC Gravity Contemporary Co., DC Tribe HipHop Co. and Elite Jazz Co. She is also in the ArtQuest Dance Company at Santa Rosa High School and will be a Senior in high school this year.

 

Samantha Shratter – Ballet

Samantha took her first ballet class when she was two years old and hasn’t stopped since. She studied at Stapleton Ballet in Marin County until age 18, performing in eleven Nutcrackers, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and many more. To further her ballet training, Samantha spent a summer with Los Angeles Ballet studying Balanchine Technique. She recently graduated with a BA in Dance from Saint Mary’s College of California where she took classes in ballet, modern, contemporary, ballroom, and African dance. Throughout her college career she performed these various styles and choreographed a contemporary ballet piece. She currently performs with two Latin dance teams and cannot wait to share her experience and passion for dance with others.

Shannon Lee – Ballet

After taking ~20 years ‘off’, Shannon is very happy to be back studying and teaching dance! As a child in San Diego, she fell in love with theater movement, gravitating most to tap and lyric/musical theater jazz. Her long time tap teacher was Pam Thompson-Spinner, now of the California Rhythm Project . In her teens she embraced ballet ‘because it is good for you’, never as a performance art but to evolve as a well-rounded and balanced dancer. In college at UC Santa Cruz, Shannon was heavily involved in the theater/dance program where she had the opportunity to work with Mel Wong, Tandy Beal, Cliff Keuter, and others. Also while in her mid 20’s she taught jazz and turns classes at a hip-hop studio in Santa Cruz. In her 30’s she migrated from dance to shaolin chu’an fa, a Chinese martial arts form, in which she earned a black belt in 2012. “I don’t know if dancing makes me happy, or being happy makes me dance… either way, I’ll be dancing”

 

Office staff

 

Kathy Salisbury – Office Manager

Kathy started working @ the DC in November, 2015.  She was raised in Sebastopol, has a BS degree in Recreation Administration with experience in hotel/resort management and fitness training.  Kathy is a busy mom of 3 girls, but is carving out time to get herself dancing again!

 

Mary Jo – Accounts manager

Mary Jo has worked in theater most of her life and is currently on staff as stage manager for Spreckel’s Performing Arts Center’s productions. Her background also includes many years as office manager for the Santa Rosa Charter School.

Judy Koski – Costume Manager

Judy has been the costume mistress at the Dance Center since 1988.  Her daughters  Kelley and Nikki grew up dancing at the studio and Judy volunteered to take on the costume ordering and planning for their shows. She hasn’t stopped since.  We owe every sequin and fluffy feather to Judy’s careful attention to detail.