Vicki Suemnicht – Owner/Director, Footnotes Tap Company co-director
Vicki has been teaching, choreographing, directing studio operations and producing shows in Sonoma County for more than 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 has brought Dance Center company dancers to perform at the Jeju Fire Festival in Korea for more than 15 years where they always 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 she brings to The Dance Center for master classes and workshops.
Danielle Maca -Contemporary Companies Director
Danielle began dancing in 1988 at the age of 3 in Fremont CA. She competed her first tap and jazz solos at the age of 5 and loved the stage ever since. Her training at The Dance Center began at age 11 in jazz, hip hop, tap and modern. She competed for 7 years with jazz, tap, and hip hop companies. Danielle 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 was also in a traveling performance group InnerActions, where she performed for teens with a message of prevention through inspiration. Danielle has been part of The Dance Center faculty since 2008 teaching hip hop, jazz and contemporary dance.
Emily Hartley – Tap, 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 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 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. She has been the director of our tap companies for over 13 years. Emily is the proud mom of eight-year-old twins, Lily and William, who dance at the studio.
Monique Borses – Jazz Companies Director, hip-hop, tap
Angela Thibault – DC Shorties Junior Hip Hop Company Director
Angela grew up in Sonoma County and danced throughout her youth at the Dance Center. She was in DC tribe for three years during high school as well as teaching hip-hop since the age of 14 at a local community center. Angela has a Bachelors degree in communication studies from Long Beach State where she was a member of the Hip Hop company X factor. Upon graduating, Angela moved to New York and danced with “Rise” Hip Hop Company. Angela moved back to Sonoma County and attained multiple subject teaching credentials from Sonoma State. We are thrilled to have Angela’s energy, passion and love of dance at the DC as our DC Shorties Hip Hop director!
James Dory – The Troupe Hip Hop Company Director
James has been dancing since he was 18 and for the past 9 years he has trained with hip hop crews like The U.N.I.T, Academy of Villains, and Auxiliary. He has worked as an entertainer at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for 3 years. He is currently one of the directors of Auxiliary, part of the freestyle crews Karpool Gang & Raw Ability, part of a Krump fam under Michael “AO” Edwards, and is the leader of the Krump scene Rosa Buck. Krump is a style of street dance characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated and highly energetic movement. Dancers saw this dance form as a means to express raw emotions in a powerful but non-violent way.
Nina Raggio – Footnotes Tap Company co-director
Nina has been teaching at The Dance Center for over 28 years. She started dancing at the age of 3 in her hometown 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’Conner and performed on television shows including the Smothers Brothers and Glen Campbell, as well as in Las Vegas. Nina received her BA in theatre arts and has choreographed many productions for local community theatre groups including 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 numbers of our Company Shows “Gotta Dance” and “Holiday in La La Land.”
Gregg Geoffroy – Tap
Gregg is an innovative teacher who highlights technique as it pertains to liberative movement and enhancing individual musicianship. He’s been teaching at The Dance Center for 16 years, as well as the San Francisco Tap Festival, Tap Into the Network, Dance Masters, and workshops stretching both coasts and ongoing classes throughout the Bay Area. Gregg has studied extensively with tap greats ranging from “the young lions” (Savion Glover, Vincent Bingham, Roxane Butterfly & Mark Mendonca) to the masters (Gregory Hines, Diane Walker, Sam Weber, & Linda Sohl-Donnell) to name a few. He 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.
Alissa Pearce – Tap, Contemporary, Ballet & Jazz
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 Bay Area tap legend, Bea Blum. She grew up studying tap, ballet, jazz, artistic/rhythmic gymnastics, musical theater, Hawaiian, and Flamenco and 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. While still 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 utilizing all her dance disciplines and had the opportunity to travel to places like LA, NYC, and Memphis, as well as Russia, Lithuania, and Ireland. She is thrilled to be dancing with Footnotes tap company since 2012 and to be part of the teaching staff at the Dance Center where she can share her dance experience with others.
Gabrielle Thompson – Ballet
Gabrielle 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 earned full scholarships from the Sarasota Ballet in Florida, Princeton Ballet in New Jersey, and the Nutmeg Ballet in Connecticut during her extensive training throughout the US and also studied 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. Gabrielle has choreographed and trained students in state and national dance competitions as an honorary member of Dance Masters of America for ten years. She has directed 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. She recently received her Masters in Dance from CSU Long Beach. 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.”
Lyndsey Johnson – Ballet & Children’s Tap
Lyndsey started dancing when she was 3 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 roles 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 eight years. She is also the mom of two girls, Kylee and Eliana who also dance at the studio.
Shannon Lee – Ballet
After taking nearly 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, 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 involved in the theater/dance program where she had the opportunity to work with Mel Wong, Tandy Beal, Cliff Keuter, and others. While in college, 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
Marissa Salinas – Hip Hop, Strength & Conditioning
Marissa Salinas is in her fourth year at Sonoma State University majoring in dance and business administration. She began dancing at the age of 10 focusing on Hip Hop and added training in modern dance at Sonoma State. Marissa feels that it’s so important to strengthen your body as a dancer which is why she started training through Herbalife. Marissa has choreographed for student showcases at SSU for the last 3 years with her fellow dance colleagues and dance faculty. She began working at The Dance Center in 2019 as a front desk receptionist and recently became the Front Desk manager. She is very excited to be teaching at the studio!
Rachel Kazarian – Hip Hop
Rachel started her dance training at the age of 3 in tap and jazz. While growing up, she competed as a tap dancer and in high school, was a member of Windsor High School’s dance team. She was a student at The Dance Center for several years before joining our staff of teachers. Rachel has trained at hip hop conventions as well as being a member of hip hop and contemporary companies at UC Davis. She is currently working on degrees in both business and dance at Sonoma State University. Her dance teachers were her biggest motivation to continue dancing and she is excited to be part of a great community of dancers in Sonoma County.