Alana Tillim  | Owner/Director

Alana is a proud wife, mother, and female entrepreneur.  She has been dancing for over 30 years, studying gymnastics, ballet, modern, jazz, and hip hop. Her training began as a competitive gymnast and then she studied ballet (RAD) and jazz for over 11 years at the Menlo Park Royal Academy of Dance in Northern California. She was invited to perform on Star Search and had the opportunity to train with legendary choreographers Tina Landon and Joe Lanteri. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in history and political science. As an undergraduate, she trained in dance under Christopher Pilafian, Delilah Mosley, Valerie Huston, and Jerry Pearson. 

In 2004, Alana co-founded the Arts Mentorship Program with Steven Lovelace with the mission of creating support and access to young and emerging artists.  Since its inception, it has gone on to give out over $100,000 in scholarships, provide over 30,000 hours of affordable rehearsal space, and support over 500 pre-professional company dancers.

She was honored to be named  Pacific Coast Business Times “Top 40 Under 40” in 2009, and has gone on to receive honors from several dignitaries and local organizations for her dedication to the community.  Alana has volunteered for several local non-profits including Take Back the Night, United Way, Girls Inc, Fun In the Sun, and she served on the board of the SB Neighborhood Clinics and SB Dance Alliance where she served as president from 2007-2011.

She has taught at Foothill, Kellogg, Cold Spring, and Hope Schools. In 2012 she began working with Teen Star USA as a choreographer and through this collaboration her work was performed at the SB Bowl to open for Foreigner.

Alana believes that dance can heal, and the lessons it teaches extend far beyond the classroom.  She hopes that all who visit SB Dance Arts feel a sense of belonging, community, and creative freedom. 


Rita Barton | School Director

Rita was born and raised in Santa Barbara.  She graduated from UCSB with a degree in political science.  She worked for many years in the footwear and clothing industries.  She has also been a substitute teacher and taught elementary school art.  Rita lives on the Mesa with her family.  Rita is an artist, blogger, and active community member.  She loves taking her dog to the beach, hiking, gardening and sunsets.  Rita is a dance mom and loves watching her daughter’s journey in the world of dance.  Rita also works for her family owned business, Barton Construction.


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Lauren Serrano | Director of Customer Care, Comp Team Director, Instructor

Lauren graduated from University of California Santa Barbara with a B.F.A. in dance. She is originally from Orange County where she trained at many local studios including Jimmy Defores, and Edge Performing Arts Studio in Los Angeles. She went to Orange County High School for the Performing Arts for classical and commercial dance. She has won various scholarships including a 3-month training scholarship at Edge Performing Arts studio, Miss Drill Team USA and she received the departmental achievement award from UCSB in 2011. Lauren moved to New York City in 2012 for a work-study scholarship with Jennifer Muller and the Works. She has had the opportunity to dance with singing artists such as Mayer Hawthorne, and performed choreography in New York for choreographers Young Soon Kim, Toni Renee Johnson, Jacobs Dance Collective, Pedro Ruiz, Jennifer Muller and Mike Esperanza. Lauren recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with her masters in dance education from the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College with the Presidential Special Recognition Award. Lauren is also a certified Pilates mat teacher and certified personal trainer. She is currently dancing professionally in Santa Barbara and is honored to be teaching at Santa Barbara Dance Arts.


Susan Regan | Administrative Assistant

Susan comes to Santa Barbara Dance Arts by way of being a dance mom. She has two boys in college and a daughter who dances at SBDA. She has taught in Santa Barbara elementary schools for many years as a Substitute Teacher and loves the learning process. She hails from San Diego but has lived in Santa Barbara for many years and hopes to never leave. In her spare time, Susan likes to be with her family and pets, preferably at the beach.



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Brittany Sandoval  |  Instructor, Hip Hop & Crew Director, Rental manager

Brittany has been dancing since the age of 5. She is a proud alumni of SB Dance Arts. She started dancing at the studio when she was 9 years old and quickly became a mentor and teaching assistant. At 16 she became a student teacher and was offered a faculty position upon graduation.  Currently, she teaches over 25 classes per week and is one of our most beloved instructors.  She also teaches at dozens of local schools including Monte Vista, Peabody, Bright Start, and All Saints By the Sea.  Brittany's gift is helping kids feel a sense of worthiness and confidence in the classroom.  


Nathan Burdine-Ortega  | Instructor, Acrobatics Director,Reception

Nathan is a Santa Barbara native; he was born here and finally found his way back. He moved around California and went onto a stint at Ventura and Moorpark Colleges. He has graduated from UCSB with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in choreography. Picking up dance at a late age of 19, his training started with a rigorous gymnastics and diving training regime for ten plus years. He then went on to dance in college and found a love for hip-hop and has acquired the grace of ballet, modern and jazz. In 2004 he was on MTV’s show The Wade Robson Projects, as well as dancing in music videos in the industry and has graced his presence across international stages. In 2014 he toured with UCSB’s Senior Dance Company across Europe through Prague and Italy. He has choreographed for many colleges throughout California, Washington and Arizona, creating works to bring joy, comedy and thoughtful art to the minds of audience members.  He has been teaching since he was 16, so for the past 17 years had taught at many studios and gyms in the Ventura and Orange Counties.


Chloe Roberts  |  Instructor, jazz department director

Chloe was born and raised in Houston, Texas where she began her training at the age of three. She has trained with North Harris Performing Arts, Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, and Boston’s Urbanity Dance Company, among others. Chloe is trained in ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, musical theatre, hip-hop, ballroom, acrobatics, and improvisation. Her primary training came from Dawn Dippel and Amy Cain, owners of North Harris Performing Arts and founders of Revolve Dance Company. She has had the pleasure of training under Dawn Scannell, former ballet mistress of the Houston Ballet, Dominic Walsh, Artistic Director of Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre, and Domenico Luciano of the Teatro di San Carlo Ballet School in Naples. She has worked with esteemed choreographers including Eddy Ocampo, Jodinik Jo of the Centre du Danse Marais in Paris, Desiree Robbins, Sharon Wong of Alvin Ailey, Valerie Madonia of the Colorado Ballet, Tucker Knox, and Andy Noble. Chloe has worked with the Prague Shakespeare Company as well as Studio Dance Perfect, also located in Prague.  Some of her earliest stage experiences were with the Broadway international touring company of The Wizard of Oz with Mickey Rooney and Lillian Montevecchi. Chloe was awarded multiple top ten titles for both solo and group pieces during her competitive years. Chloe teaches at studios across the United States and her work has won titles at both regional and national competitions including Showstoppers, Nuvo, and JUMP Dance Conventions. In 2012 Chloe founded Terpis Contemporary Dance Company in Durango, Colorado which performed for three successful seasons before Chloe relocated to Boston. During her time in Boston, Chloe performed as a  company member of Boston’s Urbanity Underground and Reject Dance Theatre. Chloe is currently a  resident teacher and choreographer at Santa Barbara Dance Arts in Santa Barbara, California and continues to choreograph for studios across the world.

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Suzanne Richards | Instructor, ballet Department Director

Suzanne Richards started her formal ballet training at age 9 with Robert & Carol Hanlin at The Goleta School Of Ballet. She danced with Orchesis Dance Production Company with Merrily Smith at San Marcos High School & Delila Moseley at Santa Barbara City College locally. She studied with Alexandra Zaharias of Alexandra Ballet, Antoni Zalewski & Ludmila Dokoudovsky of St Louis Ballet, Alla Sizova, Vladimir Isaaev & Dmitri Roudnev. She has been the Artistic Director of, "Ballet Rejoice!" since 1994 &  the Artistic Director Of Classical Ballet for The Art Of Dance And Classical Ballet since 2006. She has taught master classes for Universal Studios Japan dancers in Osaka, Japan. She developed a Dance For Ice Skaters program in St. Peters, MO & studied ice skating with Terry Tonius. She was a dryland trainer & certified swim coach for United States Swimming programs. She is an AFAA certified Personal Trainer/Fitness Counselor, Weight Room/Resistance Training Specialist who has special interest in myofascial tissue release work, Pilates & Yoga & applies principles from these fields & exercise science to her work with ballet dancers. She teaches Ballet, Pointe, Variations & Ballet Conditioning & loves training & mentoring the next generation of dancers & teachers while imparting a passion for the art of Classical Ballet.

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Amara Galloway | Instructor

Amara is originally from Fairfax, Virginia and recently relocated to Santa Barbara to join State Street Ballet Company. As the daughter of a dance instructor she grew up in the studio environment. Upon getting her first pair of pointe shoes she decided to pursue a career in dance. To achieve this goal she joined the BalletNova Center for Dance Pre-Professional training program in Falls Church, Virginia. While at BalletNova she performed numerous lead roles including The Firebird, Paquita, Clara, and The Sugar Plum Fairy. After graduating from homeschool high school Amara went on to train with The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, giving her the opportunity to perform with the company in their production of Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella. She later moved to Phoenix to join the Ballet Arizona Studio Company where she performed in professional works including La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Romeo and Juliet, and George Balanchine’s Western Symphony and Symphony in Three Movements. She also performed the title role in The School of Ballet Arizona’s production of Cinderella. Amara has had the opportunity to attend summer intensive programs at Ballet Arizona and San Francisco Ballet on scholarship, as well as Rochester City Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, Houston Ballet, and The Royal Ballet School of Antwerp, Belgium. She was a three-time SemiFinalist at the Youth America Grand Prix competition and has had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Jeffrey Cirio and Autumn Eckman. Her training styles include, jazz, contemporary, modern, tap, acrobatics, (and even a little hip-hop!), with classical ballet being her main passion. Amara has been assisting in dance classes for as long as she can remember and began teaching when she was fifteen years old. She is excited to share her love of dance with the kids of SBDA!

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Bryn Gallahger | Instructor

Bryn Gallagher is from Ventura, California. She is a Graduate of the University of California, Irvine where she studied dance and history. She began her training at All American Ballet and Oakley Ballet Center. She has also attended summer programs with Ballet Met, Boston Ballet, and State Street Ballet. She has performed with Footworks Youth Ballet and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Currently she is in the Pre-Professional Program at State Street Ballet.


Janaya Cradle  |  Instructor

Janaya is a 2nd year economics major at the University of California Santa Barbara. She has been dancing since the age of 3 and has trained in styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, modern, and acrobatics at Dance Precisions and Mather Dance Company under the instruction of major industry choreographers such as Shannon Mather, Blake McGrath, Meaghan McGrath, Miguel Zarate, Todd Flanagan, Talia Favia, Melissa Sandavig, Krista Miller, and many more. Over the years she has competed in countless dance competitions and attended many dance conventions where she has been able to learn choreography from and audition for a wide range of choreographers. Janaya was awarded a Jump VIP scholarship in 2011, 2012, and 2013 a 24Seven Dance convention VIP scholarship in 2014, and a Velocity Dance Convention runner-up scholarship in 2015.  In high school Janaya performed as a member of the varsity dance team for 4 years as well as captain during her senior year, and since then she has been working for AMP and United Spirit Association as a dance staff member for two years teaching summer dance camps for high school dance teams all over California, as well as dancing on the UCSB dance team. She is so excited to have the opportunity to share her passion for dance with the students at Santa Barbara Dance Arts. 


kelli forman  |  Instructor

Kelli Forman is a dance instructor, professional choreographer, yoga instructor, CA certified massage therapist, senior dance major at UCSB, local organizer for the Santa Barbara County Alliance for Arts Education, and the National Program Director for Everybody Dance Now!, a non-profit that offers free or low-cost hip hop dance programming to hundreds of underserved youth each week. Kelli began dancing at the age of four, attended the University of Kansas on a full dance scholarship, and later moved to New York City and Los Angeles where she worked professionally with choreographers such as Brian Friedman, Hi Hat, Kenny Ortega, Fatima Robinson, and Travis Payne (Michael Jackson’s former choreographer). She danced on shows such as X-Factor, Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent, and Glee and modeled for brands such as Coca-Cola and Reebok. Kelli became the EDN! National Program Director three years ago and created EDN!’s first standards-based hip hop dance curriculum. Kelli continues her passions of teaching underserved youth, choreographing for local companies, building the local street dance community in Santa Barbara, and advocating for equity in arts education.


Kristal Keinert  | Instructor

Kristal Keinert has been dancing for as long as she can remember! At five years of age, when she was dancing around the house, her mother asked if she wanted to take a ballet and tap class, and she enthusiastically responded, “Yes!” She briefly tried a jazz class with her friends in fourth grade, but she found that her true passion was ballet, and it wasn’t until she started at Allan Hancock College that she branched out to take jazz again. She was put in a modern piece after auditioning for Dimensions in Dance, and loved that so much that she continued to take modern classes, then hip-hop, salsa, swing, and more! When she transferred to Westmont College, she was part of the modern company Windancers, and helped lead the dance ministry Charis. After college, Kristal continued to take classes in all forms, and danced with Luminus Dance Company, traveling to South Africa and New York City. Kristal began teaching ballet when she was only fifteen, and has taught jazz and lyrical as well. Her love of teaching dance also helped lead to a career teaching English, and this is her sixth year teaching at Olive Grove Charter School. Kristal thanks God for the ability to express herself through movement and communicate that art to her students. 

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lacy olivera  | Instructor

Lacy Olivera was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. At the age of 4 she was bouncing around doing cartwheels and handstands wherever she could. She became a competitive gymnast and traveled all over the United States for over ten years. After quitting gymnastics there seemed to be something missing in her life, so she tried out for the dance team at her local high school. From there another passion grew and she started taking jazz, ballet and hip hop classes. She performed with her dance studio and competed at many competitions with her school dance team. After college and working full time, she became a mom of two little girls. Lacy's passion for dance came back after her children were born and has never stopped since. She has performed locally with the Rhythm Street Crew and currently takes hip hop classes every week. She enjoys the escape that dance brings and how all the problems of the day just seem to melt away. Lacy describes dance as a therapy and has seen how it can impact so many people. After taking a GROOV3 class she was immediately in love. The concept of making dance accessible to all and the community that it builds is something that she knew she wanted to be apart of. She is excited to share her love of dance and to keep spreading the GROOV3 movement.


melanie johnson | Instructor

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parker pallad  | Instructor

Parker Pallad is 17 years old and is currently a senior at San Marcos High School. She started dancing at the age of three and trains in the genres of jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, acro, and pointe. She was a captain on Impulse dance company for one year and this will be her second year on Axis, as well as her third year on Team Dance Arts. Parker has gotten the opportunity to travel across California to countless competitions, including Radix, NYCDA, Velocity, West Coast Dance Explosion, Hollywood Vibe, and many more. Last year, Parker received a scholarship from Radix for her performance in the Jazz, Contemporary, and Lyrical category. She has also had the opportunity to choreograph 2 pieces for Configuration, one of which won the Student Choreography Award. This year Parker received the Choreography Internship and is so excited for the chance to choreograph on Vibe Dance Company! In her free time, she loves to go to the beach and hang out with her friends. Parker plans on attending a 4 year university next year, most likely in California.


RAchyl pines | Instructor

Rachyl began her tap and jazz training at the age of three with Temecula Dance Company. She took ballet classes as a requirement for her jazz and tap competition teams, but did not begin her formal ballet training until age twelve. Rachyl began her ballet training in her hometown of Temecula, California at The Ballet Studio under the direction of Mark Erickson. She augmented her training by attending summer intensive programs with American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Walnut Hill School of the Arts. Rachyl joined City Ballet of San Diego as an apprentice in 2011 after graduating high school. She was promoted to full company member in 2013. Since joining City Ballet, Rachyl performed in George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, the company’s productions of The Nutracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliette, Firebird and Giselle. Rachyl left City Ballet of San Diego to complete her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of San Diego. Two years ago she moved to Santa Barbara to complete a PhD in Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Richard Chung | Instructor

Richard began dancing at the age of 14 as a break-dancer. He joined his first competitive crew, BBM, at the age of 16 and shortly after helped create a crew called Elusive Movement in the San-Fernando Valley. He competed with both crews throughout Los Angeles while attending high-school.  Upon entering UCSB, Richard joined Urban Dance Company and became the Company's Artistic Director for his 3rd and 4th year. As artistic director Richard helped submit choreography, create sets, and block formations to make Urban a highly competitive team. Richard has recently joined a team based out in Oxnard called the Faction and is also a community dance teacher at EDN. Richard often commutes down to Oxnard and Los Angeles to continue his training. In addition to dancing, Richard has recently started working at a local tech company located in Goleta. In his spare time, Richard enjoys making dance videos, teaching, playing with his dog, and most of all, giving back to the community.

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Stephanie Morrill  |  Instructor

Stephanie is a 3rd year Biochemistry major at University California, Santa Barbara. She began her dance training at the age of 4 at Huntington Academy of Dance where she studied the Cecchetti Method of Ballet under Marnell Himes-Ushijima. Stephanie participated in many ballet intensives over the course of her training in which she was awarded a full scholarship for Cecchetti USA’s intensive in 2013. While studying up to grade 10 in Cecchetti, Stephanie also trained in lyrical, jazz, musical theatre, and tap. She later attended Huntington Beach High School where she was accepted into the school’s magnet Academy of the Performing Arts (APA) program. During her 4 years in APA, she trained in Graham, Horton, and Release techniques of modern and contemporary dance under the guidance of Marie Hoffman. Upon joining the program’s Repertory Ensemble, Stephanie competed in many competitions from the Youth American Grand Prix in New York, to the New Prague Dance Festival and Competition in the Czech Republic. Since then, Stephanie has expanded her dance repertoire in hip hop by performing with her high school team and now with UCSB’s nationally ranked dance team. She currently serves as the team's co-captain along with fellow faculty member Janaya Cradle. 


Tamarr Paul  | Instructor

Tamarr Paul continues his 20 year commitment as a pioneer, artist, teacher, & director, fusing original lyrics with innovative hip hop choreography into high energy performances where the rhythm is the heartbeat of the dance. He is currently emerging in the music industry as an up and coming hip hop artist and performer. He has worked for many years with the world renowned Debbie Allan from Fame Dance School & collaborated with director Marty Thomas on several MTV music videos. He has also worked with celebrated choreographers Wade Robinson, Fatima Robinson & Rosero McCoy, as well as been a part of productions for America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance. His dancing has taken him on a world tour with several R&B and hip-hop artists. His time in LA saw him featured on a Disney television show.  Tamarr has performed in Santa Barbara’s hottest nightclubs, local annual events, and exclusive privée parties. His attitude and aura inspires choreographers, dancers, artists, and musicians to create, own, and love their art. For years, Tamarr ran the Rhythm Dance & Fitness Studios and Rhythm Street Team. He travels to dance schools around the country educating students in the art of rhythm. He also continues to teach dance at local schools throughout the Santa Barbara community and offers P.E. credits to the community through exploring artistic movement, dance, & performance. Tamarr’s Hip Hop classes are intense, exciting, and dance packed. His unique, innovative, and challenging fitness style is like no other. He utilizes jazz, hip-hop, salsa, tribal Afro-Brazilian dance putting him in a league of his own.



The Aerial Studio: Gregg & Carmen Curtis

The Aerial Studio is an internationally acclaimed aerial theatre and international rigging company. Owners Carmen and Gregg Curtis are national champion gymnasts and ex-Cirque du Soleil performers. They create aerial and harness flying shows for companies such as the LA Philharmonic, Cirque du Soleil, Dancing with the Stars, the Olympics, and the Met. Recently they choreographed Beyonce’s Foundation Tour.  They founded Aerial Yoga and train teachers across the world to teach aerial and aerial yoga.  They are excited to be teamed up with Santa Barbara Dance Arts, offering aerial dance classes led by their professional staff.  


Guest Instructors


Steven Lovelace  | Instructor, Director Emeritus

Steven Lovelace founded Santa Barbara Dance Arts (formerly Santa Barbara Jazz Dance Academy) in 1997. Shortly after he met Alana Tillim, the two of them co-directed the business from 1998-2013, when Steven sold the business to Alana. Steven loves teaching at Dance Arts and choreographs for the Student Dance Companies. Steven began his dance career in Kay Fulton's Santa Barbara City College Dance Department. Since then, he danced with Repertory-West Dance Company, Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, Bill Evans Dance Company, and Nora Reynolds Dance. He was a member of the Lit Moon Theatre Company and co-directed Dance Warehouse from 1985-91. He has taught locally at Laguna Blanca, Marymount, Cate, and San Marcos, Crane and currently teaches at Peabody school. He co-directs Stage Left Theatre Company. 

Steven’s reach in the community includes work with the Summer Solstice Celebration, SB Dance Alliance and he is the co-founder and scholarship mentor for the Arts Mentorship Program. He has helped generations of children fall in love with dance! 



christina Sanchez  | guest Instructor

Christina Sanchez relocated to Santa Barbara after living and dancing in New York City. She received most of her training on scholarship at the Alvin Ailey School where she was later asked to join Ailey II under the direction of Sylvia Waters. She was then accepted into the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater under the direction of Judith Jamison. She has also danced with Ballet Hispanico of NY, Buglisi/Foreman Dance, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson. She is now a "Mommy" of two beautiful girls and is happy to be teaching at SBDA.


Kyleigh Carlson  | guest Instructor

Kyleigh Carlson, originally from Sacramento, California, began dancing at the age of four. She has trained extensively in jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, contemporary, hip hop and musical theater. Kyleigh danced with The Sacramento Ballet as an angel in their annual production of The Nutcracker and other productions directed by River City Theater Company. While attending Natomas Charter School's Performing and Fine Arts Academy for High School, Kyleigh was able to incorporate art into her academics. She felt like it was important to share her love of dance, which is why she became program coordinator and director of a dance program at a local community center. Her life has always been heavily focused in and around dance, so when the opportunity of becoming a member of a professional company, CORE Contemporary Dance arose, she leapt at the offer. Currently, Kyleigh is a dance major at the University of California Santa Barbara. She was awarded the Dance Education Laboratory Scholarship, which extended her education and training in New York (2013), and she also serves as an intern for Dr. Carol Press, History of Dance Professor at the University. She would like to thank her family and friends for supporting her and inspiring her, as she knows she would not be here dancing without them.



Samantha Bell  | guest Instructor

Samantha Bell is originally from Orange County, California where she trained with the Anaheim Ballet on full scholarship. She joined their company in 2008 under the direction of Lawrence and Sarma Rosenberg and performed principal and soloist roles, including the Sugarplum Fairy in Nutcracker, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and Romantic Girl in Graduation Ball. She continued her training by spending summers at American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet and Ballet Austin. Bell won third place at Youth America Grand Prix San Francisco and went onto the New York City finals for three years. She is an Orange County Performing Arts Center Artsteach dancer and recently graduated from UCSB with her Bachelor’s of Arts in History. In 2010, Samantha was invited to join the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara where she is currently entering her third season.


Sophia Terango  | Guest Instructor

Sophia was born in Virginia and grew up on the east coast until middle school when her family moved to Calabasas, California. She started dancing at the age of 3 and started competing when she was 10, which she continued until she graduated high school. California is really where her training started at Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts in Newbury Park, California. Throughout her time at the studio she was able to travel to Los Angeles any time she could to expand her dance training at Edge. Since graduating from high school she has furthered her dance education studying dance and communications at the University of California Santa Barbara where she is currently a sophomore.