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Our open/drop-in class schedule features all of our fantastic faculty below!
Pili Doheny was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and began her training at age 3 under Maria De Varona, a former ballerina with the National Ballet of Cuba. Ms. Doheny became a member of Ms. De Varona's ballet company at age 9 and was promoted to soloist the following year. She also completed several levels of ballet examinations receiving top honors.
Her performance credits include The Nutcracker, the Petite Swan in Swan Lake, the Toymaker's Granddaughter in La Boutique Fantastique, plus several different roles in Sleeping Beauty. Her favorites included the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain and Act III Pas de Trois as Florestan's Sister. As a member of the Youth Company, Ms. Doheny had the privilege of dancing with members of Ballet de San Juan and had several television appearances for the Walter Mercado Show.
In 1985, Ms. Doheny graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development. In the 1990s Ms. Doheny trained and performed at The Ballet Academy of Northern Virginia under the direction of Madame Solange Binda. There she helped the director in several areas with particular emphasis on administrative tasks and working with parents in preparation for their annual recital.
After years of involvement as a dance parent, Ms. Doheny began teaching at the Irvine School of Dance/Pacific Dance. Ms. Doheny combines her passion for ballet and learning to develop a program for her students that is appropriate and technically sound. She likes to challenge each student to develop their fullest physical and creative potential. Ms. Doheny strives to inspire and enrich her students by exposing them to the benefits of dance. She considers teaching a privilege and looks forward to the opportunity to inspire a new generation of young dancers.
Ms. Doheny enhances her dance training knowledge by continuing to attend dance workshops and conferences across the U.S. She is certified by Ana Marie Forsythe at The Alvin Ailey School to teach the Horton Technique. She has also received certificates in Pilates Mat Work from Diane Diefenderfer at Studio Du Corps and in Radiant Child Yoga Levels 1-3 from Shakta Kalsa. Ms. Doheny has also attended workshops on Healthy Approaches in the Training of Dancers at Chapman University Dept. of Dance, Functional Fitness with Jayne Persch, The M.E.L.T Method® with Niki Parker, and Ballet Teacher’s Training with Finis Jhung. Ms. Doheny is also a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine in which she keeps current on the latest research in dance medicine.
Ms. Doheny aims to help her students develop awareness and understand the benefits of the mind-and-body connection, which in turn, help her students improve their dancing and remain injury-free!
She began her professional career at the age of sixteen with the Nashville Ballet. Most recently, Ms. Hakala was a principal dancer with Ballet West where she performed the title roles in many ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Amedeo Amodio's Carmen, Birgit Cullberg's Miss Julie, Ronald Hynd's Rosalinda and Ben Stevenson's Cinderella, as well as a full range of contemporary, classical and neoclassical works.
Her experience includes the work of acclaimed choreographers such as George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Choo-san Goh, Hans Van Manen and Jerome Robbins, to name a few. She has performed internationally in China and Europe including appearances in the 2004 Edinburgh International Festival. She also performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy in a nationally televised broadcast on PBS.
Ms. Hakala is also a certified yoga teacher, a practice she finds particularly complementary to the demands of ballet training. She has taught for places such as Ballet West and Ballet West Conservatory, and Michigan Ballet Theatre, in addition to teaching national master classes. From 2005 to 2007, she taught as an adjunct professor at Wright State University and as a faculty member of Pontecorvo Ballet School/Gem City Ballet. From 2008 to 2011, she served on the faculty of the Indianapolis School of Ballet and the Central Indiana Academy of Dance.
Her husband, Tong Wang, is currently serving as Assistant Professor of Dance at University California, Irvine.
Vincent Hardy is a native of San Diego. During his childhood he started as a praise (liturgical) dancer & director. Mr. Hardy's interest in studying other forms of dance began in high school under the direction of Sandra Foster-King at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Later he continued his dance training under scholarship at the Academy of Performing Arts in San Diego.
After high school, Mr. Hardy attended the University of the Arts (UArts), School of Dance in Philadelphia where he received a BFA in Ballet Performance. He later became a company member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden.
Recently Mr. Hardy moved to Los Angeles where he is working as a commercial dancer in television, film and video projects. He is also a choreography at various Southern California dance studios including the International Dance Academy in Hollywood and the Athletic Garage in Pasadena. Mr. Hardy is also a graduate student in the Masters in Fine Arts program at the University of California, Irvine, Department of Dance.
Steven Inskeep has an extensive background in dance, including performing, choreography, and teaching. He has trained and been accepted to prestigious companies such as Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco School of Ballet, Ballet West School in Aspen, Washington Ballet School, Ballet Pacifica, Ballet Austin, and Indianapolis Ballet Theatre.
Mr. Inskeep was a founding faculty member of the former Ballet Pacifica Conservatory. He has choreographed many ballets, including Jack and the Beanstalk, In the Garden, and Ferdinand the Bull, all showcased in the former Ballet For Children series at Ballet Pacifica.
Mr. Inskeep has performed leading roles such as Valse Fantasy, Allegro Brilliante, and Concierto Baroquo by Balanchine, Snow King and Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet Pas de Deux and Copellia, Don Quixote by Petipa, and the Prince in Firebird.
Charles' Web Blog… Read Charles' new series of web blogs, including his writeup on attending the American Ballet Theatre Reunion in New York and his experiences directing the ABT Alabama summer program!
Charles Maple began his training with Evelyn LeMone, the founder of Pasadena Dance Theatre. He continued his studies with Andrei Tremaine and Stanley Holden until 1972 when he received a Ford Foundation scholarship to the School of American Ballet. At the age of nineteen he joined American Ballet Theatre and rapidly rose through the ranks to become a featured soloist. In 1979 he made numerous guest appearances with the National Ballet of Mexico and danced the leading roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, and La Fille Mal Gardee. In 1983 Mr. Maple became a principal dancer with the Basel Ballet of Switzerland.
Over the course of his 20 year career as a dancer, Mr. Maple has worked with such choreographers as George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Agnes De Mille, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Jirí Kylián, Michael Baryshnikov, William Forsythe, Natalia Makarova, Erik Bruhn and Nacho Duato. He has danced and been coached by such greats as Baryshnikov, Makarova, Ivan Nagy, Cynthia Gregory, Fernando Bujones, Gelsey Kirkland, Rudolf Nureyev, Cynthia Harvey, Martine Van Hamel, Kevin McKenzie, Mikko Nissenen and Helgi Tomasson, among others.
He has made numerous television appearances with ABT in the Dance in America and Live from Lincoln Center T.V. series as well as figuring prominently with Baryshnikov in the 1983 BBC movie, Dancer and the Dance. In 1982, Mr. Maple was selected by Jerome Robbins to perform with Barysnhikov in Fancy Free and Opus Jazz at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He also joined Helgi Tomasson and Violet Verdy and the Stars of American Ballet for tours to South Africa and Belgium in 1976 and 1978 and he has appeared as a frequent guest artist with dance companies throughout the U.S. and Europe.
In 1992 Mr. Maple began creating his own works. He has since received a steady stream of commissions, awards and a growing reputation as a freelance choreographer. Companies in Regional Dance America have presented several of his works. Two of his works for Rosella Hightower's Ballet La Jeunesse were presented with top awards at the 1992 La Baule Festval in France. In 1993 he attended the Tokyo International Choreographers Competition where his works received international recognition and critical acclaim. In 1993 Mr. Maple's The Angel of the Abyss was created to open the televised Posada Aids Procession in Los Angeles.
In 1995, his new version of La Fille Mal Gardee for Pasadena Dance Theatre opened to rave reviews. In 1997 he created a new version of The Nutcracker for Black Hills Dance Theatre and Symphony. His work Latcho Drom was selected by Regional Dance America to be shown at the 1998 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Maple has created numerous original works for American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive programs. Mr. Maple's choreography represents a diversity of dance styles that are firmly rooted in the traditions of classical ballet. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Choreography Award for Youth America Grand Prix in Los Angeles in 2005. To date, Mr. Maple has choreographed over seventy-five ballets.
In 1994 and 1995 Mr. Maple directed Pasadena Dance Theatre. He then founded Charles Maple and Dancers to concentrate on developing his own creations. Mr. Maple has been an active advocate for Regional Dance America. He has served as an adjudicator as well as a faculty member at numerous RDA Festivals. Mr. Maple has also acted as the artistic coordinator for the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive programs in Alabama and California. He is co-founder of American Ballet Intensives, a rigorous ballet workshop that provides serious students the opportunity to study with professionals in the field. Mr. Maple is also a certified teaching in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in all levels, Primary through Level 7.
In 2007 he co-founded with Kathy Crade the Maple Conservatory of Dance, a classical ballet school with a curriculum that combines state-of-the-art scientific principals with choice elements from the classic French, Italian and Russian schools of training. The school and its performing entity, the Maple Youth Ballet, are dedicated to nurturing dancers with the highest standard of excellence in a caring and healthy environment.
Over the span of 20 years, Mr. Maple has earned a well-deserved reputation for cultivating and nurturing talented young dancers through his comprehensive and rigorous training principals that are designed to teach dancers the techniques and discipline to hone and apply their talents. Students Mr. Maple has trained or coached have gone onto successful careers in many of the world's major dance companies including American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, as well as: Aalto Ballett Theatre Essen, Ballet Idaho, Ballet West, Corella Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, The Eifman Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Miami City Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Sacramento Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, The Washington Ballet and Zurich Ballet. Mr. Maple's students have also successfully competed in prestigious international dance competitions including finalists in the Prix de Lausanne, the USA International Ballet Competition, the Youth America Grand Prix and ten Grand Prize Finalists in the Los Angeles County Music Center Spotlight Awards.
Chihiro Sano, originally from Japan, began her modern dance training at the age of seven under the direction of Akiko Ishii. Ms. Sano came to the United States in 2005 to attend Santa Ana College, Dept. of Dance where she continued her dance training with Heather Gillette, Kari Jensen, Michelle Perez, among others.
After graduating from Santa Ana College in 2007, Ms. Sano joined Backhausdance as an Apprentice and has been a full company member since 2010. She has been performing with Backhausdance throughout the country at venues including the McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, The Irvine Barclay Theater, at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina, and at the Joyce Theater in New York City.
Ms. Sano is a Rehearsal Assistant to Jennifer Backhaus, the Artistic Director of Backhausdance. She also works on freelance dance projects and has assisted on the faculty at the Irvine Valley College, the East Valley Dance Project at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, and the Old Town Temecula Community Theater Dance Project. Ms. Sano is a certified yoga instructor and is passionate about sharing her love of dance and yoga with people of all ages.
Stela Viorica is a former principal dancer with National Ballet of Romania. She is a graduate of the National Academy of Ballet in Bucharest and has had the privilege to be coached by Maestro Umrihin, a teacher from the Vaganova Institute. During her career as a professional dancer, Ms. Viorica toured extensively throughout Europe with the National Ballet of Romania and has been featured in principal roles in various ballets such as Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee and Swan Lake, among others.
After traveling throughout Europe, Ms. Viorica relocated to California in 1985 where she began to extend her work into choreography, staging, teaching and coaching. As the residential choreographer & founding artistic director of the Stella Dance Company, Ms. Viorica created seven full-length productions including Alice and Wonderland, Mary Poppins, A Christmas Carol and Open Audition. Ms. Viorica has also created numerous other works including Black and White in 1994 to celebrate the opening of Hoag Hospital's Cancer Research Center. She received a special award, Outstanding Choreographer, at the prestigious Grand Prix Ballet Competition in 2000 in Long Beach and at the Festival of Dance in Laguna Beach in 2003.
Ms. Viorica believes that art nourishes the soul. Her goal is to promote, preserve and de-mystify the art of dance in the community, to teach aspiring dancers, and to be a resource for performing arts education and entertainment in Orange County.