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At San Benito Dance Academy

We believe....

Our Philosophy

At San Benito Dance Academy, our goal is to provide the finest instruction in classical ballet to our students. We strive to instill confidence, self-worth, and discipline in every dancer who walks through our doors. Our classes are designed to build technique in a safe, supportive, and encouraging environment. We believe that dance is not just an art form but a way of life, and we are dedicated to helping our students achieve their full potential.

Owner/Managing Director


Amy Redmond Waran

Amy is a Hollister native whose passion for dance began at age 5. Over the past 30 plus years she has trained in several dance styles including: Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Afro Haitian and Samba. Her early dance training focused mainly on ballet.  She studied ballet at The Mainstreet Ballet Studio in Hollister, California under the instruction of Ariel Hall and at The Academy of Classical Ballet in Sonora, California under the instruction of Suzanne Stalley-Katsarsky (former soloist for the San Francisco Ballet). In 2000 she received a scholarship from the San Benito County Arts Commission; Ms. Redmond was the first recipient of this performing arts scholarship in San Benito County. Amy holds a B.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a M.F.A. in Dance Choreography and Performance from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

After graduation from UHM she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. While living in the Bay Area she was an active member of two dance companies; Malia Movement Company and On Three Dance Company. In June of 2010 she completed a comprehensive Pilates teacher training course at Turning Point Studios in Walnut Creek, CA. Amy has taught Pilates both out of her home and at various studios/gyms around the East Bay Area.

For the past several years Amy has had the pleasure of teaching dance to children of all ages. Her classes for children focus on teaching proper technique in a disciplined environment that is encouraging and supportive. Amy's compassion and enthusiasm, combined with her education in anatomy and kinesiology, create a class environment that is not only fun, but also safe and effective.

From 2014 - 2018, Amy served on the board of directors for the San Benito Stage Company. She has choreographed 3 musicals for SBSC and has been the Dance Director for SBSC's Summer Theatre Camp since 2018.  She also choreographed 2 musicals for Hollister High School, The Addam's Family and Rock of Ages. Amy is a certified Zumba and Zumba Kids instructor. In 2017 Amy became a certified Intellidance instructor.

In the fall of 2013 she opened Flying Colors Dance & Fitness in a small 1 room studio off Fallon Road in Hollister. Since then FCD has grown to include 2 locations, a performance team, and a competitive program. In the summer of 2023 she became the new owner of San Benito Dance Academy. 

Amy is excited for the future of dance education in San Benito County. She looks forward to continuing to grow the quality programs that Flying Colors and San Benito Dance Academy have to offer. 

Artistic Director


Elizabeth Mendoza

Ms. Elizabeth is a San Benito Dance Academy alumnus and trained dance professional. She started her early dance training at the age of 3 at San Benito Dance Academy, and later trained at the New Ballet School focusing on ABT ballet curriculum for several years in addition to SBDA's continued training. After graduating high school in 2018 she continued her professional dance training in New York City as a Joffrey Ballet School Jazz and Contemporary Trainee. She is a graduate of the Alonzo King Lines Ballet training program in San Francisco. She learned from world-class faculty, including Alonzo King, and former and current LINES Ballet company members. At LINES, she focused on ballet, improvisation, LINES rep, Contemporary, and neoclassical ballet.

Elizabeth's involvement in SBDA has remained consistent for the last 20 years, even prior to it having its name! In her time studying dance elsewhere she still always found herself at every SBDA show, as a guest performer, volunteer, or choreographer. She have performed in 13 productions of SBDA’s The Nutcracker, but has also been involved with all 15 productions in some way. In 2022, she worked as Assistant Director of SBDA's annual Nutcracker. In 2023 Elizabeth became SBDA's Artistic Director. When asked about her new role, Elizabeth stated, "Stepping into this new position as the Dance Director is such a full circle moment for me and it feels so right. I couldn’t be more excited for what's to come."

Office Manager

Alisa Vass 


Alisa Vass graduated from SJSU in 2000 with a degree in Psychology and minored in Business and Communications. She came to SBDA in 2007 when her eldest daughter began dancing with SBDA as a Petite Dancer.


In 2014, Alisa was blessed with the opportunity to do the bookkeeping for SBDA, which includes but not limited to handling all things related to tuition, membership fees, dancer account reconciliation, and inventory and merchandise accounting. Alisa also helps with several administrative support projects. Talking with dancer families and getting to know them and their needs is always a highlight in working at the studio. SBDA is a family centered studio that Alisa and her family are proud to be a part of.

Instructors & Staff

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Stephanie Hicks


Ms. Stephanie has been a classical ballet dancer for over 35 years, training in the Russian ballet style. She was a member of the Central Valley Civic Ballet Company for six years in performance and competition dancing. Ms. Stephanie has lived in Hollister for over 20 years. She has instructed at San Benito Dance Academy since its inception, and has watched as it has evolved over the years. Ms. Stephanie teaches all ballet levels through advanced pointe. "I most enjoy watching my students transform on stage into something greater than they could ever imagine. My philosophy is: work hard and dance with purpose. I am privileged to work with such committed dancers who truly inspire me."

Ms. Stephanie currently teaches one of SBDA's highest level Ballet classes (level 6) helping her students develop strength, stamina and readiness for performance pointe. She also regularly choreographs pieces for SBDA's annual Nutcracker, specializing in advanced soloist choreography.


Cassandra Guerrero


Ms. Casandra has received formal ballet training since the age of 7, under the instruction of Lareen Fender at The Ballet School in Walnut Creek. She performed annually in the Spring Demonstration as well as the original holiday ballet Once Upon a Christmas from ages 7 through 18, as well as being part of the studio's company The Ballet Joyeaux and gaining experience substitute teaching in jazz and ballet classes. She has performed in various professional and teen theatre productions with featured dancing roles, including Some Like it Hot, Grease, West Side Story, and Annie. Additionally, she participated in Center Rep's professional theatre training program Young Rep, studying under the best instructors in the East Bay. Previous to SBDA, Ms. Casandra danced at International Academy of Dance in Santa Cruz, where she joined their annual production of The Nutcracker as Spanish, Marzipan and in Waltz of the Flowers (while pregnant with her firstborn). 

In her undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, Ms. Casandra majored in literature and double minored in education and theater with an emphasis in dance, at which time she continued studying ballet, as well as modern, jazz, hip-hop and participating in faculty and student choreographed showcases. She also has Masters Degrees in Education (UCSC) and Communicative Disorders (CSUN), and has worked as a Speech Therapist and Program Specialist in Special Education at SBHS for over a decade, where she was named Educator of the Year and inducted into the Baler Education Foundation Hall of Fame.

Ms. Casandra has been part of the SBDA family since 2016 when her oldest daughter started dancing, and has enjoyed performing in The Nutcracker and helping backstage, as well as being an instructor and choreographing this past season. Ms. Casandra has 2 little ballerinas at SBDA, Leila and Maya. She is excited to see where the new curriculum will take her students and to continue as part of the SBDA family.


Chelcie Bielejec

Instructor & Administrative Staff

Ms. Chelcie brings much creativity, dedication, and administrative expertise to SBDA. She has been working in the academy’s office on the administrative team, and in the Studio Store since 2019, and brings with her ingenuity and many talents. She brings almost a decade of experience in customer service experience, as well as event planning. 

In the office, Ms. Chelcie dedicates time and energy to getting to know each of our SBDA families and their backgrounds. She is very accommodating and thoughtful in finding creative ways to keep families involved and dancing. She also dedicates much of her time to studio-improvement projects: paint jobs, refurbishing old props and set pieces, and putting up decor. 

In addition to her many professional skills, Ms. Chelcie is very gifted in many other talents and activities such as crafting with many mediums, from vinyls and fabrics to baked goods and cookie decorating. As well as many other hobbies that she somehow squeezes into her busy schedule as a mom of two.  

On a movement-arts and educational level, Ms. Chelcie has a background in gymnastics starting at a young age, and has instructed in SBDA’s Tumbling program, safely spotting tricks and teaching new skills to energetic young students. She has always been proactive about fitness and strives to continually learn new and safe ways to strengthen our dancers, knowing what muscles are important to strengthen and protect, in order to perform specific stunts. 

Ms. Chelcie is ever-learning, striving to advance her own knowledge and technique as she takes classes for herself, gaining experience in Ballet, Tap, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Jazz.

Ms. Chelcie and her daughter began dancing at San Benito Dance Academy in the beginning of 2018. They have both gained experience in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, and Tap since joining. And with Ms. Chelcie’s love to teach, gained experience and began teaching the younger ballet levels. 

Ms. Chelcie is also the front-desk administrator at SBDA. She has roughly 9 years of customer service experience, as well as event planning, and is a licensed esthetician/make-up artist. 

In addition to her many professional skills, Ms. Chelcie is very gifted in many other talents and activities such as crafting with many mediums, from vinyls and fabrics to baked goods and cookie decorating. As well as many other hobbies that she somehow squeezes into her busy schedule as a mom of two.   


Angela Semotis 


Ms. Angela Samotis started her ballet training in South Carolina at the age of nine at the Charleston Ballet Theater School with Don and Patricia Cantwell. Her first Nutcracker and pointe work were there. Then she moved with her family to Connecticut where she continued her training with the School of the Hartford Ballet. While there she was fortunate to train under Anne Dabrowski, Franco Devita, Raymond Lukens, Maria Youskevich and Alla Osipenko, among others. She became a trainee and apprentice with Hartford Ballet when she was 16 years old. She went on to dance at Richmond Ballet and then with the Israeli Ballet, eventually becoming a soloist. In addition to dancing in many classical ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia, and Giselle, Ms. Angela has also been in many contemporary works. 

Ms. Angela has always loved teaching ballet, even as a student herself. She has taught absolute beginners to pre-professionals in Connecticut, Israel, Florida, Oklahoma, and Virginia, where she taught for several years at the Academie de Ballet. She brings much experience, expertise in technique and performance quality, and patience to her teaching style--which she can offer to any level of ballet student at SBDA.

In 2008, Ms. Angela had a stroke and had to learn everything--including speaking and eating--all over again! With the help of her family, she went through many difficult years of physical and speech therapy. Returning to teach ballet once more, Ms. Angela’s instructional strengths are using tactile methodology and visual demonstration to communicate. 

She is excited to work at SBDA with anyone at all who wants to learn ballet!


Katelyn Vass



Krisuan Rosalejos


Christopher Krisuan Rosalejos has been teaching dance since 2003, providing experience in developing dancers and directing award-winning competitive dance companies. His background in performing arts, dance competitions, and the entertainment industry allows him to implement his experiences and humbly expand his creativity.

Krisuan incorporates his passion of dance with memorable themes that creates a conglomerate of styles encompassing students who love to dance. Graduating with honors and a Bachelor's of Science degree at San Jose State University in Event Management enhanced his current experience in entertainment production & increased his creativity in performing arts.

Krisuan’s selected industry credits include several California universities, theme parks and entertainment venues, festivals and competition/convention circuits and celebrity/entertainment tours, as well as working with performing artists including Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Debbie Allen’s “FAME,” American Idol, America’s Got Talent, and World of Dance Tour, just to name a few.

With his experience and love for teaching kids, Krisuan brings to SBDA the experience of Hip Hop as a class that provides not just energetic dance moves, but the implementation of cultural aspects in Hip Hop such as Art, Music, Voice & Dance that contains multiple styles, but not limited to: Commercial (trendy), Breaking, Popping, Locking, Femme & Steez. Classes will work on basic & intermediate techniques, dance routines and comforts of cyphers to build self confidence, not just in dance, but in life.


Karina Cáceres

Administrative Staff

Ms. Karina graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration. Soon after, she and her husband found out they were expecting their first daughter, and she decided to be a stay-at-home mother. Three years later, their second daughter came to complete their family. 


As a little girl, Ms. Karina grew up dancing in the styles of ballet, jazz and tap. She always knew she wanted her daughters to be involved in dance, since she had such wonderful memories of it. Ms. Karina and her family relocated from Santa Clara, CA to Hollister in 2018 and her daughters began dancing at SBDA right away. They take many different styles of dance classes, and her daughter Alessia has been in the Helper Program since 2020. 


They love being part of the SBDA family so much that even Ms. Karina decided to continue her dance education after 30+ years, making her not only a dance mom, but also a dancer and now part of the administrative team at SBDA, with much professional experience in customer service, as well as ¡servicio bilgüe!


Raeann Collison


Raeann Collison, born and raised in Hollister, has been dancing since she was only 3 years old beginning with ballet and tap. Early on she discovered her passion for dance, and at the age of 6 began competing locally and nationally in numerous dance competitions, where she showcased in tap and jazz. Throughout high school Raeann continued to dance, and was given the opportunity to teach dance at a local studio. It was there she discovered the joy of sharing her love for dance with others. On top on teaching tap, jazz, and ballet, she also began managing the dance studio. During her time in studio management, she continued to teach and soon began taking on the role of choreographer. She choreographed several middle school theater productions. More recently, she has choreographed productions with The San Benito Stage Company. With a passion for dance and teaching, Raeann continues to participate and learn wherever she can. She shares her love for dance with everyone including her daughter, in hopes she will follow in her tap shoes.


Lupe Alcalan

Administrative Staff

Ms. Lupe is mother to two sons and only one daughter, Nicole. She was raised in Watsonville, and attended Aptos High School. Growing up, she participated in folklórico dance. In 2012, Lupe and her husband Carlos moved to Hollister and Nicole fell in love with the dance studio. Ever since then, the Alcalan family has not left!


They are invaluable to the SBDA community. Lupe leads by example as she jumps in and helps whenever and wherever needed, without needing to be asked! She is extremely friendly, helpful, and knows our studio culture and history from all her many years of experience. In addition to working for SBDA as an administrative assistant in the front office and studio Store, Ms. Lupe also works for the Hollister School District.

Student Instructors 


Ali Gillio


Miss Ali has been dancing at San Benito Dance Academy for 12 years. She started in the Petite class when she was three years old and has loved dancing ever since. Miss Ali has taken many styles to widen her dance education, ballet en pointe, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, modern, acro, tap, and gymnastics. 

In August 2018 at the age of 12, Miss Ali was awarded her pointe letter. In 2020, she was cast as Clara in San Benito Dance Academy’s 13th annual Nutcracker production. She is now an advanced ballet dancer in Performance Pointe (Lev. 7). Throughout all of her long hours at San Benito Dance Academy, SBDA has become a second home to Ali. 

In 2016, Miss Ali became a helper in SBDA’s Helper Program, and started helping Petites and Ballet 2. Since then she has helped various levels and styles: tumbling, lyrical, jazz, and many ballet levels. She has also taught at SBDA’s summer camp and has stepped in as a substitute instructor for many dance classes, under tutelage of SBDA Staff. Something Ali has learned from her many years in the SBDA helper program is to be patient with little ones. Something she has enjoyed is getting to help and put a good influence in little kids life’s. Miss Ali is looking forward to teaching her students and watching them grow in their dance education.

Outside of the dance studio, Miss Ali has been a hard working high school student both at Sacred Heart Parish School and now at San Benito High School. She has served on Student Council many times in various different roles at SHPS, and is involved with Circle of Friends at SBHS. She is polite to her peers and is an amazing example to others around her.


Rachel Hartmann


Miss Rachel has been dancing since 2010. She began dancing at the age of 3 when she begged her mom to let her be a ballerina. She started off with the styles of ballet, tap, hip hop, and jazz. Once deciding she was ready for a change, at the age of six, she transitioned to taking dance at SBDA. That year she took pride in being a party girl in her very first Nutcracker!

A few years later and after much training with multiple instructors, Rachel was awarded her pointe shoe letter at the age of 12. Soon after she earned the role of Clara in the 2019 SBDA production of The Nutcracker. She is now at the Performance Pointe level at the studio (Ballet 7) and could not be happier. 

In the summer of 2017, Rachel began helping at the dance studio, as well as in the Summer Dance Programs. She began to get into other styles of lyrical and modern as well. Miss Rachel began student-instructing at SBDA during the summer of 2022. She taught the styles of Broadway Jazz and Ballet Basics. During the Fall Session, she participated in the tennis team at Hollister High School. She is also an involved Class Officer at school. 

Rachel is very excited to work with young dancers and share her love for dance with them. Her main goal is to make sure the students have a good time while they are learning, and see the studio as a safe space.


Arianna Villegas 


Miss Miss Arianna has been dancing for 15 years. She loved watching other dancers at a young age and started a ballet and tap class at two years old. She has trained in many styles including ballet, tap, acro, contemporary, modern, and jazz. 

In 2017 she joined a competitive dance team and has participated in dance competitions since then. She has competed in tap, jazz, and contemporary, through which she has been able to expand her experiences and knowledge of the dance world. 

Miss Arianna also attended several conventions where she took classes from professional dancers and choreographers in the industry, in other genres such as hip hop and ballroom. At the Nuvo convention, she received a standout scholarship for tap from famous tap dancer Anthony Morigerato. In 2022, Miss Arianna started competing again with the varsity dance team at Hollister High School. 

Miss Arianna started assisting in baby tap and ballet dance classes when she was eight, and did so for four years. She learned from experienced dance teachers which helped develop her skills and knowledge base for teaching and becoming an instructor herself. She loved being able to help young dancers succeed in and find their love for dance.


Addie Nelson


Miss Addie took her very first ballet class as a four-year-old in 2012 in Seattle, Washington. She began dancing at San Benito Dance Academy in 2017 where she started in the ballet tech class. After a summer dance camp in 2018 she soon added other styles to her repertoire. Along with her ballet classes, Miss Addie has studied various styles of dance including ballet, tap, lyrical/contemporary, jazz, hip hop, modern and tumbling.

When Miss Addie was 11, she was accepted into SBDA’s Helper Program. Over the years she has helped with Tap 1, Ballet 2, Ballet 3A, Ballet 3B and Jazz Minis. In the summer of 2022, she had the opportunity to teach Tap during SBDA’s summer camp programming. These experiences have helped Miss Addie learn patience, organization, how to be a good leader, and most of all, how to help the younger dancers have fun while learning.

In February 2021 at the age of 12, Miss Addie was awarded her pointe letter. In 2022 she was cast as Clara in San Benito Dance Academy’s 15th annual production of The Nutcracker. She is currently dancing in Beginning Pointe (Ballet 6) at the studio. The studio has become a second home to Miss Addie, and she has loved the many years she has spent at the studio learning and growing in her dancing abilities.

Outside of SBDA, Miss Addie is a freshman at Hollister High School, where she participates in various clubs including Circle of Friends. She is currently taking Dance as an elective and has enjoyed this new opportunity for learning and growth. Miss Addie is excited to share her love of dancing with her students.


Emily King



Adriana Villalpando


SBDA's History

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