Alissa King

Miss Alissa has been dancing for 12 years - 10 of those at San Benito Dance Academy. She has taken multiple styles of dance in addition to the core basis of classical and contemporary ballet and pointe including modern, lyrical, jazz, Broadway jazz, and contemporary. She has enjoyed instructing at SBDA for the past three years, primarily in the Lyrical and Ballet Programs. Miss Alissa is working on her undergrad studies at Cal Poly SLO, and subs for SBDA classes when school is not in session.

STUDENT Instructors


Elizabeth Mendoza

Guest Instructor & Choreographer for SBDA's The Nutcracker

Miss Elizabeth has been dancing for 16 years in a variety of styles. Her primary dance training is in classical ballet, and has also studied jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, ballet mime, broadway jazz, and character. Other styles she has taken include Bollywood, hip hop, Chinese-classical, afro-cuban, partnering, and Horton at various master classes and summer intensive programs. Ms. Elizabeth was a student helper for ballet from when she was ages 8-11, and began student instructing in classes of her own classes at 12 years old. In her past five years of teaching, she has taught ballet, lyrical, jazz, and ballet technique. In addition to dancing at San Benito Dance Academy, she has also been training with Ballet San Jose / The New Ballet School for seven years. She has attended seven summer intensives with NBS (summers 2012-2018) and Alonzo King Lines Ballet Summer Program (2017). Aside from her regular training she enjoys expanding her knowledge with master classes both at NBS and AKLB, Choreography Workshop with Fred Mathews, Discovery Projects at AKLB, Jump dance convention, and Gyrotonics. Elizabeth has been studying Gyrotonics for a year and hopes to soon start the instructor certification process.

What are Gyrotonics?

She has also choreographed "Dance of the Reed Flutes" (Sheep & Shepherdess) for the SBDA Nutcracker (2015-2017), and taught dance at Kids Rule theater camp for 4 years, as well as San Benito Stage Company's Theatre Camp. She participated in a leadership capacity in San Benito High School's Circle of Friends club, and was Fundraising Chair for her Senior Class Office, as she has been involved in ASB and class office for the last couple years of her high school career, graduating in 2018.

In the dance room, Miss Elizabeth wants her students to truly experience what it feels like to dance with their hearts, express themselves through movement, and leave feeling like they can do anything. “To touch, to move, to inspire. This is the true gift of dance.” - Aubrey Lynch.

SBDA has been very blessed to have Miss Elizabeth dancing with us since the very beginning, over 15 years ago, and are looking forward to seeing what the future brings for her, as she continues on in her next chapter of life in New York at the Joffrey Ballet School's training program!.

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Natasha Blankenship

Miss Natasha has danced with SBDA for nine years, in all styles, and also has experience in gymnastics. She has attended summer intensives at the San Francisco Ballet as well as the Joffrey Ballet in San Francisco and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, The New Ballet in San Jose, and has taken classes at a variety of other ballet schools around the Central Coast, in addition to various master classes and dance conventions. Continuing with her education at SBDA, she is taking time to focus on her studies, as well as exploring other pre-professional training options.

Neriah Riddle

Miss Neriah grew up doing gymnastics for 10 years, making it to Level 7 before she transitioned into SBDA’s advanced dance program. She took Ukrainian Folk dance and later became a member of California Dance International; where she then traveled to Europe to participate in the International Barvinok Folk Festival. Beginning ballet at age 12, Miss Neriah was trained in the very unique style of “Danish” technique. At age 15 she wanted to audition for a local Nutcracker production. San Benito Dance Academy welcomed her with open arms and she was given the role of Russian Lead, alongside her twin sister, along with other ballet roles. She fell in love with the studio and their way of dance and thus decided to start training with SBDA. Miss Neriah is very excited to take on the role of a Student Instructor at this studio, to impart skills in the Tumbling and Acro programs with her background of gymnastic training and coaching with highly-regarded safety measures..

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About our Student Instructor Program...

Student Instructors at SBDA are advanced, mature dancers who have years of experience as classroom helpers (under guidance of professional instructors), and demonstrate responsibility, respect, and a passion for dance. Oftentimes juggling heavy academic schedules, extracurricular activities, and rigorous dance classes of their own, they teach 1-2 classes per session at the studio, to gain classroom and teaching experience that will aid them in their professional development and future careers. 
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Zoe Riddle

Miss Zoe Riddle is an advanced ballerina in the Performance Pointe (Level 7) at SBDA. She has been doing ballet for four years and has fallen in love with it! Before ballet, Miss Zoe was a gymnast for 10 years and progressed to Level 7 before transitioning into ballet and dance. Gymnastics has helped her with dancing in so many ways. Miss Zoe truly believes that without gymnastics, she would not be the dancer she is today. Miss Zoe has also been to Ukraine for folk-dance training and performing ballet at the famous International Barvinok Dance Festival. Additionally, SBDA has helped her grow in technique and strength, and endowed her with the confidence to pursue a career in ballet and theater! Miss Neriah is privileged to be at SBDA as both a student and instructor, to share her love of the arts as well as gymnastic training with others.

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101 McCray Street, Suite 104 Hollister, CA 95023 USA        

831-630-0188  ~  call or text!

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Katelyn Vass

Miss Katelyn came to San Benito Dance Academy when she was just three years old as a Petite ballet dancer. SBDA has always been Miss Katelyn’s home studio and as she has continued her dance education by taking other classes like Lyrical, Modern, Tap and Ballet en pointe, it has evolved into her second home.  

Outside of the studio, Miss Katelyn is a diligent student, and has participated in Class Office/ASB and other leadership programs, such as Circle of Friends and Drama Club. She is highly respected among her peers and displays maturity and responsibility, attentive to the needs of those around her.Miss Katelyn was cast as Clara in the 2017 SBDA production of The Nutcracker. With much performance experience, poise, respect, and personality, she is a great role model at the studio. She is an advanced pointe dancer in Ballet Level 7, and also takes a variety of other styles.
Miss Katelyn was a faithful and responsible helper in classes for several years, prior to becoming involved in SBDA’s Student Instructor Program in 2018. She has led audition classes, and taught during summer dance sessions in camps and summer ballet classes. She has been a reliable substitute instructor when called on in a pinch, having much experience with little ones. After four years of helping, a year of being a substitute instructor, and one as a Student Instructor thus far, receiving training and guidance along the way, she is so excited to be student-instructing again this year.
“Change the world by being yourself.” -Yoko Ono

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