Natasha Blankenship

Miss Natasha has danced with SBDA for seven 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, and has taken classes at a variety of other ballet schools around the Central Coast, in addition to various master classes and dance conventions. In addition to classes at SBDA, she is taking time to focus on her studies, as well as explore other pre-professional training options.

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Grace Richards

Instructor of: Jazz 2

Miss Grace has been dancing her entire life, but started taking classes 8 years ago. She started her dance career at Suzanne's School of Dance in Utah. Two years later, she moved to California and started dancing at San Benito Dance Academy. She has studied ballet, lyrical, Broadway jazz, jazz, modern, contemporary, and tap, and has loved every style, especially ballet. She enjoyed trying out many different styles, recently at the Jump Dance Convention. Miss Grace has loved helping Ms. Kim and teaching younger dancers the last two years, as well as student teaching this last year as well, especially in dance camps and summer classes. When Miss Grace is not dancing or teaching, she is acting or singing. She has taken three years of drama at San Benito High School, and has performed in three high school plays, one of which she choreographed. Additionally, Miss Grace was involved in an a cappella group with a few friends who had a passion for music, and is involved in her church choir as well. Miss Grace has been Circle of Friends President for two years now, and has loved the opportunity to work with students who have developmental disabilities. Currently a junior in high school, Miss Grace is an AP student, who has managed to keep above a 4.0 GPA despite her busy schedule. Miss Grace is tcurrently taking Ballet, Level VI, as well as other elective styles.

"My dance teachers have had a major impact on my life, and I would not be the person, or dancer, I am today without their help. They taught me that despite my relatively late start, I could become a talented dancer if I set my mind to it. I can not only push through, but dance through, any physical or mental 'limitations' I have. I hope to have a similar impact on the girls and boys I teach, and I want them to know that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to and work hard at."

“You can start late. Look different. Be uncertain. And still succeed.” -Misty Copeland

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Katelyn Vass

Miss Katelyn has been dancing with SBDA for nearly all of her life, and has been a faithful and responsible helper in classes for the past three years. She has led audition classes and taught during summer dance camps, having the most experience with little ones. She is in Ballet Level VI, and also takes a variety of other styles, including: Lyrical, Jazz, and Modern.

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Bella Woyce

Ms. Bella danced and student-instructed with us 2015-2017, with other experience training in ballet since she was two years old at studios all over the central coast, such as: Carmel Academy of Performing Arts, Spector Dance, Peninsula Ballet. She is now at college at Cal-Poly. On her breaks, she returns to SBDA to sub classes and help out at the studio and with dance productions.

Xochitl Azcona

Instructor of: Tap 3

Miss Xochitl begin dancing at three years old and has been with the SBDA family for eight years. Starting off with ballet, she later explored various dance styles including tap, jazz, folklorico, lyrical, modern, and broadway jazz. Miss Xochitl has performed onstage numerous times for recitals and Nutcrackers as well as small performances for the public. While she's very passionate about her dancing, Miss Xochitl is very serious about her education. She is currently a junior at Gilroy Early College Academy and loves to use dance as a stress reliever from the rigorous courses and workload. In her spare time, she enjoys to volunteer for various organizations and helping out around the studio. Xochitl has been a helper in Miss Kim's younger classes for four years. This past year, she was provided with the amazing opportunity to teach tap classes of her own. Xochitl taught Tap 1, 2, and 3 and will be continuing to teach the more advanced tap dancers at the studio during the Fall 2017 session. She is thrilled to be back in session and wishes everyone a great time and fun experience dancing with us.

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Elizabeth Mendoza

Instructor of: Lyrical 2  &  Choreographer for SBDA's The Nutcracker

Miss Elizabeth has been dancing for 15 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 at The New Ballet School for six years. She has attended six summer intensives with NBS (summers 2012-2017) 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 & 2016), and taught dance at Kids Rule theatre camp for 4 years. She is a part of Circle of Friends at San Benito High School and is Fundraising Chair for Senior Class Office, as she has been involved in ASB and class office for the last couple years of her high school career.

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 since the very beginning, over 14 years ago.

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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 careers. 
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101 McCray Street, Suite 104 Hollister CA 95023 USA        


Alissa King

Instructor of: Lyrical 1

Miss Alissa has been dancing for 10 years - seven of those at San Benito Dance Academy. She has taken multiple styles of dance, including modern, lyrical, jazz, Broadway jazz, and contemporary. She has enjoyed helping Miss Kim in her classes for three years now. She has been teaching for the past year as well. Besides being a student and student instructor at San Benito Dance Academy, Miss Alissa is now a Junior at San Benito High School. She participates in several clubs on campus at school, and loves being involved in her community, which is part of why she loves to teach her students at San Benito Dance Academy. Miss Alissa hopes to be a good role model for her students, as well as the younger boys and girls here at the studio. She cannot wait to see her students grow as dancers and see their love for dance grow.

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Izela Espinoza

Miss Izela, SBDA student for over a decade, has studied ballet, lyrical, jazz, modern, character, contemporary, pantomime, folklorico, and variations for 12 years, was a ballet and jazz student-instructor at SBDA for two years, and previously a dance helper for five years. Her training also includes San Francisco Ballet and New Ballet San Jose summer intensives, acceptance into the ABT intensive, various master classes and conventions. She trains pre-professionally at The New Ballet San Jose, and is part-time at SBDA as well, dancing in this year's production of The Nutcracker..