Malashock Dance Instructors

Araceli Carrera

Araceli Carrera received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education from Arizona State University in 2001. Her involvement with dance and art has built a strong foundation within her teaching methods. During her dance studies, she discovered her love for modern dance, Afro Caribbean, Latin Rhythms, and hip-hop.  As a visual artist, she was able to build a beautiful relationship between Arte y Danza.  She has been commissioned to create artworks for dance that inspired dance-works and vice versa in Arizona, Tijuana and San Diego. Displaying artwork that spoke of social and cultural justice. From 2001-2006 she worked intensely through Evoke Dance Theatre as a visual artist, costume designer, and outreach artist. Teaching hundreds of student’s hip-hop and academics through dance. She was also the resident visual artist at Freese Elementary teaching academics through visual art and dance from 2003-2015. From 2015 to 2018 she worked for High Tech Elementary teaching Art and Dance to grades K-5th.  In San Diego, she has danced and trained Afro Cuban Dance with Silfredo La O Vigo and Omo Ache director Juan Carlos Blanco.  In 2006, she traveled to Cuba and studied under Cutumba, Ban Ra Ras and Narciso Medina Modern Dance Company. She toured to the Dominican Republic in 2011 presenting Ericka Moore’s Las Mariposas Theatre dance piece and in 2014 she had the opportunity to locally tour her I Speak…Dance! youth performance to many school sites and on the California Center for the Arts, Escondido stage.  She is the Artistic Director of Danza, Impulse y Arte a San Diego based intergenerational dance company and has produced dance shows where Visual Art, Modern Technique, and Afro Caribbean Dance come together to cultivate and celebrate DIVERSITY.

Kelly Flansburg

Kelly Flansburg’s philosophy is that we move for pleasure, communal bonding, and self-expression; dance in the arts provides growth in physical health, emotional maturation, social awareness, and cognitive development. She believes that all art forms are personal expressions that we choose to share with others. Individuals of all ages and abilities can show who they are through the arts and with our help through community outreach and teaching artists in schools we are able to share our talent and inspire others to do the same.

Kelly’s formal education in Creative Arts in Therapy with a concentration in dance therapy has provided her with numerous hands-on experiences with different ages and abilities. As a student, she was given the opportunity to work with at-risk adolescents, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and elderly with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia. In addition, her dance training and dance teaching experience span over twenty years for all ages and abilities. Kelly was fortunate to attend the New York State Summer School of the Arts working with Carolyn Adams, Robert Battle, Julie Strandberg, Erika Pujic, and Danny Grossman.  She also attended Complexions Contemporary Ballet Summer Intensive and Jacob’s Pillow. During college, Kelly was a company member for Nacre Dance Company reconstructing and performing work from our dance past including works of Isadora Duncan, May O’Donnell, Charles Weidman, and others. When living in New York City, Kelly had the pleasure of dancing with Bryce Dance Company, Jinah Parker Project: SHE, Earl Mosley, STREB Extreme Action and she is a co-founder of eSKay Arts Collective. Her goal as a teacher, dancer, and artist is to share my passion for movement and expression with others.

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful… This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”

Agnes De Mille

Courtney Giannone

Courtney Giannone is a professional dancer, choreographer, and movement instructor.  She holds a BFA in dance from Fordham University and The Ailey School and also studied extensively at Joffrey Ballet and Martha Graham.   Courtney has performed with Queen of the Night, Neil Patrick Harris, Company XIV, Quixotic Fusion, Buglisi Dance Theater, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Pascal Rioult, STREB, Diavolo, Martha Graham, and Alvin Ailey.

Courtney’s choreography has been performed at Jacobs Pillow, BEAT BROOKLYN, Galapagos Arts Space, STREB, CSLB, Cornish College, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and the Ailey School.  Her nominations, awards, and affiliations include Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, The Rolex Mentor-Protege Arts Initiative, Carnegie Hall (classical piano), ABT, Kirov Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Buglisi Dance Theater, Pascal Rioult, Dance Magazine, and Highways Performance Space.  She is also a world champion in Cyr Wheel for team USA.  Courtney teaches GYROKINESIS ®, GYROTONIC ®, Horton Technique, Ballet, Modern, Cyr Wheel and more.


Natalia Hill, Education Outreach Teaching Artist

Natalia Hill graduated from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia with a degree in Modern Dance Education.  She was a company member of Dance Envoy (Florence, Italy), Estensiona Dance Company (NY, NY), Vox Dance Theatre (LA,CA) and The PGK Dance Project(San Diego, CA) working with numerous choreographers/directors from around the world.  She also performed in the 80th Anniversary Tour of the Martha Graham Dance Company, at MGM in Las Vegas with The Pointer Sisters, Temptations, and The Four Tops. As well as regional musicals such as Will Rogers Follies and Peter Pan in PA. Natalia has choreographed across the country for many things, among those are musicals such as Pirates of Penzances and P.T. Barnum, “Dance Your A** Off” promotion in Times Square, NY for Lifetime, and a dance sequence for an independant film in LA, Once Upon a Superhero.


Christine Marshall

Christine Marshall received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from California State University, Fullerton under the tutelage of Gladys Kares.  Since then she has performed in works by various artists in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Diego including Mike Esperanza, Te Perez, Erica Buechner, Bradley Michaud, Lux Boreal, and Michael Mizerany.  She began performing with the Malashock Dance Company in 2007 and is excited to join the Malashock Dance School faculty.  Christine is also a licensed acupuncturist and mother of two rambunctious little boys.



Lizette Ortiz, Education Outreach Teaching Artist

 Lizette Ortiz is a native San Diegan who has been involved with the dance community for over 7 years. Her passion to train and perform started at the Southwestern College Dance Department. She participated in faculty and student choreography, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, latin, and modern for 4 years under the direction of Debbie Toth, Mary Jo Horvath, Dana Maue, Jaami Waali, and Colleen Shipkowski.

Lizette has been highly involved with multiple dance choreographers throughout San Diego and Mexico including Jaami and Angel Waali (Kruciaal Element), Peter Kalivas (PGK Project Apprentice), and Gabriela Equiz (Alma Latina Dance Company). Currently, Lizette travels and competes with Jasso Dance Academy under the direction of Sergio Jasso, participating in annual Salsa and Bachata Congresses across the United States and Mexico. She plans on competing this year, at the 2017 World Salsa Summit.


Nicole Roerick, Outreach Teaching Artist

Nicole Roerick is a Contemporary Dance Artist/Educator and a Yoga and Pilates teacher. She was recently living abroad in Cairo, Egypt the past 4 years where she was teaching in International Schools and studios while also creating work and performing. She has her MFA and BFA in Dance and has over 400 hours of Yoga certification and completed her IMP Stott Pilates certification course. She lived, taught, and performed in various cities in the U.S. before moving abroad, including Austin, TX. She created a performance group, Nicole Roerick Collective, in the fall of 2011 and has shown her work in NYC, Chicago, Madison, Austin, Cairo, and Istanbul. She is interested in the overlap between the disciplines she has studied and teaching is one of her greatest passions.


Nicole Rover

Nicole Rover is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator. Nicole believes that dancing cultivates a healthy mind, body, and community. Dancing is both an art form and a sport, and Nicole’s classes challenge students to feel new movement, work mindfully, and take risks in a healthy, encouraging setting.

Nicole’s dance performance and teaching career began after graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Moving to San Diego in 2013 brought multiple opportunities to perform with local dance artists, including the dances “Bee Conscious” with Lara Segura and “Victor Charlie” by [the] movement initiative, a critically-acclaimed dance theater production at San Diego International Fringe Festival. She has taught contemporary, modern, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, conditioning, and choreography intensives and is currently on faculty at La Jolla Country Day School as the Dance Educator and Musical Theater choreographer. 

When she is not dancing (which is rare!), Nicole enjoys running, yoga, hiking, going to the beach and traveling.


Khamla Somphanh

Khamla Somphanh has performed and taught professionally throughout the country. She began her training at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and continued at the University of the Arts before moving to NYC to pursue her career. In addition to her classes at Malashock Dance School, Khamla is Artist–In–Residence at Canyon Crest Academy and is a freelance choreographer. As an established instructor, Khamla has taught at Mills College, ODC Dance Commons and Shawl-Anderson Modern Dance Center.  She has danced with ODC/ San Francisco Dance Company, Wylliams/Henry Danse Ensemble, Na-Ni Chen Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, East/West Repertory Ensemble, New World Dance Company, Soundance Dance Company, as guest artist for Malashock Dance and on Broadway in the “King and I”, choreographed by Lar Lubovitz to name a few.  Khamla received her Horton Pedagogy Certification at the Alvin Ailey School in NYC.


 Yaro Severn

Yaro studied dance at Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and Broadway Dance Center in NYC. Her passion is musical theater and she has choreographed at Pacifica Spindrift Players and Looking Glass Theater. Yaro is the mother of two and a professional photographer and art teacher. She is thrilled to be working with the Malashock School.




Heather Shershun

Heather Shershun has been an active teaching artist to students of diverse backgrounds in the San Diego and San Francisco Bay Area dance communities since 2005. Teaching Credits to include Malashock Dance (since 2012), Eveoke Dance Theatre (2005-2013), ODC Dance Commons (San Francisco), California Academy of Performing Arts (SF Bay Area), and Outreach Dance classes at over 90 schools, having served over 5,000 students so far.

Heather completed her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley (with international honors) in 2016, as well as an extensive Teacher Training program through Eveoke Dance theatre on the art of teaching dance in 2007. She specializes in teaching underserved “at risk” populations such as juvenile hall, homeless youth, foster youth and victims of domestic violence, and is certified to assist people with disabilities in movement classes.

Heather has developed curriculum and choreography on “positive body image and healthy self-esteem for young women” through dance and founded San Diego’s first Women in Hip Hop Conference (2007). She has trained at Culture Shock Dance Center, the Academy of Performing Arts, and Evoke Dance Theatre in San Diego, with Allan Frias (of So You Think You Can Dance) at Dance Mission in San Francisco, ODC Dance Commons, UC Berkeley, and Yanis Marshall in San Francisco and Vegas in the styles of; Hip Hop, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Dancehall, African, Burlesque and Ballet. She has performed professionally in Oregon, Oakland, CA and San Diego in numerous Hip Hop, Dancehall/Island Fusion, and Burlesque show with Dance Northwest, Breakdown Dance Co., Bodywerk Dance, and Eveoke Dance Theatre.



Marisa Shimano

Marisa Shimano is a company dancer with Malashock Dance. Marisa graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in English and Psychology, and completed her
professional dance training at The Ailey School in New York City. Most recently, Marisa performed work by John Malashock in Jason Mraz’s new musical, Shine. Since moving to San Diego, she has had the privilege of performing with BAD Dance Collective, Blythe Barton Dance, the PGK Dance Project, and Continuum Dance Project, and for independent choreographers Brittany Taylor and Thom Dancy. Marisa has been teaching dance since 2011, and loves connecting with students of all ages and abilities. She is currently director of Malashock’s Junior Company, and has choreographed and taught at institutions throughout Southern California including Lynch Dance Institute, Culture Shock Dance Center, San Diego School of Creative & Performing Art, and Jimmie Defore Dance Center. Marisa is also a 200HR certified yoga instructor through YogaWorks.


Rachel Torres

Rachel Torres graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a BA in Literature with Honors and a minor in Dance. Upon graduation, Rachel began taking classes and working with artists in the San Diego community. She has had the pleasure of performing works by several local artists including John Malashock, Jean Isaacs, Sadie Weinberg, Debi Toth, Lara Segura, Erica Buechner, Erin Tracy, and Lavina Rich. Rachel has been a company dancer for the Malashock Dance Company since 2016 and also teaches youth Advanced Modern and adult Intermediate Modern for the Malashock Dance School.