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.
Gary Champi is a freelance dance performer, teacher, and choreographer. He works on a project basis with multiple companies and choreographers including Malashock Dance, Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre, and the Merce Cunningham Trust. Gary has taught children, teens, and adults at various institutions across the country and has assisted in a reconstruction of Cunningham’s Interscape. He has also presented work at La Mama and recently co-created a dance film with Gabriel Mata. Gary holds a degree in Cognitive Science from Stanford University and outside of dance, enjoys yoga, swimming at the beach, and sci-fi/fantasy novels.
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 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.
Janine Alicia Montag was born and raised in San Diego, California. She began her artistic journey as a competitive gymnast and continued her investigation of movement by attending the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. While at SDSCPA Janine had the amazing opportunity to perform in Donald McKayle’s choreography “Songs of the Disinherited” and this experience was the catalyst for her application and later acceptance into the UCI Dance Department where she performed in McKayle’s Etude Ensemble for 4 years. She graduated with a double B.F.A in Dance Choreography and Performance with an emphasis in Business Management. After graduation she was invited into Diavolo’s Institute Company where she performed and taught in K-12 schools in Los Angeles. She has danced for companies such as Not Man Apart, SíZa, and The Hubbard Collective. She now dedicates herself to arts education and teaches PE/Dance full-time at Chula Vista Learning Community Charter School, digitally for Teatro San Diego, and serves as education and outreach coordinator of the board for The Hubbard Collective. She is very excited to begin her journey with Malashock Dance.
Katrina DelGrosso is a graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, with a BA in Dance. She studied under Doug Bentz for three years, learning contemporary movement, ideas, and concepts that inspire her every day as a modern jazz dance artist. She has worked with other well-known artists such as Keisha Lalama-White, Susan Stowe, Ron Tassone, Whitney Moncrief, and Richard Rein. She performed seven original works and two full-length productions with the Playhouse Dance Company while in Pittsburgh. As a member of I Love Dance company she performed full-length floor shows in Las Vegas. As their Show Director, Katrina traveled nationwide with I Love Dance directing dozens of competitions. Katrina was an original company dancer and choreographer for Enigmatic Contemporary Dance in Cambridge, MA from 2009-2012. She has been a company member of Dance Prism (Concord Ma) since 1995 and continues to annually perform in their summer Kaleidoscope show. She has been featured in such roles as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Morgana in The Magic of Merlin, the title role in Peter Pan, and many others. She has taught up and down the east coast for the past 15 years. Since moving to Chicago in 2013 she has been rehearsal director and company manager for Lomastro Performing Arts Academy. She has directed and co-choreographed The Nutcracker presented by LoMastro Performing Arts Academy. Through her career has also choreographed countless groups, solos, and duets, receiving numerous staging and choreography awards. She has been certified in PBT since 2018. She has had many students compete and place at YAGP finals in NYC and other various competitions. Her passion for teaching and inspiring students has brought her to San Diego and she is so excited about her next adventure!
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 the 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
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 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.
Nico DeJesus is best known for playing the role of “Romeo” in the movie “Newsies” as well as on the National Broadway Tour. He made his Broadway debut in Pretty Woman and is Jerry Mitchell’s assistant. He has performed alongside Anthony Ramos, Eden Espinosa, and Vanessa Hudgens in “In the Heights” at the Kennedy Center. He can also be seen on numerous episodes on “Shake it Up” as well as on “That’s So Raven” and MTV’s “Awkward.”
Rachel Catalano received her formal training from Dennis and Kathy Landsman at American Dance Center in Kansas City, where she studied classical ballet for eleven years. Here she had multiple opportunities to work closely with renowned dancers/choreographers such as Francie Huber (Paul Taylor) and Judy Rice (The Joffrey Ballet). At 15 years old, she was accepted into a traineeship with Störling Dance Theater where she continued her modern and contemporary training further. This led to her dancing with contemporary companies such as MAXXAS Dance Theater, Kansas City Movement, Fall Contemporary Aerial Dance, and most recently Numinous Flux in Nashville. Mrs. Catalano has booked multiple commercials, music videos, and live performances including the privilege of performing on stage with Jason Mraz in his debut of “Shine” in February 2020. Rachel recently spent a year in Paris, France at Studio Harmonic’s contemporary school, where both of her choreography projects were chosen to be performed and featured in the showcase. At the core of her teaching is the belief that the most profound impact you can have on someone’s life is to make them feel understood and that art is the vehicle to that.
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.