Our Current Malashock Staff

Meet the Current Members of Malashock Dance


John Malashock

Artistic Director

John Lean 250 pixJOHN MALASHOCK brings 35 years of experience in dance, theater, and film to his current role as Artistic Director of Malashock Dance. He has created more than 70 choreographic works, dance/theater collaborations, theater and opera productions, and award-winning dance films. John founded Malashock Dance in 1988, after a distinguished performing career with Twyla Tharp’s company in New York, where he performed worldwide; appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Amadeus; was featured in numerous television specials, and performed in numerous concerts with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Under John’s leadership, Malashock Dance has become one of California’s premiere dance companies, and his work has been presented throughout the United States, Central America, Japan, and Central Europe. Malashock has many notable collaborative credits to his name: he has choreographed productions at the La Jolla Playhouse and the Old Globe Theatre; his work has been commissioned by the San Diego Symphony, La Jolla Music Society, and San Diego Opera; and he has garnered six Emmy Awards for his dance films, which have aired on over 30 affiliate PBS stations nationwide.

John has served as guest faculty for the American Dance Festival, Cal State Long Beach, Dance Space New York, ADF/Tokyo, Connecticut College, and the University of Utah, among many others. A leader within the local and national dance communities, Malashock has served on the Board of Trustees for Dance USA and is proud to have taken the leadership role in conceiving, developing, and establishing Dance Place San Diego at Liberty Station, where he teaches classes and workshops throughout the year.

Molly Puryear

Executive Director

MOLLY PURYEAR brings experience in program management and administration to her position. She was instrumental in the founding and development of the School in 2007, and as Education Director from 2009 – 2014, she was responsible for all aspects of development, facilitation, marketing, employment, partnerships, curriculum development, grant-writing and administration for the School and in-reach/outreach programs. She has strategically aligned specific synergies between the artistic and educational pillars in order to create a holistic approach to the relationship between MD’s programs, the community it serves, and its funders. She infuses the administrative staff with confidence, is open to creative strategies, and has increased accountability, trust, and cohesion among staff. Molly has proven to be an excellent model of management and leadership. She is thrilled to share her profound knowledge and passion for the artistic and education programs of Malashock Dance with the community.

A modern dancer and instructor with over fifteen years’ experience teaching dance and over 25 years of training in various dance genres, Molly demonstrates uncompromising dedication to both students and the art form of dance. Molly received a BFA in Dance from the University of North Texas in 2003, where she primarily studied under Arleen Sugano, master instructor and co-author of Physics and the Art of Dance; and Robin Lakes. Molly has choreographed and performed for numerous local dance events, including Sound Dance Company in San Diego.

Molly is an active member of several arts education advocacy groups including AERO San Diego and was honored to present on arts integration at the Kickstart the Arts in (Y)our Schools conference in 2014 with Dr. Meryl Goldberg. Ms. Puryear participated in the Fieldstone Foundation’s Non-Profit Leadership Learning Group and Executive Coaching program. Molly was selected from a competitive national pool of applicants to participate in Dance USA’s DILT (Dance USA Institute of Leadership Training). She was the recipient of the Center for Cultural Innovation’s NextGen grant for professional development, and served on the Steering Committee for San Diego Dance Connect, a local dance service organization, from 2014-2016.

Thom Dancy

Outreach and Communications Coordinator

THOM DANCY has danced with Milwaukee Ballet II, Grand Rapids Ballet, The Big Muddy Dance Company (under Artistic Director Brian Enos), and The Muny, the nation’s largest regional equity theater. Thom has also worked as an audition assistant for both The Muny and The Big Muddy. He has had the pleasure of dancing soloist roles in works by Robert Moses, Brian Enos, Kate Skarpetowska, Stephanie Martinez, Harrison McEldowney, Penny Saunders, Olivier Wevers, Gerald Arpino, and George Balanchine.

As an administrator, Thom has assisted in Big Muddy’s growth over the past three years, working as the company’s Social Media Coordinator and serving on its Marketing Committee. He was a part of the team responsible for the grant earning Joshua Manculich the Princess Grace Award in 2015 and most recently headed the inaugural performance collaboration between The Big Muddy and Webster University’s Dance Department. Thom is also the former director of his own Milwaukee-based dance project, NomadicLIMBS. Thom is currently the Communications Chair for AERO San Diego’s Advocacy Committee and is on the Steering Committee for Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego.

Thom has emerged as a choreographer in recent years, having won awards at The McCallum Dance Under The Stars Choreography Competition, Youth America Grand Prix, and the World Ballet Competition. He has presented contemporary works on The Big Muddy, Grand Rapids Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet II, Danceworks Chicago, Ballet Nebraska, Convergence Ballet, San Diego Ballet’s “Dance Gallery,” Webster University, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. His work has been seen at the Spring To Dance Festival in St. Louis and in GRB’s “Best of Movemedia.”

Lizette Ortiz

School Administrator

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.

Lizette also has extensive experience working directly with the San Diego community, families, and children. Her experience includes program development and administration through the South Bay Family YMCA and City of San Diego Parks and Recreation department. She works to connect communities through social, physical, and cognitive development in her programs. Lizette’s honest work ethic is apparent in her dedication to make a difference in her community through the performing arts, education, and health and wellness. After achieving her Bachelors in Child and Family Development from San Diego State University, she is now earning her Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She plans to use these skills to improve customer experiences and to better manage programs within the dance community.

Hannah Reinert

Administrative Coordinator

HANNAH REINERT is a recent graduate from UC San Diego where she received a dual B.A. in Theatre and Communication, Cum Laude with Highest Honors. There, she received a multi-faceted education where she also performed in multiple department shows, co-directed a studio project under Company 157, and studied performance under the instruction of renowned artists such as Ursula Meyer, Jim Carmody, Jennifer Chang, and Cynthia Stokes. Under the direction of mentors Julie Burelle and Alison Urban, she also completed an extensive honors thesis in which she combined cognitive theory, embodiment theory, theatrical pedagogy, and theatre in education practices to question whether or not theatre in education can produce a measurable empathetic response. Her thesis was awarded highest honors as well as was a contributing factor to her co-winning the UCSD Jacob Bronowski Theatre Award, June 2017.