Naja Gentry is the Director and Owner of Spotlight Arts Academy. She is also the Cheer/Dance Team Director for the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco and in addition the University’s Dance Department Coordinator. Naja is the Former Westlake School of Performing Arts Jazz Director, Former Performing Arts Teacher for the Dublin School District, Former Dance Technique Coordinator for De Anza College Dance Teams (Phase II, III), 3-year Member of the Warrior Girls, 3-year 49er Goldrush Member, 1-year SaberKitten Director’s Assistant, 1-year American Spirit Association Director of Sports Team Entertainment, toured with M.C. Hammer, danced with Paula Abdul and is a Nine Time National Anthem Singer. Naja was awarded 2002 “Spotlight Dance Cup” Choreography of the Year and 2007 “Hall of Fame” Best Choreography Award.
Digz was first introduced to the world of dance by his brother through the style of Capoeira. Digz then studied Capoeira for several years. He noticed similarities in Bboying and decided to fuse the styles making it his own. After building a reputation around the Bay Area and Southern California with his crew “X-Force,” he had the opportunity to perform with LL Cool J and Amerie at the AFC Championship halftime show. There he connected with East Bay group Culture Shock Oakland. Since then, Digz has danced and trained with Culture Shock Oakland, Funkanometry SF, Groove Junkies, Gen2, Phoenix Dance Company, The Company and is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of For The Cause.
Heintje teaches our Ballroom Recital and Competitve Classes. He specializes in Latin and Rhythm Dances.
Genna started training since she was 7 in various types of dances such as hula/tahitian, ballroom, basic ballet/jazz, and hip hop. Her passion is hip hop and she has trained/danced with various groups in the bay area. She loves to teach and hopes to inspire her students not only to learn dance etiquette and choreography, but also background information about dance and hip hop to expand their horizons on the appreciation for dance as an art and form of language.
Leah Curran was born and raised in Devils Lake, North Dakota. At age 11, she began her dance training and never looked back. After earning a B.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Montana, Curran moved to Oakland in 2007 and promptly immersed herself in the Bay Area dance community. She currently dances with Dana Lawton Dances, Gretchen Garnett & Dancers, and the Riley Project. Curran has also worked with Aura Fischbeck Dance, Kelly Bowker & Dancers, and the Pfeifle Dance Project.
Chantelle trained at the Contra Costa Ballet School and the School of American Ballet. She performed with the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Scherzo a la Russe, Christopher Wheeldon’s Scenes de Ballet, and Susan Stroman’s Double Feature. She originated roles in works by Melissa Barak, Adam Hougland, and Alexey Miroshnichenko for the New York Choreographic Institute. In 2008, Chantelle enrolled in Columbia University’s School of General Studies and was a member of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. She joined Company C Contemporary Ballet in 2010.
Jacob began training at Contra Costa Ballet. He went on to study with Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet And Pittsburgh Ballet. He has danced professionally at Peninsula Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Richmond Ballet and prior to joining the newly returning Oakland Ballet in 2007, he was one of the original dance members of Company C Contemporary Ballet. When Jacob is not preparing for shows he enjoys training in mixed martial arts.
Gregg’s music training is evident in his teaching of rhythm tap as an innovative teacher/choreographer. His background includes the study of piano, jazz music, gymnastics and psychology. Gregg has studied with tap masters such as Steve Condos, Eddie Brown, Honi Coles, Cholly Atkins and Jimmy Slyde. He has been called a teacher/artist/performer and his passion for tap is expressed through teaching. Gregg has performed with many local groups, among those the Escovedo Family and as the percussionist for a jazz trio.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Annalisa Perrazo is a graduate of San Jose State University (SFSU) and has trained in ballet, jazz, and tap at a small studio in Livermore. Perrazo continued her training in ballet during her teen years with the Oakland Ballet Academy under the direction of Ronn Guidi. She later joined the Oakland Ballet Company as an apprentice performing in the Nutcracker and the Secret Garden. She was a member of University Dance Theatre at SFSU under the direction of Gary Masters and attended the American College Dance Festival (ACDF) in both Salt Lake City, UT and Tempe, AZ.
Kurt has a passion for dance and is a versatile, well-rounded dancer who continues to explore the many forms of his craft. He started with ballet at age 3, and then moved to Hip Hop and Popping at 6. Kurt started to learn Breaking when he was 14 years old. When Kurt was exposed to Popping, he knew he wanted to focus on contemporary Hip Hop. He continues to draw on Popping and other forms of Hip Hop for inspiration and to grow as a dancer. Kurt has choreographed for various dance showcases, events and charitable causes. He continues to learn and to improve his dancing technique. Kurt uses dance to motivate others to also express themselves through the arts.
Voice and Music Instructor.
Kristin has been teaching ballet and pre school dance in the South Bay for
over twenty years. She has also choreographed for competitive
dance teams winning regional awards. Kristin helped to perfect
Olympic gold and silver medalist gymnast Amy Chow's floor
routines. She started her early training studying the Royal Academy
of Dance syllabus at Elizabeth Neumann's Ballet Studio in Saratoga,
CA. She also studied at the Los Gatos Academy of Dance, San Jose
Dance Theatre under the direction of Paul E. Curtis Jr. and Shaun
Stuart, Ballet West and Boston Ballet School.
Bruce feels strongly that the clear, well-rounded strength of a sturdy tap foundation, for beginners of any age, is a gift for the future. With a strong foundation comes the courage, confidence, and comfort needed to take in, work with, and execute a variety of tap styles in the intermediate and advanced levels, with a more satisfying ease. He believes that this approach to teaching, and learning, is true for most forms of dance...and life. Once the foundation is set, Bruce enjoys imparting many styles, ranging from the classic to the current, with innovative whimsy and humor scattered throughout...and, at times tapping outside of the box! Bruce encourages the students in his classes to "work hard and play hard"...in other words, to have fun while getting things done!
Adrianna was born in Castro Valley, CA and received her ballet training at City Ballet School in San Francisco under the direction of Galina Alexandrova. There she danced roles such as Snow Queen in the Nutcracker and Cat in Peter and the Wolf, choreographed by Yuri Zhukov, in addition to other soloist roles. Adrianna has attended ABT and Boston Ballet Summer intensive programs and performed as a soloist in their final productions.