Mireya Pinell-Cruz began her folklorico career at the age of 5 with Cali Calmecac Charter School and Ballet Folklorico Sarita in Windsor, California. She continued as Chair of Ballet Folklorico La Joya de Mexico at UC San Diego. Mireya began dancing professionally with Son de Mexico and Compania de Danza de Viviana Sanchez while living in Barcelona, Spain. Upon her return to San Diego, she continued dancing with DanzArts Sabor Mexico. She has trained in ballet, hip hop, salsa, and other Latin ballroom styles. Currently, Mireya teaches dance at Paradise Hills Elementary and Southwestern College. She is a member of Mujeres en Resistencia and is also co-director of her own dance company, Viva Folklorico! What Mireya loves most about ballet folklorico is that she is able to continue the legacy of her ancestors and spread happiness and inspiration through the power of dance.
Mary Jo Horvath has directed and choreographed over 40 concerts for the Dance program at Southwestern College since 1990. She enjoys seeing her students grow in technique and artistry. Mary Jo received her B.A and M.F.A. in Dance from the University of California at Irvine where she was fortunate to study with Eugene Loring, Jillana, Donald Bradburn, El Gabriel, Olga Maynard, James Penrod, Janice Plastino and Nancy Ruyter. She has danced professionally with Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre and the California Rhythm Project under the direction of Pam Thompson-Spiinner, a protege of the legendary tap dancer Eddie Brown. Mary Jo has studied under many wonderful dance artists including Jean Isaacs, Billy Siegenfeld and Jeannie Hill, Diane Walker, Linda Sohl-Ellison and Ted Levy. Mary Jo frequently attends dance workshops and tap dance festivals and was certified by the American Tap Dance Institute led by Chris Baker. She is excited about promoting local dance companies and featuring them in the Dance Studio Theatre at Southwestern College.
Dana Maué earned her Master of Arts degree in Dance from American University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from The State University of New York at Brockport. Throughout her career, she has studied with such renowned dancers as James Payton, Garth Fagan, Clyde Morgan, Naima Prevots, Mindy Cooper, Liz Lira and David/Jennifer Stein. She is trained in various styles of dance technique and possesses a high level of passion for Musical Theatre Dance and Latin/Ballroom.
Dana realized her passion when she began acting and dancing in musical productions in high school; she continued performing in college productions and now performs at the professional level. One of the highlights of her career was being chosen to perform in the Kennedy Center Honors television show as part of a tribute to dancer Chita Rivera. She has performed in New York, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and San Diego. She has taught and choreographed at several community colleges in Los Angeles and Orange County, as well as California State University at Dominguez Hills.
At SWC, Dana teaches Musical Theatre for Dance, Hip-Hop, Latin, Ballroom, Dance Production, Music For Dancers, Tap and is the advisor for the SWC Dance Club. Dana also directs the fall and spring dance concerts and choreographs the musicals for the theatre dept. She recently formed the SWC Dance Company which performs for community events. She enjoys dancing and performs throughout Southern California with the San Diego based group- Majesty In Motion (Royal Elegance).
Colleen began her training under artists of the San Francisco Opera Ballet, then received her B.A. and M.F.A. degrees in dance from UC Irvine. She is the author of “Passing Through Plateaus: Effective Teaching Methods,” published by Dance Teacher Now. Colleen’s eclectic credits include choreography and dancing for ballet companies, musical theatre productions, concert dance companies, industrials, two KPBS television specials and a Music Television pilot entitled Surf Party. Since 1983, Colleen has created at least three choreographic works each semester for three college dance companies. She has been on faculty at Southwestern college since 1993, Mesa college since 1987, and in 2001 she was honored with the Excellence In Teaching Award from Grossmont college, where she has been teaching for almost 27 years. Recently Colleen has developed the “Backwards Dance History Series” for Mesa College and is working on a dance video project entitled, “Lifeworks.”
Jaami Waali has been dancing for over 23 years and teaching for over 16 years. She began teaching through AmeriCorps National Service, and in 2002, she founded Kruciaal Element Dance Compnay where she directs, choreographs, and organizes numerous performances in SD and LA County including events like Monster Bash and Mardi Gras. She is also certified in Level I Pilates Mat Training and will undergo Level II in January 2012. Over the last 22 years, Jaami has danced with several dance companies, and has been represented by Dorothy Day Otis Dance Agency and Bloc Agency. Jaami has a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and a Masters degree in Dance. Jaami has performed with vocal artists Anisha Nicole, La Rain, Jason Brown, Tawny Heath, Juice, and Abrina. In addition, Jaami has taught at over 50 studios in Southern California, including Culture Shock Dance Center, University of San Diego, Boogiezone, Malashock Dance School, Lakeside Farms Elementary, Aztec Recreation Center at San Diego State University, Mesa Community College, and Southwestern Community College. Her choreography has been featured all over the western United States via vocal artists, exhibitions, and benefits. Aside from dancing, Jaami has over 10 years experience in social services where she has worked with youths from 2-18, adults with both physical and developmental disabilities, and seniors. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and paints in her spare time. Jaami is very grateful for her wonderfully unique family and friends who have always loved and supported her; they have taught her optimism and laughter. She hopes to spread her love for life and dance to as many people as she can! Web: www.Jaamiwaali.com
Debi Toth-Ward holds a BFA in Performing Arts from Johnson State College in Vermont and an MA from San Diego State University, where she was awarded the 1998 alumnus of the year. Debi’s choreography has been presented in New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, and recently in the “Other Side” festival in Seattle. In 1996, Debi was selected by the San Diego Union as one of the top ten choreographers to be watched. She has an extensive performing career as will. She was a member of the Throne Dance Theater in New York, where she appeared with Dave Brubeck and sons. In San Diego she has been seen with Three’s Company, Patricia Sandback and Dancers, and was a founding member of Malashock Dance, where she assisted the director for nine years. Debi has taught children of all ages, several college residencies nationally, and is on the faculty at Grossmont College, City College, and Southwestern College.
Lesa M. Green took her first steps in dance class at the age of two in New York. Over the years, she has trained in Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop and Modern. Some of her performance credits include MTV, Super Bowl Pre-Game Show, company dancer for bKSoul, choreographer for The La Jolla Playhouse, choreographer for Southwestern College and other local schools, dancer for The Lollipop Girls Burlesque and competitor on America’s Got Talent. You may have even seen her in movies “Bring It On” and “Traffic”, as well as TV’s shows such as “Veronica Mars”. Lesa has her B.A. in Dance from UCSD, trained at The Ailey School in NYC and has her M.S. in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University. Her love for kinesiology and belief in positive body image have led her in her journey as a certified personal trainer, registered yoga instructor and proud owner/creator of MIX (her yoga, dance and fitness studio in the College area). She is also the artistic director/creator of MIX Dance Project, a dance company training program for aspiring dancers, dance teachers and choreographers. Her Contemporary Jazz style is a fusion of all of her favorite things (Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, Hip Hop and Yoga) creating a movement that is athletic as well as graceful, yet hard-hitting. Lesa believes that everyone can greatly benefit from dance, yoga and fitness.