Instructors & Staff

Angela Chambers (she/her)

Instructor
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Angela Chambers, an Oakland native, raised in Berkeley, spent most of her young life performing Musical Theater. Introduced to formal and contemporary training upon moving to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC, Angela has had the privilege to develop and expand her knowledge of (and relationship with) dance as an art form, a tool for personal growth, and even as a catalyst for social change. At UCSC, Angela performed, directed and choreographed in many student and faculty-led productions; after graduating in 2014 with a BA in Intensive Psychology and Dance, Angela continues this work within the Santa Cruz dance community and furthers her training through residencies and intensives - most recently with Shannon Mather, A.I.M, and Garth Fagan Dance. Alongside performing, Angela spends most of the season teaching at Motion Pacific and the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center. She also leads her own dance training program that focuses on conditioning, technical refinement, and understanding. When not dancing, Angela pursues her love for working with and supporting young dancers and the community as a Y.P.A.D certified Health and Wellness teacher and as the Development Director/Programming Manager at TWDCC.--

Annie Hubbard (she/her)

Facilities Manager
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coming soon...

Collette Tabone (she/her)

Director / Instructor / Board of Directors
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Coming soon...

Cookie Harrist (she/they)

Instructor
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Cookie Harrist (she/they) is a dancer recently relocated from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. She's thrilled to be here! She has danced in works by Sara Shelton Mann, Joe Goode Performance Group, LEVY Dance, NAKA Dance Theater and others. She was a faculty member at ODC School in San Francisco before her move and Cookie is a well known advocate for the #metoo movement in contemporary dance and contact improvisation. Cookie gives thanks to the wisdom of master teachers Sara Shelton Mann and Kathleen Hermsdorf, from whom she has developed her teaching practice.

Elizebeth Randall Rains (she/her)

Instructor
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Elizebeth Randall Rains grew up in Santa Cruz dancing with wonderful teachers including Ruth Fisher, Valentina Belova, Vicki Bergland, Rebecca Blair and Sara Wilbourne. She received her BA in Dance from San Francisco State University and her MFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Elizebeth performed extensively in the SF Bay Area and toured nationally and internationally with companies including Paufve Dance, Liss Fain Dance, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Davalos Dance Company and Paco Gomes and Dancers. She began teaching as a teenager and has enjoyed collaborating with students at Saint Mary's College, SF State, Endicott College, Boston Ballet School, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and at public schools and libraries. Elizebeth currently teaches in the MFA program at Saint Mary's College and studies somatic movement with Bill Evans and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. Her teaching and embodied research explore the bridges and connections between somatic awareness, functional anatomy and ballet practice. Elizebeth is very grateful to be back in Santa Cruz with her family and can often be found meandering through the magical redwood forests with her two little loves. She is thrilled to be joining the Motion community.

Emily Coletta (she/her)

Membership Coordinator
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Emily is a writer who dances for fun. She is currently working on an MFA at San José State University and has probably emailed you asking if you'd like to become a Member in Motion. If she hasn't, hey, have you considered becoming a member?

Johanna Holo (she/her)

Work Trade: Desk Staff
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Coming soon...

Kara Wernick

Work Trade: Desk Staff
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Coming soon...

Lauren Korth (she/her)

Instructor
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Lauren Korth has a BA in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Dance from UCSC. Since starting dance at age 4, Lauren carries over 20 years of dance experience in Hip Hop, Tap, Contemporary, and Ballet. As a competitive dancer in Sacramento during her youth, Lauren has a deep understanding of technique, choreography, and improvisation. At UCSC Lauren danced and choreographed for multiple shows, including Random With a Purpose and En Route: Urban Dance Showcase -- both of which she co-directed during her senior year. Lauren currently dances with re.DEFINE Collective, an adult competitive hip hop company in Hayward, CA. She enjoys taking dance classes within Santa Cruz and the greater Bay Area to continue her personal growth as a dancer. Lauren began taking classes with Motion Pacific in 2012 and is thrilled to now be teaching with the studio!

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Leslie Guzman (she/her)

Instructor
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Leslie Guzman started dancing at age 5. She began her formal classical ballet training with Connie Schwarze emphasizing the Vaganova Syllabus and continued on scholarship with the San Francisco Ballet School and the School of American Ballet in New York. She has taught adult ballet at Zohar in Palo Alto, International Academy of Dance (IAD), and Pacific Arts Complex (PAC) in Santa Cruz. Leslie is an American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Certified Teacher for ABT's National Training Curriculum in Primary through Levels 4-5 & Pointe. She has performed locally with Tandy Beal & Karl Schaffer and continues to participate in the IAD annual production of The Nutcracker at the Crocker Theater. She is continually inspired by her own studies with Vicki Bergland, Rebecca Blair, Lisa Burnett, and Kristine Elliott.

Maria Walsh (she/her)

Instructor
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Maria has been teaching Dance for Parkinson’s at Motion Pacific since 2017. She received her BA in sociology and dance from Hampshire College, focusing her studies on identity formation through social dance and the gendering of movement. As a dancer she has performed at the National Queer Arts Festival, the Tannery Arts Center, Motion Pacific Dance, and around the Bay Area as a musician. Maria loves the immediacy that movement provides us to find our expression, senses, imagination, humanity, and connection to ourselves and each other. She also enjoys being in the ocean, playing chess, and physical comedy.

Mariah Hart (she/her)

Instructor
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Mariah started dancing at Motion Pacific in 2012 and has been shaped as a mover by the amazing community at Motion. Training in ballet, contemporary, modern, and jazz. Evolving from student to teacher she now teaches ballet and contemporary. Her teaching style focuses on creating confident, strong dancers through technique and dance basics. She continues to take classes at Motion, constantly advancing not only her dancing but her teaching.--

Melissa Wiley (she/they)

Instructor/ Board of Directors
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Melissa is Motion Pacific’s newest board member, and one of our longest teaching staff members. She began teaching for Motion in 2005 after moving from Southern California and transferring to UCSC, with already a decade’s worth of experience choreographing and teaching ballet, tap, hip hop and jazz.

Motion became an immediate home away from home, and she has been integral in helping develop our youth program.
Over the last 10 years she has grown into the Artistic Director role of Stockings; a Holiday Cabaret, our annual fundraiser event that takes place in December.
After taking over Family Network Preschool in 2014 she decreased her teaching schedule, and now teaches adult Contemporary Jazz to a dedicated following, and loves bringing new folx into the fold.

Melissa’s style ranges from slow(ish) paced and moody, to fast paced and fun, to sultry and sexy, and is always technical and expressive. Class always starts with a meditative flowing warm-up and stretch, incorporating toning and conditioning, and then moves to choreography.

Mercedes Ross (she/her)

Instructor
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Mercedes Ross was first introduced to dance at the age of 3 and continued to dance ever since because of the JOY it brings! She is a choreographer, dance instructor, and dancer in Santa Cruz Bay Area. With a BA in Dance from The University of Hawaii at Manoa, she has danced in Hawaii, New York, and locally with Tandy Beal and Company, Empire Dance Company, Stellaria, Circus of Nations and Move, Speak, Spin. Serving as the executive director for Modern Collective Dance Company, providing entertainment to the Bay Area events and productions. Mercedes has the pleasure of sharing the art of movement at Motion Pacific Dance, Pacific Arts Complex, The Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center, Mount Madonna School, and All About Theatre. She has choreographed large local youth musicals such as Lion King Jr, Urinetown, Thirteen, Honk Jr, Fiddler on the Roof, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Mount Madonna’s original “The Ramayana”. Mercedes looks forward to continuing to share the JOY of movement!

Meredith Cabezas (she/her)

Director of Operations / Social Media / Instructor
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Meredith is a lifelong dancer and lover of movement in all forms. Dance fell into her life at age 10 when a local studio came to perform at her school and she begged her mom to sign her up for classes the very next day! Meredith’s time at Motion Pacific began in 2015 when she was hired as a teacher and has continued to become more involved in the organization over time. Meredith currently serves as the Director of Operations and Social Media Manager, in addition to teaching Burlesque & Sensual Dance. Motion Pacific is her home & community and she feels incredibly blessed to be a part of it!

Molly Katzman (they/she)

Instructor
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Molly Katzman has been dancing, teaching and living in Santa Cruz for 13 years. Their dance lineage includes, but is not limited to: Yelena Holt, Leslie Johnson, Daniel Mollner, Joe Goode, Kathleen Hermesdorf, and Ohad Naharin. It is an honor for them to hold space and be a witness to creative moving bodies. It seriously is the best.

Nicolette Kaempf (she/they)

Work Trade: Cleaning Staff
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Coming soon...

Paris Cannon (she/her)

Instructor / Desk Staff
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Paris Cannon has been dancing since she was 6 years old. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Paris has traveled all over the world to train in dance and perform. Paris studied dance in Santa Cruz, California with small local studios and trained with the Santa Cruz and San Jose Ballet. By junior and high school, she was varsity captain of the cheer team and a competition dancer. Training continued with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance until moving to Portland in 2010 where she continued her training at BodyVox and Northwest Dance Project. In 2013, Paris moved to Israel to train with Vertigo Dance Company. In 2015, she moved to Berlin to train with DanceWorks Berlin. Currently back in Santa Cruz, Paris teaches creative movement at Motion Pacific, and continues her training there. She also has been teaching creative movement with Afterglow Aerial Arts virtually as well. Paris works for a children's entertainment company, Happily Ever Laughter, where she dresses up like a fairy and many other characters for children's celebrations with magic, face painting, balloon twisting, dance lessons, and sparkle. Paris adores the little ones, and has been teaching in studios all over the west coast. Children inspire her and she loves inspiring them.

Rachel Peterson (she/her)

Studio Rentals Manager / Instructor
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Rachel Peterson walked into her first tap class at the age of four and instantly fell in love with movement. From then on, she studied at multiple studios in the Sacramento area with her training focused primarily on tap, ballet, and jazz. Her love for teaching began at the age of seventeen, when she was able to instruct her first youth jazz class. Since then, she has found her passion for dancing and instructing has only grown stronger. While studying at UC Santa Cruz, Rachel continued her training through the Physical Education and Theatre Arts departments and was able to perform and choreograph often for quarterly showcases. She graduated with a major in human biology and a minor in dance in 2016. In the fall of 2017, Rachel began teaching jazz and modern dance for the UCSC PE department and in 2018 began teaching ballet and contemporary at Motion Pacific Dance. As an instructor, she hopes to inspire students to develop a life-long relationship with dance and to fully embrace the incredible community established at Motion Pacific.

Rebecca Setziol (she/her)

Instructor
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Rebecca started her dancing career in her living room - learning every move to Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation choreography. Her love of dance has been worked into everything she's done, bringing rhythm to her life in surprising ways. In 2006, her sister – an instructor for Rhythm & Motion by the Cincinnati Ballet - brought her to her first Rhythm & Motion class, and Rebecca instantly became a booty shakin’, passionate student. Now, as an Rhythm & Motion instructor, she communicates the physical and mental knowledge of what she enjoys most as a student, and shares that information with her classes. Her classes are designed to encourage joyfulness, silliness, hard work, lots of play and a sense of community.

Rhiannon Luz De Luna (she/her)

Instructor
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Rhiannon has always loved the beauty and ease of movement and music. She began dancing and performing when she was 3 and hasn’t stopped. She enjoys most forms of dance but her new favorite form is kitchen dancing with her baby and husband. Her background in Early Childhood Education and her love of dance make for the perfect combination in inspiring young movers through movement and music.

Shannon Ainsworth (she/her)

Instructor
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Shannon Ainsworth began dancing at the age of 5, studying ballet, tap, and jazz. Throughout her childhood, she trained in more dance styles such as contemporary, Latín/ballroom, hip hop and musical theater. At the age of 15, Shannon began teaching young dancers at her studio and competing on a dance team. At 17, Shannon was hired to choreograph musicals for a summer theater company in Novato, California. She has performed in over fifteen musicals and choreographed seven.

Shannon attended University of Oregon where she danced on the university’s hip hop team. She studied elementary education and continued on to get her Master’s degree and teaching credential at UCSC in 2017. Shannon is both a dance teacher and full time first grade teacher. Dance is Shannon’s first love and she is passionate about sharing that love with her students.

Susan Hill

Work Trade: Cleaning Staff
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Coming soon...