Tia Aiono is native to Salt Lake City, UT. She has been dancing since childhood and continues to teach and choreograph all over Utah. She specializes in Hip Hop styles including waacking, jazz funk, house and vogue. She is the Waacking Coordinator for professional all-styles performing company Underground Crew and creator and director of hip hop competitive team Kinetic Blend. Tia is the hip hop instructor for Pioneer Performing Arts Academy and also a choreographer for Millennium Dance Complex SLC, an extension from LA. She has performed in multiple professional stage shows, including several Underground Crew productions and Boise State Shades of Black. Performed many commercial events including opening for Twista, Summer Jam, Mountain Dew Tour and professional sporting events. Film work includes Lindsey Stirling’s “Moon Trance” music video and IKUNA apparel fall/winter 2013 promotional. Tia also enjoys freestyle battling. Some of her favorite accomplishments include winner of UWD contemporary battle 2013 (UT), Waackfest 2013 semi-finals (LA) and Bloc Party 2013 finals (CO). Tia prides her work on bringing awareness of hip hop foundations to the studio world, and creating an environment for her students to release full creative self expression.
Natalie Desch, (Juilliard BFA, University of Washington MFA,) performed for five seasons with the Limón Dance Company and for eleven seasons with Doug Varone and Dancers in NYC and was a faculty member at Hunter College from 2005-2012. Having taught regularly at various NYC studios including the Limón Institute, Peridance, Dance New Amsterdam, and the 92nd Street Y, she has also been on faculty at summer intensives including those of the Limón and Varone companies, Ballet West Academy, the Bates Dance Festival, the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theater, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Natalie was guest faculty at Weber State University in 2015 and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2016. She has staged the works of Varone, Limón, and Jiri Kylián on companies and universities around the world, and her choreography has been presented at venues throughout the US. In 2008, Natalie earned her yoga certification from YogaWorks NYC, and she currently on faculty at Salt Lake Community College, Utah Valley University, and Westminster College in the Salt Lake City area.
Keely Song Glenn is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Brigham Young University and a Certified Laban Movement Analyst. She received her MFA in dance from The University of Iowa and was awarded the prestigious Dean’s Graduate Fellowship. Previously, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and after high school received her B.A. in dance education from Brigham Young University.
While in Ohio, Ms. Glenn was the recipient of the Individual Arts Excellence Award in Choreography presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Gravity’s Ripple III Choreographic Residency Award sponsored by the Dublin Arts Council and OhioDance. She was also the recipient of three Greater Columbus Arts Councils Artists Grants and was a dance educator with Balletmet.
As an independent movement designer she plays with the idea of the absurd and the familiar to create accessible works for the child and the adult. She is a technical fusionist blending urban arts, classical stylization, and athleticism into her choreography.
Peter LeBreton Merz was named Ballet West academy director in 2015 and has over 20 years of experience as a dance educator and choreographer. From 2004-2015, he served on the faculty of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. While there, he rose to the rank of Associate Professor, tenured, and led the ballet unit of the faculty for seven years. He taught courses in ballet technique, pointe, male enchainment, classical pas de deux, dance composition, theater stagecraft, and an academic class in “Arts and the Human Experience”.
Merz has served as a coach, choreographer and jury member for several ballet competitions, including the USA International Ballet Competition, the Korea International Ballet Competition, the American Dance Competition, and the Youth America Grand Prix. He was named Outstanding Teacher by the YAGP jury at the Pittsburgh regional in 2014, and has twice been named Outstanding Choreographer.
Tyler Orcutt was born and raised in Ohio, and began his formal dance training upon his move to Florida in 2005. He is currently a professional dancer with Repertory Dance Theatre, residing in Salt Lake City. He joined RDT in 2012, shortly after receiving
his B.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of South Florida. While attending USF, he had the privilege of dancing in works by Bill T. Jones, Doug Varone, and Michael Foley. During his time with RDT, he has performed throughout the United States in the works of Zvi Gotheiner, Molissa Fenly, Claire Porter, Danielle Agami, Ze’eva Cohen, and Andy Noble, among others. Also through RDT, he has had the distinct honor of performing in works choreographed by some of the great modern dance pioneers of the 20th century, including José Limón, Merce Cunningham, Ted Shawn, Charles Weidman, and Michio Ito.
URSULA PERRY was born in Houston, Texas where she began her training at the Houston Ballet Academy. Since then she has studied under various schools including those at the Boston Ballet, Joffery Ballet, Alvin Ailey, and the Edge Performing Arts Center. She then made the journey to Utah and attended the University of Utah’s Ballet Department. Since graduation, she has performed with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, Prism Dance Theatre, and River North. Since her return to Salt Lake she is proud to have performed with RawMoves, Movement Forum, and Influx Dance. Ursula joined Repertory Dance Theatre in 2013.
Sara Pickett is a dance educator and choreographer in the Salt Lake City area currently faculty at the University of Utah School of Dance. Sara received her MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah as a recipient of a University Teaching Award.
She also received the Lindquist Creative Arts Fellowship through Weber State University. Sara danced professionally with Rick Robinson’s Total Control, and was a core member of Millennium, a hip hop company in Denver, Co. with Kenny Jimenez. She is a co-founder and producer of BRINE, a concert of dance works presented in Salt Lake City now in its fourth season. Sara’s choreography has been performed at the University of Utah, Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Idaho State University, the American College Dance Association, Lagoon Park, and the Colorado Academy of the Arts, among others.
Deborah was born in Mexico City and graduated from Royal Academy of Dance, London in classical ballet. Her professional performing experience includes the National Ballet of Cuba, Metropolitan Dance Company in Mexico City, special guest dancer with Luxembourg Ballet and San Diego City Ballet. During her professional career she performed classical and contemporary works, including La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Giselle, Nutcracker, Paquita, La Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Rubies and Serenade. After her second baby (the incredible Isabella, joining the equally talented Marcielo) she decided to transition from dancing professionally to become Pilates Certified and to coach Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Ofa has been dancing since his junior year of high school. Ofa and his two best friends started up a dance crew called The After Hours Crew (AHC). The crew had connections with a dance teacher who allowed the crew to practice after hours to perfect their skills. After the crew got going, they made their way into the dance scene by doing local workshops, small dance gigs, attending battles among other functions. Ofa performs with NuTribe and Underground crew and teaches at Millennium Dance Complex in Salt Lake City.