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Castro Valley Performing Arts Staff
Castro Valley Performing Arts is proud to offer a comprehensive and unique dance program
with exceptionally talented instructors. We provide classes designed to build self-confidence,
self-expression and motivation while working hard and having fun!
Janet Nordgren-Taddie | McGarry Caven | Laura Dougherty | Kristina Dresen | Sierra Gordon | Amy Green | Melissa Kessler | Vanessa McGautha | Lindsay Roebuck | Gia Solari
| ||Janet Nordgren-Taddie|
With over 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, Janet has toured with such names as the
Temptations, JoAnn Castle, Bob Hope and Dorothy LaMour. She also spent several years performing aboard
Princess Cruise Lines (The Love Boat) singing and dancing in their nightly musical productions.
Her television credits include
"Dick Clark's Special of the Year Show" and various commercials for Princess Cruises and
American Express. Her choreography credits include a dance fitness television pilot featuring
Joanie Greggins, Billy Hufsy from FAME and MC Hammer; The Teen Miss California Pageant;
Miss CA Pageant; Outstanding Teen of California Pageant; Ohlone College Summerfest theater productions
of Grease and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to The Forum; and numerous industrials throughout
the state of CA. She also served as dance director of the syndicated television program
"Morning Stretch". Prior to opening Castro Valley Performing Arts, Janet was the director of The
Academy for the Performing Arts in Fremont and Newark and a member of the faculty in the drama
department at Ohlone College in Fremont.
| ||McGarry Caven|
Specializing in Ballet, Jazz, and Modern
McGarry comes to us with extensive training in ballet, modern and jazz. He has studied with the San Francisco
Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet, Banff School of Fine Arts and the First Chamber Dance Lab. He has toured with
Chita Riviera in the national touring company of Chicago; with the Joffrey Ballet Company; and danced the lead
in Bare Touch of Vegas, Casino Des Paris, Viv Les Girls, Dance Fever, Bravo Vegas, Branded in Las Vegas.
Along with his performing career, he was the artist in residence in the dance department at UNLV for five
years. While in Las Vegas, he taught at the Backstage Dance Studio and choreographed for the Actors Repertory
Theater. He has choreographed shows for Harveys, Lake Tahoe; The Crystal Room, Tokyo, Japan; and the Aruba
Concorde Hotel in Aruba. He currently teaches at CVPA and travels extensively as a free lance choreographer
and teacher throughout the US and Canada.
Specializing in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Stretch n' Strengthen, and Musical Theatre
Laura has been dancing since the age of 13 with most of her training under Janet Nordgren-Taddie and Rob Perry. She has also trained at Berkeley Ballet Theatre, San Jose State University and is a graduate of the Theatre Arts Intensive at San Jose’s American Musical Theatre. She is also a 4-year veteran of San Jose State’s Musical Theatre Company One directed by Janie Scott. Along with her training, she has performed in professional and community theatre musicals throughout the Bay Area. Some of her favorites include Singin’ In The Rain at AMT; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at AMT, where she was received the Ginny Award for Best Dancer; West Side Story at Cabrillo Stage; and Chorus Line at Ohlone College playing the role as Cassie. Laura believes that ballet technique is one of the most important things in dance as it not only teaches discipline and strength, but a sense of grace and body awareness. Her classes are challenging, yet fun and exciting.
Specializing in Children's Classes, Tap, Jazz, and Pre-Ballet
Kristina's been dancing since the age of five. She has also been actively involved in local theater productions, her favorite being "Charlie Brown". Kristina is currently teaching and choreographing numbers for theater classes at the Douglas Morrison Theater summer program as well as teaching a large number of children's classes at Castro Valley Performing Arts. She loves working with children and is currently taking classes at Las Positas Community College to further her career in liberal studies and child development. Her classes are both fun and challenging. Kristina's classes encourage the young dancer to explore their creativity while building self-confidence. She has a large following of tiny dancers who adore her - appropriately calling her the "the little old lady who lives in the shoe" - tap shoe that is!!
Specializing in Jazz and Contemporary
Sierra Michelle Gordon was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has extensive training in jazz, contemporary and hip hop. Sierra was a member of the three-time national championship University of Tennessee Dance Team and is a current member of the Golden State Warriors Girls. She has done commercial work for ESPN as well as choreography for the Universal Dance Association which hosts top-ranking dance teams in the nation. Sierra's motivation as a teacher/choreographer is fueled by her passion for the art of dance and love for teaching. CVPA is proud to welcome Sierra to our faculty.
Specializing in Tumbling
Amy comes to Castro Valley Performing Arts with extensive gymnastics training. Hailing from Connecticut, she was a competitive gymnast until her focus turned towards coaching. Along with coaching at the varsity level, she developed a tumbling program for tiny tots. Upon moving to California, she began an intramural gymnastics program for the San Mateo YMCA specializing in gymnastic choreography for dancers. With a focus on building strength and agility, she brings her wealth of knowledge to our students in a fun but disciplined environment.
||Melissa Kessler |
Specializing in Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, Cheerleading, and Toddler/Children's Classes
Melissa has been dancing since the age of five, spending the majority of her training under the direction of
Janet Nordgren-Taddie. She is a four year veteran of the Golden State Warrior Girls professional cheerleading
team. In September of 2003, she was chosen to represent the NBA in Beijing and Shanghai, China. In addition to
her performing and teaching, she also coaches and choreographs for many Bay Area cheerleading squads - most
recently working with the Bishop O'Dowd High School and Cal State Hayward cheerleaders. Melissa's classes are
both fun and challenging for her students.
| ||Vanessa McGautha|
Specializing in Jazz and Hip-Hop
Vanessa joined the CVPA staff in 1998. She is a former head instructor and choreographer for
Universal Dance Association, where she taught across the country, as well as judged the National
Dance Team Championships, televised on ESPN. Vanessa is also a former dancer and choreographer for
the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Her innovative fusion of jazz and hip hop provide a style that is
challenging, yet exciting for her students.
Specializing in Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip-Hop
Lindsay has been dancing all her life, and has had professional training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theater, and hip hop. After receiving her dance training from San Ramon Valley Dance Academy and programs in the US and abroad, including the Russian Ballet Society, BalletMet Columbus, and competing on the national level at New York City Dance Alliance; she moved to NYC where she joined the Steps on Broadway Repertory Ensemble and has worked with choreographers including Mark Dendy, Nathan Trice, Taye Diggs, Steven Sofia, and Jason Winters. Musical credits include On the 20th Century, Cabaret, West Side Story, The Music Man, and Legally Blonde the Musical, where she served as dance captain. While in NYC, Lindsay also received her Bachelor's degree from Marymount Manhattan College in Communications with a Minor in Theater. She has also worked with various theater organizations, including the Drama League and New York Stage and Film. She also received her Pilates Mat Certification through Power Pilates. Her class maintains a focus on technique and placement, while encouraging and developing a strong emotional quality and stage presence in her students.
Specializing in Modern, Contemporary, Jazz
As a director, choreographer, educator, and administrator, Gia has been involved with performing arts production since 1990. Creative credits include Legally Blonde, The Musical (Dir./Chor. - Diablo Theatre Company), Sweet Charity (Dir./Chor. - American Conservatory Theater MFA3 Series), Little Shop of Horrors (Assistant Dir./Chor. - AMTSJ), Dreamgirls (Assistant Dir. - West Coast Tour), Evita (National Youth Theater Award - Best Choreography), national projects for the Golden State Warrior Girls Dance Team, America's Junior Miss, and Universal Dance Association, and regional work with American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Willows Theatre Company, Theatre on San Pedro Square, Pocket Opera, Children's Musical Theatre of San Jose, among others. An adjunct faculty member at California State University, East Bay and Notre Dame de Namur University, she has taught for the Universal Dance Association, Mills College, U.C. Davis' Experimental College, Music Theatre Conservatory, and Castro Valley Performing Arts. As a performer, Gia began her professional career as a dancer at age 14 and has worked throughout North America and Europe. Theatrical credits include the national tours of Evita (25th Anniversary Tour / Dance Captain, Dir. Harold Prince) and The Hot Mikado (Dance Captain) as well as regional work with companies such as American Musical Theatre of San Jose, Peninsula Civic Light Opera, San Francisco Musical Theatre Company, and Woodminster Summer Musicals. Dance credits include Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Disney, and Nickelodeon. She proudly served as Artistic Associate for American Musical Theatre of San Jose and, most recently, Producing Director for Diablo Theatre Company. Gia is a member of Actors' Equity and served on the Castro Valley Arts Foundation Board of Directors from 2009-2012. She holds a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Health and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance. Gia's MFA thesis is entitled "Curriculum Implementation in Dance Education: How Benchmarks and Goal Setting Affect Student Learning Experiences and Outcomes." CVPA is excited to be have Gia as a member of our faculty