Karyn Laver started dancing at the age of 10, inspired by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in Singin' in the Rain. She began by taking tap and also trained in jazz, lyrical, and ballet at Central Coast Dance in Los Osos, California, where she danced for 10 years. By age 15, she was teaching and choreographing for the studio’s junior tap company. Since then, Karyn has performed, taught, choreographed, and competed in many styles, including tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop.
Over the years, Karyn has been recognized at Dupree Dance Expo, Showstoppers, and I Love Dance national conventions and competitions for her performance aesthetic and choreography. Her pieces have won numerous awards; she has also been awarded scholarships with the Dupree Dance Expo and danced internationally with Stars at Sea.
Karyn’s specialty—and passion—is tap. She has taken lessons from such luminaries as Al Gilbert (the “Pied Piper of Dance”), Thommie Retter (performer in Billy Elliot: The Musical on Broadway), and Darryl Retter. She has also studied at the Debbie Reynolds’ Studio in Los Angeles. Previously, Karyn was a member of Fusion Dance Campany, JustBaila!, and ArtBark International. She has choreographed and performed pieces featured in Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta, BASSH!, Synergy, Kinesis, and at the Bacara and the Diavolo Theater in LA. With The Dance Network’s Senior Company, she has performed at multiple venues in Santa Barbara County. Always looking to expand her dance repertoire, Karyn recently became certified as a Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Instructor and is currently training in Latin ballroom and social dancing.
“Dancing and teaching are my two favorite things in life. Nothing makes me happier than being in the studio or on stage, showing how passionate dance makes me. I hope this passion inspires others, as well. As director of The Dance Network, my mission is to nurture the dancer in all of us. At the same time, I want my students – and especially my company members – to understand dance as a mastered work of art that requires discipline and practice."
KYLE YBARRA Fitness Coordinator and Assistant Director
Since Kyle Ybarra started dancing, he has been making sweet noise in the Santa Barbara dance community with his charisma and raw style. Kyle’s love for dance started at the age of six when he was watching and mimicking Michael Jackson videos. By teaching himself how to break dance at a young age, Kyle grew up with a basic understanding of rhythm and style. Years later, Kyle was recruited to study flamenco where his true passion for dance flourished. He studied under Rose Marie Cruz for five years, where many choreographers helped to shape his rhythmic flamenco style: Pamela Lourant, Domingo Ortega, Manuel Gutierrez, and Timo Nuñez. Kyle also choreographed and taught break dance at Cruz Dance and Entertainment. He started his study of Latin ballroom with Santa Barbara’s own Derrick Curtis, who gave him the opportunity to choreograph and perform with him in Synergy and BASSH! He now continues his ballroom and social dance training under David Alvarez and Lucia Albolino with his partner Emma Neumann at the Santa Barbara Dance Center. Since he has been with The Dance Network, Kyle has expanded his focus to study tap, ballet, and hip hop, amongst other styles. He also has used this opportunity to work on teaching and choreography. Every day Kyle works to sharpen his craft with the intention of bringing even more energy and ferocity to the stage.
AMANDA ASTORGA Instructor
Amanda Astorga was born and raised in Goleta. She started dancing baile folklorico at the age of 3 with Alma de Mexico where she trained for 7 years and performed numerous times in Santa Barbara’s Fiesta. Amanda eventually decided to take a break from folklorico, and then a few years later chose to shift her focus in dance as a teen. At the age of 15, she took her first tap class at The Dance Network and found a new love for dance. Her favorite aspect of dancing and performing is feeling the music and allowing the movement to flow through her body. Amanda aspires to continue studying Chemistry at Santa Barbara City College and then later transferring to UCSB while further exploring her love for dance by teaching children at The Dance Network. She is excited to be part of The Dance Network’s team and to influence the kids to find joy and passion in movement. You can also find Amanda at the front desk when you enter the studio, so if you have any questions feel free to ask!
MEREDITH CABANISS Instructor
Meredith Cabaniss is a multi-creative artist based out of southern California. She graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.F.A. in Dance. During her studies, she received an Undergraduate Research Grant for her departmental Honor’s Project, the Corwin Award for choreography, and other departmental honors. Meredith also traveled in Tel Aviv, Israel, to study with Batsheva Dance Company as a recipient of the Patricia Sparrow scholarship.
After finishing her undergraduate education, Meredith received her M.F.A. in dance at Hollins University in collaboration with the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, and The Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company (formerly the Forsythe Company). Additionally, she continued her professional studies in dance and movement, and has pursued certifications in Vinyasa and Yin yoga, the Acrobatic Arts syllabus, and Dance Education Laboratory through which she holds Level 1 and 2 certifications for Language of Dance.
As the founder and artistic director of selah dance collective, Meredith has produced full evening-length performances and presented works in prestigious festivals throughout the United States, including the DUMBO Dance Festival (NY), FREEdom DANCEfest (SF), and as a finalist in the McCallum Theater Choreography Competition (LA). Her work has been performed most recently in Estonia, Norway, Finland, and Italy, and is frequently commissioned by the University of California, Santa Barbara for their touring companies. She also currently serves as co-artistic director of Növus Dance Project in Los Angeles and assistant director and choreographer in residence for Nebula Dance Lab in Santa Barbara, most recently producing a collaborative, multi-media evening-length work at the historic Lobero Theater. Meredith is a resident teaching artist for Children's Creative Project in the SB County Education office and is honored to be on faculty at The Dance Network.
RICHARD CHUNG Instructor
Richard Chung started dancing at the age of 14 in Granada Hills, CA, shortly before entering high school. His interest was sparked by America’s Best Dance Crew, which led him to start learning break-dance from YouTube tutorial videos and fellow classmates. Richard quickly adopted various other styles and began performing in cyphers and battles, joining a battle crew called Krooks and creating his own team – Elusive Movement. In his junior year, he joined a Glendale based choreography team by the name of Bad Banana Monsters and began competing across Southern California while also training at Movement Lifestyle, The Rage Dance Complex, and Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio.
During his time at UCSB, Richard acted as artistic director for Urban Dance Company and helped transition the team into the competitive scene. Richard regularly created choreography for the team and helped them expand to include free dance workshops for other students to include more of the local community. By his junior year, Richard had helped to create Urban's annual showcase as a way to connect various dance groups across the 805 area code while also raising funds for local non-profits. As a teacher for Everybody Dance Now!, Richard trained extensively with Kelli Forman and found opportunities to re-educate his dance training by working with many hip-hop master teachers, such as Shotyme and Cebo Terry Carr. Shortly after graduating, Richard joined Faction Dance Company as part of the Alias Dance Family based in Oxnard, California. Currently, Richard is working at a local tech company in Santa Barbara and continues to dance with EDN! and Urban Dance Company. Richard enjoys teaching the most and hopes to continue spread his love for dance.
PATRICIA MARTIN Instructor
Patricia Martin, originally from Sacramento, California, is currently a dancer in the Southern California area. Prior to her move to Santa Barbara, Patricia trained rigorously with Ron Cunningham, Carrine Binda and the Sacramento Ballet where she received all her training prior to university. She has been training in the style of ballet since the age of two and has expanded her training with tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, lyrical and pointe work throughout the years. She recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Prior to graduation, Patricia received undergraduate recognition with the UCSB Theater & Dance Tonia Shimin Award for Excellence and Promise in the Field of Dance, Senior Individual Co-Curricular Award, as well as a full scholarship to study at the Dance Education Laboratory located at the 92Y in New York City. While studying her undergrad, Patricia was a part of the UCSB Dance Company where she worked with Jacqulyn Buglisi, Monica Bill Barnes, Nancy Colahan and more as well as apprenticed for Santa Barbara Dance Theater under direction of Christopher Pilafian. Patricia is excited to announce that she will be dancing with Santa Barbara Dance Theater for their upcoming season starting this fall.
RACHYL PINES Instructor
Rachyl began her tap and jazz training at the age of three with Temecula Dance Company. She took ballet classes as a requirement for her jazz and tap competition teams, but did not begin her formal ballet training until age twelve. Rachyl began her ballet training in her hometown of Temecula, California at The Ballet Studio under the direction of Mark Erickson. She augmented her training by attending summer intensive programs with American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Walnut Hill School of the Arts. Rachyl joined City Ballet of San Diego as an apprentice in 2011 after graduating high school. She was promoted to full company member in 2013. Since joining City Ballet, Rachyl performed in George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, the company’s productions of The Nutracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliette, Firebird andGiselle. Rachyl left City Ballet of San Diego to complete her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at the University of San Diego. Two years ago she moved to Santa Barbara to complete a PhD in Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Rachyl is now a company member in Nebula Dance Lab and Selah Dance Collective in Santa Barbara.
BIANCA SALAZAR Instructor
A Southern California local, Bianca Salazar began her dance training at the Academy of the Performing Arts in Huntington Beach, CA. She then moved to Santa Barbara to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara where she recently received her BFA in Dance and was granted the Corwin Award for Best Choreography. She is a current fifth year company member with Selah Dance Collective and has previously danced with Nebula Dance Lab and the UCSB Dance Company.
NATALIA EMILY SMITH Instructor
Born in Russia, Natalia Emily Smith was raised in England, where she grew up at Stagecoach Theatre Arts, Oxford. Here she performed in a variety of musicals, such as: Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, Billy Elliott and Hairspray. In 2013 she won a scholarship to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, one of Los Angeles' premier performance colleges, where she studied for her BFA in Dance Theater. Graduating as an Honor Roll student in 2016, she continued per performing career with film and dance roles in LA, alongside teaching roles for various dance schools in LA and England. Emily was delighted to go to Malta in 2017 to work with Stagecoach, as it allowed her to continue her teaching as well as become absorbed into the theatre world there. Emily hopes to continue teaching and performing wherever her career takes her and has a 'not very secret' ambition to enter the stunt performer world in California.
BETHANY SUTHERLAND Instructor
Bethany Sutherland is a multi-creative artist, engineer, and designer who currently resides in sunny Santa Barbara, California. She is a classic middle child - a people pleaser and integrator with a fundamental desire to bring people and concepts together in a unified way. In 2012, she graduated with a BS in Engineering Physics and a minor in Art from Westmont College. Since graduating, she has dabbled in many entrepreneurial and creative areas out of a passion to integrate form and function in different facets of her life.
Beyond her engineering and design endeavors, Bethany enjoys performing and teaching dance in the community. Dance has been a driving force in Bethany’s life since a young age. Growing up, Bethany studied various dance styles at Extensions Performing Arts Academy (EPAA) in her hometown Lancaster, CA, including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, modern, and pointe. She competed and danced professionally with EPAA and Antelope Valley Ballet Company from 2002-2008.
Alongside her training, Bethany extended her love of dance to the community, coaching the local middle school dance team, co-leading her high school hip-hop squad, and reviving Westmont College’s NSTEP Dance Crew. Her involvement included founding dance missions in New York (Dec. 2011) and Ensenada, Mexico (Mar. 2012), and partnering with CRASH in the Japanese tsunami relief (Jul. 2011).
From 2013-2014, she worked as a hip hop teacher and assistant director for Fusion Dance Company, performing locally in BASSH, festivals, and other dance showcases. Since 2014, Bethany has continued to share her love of movement through teaching at The Dance Network. She has performed and choreographed with the Senior Contemporary and Hip Hop Performance Companies, earning 2017 Best of Choreography Award from the SB Independent for her piece “Tribal Instinct”. Additionally, she has been featured in music videos such as Dominic Balli’s music video “Louder” and UNITE crew’s music video “MOVE”, and choreographed and dance in Jasmine Guerrero’s music video “SINK”.
Currently, Bethany continues to explore her passions for movement through Everybody Dance Now! and trainings with hip hip masters such as Donyelle Jones, Kim Holmes, and Cebo Terry Carr. She recently participated in YPAD Certification training and various Salsa Congresses between 2017 and 2018. She has a passion for reaching underserved youth and modeling dance as a means of freedom of expression.
JET XIONG Intructor
Jet Xiong grew up in Atwater and Merced, CA. He was exposed to break dance at a young age, but it was not until high school that he actually started to do train more seriously. Jet learned more about the skills and techniques he needed to become a b-boy while he was attending Atwater High School. Since then, he has performed for talent shows along with some studio and dance performances. Over the last 3 years, he has also battled in some b-boy jams, recently getting second place in Everybody Dance Now’s Open Styles Dance Battle for their Day of Movement. Jet now teaches for Everybody Dance Now, The Dance Network, and is a part of UCSBreakin, UCSB's very own breaking crew and club.
Kelli Forman is a dance instructor, professional choreographer, yoga instructor, California certified massage therapist, local organizer for the Santa Barbara County Alliance for Arts Education, and the National Program Director for Everybody Dance Now! (EDN!), a non-profit that offers free or low-cost hip hop dance programming to hundreds of underserved youth each week. Kelli began dancing at the age of four, attended the University of Kansas on a full dance scholarship, and later moved to New York City and Los Angeles where she worked professionally with choreographers such as Brian Friedman, Hi Hat, Kenny Ortega, Fatima Robinson, and Travis Payne (Michael Jackson’s former choreographer). She danced on shows such as X-Factor, Dancing with the Stars, America’s Got Talent, and Glee and modeled for brands such as Coca-Cola and Reebok. Kelli became the EDN! National Program Director three years ago and created EDN!’s first standards-based hip hop dance curriculum. Kelli continues per passions of teaching underserved youth, choreographing for local companies, building the local street dance community in Santa Barbara, and advocating for equity in arts education.
Daniel Rojo was born and raised in Santa Barbara. He is a dancer, performer, actor, artist, & choreographer. Daniel began dancing at the age of 7, and then joined the dance team at Studio E performance and fitness at the age of 12. He taught his first class at 14 and has been teaching and performing for over 15 years. His skills carried him on to lecture and instruct in Bratislava, Slovakia. Daniel is known for his creativity and his fun workout, hip-hop, and break dance classes. He has taught at many schools in Santa Barbara County, nationally, in Europe, and with many performance art programs. He is currently working with OffGrid Productions and Elevated Dreams Entertainment, a crew filled with aerialist, hoop and flame dancers, character performers, MCs, and acrobats. Daniel also works with his own project called In The Moment performance arts. His form of dance art breaks down difficult to easy, giving the student knowledge on how to listen, feel, and create. He teaches students how to express their natural movement through music.
Grace Salsido has been dancing for almost five years. She started dancing with the Goleta Valley Junior High dance team and continued her training at The Dance Network. She has been involved in the studio's teen and senior performance companies. She studies jazz, ballet, tap, and contemporary, and assists with the younger jazz, ballet, and tap classes. Grace has also been both an alternate and top ten finalist in Santa Barbara’s Teen Dance Star competition. Along with dance, she was a member of the Varsity Cheer team and co-captain of the Varsity Song/Dance team at Dos Pueblos High School. She was also Goleta Valley Junior High Dance Team’s Assistant Coach and Choreographer this past season, and will work with the team in the summer. Next year Grace will continue her education at Azusa Pacific University where she will be a member of their dance company. Grace is looking forward to hopefully continue choreographing and returning to Santa Barbara after college!
We Hope You Visit our studio Soon!
Magnolia Center: 5130 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93111