Laura Abrams Cal Performances Artist Residency and Public Engagement Manager
Laura has worked at Cal Performances since 1991 and previously served for 14 years as the Director of Education and Community Programs. An alum of UCLA (Art History) and New York University (Performing Arts Management), Laura has spent her career in the non-profit performing arts and her work has included fundraising, producing, presenting, and publicizing at institutions as wide-ranging as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Universal Jazz Coalition, City Center, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York International Festival of the Arts. Committed to the value of arts education, she is former Board Chair at the MOCHA (Museum of Children's Arts) and volunteers both at Oakland School for the Arts and with the Big Ideas competition at UC Berkeley. She has served on the Alameda County Office of Education Alliance of Arts Learning Leadership; Creative Impact—A Consortium of Bay Area arts educators; Berkeley Arts Education Steering Committee; and Berkeley Cultural Trust. She also draws constantly, makes jewelry and paper quilts, and shadow boxes as an active weekend artist.
Azam Ali Independent Performer | Composer
In a career spanning over fifteen years—and including thirteen collaborative and solo albums, as well as two prestigious Canadian JUNO Award nominations—Azam Ali has confirmed her place as being one of the most prolific, versatile, and gifted singers and composers on the international stage today. Her dedication to defying cultural specificity in music and unwillingness to settle into one form of musical expression have earned her the respect of peers and critics worldwide. What has always remained at the center of Azam’s unique vocal style and compositions are the melodies she grew up with in Iran and India. Through singing and music, Azam’s main objective is to explore the immense potentiality of the human voice, specifically its capability to transcend language, cultural, and spiritual barriers when expressing pure emotion. Although her natural inclination is towards the music in her heritage, Azam believes that honesty in one’s expression has the capability to communicate something universal about the human experience, regardless of the listener’s cultural origin.
Rica Anderson Cal Performances Student Engagement Manager
Rica believes the arts build empathy and compassion and provide a convening point for raising the quality of community relations and personal development. Rica is the Manager of Student Engagement at Cal Performances where she develops and implements arts education programs. She is an instructor with Alameda County Office of Education’s Integrated Learning Specialist Program, and is a Multicultural Education Program Diversity Facilitator for UC Berkeley’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. She has taught at the NorCal affiliate of the Lincoln Center Institute, and toured as a manager, performer, and educator with Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre program. She has performed with many Bay Area companies and for 14 years has produced the free monthly series Actors Reading Writers.
Sabrina Klein Cal Performances Director of Artistic Literacy
Sabrina currently runs education and engagement programs for Cal Performances on the UC Berkeley campus, and is founder of the Artistic Literacy Institute for promoting artistic literacy as a human right. She is a long-time teaching artist and teacher trainer, working as a consultant with arts and education government and nonprofit entities since 2006. Before that, she was Executive Director at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts where she co-founded an affiliate program of the Lincoln Center Institute for Arts in Education between 2000 and 2006. She is author of Partnering Successfully in Schools Today: A Teaching Artist Institute Three-Day Curriculum, as well as several articles on teaching artistry. She received her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in Dramatic Art, has taught at UC Berkeley and Harvard University, and has led dozens of professional development workshops for teachers, teaching artists and administrations throughout the country. Sabrina is a theater artist, mother, and activist on behalf of the role that the arts and artists play in healthy communities and connected societies.
Serena Le Cal Performances Research Associate
Serena is a Bay Area native who grew up performing in youth orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the East Bay and in San Francisco. She received her BA in Music with emphases on composition and violin performance from Swarthmore College (in Pennsylvania), then came back home to pursue a PhD in English at UC Berkeley. While at Berkeley, she developed and taught a pair of integrated performing arts courses (including a course on poetry and performance taught concurrently to Berkeley undergraduates and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute retirees), as well as a series of uppper division creative writing courses for Berkeley Summer Sessions. She's delighted to be a member of the Artistic Literacy team and to have a hand in documenting, supporting, and making visible the work of learning and connection through the arts. She also loves serving on the board of the Community Women's Orchestra, directing the CWO Skills Clinic (a free public program for adult music learners), and performing with her piano trio.
Erik Lee Dimensions Dance Theater Company Member
Erik was born and raised in Oakland, California. He received his formal dance training in modern dance and BA degree in Dance Performance Studies from University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 2010. Since 2009, Erik has danced with Covenant Worship Center’s Worship In Arts Ministry (WAM). He has served as Artistic Director for WAM since 2014. In 2011, he joined Dimensions Dance Theater and continues to work as a company member. Erik recently graduated from Mills College with a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Dance, and has served two years as a group leader in Berkeley-Oakland AileyCamp.
David McCauley Cal Performances | Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp Master Teaching Artist | Artistic Director
David is a dancer, choreographer, and theatre artist based out of Berkeley. For the past 18 years, McCauley has served as the Director of the prestigious Alvin Ailey Summer Camp, offering professional-level instruction to middle-school aged children, ages 11-14. AileyCamp instills “self-esteem, self discipline, creative expression and critical thinking skills,” targeting students at risk of dropping out of school. Through dance, the program provides mentorship, role models, and a creative outlet for children who face such challenges. McCauley also teaches locally, leading the Music of Revelations workshop alongside Melanie DeMore.
Carol Ponder My Father's War Director | Performer | Teaching Artist
Carol has been onstage since she was eight years old. A professional actress with a long resume in all kinds of theater and occasional on-camera work, she is also an award-winning concert and recording artist. As a singer of Americana, she specializes in a cappella balladry and storytelling traditions of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, where her family has lived since the late 1700s. She also accompanies some songs and stories with guitar, autoharp, and spoons. In her solo concert, Appalachian Roots, she has appeared on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, Northern Ireland, and at dozens of other arts centers, clubs, civic organizations, and scores of PreK-12 schools in the USA. Since 2012, Carol and her husband, Robert Kiefer, have toured My Father’s War, an original two-person storytelling and music performance based on Carol’s father’s WWII memoir as a fighter pilot in the European Theater. In addition to the performance, Carol and Robert provide workshops and residencies for veterans and civilians, using My Father’s War as the catalyst for healing and understanding. Since 1987, Carol has worked as a multiple award-winning Teaching Artist and consultant in education through the arts.
Jill Randall Shawl-Anderson Dance Center Artistic Director
Jill Randall began teaching at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in 2000. At SADC, she has taught a wide range of classes and ages in modern dance, from preschoolers through adults. Her 20 years of teaching experience includes work in K-12 public and independent schools, dance studios, summer programs, preschools, and teacher training programs through the Lincoln Center Institute. As a performer in the Bay Area for 18 years, Jill worked with Nina Haft and Company, Paufve Dance, Dana Lawton, and Martt Lawrence. As a dance writer, Jill maintains several websites and blogs about professional dance in the United States, arts education, books on dance, and service-learning, and also writes for publications like Dance Studio Life Magazine. Jill holds a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah and an MFA in Creative Practice from Saint Mary’s College. In 2013, she received the Herbst Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence for her middle school dance work at The Hamlin School in San Francisco.
Jeff Raz Independent Teaching Artist
Jeff explores the intersection of circus, theater and music from many different angles - as a clown, an actor, a teacher, a director and a playwright. Jeff founded The Clown Conservatory in San Francisco, the only comprehensive professional clown training program in the United States, and he directed the program until 2010. Jeff is now the Bay Area Casting Partner for Cirque du Soleil, the Artistic Director of the Medical Clown Project and a director with the global consulting firm Stand & Deliver.
Galen Rogers Ruth Asawa School of the Arts | Marin Academy | Independent Teacher (Usually Taiko)
Galen is a taiko and dance professional based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied taiko at the San Francisco Taiko Dojo from age 8 to 18 under Grand Master Seichi Tanaka, the person who brought modern taiko to America in the 1960s. Galen co-founded Oberlin College Taiko and is now the director of Jiten Daiko, a taiko ensemble based at the Buddhist Church of San Francisco, which focuses on pioneering new expressive territory for taiko arts. He also teaches taiko, gamelan, and ethnomusicology to high school students at San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts and Marin Academy. He studies Balinese dance and gamelan with Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a Berkeley-based Balinese performing arts ensemble, and he practices capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art, and gaga, Ohad Naharin's dynamic movement language.
Michelle Summers UC Berkeley Lecturer
Michelle is a Lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley and the Performance Studies Scholar in Residence at the Center for Art and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union. She holds a PhD in Critical Dance Studies from UC Riverside, an MA in Performance Studies from New York University, and a BFA in Ballet/BA in English from Texas Christian University. Her latest articles can be seen in Perspectives on American Dance and The Body, the Dance, & the Text, as well as in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research and Dance Research journals. Summers has presented her research at Harvard University, UCLA, and the University of Surrey and been an invited guest speaker at Stanford and at venues in Guangzhou and Beijing, China. She has received grant awards from the Mellon Foundation and the American Academy of University Women and has been teaching dance and choreographing in Texas, New York, Georgia, and California for more than 15 years.
Iranian born composer and multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian is internationally recognized for his ground-breaking work with world music groups Niyaz and Axiom Of Choice, both of which he co-founded. Born in Tehran, Iran, Loga moved to the United States as a teenager after the Iranian Revolution. This major transition would fuel much of his musical and artistic expression in the years to come as he struggled to reconcile the bonds of tradition and culture with his own personal experiences. A highly gifted composer and a visionary, Loga is greatly respected for his ability to adapt the Persian classical repertoire to his own unique and modern compositions. Though Loga is highly accomplished on a wide array of instruments (e.g. Lafta, Guitar, Djura), his main instruments are the Turkish Saz, the Kamaan, and the Guitar Viol. Loga is one of the few musicians in the world who performs the Guitar Viol—with its haunting, mesmerizing sound—live, and what makes his style so unmistakable is that he is able to apply traditional Persian bowing techniques and melodies to his playing.
Marilyn Stanley Cal Performances Artistic Literacy Administrative Coordinator
Marilyn graduated from UC Berkeley with a double major in English and Dramatic Art/Dance. This launched her on a journey fueled by the ideal that the arts should be a part of everyday life for everybody. She has worked with Bay Area arts and education organizations for the past 18 years including the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Glitter and Razz Productions, the Shotgun Players, and Creative Education Consulting, as well as with the California Arts Council. She has, at times, been a stage manager, costume and props designer, actor, box office aficionado, administrator, playmaker, bookkeeper, videographer and poet. Currently she holds the coordination of the Artistic Literacy Department at Cal Performances in her tiny but mighty hands.
Joyce Ting Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp | Park Day School Co-Managing Director | Drama Teacher
Born in Rochester, NY and having called Boston home for 11 years prior to moving to the Bay Area, Joyce is a Taiwanese American educator and performing artist. She holds a Bachelors and Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Wheaton College (IL) and Boston University, as well as a Masters in Education for Middle School Humanities from Lesley University. In 2006, Joyce debuted with Boston Lyric Opera as La Charmeuse in Massenet's Thaïs, went on to sing in multiple productions with BLO, and performed in Opera Boston's Boston-based premiere of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar. She is a graduate of Luna Dance Institute's SI program, and has also taken part in Alameda County Office of Education's Integrated Learning Specialist Program. In her work with arts and education, she has been a middle school humanities teacher, director, and arts administrator. Most recently, she served as Program Director at zSharp and is the current Co-Managing Director at Ailey Camp, hosted by Cal Performances at UC Berkeley. In her spare time, Joyce loves traveling the world with a team of global music educators as part of the Glocal Collective, hiking with dogs, salsa dancing and eating her way through farmers markets.
Vân-Ánh Võ Independent Performer | Composer
Vân-Ánh Võ devotes her life-long passion and mastery of the dan tranh zither to the creation of distinctive music blended with a cultural essence that can only come from this unique Vietnamese instrument. Among her accomplishments are the 2009 Emmy Award-winning soundtrack for the documentary Bolinao 52, which she co-composed and recorded, and the soundtrack for the Sundance best documentary and 2003 Academy Award nominee Daughter from Danang. In addition to touring internationally, Vân-Ánh has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Zellerbach Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and as a composer and guest artist for the Kronos Quartet at the Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. Besides dan tranh, Van-Anh also performs as soloist on the monochord (bau), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (dan tam thap luc), the bamboo xylophone (dan t’rung), the k’longput, traditional drums (trong), and Chinese guzheng. She lives and teaches dan tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California.
Sylvia Abrams-Wolffsohn UCLA Student
Sylvia has just completed freshman year at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. Currently in the acting major, she is also interested in pursuing directing.
Glenna Anton UC Berkeley International Study Program Academic Specialist
Glenna is a teacher and adviser in Berkeley's International Studies Program (BISP) who is seeking to integrate visual, literary, and performing arts into her pedagogical practice. Currently she is teaching a cross-cultural learning course for undergraduate international students who spend one semester at Berkeley as visiting students. She has also taught art at the elementary school level focusing on painting, collage, and shadow puppetry. She prefers being in the background, working in collaboration with artists, humanists, and humanistic social scientists to create and interpret narratives, installations, soundscapes, and visual arts in ways that actively engage students with course materials - artistic and otherwise. She is searching for a way to combine her interest in pedagogical techniques that speak to broad swaths of learners with her interests in critical thinking and visual art. Prior to to her current position as an academic specialist at BISP, she lived abroad with her family doing ethnographic and oral history research for her doctoral degree in Geography at UCB. She received her PhD in Geography one year ago.
Jeanette Au California College of the Arts Adjunct Faculty
Patti Barros West Oakland Middle School Resource Specialist
Christiane Batterman-Jordan Independent Executive Director
Rhonda Benin Independent Arts Educator
Rhony Bhopla Crocker Art Museum Educator
Shannon Bohler Middlebury College Arts Events Manager
Melina Botton Independent Founder and Teacher
Donna C. Breeden Arts with H'ART Sole Proprietor | Teaching Artist
Donna (Palmer, Alaska) is the sole proprietor of ARTS with H’ART: Arts Education and Integration working in Alaska and Hawaii. She specializes in teaching reading comprehension through drama in school settings. She is the past Director of Drama Education for Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA). She has worked as an elementary classroom teacher and secondary drama teacher/director. Ms. Breeden is an experienced actress, theatre director and playwright for children. Her postgraduate work includes graduating from the International School for Playback Theatre, an Interdisciplinary Masters of Science in Drama/Music/ Movement at the University of Oregon, and a Master of Arts in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has provided teacher professional development workshops in drama integration through MAPA, Maui Arts and Cultural Center and Alaska Arts Education Consortium.
Jeanne Marguerite Brenna Independent Professor | Researcher
Angela Brown San Francisco Unified School District Artist | Educator
Becky Cale Green Music Center at Sonoma Engagement Manager
Charlotte Carr UC Berkeley Program Manager
Beth Crovitz Independent Community Member
Sunshine Deffner California Symphony | Sound Minds Director of Operations and Education
Lin-Yu Diaz Sonoma State University Student
Amalia Diaz El Sistema Santa Cruz Music Director, Watsonville Site
Carrie Donovan UC Berkeley Public Service Center Assistant Director
Wendalyn Eaglin Independent Dance Teacher
Andi Fong ArtsEd4All Arts Coordinator
Candice Fukumoto United for Success Academy Teacher
Debora Gordon Independent Teacher
Mara Grimes Art in Action Chief Imagineer
As Chief Imagineer at Art in Action, I develop new culturally relevant arts curriculum. I work to identify and analyze trends in education to enhance the current curriculum and develop new product lines. I then explore innovative solutions and possibilities based on these trends and our customer needs. Working from an evolving pipeline of potential lessons based on new areas of focus, including cultural awareness, social justice, and healing through art, I leverage partnerships with experts in the field to create innovative and compelling visual arts curriculum.
Christine Jossey Green Music Center at Sonoma Marketing and Communications Specialist
Nicholas Kanozik Oakland School for the Arts Chair of Instrumental Music
Rita Kasperek UC Berkeley Extension Instructor
Elle Katzenson Independent Consultant
Robert Kiefer My Father's War Director | Performer | Teaching Artist
Mary Loibl Independent Volunteer
Shuge Luo UC Berkeley Student
Miran McPoland El Sistema Santa Cruz Teaching Artist
Cecile Moochnek Independent Art Gallerist Owner | Director | Writing Coach
Bonnie Mozer Independent Teacher | Consultant
Simon Oliai UNESCO Senior Advisor & Consultant
Joe Orrach Joe Orrach Performance Project Artistic Director
Camilo Ortiz El Sistema Santa Cruz Teaching Artist
Dezirae PeBenito Independent Instructor
Elizabeth Pena Center for the Arts & Religion, Graduate Theological Union Director
Lisa Pennington Governors State University Assistant Professor
Kelsey Rieger Youth in Arts Program Director
Rebecca Robb Independent Community Member
Lana Rogachevskaya Governors State University Center for the Performing Arts Executive Director
Lana's passion for community-building and the arts is demonstrated in her 18-year career, from advancing cultural diplomacy with American Russian Young Artists Orchestra, to cultivating regional cultural hubs in Brooklyn at Brooklyn College, NYC, and now as Executive Director of Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University in Illinois. Leading a multi-disciplinary presenter with 200+ annual events, Lana is passionate about arts access. Signature series include a vibrant Arts in Education program, serving 20,000 youth age 4-18, and a Made in Chicago series that cultivates first time attendance for underserved populations.
Ruth Rosenberg UC Davis Mondavi Center Director of Arts Education and Artist Engagement
Ruth directs the Mondavi Center's Arts Education & Engagement programs, including the School Matinee Series, residency activities by touring artists, pre-performance talks and Q&A sessions with the artists, the Mondavi Center's partnership with the Esparto Unified School District, and student engagement initiatives for UC Davis students. Rosenberg started her career as a dancer. She was artistic director of the Sacramento-based Ruth Rosenberg Dance Ensemble from 1990?2001, and performed with Sacramento Ballet, Capitol City Ballet and Ed Mock & Dancers of San Francisco. She is featured in the 2017 documentary Unstoppable Feat, The Dances of Ed Mock.
Julie Rundell Independent Consultant
Morgan Schauffler Youth in Arts Development Associate
Jenny Schmidt Willow Creek Academy Teacher (Grade 5)
Tara Seekins Willow Creek Academy Principal
Susan Shatz Independent Literary Coach
Andy Shepherd Green Music Center at Sonoma State University Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications
Ibilola Soyode Independent Teacher
Anne Stone Kaiser Permanente Executive Administrator
Silvia Torres Berkeley Unified School District Teacher
Matthew Travisano Oakland School for the Arts Artistic Director
Elizabeth Vandervennet Oakland Symphony Lead Teaching Artist
Lisa Weaver West Contra Costa Unified School District Teacher
Nives Wetzel de Cediel UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education Academic Coordinator | Lecturer
Daphne White Berkeleyside Journalist
Sam Wong GSG Director
Nina Woodruff-Walker Museum of Children's Art Executive Director