Musical Theatre, Ballet/Jazz
Jaquelynn Collier- reigns originally from Kailua-Kona and just returned back home after six years of training and working in New York City! After studying musical theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, she continued her education at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in a dual major of Theatre and Early Childhood Education. In addition to her teaching schedule at various elementary schools in NYC as a music and dance instructor, Jackie worked in multiple Off-Broadway shows including The FairtyTale Project for which she won a Best Actress Award from The Kennedy Center. Other professional credits include television and film on Netflix, MTV, and Amazon Prime. Jaque has taught and performed on the Big Island with West Hawaii Dance Academy, Aloha Performing Arts Company, and Waimea Community Theatre and is beyond excited to add Kona Dance and Performing Arts to her list of many theatrical homes!
Contemporary, Ballet, Pre-Point, Concentrated Dance Program
Katy Raczkowski- recently moved to the Big Island with her husband and 2 little boys all the way from Montana. She went professional at the young age of 15 with Salzburg Ballet Company in Austria and has since been a soloist for San Diego Ballet, Principle for Montana Ballet, and Founder of Kadosh Dance Company. Katy's aim is to teach, love, nurture, and heal through the various styles she teaches, choreographs with, and performs.
Alexis Gaines-has been dancing since she was in utero! Her mother, Michele Gaines, was a well known and prolific choreographer, dance teacher and musical theater director, and Alexis is very proud to keep dance alive in her family! Alexis was fortunate enough to grow up between 2 beautiful vacation destinations: Palm Springs, California and Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In both places, she got extensive dance training not just with her mother but also with numerous well known teachers such as Alaine Haubert, Ballet Mistress at the American Ballet Theater, Henry Berg of San Fransisco Ballet, and even global greats like Soili Arvola and Leo Ahonen. She has performed and toured with several Dance companies such as Palm Springs Ballet Company, CK Dance, West Hawaii Dance Theater and The Company Too Dancers. Previously, Alexis has taught at several studios including Dance With Miss Lindsay, Dance Dimensions and West Hawaii Dance Academy. Alexis is now honored to be able to share her knowledge and experience as she works with the awesome students at Kona Dance and Performing Arts!
Tap, Musical Theater, Concentrated Dance Program
Amanda Trusty - is a professional performer, choreographer, and teacher from New York City. After a decade of professional performing and choreographing in theaters both inside and outside of NYC (Westchester Broadway Theatre, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, John W. Engeman Theatre, Cape May Playhouse, and more), Amanda moved to the Big Island and started teaching at The Dancing Tree in Kailua-Kona in 2013. She has trained extensively in singing, acting, and dance since the age of three, and teaches musical theatre, jazz, ballet, and tap to all ages - tap being her true first love and second language. Trained by Gregory Hines' protege Andrew Nemr and innovative choreographer Christopher George Patterson, Amanda focuses on rhythm and musicality in her tap classes as well as conditioning the body to support such a percussive and athletic type of dance. Amanda constantly strives to bring body positivity and awareness into the classroom, and uses humor, imagery, and dance history to provide a safe and creative learning environment for all of her students. When she's not teaching class, you can find her choreographing creative pieces and writing for Sadie Jane Dancewear about body positive dance teaching. Shenandoah University, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, proud EMC - Actor's Equity Association.
Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop
Debra McGee - Debra moved to the island in 2011 after performing, teaching, and choreographing in NY and MN Twin Cities for over 2 decades. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in N.Y.C. There she performed works by Jose Limon, Milton Myers, Jeffrey Holder, Louis Falco, Virginia Johnson and Lar Lubovich. Debra is a former member of Garth Fagan Dance and performed his works nationally and internationally. Thereafter, she began teaching and choreographing again while training vocally at the Eastman School of Music in NY. Eventually, she returned to MN for a few years where she worked with former Alvin Ailey principal’s company called TU Dance, performed in numerous musicals and worked as a teaching artist. She has taught at the University of Minnesota, Gustavus Adolphus College, The Cowles Center, Penumbra Theater and St. Paul Conservatory. This is sixth year as a Lava Roots dancer and choreographer. She also participates in KDPA, Summer Arts and Donkey Mill’s Summer Program. Debra's true love is music and dance because she can communicate to any culture with these universal languages.
Pre-Ballet, Keiki Ballet/Tap
Grace Branham- is an award-winning tap dancer and improviser hailing from Tampa Bay, Florida, where she began her training at age 6. Since moving to the Big Island, she has continued to study ballet, jazz, tap, improvisation, and contemporary dance under teaching artists Hannah Taylor-Kormandy, Miho Morinoue, Debra McGee, and Amanda Trusty. She was recently awarded her second scholarship for tap dance through the acclaimed dance convention, JUMP. Grace has rigorously trained to teach dance for ages 3-12 under the guidance of Amanda Trusty and Seatree Osage. She has been recognized by guest teaching artists for her thorough explanations, strong discipline, and sense of humor with children of all ages. Grace is an honor roll student and will be working towards a degree in both and dance and literary arts and in her spare time, likes to read, dance, and spend time with her friends.
Angelia Han-is one of our newest instructors who was born and raised in Guam then moved to the mainland when she was 11. She started dancing as a hobby in high school then decided to take it more seriously in her early 20s. She has received training in Germany, Las Vegas, California, Korea and New York, and continues to travel to teach and learn from the pioneers who started the dance culture such as Elite Force and the Misfits. Hip hop is not only a genre of dance, but it's the way you dress, the way you talk, a lifestyle influenced by the culture as a whole. She has traveled across the world with different dance teams to perform, battle, and teach. She enjoys working with the inner city youth and hopes to further building with the community on the Big Island. Angelia is also a spoken word artist and hopes to organize more events for for the dancers here on the island after her first successful event "Spoken Art" that took place in Kona. The reason she teaches is not only to challenge others but to create an atmosphere of self love, confidence, and freedom.
Miho Morinoue - is a native of Hawaii. She has a classically trained background in dance with Yoko Saito at the Baroness Academy Dancing School in Japan, Ernest Morgan and Virginia Holte in Hawaii, Anna Marie Holmes and Bruce Marks at the Boston Ballet, and with one of the best, Maria Veigh at Ballet Hawaii and the Marin Ballet Academy in California.
At the age of 17, Miho moved to New York City from California with a full scholarship with David Howard Dance Center and continued her dance studies with teachers like William Burmann, Finis Young, Janet Panetta, Svi Gotheiner and many others.
At the ageof19 she began her 10-year career with Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co. in NYC where she shared the stage with dancers such as Desmond Richardson, Serita Allen, Carmen de Lavallade, Jodie Gates, Sandy Brown, Michael Thomas, Yuri Sands. She has guested with Neo Labos, Dance as Ever, Lar Lubovich and Esse Aficionado. Morinoue has collaborated extensively with choreographer Dwight Rhoden as a rehearsal director and costume designer for dance companies throughout the mainland. Her designs are represented in companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Met, North Carolina Dance Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, and many others. On separate commissions she has shown her drawings, paintings and prints in Hawaii, New York City and Seattle. Her artwork is now part of the collections of the Library of Congress, DC and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. and others. Since her return to Hawaii, Morinoue has focused much of her time as the Youth Program Director for the Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture, she currently strives to do more of her own art and become a better teacher.
Striving to provide high quality instruction and education in dance and performing arts to the local youth and the Big Island community.
Mike Sato-Born and raised in Hawaii, Mike has been a professional photographer for 17 years. His passion for the arts was ignited in high school in the mid 90s when he started DJing. This led to his first exposure to Hip Hop.
After high school, in 2007, he began reuniting with friends to re-spark the breaking scene by throwing events for the dancers under the FLOOROX crew name. Since 2007, Mike has been an active community contributor for the Big Island breakdance scene. He has held major events such as Breaking Out '07/'08, Bboy in Paradise '09, Ride the Breaks '10-'15.With the collaboration of local clothing businesses, he also pioneered the public dance showcases called the Breakers Bench where he hosts special guests and renowned breakdancer workshops/meet and greet for the community. Breakers Bench also provides the dance scene with a public dance space at the following venues: Kona Commons, Lanihau Center, Waikoloa Kings Shops and The Shops at Mauna Lani. As if that is not enough to keep Mike busy, he hosts other events in the community such as co-hosting the University of the Nations, Community Skate Night events from '09-'16. He works with numerous dance studios, schools, and churches to show Hip Hop’s creative outlet for the local youth and keiki.