Debra McGee - a MN native, moved to the island in 2011 after performing, teaching, and choreographing in NY and the Twin Cities for over 2 decades. She received her Bachelor's 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, and Lar Lubovich. Debra is a former member of Garth Fagan Dance and performed his works nationally and internationally. Thereafter, she began teaching again and choreographing 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. Debra has been involved with music through voice, violin, viola and dance nearly her entire life. She has taught at the University of MN, Gustavus Adolphus College, The Cowles Center, Penumbra Theater, The Donkey Mills Summer Program and 3 years at the former Dancing Tree in Kainaliu. She is also a member of Lava Roots as a dancer and performs throughout the community. Debra’s true love is music and dance because she can communicate to any culture with these universal languages.Type your paragraph here.
Andreas Tolaas- Born in the beautiful country of Norway, Andreas has been enjoying music and movement for as far back as he can remember. But it was breakdance at the age of 13 that got him started seriously. The first few years was without formal instruction, mostly training with friends and learning from each other and videos. After a few years he started performing and teaching hiphop and breakdance at the local dance studio, and at age 20 he joined a hiphop dance team in Oslo, capital of Norway. He performed and toured with them for 2 years in Norway and Philippines. From there on the interest for dance started to grow and he got introduced to ballet and modern and realized that there was a whole lot of dance to learn! He joined HeartBridge Performing Arts Company in Hawaii, where he found his beautiful dancing wife Tammy!, and they toured internationally for 3 years before moving to New York and attending Broadway Dance Center Training Program. After finishing the program with a Certificate of Excellence & Outstanding Student Award, the passion for expressing music thru dance, led Andreas & Tammy to Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston, TX, where they trained and taught at studios for 2 years.
Moved to California in2015,Andreaswantedlearn more from the HipHop dance culture in L.A, as well as create films, combining the different genres of dance movement and art. After spending a year in Cali, he ventured back to Hawaii with his wife, to settle down for a while and continue dancing and teaching!
Pre-Ballet, Ballet/Tap 5-6 yr olds
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.
Striving to provide high quality instruction and education in dance and performing arts to the local youth and the Big Island community.
Intro/Beginner Ballet/ Jazz, Intro Tap, Ballet/Tap 5-7 yr old
Alexis Gaines- Alexis Gaines has been dancing for as long as she can remember! Born to a dance-teaching mother, she is very proud to continue the family legacy. 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 ballet and jazz training with numerous well known teachers. She has also been trained in other dance forms such as tap, hula, African and musical theater dance. Alexis is honored to be a part of this new dance studio!
Mike Sato- known as a 'hiphop renaissance' man who has been active in the hiphop dance community since 2007. mike is part of the FLOOROX crew bringing hiphop and breaking events to the bigisland. mike is a dancer, a scratch dj, a hiphop 'writer' (graffitti art/aerosol art), and community organizer for dance battles and showcases such as lanihau centers' THE BREAKERS BENCH' and also one of the co-founders of an annual hiphop event called RIDE THE BREAKS. mike has taught breaking and djing to youths from churches to public schools of all ages. mike has also organized and hosted renowned hiphop dancers for workshops and special guests for events here on the big island.
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 age of 19 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.
Tap, Jazz, 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.