OUR STAFF

Claire Suttle
Danielle Serio
Emma Jahde
Heather Schweitzer
Kallan Christensen
Lena Gimadeeva
Makayla Hauser
Melinda Marks
Pardis Bidokhti
Pegah Taheri Eilaghi
Rebecca Ybarra
Ruth Segalis
Sharon de Souza
Suzi Laverty

 

OUR STAFF

Claire Suttle

Claire Suttle, co-owner and director at CLAP Arts, began her studies with RAD ballet in England and expanded her training in the U.S. to include a variety of dance disciplines: ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, pilates, yoga. She is a member of Dance Masters of America (DMA) and a graduate of the DMA teacher training, a four-year program for dance educators that specializes in children's dance instruction. She teaches at local schools and dance studios. Claire also holds a B.S. in Computer Science from UC San Diego. - top

Danielle Serio

Danielle Serio started dancing at the age of three at Dance Attack Studios and is trained in various styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, contemporary, and modern. She competed on the Performing Company for nine years and then joined DacPac, a pre-professional modern based company, at age fifteen. Danielle is currently working towards her BA in Dance and BS in Recreational Therapy at San Jose State University. She is a member of University Dance Theater at San Jose State, where she is constantly inspired and motivated by her teachers and peers. - top

Emma Jahde

Emma Jahde started dancing on tables as soon as she could walk, and she has never looked back. After studying at several studios in the Bay Area, including Los Gatos Ballet, Marie Stinnett Dance, and Grace Dance Academy (now a part of Just B...Dance), she recently culminated her dance studies with a degree in Dance Science from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). Over the years she has trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and lyrical, and has had the chance to perform work created by national and international choreographers, such as Charlotte Boye-Christensen and a re-staging of Donald McKayle's work. She is excited to share her love of dance and the performing arts with her students while continuing to pursue her passion for caring for the human body throughout all stages of life. - top

Heather Schweitzer

Heather Schweitzer has always been an artist. Attending Abraham Lincoln High School, a Visual and Performing Arts Magnet, developed her skills and fueled her passion for performing. She studied theatre, dance and music at UC Santa Cruz and eventually received her BA in music from Albion College in Michigan. She is a performer, director, choreographer, and instructor. Heather works with all ages, from toddlers to adults, teaching dance, drama, musical theatre, choral singing, and visual arts. - top

Kallan Christensen

Kallan Christensen has her MA in Research and Experimental Psychology from San Jose State University and a BS in Psychology from Colorado State University. As a performer and artist, Kallanís experience includes dance, figure skating, musical theatre, band and choir. She danced competitively as a teen and went on to perform professionally with the Colorado Eagles Pom and Dance Team. Kallan teaches a variety of dance styles including jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and hip-hop, as well as drama and musical theatre programs. - top

 

Lena Gimadeeva

Lena Kanaeva has studied ballet, jazz, hip-hop, modern, fitness, contemporary, contact improvisation, and folk dance in the U.S. and abroad. She has her certificate in modern choreography from The Institute of Cultural Programs in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Lena works with toddlers-adults teaching, choreographing, and performing. She finds it especially rewarding and exciting to teach children, watching them develop into committed and hard-working dancers. She enjoys contributing to children's cultural education and helping to instill the love for the art of dancing and acting, helping them become more confident not only on the stage but also in life. - top

Makayla Hauser

Makayla Hauser grew up in the small town of Oakdale, California where she began her dancing career with Valley Oak School of Dance studying ballet, pointe, tap and jazz. Throughout junior high and high school she was part of multiple successful competitive cheer teams as well as school based cheer teams. She has been studying dance for the past fourteen years and continues to build her knowledge of the art while attending San Jose State University where she is currently working towards her BFA in dance. She is part of San Jose State's University Dance Theatre under several of their great artistic educators. Her passion for dance comes through her performing, learning, and teaching of the craft. She plans to get her masters in dance and perform with professional companies. She also hopes to one day be a full time dance instructor. - top

Melinda Marks

Melinda began performing over 25 years ago, and her work in theater has expanded over the years to include stage management, directing, writing/translation, dramaturgy, and arts education. More recently, Melinda's focus has also expanded to the administrative side of performance. She has spent the last 3 years as the co-curator, editor, and casting director of the Bay Area arts co-op Play on Words, a small company that showcases short fiction and one-act plays by local playwrights through staged readings by professional performers. She received her BA in Theater Arts from UC Santa Cruz, an MA in Theater from San Jose State University, and an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia. - top

Pardis Bidokhti

Pardis Bidokhti began dancing at the age of eight and is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and contemporary. She is currently attending San Jose City College where she continues to dance. Her favorite aspect of dance is how challenging it is and how she is able to test her abilities and discover her limits through movement. She looks forward to reflect her passion onto her students and to watch their growth as dancers. - top

Pegah Taheri Eilaghi

Pegah Taheri Eilaghi is from Tehran, Iran, where she received her Visual Arts certificate from the Art University of Tehran. She has a diploma in ballet from Didem Bekiroglu Bale ve Dans Merkezi in Turkey and a Russian certificate for teaching classical ballet. Pegah enjoys teaching a variety of children's dance classes, as well as advanced programs such as professional barre, pointe, contemporary, salsa, and rumba. As an actor and dancer, she has been featured in many Turkish commercials. - top

Rebecca Ybarra

Rebecca Ybarra grew up singing, dancing, and performing. She teaches tap, ballet, jazz, zumba, hip-hop, ballroom, and tumbling. She loves being able to share her passion with her students and watching them grow! Dance is both therapy and art to Rebecca, and she is always amazed at how it can touch people. This is absolutely her passion! - top

 

Ruth Segalis

Ruth graduated from The Jerusalem Academy for Music and Dance and received a scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation to study abroad. She traveled to London to study at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she received her MA degree, with distinction, in Choreography and Visual Design. After graduating Ruth founded Rose's Thoughts dance company which was based in London and performed across the UK, France and Israel for 10 years. During that time, she won several choreography awards. In 2005 Ruth moved to Israel and parallel to being a choreographer she worked as a dance teacher for 11 years. She taught modern, contemporary, creative dance and ballet in different dance schools and communities for ages 5-adults. She was also a dance instructor teaching improvisation, composition, choreography, repertoire and dance history in several colleges. - top

 

Sharon de Souza

Sharon de Souza, co-owner of CLAP Arts, brings a wealth of knowledge from years of experience in various industries from biotech to performing arts. She studied business at San Jose State University and has a diversified background with emphasis in marketing. She has spent the last 15 years working in performing arts education, specializing in children's programs, and has been recognized for exemplary customer and community service. Sharon led the way to bringing arts to underserved schools and communities, helping to provide classes to thousands of children. - top

Suzi Laverty

Suzi Laverty is an active artist and teacher in the Bay Area. Having always had a strong passion for the arts, she finds fulfillment in passing on skills and knowledge in hopes of igniting a spark in others. She recently returned state-side from a year abroad in Florence, Italy. There she learned techniques in drawing, painting, and crafts from the masters at Michelangelo's Academy: l'Accademia di Belle Arti. Laverty expects a bachelor's in Studio Art and Art History from San Francisco State University this Fall. She has been performing and training as a dancer through Colorguard and marching band in styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop for over a decade. She has performed in and produced over two dozen dance-based pageantry shows since 2005, which she continues today. - top

 
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ABOUT CLAP ARTS

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