Singers

Huynh Gia Tuan

Born in Dong Nai, Vietnam, Tuan arrived in the USA at the age of 13 under the sponsorship of his father.  Tuan moved to America in 1997 meeting Dominic V. Duong while attending Milpitas High School.  Tuan won his first singing contest with the song “Loi Ve Dat Me” at The Moon Festival competition between local high schools.  With the help of his adopted mother and composer Huynh Nhat Tan, Tuan made his debut appearance in PBN 84, titled “Passport to Music and Fashion”.
Tuan created his own style of fashion by combining the traditional elements of both eastern and western values into his Ao Dai designs.  His works was presented on Paris by Night 72 and has been designing Ao Dai for Paris by Night singers such as Nhu Quynh, Phi Nhung, Tam Doan, Luong Tung Quang, The Son, and others.

Marcus Higgins

Marcus Higgins was born in Houston, TX in 1984, raised in Lake Charles, LA, and is a current resident of San Jose, CA.  He began singing in the school and church choirs at an early age.  Marcus learned to play piano in the 3rd grade where his music teacher noticed his abilities asking him to play additional pieces at the piano recital.  In 6thgrade, Marcus picked up a saxophone and continued this part of his music life all the way through college where he studied biological engineering.  From his time as a church youth group music leader (singer/songwriter/keyboardist), to playing gigs with friends during his college years, to playing saxophone for 4 years as a member of the Louisiana State University Marching Band, and even spending years on the karaoke scene, music has never been very far from Marcus.  Although a NASA operations engineer by trade, Marcus’ heart is always with music and it’s his joy to share it with others.

Companies & Dancers

Navia Natarajan

Gifted with fluid grace, an innate sense of rhythm and a vibrant sense of expression, Navia Natarajan has been dancing to the beat of Bharathanatyam since the surprisingly young age of three. Entranced by the movements of this South Indian classical dance form as a little girl, Navia has followed her calling with single-minded vision, rigorous training and above all, a passion for the craft. Today, she is an accomplished danseuse in the Vazhavoor tradition of Bharathanatyam, and has been enthralling audiences around the world, from the United States and Europe to the Middle East, with an impressive repertoire of performances.
Navia’s love affair with dance began in the culturally vibrant city of Chennai where she was formally initiated into the world of Bharathanatyam at the age of seven, under the keen tutelage of her first guru Radhika Kalyani. Navia took to the complicated and stylized movements of Bharathanatyam like a fish to water, and was ready for her solo debut performance or ‘Arangetram’ as a precociously talented ten-year-old.
The next leg of Navia’s artistic journey led her to accomplished danseuse Padmini Ramachandran in Bangalore, with whom she widened her dance vocabulary, from mastering complex ‘Varnams’ to learning the nuances of emoting, all the while balancing a demanding education in Microbiology. A career as a research scientist followed, but the call of dance was too loud to ignore when she moved to the United States. Sequestering herself in her studio in California, Navia spent long hours exploring her craft, discovering new dimensions and adding on layers to her performances.    
Here she has started the Navia Dance Academy to train young dancers in the art of Bharathanatyam. Apart from touring the US, Navia returns to India for three months every year to perform as well as continue her learning under Guru A Lakshman of Chennai and Abhinaya exponent Bragha G Bessell. Appreciated by critics and audiences for the poise, grace and maturity of expression she brings to her performances, for Navia herself, Bharathanatyam is a form of communion – dance allows her to connect with herself, to feel the Infinite, briefly touch a moment of eternity and most of all, connect with an audience and leave them moved and elevated. 
Navia’s forte lies in the depth of her performances, as she literally merges and becomes one with the characters or ‘Nayikas’ she portrays, whether she is depicting a lover’s beauty through ‘Sringara’ or the longing of a mother through ‘Vaatsalya’. Navia stays loyal to the traditional framework of dance, but believes in contemporizing themes in her performances. What began as a childhood fascination has matured into lifelong quest for Navia to seek the essence of Bharathanatyam as embodied in the play of Bhava, Raga and Thala.

Rickey Tripp

Rickey Tripp is a Performer, Choreographer, Dance Educator, and Certified Zena Rommett Floor-Barre Technique Instructor. He holds a B.A. in Dance from San Jose State University.

Rickey’s Broadway credits include: Hamilton: An American Musical, Motown: The Musical, and Tony Award Winning In the Heights (Original Cast). Off-Broadway: In the Heights, which was awarded a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. T.V./Film: Tony Awards, SMASH, Whatever Lola Wants, Janemaan. Other theatre credits include: Stagger Lee A New Musical: DTC World Premiere, AIDA National Tour, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the World’s Famous Rockettes.

Rickey’s choreography credits include: Dreamgirls, DTC, which recieved the Irma P. Hall Black Theater Award for Best Choreography. He was associate Choreographer for Cabin in the Sky, Encores! at New York City Center, a Victoria’s Secret Internet Commercial, and The Broadway Boys. He was Assistant Choreographer for Dreamgirls at North Shore Music Theatre, FLY A New musical: DTC World Premiere, A Winters’ Tale, Fortress of Solitude A New Musical. Additional choreography on: In the Heights, Desperately Seeking Susan the Musical West End Premiere, 9-5 The Musical, The Wiz Encore Presentation, Bring It On A New Musical and SMASH.

Company Work includes Mark Stuart Dance Theatre. Rickey has taught Master Classes and set choreography for various dance studios across the country including the prestigious NYU Theatre Department. As a teacher, he has over 18 years of experience and currently on staff at Broadway Dance Center, NYC.

Sangam Arts

Founded in 2013, Sangam Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides an innovative platform for artists from diverse backgrounds to come together to collaborate and co-create world-class multicultural music and dance performances. Using a wide range of cultural and artistic expressions from Folklorico and Tap to Kathak and Hula, our presentations are carefully curated to that help us see our common humanity while allowing us to celebrate the traits that make us unique.

Our unique approach and reputation for quality programming have helped us gain support grantors and foundations such as Office of Cultural Affairs, City of San Jose, SVCreates and Knight Foundation.

International Performing Arts of America

Supports local artists sustaining diverse ethnic dance, music and traditional cultural activities by providing needed services and performing opportunities.

Yang Yang (Artistic Director)

Santa Barbara Dance Company

Tracy Ray Kofford (Director of Dance) is originally from Southern California where his dancing began with tap at the age of 9, and his theatre work began at the age of 13. He holds a BFA degree in dance from the University Of California at Santa Barbara and a MFA degree from New York University Tisch School of the Arts where he received a full scholarship. His choreography has been presented at NYU Main stage, at the NYU 25th anniversary Gala, Adelphi University, Stockton College, Stockton Student Showcase, Hope College, DanceLoft in Switzerland, Lincoln Center in NYC, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (Atlantis), Kinesis and at the Jennifer Muller Summer Intensive workshop in NYC. In 2008, Mr. Kofford assisted Jennifer Muller and John Brooks in the re-staging of City for Williams/Henry Dance Company as well as performing with the company. Other works Mr. Kofford has assisted on include the creation of FootPrints, for the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, along with assistant to choreographer Jennifer Muller, setting pieces on the Alvin Ailey School Senior Company, The Marymount Student Dance Company among others. Mr. Kofford made his debut with Williams/Henry Dance Company in Trains and City and was a guest artist with the company until 2010. In 2008, Mr. Kofford returned to New York after a successful run as Tarzan for Disney Cruise Line. Up until 2010, he assisted Ms. Muller with her Summer Choreography series at Steps in NYC, in which he taught rep from The Works. Other professional credits include Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, Mark Dendy Dance Company, Stephen Petronio (apprentice), Pearl Umbegan Dancers and Musicians, and Jody Oberfelder and has danced in works by choreographers Donald Byrd, Bebe Miller, Joe Goode, Bill T. Jones, Paul Taylor, Christopher Pilafian, Leda Meredith, Robin Bisio, Valerie Huston, Jerry Pearson and Breezy Berryman. Mr. Kofford has choreographed and performed in Homer, Alaska production of the Nutcracker from 2001-2007. Mr. Kofford was a senior member with Jennifer Muller/ The Works Dance Company where he performed both nationally and internationally. Mr. Kofford returned from a highly successful international tour to China in December 2009, where he not only was a featured dancer but was also the companies’ rehearsal director. Along side performing, Mr. Kofford was also an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi University and Artistic Director of a new festival in Homer Alaska, teaching the Muller Technique, performance skills and comp to pre-professional dancers. Mr. Kofford held a position as Visiting Professor of Dance at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey 2008-2009. In Spring 2009, Tracy was a featured dancer with Jennifer Muller at the Joyce Theatre for her 35th anniversary season. In Fall 2009 Mr. Kofford taught and choreographed in Switzerland and at Hope College as a Guest Artist. He returned to Santa Barbara in 2010 to dance with Santa Barbara Dance Theatre for the companies’ 20th anniversary season. Last year Mr. Kofford was featured in Lois Greenfield: Still Moving. In Fall 2016, after starting his SBCC Dance Company, his choreographic work, Intersecting Fugue, won national/international McCallum Choreography Award and tour to over 10 festivals throughout California. In Summer 2017 he appeared in SBCC Theater’s musical High Society as featured dancer and associate choreographer. In 2018, his work, Cascading Failures, received Gala recognition at the Baja Regional ACDA dance conference. He is currently the Professor/Director of Dance at Santa Barbara City College, Artistic Director of SBCC Dance Company, guest teacher at Thacher High School, guest artist with Santa Barbara Festival Ballet.

Daisy Mohrman (Assistant to the Choreographer) is a dancer with a passion for healing and promoting the arts. Growing up, she trained with East*West Music & Dance in Cupertino, CA, then went on to study Dance and Holistic health at Chapman University, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2015. She joined Shieldwall Dance Company, a Los Angeles-based modern company founded by ex-Lewitzky dancer Sean Greene, as a full company member in 2015 and became company manager in 2016, then joined BrockusRED as booking manager for the 2016-2017 season. She currently resides in Santa Barbara, where she dances with SBCC Dance Company, works with local choreographers like Weslie Ching and Shelby Lynn Joyce (Nebula Dance Lab, SBCC), and works as a Certified Massage Therapist. She’s excited and proud to return home and join Dominic and DVDance this season as a guest artist!

Sarah Block was born and raised in Santa Barbara, beginning her dance training at the age of 3 at Gustafson Dance. There, Sarah was part of the student company State Street Ballet Young Dancers and performed roles such as Clara in The Nutcracker and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. She attended Regional Dance America six times where she received scholarships for Ballet West, Idyllwild, and the Regional Dance America National Choreography Intensive, which she attended in 2017. Sarah is looking forward to the opportunities provided by the SBCC Dance Company and is excited to see what will come her way in the future.

Fenna Roukema was raised in Santa Barbara, California and has been dancing for 15 years. She trained mostly in ballet with Gustafson Dance and State Street Ballet Young Dancers before expanding into modern and joining the SBCC Dance Company after high school. She hopes to study kinesiology in college and pursue a career in dance and choreography.

Haley Kittleson was first put into dance class at the age of two at Elaine’s Dance Studio in Santa Cruz California. She continued her studies of dance (specializing in contemporary, ballet, and tap) until age 18 at Elaine’s learning from the tight knit staff. Outside of Santa Cruz, Haley has worked with many other choreographers and especially grew dancing at the California State Summer School for the Arts in the summer of 2015. Here she was rigorously trained, most memorably by Gregory Dawson the director of the San Francisco based company Dawson Dance SF. In the spring of 2018, Haley began to work with Tracy Kofford at Santa Barbara City College and has since become a member of the SBCC Dance Company in the fall of 2018.

Katie Evans began dancing at age four with Encore Dance Centre in San Dimas, California. She attended the Los Angeles county high school for the arts where she studied ballet and modern and continued to pursue her dance training in college and graduated from the Boston conservatory. This is Katie’s first season with the SBCC dance company and is looking forward to performing with them this year.

Mihrin Popatia was born in Toronto, Canada and began her dance training at the age of 5. As a dancer, Mihrin has trained and competed in Canada and the US in genres such as modern, ballet, contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, and hip- hop. Most notably, Mihrin trained at Canada’s National Ballet School where she graduated from the senior associates’ program and performed in the National Ballet’s Nutcracker in 2014 and 2015. Mihrin has also worked commercially in hip-hop, Bollywood and EDM crossover music videos and performed at concerts such as the International Indian Film Awards. More recently in the summer of 2018, Mihrin choreographed and performed with Stories: Our American Journey, a musical theatre production that toured 8 cities around the U.S. Mihrin has been training and performing with the Santa Barbara City College Dance Company for almost 2 years now. After college, it is her aspiration to pursue a commercial career in the entertainment industry, fusing her passions of dancing and acting.

Camara Byrd started my early training in various forms dance at Jones Haywood in Washington, D.C.; and then began classical ballet training at Maryland Youth Ballet. I also studied ballet at the Next Generation at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa, Florida under Peter Stark. I continued training at the Hartt School, University of Hartford under Steven Pier; where I studied various modern techniques including, Martha Graham and José Limón. I later studied at Radford University and then moved to Santa Barbara. In Santa Barbara, I explored Muller Technique under Tracy Kofford; and various other modern and contemporary dance forms. While I appreciated the academic side of dance, I was invited to join the SBCC Dance Company, directed by Tracy Kofford, where we participated in festivals in various parts of California. I was excited to perform works choreographed by Tracy Kofford, Dana Bella, Sarah Hardcastle-Levy, Shelby Lynn Joyce, and Jerry Pearson. I am passionate about dance and am continuing to pursue as a career.

Maddie Rothfuss trained in classical Vaganova ballet in Orange County, CA, under Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky. Dancing with the University of Colorado, Boulder, she explored contemporary and African styles of movement lead by department chair Erika Randall and Gesel Mason. This is Maddie’s third year dancing with SBCC Dance Collective under direction by Mr. Tracy Kofford, where she has appeared in various pieces by choreographers including Shelby Lynn Joyce, Leslie Ching and Tracy Kofford.

Rachel Johnson was born in San Francisco, CA and started dancing when she was 2 years, after seeing all the other little girls doing it. 17 years later she is still as in love with it as she was back then. She studied at a competition studio in Northern California for 15 years and it was an amazing experience, and is now a member of the SBCC Dance Company and loves every minute of it. Her most favorite performance that she ever did was in the Super Bowl 50 half time show, breathing the same air as Bruno Mars and Beyoncé!

Amanda Ginella began dancing when she was three years old. Taking ballet, jazz, and tap at Miss Anne’s School of dance. She began competing when she was in 6th grade in the styles of jazz, lyrical, and tap. In high school she continued with dance and took classes at school and a dance studio, while also on the dance team at school. Choosing to continue dancing in college she moved from San Diego to Santa Barbara and joined the Santa Barbara City College Dance Company. This is where she was first introduced to modern dance. Next year she will continue to dance with the SBCC dance company. Her future plans in dance are to go to UCSB where she will receive my BA in dance and then move back to San Diego and teach dance at a studio.

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