Viktor Kabaniaev - Ballet Master & Director of the Professional Ballet Division<Viktor Kabaniaev, award wining and internationally acclaimed choreographer and teacher, was trained at the famed Vaganova School in St. Petersburg, Russia . During the years that followed, he worked as a principal dancer in various ballet companies in the former Soviet Union, Germany and United States. Mr. Kabaniaev has performed principal roles in many classical, neoclassical and contemporary ballets and has toured extensively in France, Iraq , Poland, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy , Liechtenstein, Sweden, Austria, Panama, Japan and Thailand.
Mr. Kabaniaev has created over 40 works for Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Hanover Ballet, Diablo Ballet, Smuin Ballet SF, Sacramento Ballet, Moving Arts Dance and many ballet schools and colleges around United States. He created over 60 pieces for YAGP. His works were presented in the Republic of Belarus , France , Germany , Poland , Japan, Australia , Netherlands , Russia , Italy , and the United States. In 2010 Mr. Kabaniaev joined WSPA as a teacher for Professional Program.
Cristina Fargas-Newell - Ballet Mistress & Lyrical
Cristina, fondly called Ms. Tina has been a teacher and choreographer at WSPA for 10 years. Her choreography has garnered the school top awards in various dance competitions. Tina began her ballet training at the age of 5 under the tutelage of Lydia Gaston. At 16 years of age, she began her apprenticeship with the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance Company, also known as Ballet Philippines (BP). In 1980 she was accepted as a member of BP and danced as soloist soon after. For 11 years she danced for BP and assumed the position of rehearsal mistress from 1985 - 1991. She taught ballet and modern dance to the apprentice of BP, CCP Dance School & The Philippines School of the Arts. While with BP she had the privilege to perform alongside internationally acclaimed artists like Natasha Makarova, Fernando Bujones, Patrick Bissell, Martin Van HameI, John Meehan, Leslie Brown, Joyce Cuoco, Yoko Morishita, and Alicia Alonso. In the Ballet Classics, she performed lead roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadere, Cinderella, Les Sylphides, Paquita and Napoli. Her most memorable modern pieces are For the Gods, Te Deum ,Sebastian, Mga Babae, Rama Hari, Black Brown and Blues, and Carmina Burana, to mention a few. In 1991, Tina was invited to join the City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong. She performed in all contemporary and experimental productions, was involved in the educational program and joined all of their international tours until 1996. In the 16 years of her dancing career, Tina has toured Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Venezuela, Canada, USA and most of Asia. The mentors who inspired her most are Alice Reyes, Norman Walker, William Morgan, Luminita Dumitrescu, Mikael Kukarev, Armin Wilde, Laura Alonso, Takako Asakawa, Helen Lai, Gener Caringal, Enrico Labayen and Denisa Reyes. Tina has a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce major in Marketing Management from De La Salle University, Philippines.
Irene LIu - Ballet (Performance Program)
Irene Liu received her classical ballet and contemporary training under Viktor Kabaniaev and Tina Kay Bohnstedt. She was a critically acclaimed dancer by the SF Chronicle and LA Times for her performance in West Wave Dance Festival, Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival and Celebrate Dance LA. Irene is a graduate of UC Irvine with a BFA in Dance Performance and was a recipient of the William J. Gillespie Scholarship for all four years. Irene taught contemporary and ballet at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy and staged works by Viktor Kabaniaev for their performances. In 2011, she staged Viktor Kabaniaev's "Series of UnRelated Events" for Sacramento Ballet.
Jessica Manalo Angeles - Ballet, Ballet n' Tap & Polynesian
Jessica Manalo Angeles is a student pioneer of WSPA since its inception in 1991 and by 1994 was a ballet soloist in WSPA’s dance company. She has studied a variety of dance disciplines and styles ranging from classical ballet to modern to Polynesian, under the tutelage of world renowned artists such as Malu Rivera-Peoples, Alonzo King and Kumu Anthony Manaois. Jessica has performed in numerous award-winning routines in various dance competitions throughout the nation, most recently a proud part of WSPA's award-winning Te Orama performance in San Jose Tahiti Fete in 2011. Known for her stage projection and character, she has performed lead roles in The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Cinderella. Jessica has traveled with WSPA to represent the school in the Philippines in 1995 and to Macao, China to represent the United States in the Macao International Youth Dance Festival in 2008. She has completed summer intensives with the LINES Ballet School, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and with the Oberlin Dance Company (ODC). Jessica completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Liberal Studies and Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Santa Clara University in June of 2005. Currently, Jessica serves as a rehearsal mistress for WSPA's full-length production of "The Nutcracker" which is presented annually in December and as a guest-choreographer at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, in addition to teaching general school Ballet, Ballet n' Tap and Polynesian classes.
In October 2007, WSPA's artistic director and long-time mentor to Angeles, Malu Rivera-Peoples, was selected and honored as one of the "Top 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S." by the Filipina Women's Network in Washington, D. C. A great honor to bestow, Malu selected Jessica as her protégée.
Reina Victoria - Ballet ‘n Tap, Ballet & Polynesian
Reina began her training at the age of three and joined WSPA in1993. As a member of the Performance Program she rose to the rank of principal dancer with leading roles in “Raymonda”, “Paquita”, “Cinderella”, “Don Quixote”, “La Bayadere”, Sleeping Beauty”, and danced the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutctracker. In 1999, she was voted the most outstanding student of WSPA. In 2001, she received the highest score award at the American Dance Awards Regional and garnered top honors in North American Dance Championships the year after. In 2003, she was Senior Dancer of the Year for the American Dance Awards and qualified for the national finals of Youth American Grand Prix. Reina continues to be a principal dancer of the company and a valued member of the WSPA faculty while earning a bachelor’s degree from the San Francisco State University.