Michelle Abuyaghi - Contemporary & Jazz
Michelle began her dance training in 1996 at WSPA under the instructors Malu Rivera-Peoples and Inna Beyer for ballet and Amy Beltrami for tap. She participated in the Nutcracker and received roles such as the "Dancing Doll" and "Merlitons". She also trained under Amy Beltrami for jazz, Tina Fargas and Malu Rivera-Peoples for contemporary, and Patrick Cruz for hip hop. She's competed in and won numerous awards at competitions such as Showstoppers, the International Dance Competition, CSTC, ADA, YAGP, World of Dance, Body Rock, and Prelude. Michelle is currently a member of hip hop's The Company. She has traveled to Macau, China with the hip hop Company to participate in their International Youth Festival. Michelle is currently a student at the University of San Francisco majoring in Business Administration.
Maia Siani - Jazz
Maia Siani is taking over the lower levels of the jazz performance program and the general school. Maia Siani is a long time member of the Savage Jazz Dance Company in Oakland. Ms. Siani joined the company in 1995, while attending San Francisco School of the Arts. She not only blossomed as a beautiful dancer but as a choreographer whose work Mr. Savage highly approved of for the company. Maia Siani began studying Ballet at an early age with Ballet Celeste International and with the Lines Ballet Program. Her dance education continued at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, as a fellowship student at Alvin Ailey American Dance School, with Dayton Contemporary Second Company and in the Alonzo Kings professional workshop. Upon her return to the Bay Area; she trained and performed with Savage Jazz Dance Company. While the majority of her teaching career has been with Oakland School for the Arts Dance School, she has taught in the outreach programs for San Francisco Ballet, Oakland Ballet and Performing Arts Workshop of San Francisco. For the last twelve years Maia has developed excellent teaching and choreographic skills, she is able to inspire and motivate children of all age groups and dance interests. Maia believes that dance can be used to inspire discipline, elevate self-esteem, and create personal success for young people.
Cristina Fargas-Newell - Ballet Mistress & Lyrical Jazz
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.