Pamela Taylor Tongg, Artistic Director
Click here for Ms Taylor Tongg's bio.
Regina Ahlgren performed as a professional dancer for over 18 years.
She has worked in Regional Theater, First National Tours and on
Broadway. She has spent many years teaching all forms of dance and is
excited to join the teachers at Ballet Hawaii.
Hargrove - began her training at the School of American ballet. In 1993 she performed
with the New York City ballet in its Balanchine celebration. The following year, Ms.
Hargrove graduated from the High School of Performing Arts and joined the Miami City ballet
where she performed various soloist and principal roles. During this time, she performed in
Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center Honors for President Clinton and other distinguished
guests. In 1998, Daphne left Miami to become a founding member and principal dancer with
During the next four years in North Carolina, she created many principal roles in
world-premier ballets by renowned choreographers such as Lynn Taylor-Corbett and Robert
Weiss, as well as being featured in many class works. Her repertoire includes Balanchine's
Rubies, Concerto Barocco, Who cares, and Steadfast Tin Soldier, Anthony Tudor's Lilac
Garden, Jose Limon's Moor's Pavane, and Peter Martin's Valse Triste.
Ige received his early ballet training with Rhonda Kimura
from 1969 -1971. From 1975-77, he studied with Professor of
Ballet Yasuki Sasa at the University of Hawaii Manoa, where he
developed his skills and appreciation for ballet. He danced the
principal roles in “Paquita, Ocean and Pearl and Firebird.”
Mr. Ige joined the Honolulu City Ballet in August 1977, first
as an apprentice then as a company member in February 1978.
WillieDean performed as soloist and principal in featured roles
including Sir Fredrick Franklin’s Coppelia, Michael Utoff’s
Nutcracker, Patrick Franz’s Street Songs, Atilla Fizare’s Shubert
Songs, Paddy Stone’s Strike Up The Band, Tessa Magoon’s Hawaiian
Medley, Nel Fuson’s Prince Igor, Earnest Morgan’s Olomana Suite
and Koi. Other works included Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and
In 1980, he co-founded the Hawaii Ballet Theater with Charlys
and Dennis Ing where he co-directed and co-choreographed the
company’s early repertoire including the Hawaiian version of
well-known classical stories such as the “Ka Manu Ahi (the
Firebird), Pekelo & Pua’a (Peter and the Wolf), and La Boutique
Fantasque (Toyshop Fantasy).” Other ballets included “Nutcracker,
Cinderella, Mid-Summer Nights Dream, Stars & Stripes, Still and
several original commissioned works. During this time, WillieDean
and Charlys toured and performed in the “Artist in the Schools”
program. They were featured guest artists with the Honolulu Youth
Symphony, Honolulu Symphony and the Royal Hawaiian Band for many
WillieDean traveled abroad to Japan where he danced the
principal roles in “Les Sylphide (1985) and La Sylphide (1987) at
Japan’s famous Shinjuku Bunka Theater in Tokyo Japan. He also
travelled and studied in New York with Wilhelm Burmann at Steps
on Broadway, David Howard of the Harkness School of Ballet,
Vladmir Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance/Ballet School,
and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and School in 1986.
From 1986-88, WillieDean instructed students in dance at
Iolani School. He performed at the Diamond Head Theater under the
direction of the late Jim Hutchinson in the musicals “Carousel
and Oklahoma.” That same year, WillieDean performed in the
production of “La Cage Au Faux” with celebrity impersonators from
various parts of the country. In a collaboration with his
long-time friend and mentor, Earnest Morgan, WillieDean would
choreograph Hilo’s version of the “Hawaiian Nutcracker.”
In 1988, WillieDean began working with the Friends of the
Ballet and Ballet Hawaii under the direction of Pamela Taylor-Tongg. While working with Ballet Hawaii, WillieDean danced the
featured role in an original ballet choreographed by Mathew
Wright with music by takashi koshi titled “Urashima Taro.” He was
also featured in Sonya Arova’s Giselle, Tom Paizak’s Carmen and
Romeo & Juliet. WillieDean continues to perform as a local-borne
danseur in Ballet Hawaii’s annual Nutcracker. He loves teaching
and encourages his students on the intricacies of ballet in the
Kurashige received her early training at Ballet Hawaii,
under artistic director Pamela Taylor Tongg, where she
performed in works choreographed by Peter Rockford Espiritu,
Minou Lallemand, and Marie Takazawa.
This past April, she
graduated with a B.F.A in Dance and a Minor in Psychology at
Belhaven University. While at Belhaven, she had the privilege
of working with choreographers Ryan Corriston, Randall Flinn,
Dorrell Martin, Caleb Mitchell, Cynthia Newland, Stephanie
Powell, and Laura Morton-Zebert, performing in various pieces,
including Donald McKayle’s historical work, Songs of the
Additionally, she has furthered her
training at workshops with Ad Deum Dance Company and Doug Varone and Dancers, as well as at the 2012 American Dance
Festival, where she gained practical experience in technical
theater as a stagecraft apprentice. In the future, Elisabeth
hopes to pursue a Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy,
blending her love for dance with a desire to integrate the arts
into our society as a practically and aesthetically valuable
means of reaching local communities.
Lallemand graduated from the New York High School of Performing Arts and the Joffrey Ballet
School. She has danced solo and principal roles with Ballet Arizona, American Repertory Ballet,
Ballet Chicago, Eglevsky Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and Ballet Hawaii and performed with The Phantom
of the Opera national tour and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Minou currently teaches for Ballet Hawaii, Queen Emma Ballet, Pacific Youth Ballet and Drill Team
Hawaii, and has been a guest teacher at the Virginia School of the Arts. She has created works for
Ballet Arizona, the New Choreographer's on Point Workshop, Chamber Music Hawaii, and is the Artistic
Director of the Onium Ballet Project.
Giselle Laurie is originally from Riverside, CA. She began her dance training at
Riverside Ballet Arts, then went on to succeed in company schools such as California
Riverside Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Rock School for Dance Education,
Burklyn Ballet Theatre, and the dance department at University of California,
Her professional career started in traditional Russian folk dance for The All
Authentic Russian Souvenir Dance Co. She then went on to dance in various shows
and parades at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and The Walt Disneyworld Resort.
She also worked for various entertainment companies based in Los Angeles which
gave her the opportunity to perform on cruise ships, at conventions, and other
various productions. Giselle enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of dance
through her life mantra. Live your dream!
LACOUR grew up in Victoria, Texas where she trained with Debbe Busby.
Her training also includes American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and Boston Ballet on scholarship.
Laurie holds a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma, where upon graduation she recieved the F.
Donald Clark Award for the highest distinction in the OU College of Fine Arts.
Laurie danced professionally for
Ballet Nouveau Colorado from 2005-2009. Prior to BNC, Laurie danced with Corpus Christi Concert Ballet and Tulsa Ballet.
Laurie has choreographed for Ballet Nouveau Colorado and Del Mar College Dance Ensemble.
During her professional career
Laurie guested nationally and internationally performing roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.
Laurie's teaching resume includes Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, the School of Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Premier School of Dance, and Victoria Ballet Theatre.
Laurie is also a certified yoga instructor, Zumba instructor, and holistic health and wellness coach.
Mathias Maas started his theatre career in fourth grade in Missoula
Children’s Theatre’s production of Cinderella. He holds an undergraduate
degree in Theatre and Communications from Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota.
Currently a teacher at Diamond Head Theatre's Musical theatre experience, he has
also worked at Honolulu Theatre for Youth for 8 years, assisting with their
youth theatre programming such as Young at Art, and their Summer Session
He has taught Punahou summer school, Intro to Drama. Mathias is a
member of the dance-mask-theatre troupe Monkey Waterfall, a member of Hālau
Mōhala ‘Ilima, and a regular actor-improvisor for the Murder Mystery Dinner
Theatre at Dave & Busters. Recent performing credits include August: Osage
County (MVT), Around the World in 80 Days (MVT), Ibsen’s Ghosts
(TAG), The Sound of Music (DHT), The Reindeer Monologues (HRT),
Frost/Nixon (MVT), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (HSF), King Lear
(HSF), and The Joy Luck Club (KKT).
Raven Matsushita has been dancing since she was 4 years old with Ballet Hawaii.
She has danced almost every role in our annual Nutcracker and Spring Showcase
productions. She has attended 9 of our Summer Intensives and was recently
cast in Septime Webre’s 2013 production of Cinderella as a Rose, Ballroom
Lady, and Siamese twin. Other Summer Intensive performances include Septime
Webre’s Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, Robert Weiss’ Romeo
and Juliet, Giselle staged by Robert Barnett, and Coppelia
staged by Magaly Suarez.
Raven was also involved in Kaimuki high school Performing Arts Center’s
productions of west side story, A Funny Thing Happened on the
way to the Forum, Little Shop of Horrors, and Whasup Fables.
Her Community Theatre debuts include Paliku’s Phantom of the Opera,
Hawaii Opera Theatre’s Pearl Fishers and Turnadot, Onium Ballet’s
Appalachian Spring, La Revue de Cuisine, Clocks, and
Raven recently graduated with dual Associate Degrees in Patisserie and Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College. Raven is looking forward to teaching for Ballet Hawaii at the Nu’uanu
Hongwanji after school program
Ballet, was an apprentice for Hawaii Ballet Theater and performed in their Nutcracker (Chinese,
Spanish, Mirliton, Snow, and Flower), Cinderella, Fire Bird, Hansel
and Gretel, and Coppelia. She has also danced for the University of
Hawaii Rainbow Dancers, Hawaii Dance Connection (contemporary
ballet/jazz), Show People Hawaii (jazz/tap), and Aloha:The Musical
(under the direction of Joe Layton). She trained locally under Rhonda
Kimura, Yasuki Sasa (UH), Jan Fujit-Clark (from Ballet West), Alaine
Haubert (from ABT), and Willie Dean Ige. She also taught ballet at
Rhonda Kimura studio.
Tere graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BA and
MA in Communication. She has taught at the University of Hawaii at
Manoa, Kansai Gaidai Hawaii College and for Chaminade University evening
program. She now teaches first grade at private school in Pearl City.
Nanilisa Pascua, Vocal teacher, received her BA degree in Music from the
University of Hawaii with concentration on voice in 1981. She has sung with many
school-related, community, and professionally run companies. She is a long time
music educator teaching in the perochial school system for over 30 years,
teaching general music, chorus, and doubling as director and music director/choreogropher
for many school related shows. Currently she teaches singing and vocal coaches
at the Craig Young School of Music.
Ms Pascua helped develop the Musical
Theatre Experience educational program for young people at Diamond Head Theatre
from its inception, teaching the summer session for many years and continues to
teach the year-round version in addition to her Broadway Ensemble Singing
courses. She is also Music Director for the acclaimed Shooting Stars program for
young people where students audition to get into the program and participate in
the song and dance intensive program, performing for various projects, both
public and private, and putting on selected musicals mainstage like LITTLE SHOP
OF HORRORS, DAMN YANKEES, CINDERELLA, INTO THE WOODS, and most recently
Ms Pascua has served as Music Director for various projects at Diamond Head
Theatre, Manoa Valley Theatre, Moanalua High School, Kapolei High School
Performing Arts Center and most frequently with the Kaimuki High School
Performing Arts Center mounting musicals like GREASE, WEST SIDE STORY, ONCE ON
THIS ISLAND, THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, FLOWER DRUM SONG, THE WIZ, LITTLE SHOP OF
HORRORS, and SOUTH PACIFIC, just to name a few. Ms Pascua is happy to be
teaching for Ballet Hawaii.
Ushijima Quong received her early ballet training in the states of Oregon, Montana, and
Washington. Her most extensive training was with Madam Gabriella Darvash in New York City.
While in New York, she was co-founder and co-director of the professional company,
BalletWorks, Ltd. and later became a teacher and resident choreographer for the Ulster
Ballet Company in upstate New York.
Her works were shown in New York City, and in Hawaii, with Danceworks, The Dance Company,
Big City Studios and the Honolulu Dance Studio. She presently is associated with Ballet
Hawaii and teaches mainly at the Leeward branch in Wahiawa.
is originally from New York City and began her formal dance training at
the School of American Ballet. She continued her training at Ballet
Academy East, and had opportunities to perform with the New York City
Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet.
She graduated from Indiana University with Highest
Distinction in May 2010 where she studied both in the Jacobs School of
Music and the Contemporary Dance program.
Courtney has performed in NYC with modern-based companies Dance Visions
NY and IsadoraNow. Courtney has choreographed since a young age, and has shown her
original choreography at several notable venues including the Alvin Ailey
Citigroup Theater, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, and City Center Studios. In
addition to dance, Courtney teaches Pilates and yoga, and is an accomplished
Pam Sandridge is a dance/choreographer/producer and has worked with
entertainment artists in Hawaii since 1974. She has instructed Jazz
dance classes at Punahou Dance School, Honolulu Academy of Theatre Arts,
Kamehameha Dance Theatre, University of Hawaii Rainbow Dancers, and her
own companies - The Jazz Factory and Big City Productions.
In 1999 she was certified by The PhysicalMind Institute
in Pilates Method Mat and Equipment. She is also certified in a method
called "Bones for Life" by Ruthy Alon, the Feldenkrais practitioner who
created the work.
Under the COREography, she utilizes her training from
these modalities, fused with her dance experience, to inspire movement
with reduced effort and a dialogue of heightened awareness between mind
Sani, born and raised in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, trained at the Lehigh
Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts in Bethlehem, PA. Upon
graduating, he relocated to Miami, Florida where he attended New World
School of the Arts. After one year at the conservatory Jesse joined
Momentum Dance Company, and continued his professional training while
performing classical Limon, Graham and Duncan pieces throughout Florida.
In 2007 Jesse was awarded the Ailey Fellowship Scholarship and relocated
to New York City to continue his training at The Ailey School. There he
worked with various artists and choreographers such as Pedro Ruiz,
Francisco Martinez, Kanji Segawa, Max Luna III, Francesca Harper, Denise
Vale and Donald McKayle; performing their respective works.
Jesse was awarded a scholarship to The Jacobs Pillow Contemporary
Traditions program where he trained with Arturo Fernandez, Banu Ogan,
Pamela Pribisco, Milton Myers and Stacey Calvert and performed works by
Azure Barton, Helen Pickett and Tero Saarinen. After Jacob’s Pillow,
Jesse joined PHILADANCO, dancing for two seasons and later, with BalletX
Marie Takazawa - began her dance training in Hawaii. She studied and performed at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa, with Dances We Dance Company and Hawaii Dance Theatre. Moving
to New York she performed on Broadway, with the Uncompany as the lead dancer in the Yul
Brynner production of The King and I, and in a tour of The King and I,
starring Rudolph Nureyev.
Returning to Hawaii, Takazawa was co-director of Danceworks Honolulu, which was selected
as the 1994 People’s Choice Awards "Best Dance Company."
Ms. Takazawa is a freelance
choreographer and teaches jazz, ballet, modern and street dance at local dance studios and
fitness centers. She is presently Ballet Mistress and resident choreographer for the Tau
Dance Theatre and on the faculty of Ballet Hawaii.
Hina Torres de Sa began dancing at age 13 with Simeon Den and Marie Takazawa at the innovative Danceworks studio in Hawaii which gave her a very creative
and free start in jazz, ballet and modern technique.
She attended the Ballet West Summer Dance Program in Colorado and then formally trained under Alaine Haubert at the University of Hawaii.
She has performed and choreographed in a variety of local productions: Danceworks “Hot Feats” concerts; Lead Arabian in HBTY’s Nutcracker; “the Cat” in Mathew Wright‘s
Peter and the Wolf; the Hurricane Review, Spats Passion Dancers, the Dick Jensen Show; Kaimuki Dance Theatre; lead dancer in live TV for the Hawaii Scholarship Pageant; and
UH Spring Dance Concerts including Pas de Quatre under the direction of Alaine Haubert. She choreographed for Mame at the Fort Shafter Army Theatre, and Hair for the
Diamond Head Theatre for which she earned a Po’okela Award.
After 15 years of dancing, she channeled her athletic energy into
triathlons and completed 3-Ironman distance races in Brazil, Austria and
Hawaii. She also earned a masters in European Languages and Literature
and teaches French. Dance has always still been the love of her life and
she enjoys passing on her enthusiasm for it in her teaching!
has a Bachelors degree in Marketing with a minor in
Dance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She trained with Nolan Dingman in
Orlando, Florida in the late 80s. She was the ballet instructor for the female
water-ski team at Sea World in Florida and The Columbus Dance Center in 1987, and
was the dance instructor at the American School in Japan for four summers in the
Over the last 13 years Yvonne has appeared locally performing in numerous
Diamond Head Theatre musicals, and productions for Lisa Matsumoto's Ohia
Crystal Yukumoto was born in Hawaii and began her classical ballet
training in Europe. She received her BFA and Masters of Education
degrees from Texas Christian University. She has danced professionally
with domestic and international dance companies such as: Ballet
Frontier, Commedia Ballet Theater, Contemporary Ballet Dallas,
Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth, New World Ballet, North Texas Ballet
Theatre, and Skånes Dansteater in Sweden.
Crystal has taught ballet at
various studios in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex as well as for the
Swedish National Ballet School in Malmö, Sweden. She has also taught
ballroom dance through the Dancing Classrooms North Texas program, and
is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor. Crystal just got married and
has moved to Honolulu from Texas.
takashi koshi has been the piano accompanist for Ballet Hawaii since 1981. Before that
he was the music accompanist for The Cloudgate Dance Theater of Taiwan from 1979-1981.
He is originally from Denver, Colorado and has a Music Education Degree from Oberlin
Conservatory and Master's Degree in Music Performance in bassoon from the University of
He has received numerous commissions for his music compositions, and his one-hour ballet "Urashima
Taro" was performed in 2005 as the Spring Recital of Ballet Hawaii.
Koshi has done work intermittently for Ballet Hawaii since 1996 when he
first began training from his father as an accompanist.
He has worked
for The University of Hawaii Dance Department, On the Spot Improv & The
Pacific Ballet Academy. Art has also played with various local bands in
Honolulu and composed music for both Dance and Film.