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Resident Faculty

Pamela Taylor Tongg, Artistic Director

Regina Ahlgren - Ballet, Jazz, Tap

Daphne Hargrove, Ballet

WillieDean Ige, Men's Ballet & Adult Ballet

Micki Kolberg, Ballet

Elizabeth Kurashige, Ballet

Minou Lallemand, Ballet

Giselle Laurie - Ballet, Musical Theatre

Laurie LaCour, Ballet

Mathias Maas, Acting

Raven Matsushita, Ballet

Mareva Minerbi, Ballet

Tere Pang, Ballet

Nanilisa Pascua, Vocal

Heidi Putterill, Ballet

Susan Quong, Ballet

Pam Sandridge, COREography and Jazz

Jesse Sani, Contemporary

Marie Takazawa, Jazz, Ballet

Hina Torres de Sa, Ballet

Yvonne Yanagihara, Ballet, Musical Theatre

Crystal Yukumoto – Ballet

takashi koshi, Accompanist

Art Koshi, Accompanist


Ballet Hawaii offers a year round training program and has the reputation of combining outstanding master teachers from international companies with an experienced resident staff.

Photo by Anne Mcelwain

A special Summer Intensive Program is offered annually featuring special guest teachers and a performance.

Photos by Anne Mcelwain


Faculty Biographies:

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.



Daphne 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 Carolina Ballet.

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.

WillieDean 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 Giselle.

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 years.

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 performing arts.

Micki Kolberg is originally from Upstate NY where she grew up training with the Ithaca Ballet. She is a graduate of The Kirov Academy of Ballet (Washington D.C.) and trained with Truman Finney through Ballet Austin (TX). She has danced with the Louisville Ballet in Kentucky and with Ballet Black in London, UK. She has also guested with the Ballet Russe in Swansea, Wales and for several ballet schools on the mainland.

Micki has been teaching various levels of ballet for over a decade and received certification as a Level I, Foundation I GYROTONIC(R) trainer through the Movement Center of Boston. Since moving to Hawaii she has become an experienced registered, 200-hour Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Health Educator and currently teaches ballet and yoga at Sacred Hearts Academy. She currently enjoys performing with Ballet Hawaii and Onium Ballet Project in Honolulu.

Elisabeth 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 Disinherited.

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.

Minou 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, Irvine.

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!

LAURIE 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, Acting

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 Programming.

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 Trapeze.

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

Mareva Minerbi’s very first performance was with Ballet Hawai‘i in The Nutcracker at age four, which set forth her passion for the performing arts.  She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Hawai‘i where she was awarded the Graduate Teaching Fellowship from 2013-2015.  She holds a BFA from the University of Iowa and has taught at their Youth Ballet from 2009-2011.  She has danced in Italy and the United States with Compania d’Opera Italiana, Duarte Dance Works, Poetic Rebound Performance Co., Diana Carter and Dances and Dancers In Company. 

She has worked with choreographers including Joe Goode, Tim Miller, Jennifer Kayle, Chris Masters, Lucas Crandall, Deanna Carter, Amy Schiffner, Armando Duarte, Kara Miller, Eloy Barrigan, Charlotte Adams and Cheryl Flaharty.  She danced in Hawai‘i State Ballet Junior Company under the direction of John Landovsky and studied at Mid-Pacific Institutes' School of the Arts.  Mareva also enjoys theatre and has performed in local productions of Big Love and La Strada. She sang backup vocals for the reggae band Public Property that opened for bands including Steel Pulse and Toots and The Maytals. 

Mareva is currently a Lecturer in Dance at Kapi‘olani Community College and is directing Saint Francis School’s musical. She is also a certified yoga instructor.  Mareva looks forward to sharing her passion in dance at Ballet Hawai‘i.

Tere Pang, 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 HAIRSPRAY.

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.

Heidi Putterill received her training at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Madrid in Madrid Spain, after which she went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Ballet Performance from Indiana University in 2009.

 Following a brief professional career with Tulsa Ballet II, she began teaching and has since taught ballet, flamenco and Pilates at North Star Ballet, Dothan Ballet and Indiana University’s Pre-College Ballet program. She has a passion for ballet technique, her family and her faith.


Susan 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.


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 and body.

Jesse 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.

In 2009 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 for three.

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!


Yvonne Yanagihara 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 early 90’s.

Over the last 13 years Yvonne has appeared locally performing in numerous Diamond Head Theatre musicals, and productions for Lisa Matsumoto's Ohia Productions.



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 Northern Colorado.

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.

Art 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.



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