Yayoi Kambara directs KAMBARA + DANCERS. She was part of the artistic leadership with AXIS Dance Company during Judith Smith’s Sabbatical at AXIS Dance Company in 2015, and currently, directs KAMBARA + DANCERS. From 2003-2015, she was a full-time company member with ODC/Dance. Kambara has focused the last three years on her choreography,including choreography for contemporary opera and chorus.
Kambara is part of the 4th cohort of Association of Performing Arts Professionals Leadership Fellows Program co-directed by Ken Foster and Krista Bradley. Locally, Kambara is part of the Hope Mohr’s Bridge Project’s Community Engagement Residency Dancing Around Race lead by choreographer Gerald Casel. DAR invites critics, curators, funders, designers, and scholars to join the group's activities. A key line of inquiry for the year is how to make creative practices and cultural institutions more equitable. Kambara curates dance performances for the Asian Art Museum’s 2019/20 and 2020/21 season.
ArVejon Jones was raised in Compton, California. His mother encouraged him to dance, hoping it would help with his weight and health issues as a child. He began taking Tap, Hip Hop, and West African at “Kennedy Universal Dance Designs” in Los Angeles, CA, of which he did for 13 years. He later moved to San Francisco to attend San Francisco State University, where he took his first ballet class. He later decided to double major in Dance and Japanese. ArVejon Jones has performed works by KT Nelson, Brenda Way, Kimi Okada, Kat Roman, Robert Moses, Ray Tadio, Dexandro Montolvo, Natasha Adorlee Johnson, Breton-Tyner Bryan, Raissa Simpson, among others. He was also an apprentice with ODC in 2012, which he had the opportunity to tour with the company. ArVejon has also performed in Atlanta with PUSH Dance Company. In fall of 2014, ArVejon had the amazing opportunity to be featured in “AM/FM,” a film that premiered at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, choreographed by Robert Moses. On top of performing, he teaches group fitness classes at the Federal Court House and San Francisco State University. This is ArVejon’s first season with Sean Dorsey Dance.
Charles Torres Born in Mesa, Arizona, he began his ballet training as a young boy. Charles received full scholarships to San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and others as well as earning his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from St. Mary’s College. He is currently a ballet master/coach in demand throughout the country. He was a principal dancer and guest artist with Ballet West Arizona, Smuin Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and San Francisco Opera Ballet. He has danced all the full length ballets, a full Balanchine repertory, and a vast repertory of contemporary works. Charles received his Masters degree in 21st Century Leadership from St. Mary's College and is Floorbarre certified through the Zena Rommett foundation.
He is currently A free-lance guest Dancer, Ballet Master, Coach, Mentor, and is at San Francisco Dance Center (Lines), DSG studios in San Francisco.
Leilani Neal (Children's Program Director) began her training at “The Dance Network” under her mother Melinda Neal in Fairfield, Ca. She continued to train with schools such as Contra Costa Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Academy of Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and received scholarships with Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Miami City Ballet. She graduated from the dance department at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco, and was hired by her high school shortly after to be the ballet instructor for the musical theatre department. Leilani has danced professionally with Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Bay Pointe Ballet,Labayen Dance sf, and most recently Oakland Ballet. In addition to dance, she is currently a signed model with Marla Dell Talent Agency which has given her opportunities to be in commercials with Intel, Nikon, Microsoft,Visa, and Ford Go Bikes, Grub Hub to name a few. She was featured in the Mr.Carmack 2016 Coachella set and danced in the “Romance” music video for island artists CRSB that hit #1 on top charts in Hawaii. Leilani shares the love of dance with her students and aspires to give them the tools to succeed in the dance world and commercial industry.
Melinda Neal (Director) a Bay Area Native received her early ballet training from Yanina Cwyinska and was privileged to further her training under the tutelage of Ronn Guidi, founder of Oakland Ballet Company. She earned her BA from St. Mary's College of California LEAP program for professional dancers. She is also a certified Pilates Instructor. Melinda danced professionally for 16 years with companies such as Oakland Ballet Company, Peninsula Ballet Theatre, was a founding member and Soloist with Napoles Ballet Theatre as well as Bay Pointe Ballet. She has also guested with California Youth Ballet and Milissa Payne Project. As a dancer Melinda danced many classical and contemporary roles as a corp member and a Soloist. She co-owned "The Dance Network" for 9 years and was the Artistic Director for their Non- Profit youth ballet company. She's served as Children's Ballet Mistress for State Street Ballet, Peninsula Ballet Theatre, and Bay Pointe Ballet. Melinda has taught in the Bay Area for 19 years with various schools including Alonzo King Lines Dance Center, Alameda Civic Ballet, SF Arts Education Project, Peninsula Ballet Conservatory, Bay Pointe Ballet, as well as served as Ballet Director and teacher at Roco Dance. Her students have gone onto prestigious ballet schools, ,major dance programs, and colleges such as San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Training Program, Alvin Ailey Training Program, Rock School of Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, School of American Ballet,UCLA, Fordham University, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has a passion and love for training the future generations with a focus on the physical, emotional, and mental health of the dancer. This passion and love for the Arts instills a fresh outlook on ballet, passion, creativity, discipline, and individuality in her students.
Calvin Thomas hailing from Maysville, Kentucky, received his foundational training at the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. He has supplemented his studies at Boston Ballet School, The School of American Ballet, Ballet Austin Academy, and The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre. Performing with the Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Company C Contemporary Ballet and NY Theatre Ballet are among some of the highlights of his career. His repertoire includes works by Thang Dao, Gregory Dawson, Yuri Zhukov, and Maurice Causey among others. When not dancing he still enjoys time in the studio sharing knowledge and teaching the next generation of dancers. He has been on faculty with the Contra Costa Ballet Centre for over three years. Calvin is excited and blessed to take the stage with Oakland Ballet Company and as a freelance dancer in the Bay Area.