Ballet Hawaii | Faculty & Accompanists
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Faculty & Accompanists

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.


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


Ballet Hawaii Faculty


PamelaTTPamela Taylor-Tongg, Artistic Director

Artistic Director Pamela Taylor-Tongg began her early training in Chicago. She subsequently studied with Martha Mahrin Florida and the American Ballet Center in New York.


Ms. Tongg enjoyed a ten-year association with the Atlanta Ballet from 1975 to 1985 as a Soloist, Ballet Mistress and Director of the apprenticeship program, which prepared young dancers for professional careers. She credits much of her training to Atlanta Ballet’s Artistic Director Emeritus Robert Barnett.


Ms. Taylor-Tongg moved to Hawaii in 1985 and joined Ballet Hawaii. Under her guidance, Ballet Hawaii has grown from a handful of students to an average of more than 400. In 2010, Ms. Taylor Tongg was given the Outstanding Teacher Award at the Youth American Grand Prix competition. In addition, she received certificates of appreciation from the City and County of Honolulu and the State House of Representatives for her outstanding contributions to Hawaii and Honolulu’s cultural presentations.


As a result of Ms. Taylor-Tongg’s leadership, internationally acclaimed guest artists and master teachers travel to Hawaii to participate in Ballet Hawaii productions and training programs. In 2012, she was appointed to the Mayor’s Commission on Culture and the Arts as a dance expert.


Regina Ahlgren

Regina Ahlgren

Regina Ahlgren performed as a professional dancer for more than 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.



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Yvonne Borree

Yvonne Borree’s interest in dance developed very early, due in large part to the influence of her mother, Susan Borree, who danced with Jerome Robbins’ Ballets: U.S.A., New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Borree was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, where she began her dance training at the Tidewater Ballet Association when she was five years old. She attended summer sessions at the School of American Ballet for three years and was invited to enter SAB full-time in 1985. In 1987, she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and was invited to join the corps de ballet in 1988. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1993 and to principal in 1997. She retired from performing in June 2010.


Ms. Borree performed featured roles in numerous ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins during her 22 year career with New York City Ballet. Among them are Balancine’s  ApolloCoppélia(Swanilda), Donizetti VariationsDuo ConcertantThe Four Temperaments,George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (Sugarplum Fairy and Dewdrop),Square DanceStravinsky Violin ConcertoSymphony in CSymphony in Three MovementsUnion Jack, and Western SymphonyJerome Robbins’ The ConcertDances at a GatheringThe Four Seasons, The Goldberg VariationsIn the Night, and Mother Goose; and Peter Martins’ A Fool For You, The Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora) and Swan Lake. During the Company’s 1992 spring season, Ms. Borree was chosen by Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins to dance with guest artist Mikhail Baryshnikov in George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant.


Ms. Borree originated roles in Mr. Martins’ AshThe Chairman Dances,Delight of the MusesFearful SymmetriesJazz (Six Syncopated Movements)Quartet for StringsSinfoniaThe Sleeping Beauty (the White Cat), Slonimsky’s EarboxStabat Mater, and Thou Swell. Featured roles were also created for Ms. Borree by Robert La Fosse (Danses de Cour), Miriam Mahdaviani (Correlazione), and Christopher Wheeldon (Carnival of the Animals).



Daphne Hargrove

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, 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, Hargrove 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-premiere ballets by renowned choreographers such as Lynn Taylor-Corbett and Robert Weill, as well as being featured in many classic works. Her repertoire includes Balachine’s Rubies, Conncerto Barocco, Who Cares, and Steadfast Tin Soldier, Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Jose Limon’s Moor’s Pavane, and Peter Martin’s Valse Triste.  Hargrove has been living in Honolulu for many years and has become an avid photographer and has performed in many of Ballet Hawaii’s productions.


WillieDean Ige

Willie Dean Ige received his early ballet training with Rhonda Kimura from 1969 to 1971. From 1975 to 77, he studied with Professor of Ballet Yasuki Sasa at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he developed his skills and appreciation for ballet, and danced the principal roles in Paquita, Ocean and Pearl, and Firebird.


Mr. Ige joined Honolulu City Ballet in 1977, first as an apprentice then as a company member in 1978. 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).


Mr. Ige traveled to Japan where he danced the principal roles in Les Sylphide (1985) and La Sylphide (1987) at Shinjuku Bunka Theater in Tokyo. During this time, he also instructed students in dance at Iolani School. He also travelled and studied in New York with Wilhelm Burmann of 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 1988, he began working with the Friends of the Ballet and Ballet Hawaii under the direction of Pamela Taylor-Tongg. While working with Ballet Hawaii, he 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. Mr. Ige continues to perform Ballet Hawaii’s annual Nutcracker.


Micki KolbergMicki Kolberg

Micki was born in Pusan City, South Korea and adopted by American parents. She grew up in upstate New York where she began her ballet studies with the Ithaca Ballet. She attended and is a graduate of The Kirov Academy of Ballet where she studied with Jacqueline Achmedowa and Alla Sizova. Micki began her pre-professional career under the instruction of Truman Finney in Ballet Austin’s trainee program. She danced professionally with the Louisville Ballet in Kentucky and Ballet Black in London, England. While in the UK, she performed as a guest artist in Wales with Ballet Russe’s Swan Lake. In 2007 Micki moved to Honolulu, HI where she has been dancing with Ballet Hawaii and Onium Ballet Project.


Micki is an experienced registered 200 hour yoga teacher, Ayurvedic Health Educator, and formerly certified Foundation I, Level I GYROTONIC(R) instructor. She has taught ballet classes for the Ithaca Ballet, Chambersburg Ballet Theatre, Tri-Coastal Ballet, Gateway Ballet, and the Boston Conservatory. Micki was the dance director at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu, HI from 2008-2016 where she developed and led the dance program for students in grades 7-12, directed various performances, and choreographed a full-length version of The Nutcracker.
She currently teaches with Ballet Hawaii.



Elisabeth Kurashige

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.


In 2015, Ms. Kurashige graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a Minor in Psychology from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. 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. Ms. Kurashige 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

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.


Currently, Ms. Lallemand 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. Ms. Lallemad has also created works for Ballet Arizona, the New Choreographer’s on Point Workshop, Chamber Music Hawaii. She is the Artistic Director of the Onium Ballet Project.


MarevaMareva Minerbi

Mareva Minerbis 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.

Giselle HSGiselle Laurie

Originally from Riverside, California, Giselle Laurie began her dance training at Riverside Ballet Arts. She 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. Ms. Laurie 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. She enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of dance through her life mantra: Live your dream!


MathiasMaasMathias Maas

As a teacher at Diamond Head Theatre’s Musical Theatre Experience, Mathias Maas started his theatre career in fourth grade in Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of Cinderella. Previously, Mr. Maas worked at Honolulu Theatre for Youth for eight years, assisting with their youth theatre programming including Young at Art and their Summer Session Programming. In addition, he has taught at Punahou Summer School, Intro to Drama.


Mr. Maas 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 (Manoa Valley Theatre), Around the World in 80 Days (Manoa Valley Theatre), Ibsen’s Ghosts (The Actors’ Group), The Sound of Music (Diamond Head Theatre), The Reindeer Monologues (Hawaii Repertory Theatre),Frost/Nixon (Manoa Valley Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hawaii Shakespeare Festival), King Lear (Hawaii Shakespeare Festival), and The Joy Luck Club (Kumu Kahua Theatre). He holds an undergraduate degree in Theatre and Communications from Concordia College, Moorhead Minnesota.



Raven Matsushita

Raven Matsushita has been dancing since she was four-years-old with Ballet Hawaii. She has danced almost every role in Ballet Hawaii’s annual Nutcracker and Spring Showcase productions. She has also attended nine Ballet Hawaii Summer Intensives. Recently, she was cast in Septime Webre’s 2013 production of Cinderella as a Rose, Ballroom Lady and Siamese twin. Here additional Summer Intensive performances include Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan, and Robert Weiss’ Romeo and Juliet, as well as Giselle staged by Robert Barnett and Coppelia staged by Magaly Suarez.


Ms. Matsushita participated 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. She recently graduated with dual Associate Degrees in Patisserie and Culinary Arts from Kapiolani Community College.



Tere Pang

Tere Pang 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 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 (University of Hawaii), Jan Fujit-Clark (Ballet West), Alaine Haubert (American Ballet Theatre), and Willie Dean Ige. She also taught ballet at Rhonda Kimura Studio.


Ms. Pang received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Kansai Gaidai Hawaii College, and also for Chaminade University evening program. Currently, she teaches first grade in Pearl City.


NanilisaPascuaNanilisa Pascua, Vocal teacher, Accompanist 

Vocal teacher Nanilisa Pascua has sung with many school-related, community and professional companies. She has more than 30 years experience as a music educator, teaching general music and chorus, and doubling as director and music director/choreographer 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. She 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. In this program, students audition 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 such as Grease, West Side Story, Once on this Island, The Pirates of Penzance, Flower Drum Song, The Wiz, and South Pacific. Ms. Pascua holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music with concentration in voice from the University of Hawaii.



Heidi Putterill

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

Susan Ushijima Quong received her early ballet training in Oregon, Montana, and Washington. Her most extensive training was with Gabriella Darvash in New York. While in New York, she was co-founder and co-director of the professional company, BalletWorks, Ltd. She later became a teacher and resident choreographer for the Ulster Ballet Company in upstate New York. Ms. Quong’s works were shown in New York and Hawaii with Danceworks, The Dance Company, Big City Studios and the Honolulu Dance Studio. Currently, she teaches mainly at Ballet Hawaii’s Leeward branch in Wahiawa.



Marie Takazawa

Marie Takazawa began her dance training in Hawaii. She studied and performed at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Dances We Dance Company and Hawaii Dance Theatre. In 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. Upon returning to Hawaii, Ms. Takazawa was co-director of Danceworks Honolulu, which was selected as the 1994 People’s Choice Awards “Best Dance Company.” Today, she is a freelance choreographer and teaches jazz, ballet, modern and street dance at local dance studios and fitness centers. She is also Ballet Mistress and resident choreographer for the Tau Dance Theatre.



Yvonne Yanagihara

Yvonne Yanagihara trained with Nolan Dingman in Orlando, Florida. She was the ballet instructor for the female waterski 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.


During the past decade, Ms. Yanagihara has appeared locally, performing in numerous Diamond Head Theatre musicals, as well as productions for Lisa Matsumoto’s Ohia Productions. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing with a minor in Dance from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


Crystal Yukumoto

Crystal Yukumoto

Crystal Yukumoto was born in Hawaii and began her classical ballet training in Europe. 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.


Ms. Yukumoto 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. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Education from Texas Christian University.



takashi_koshiTakashi 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. Mr. Koshi 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.


Alan Okuye has a foundation of classical piano training, and is a graduate of the jazz-based Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles. He is a former Atlantic Records recording artist who has toured the US and internationally with many artists from a variety of genres. His performances, compositions, and arrangements have been featured in major motion pictures, on television, and in musical theater.

Alan recently relocated from Los Angeles to Oahu, where he has a private piano teaching practice while continuing to work as a composer, arranger, and live/studio musician. He also continues to teach many of his Los Angeles students via Skype on a weekly basis.



Nicolai Prisacar is a virtuoso musician from Chisinau, Moldova. He came to Ballet Hawaii from the Sacramento Ballet where he was the piano accompanist from 2003-2016. Before that he was the Music Director for the Sierra Nevada Balalaika Society in Reno, Nevada. His career includes teaching, conducting and playing piano and accordion in California and his native Moldova. He received his Master of Arts degree in music and musical education in Moldova and over the course of 29 years has toured over 50 countries, performing hundreds of concerts. He speaks 5 languages and was awarded ‘Honored Artist of Moldavian Republic’



Maureen Baker