Ballet Hawaii Faculty & Accompanists
Pamela 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. Taylor 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 is a native New Yorker. Her dance training includes Phil Black, Feld Ballet, David Howard, and the Joffrey Ballet. Her career began at 18 with a national tour of Sugar Babies staring Pinky Lee. Ms. Ahlgren continued to tour first nationals and Broadway productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoats, Ragtime, and Saturday Night Fever. She has been seen nationally and internationally in musicals such as A Chorus Line directed by Baayork Lee, Babes in Arms staring Kristin Chenoweth, Oklahoma and Phantom. She was “dance captain” of the European tour of 42nd Street. Ms. Ahlgren has also directed and choreographed professional productions of West Side Story, Annie, Caberet, Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, and Pippin. In 2016, Regina directed and choreographed a CJ Entertainment production of 42nd Street in Seoul Korea.
Nataliya is originally from Ukraine and has been dancing since she was 9 years old. Nataliya received her choreographic education from Kherson Cultural College in Ukraine where she studied ballet, historical ballroom, modern, and character folk dance. Beginning in 1993 she performed at various venues in the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Greece, and Macedonia. Before moving to Hawaii she danced at the Kherson Musical Dramatic Theater in Ukraine. In Honolulu, Nataliya has been a dancer and choreographer with the Mardi Gras Follies, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and ACT. She teaches ballet, tap, jazz, and character dance classes locally at different schools. Nataliya is delighted to be working with Ballet Hawaii.
Ms. Fantauzzo is a native of Rochester, New York. She began her early training with Jamey Leverett and the late Tim Draper of the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education, and with Pamela Schickler at Nazareth Academy. Upon turning 16 she began performing with Rochester City Ballet. She has performed in pieces such as The Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, Firebird, Push and Pull, Cinderella, and Carmen while dancing with Rochester City Ballet. She was selected to compete in the prestigious Youth American Grand Prix in 2004 where she advanced to the NYC finals performing Jamey Leverett’s Hoedown in the Lincoln Center Gala performance. To further her ballet studies, Bailey was selected to attend the following summer intensives at The Juilliard School, American Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Nashville Ballet. After graduating high school she was awarded a scholarship to attend University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, majoring in Ballet Performance. Bailey has danced professionally with Nashville Ballet in Nashville, TN. While with Nashville Ballet she performed in Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and among her favorites Carmina Burana. She has also had the opportunity to perform and tour with Common Thread Contemporary Dance in St. Louis, Mo.
Bailey most recently served as a ballet mistress and choreographer at Arts Ballet Academy in Newport News, VA. She has choreographed many full length ballets such as The Nutcracker, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, and The Snow Queen while working with Arts Ballet Academy. She is very excited to be a part of the Ballet Hawaii team, and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge and joy of dance with the Ballet Hawaii students.
Brittnee Ferrell is a Texan. Born and Raised. She started dancing when she was 2 in her family owned studio in Teague Texas, The Edge Dance Company, owned by her Aunt Anne Lucher. She trained in multiple styles including jazz, tap, and ballet, hip hop, contemporary, modern, and acro. She was a competitive dancer from the age of 3 holding numerous national titles. Brittnee performed with many prestigious dancers, and the highlight of her career was when she was asked to perform with Tapper and the Owner of Break the Floor, Jump, Dancerpalooza, Gil Stroming, and Mike Minery on Broadway in the show version of “Break the Floor”. Brittnee’s biggest passions are contemporary, tap, creating new work, and performing. Brittnee’s passion doesn’t stop at teaching. She also loves to empower kids and young adults to be who they are and follow their passion with love and positivity in their hearts. She is strongly against bullying and would like to pass her passions along to every child she meets. Brittnee’s style of dancing takes dancers out of their comfort zone and pushes dancers to see outside the box: “Embrace the Weird”. She not only wants to shape young dancers, but to transform her dancers into artists and compassionate human beings.
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.
Willie Dean 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.
Kaleigh Jones is a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer hailing from New Hampshire. She is known as a versatile artist and has a true passion for sharing her knowledge and creativity through the art of movement and dance. She started her training at New England School of Dance where she studied Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D), a ballet syllabus. She continued on to train at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she received a B.F.A., majoring in Jazz Dance and Dance Education. While in Philadelphia she also worked with local dance companies. She performed with Danco II (Philadanco’s second company), Project Moshen Dance Company (a Jazz Dance Company), performed and choreographed for PINK HAIR AFFAIR (a Modern Dance Collective) and also trained with Koresh Dance Company. Kaleigh then traveled as an entertainer with Disney Cruise Line for three years and is currently on Disney’s Northeast special events team. An ever-evolving artist and lifelong learner, she continues to train, teach and perform throughout the country. Her teaching and choreography has adapted a mixture of styles from traveling in places such as NYC, London, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Toronto; ranging from contemporary, modern, hip hop, musical theater, jazz with a strong foundation of ballet.
Philip Amer Kelly-Crawford
Philip started dancing under the influence of Stephanie Palombo in Leeward Community College focusing on Modern and Ballet. Philip was extremely proud to graduate with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts in 2003. Since then, he’s been active in the dance and theatre community throughout the islands. He’s performed and choreographed multiples shows in Army Community Theatre: Miss Saigon, CATS!, and A Chorus Line just to name a few. He’s performed with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Ohia Productions, IONA Dance Company, Legends in Waikiki, Derek Daniels Productions and is still active with Ballet Hawaii and Hawaii Ballet Theatre. When not on stage, Philips passion is to mentor young dancers. In the past 15 years, he’s been training and choreographing for multiple dance competitions where he received multiple Outstanding Choreography Awards Regionally and Nationally. Some of his students have been accepted to multiple colleges nationwide as well as dancing professionally all over the world. One of Philips greatest achievement is being chosen as the Outstanding Alumni for Dance in University of Hawaii – Leeward Community College in 2016. Philip is the proud Entertainment Director for Miss American Scholar Hawaii Pageant. When not dancing, Philip is a proud Navy husband of Jon-David Crawford and a daddy to a Min Pin named Naboo.
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.
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. He is also a teacher at Diamond Head Theatre’s Musical Theatre Experience.
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-Garcia has been dancing since she was 4 years old with Ballet Hawaii. She has danced almost every role in the annual Nutcracker. She was in the premiere cast of Septime Webre’s 2016 The Nutcracker as the Seafaring Mother. Other Summer Intensive performances include Septime Webre’s Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and Peter Pan, Robert Weiss’ Romeo and Juliet, Giselle staged by Robert Barnett, and Coppelia staged by Magaly Suarez.
Christianne Moss was born in Honolulu, where she has lived and trained for the majority of her life. Christianne is currently a student at UH Manoa, where she is pursuing a BFA in dance. In addition, she also performs multiple times a week in the local show “Rock-A-Hula Legends in Concert”, with whom she has worked as a jazz dancer from the age of 17. She has trained in varying styles of dance including ballet, hip hop, contemporary, jazz, tap, and hula. Christianne has travelled the world dancing and competing. Having trained under local studios Honolulu Dance Studio and Boogie Down Productions, she has won many accolades individually and with her company. Most recently, Christianne won first place at JUMP with her self-choreographed solo and received the honor of being in the top ten senior female dancers of the year at “The Dance Awards”.
A native of Portland, OR, Marcie Munnerlyn recently relocated to Honolulu, HI. As a young aspiring dancer, Marcie began her training at Jefferson High School of the Performing Arts and continued her training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. In 2002 Marcie began her professional career in New York City working with the renowned choreographer, Merce Cunningham. After two years in the Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group she was invited to become a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Her career spanned 8 years with the company, concluding in 2011 with the company’s final legacy tour. Since departing from full time performing, Marcie has taught numerous workshops and master classes throughout the US, and was a Merce Cunningham Fellow in 2015. Marcie holds teaching certificates in barre, mat pilates, and power yoga. She is currently working in the development department at Ballet Hawaii.
Caitlin began her dance training with Diggs School of Dance in Gloucester, Virginia, under Debbie Diggs and Danile Giesy. She performed with the resident student company, Bayside Youth Ballet for 7 years. During that time, Caitlin also taught ballet and jazz at Diggs School of Dance and choreographed works for Bayside Youth Ballet. She also studied with Virginia Regional Ballet (formerly Chamber Ballet) and Todd Rosenlieb Dance Center and attended summer intensives at Alleghany Ballet and Virginia Regional Ballet. Caitlin taught for Ballet Hawaii from 2008-2010, before moving off island, and has recently returned to rejoin the Ballet Hawaii faculty. In addition to her dance training, Caitlin is also a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach.
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.
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.
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.
Jenny Riley-Doyle has been teaching internationally since the 2000. Originally trained in Ballet she has performed in a number of different ballet productions in Germany. She is a certified Ballet Master with the Dance Masters of America, Inc. and has taught all levels of ballet.
Miss Jenny is also certified in Vinyasa yoga, Prenatal yoga, Bosu, Pilates with props, PIYO technique, Nutrition Fundamentals and more! Miss Jenny is grateful and excited to be teaching with Ballet Hawaii.
Jose Miguel Rodriguez
Jose Miguel Rodriguez was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. He started his ballet training with Ballet Clasico Santiago under the instruction of Norma Garcia. Jose continued to train with Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet School and Boston Ballet II. Jose is delighted to be teaching for Ballet Hawaii.
Christine Sandorfi began her training at Harbor Ballet Theatre in Port Jefferson, NY. She holds a BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. She danced principal roles in the University’s productions of Ondine, Paquita, and La Bayadere. Christine then danced as a soloist with the Kentucky Ballet Theatre for four years, where she was featured in Dracula, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Saerpil, and The Wizard of Oz. In 2006, she moved to Newport, RI, where she danced for Island Moving Company for 12 seasons. Christine danced leading roles in IMC’s productions of The Nutcracker, Dracula, and Peter Pan, and had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of choreographers. In addition to dancing, Christine was the Director of Education for five years. She developed and implemented curriculum for various school programs, and directed IMC’s Junior Company. Christine has recently relocated to Honolulu with her husband, and is looking forward to working with the students at both Ballet Hawaii locations.
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.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Maya began her classical training at Sacred Hearts Academy under the direction of Micki Kolberg where she performed in The Nutcracker throughout her middle and high school career. Maya also performed in numerous musical theatre productions at Saint Louis School and Sacred Hearts Academy, including “Legally Blonde,” “Seussical the Musical,” and “Guys and Dolls.” She continued her ballet and pointe training at Loyola University Chicago, where she also worked as a Teacher’s Aide at a local elementary school, then transferred to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to pursue Psychology and Dance. She is also a Teacher’s Aide at Iolani School where she teaches Bookworm Theatre to children ages 5-7. Working with kids has always been her passion and after completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Maya plans to specialize in Child Psychology and continue sharing her love of ballet to new ballerinas.
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 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 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.
Maureen Baker graduated from UCLA with a BA degree in classical piano performance and composition. Her touring experience includes Clay Aiken’s Jukebox Tour, the 80’s funk group Klymaxx, Michael Sadler (Saga), rock fusion guitarist Adrian Galysh, classical/new-age artist Lino and David Gest’s “Live in Concert New Year’s Eve Gala” at the Blaisdell. Her recording experience includes Sabrina Starke’s “Yellow Brick Road” (Blue Note) and Lino’s “Return to Avalon” (#11 on the NAR charts). As a high school senior, she won the top honor “Young Artist Award” from the California Music Teachers Association. Maureen enjoys teaching piano and partnering with her hubby Alan Okuye on his many musical adventures.
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.