Ballet Hawaii Faculty - Ballet Hawaii
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Ballet Hawaii Faculty

Artistic Director Pamela Taylor Tongg began her early training in Chicago. She subsequently studied with Martha Mahr in 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.  In 2015, at the conclusion of Ballet Hawaii’s Nutcracker, Governor Ige presented Ms. Taylor Tongg with a Commendation from the State of Hawaii.

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 starring 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 starring 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, Cabaret, 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. Since 1993 while under contracts with many entertainment agencies she has performed with various venues in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Greece, and Macedonia. Before moving to Hawaii in 2001, she has been a ballet dancer at Kherson Musical Dramatic Theater in Ukraine. In Honolulu Nataliya has been involved as a dancer and or choreographer with the Mardi Gras Follies, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, HOT, and ACT. Since 2004 she has been teaching Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Character dance classes for children privately and as a faculty staff member at the Academy of Performing Arts in Ewa Beach, the NIX Performing Arts, and currently is delighted to continue working with Ballet Hawaii.

Anna Asano is a performer, choreographer, and teacher who has received over 15 years of
training in classical ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and acro-gymnastics at Rosalie Woodson Dance
Academy in Aiea, Hawaii. She is now a teacher and choreographer and dedicates much of her
time to coaching young dancers and creating new and exciting dance pieces in various genres for
her students. Asano is currently working towards her Bachelors in Fine Arts in Dance at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa whilst furthering her choreography and performance repertoire
and continuing training in modern, contemporary, and ballet.

Sayaka, born and raised on Oahu, has been passionate about ballet since she was just a few years old, beginning her dance career with Ballet Hawaii when she was four. She has performed in their annual productions of The Nutcracker, as well as summer intensive performances, including The Sleeping Beauty, Serenade, and Alice in Wonderland. Sayaka is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa pursuing a degree in Biology on the pre-medical track. She hopes to attend medical school and one day become a practicing physician on Oahu. With a love for working with children, Sayaka is very excited to be working with young ballerinas in pursuing their dance careers, and hopes to create an enjoyable learning environment in inspiring them for their futures!

Ms. Abby completed her training at UNCSA in Winston-Salem, NC followed by a year in the Professional Division at Pacific Northwest Ballet. She had a 10-year career dancing throughout Europe, performing soloist roles with the Romanian National Ballet, Northern Ballet (UK), and in Poland with Opera Nova where she was a principal ballerina. Ms. Abby has had the opportunity to dance in repertoire from the likes of William Forsythe, Alexei Ratmansky, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Cathy Marston, Jacek Przybyłowicz, and Robert Bondara, and has originated roles in works by several of these choreographers. She is ready to help shape the next generation of dancers through her holistic and therapeutic teaching approach. Ms. Abby is a certified yoga instructor and holds a BS in Integrative Health and Medicine from Arizona State University.

Jennifer Gage recently moved to Oahu from Virginia, but it’s Chicago she called home where she taught for over 20 years at many schools, including her own studio, NorthSide Dance Theater. As a young dancer, her classical training was with Ballet Tennessee directors Anna and Barry Van-Cura. She also attended intensives on scholarship with Joffrey Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, and Governor’s School in TN. At 18 she moved to Chicago on full scholarship with the Joel Hall Dancers, later becoming a company member, teacher, rehearsal assistant, and ballet mistress. With a 30 year professional career, she danced with over 15 companies with styles ranging from classical ballet to jazz and hip-hop.


In 2002 Jennifer created her own not-for-profit company, Alliance Dance Company. Over the 13 years they were active, the company grew from a single show to a full season with 3 shows, school performances, touring, invitation to perform at special events, festivals, and even creating their own curated dance festival, Kaleidoscope. Ms. Gage has created over 100 choreographed pieces, 26 productions, and 17 full-length story works, including Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood, Nutcracker, Snow Spectacular, A Journey, Fighting for a Dream, and the still requested Cats After 9 Lives. She has set acts from Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake as well as choreography for Miss Saigon and Cinderella.


As an instructor, Jennifer is a firm believer in Age Appropriate/Level Appropriate and enjoys creating a positive and constructive environment with all levels of dance and life.

Christine Kaminski 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.

An island girl, born and raised on Oahu, Aria’s love of dance and ballet began at a young age when she was enrolled in her very first class at Ballet Hawaii. She loved it! Aria has since danced with Ballet Hawaii for the past 12 years in their Performing Arts School, Summer Intensives, annual productions of The Nutcracker, and with Ballet Hawaii’s Performing Ensemble. Aria is currently a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa pursuing a degree in Creative Media. She was recently accepted into The Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders Student Alumni Program and is currently interning with Hawaii News Now. Aria loves being able to inspire other little budding ballerinas to find joy in dancing.

Natalie Kennedy is a performing artist from St. Petersburg, Florida where she began her training at Academy of Ballet Arts under the direction of Suzanne Pomerantzeff and Michelle Kuusela. Natalie has trained professionally with Florida Dance Theatre under the direction of Carol Erkes. She graduated from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. At Florida Southern, she trained under Jerry Opdenaker, Erin LaSala, and Leah Pinder along with the privilege of working with guest choreographers such as Michael Snipe, Jon Lehrer, Sharon Wong, and Melissa Rector. Her senior year they were chosen to perform at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out: American College Dance Association’s program in Massachusetts.


Natalie has performed soloist roles from Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Giselle, Esmeralda, and Don Quixote. She has attended various summer intensives including Alonzo King LINES Ballet and The Boston Conservatory, focusing on both her classical and contemporary technique and artistry. After graduating in May 2019, she relocated to Honolulu, HI where she has been dancing and teaching with Ballet Hawaii. She enjoys inspiring students to find their individuality while maintaining the integrity of classical ballet.

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 in Washington DC. Micki began her pre-professional career 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 Swansea Ballet Russe’s Swan Lake. In 2007 Micki moved to Honolulu, HI where she guested and danced 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 over twenty years. 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. She currently teaches with Ballet Hawaii.

takashi koshi has been a music accompanist for Ballet Hawaii for the past 38 years. He is originally from Denver, Colorado, and has a B.M.E. from Oberlin Conservatory and a M.A. from The University of Northern Colorado. He has had positions as Music Accompanist for The Cloudgate Theatre of Taiwan, Conductor of the Guam Symphony, and Accompanist and Teacher at The University of Hawaii. He also composed the musical score for the ballet “Urashima Taro”, which has been performed by Ballet Hawaii many times.

Jonathan Mangosing became interested in dance with music videos as a child growing up in the 90s in San Diego, California. From that moment, his parents enrolled him in tap, ballet and jazz classes so that he could learn to move like the artists that he admired such as Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. His teachers recognized that his body lines and coordination was more aligned with the genre of ballet despite his yearning to do more jazz and hip-hop (as seen on MTV). Moving to Hawaii at the age of twelve, he trained at Hawaii State Ballet under John Landowski for three years until his family moved back to the Bay Area. The opportunity to train full-time at San Francisco Ballet School arose and he seized it. Out of his graduating class, he was one of the four students who were offered contracts as apprentices into the company. Not to mention, he was the only male in this very competitive and talented group of individuals that year. He went on to dance for San Francisco Ballet for six years and then moved to Hong Kong with his boyfriend (now husband) and danced with Hong Kong Ballet for three and a half years. When they decided to move back to California, Jonathan spent his last two and a half years dancing with Smuin Ballet and also attained his Bachelor Degree of Fine Arts through the St. Mary’s College of California Leap Program. Upon retiring from the profession, he transitioned into event management for non-profit organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation and Dance For a Reason. Another move brought him and his husband to New York in 2018, where another career transition occurred. After applying for multiple positions with event management firms on the other side of the country, an unexpected referral landed him an interview at Cartier Central Park and into the world of luxury retail. Since then, he worked with Cartier in Hudson Yards and Miami Design District.


Now that both of his parents are retired in Mililani, he has moved back to Hawaii to spend more time with them, and currently works at Van Cleef & Arpels in Ala Moana as a boutique administrator. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at the beach with his husband and dachshund-mix dog, Dillinger who was a foster-turned-adoption in New York during covid lockdown. He hopes to get Dillinger surfing in the near future.


As a choreographer, Jonathan has even more of an affinity for pop culture as he pays homage to the artists that inspired him to dance in the past and present. He also plays to the strengths of his dancers which informs him of the steps that would accentuate their talent. Moreover, he wants to help them explore characters beyond classical ballet narratives. With his first creation at Ballet Hawaii, he chose a theme based on villains, and as much as we root for heroines in fairytales, there tends to be more that we relate with in villains such as guilty pleasures, loneliness, toxic friendships, self-deprecating humor, ferocity, and risky behavior.

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.

Harper Okamoto was born and raised on Oahu and started her dance training with Ballet Hawaii when she was just four years old. Since then, she has performed in many of the annual Spring Showcases and was a member of Ballet Hawaii’s Performing Ensemble for several seasons. In addition to her regular training, Harper has also served as a teacher’s aide at Ballet Hawaii and an instructor at Manoa Dance Studio. She is currently attending UH West Oahu with a major in Creative Media to pursue her passion for graphic design. Harper is looking forward to sharing her love for movement and dance with students of all ages and hopes to encourage them to discover their own individual creative spirit.

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.

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.

Elisha began dancing at the age of 3. She joined ‘Iwalani School of Dance at the age of five where she trained in hula, Tahitian, and Māori styles of dance. During this time, she danced for four years and performed for many different events around the island. When she was 13, she joined Hula Halau ‘O Kamuela to broaden her hula technique and learn a more traditional standard of hula. In college, Elisha joined the hula club and performed for two semesters under Kumu Lilinoe Lindsey. She also landed her first professional hula job in college with Malu Productions. She was able to perform for the Diamond Head Luau as well as in the terminals at the Pride of America Cruise Ship for the Norwegian Cruise Line in Waikiki. Now, she enjoys sharing her love of hula with others through teaching.