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.
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.
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.
Ms. Katie is originally from Eastern Washington, but moved to Honolulu in order to pursue her Master’s in Library & Information Science at UH Mānoa. Dance has always been a part of Katie’s life, and she loves working with children and young adults! She earned her degree in Elementary Education, along with a minor in Theatre/Dance from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Having taught dance for over a decade, Katie hasn’t forgotten her early training in Ballet and Tap. Growing up she participated in performances, competitions, and many workshops, and has since fulfilled roles as stage manager, assistant director, and choreographer for numerous productions. Katie is very excited to be part of Ballet Hawaii, and is excited to share her love and passion for dance!
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.
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.
Born and raised in Gloucester, Virginia, Caitlin began her dance training with Diggs School of Dance, under Debbie Diggs and Danile Giesy, and 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. In 2008, Caitlin relocated to Hawaii with her husband and taught for Ballet Hawaii until Summer 2010 when she relocated again off the island. In addition to her dance training, Caitlin is also a Certified Personal Trainer and has a passion for all things health and wellness. Caitlin is so excited to be back at Ballet Hawaii and to have a positive impact on our young dancers.