Our Talented Teachers
Hama, a native of Japan, moved to New York in 1964, where he studied with famed jazz dance instructor, Luigi. Hama’s credits include lead dancer at Radio City Music Hall, as well as various Broadway productions. In 1991, Hama opened his dance studio, and has dedicated himself to teaching. He has taught at many universities, and was nominated for the Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award at USC.
Many of Hama’s students have gone on to become well known dance teachers.
Risa Tadokoro Arisue
Risa started dance Jazz and Ballet at the age of 11 in Japan. Risa came to America in 2001 and joined Ken Dance Company in 2003. She participated in the Jazz Dance LA show from 2002-2008 and performed in the Lester Horton Dance Awards Show in 2006.
In addition, Risa performed in Frankie’s Gypsy Roses Show in 2006. Currently Risa works at Hama’s Dance Center where she has acted as general manager since 2005.
Risa teaches Jazz class at Hama’s Dance Center and is currently instructing dance classes for figure skaters at Toyota Sports Center.
Kana began her dance training at age three in Japan. She studied at the Mayumi Minokami Ballet Studio and performed in their production of Swan Lake, Coppέlia, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Raymonda and more. She studied jazz dance with Kanako Fukuoka and Rei Aoo in Japan. Though she loved ballet, she maintained a stronger interest in performing as a jazz contemporary dancer. She moved to America in 1997 to continue her dance training and career. After her relocation to the U.S.A, she performed throughout the United States with KIN Dance Company, AnNamx Dance Production, Vox Lumiere, and most recently, Ken Dance Company (KDC) where she is both a dancer and assistant director with founder and artistic director, Kenji Yamaguchi. As a dancer in Kenji’s works, she was described by the Los Angeles Times as “elegantly tethered to an earthbound sorrow.” Her solo work has also been called “gripping and soul-searching.” Kana developed her own special project, Kana’s Japan Relief Fund, “Dance From The Soul,” which was set up for Sendai-City in Japan to replant trees and flowers in the city where they had been uprooted and destroyed by earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011. Since then she has been visiting Sendai-City each year to help keep communications open with the people who live there, and hopefully aid in the re-creation and re-development within the city.
Kana also works as a choreographer/dancer for J’s Hair Studio & Academy Inc. for their ISSE, IBS shows and Japan tour of 2014, 2015 and 2016, and is currently starting a ballet and jazz dance workshop tour at Avex Artist Academy in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka and other local studios in Japan, starting in April, 2014. She teaches ballet locally in the Los Angeles area at Edge Performing Arts Center, Hama Dance Center and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.
Jaime worked as a young dancer, rising to level of First Dancer with the Juilliard Dance Theater and notable Opera companies. He created a memorable performance in the movie “West Side Story.”
A recipient of numerous awards and nominations, including Emmy Awards, Cleo Awards, Georgies, Tony Awards, and the Dance Alive Achievement Award. Jaime has been a force in the media of television, where he created for 40 different series, 1,500 episodes, and over 30 specials.
At the age of 9, Julia was selected by master teachers to enter the Vaganova Academy of Classical Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. She studied under Kirov ballet master Ninella Kurgapkina. After 8 years of training, Julia graduated at the top of her class from the Vaganova Ballet Academy . She has danced throughout the world in the Kirov Ballet and Opera. From 1984 to 1996 she performed in Russia and on tour around the world. She has worked in stage productions by international directors Julie Taymor, Oleg Ignatief, David Freeman and Natalia Volkova.
Kenji Yamaguchi received his initial training in Tokyo, Japan, and danced professionally throughout Asia. When he moved to the United States, he continued to study and dance professionally, and earned a BFA from California Institute of The Arts. He formed Ken Dance Company (KDC) in 2005, and in 2007 premiered his original creation, “Spirited Astray,” at the El Portal Theatre. In 2011, Kenji debuted another work, “3.5 Dimension World,” at the Kitazawa Town Hall in Japan. Kenji premiered KDC’s inventive, “INVISIBLE,” at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro and Glendale Community College Theatre in 2014. Dance legend, Gus Solomons, Jr., described Kenji as “a slight dancer with a huge flexibility, who’s every move looked studied for perfection of line.” Lewis Segal refers to his choreography as “earthy and danced brilliantly.” FOLLOW Ken Dance Company on FACEBOOK
Jerry Evans has worked as a Dancer, Choreographer and Director for over 28 years. Soon after beginning his career as a dancer, Jerry became a favorite with the top choreographers of the day. Working with the likes of Michael Kidd, Baryshnikov, Cher and many other Touring Artists. With a very successful professional dance career as his foundation, Jerry then launched a stunning career in choreography that has been more than two decades in the making. Having choreographed numerous consecutive world tours for the likes of Reba McIntyre, Paula Abdul, and Chayanne, Jerry has proven himself to be a favorite with producers for his ability to showcase performers, earning him industry wide respect and allowing him to elicit the highest quality performances from stars and support dancers alike. With more than 20 feature films under his belt including,: “The Scorpion King”, “Eraser”, “Naked Gun”, and “The Mask”, which won an American Choreographer Award for Best Choreography in a Feature Film to name just a few. He’s choreographed over 15 music videos including: Smashmouth ( which garnered him an American Choreographer Award Nomination ), Sugar Ray and Barbara Streisand’s “Left in the Dark” for which he was awarded a Music Video Producers Award. He’s also choreographed over 50 commercials for such high profile clients as “Ikea”, “Direct TV”, “McDonalds”, “Dr Pepper” and “GAP – Country”.
Barb’s performance credits include The Will Rogers Follies, Brigadoon, A Chorus Line, and numerous repertory company productions. Barb has taught for the Tremaine Dance Center, Millenium, Michigan State University and several local colleges. Perhaps Barb’s greatest strength is her academic understanding of dance technique resulting from extensive formal education in dance & kinesiology. Barb’s class stands apart from others in that it teaches a systematic intellectual process by which to refine technical skills, increasing consistency of error-free movement and maximizing performance potential!
Kelleia grew up in Carson City/Lake Tahoe. At age 15, she became a professional dancing core de ballet in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. At 16, she was discovered by the legendary choreographer Jackie Sleight who invited her to join her professional jazz dance company A Sleight Touch in Los Angeles. During her first concert with the company Kelleia danced alongside one of her teenage heroes – French artist Marine Jahan. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Italian language, literature, art, history and culture at UCLA and lived in Italy for 2 years where she rooted as an artist.
On the little box Kelleia has appeared both as actor and dancer. From a dominatrix on Mistresses and The Drew Carrey Show to a femme-fatale on Two Guys & a Girl, from a classic flapper on Cold Case to a singing legal aid on Ally McBeal. Some of her most recognized performances have been both live and televised – Award shows galour! Dancing with Robin Williams as a Canadian Mounty on The 72nd Academy Awards, performing with Toni Braxton in the controversial 7-minute opener for The American Music Awards, flying through the air on harnessed-stilts for the Dixie Chicks during The Country Music Awards, sleuthing the stage as a James Bond Bronze Girl for Robbie Williamson on the MTV Music Awards and as HoopTease on the mega-hit show Dancing with the Stars!
Jade Hale – Started at HDC February 7th & Teaches Every Tuesday @ 8:30pm – 10pm Intermediate & Advanced Ballet
Jade Hale – Christofi is British/American/Cypriot Greek and grew up in North London and began dancing aged five. He trained at the Urdang Academy London before becoming a Junior Associate of The Royal Ballet School. He joined the Royal ballet School White Lodge and graduated Upper School in 2006. For his graduation performance he danced Don Quixote and Jabula at the Royal Opera House London. As soon as he became a professional ballet Dancer he moved to France and joined National Ballet Du Rhin in 2006, Ballet Black in London 2008, NBA Ballet Japan 2011 where he became guest Principal, The National Ballet Of Ireland 2013 and English National Ballet 2014. In his Ballet career Jade has performed for the Royal Family at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. In 2012 he was asked to dance in a privet performance for Her Majesty The Queen and in 2011 danced for Michelle Obama at the Royal Opera House London.
Jade is in between London and Los Angeles to train at the Actors Studio west in Hollywood 2015. Since being in LA Jade has been working with David LaChapelle on Queen and Michael Jackson’s music video “There Must Be More To Life Then This” that he was in and Co Choreographed with Sergei Polunin. He then Choreographed his own piece “Take Me To Church” by Hozier for David LaChapelle and Sergei Polunin. Take Me To Church became the most viewed professional Ballet piece in History and took 3rd best music dance video of 2015.
As well as being a Ballet Dancer, Contemporary Dancer and Choreographer Jade has modeled for Nick Knight – Diesel Venice Fashion Video 2014 and David LaChapelle – Coca Cola commercial/100 years 2015.
In 2016 Jade Choreographed, Danced and co edited THE DREAM directed by Javiera Estrada and Choreographed the first 3D hologram movie Directed and Composed by Adam Donen – Symphony To Lost Generation and he released his first online book Designing Dance for Amazon.
Jade is also staring in the new Ballet documentary Dancer with Sergei Polunin set for release late 2016.
Betty Jenkins – Kids Program Jazz & Tap
Betty Jenkins is a veteran performer, teacher, choreographer and producer of dance events. As a performer, professional credits include musical theater in the US and abroad, as well as industrial, videos, and film productions. She holds a BA from USC in Cinema – Television production and has taught dance and dance on camera production courses at the University of Rochester, and SUNY Brockport. While in NY, she served as President of the Board for Dance Films Association in NYC, and was involved in several of their events including the annual Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center, as well as producing two Dance on Camera festivals in Rochester, NY. Recent choreography credits include a 10 minute dance video “Dance of the Seven Veils,” which she also directed and edited, for Tabletop Opera’s production of Salome, the musicals 13, Wizard of Oz, Crazy for You, and 42nd Street, “Suite Sankofa” in St. Louis at Southern Illinois University with Theodore Jamison, former assistant for Katherine Dunham. Studio teaching includes 9 years at Hama’s Dance Center (then in Glendale, Ca). Hama has been a longtime mentor for Betty and she is very happy to return to his studio and share her love of dance.