All classes are available for drop-ins and, unless otherwise notes, payment is accepted via Dance Mission classpacks, as well as cash/cc. Check out the Dance Mission YouTube Channel to get a feel for our classes.
Afro Peruvian Dance with Pierr Padila Vasquez
This class will focus on the most representative rhythms of Afro-Peruvian folklore: Festejo, Zamacueca, Landó and Son de los Diablos. These dances with festive characteristics are distinguished by their agile and vigorous movements. The most prominent ones being movements of the pelvis, waist and hips.
Pierr Padila Vásquez is a professional artist with training in traditional Peruvian dance, music, and acting. He has a wide trajectory and has been a member of renown groups of music, dance, and theater in Peru. He has toured for artistic and cultural purposes in America, Asia and Europe. Pierr has participated in productions and shows with renown performers like master artist Victoria Santa Cruz and the singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler. In his work as a teacher he was professor and director of the Afro-Peruvian dance company at the Universidad del Pacífico, and professor of Afro-Peruvian dances at the Center of Music and Dance of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Currently he holds the title National Champion of Champions of Marinera Limeña in Peru. He is the founder and director of DanzAfro, a school of Afro-Peruvian folklore, and is the director of the Festival de la Música Afroperuana.
Afro Hits with Byb Chanel Bibene
Jamming Afro Hits class takes you on the streets and clubs of central Africa and the vibes of African Diaspora dances. From Congolese urban and social dancing to the diasporic afrobeat, the class boosts your inner mojo, revamps your sweet attitude, and gets you going lightly with your busy life.
Bhangra and Bollywood with Joti Singh
Mondays, 6:30-7:45 pm
All levels. Beginners welcome.
Bhangra is a harvest dance originally from the state of Punjab in the northwestern corner of India and Pakistan. As people continue to cross oceans and cultures, Bhangra music and dance ceaselessly evolves, as influences of Hiphop, Reggae and many other genres of music inspire the artists who create this new Bhangra music and dance. Today Bhangra is danced mostly at weddings and celebrations by both men and women.
Joti Singh is a dance creator and dance innovator, sprung from the U.S. American south to parents from northern India. She is the Artistic Director of Duniya Dance and Drum Company. Joti began her dance training in Punjabi circles, carrying through her body the culture that’s in her blood and memory. As an adult, West African dance entered Joti’s purview, transforming her body’s culture. Through this multilingual body, Joti explores where history intertwines with contemporary continuities of celebration and injustice. She has created works such as “Half and Halves,” “The Madness of the Elephant,” and “Red Saffron and Green.” Joti has received funding from the Creative Work Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Dancers’ Group’s New Stages, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and the American India Foundation. She participated in the CHIME mentorship program and has been an Artist-in-Residence at CounterPULSE twice Joti and her husband, musician Bongo Sidibe, lead annual trips to Guinea and recently opened the Duniya Center for Arts and Education in Conakry. She teaches all over the SF Bay Area, including Dance Mission Theater and the San Francisco School of the Arts. Joti holds an MA in South Asian Studies from UC Berkeley and a BA in English from Reed College.
Contemporary Fusion Belly Dance with Kami Liddle
This class, founded by Kami Liddle, fuses present-day belly dance genres with contemporary dance. This unique movement vocabulary combines strong leg and foot work with fluidity in the spine and precision in the torso. It emphasizes strength and flexibility, rhythmic and musical phrasing, and most importantly, self-expression.
Kami Liddle is an award-winning dancer who has 15 years of experience of teaching movement based classes. She is a world-renowned contemporary belly dance artist whose workshops and performances have been hosted in over 30 countries. For 6 years Kami toured with Bellydance Superstars, a professionally touring belly dance company produced by music industry legend Miles Copeland. 7 of Kami’s internationally touring choreographies have been featured on PBS. She has worked collaboratively with dancer and musician Zoe Jakes and Beats Antique, a musical group that incorporates live dance and performance in their multimedia shows and music videos. Kami is the director and choreographer of The Gold Star Dance Company, a San Francisco based fusion belly dance company.
Contemporary with Kristin Damrow
Saturdays, 10:30am – 12pm
Kristin’s Intermediate Contemporary class is designed for dancers familiar with contemporary technique that want to dig deeper into their own physicality and artistry. Kristin’s approach learning is focused on finding alignment of the body, then moving with ease and dynamic energy. Classes will begin with a meditative body scan and improvisation exercises. You will explore articulation of the spine, pelvis, and torso all while finding momentum through the body. Large energetic phrase work will have a constant play with gravity; going in and out of the floor, upside down and traveling though the space with fierce abandonment.
Kristin Damrow grew up on a rural farm in Wisconsin then lived in Chicago while earning her B.A. in Dance from Columbia College. In 2010, she moved to San Francisco, California, where she founded Kristin Damrow & Company. Damrow has choreographed and produced over 15 new dance works for venues throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area. Her work is said to be “charged from beginning to end; an intoxicating contemporary dance that hooks you instantly and keeps you on the edge of your seat.” (Heather Desaulniers, Critical Dance) In 2017, Damrow was selected into the esteemed ODC Pilot Program, which highlights emerging artists making an impact in the San Francisco/Bay Area dance community. Her choreography has been commissioned by the SAFE House ARTS Summer Performance Festival and Dance Mission Theater’s D.I.R.T Festival. Damrow serves on the faculty at ODC Dance Commons and Dance Mission Theater, and she is the director of Body Language, RoCo Dance’s pre-professional teen company. She has taught master classes at Columbia College (Chicago), Gibney Dance (NYC) and Mark Morris Dance Center (NYC). Damrow also is a guest instructor at the University of San Francisco, Sonoma State University, City College, Shawl Anderson Dance Center, and LINES Ballet. Kristin Damrow & Company’s annual home seasons have received support from the Zellerbach Foundation and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.
Cuban Folkloric with Susana Arenas (live drumming)
Susana Arenas Pedroso was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where she danced professionally for 8 years before coming to the United States in 1998. She studied and trained with some of the most renowned dance institutions in Cuba, including the Culture House of Matanzas and the National Folkloric Group of Havana. She spent 5 years dancing with Raices Profundas, one of Cuba’s most respected folkloric dance companies, rising to the position of female soloist and traveling and performing throughout the country.
Class attire: Students dance barefoot and should wear yoga pants, leggings, or sweat pants, and bring a long, flow-y skirt if possible.
Forró with Flavio Pak
Brazilian partner dance comes in many forms. This class will focus on one of the most popular and uniquely Brazilian ones – the fun and folk-y Forró with its origins in the northeastern backlands. Class will focus on creating a solid base of movement and technique, as well as a fun variety of decorative steps and sequences.
Haitian Folkloric with Portsha Jefferson
This class introduces the technique of Haitian Folkloric dance. Representing various nations such as Mayi, Ibo and Nago, each dance has it’s own distinctive character, choreography and spirit. You will experience the meditative Yanvalou, the fiery rhythms of Petwo, to the playful and celebratory dances of Banda and Rara. Expect a high energy class in celebration of a rich, spiritual tradition. A dance experience guaranteed to UPLIFT, INSPIRE & INFORM! Live Music with celebrated Haitian drummer Daniel ‘Brav’ Brevil and Co.
Portsha Jefferson is a professional dancer and choreographer trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz and African derived styles, who specializes in Haitian Folkloric Dance. She began her formal training at the age of six at the Marsha Woody Dance Academy in Beaumont, Texas. Portsha is the founder and artistic director of Rara Tou Limen, an arts organization that has been promoting Haitian culture for the past 10 years. RTL has continually offered participants the opportunity to experience Haitian music, dance and culture through classes, workshops, performances and educational events in both the United States and in Haiti. Portsha has taught creative movement and Haitian Folkloric dance in schools, universities, community centers and dance studios for twelve years. A passionate believer in education and youth development, she has worked for several youth organizations including The Young Performers Theater, The San Francisco Arts Education Project, Westlake School of the Arts, Opera Picolla, DanceVersity and Swivel Arts. Portsha’s dedication and exploration of Haitian culture have brought her to Haiti, where she has traveled throughout the country to research regional dance, rhythms and musical traditions. Currently, Portsha is an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley, Conservatory for Contemporary Dance Arts (CCDA) and is an artist in residence for Oakland, Berkeley and SF public schools. In addition, she is an instructor at East Bay Dance Center, Dance Mission Theater and at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. She also serves as a Cultural Arts Specialist with Oakland Parks and Recreation, where she continues to share her love of dance with Oakland youth.
Haitian with Michelle Martin
Thursdays, 6-7:30pm (starts Feb 14)
Watch an example of this class.
Be prepared to move the hips, undulate the back, roll the shoulders,
and bend the knees to live drumming. Dances are done barefoot and
women should bring long, full, Caribbean-style skirts if they have
Hip Hop with Allan Frias
Saturdays, 12:30-2pm (Adv Beg)
Mondays, 6:30-8pm (Int)
Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm (Int/Adv)
Watch an example of this class.
Allan has been a leading force of the Bay Area Hip Hop scene for the last 8 years. He teaches 4 packed classes a week at Dance Mission Theater, not only Allan’s base but also the home of his hip hop ensemble, Mind Over Matter, which performs throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Allan also directs and choreographs for the Junior Jam youth performance program at the Golden State Warriors and has appeared on Fox TV’s So You Think You Can Dance. Allan, who looks more like a football player than your average dancer, shows firsthand that body type does not make a dancer. His enormous size and personality lend power to his teaching, stage presence and choreography and his performance quality is riveting.
Hip Hop (Beg) with David Schrag
This Hip Hop is a class designed to suit all levels of hip-hop dancer. David applies a constructivist teaching method to reach everyone from the amateur hip-hop enthusiast to the more experienced or classically trained dancer. The goal of his class is to provide a framework of choreography in which each dancer will be able to add their own personal style and attitude. It is also focuses on an inclusive atmosphere, rather than a place that caters to any select group of dancers. Most of all, the class is designed for people to feel comfortable (and shake their tails!) David phases elements of B-boying, old school and more modern video-style choreography. Classes usually consist of a warm-up, stretching and choreography. Routines are usually repeated every two weeks, allowing students to build on their past week of experience.
Hip Hop (All levels) with Dexandro “D” Montalvo
Watch an example of this class.
Dexandro “D” Montalvo’s hip hop class is a high-energy class that offers a friendly environment that students of all levels can learn from. After a brief warmup, D’s class starts with teaching hip hop fundamentals, teaching introductions to gliding, popping, and isolations. Upon finishing going over techniques, D then teaches his unique style of hip hop choreography that focus on dynamics, control, and personal artistry.
Born and raised in New York, Dexandro “D” Montalvo began dancing professionally at age 14. D continued on to dance professionally for 16 years and finished his dance career after dancing with Robert Moses’ Kin for 6 seasons. Some of D’s choreographic experience includes works on Robert Moses’ Kin Dance Company, Dance Theater of San Francisco, Liss Fain Dance Company, Concept o4, LINES Ballet Training Program/Summer Program, The Black Eye Peas, Amp Live, Sleepy Hollow Performing Arts Center, University of San Francisco Dance Ensemble, Marin School of the Arts, & ODC’s Youth Company. In 2015 D won an Isadora Duncan Award for his choreographic work in “Art behind bars” which took place in Alcatraz, and was nominated for the “Outstanding Choreography” for his work “Impulse” in 2015 and again in 2017 for “Pent.”
Hip Hop with Micaya
Thursdays, 6-7:15pm (Beg)
Tuesdays, 8-9:15 (Int)
Micaya has been a dancer, instructor, and choreographer for over 20 years. Formally trained in ballet, jazz, modern, and African dance forms, she began teaching hip-hop in the early 1990s. She began producing high energy, underground, sold-out hip-hop shows in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District in 1993. Those shows led up to the creation of the First Annual San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest in 1999. Now with seven years of success and presented at the historic Palace of Fine arts Theatre, the San Francisco Hip Hop DanceFest has grown into one of the most exciting events of the year. Micaya’s choreography has been featured in corporate events as well as music videos, television, nightclubs, festivals, theaters, cabaret, and touring productions. She is the founder and director of her own dance company, SoulForce, that performs all over the Bay Area and is the producer of the popular annual community show “Mission in the Mix” which features SoulForce along with up and coming local companies and students.
Micaya incorporates her many years of dance training and styles into her teaching. Her classes are popular due to her passionate teaching style. Expertly broken down, Micayas’ choreography is taught in a non intimidating way that all people understand. Micaya teaches all over the Bay Area to students of all ages and backgrounds – as well as teaching throughout the country and abroad.
House Method with Rama Hall
Street Method includes foundational and rhythm based house footwork, strengthening, stretching, the craft of free-styling and unique choreography. The choreography blends hip-hop, house and waacking with influences from other urban and social dance traditions. With an emphasis on funk, flow and authenticity, this class encourages its all-level community of students to surrender to the beat in a supportive and loving atmosphere that values the cultivation of an individual’s internal rhythm and style. The class will be taught in a monthly rotation by Embodiment Project company members.
Nia with Magnolia
Payment can be made in class only. Dance Mission class packs not accepted.
Nia Technique is a cardiovascular fitness and personal growth practice that integrates the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Nia embraces both form and freedom: the form of simple steps, kicks, and stances that anyone can learn; and the freedom of each student’s inner dance. Nia truly represents the ‘joy of movement.’
Salsa (Cuban) with Alvaro Batista
This is a progressive class that starts on the FIRST MONDAY of every month. It focuses on students who are new to Cuban salsa. Below is a typical curriculum for the month. Please note that the curriculum can vary depending on the needs of the class.
- 1st Monday: Basic steps and rhythm, outside turn and cross body lead
- 2nd Monday: Inside turn (Enchufla), Llevala Abajo, Exhibe, cross body lead into Cuban basic step (Dile Que No y Guapea).
- 3rd Monday: Start putting combination moves together using moves from the previous weeks.
- 4th Monday: Combination moves and review from previous weeks.
If the month has five weeks we will add more turns or review turns from previous weeks.
Salsa / Rueda (Cuban) with Alvaro Batista
Adv Beg / Int
This class builds on the foundation learned in the Beginning Cuban Salsa class. Rueda de Casino is a popular dance where pairs of dancers form a circle and execute dance moves called out by one person, “the caller.” This class focuses on the basics of Rueda de Casino (formation, various ways of swapping partners, leading and following and basic turns). We’ll cover the basics at the beginning of each month and will progress into more complex turns and calls as the weeks progress. Even though Rueda focuses on dancing together as a group, a great deal of the turns learned can also be used in one-on-one partner dancing.
You do not need to bring your own partner. Wear anything that you feel comfortable moving in – from heels to sneakers to jazz shoes!
Although students may drop in at any time, it is recommended for newcomers to start the class on the FIRST Monday of every month if possible as the class is progressive. Please note that the curriculum can vary depending on the needs of the class.
Example of turns learned in this class: Pal Medio, Caminamos, Un Tarro (men/women), Llevala Abajo/Exibe, Dile Que No, Dame Una, Dame dos, Enchufla, El Uno, Vacilala, Sombrero, Setenta, Adios con la Hermana, Dedo, Kentucky, Echevarria and more.
Salsa / Rueda (Cuban) with Ramon Ramos Alayo
Ramon Ramos Alayo started dancing at age eleven in Santiago de Cuba. He holds a degree in contemporary dance and education from the Havana National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Danza del Caribe, Narciso Medina Contemporary Dance Company, and has performed in Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize, and the U.S. He currently dances with Robert Moses’ Kin and Zaccho Dance Theater, teaches Cuban Salsa and Modern dance at a variety of Bay Area schools and studios, and directs his own dance company, Alayo Dance Company and produces the annual CubaCaribe Festival.
Salsa (Cuban) with Susana Arenas Pedroso
This class is geared towards advanced beginning Salsa dancers. Class will start with a warm-up where students dance alone, getting used to the salsa rhythm. The class will then transition to partners, where students learn moves such as setenta, quapea, enchufle, el dedo. Cuban salsa starts on the “1.” It is not necessary to bring your own partner. Partners are switched frequently throughout the class.
Susana Arenas Pedroso was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where she danced professionally for 8 years before coming to the United States in 1998. She studied and trained with some of the most renowned dance institutions in Cuba, including the Culture House of Matanzas and the National Folkloric Group of Havana. She spent 5 years dancing with Raices Profundas, one of Cuba’s most respected folkloric dance companies, rising to the position of female soloist and traveling and performing throughout the country. Class attire: Casual (jeans, sweats or skirts). Tennis shoes are fine.
Salsa Fusion with Tika is devoted to her love of Cuban Dance and Music. This class centers around Salsa Suelta, a “freestyle” none partnering dance featured most often in clubs. Class begins with body alignment, isolation’s, core work and stretching followed by choreography that builds in tempo and brings together the music and basic steps of popular and folkloric dances that inform Cuban Salsa. Tika’s choreography’s move from the basics to intermediate patterns with lots of SABOR! This class is a great way to work on your style and move toward partnering in Salsa Casino Rueda and taking Cuban Folkloric classes!
Great for ALL Levels – Shoes Optional.
Samba-Aerobics with Silvana Sousa
A highly celebrated samba class that teaches the basic steps from its traditional roots. It is authentic, fun and energetic! Silvana is a native of Goiânia, Brazil and has been with the group since its inception. After Aquarela’s Maria Souza who officated as Queen of 1995, Silvana was elected Carnaval Queen of San Francisco in 1996. Today, Silvana is chief choreographer of Aquarela. Silvana is a registered nurse. She lives and works in Berkeley.
Samba no pé with Nadia Qabazard
Samba no pé is by far the most popular of Rio-style samba dance. Originating in the favelas/comunidades of Rio de Janeiro, samba no pé is now enjoyed all over Brazil and internationally! This class focuses on high energy, intricate footwork/hip movements and improvisation, along with samba basics and body alignment/positivity. All levels welcome.
SexiTude – Jazz/Funk/Pop with Linden
SexiTude is a body-positive, age-positive, sex-positive dance experience, created by D’Arcy Drollinger (AKA Baby D). Each class combines Jazz, Funk, Hip-Hop, Video Dance and classic Bump-n-Grind moves set to a fun, high-energy soundtrack; which results in a great cardio work out, while strengthening the fundamentals of current popular dance styles. This open-level class is perfect for beginners, while offering enough technique for more established dancers; includes a warm up, step-by-step breakdown, routine and cool down. Leg warmers and dance gear encouraged. Werk a look! Break a sweat!
Vogue and Tone with Jocquese Whitfield (aka: JoQ)
Vogue is characterized by model-like poses, inspired by Vogue Magazine, integrated with angular, linear and rigid arm, leg and body movements. The style of dance arose from Harlem ballrooms in the early 1930s. This dance style was originally called “performance” and evolved into the more intricate and illusory form that is now called “vogue-ing”. There are six elements of Vogue-ing: hands, spins, catwalk, duck walk, dips and floor performance. The class will start with a fifteen minute warm-up where we focus on core work and isolations. After the warm up, we will transition into across the floor work and choreography. Not only will you learn the history of Vogue, but you’ll will receive an intense workout. Jocquese will break down each element from Hands to Spins, Catwalk to Duck walk, Dips to Floor Performance. Each element has specific movements that will strengthen and tone different parts of the body. The choreography will be infused with other forms of dances such as jazz, modern, ballet, hip-hop and Afro-Haitian.
Jocquese Whitfield (aka: JoQ) is a dancer/choreographer born and raised in San Francisco. Starting his career steeped in the improvisation of freestyle hip-hop, Jocquese has added modern, classical, and Diasporic dance traditions over the last several years. He has been a member of City Shock San Francisco, F.B.C. (Funk Beyond Control), and UFO Movement, J. Jun Productions and is currently dancing with M.O.M. (Mind Over Matter). Currently pursuing studies in Dance and Theater, Jocquese’s current movement vocabulary revisits the bold, rebellious statements of the 1980’s as expressed through fashion, nightlife, and a love of the abstract. A shape-shifter, Jocquese challenges assumptions of sexual identity in dance as he plays with gesture both “masculine” and “feminine.”
West African (Guinean) with Alhassane Camara
This high energy class will focus on the dances and rhythms of Guinea, West Africa. Alhassane “Papin” Camara was born in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa. His mother, Dah Camara was a dancer and Alhassane has been blessed with the same innate talent. He followed this calling, and by 11 years of age, he was fully immersed in Ballet Tayely in Guinea, studying, and performing traditional Guinea dances. Alhassane continued to excel, not only as a dancer, but as a fully trained musician, knowing all of the musical rhythms of the drums and accompanying instruments of the traditional Guinea dances. He proceeded to become the lead dancer and choreographer of his ballet company.
The class will be accompanied by drummer Bongo Sidibe from Conakry, Guinea, who has studied with Mamady Keita at his school Tam Tam Mandingue, Conakry. Bongo is the Musical Director of Duniya Dance and Drum Company, founder of the international reggae band Wontanara, and has performed with the Grateful Dead, Rhythm Village, and Black Nature of the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars.
5Rhythms® Waves with Alessandro Moruzzi and Vehllia Tranne
All Levels. Beginners Welcome.
Payment can be made in class only. Dance Mission class packs not accepted.
5Rhythms® is a dynamic movement practice – a practice of being in your body – that ignites creativity, connection, and community. It is a moving meditation practice, where dance and music are the basic elements. The 5Rhythms – Flowing Staccato Chaos Lyrical Stillness® – are states of Being. They are a map to everywhere we want to go, on all planes of consciousness – inner and outer, forward and back, physical, emotional and intellectual. They reconnect us to the wisdom of our bodies and unleash movement’s dynamic healing power. They are markers on the way back to a real self, a vulnerable, wild passionate, instinctive self.
Dancing the 5Rhythms is a practice—a dynamic way to both workout and to meditate in the same breath. They teach us that life is energy in motion, freeing us from any fixed notions about people, places, objects or ideas. There is no need to have any particular physical background or to consider ourselves dancers or not. We keep moving with the music and the dance will come to us. We dance until the dancer disappears and only the dance remains. This is an open class, and is taught alternately by Alessandro Moruzzi and Vehllia Tranne, Certified 5Rhythms® Teachers Accredited by the 5RTA (5Rhythms Teachers Association). Our classes are open to everyone of any shape or physical ability. Together, Alessandro and Vehllia offer more than 12 years experience in 5Rhythms dancing, music, theater and performance background, healing and spiritual practices, and shamanism, offering heartfelt and intuitively crafted experience and support for each dancer, holding a safe and transformational space for all. Please dress comfortably in clothing that you don’t mind sweating in and allows you a full range of motion. You may want to bring a cover-up so you don’t get cold, and/or a small towel to dry off with. We dance bare-footed or in light-soled dance shoes (athletic shoes/trainers are not allowed on the dance floor). Bring a bottle of water and your curiosity. No experience or level of fitness is required to begin your 5Rhythms practice.