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Team Members

Barbara Rinaldo

Studio Director & Dance Instructor

Barbara has taught ballet, modern dance and choreography for over thirty years. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet from the North Carolina School of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Michigan. She was Assistant Professor of Dance at Towson University in Maryland for six years where she also served as Chairman of the Dance Department. Barbara has received choreographic grants from the Michigan State Council for the Arts, Towson University, Meet the Composer, Inc and Morningside Festival in New York City. She was a Teaching Artist for the Visual and Performing Arts Department of San Diego for ten years and for Young Audiences of San Diego.

Mikel Weigel

Dance Instructor

Mikel McCurdy Weigel started dancing at the age of three and it’s been a true lifelong passion. She grew up dancing at Classical Ballet Academy and competed with Massay’s Dancestars and Kim Massay Dance Productions, all in Oklahoma. She participated on the Senior Company at dozens of dance conventions and competitions yearly. She was a member and captain of the varsity high school pom squad where they placed in the top of the state and national competitions. She went on to be a member and captain of the University of Oklahoma Pom Squad where she performed at the National Championship Orange Bowl in 2000, the Final Four for both the Oklahoma Men’s and Women’s teams in 2002, and NCA/NDA Collegiate Dance Team competition in Daytona Beach, Florida. She participated in show choir and musicals in both high school and college playing the role of Gloria in the production of Damn Yankees. She also spent years training in acting for theatre and film and appeared in dozens of commercials and independent films.
She began teaching dance in college and spent hours in the studios instilling passion in dancers across Oklahoma. She has choreographed and coached numerous varsity and junior varsity pom squads. She was assistant choreographer and dance instructor for The Rousabouts, a performance group, at Northern Oklahoma College and the musical show at Six Flag’s Frontier City. She has been a judge for high school and college dance team auditions and currently acts as a judge for the Oklahoma State Dance Team Directors Association, which is the premier state competition for Oklahoma dance teams.
She currently works in marketing for a software company and serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the US Navy Reserve.

Lindsay Brzenski

Dance Instructor

Lindsay Brzenski has been dancing since the age of nine. She teaches jazz, contemporary, ballet, ballroom, salsa, lyrical, and tap. A San Diego native, she has studied at various studios throughout the city. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego and received a bachelor’s degrees in both Theatre and Dance. While at school, she studied and performed with Patricia Rincon, Allyson Green, Tony Callahan, and Jean Isaacs. In addition to dancing, Lindsay also works in the San Diego entertainment industry, specializing in lighting, audio and costuming.

Peyton Wright

Company Director & Dance Instructor

Peyton Wright is originally from Burlington Washington. She started dancing at 5 years old at “Skagit Valley Academy of Dance” where she then became a student teacher at just 15 years old. Throughout high school, she choreographed for competition numbers at her home studio, as well as dance numbers for her cheer team as a co-captain. She also helped with choreography for many musicals at her school including “Bye Bye Birdy”, “Shrek the Musical” and “In The Heights”. As a senior in high school, she became “Miss DEA” for her solo performed at Dance Educators of America. After graduating, she went on to become a part of the Hip Hop Dance Team at Western Washington University. She then went back to her home studio where she became a full time teacher and choreographer. She has a certification under “Dance Educators of America” as well as “Acrobatic Arts”. She has gone on to receive multiple judges awards for her music, choreography and costuming at various competitions and conventions. She is thrilled to be a part of the San Diego Danceworks Team and inspire the next generation of dancers.

Alexandra "Sasha" Gutman

Dance Instructor

Alexandra “Sasha” Gutman is originally from Austin, Texas and is an award-winning choreographer and a graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. She is currently part of the Artistic Faculty of  San Diego Danceworks and City Ballet School of San Diego where she specializes in teaching ballet and character dance. She began her training in Texas at age 9 with Terri Lynn Wright, Carol Davila, and Randal Marks among others. At age 13, she moved across the country to train at the Indiana Ballet Conservatory. She then went on to train at the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory where she had the opportunity to work with Alexei Tchernichov, Eleanor D’antuono, Victoria Mazzarelli, Joan Kunsch, Tim Melody, Kirk Peterson, and Denise Limoli. At age 16, Alexandra was hand-selected to join the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. There she trained in the class of Anna Leonova, Ludmilla Ermakova and Anna Antropova. After the successful completion of her first exam, Alexandra was chosen to join the graduating class skipping two years of training. After graduating early from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, she returned to the states to teach classical and character dance for all levels at the Akhmedova Ballet Academy and had the opportunity to compete in numerous ballet competitions where she received 2nd place at Playa Del Carmen International Ballet Competition 2020, 1st place for both Classical Contemporary categories at National Ballet Competition 2021, and 3rd place at Washington DC Grand Prix.
Alexandra performed many roles including most recently as Alice in Alice in Wonderland, George Balanchine’s Le Baiser de la fee, First shade soloist and Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Giselle in Act 2 pas de deux, Kitri in Don Quixote, Odile in Swan Lake, Medora in Le Corsaire, Dawn and Prayer in Coppelia, Myrta in Giselle, and Sugarplum in The Nutcracker among others.
Alexandra has always had a love for teaching ballet and has been teaching since 2016. She has also had the opportunity to teach character dance since 2019. Alexandra has been recognized for her choreography for classical and character dance. In her 2021 choreographic debut all three of her pieces tied for 1st place at YAGP, received two 1st place awards and a 3rd place award at Washington DC Grand Prix, 3rd place at National Ballet Competition, and qualified for YAGP finals and received top 12.

Caprice Jardin

Dance Instructor

Caprice is a born performer who believes entertaining the audience is key! She has been dancing since age 3, training and competing at various studios in San Diego. Caprice is a nationally ranked competitive dancer and holds 2 National titles, KAR Miss Dance America and KAR Dance America. She is very proud to be a part of KAR history, as the first ever crowned KAR gender-neutral national title winner, KAR Dance America.

She has run numerous successful competition tap and musical theater programs in the San Diego area, and her choreography/performances have won many 1st overall awards at regionals, and they have taken home 1st overall at numerous Nationals, making her a nationally and regionally, recognized choreographer/performer. Her routines have also won many special judges choice awards, like “Personalities that Pop”, “Amazing Rhythms”, “Comedy Perfection”, “Tap-tastic”, “Fun Concept”, “Happy Feet”, “Most Entertaining Act of the whole weekend”, “Clean Sounds”, “Standout Act”, “Broadway Bound”, “Embrace your Uniqueness”, “One of a Kind Performer”, and many more. She has assisted and worked alongside Natalie Barone, KJ Humphrey, and Sharon Keller. Caprice was a member of the Future Shock SD Troupe, a competitive hip-hop team at Culture Shock SD. She also took part in the Southern California Hoofer’s Club, a tap group, under the direction of Michelle Miner. Caprice also performed in the Culture Shock Nutcracker for tap and hip hop.

She loves performing and teaching with her sister, Bellarose Jardin. Caprice believes that everyone is special in their own way and deserves a chance to shine bright! She wants to make sure that all her students feel free to express themselves and feel supported/loved always! Caprice can’t wait to dance, laugh, and have so much fun with you while helping you embrace what makes you unique!

Bex Walker

Dance Company Coach & Dance Instructor

Bex Walker started dancing when she was 5 years old. She danced her way through school at San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and graduated with honors in 1997. She went on to minor in dance at San Diego State University while she continued training and performing with Unity Dance Ensemble from 1997-2004 under the direction of Tessandra Chavez. She has also trained with Culture Shock under the direction of Sherman Shoate (2010) and performed in Afta Shock under the direction of Trina Lyons (2009). In 2005, she joined the performing group Eveoke Dance Theatre and became a Master Teaching Artist as well as a concert company member and choreographer. She has performed in multiple shows in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Becky also toured as a performer in the Dominican Republic.
She had the honor of co-choreographing the hip hop workshop production Refuge with Myriam Lucas in 2011. The choreography was extended into a full production for La Jolla Playhouse titled BREAK in 2012. Break won the 2012 Bravo SD Award. Bex now teaches outreach for La Jolla
Playhouse, is Program Director for Creative Stages of San Diego, and hopes to further grow as a choreographer while creating a group of expressive dancers at San Diego Danceworks.

Emma Clarke

Dance Instructor

Emma began her dance training at Dallas Dance Academy (now Texas Ballet Theatre) in her hometown of Dallas, Texas under the direction of Lyndette Galen. Her ballet training led her to participate in Royal Academy of Dance Placement Examinations and Performance Awards, to also performing as a competitive dancer until the age of 18. She went on to graduate from University of Central Oklahoma with her BFA in Dance Performance where she performed and toured with Kaleidoscope Dance Company. Her choreography was also selected to be adjudicated at American College Dance Festival her final year in school, it was then she truly fell in love with teaching and choreography. Upon graduating, Emma performed professionally between Oklahoma City and Dallas, before moving to New York City where she lived for 8 years, training, performing and teaching throughout the Tri-state area. Her most notable training in NYC was as a Teacher’s Assistant at The School at STEPS on Broadway where she worked, studied under and performed for various artists for years such as Plu Sayampol, Lisa Harvie, Matt Williams and Martha Chapman. Other notable credits in NYC include Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “She’s a Woman” music video by Miz Cracker, 9/11 Table of Silence Project with Buglisi Dance Theatre, and many more. While still residing in NYC, Emma also spent a summer studying under the Direction of Jacqueline Porter at The Dallas Conservatory, completing Teacher Apprenticeships during their Classical Intensives to further her training and teaching skills. She has also taught at TDC’s Summer Dance Intensive, and worked as a personal assistant to Clair Culin, TDC’s Associate Artistic Director.
Having recently relocated to sunny San Diego, Emma loves teaching at San Diego Danceworks. She hopes to continue inspiring the next generation of dancers with the same passion and artistry that she grew up with.

Drew Ornelas

Dance Instructor

Drew Ornelas was born in Quincy, Washington and began doing musical theatre when he was sixteen. After performing the role of Rolf in The Sound of Music, he began taking dance more seriously and received a full ride scholarship as a Bachelors in Fine Arts candidate at Belhaven College. There, Drew was introduced to modern dance, trained vigorously in ballet, and was a part of the college dance company. In 2007, he moved to San Diego, continued to train in a variety of dance styles, and co-founded and co-directed the dance company Dark Horse Dance Productions. It was leading Dark Horse that led Drew to meeting Barbara Rinaldo, the Director and Owner of San Diego Danceworks. In the six years of running his own dance company, Drew also danced for and collaborated with Barbara for many years. In 2014, he joined Visionary Dance Theatre as a company member and danced professionally with them for three years performing in works by Jeanne Travers, Caryn Ipapo-Glass, among others before following other interests in administration and business. During that time, Drew continued to teach and perform for San Diego Danceworks as well as performing around town in pieces by Marty Dorado, Ramon Montes and Trixi Agiao. Last year, Drew returned to Danceworks as an instructor and is excited to work with former and new students in a great environment. Drew is also currently a company dancer, teacher, and administrative assistant for Mounarath Powell Dance.

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