Staff Bios

DSC_1761 - Copy Patricia Reedy is the Director of Teaching & Learning at Luna Dance Institute. Since founding Luna in 1992, Reedy has been responsible for designing and evaluating all program components. She writes curricula, develops staff and provides consultation and professional development to community clients. Reedy has been a dancer, choreographer, educator and performer throughout her life. She founded her own company in 1994 and danced for seven years with Priscilla Regalado. Reedy was on the dance faculty at UC Berkeley for five years before joining the dance department at Mills College as an adjunct professor. With co-director Nancy Ng, Reedy won the first Generous Heart award by Dance Spirit Magazine in 2014. She was named 2008 Outstanding Educator by the National Dance Education Organization and won their first award for mentorship in 2003. With colleagues at Luna she has been awarded an Isadora Duncan (Izzy) in 2007, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, First Five Alameda County-Every Child Counts, and dozens of others from private foundations. Luna has received recognition in Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Studio Life, Teaching Artist Journal, Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Contact Quarterly, and Dance Magazine. Reedy writes regularly, publishing bi-monthly articles in InDance and Body, Mind & Spirit IN ACTION: a teacher’s guide to creative dance©2003, renewed 2011. Reedy received an MA in Education & Creativity from Mills College in 2000. She has studied Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban Movement Analysis extensively with Peggy Hackney and Developmental Movement with Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen. Specific to Early Childhood Education. Since graduating from college with a degree in Child Development, Reedy has been as passionate about young children as she has been about dance. Her graduate studies included participating in the two-year residency of Leila Gandini and I Cento Linguaggi Dei Bambini (The Hundred Languages of Children) and study with Katherine Lewis’ seminal work on Japanese preschools and teacher Lesson Study. At Luna she supervises early childhood faculty and has provided professional development in dance at Oakland Unified School District Child Development Centers, Berkeley Headstart, and Oakland Early Headstart. She is a regular guest teacher at all four community college ECE programs in Alameda County, at UC Berkeley Child Care Services and Mills Education Department. Reedy co-founded MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) in 2000, bringing relationship-based dance and embodied parent education to over 3000 families in the child welfare system; facilitating professional workshops in teaching parent-child dance, including a 3-day family dance institute; coaching interns throughout California to create family dance programs in their communities and co-authoring a research project on parent engagement published by International Journal for Education and the Arts (http://www.ijea.org/v15n1/v15n1.pdf). Her article on early dance and attachment can be found at http://dancersgroup.org/2012/05/the-first-steps-luna-dance-institute/.
 
Nancy N headshot Nancy Ng is the Director of Community Engagement of Luna Dance Institute and serves on the faculty of the Professional Learning Component. She was co-creator of Luna’s MPACT program and she develops interns and other professionals to build family dance programs in their own communities. Ng has worked as a performing artist, choreographer and educator for her entire life, including a long tenure as choreographer, performer and administrator for Asian American Dance Performances. She received her teaching credential from San Francisco State University, and following three years as a classroom teacher received her MFA in Performance and Choreography from Mills College. As a national arts education leader Ng serves on the advisory councils for the Teaching Artist Support Collaborative and the National Guild for Community Arts Education, and she is a past president of the California Dance Education Association. She has consulted for the California Department of Education’s Early Learning Foundations in the Visual and Performing Arts, and was recently appointed with her colleague, Patricia Reedy, to the editorial review board for the National Dance Education Organization’s Dance Education in Practice journal.
 
042 Jochelle Pereña is a teaching artist in Luna’s SCA, Studio Lab and Professional Learning programs, and is the Professional Learning Manager and Studio Lab Manager. She hails from Vashon Island, Washington where she grew up watching the choreography of birds in flight and forests in windstorms. She has trained in the studios of Seattle, the farmlands of the Lost Coast, the nightclubs of West Africa, and more formally at Laban, London (Professional Diploma in Dance Studies, 2005), and at Mills College, Oakland (MFA in Choreography and Performance, 2011). A choreographer, dancer and educator, she has performed and presented works internationally and has taught dance, drama and performing arts education to children and adults at Cornish College of the Arts, Mills College, Laban, Artis, and West County Community High School. She co-directs the dance theatre collective, The Thick Rich Ones, is co-founder of the Mills Dance Alumni Group, and annually produces Ebb+Flow, The Mills Dance Alumni Concert. Currently, she is a student in early childhood development, led in daily discoveries by her toddler daughter and infant son. jperena@lunadanceinstitute.org
 
CHheadshot Cherie Hill is a teaching artist in the SCA, MPACT, Professional Learning, and Studio Lab programs, and is Luna’s Communications Manager, and Chief of Staff. She is a long-time lover of dance and has taught dance to children in the Bay Area since 2005. She is the mother of two children, and received her BA in Dance and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley where she performed with Bay Area Repertory Dance Company and won numerous awards for her choreography and research. Cherie has published dance research in Gender Forum and the Sacred Dance Guild Journal, and has presented at international conferences including the International Association of Black Dance Conference and the International Conference on Arts and Humanities. Recently, she had the opportunity to present her dance teaching project, “Creative Movement and the African Aesthetic” at the National Dance Education Organization Conference in Miami and Berkeley, and at Dance TAG Philadelphia. She is former Co-Vice President of the Sacred Dance Guild, a research assistant for hip-hop legend, Rennie Harris, and choreographer and director of Oakland based company, Cherie Hill IrieDance. Cherie holds an MFA in Dance Choreography and Performance from the University of Colorado Boulder & graduate certificates in Somatics, and Women and Gender Studies. chill@lunadanceinstitute.org
 
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Deborah Karp is a teaching artist in Luna’s MPACT, SCA and Studio Lab programs, and is the MPACT Program Coordinator.  She brings her passion for movement investigation, creative somatic inquiry and love of community-building through dance to her work as a teaching artist, choreographer and performer. She is the Artistic Director of Deborah Karp Dance Projects, and has taught with Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in MotionSan Francisco Ballet’s Dance In Schools and Communities program, University of San Francisco, and in Honduras with Arte Acción. Her choreography has been presented in theaters and site-specific locations throughout New York City and the Bay Area. Deborah was a seven-year member of the Nancy Meehan Dance Company and has also performed the work of Susan Rethorst and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, among others. Her article Choreographer in the Classroom: At the Intersection of Dance and Academic Curriculum, was published in In Dance in May of 2013. Deborah holds a Bachelor of Dance Arts from the University of Michigan. dkarp@lunadanceinstitute.org
 
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Nia Womack-Freeman is a teaching artist in the SCA, MPACT and Studio Lab programs, and is LUNA’s Professional Learning Registrar/Coordinator. Her love of dance was cultivated as a youth in the realm of the sacred with training in West African and East Indian dance traditions.  She holds a BA in Dance from Mills College, a Multiple Subject Teaching credential from California. She has taught in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for 7 years, both as a classroom teacher and with LAUSD’s Arts Pilot Program as a dance teaching artist.   With a passion for arts education she completed a MA’s in Educational Leadership at Antioch, Santa Barbara (2005) where she investigated the role of arts in the education of people of color in public schools. Eager to understand arts education in a broader context, from 2010-2015 Nia taught overseas in Shanghai, China and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (MS/HS/IB Dance).  There, she experienced the invaluable skill of global mindedness, open-heartedness mingled with culture and creativity. Some of her recent achievements in education include sharing creative dance with children who are refugees from Myanmar in Malaysia, and street children in Cambodia.  Interested in Arts Advocacy, Nia presently serves on the advisory council for the Teaching Artist Support Collaborative. She continues to investigate the intersection of culture, dance and education. nwomack-freeman@lunadanceinstitute.org
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Amelia Uzategui Bonilla is a Teaching Artist in Luna’s SCA, Studio Lab and MPACT programs as well as Public Relations Associate. Born in Lima, Peru, Amelia grew up in Los Angeles, CA and has lived and worked in New York City, Europe, and South America. She is excited to return to the United States and make Oakland her new home. She completed her BFA at The Juilliard School’s Dance Department (NYC) and recently completed Anna and Daria Halprin’s training program in movement based expressive arts education and therapy at the Tamalpa Institute in Marin County, CA. From 2010-2014, Amelia lived in Peru delving into her cultural heritage and collaborating with the local community as a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She co-founded Rio Danza Comunitaria in 2013, a collective focused on deepening environmental conscientiousness through community dance workshops and performance rituals in the cities, Lima and Cusco. She returns annually to Peru, hosting performances and workshops through Rio DC. As a performer, she is honored to have worked with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Adam Barruch Dance, Tino Sehgal, Marina Abramović, and currently is a student of Anna Halprin. This past summer, she performed with inkBoat in 95 Rituals, a dance made in honor of Anna Halprin’s 95th birthday. As an educator, her intention is to accompany students as they develop their own unique and expressive voice through movement and believes that all children everywhere have the right to accessible composition-based dance education. abonilla@lunadanceinstitute.org
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Heather Stockton is a Teaching Artist in Luna’s SCA and Studio Lab programs and a Public Relations Associate. As a teaching artist she brings her life-long passion for dance, active exploration of collaborating, and ardent love of choreography to her creative practice. Heather is the Artistic Director and founder of the local dance collective, Wax Poets, where she oscillates between roles as director, choreographer, and performer. Originally from Riverside, CA, she has presented choreographic work in venues through-out the US and danced professionally with Amy O/Tiny Rage (Seattle) and Psuedopod Interactive (Seattle). She received her BFA, Summa Cum Laude and MFA (pr) from Mills College. A earnest dance educator and advocate, Heather is thrilled to be joining Luna in its 25th year of bringing dance and creativity to the community. hstockton@lunadanceinstitute.org