Since 1992, Luna Dance Institute’s mission is to bring creativity, equity and community to every child’s life through the art of dance.
Luna exists as an example of what is possible when an organization seeks to defend and further children’s freedom through the art of dance. Through our policy-to-practice approach, we work with allies to champion systemic change in arts, education, and social justice.
At Luna, we value the endless possibilities revealed when CREATING through dance. Dance requires us to be present and open in the moment, accessing freedom in new and unpredictable ways. Dance is embodied knowledge made visible, aesthetically crafted to communicate through movement. At Luna, we value children for who they are today and for their potential to CHANGE and shape our world. We strive for integrity as we serve our COMMUNITY by increasing access to dance for all children and providing support and solidarity to those who teach them.
Each year, Luna brings dance to more than 20,000 children and 300+ artists, teachers, and social service providers. Since 1992, Luna has grown from a local children’s dance program to a nationally recognized dance education organization that develops future choreographers, leaders, and visionaries.
Our programs evolved over 25 years in response to the needs of our field. The direct service community model programs work in tandem with our Professional Learning department to place theory, practice, and research in an infinite loop of possibility for bringing all children to dance. Studio Lab was our first program and it remains the only choreography-centered children’s dance program in California. The Early Childhood and Family Dance components retain the inclusive goals of their 1992 inception, but have increased in scope.
MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together) was born in 2000 to bring our parent-child and family dance programs to families in the child welfare system. The relationship-based curriculum supports bonding in families who are in the process of reunification. More than 5000 people have participated in this model program and Luna has worked with dance educators to build similar Family Dance programs in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Our work in schools and early childhood centers is unique as well. Since 2003, the goal has been to build sustainable, sequential, and inclusive classes that are integral to the school culture. Our partnerships in schools are multi-year, increasing grade level participation until every child is experiencing age-appropriate dance curriculum aligned with the National Core Arts Standards and their teachers and administrators understand the dance content to the extent that they can support and sustain it. In Oakland Unified School District, we’ve built comprehensive dance programs at New Highland Academy, Tilden Elementary, and Grass Valley Elementary; we authored the districts Blueprint for Dance Learning K-12; we’ve built and implemented inclusion programs for children with and without disabilities; and we’ve taught teachers and artists from multiple California districts to improve teaching practice.
Professional Learning has been the largest area of growth at Luna since 1994. Educators from across the country and abroad have participated in our institutes and returned home to build cultures of dance responsive to their communities’ needs. Teachers have witnessed the power of dance to heal individuals, families, and communities. Those that know how children can be transformed through dance have come to us seeking support to better understand children, parenting, creativity, dance, choreography, and equity.
We believe there is power in a group of people dedicated to a vision. Our faculty shares a passion for creativity and the wish to do service through the art of dance.
Our team members at Luna Dance Institute are committed to the values and mission of the organization. Each possesses kinesthetic and cognitive intelligence about dance, about people, and about the choreographic process. We love the idea of a dancer being a leader with something important to say, with and through their art form.
Luna Dance Institute hires dance-teaching artists as full-time, salaried employees with benefits. This represents one of our core objectives: to shift the perception of dance education and professionalize the field.
Since founding Luna Dance Institute in 1992, Patricia 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 Dance Institute 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. Her article on early dance and attachment can be found here.
Nancy Ng is the Director of Creativity & Policy and is on the Professional Learning faculty at Luna where she facilitates professional development workshops; and mentors and coaches teaching artists, teachers, and social service workers committed to dance education as a way to strengthen communities. Ng is a co-founder of MPACT (Moving Parents and Children Together), Luna’s nationally-recognized program for families in the child welfare system. She was instrumental in MPACT’s development during the research and design phase, as a teaching artist researcher, project coordinator, and developer of current MPACT teachers. Prior to joining Luna, Ng was the Administrative Director and a resident choreographer with San Francisco’s Asian American Dance Performances (AADP). In her eight-year tenure with AADP, she presented the work of regional, national and international artists; directed outreach and education programs; and choreographed her own works which delved into Asian female stereotypes, immigration and racism. As an arts practitioner and leader, Ng’s service includes past president of the California Dance Education Association, and current board member for the California Alliance for Arts Education and the National Guild for Community Arts Education. She received a 2016 Milestone service award from National Guild of Community Arts Education, and is on the editorial review board member for National Dance Education Organization’s journal, Dance Education in Practice. She recently served on the state department of education’s Visual and Performing Arts Standards Advisory Committee, to revise the pre-K through 12th grade standards for public instruction. Nancy is committed to systemic change through dance education, and as a co-director at Luna, she is interested in making visible the theory-to-practice-to-policy loop that is practiced at Luna.
Director of Community & Culture
Cherie Hill teaches dance in all of Luna’s programs and is the Director of Community and Culture. A long-time lover of dance, she 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. She is the artistic director of Cherie Hill IrieDance, her small dance company, where she researches dance, transcendence, and how the body is a vessel for metaphysical presence. Her IrieDance pieces juxtapose alternative and cosmic existence with “real-life” experience to provide insight into the causes and rationalities of the universe’s time and space continuum.
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. Her dance teaching project, “Creative Movement and the African Aesthetic” has been presented at the National Dance Education Organization Conference (NDEO) in Miami and Berkeley, and at Dance TAG Philadelphia. An advocate for equity, community, and dance, Cherie has presented work on embedding dance, race, and equity into practice at NDEO, National Guild for Community Arts Education, and Alameda County Office of Education conferences. She is the chair of Berkeley Cultural Trusts’ equity and inclusion committee, and a National Guild for Community Arts Education Leadership Institute alumnus. Cherie received her MFA in Dance Choreography and Performance from the University of Colorado Boulder with graduate certificates in Somatics, and Women and Gender Studies.
Jochelle Pereña has taught in all of Luna’s programs and currently manages the Summer Institute (SI), supporting and engaging with the learning of over 200 SI alumni. 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), complementing her BA in Anthropology from Wellesley College. 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. In 2015 Jochelle was named Dance Teacher of the Year in the K-12 sector by Dance Teacher Magazine. She co-directs the dance theatre collective, The Thick Rich Ones, is co-founder of the Mills Dance Alumni Group that produces Ebb+Flow, The Mills Dance Alumni Concert. She is a student in early childhood development, led in daily discoveries by her two young children.
MPACT & SCA Associate
Deborah Karp is a choreographer, performer, educator and mom. She has been on faculty with Luna Dance Institute for 5 years, teaching in the Studio Lab, Schools & Community Alliances and MPACT (Moving Parents And Children Together) programs, designing and implementing creative and composition-based dance for children and families. Deborah is the lead on the Dance Inclusion Class Pilot Project, in which children with and without disabilities come together to dance, be creative and build empathy at Luna’s partner school Grass Valley Elementary. She presented this work at the 2017 Kennedy Center-VSA Intersections Conference and the 2018 CA Dance Educators Association conference. In 2014, she earned a NEXTGen Professional Development grant to present alongside her Luna colleagues at the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) annual conference. Previous to her work at Luna, Deborah taught with San Francisco Ballet’s Dance In Schools and Communities program and Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion®. As the artistic director of Deborah Karp Dance Projects, she has presented her choreography on both coasts of the United States, in venues that range from proscenium stages to art galleries to factory rooftops. Her work has been supported by the Clorox Company Foundation, the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Ca$h grant program and many generous individuals. She has performed the work of choreographers Megan Nicely/Dance, Leyya Tawil/DANCE ELIXIR, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Rebecca Davis, Susan Rethorst and was a 7-year member of the Nancy Meehan Dance Company. Her writing on dance education has been published in InDance and NDEO’s guest blogger series. Deborah sat on the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards Committee (Izzies) for the 2014-15 season and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Michigan. Her two young children are her greatest teachers of development, play and creativity.
Public Relations Associate
Heather Stockton is a choreographer, educator, and multi-disciplinary collaborator with a passion for collective, creative growth and systemic change. Heather is the Artistic Director and founder of the local dance collective, Wax Poet(s), where she dances between roles as director, choreographer, and performer. Heather has choreographed and produced evening length shows at CounterPulse, SF (2018), Joe Goode Annex, SF (2016), and Noh Space, SF (2014). Her choreographies have been presented nationally at On the Boards Theater (SEA), Velocity Dance Center (SEA), Littlefield Concert Hall (OAK), Temescal Arts Center (OAK), Lisser Theater (OAK), Harvard University (MA), and Landis Performing Arts Center (RIV). Her work has been supported by CA$H grant, Zellerbach Family Foundation, the Center for Contemporary Music, and the CounterPulse co-production grant. Originally from Riverside, CA, Heather had the honor of dancing in works by Amy O’Neal/Tiny Rage, Katie Faulkner, Sheldon Smith, Shinichi Iova-Koga, Merce Cunningham (staged by Holley Farmer), and Wade Madsen. Heather received her BFA Cum Laude and MFA in Choreography and Performance with an emphasis in social justice at Mills College where she was awarded the E.L. Wiengand Foundation Award for outstanding merit in performance and choreography.
Heather is energized by community practices with an intersectional lens. As a proud big bodied dancer, she works towards inclusivity for all bodies and ability in dance. As a Luna Teaching Artist, Heather is honored to witness students across Luna’s programs find freedom and joy in movement and expression.
Aiano Nakagawa, Luna Teaching Artist and Executive Assistant, was born and raised in Portland, Oregon before relocating to the Bay Area in 2013 to earn her B.A. in Dance at Mills College. She began dancing in infancy at her mother’s in-home dance school and has continued her practice throughout her life. Currently, Aiano is an M.A. candidate at the California Institute of Integral Studies where she is working towards graduate degree in Women, Gender, Spirituality, and Social Justice. She is the founder and creative director of Art for Ourselves, a community based online publication centering the voices and experiences of marginalized peoples. Aiano’s passion for education, dance, and equity intersect in her work and creative practice. She is honored to be able to be part of the Luna staff and continue acting and advocating towards a future of compassionate, creative, and critical thinkers.
Denise Oldham, President
Title IX Officer and Director
University of California
Jane Rosario, Secretary
University of California
Luna Dance Institute
Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula
East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City
Former President of Rearrangements Interior Design
Luna Dance Institute
San Anselmo, CA
Albertina Zarazua Padilla
Co-Founder and Story Curator
San Leandro, CA
Director of Product Management
San Francisco and New York
San Rafael, CA
Arts Education Consultant & Realtor
Dr. Albirda Rose
Dept. Chair (Retired)
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA
Dr. Mary-Claire Heffron
Infant Mental Health Specialist
Chief Planning Officer
Los Angeles, CA
Dr. Edward Warburton
Dance Educator & Dept. Chair
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA
San Rafael, CA
Arts Education Specialist
Domestic Violence Consultant
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Anselmo, CA
Director of Cultural Affairs
San Francisco, CA
National Dance Education Organization
Vice President Community
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Mills College Education Dept.
Arts Education Consultant