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 teaching artists, leads collaborative inquiry, and provides consultation and leadership support to community clients. Reedy has been a dancer, choreographer, educator and performer throughout her life. She was on the dance faculty at UC Berkeley for five years before joining the dance department at Mills College as an adjunct professor for seven years.
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. The Red Oak Opportunity Fund granted Reedy a Community Excellence Award in 2017 and with colleagues at Luna she was awarded an Isadora Duncan (Izzy) in 2007. Reedy writes regularly, publishing articles in InDance and Dance Education in Practice, where she also serves on the editorial board. She published Body, Mind & Spirit IN ACTION: a teacher’s guide to creative dance©2003, 2nd edition 2015. With Ng and Ted Warburton, she co-authored research on parent engagement. Reedy holds a Doctorate in Education (Learning and Instruction) from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Education & Creativity from Mills College. Perception of creativity was the topic of her dissertation research. Reedy’s MA graduate studies included participating in a 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. She studied Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban Movement Analysis extensively with Peggy Hackney and Developmental Movement with Bonnie Bainbridge-Cohen.
A lifelong learner and appreciator of beauty, Reedy continues to explore what is possible through dance-making, gardening, and social justice activism.
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, committee member on the National Dance Education Organization’s (NDEO) Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative, and current board of trustee for the National Guild for Community Arts Education where she serves on the Racial Equity committee. She received a 2016 Milestone service award from National Guild of Community Arts Education, and is on the editorial review board member for NDEO’s journal, Dance Education in Practice. She recently served on the state department of education’s Visual and Performing Arts Standards and Framework Advisory Committees, to revise the pre-K through 12th guidelines 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.
John-Mario Arcilla Sevilla
Director at Large
John-Mario Sevilla directed performance and professional development at the historic 92Y Harkness Dance Center, a home of American Modern Dance. He directed the School of Dance, which teaches movement to all ages and levels; produced several dance concert series (Harkness Dance Festival and Dig Dance); and administered professional learning/development programs (Dance Education Laboratory, Dance Therapy Program and Harkness artists residencies). As the director of 92Y Dance Education Laboratory, he conducted research in formative assessment (“Arts Achieve” funded by the US Department of Education Investment in Innovation “i3” grant); initiated Universal Pre-K early childhood arts curricula (“Pre-K for All – Create”) with the New York City Department of Education; and sustained viable partnerships with State University of New York Empire State College and City University of New York Hunter College to offer alternative dance education licensure and continuing education credits. He collaborated with 92Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts for its production of “The Art of the Fugue” with the Brentano String Quartet and Gabriel Calatrava; Gilda and Henry Block School of the Arts activations with Shantell Martin and Natsuko Hattori; and Education and Outreach elementary arts curricula. Before 92Y, he was New York City Ballet’s Director of Education and Manager of School Programs, responsible for residencies in more than 300 public schools and dozens of public programs, including several collaborations with educators from other cultural arts organizations, such as Lincoln Center Institute, The Metropolitan Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. He has been a panelist for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts – Dance review committees. He was a 2014 Martha Hill Mid-Career Award recipient and the 2021-22 Visiting Scholar at the Asia | Pacific | American Institute at NYU. His choreography has appeared at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, LaMaMa, NYU Steinhardt, Movement Research at Judson Church, 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Dance Theatre Workshop, Columbia University, ABC No Rio, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, The Asia Society and Bronx Academy of Art and Dance. He has danced in the companies of Pilobolus, Alison Chase, Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais, Anna Sokolow, Rebecca Stenn, Lisa Giobbi, Janis Brenner, Erin Dudley, Bill Cratty, Pamana, among others, as well as with juggler Michael Moschen, drag artist Sherry Vine, poet John Unterecker and Navajo sand painter/healer Walking Thunder. He studied Philippine folk dance with Agrifina Cabebe, H. Wayne Mendoza and Hana Gomez Trinidad. From Maui, he is a hula student of Kumu Hula Hōkūlani Holt (Pāʻū O Hiʻiaka) and Kumu Hula June Ka‘ililani Tanoue (Hālau I Ka Pono).
Director of Programs
Jochelle Pereña (she/her) 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 Trinity 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, improviser 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, Trinity 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. Her published research and articles, and conference presentations address some of her passions: teaching dance to young children, professional learning, creative freedom, the liminal state of butoh, improvisation’s power to connect, and choreography. She co-directs the dance theatre collective, The Thick Rich Ones and is a student in early childhood development and play, led in daily discoveries by her two young children.
Public Relations Coordinator
Heather Stockton is a choreographer, educator, and multi-disciplinary collaborator with a passion for collective, creative growth and systemic change. Heather is the Co-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 ODC Theater, SF (2019), 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.
Genoa Sperske is a Bay Area native with a love of movement and a passion for sharing creative experiences with others, especially kids. Genoa received degrees in Dance and Drama from UC Irvine, where she participated in the ArtsBridge scholarship program where she first began teaching dance and drama in public school classrooms. She performed as a dancer but always found incredible joy in teaching and choreographing. Genoa is a resident choreographer at Valley Dance Theatre in Livermore and teaches ballet and modern dance for The School of the Valley Dance Theatre. She has been a dance teaching artist with San Francisco Ballet’s Dance In School and Communities Program, teaching creative dance, ballet, modern and world dances in San Francisco public schools. She is also a Pilates instructor. Genoa finds joy and fulfillment in seeing others experience the joy of dance and nurturing the creative artists within each of us. She truly believes that dance is for absolutely everybody! When Genoa isn’t spinning, leaping, and wiggling it out in a class, she enjoys spending time with her family that includes her fabulous husband, 3 kids, 2 cats, and a dog.
Development and Public Relations Assistant
Saharla Vetsch (she/her) is a Somali American independent dance/drag artist born and raised in Minnesota. Now residing in the Bay Area, Saharla has earned a degree in Performing Arts and Social Justice with a concentration in dance from the University of San Francisco. Her work centers around questions and curiosities about individuals’ intersecting identities and how they relate to one another. She has a passion for teaching that not only trains new skills but fosters individuals creativity and encourages using the inherent tools and abilities people have. Saharla has been a performing artist with Zaccho Dance Theatre, Joe Goode Performance Group, Detour Dance, and Flyaway Productions.
Denise Oldham, President
Civil Rights Consultant
University of California
Program Officer, Education
Los Altos, CA
Director of Communications & Marketing
CA Teacher Development Collaborative
San Francisco, CA
Performing Arts Teacher
Ascend Elementary School
Founder & Illustrator
London & Stout
Santa Barbara Dance Institute
Santa Barbara, CA
Luna Dance Institute
San Anselmo, CA
Dr. Patricia Reedy
Luna Dance Institute
Albertina Zarazúa Padilla
Co-Founder & Story Curator
Dr. Lyda Beardsley
San Rafael, CA
Arts Education Consultant & Realtor
Dr. Loren Bucek
Reverend Dr. Albirda Rose
Dance Dept. Chair (Retired)
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA
Dr. Mary-Claire Heffron
Clinical Director, Infant Mental Health (Retired)
information coming soon
Bay Area MTC , CA
Dr. Edward Warburton
Theater Arts Dept. Chair
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA
Artistic Director (Retired)
June Watanabe and Co.
San Rafael, CA
Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
San Francisco, CA
Founder & Artistic Director
Margaret Jenkins Dance Company
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Anselmo, CA
California Alliance for Arts Education
San Francisco, CA
National Dance Education Organization
Vice President of Community
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Arts Education Consultant
Alameda County Arts Commission