Gia Calhoun trained with Roberto Almaguer and Julia Ortega and also at California Dance Theatre under the direction of Kim Maselli, Stanley Holden, and Charles Maple. She attended summer programs at the Joffrey Ballet School, on scholarship, North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Ostrava Workshop in the Czech Republic. Gia attended UC Irvine where she earned a B.A. in dance, and she completed a Pilates teacher training program with Diane Diefenderfer at Studio du Corps in Costa Mesa. She danced with Columbia City Ballet, in the corps de ballet and as a trainee with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre where she was also on faculty as a Pilates instructor for the school. Since returning to California, Gia became a PMA Certified Pilates teacher, and she has been a guest artist with many companies including State Street Ballet, Media City Ballet, and Anaheim Ballet. This is her seventh season with KWDP
Catch the dancer spotlight film of Gia on YouTube.
Morgan Davison started her dance training at Riverside Ballet Arts under the direction of Glenda Carhart and then furthered her studies at Ballet Pacifica. Morgan began her professional career at 17 years old with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet. She continued her education on scholarship at the University of Utah, dancing with the Department of Ballet’s resident student company, Utah Ballet. She was then invited to join Nashville Ballet’s second company. During her time in Nashville, she grew more interested in exploring modern and contemporary dance through working with Banning Bouldin and Gina Patterson. She decided to explore further, moving to Chicago to train at the Lou Conte Dance Studio under the direction of Claire Bataille. After a year in Chicago, she danced with the Madison Ballet in Wisconsin for a year. Since returning to Southern California, Morgan has danced with Kenneth Walker Dance Project and Intersect Dance Theatre as well as teaching Riverside Community College and a number of studios in the area.
Catch the Dancer Spotlight film of Morgan on YouTube.
Olivia Hamilton originally from east Tennessee, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, MS (Cum Laude)and currently dances with professional contemporary company FUSE Modern Dance of Orange County. Olivia was a part of the Steps of Faith Dance Company in Cartersville, Georgia from 2008-2010 . Olivia has trained extensively in classical Vaganova ballet and Graham modern as well as tap, improvisation, aerial, and contemporary. She has trained under Leann Alduenda and , Oliver Steele of SteeleDance in NYC, Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, Randall Flinn and Steve Rooks of Ad Deum in Houston. She has trained at Jimmie Defore and EDGEPAC of Southern California; DNA, Steps, and Broadway Dance Center of NYC; GottaDance and Dance101 of Atlanta; and attended American College Dance Festival (ACDF) at FSU in 2011 and Belhaven in 2013. She also has attended summer intensives at Atlanta Ballet, Steps of Faith, Georgia Ballet, Ad Deum, Ballet Magnificat! intensives and teacher’s workshop, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Her love for dance and missions has also lead her across the world, performing and working overseas in Trinidad and across Europe ministering through dance. While at Belhaven University Olivia enjoyed honing her technique as well as skills in dance related areas such as production and management, teaching, choreography, music composition, costume construction, and dance for camera and photography. She currently runs her own dance photography business, taking photos for dance conferences like ACDFA and made the posters for Belhaven University formal concerts. She also performed in faculty and student performances at school in addition to live improvisation events with local musicians of Jackson, MS and performing with the Belhaven Dance Ministry Ensemble for the 2012-2013 season. This is her fourth season with Kenneth Walker Dance Project.
Allison (Allie) Truax –Jackson is a native Houstonian and received her training from Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, Ballet Austin and the Houston Metropolitan Dance Centre. She attended the University of Oklahoma on scholarship and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Pedagogy. While attending the University of Oklahoma, Allie performed a wide range of repertoire with Oklahoma Festival Ballet and was a choreographer for Oklahoma’s Young Choreographers’ Showcase. In fall of her senior year, Allie was accepted as an exchange student at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England. After graduation, she taught for many dance studios in Houston and danced professionally for Sandra Organ Dance Company, Dancepatheater, Dance Houston and Red Door Productions. Allie moved to Los Angeles to further her dance career and expand her vision in LA’s vibrant dance community. Since arriving in LA, she has choreographed numerous music videos, performed professionally and is currently the Studio Director and ballet instructor at Arise Performing Arts Center. This is her sixth season with KWDP.
Ashley Jones’ primary training was under the tutelage of Anthony & Terri Sellars at Orange County Dance Center. Here she rose to principal ballerina with Ballet Repertory Theatre transitioning in a full time instructor and choreographer. Ashley’s summers were spent at Dance Masters of America, LA Dance Force, and training with Master instructors such as Chebar Williams, Keith Clifton, and Charles Maple. Ashley received her Bachelor’s degree from the prestigious University of Southern California in Business and Political Science. After 6 years in the aerospace industry, all the while still training, Ashley left and opted to pursue dance as a career. Since this departure, Ashley has both performed and choreographed for Good Day LA, Marriott, Robbins Brothers, and numerous other corporate clients as well as being named one of Long Beach’s 30 under 30 performing artists. Ashley is a current CSULB graduate student studying dance education with the goal of becoming a professor. She is the founding instructor of Segerstrom Center for the Arts Dance for Disabilities School and recently became adaptive dance certified through Boston Ballet. In addition, Ashley serves as the jazz company director for the School of Dance and Music, a judge for Move National Dance Competition, and a resident choreographer for LA Unbound. It is Ashley’s second season with Kenneth Walker Dance Project.
Tracy Jones trained under Colleen O’ Callahan, Alicia Head, and Diane Lauridsen at Lauridsen Ballet Centre. She has worked with such choreographers as Ron Cunningham, Robert Kelly, Daniel Baudendistel, Julie Shulman, Gina Patterson, and Stephen Mills. She has danced for South Bay Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and in the trainee program of Ballet Austin. Tracy has worked as a guest artist for Riverside Ballet, San Pedro Ballet, and many others. She has been in numerous premieres for KWDP and continues to be thrilled working with the company.
Catch the Dancer Spotlight film of Tracy on YouTube.
Sara Killion grew up in Arvada, CO. She trained at Arvada Center in Arvada and locally at Peninsula School of Performing Arts under Patricia Stander. Sara is joining KWDP for her fourth season.
Laura Smith Mauldin, born and raised in Thousand Oaks, California began figure skating at the age of four and dancing ballet at the age of six. During a thirteen-year competitive skating career which took Laura and her brother/partner all over the U.S. and to Europe for competitions, ballet became merely a side line for cross training and was eventually abandoned. But Laura returned to ballet at age eighteen, after retiring from her ice skating career, when she began attending Moorpark College, where her love of dance was reborn. She little imagined as she began the struggle to regain her ballet strengths that six years time would see her as a graduate of UCI with her Bachelors in Dance and with an opportunity to begin a professional career. While studying in school, Laura added the genres of Modern, Classical Jazz, Tap, and Ballroom to her repertoire, and even had the opportunity to dabble in Spanish dance and Indian dance. UCI afforded her the opportunity to be taught by such names as Donald McKayle, Jodie Gates, Molly Lynch, “El” Gabriel, and Loretta Livingston. Since graduating Laura has since been a company member with California Contemporary Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, and a guest artist for Ballet Etudes of Huntington Beach and Coast City Ballet. She joined KWDP in 2012.
Mayra Pedraza, born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, where she started studying music and classical ballet at the age of three. She continued studying ballet taking the vocational graded exams for the Royal Academy of Dance of London reaching the Advanced 2 level while studying other styles like jazz, modern, and hip hop. During high school she was part of the Prepa Tec Dance Team, traveling to international dance competitions and was part of music and dance productions like Jam 6 Beatles and Voces de Broadway. She recently graduated from Golden West College with an A.A. degree in Dance, and is currently studying a B.A. in Theater Arts in Dance at CSU Dominguez Hills. She has danced with LA Unbound and also works as a stage manager for dance productions in LA as well as the SoCal Dance Invitationals.
Elijah S. Pressman trained at Lauridsen Ballet Centre in Torrance. California. Elijah’s repertoire includes ballets by Robert Kelley, Laurence Blake, Jon Cristofori, Kenneth Walker, William Whitener, and Daniel Baudendistal. He has attended the summer intensives of Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, Utah Regional Ballet, is a two-time full scholarship recipient to the Craft of Choreography Conference run by Regional Dance America and was selected to dance at the International Ballet Conference in Jackson, Mississippi. Elijah is a founding member of KWDP.
Emma Silagy began her dance career at two and a half years of age, having accumulated more than nineteen years of classical ballet training and nine years of modern/contemporary experience. Recently completing her education at California State University, Long Beach, Emma earned her Bachelor’s degree in Dance with a minor in Event Planning Management. While training at CSU Long Beach, Emma was afforded the privilege to work under many distinguished choreographers such as Lorin Johnson, Andrew Vaca, Rebecca Bryant, and Rebecca Lemme. In addition to her choreographic opportunities with CSU Long Beach, Emma trained under renowned artistic directors while performing with South Bay Ballet from 2008 to 2015, including performance opportunities at the annual Regional Dance America/Pacific conferences from 2011 to 2015, as well as summer intensive training with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and The Washington Ballet. Her work with the company included The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Peter Pan, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tunisian Fantasie, Revolution, and Stick Figures, among many other original contemporary pieces. This is Emma’s first season with KWDP.
Xochitl Velazquez began dancing at the age of 6, attending tap and jazz classes three times a week. At age 9, she began her ballet training at San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. She later went on to train in Tampa, Florida at what is (now??!was?) formerly known as the Orlando Ballet School. In 2012, she received a scholarship to dance at Walnut Hill School for the Arts’ summer dance program. In the same year, Xochitl completed American Ballet Theater’s National Training Curriculum in New York with one of the highest scores in her class. Xochitl began volunteering as a teacher’s assistant at the age of 14 with the Tampa Metropolitan YMCA. She moved to California in 2014 and trained at Los Angeles Ballet Academy. She went on to become a volunteer teacher in Mexico at Casa Mama Anna, Home for Youth with Behavioral Issues in 2016. Xochitl currently teaches ballet classes at the San Pedro City Ballet School. This is Xochitl’s second season with the Kenneth Walker Dance Project.
Skylar Burson is originally from Long Beach, CA. He began his formal ballet training at the Lauridsen Ballet Centre in Torrance, CA.
Throughout his training, Skylar has participated in many summer dance programs across the country; most recently with River North Dance Chicago. He was also selected as a performer at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS.
Skylar has set original works on South Bay Ballet and Utah Regional Ballet II that were selected to perform at RDA/P annual festivals. Over the years, Skylar has worked with renowned choreographers such as Jacqueline Colledge, Heather Gray, Alan Hineline, Robert Kelley, Vicky Lambert, Julie Shulman and Eva Stone. He has also had the opportunity to work with Repetiteurs of the George Balanchine Trust.
Skylar graduated in 2012 from Long Beach City College under the mentorship of Professor Stephanie Powell. Skylar’s aspirations of dancing with a professional ballet company came true in 2012 when he joined Utah Metropolitan Ballet, formerly known as Utah Regional Ballet.
He currently holds a Ballet Master’s position with South Bay Ballet and can be seen dancing in South Bay Ballet’s upcoming productions, as well. This is Skylar’s third season guesting with KWDP.
Marco Carreon, adjunct dance faculty at California State University Dominguez Hills, has choreographed for the faculty/guest artist dance concerts since 2011. In 2009, he directed and produced a site-specific dance concert, Campus Dances, utilizing outdoor areas on the University Campus. In Spring 2014 he was the artistic director of the student dance concert, Evolutions. He choreographed for the adjudication concert at the 2015 American College Dance Association Conference at CSU Long Beach. He has performed with Jose Costas Dance Company, Louise Reichlin and Dancers, Michelle Funderburk Dancers and Artists Dance Company, and Ressl Dance!. In addition, Marco has a BA in Dance and a Special Education Moderate and Severe Credential, and his Masters of Special Education.
Ka Laam Chan
Delaney Zieg, originally from Long Beach California, Delaney trained under Diane Lauridsen in Torrance, California and was a member of South Bay Ballet, where she danced principal roles in “Coppelia,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Cinderella,” “Graduation Ball,” and solo and pas de deux roles in “The Nutcracker.” While training under Lauridsen, Delaney attended summer intensives on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre New York, Orlando Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. In 2013, Delaney became a trainee on scholarship for three years at The Washington Ballet under Septime Webre, where she performed lead and principal roles in “Fluctuating Hemlines,” “Carmen” and “Carmen in Havana,” along with character and corps roles in “Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and Balanchine’s “Serenade.” Delaney is a certified free diver and enjoys surfing and stand up paddling when she is in her hometown.
Check out Delaney’s spotlight film here on YouTube.