​​​​Denise Gibson/DeDa Dance Theatre: Denise Gibson was inspired to dance when she put on her first tutu at age three.   Her professional performing began at the Chicago City Ballet.  Ms. Gibson went on to perform with the Los Angeles Ballet, Santa Barbara Chamber Ballet, State Street Ballet and La Danserie.  Her academic training includes certifications in Labanotation, fashion design and a BA in dance choreography from UCSB where she was awarded the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship.  She then received a full scholarship and teaching assistantship to University of California Irvine where she received her MFA.  During her training Denise was awarded the UC Faculty Research Grant, Chancellor’s Scholarship, Dean’s Council Grant and Bronstein Outstanding Artist of the Year Award.  Ms. Gibson has been choreographing and designing her own productions for the last 15 years and is currently the artistic director/producer of her own modern dance company Deda Dance Theater as well as the artistic director for the National Champion Swing Team “The Swingheads”.  A few of Denise’s most recent Musical Theater stage credits include: “Damn Yankees”, “Pippin”, “Sweet Charity”, “Miss Saigon”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Side Show”.    Denise is currently a Performing Arts Professor at Pierce and is the director of the Pierce College Dance Company.

Djanbazian Dance Company & Academy/Rubina Vartanians: Founder, Anna Djanbazian was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She obtained her B.A. in Classical Ballet and in International Characteristic Stage Dance. After immigrating to the United States, she established the Djanbazian Dance Academy, while attending UCLA to receive her M.A degree in Modern Dance Choreography. She formed her Company in 1992 and choreographed over 150 works to critical acclaim. Anna is known for her use of abstraction combined with all the elements of dramatic dance theater. She combines the elegance, grace and suppleness of the Vaganova School with distinctive ability to express all shades of emotion with sensitivity and intuition. Prior to her passing, Ms. Djanbazian collaborated with the Board in creating a long-term plan for the Academy, now in its 75th year. She appointed Rubina Vartanians as Artistic Director of her Academy and Company to continue the Djanbazian legacy. 

Freaks With Lines/Susan Vishmid: Freaks With Lines (FWL) is the brainchild of Creative Director, Susan Vishmid. At age four, Ms. Vishmid began her early training at the Westside School of Ballet and through scholarships continued her professional training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School and The Rock School Ms. Vishmid's professional ballet career includes Pennsylvania Ballet, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, California Contemporary Ballet, City of Angels Ballet, Napoles Ballet Theatre, California Riverside Ballet, Coast City Ballet, San Gorgonio Ballet, and Ciara Dance Alliance. Additionally, Ms. Vishmid is a certified yoga and Pilates instructor running her business as Movement by Susy.  Freaks With Lines (FWL) is a Los Angeles based dance company that seeks to showcase independent works and enhance collaborations between professional dancers and other professionals in various creative disciplines. FWL seeks to generate moments of supreme beauty and intrigue by merging dance and other mediums in non-traditional spaces.  All that any dancer strives for is to create the most perfect line possible with their bodies. FWL emphasizes in its dancers and through its choreography that lines in the body do matter. It's through the use of these lines that we can create stories and moments of beauty and intrigue. Our freakishly beautiful lines along with collaborations with other creative professionals allows for the achievement of an aesthetically pleasing experience. Dancers are beautiful freaks lurking amongst the generic pedestrian population. These "pedestrians" become enthralled voyeurs to our mobile variety "Freak Show."   A Freak With Lines creates the most perfect line anytime...anywhere. photo Chris Hughes  IG: @freakswithlines  FB: facebook.com/freakswithlines

Jess Harper & Dancers/Jessica Harper:   Jess Harper is a choreographer, teacher, dancer, director, yoga instructor, filmmaker and humorist. She completed her MFA in Dance from University of California, Irvine, her Masters in Education at the University of Phoenix, her BA in Dance at Loyola Marymount University, and her yoga certification in the Vinyasa Krama Series under the direction of Srivatsa Ramaswami. She teaches vinyasa flow, modern, jazz, hip-hop, ballet, tap, and social dance. She currently teaches at Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, UC Irvine, School of Dance and Music, and the Yoga Loft. Jessi is Associate Director for MULTIPLEX under Chad Michael Hall, dances in METHOD, a contemporary company under the direction of Bradley Michaud, KAIROS Dance Company under Hazel Clarke, is cofounder of JJ Dance with Jay Bartley, and directs her company JESS HARPER & DANCERS. She danced for TONGUE under Stephanie Gilliland, MIZERANYDANCE, LEDGES AND BONES, Kristin Smiraowsky, EARTH WIND AND FIRE, and for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Originally from St. Louis, MO, she danced with Missouri State Ballet, and traveled to Russia, Australia, and New Zealand as a student ambassador. A scholarship recipient of Tsukuba Universitys Physical Education and Exercise Science Program, and of NYUs Tisch Dance Summer Festival, Jess has also received Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Company (TONGUE and METHOD) and has been nominated for Best Female Artist dancing with METHOD. She feels blessed to live life creatively, and is fully committed to teaching and giving back to the community, in a humorous and loving way.  

Kairos Dance Company/Hazel Clarke: Choreographer Hazel Clarke graduated with a BA in dance from San Jose State University in 2001. In 2006 Hazel founded Kairos Dance Company and their debut of Choices was presented at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse. Kairos has performed throughout Los Angeles, Palm Desert, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Colorado and Utah. The company was a finalist at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival in 2007 and 2009, and Artistic Director Hazel Clarke took home the award for the Rocky Mountain Choreography Festival in 2013. In 2014 Hazels second full-length work 'Am I or are the Others Crazy? was presented in Utah and California. In 2015 Kairos received the Audience Choice Award at sjDANCEco ChoreoFest. 2016-2017 performances included Women Manifest (Hollywood) Front and Main Dance Festival (Temecula), Mixmatch Dance Festival (Santa Monica), San Pedro Dance Festival, Brockus dance/Back (Canoga Park), Awakenings and Beginnings Dance Festival (Los Angeles), Front and Main Dance Festival (Temecula), Mixmatch Dance Festival (Santa Monica). Kairos September 2016 debut of Light in the Moonless Midnight, a full-length piece focusing on erasing the stigma of mental illness, was met with an emotionally stirred audience response. The company performed this work again June 2017 and was invited by Tim Robbins Actors Gang to perform Paradigm in October 2017. They will be returning to the Actors Gang to present a new full-length work on social media and its effects on young adults and society today. Kairos uses dance as a platform to bring social awareness to the community. www.kairosdancecompany.com  
photo Shana Skelton

LA FUSION Dance Theatre/Albertossy Espinoza: The mission of Fusion Dance Theater is to fuse together the rich diversity of different cultures through dance. Albertossy Espinoza founded the company in 2004 to expand the boundaries of dance performance by fusing dance, music, costumes, acting, light and set designs to create a wonderland. Through its repertoire, the company touches upon many daily and social issues as well as emotions. With trained dancers of various styles the company offers a broad range of skills both to performance and teaching. Through music and movement, Fusion Dance Theater welcomes you to a wonderland where dreams and reality come together as one. A FUSION of life!  

Albertossy Espinoza/FUSION Performing Dance Academy: The mission of Fusion Dance Theater is to fuse together the rich diversity of different cultures through dance. Albertossy Espinoza founded the company in 2004 to expand the boundaries of dance performance by fusing dance, music, costumes, acting, light and set designs to create a wonderland. Through its repertoire, the company touches upon many daily and social issues as well as emotions. With trained dancers of various styles the company offers a broad range of skills both to performance and teaching. Through music and movement, Fusion Dance Theater welcomes you to a wonderland where dreams and reality come together as one. A FUSION of life!  

Beth Megill/Megill & Company: Megill & Company founded in 2001 by sisters Heather and Beth Megill has produced four original musicals and ten evening length dance programs. MeCo is under the direction of Beth Megill, who teaches a variety of dance class and techniques including Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern as well as Improvisation and Dance Appreciation at Moorpark College. The mission of MeCo is to create dance works that are vibrant, quirky, meaningful, intellectual and entertaining. For more information visit our website www.megillandcompany.org or follow us on social media @MegillandCo. We thrive on sharing our love of dance with everybody!

Ovation09and_Artists/Katie McCulla:  Ovation09and_Artists merges technique with experimentation. We believe each artist has his or her own bold voice and vision that deserves to be exalted and heard. As artists we courageously share our deepest secrets and happiest stories so that the audience may have a transformative  experience. Our talented dancers come from versatile backgrounds. The artists feed their passion for their craft differently each day from ballet technique class to counter-technique to graham class. What really turns us on as an entity is being involved in your process of  how you are  feeding your craft in the present moment. The seeking is what feeds the work. The rep is all original work by Artistic Director Katherine McCulla and the collective. We aim to educate, exalt and inspire all artists so that they may keep creating and living a life true to their being. 

Rubans Rouges Dance/Noelle Andressen: Founded in 2009 by dancer-choreographer and Emmy nominated for various crafts, Noelle Rose Andressen has artistically guided Rubans Rouges Dance for almost 10 years. She, her husband and Executive Board have served the International Globe Artistically by giving performance opportunities via their 7 year old festival, showcases, repertoire shows, outreaches and spiritual ministries. This company has a broad range of offerings for growing and established artists internationally, historically, and educationally. Their slogan mark of multi-media dance drama "Feel the Experience" has allowed audiences to journey with the artists as they perform heart-felt stories that are based in truth and the nature of humanity. The company's trademark inclusiveness of all genders, races, cultures, religions, disabilities, ages and sizes has been a heralding hallmark of encouragement for the world. Ms. Andressen is largely responsible for the artistic vision of this company while Mr. Kale offers shrewd and keen business management directives to reach their growth goals. They are grateful to their dancers, staff, Board, choreographers, the universe and its spiritual ether for the fulfillment of their calling. Photo Lois Greenfield for the DanceWarrior® - Red Ribbons 2018 Calendar.

For further details and performance/production credits please continue reading here. 
For more information about Ms. Noelle Rose Andressen please continue reading here.

For more information about our staff and board please continue reading here.

San Pedro City Ballet/Patrick David Bradley: San Pedro City Ballet (SPCB) was established in 1994 by nationally recognized dancers and teachers, Cynthia and Patrick David Bradley, as a not-for-profit dance company serving greater Los Angeles. It is home to American Ballet Theatre superstar Misty Copeland, who was discovered by the Bradleys at age 13. The company performs The Nutcracker annually at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, as well as produces original modern works for a variety of venues throughout Southern California. In addition, San Pedro City Ballet, through its outreach programs, holds performance workshops throughout the city of Los Angeles. Thousands of residents see the company perform each year.

SUBDance/Ironstone: In 2014 Ironstone was accepted to the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City where he devoted himself to his dance training and the exploration of his art. It was at Juilliard that Ironstone discovered he believes consummately in the artist's role to become fully consumed in emotion and reflection, such that we learn more about ourselves, and the dynamics we share universally. Hungry for more knowledge, Ironstone decided to continue his education by pursuing a degree in Global Studies. He did this in order to investigate further the relationship to his body and the body's relationship to the world and what it means to be human in a changing era. Ironstone enjoys the process of invention and the craft involved in carving out clear articulations of thoughts and emotions processed through movement. His vision is to continue a legacy for young artists to bridge the gap between social and political justice through art.For example, he recently choreographed his debut dance film titled "Where Do You Stand In The Military Industrial Complex?," a nonpartisan piece examining a character associated with the 16 year and counting war in Afghanistan. After completing a study abroad trip in Guatemala and Belize studying Anthropology and Botany, Ironstone is most inspired at the moment with counter-instructions in our own centrality. Freedom without responsibility is chaos. Ironstone is excited to share his work with Awakenings and Beginnings International Dance Festival 2018. Let's dance!  

Tropicaleiza/Julie Simon:  Julie Simon, is the Director of Tropicaleiza Dance Company, Founder and Artistic Director of Muvuca Bateria, and co-owner of Infuse Dance Studio. She has been a professional dancer for 25 years performing in styles ranging from Brazilian, Caribbean and Latin Dances, to African and Afro-Contemporary Dance Styles. She was based in Northern Ca. for 7 years, Africa for 4 months, Europe for 7 years and performed internationally in 12 different countries before returning to her native Southern California. She began teaching Contemporary Brazilian Dance (Afro-Samba), Samba and Barre Blaze in 2003. In 2006 she founded Tropicaleiza Dance Company. In 2011 she was an invited speaker for a TedX event speaking on the transformative power of dance. In 2012 she partnered with Room To Dance Studio and opened World To Dance Studio, now Infuse Dance Studio featuring classes from all over the globe for adults. 2013 was the creation of Muvuca Bateria, an all female Brazilian inspired drum ensemble. 2016 was the premier of Lover|Fighter|Mother|Queen a full length dinner show, and 2017 she co-created Ignite Accelerator, a business / technique academy for Dancers, as well as Infuse Dance Collective, an on-line magazine by dancers for dancers. Currently Julie teaches three weekly classes. More information on classes/workshops/residencies can be found at www.juliesimondance.com 
photo Gabriela Garcia 

Troupe Vertigo/Aloysia Gavre: We are all asked to put our-selves into boxes of limitation either by society or ourselves, to help to define our potential.  Tableaux explores the various forms of female identity as we discover, honor and accept the complexity of everyone and embrace how are we separate and unique from one another, yet still able to fit together despite those inherent differences.   Tableaux features five women inquiring about confinement and freedom, while finding themselves constrained on an island of boxes, trapped by the constrictions of society and themselves. Faced with numerous challenges set before them the artists collectively harness their physicality to the extreme overcoming these limitations by empowering and igniting their rescourcefulness. Incorporating contortion, dance, aerial acrobatics and humor the artists work together toward freedom while the audience embarks on a poetic and visually enticing journey where expectations bend, movement twists and the body encapsulates the imagination in a mentally and physically spell-binding theatrical adventure.  Choreographed and directed by Aloysia Gavre and developed in partnership with her husband Rex Camphuis, this work is part of an ongoing commitment to create moving and intimate pieces through which audiences are both captivated by the environment and the artists skills. We may experience moments of visual shock onstage that seem to separate us as viewers from the performers, but the work is all-encompassing as it gradually envelopes us with a comforting sense of synchronicity and unity, ultimately bringing us together.  
photo Maike Schulz

Works by Dolly Sfeir/Dolly Sfeir: was born and raised in Lebanon. At 3 years of age, she started attending Studio Arabesque in her hometown to take ballet classes. She then continued on to taking jazz as well at the age of 10. Since she had turned 4, She participated in several musicals of the Rahbani Brothers such as Akher Yom (Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Debbie Allen) and Don Quixote. Through her collegitate education, she studied with prominent artists such as Lorin Johnson, Rebecca Lemme, Sophie Monat, Jose Costas, Linda Sohl Ellison, Rebecca Bryant and Laurel Jenkins. She got offered scholarships to attend the 2014 and 2015 American College Dance Association and had the opportunity to perform the piece A Will to Control (2014) choreographed by Jose Costas. Her piece Clique Drag got nominated for best choreography in 2014, for which she received two scholarships (James Nicholas Plumb Memorial and Student Dance Awards) and participated in the McAllum Theatres Choreography Festival in 2015. She has attended Parsons Dance workshop summer of 2015. She has worked with renowned choreographers such as Robert Moses (), Kate Hutter (2015) and Rebecca Lemme (2015, 2016). She received a College of the Arts Scholarship, (Martin Figoten Performing Arrts) from Long Beach State University.  

Works by Santiago Rivera/Santiago Rivera:   Santiago (Santi) Rivera was born in Los Angeles, CA where he started his dance training in eighth grade. He trained in many styles such as Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Musical Theatre etc. Throughout his training he discovered his love for choreography and teaching. He recently graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2016 with a B.A. in Drama and a minor in Education and feels blessed for what he has accomplished. He has been cast in productions in and outside of school, he has choreographed for events like Take Back the Night and Bare Bones Dance Theater's "Erased and Retraced", he has self produced two dance concerts "The Process" and "The Promise", choreographed for companies like Breed Dance Company. And most recently made his Off-Broadway debut not only as a performer but also as a choreographer through UCI's New York Satellite Program 2016. He has had the privilege to dance for companies and ensembles like; The Hubbard Collective, Jess Harper and Dancers, Interface Ensemble, Celeste Lanuza Dance Theatre and Insight Jazz Ensemble. He loves working with children, and teaching dance at an early age is something he wants to implement in the Hispanic community. Aside from teaching he aspires to be a professional dance concert choreographer. Not only does he want to share his love for dance with aspiring artists but expose concert/commercial dance to the Hispanic community as well.​

IG: santiag0g0

This page is solely dedicated to the incredible artists that are a part of this year's "Awakenings & Beginnings International Dance Festival 2018". Please show your support and read about them, visit their sites, support their work, and show them love. They have brought this festival to total over 100 companies to date that have performed in our festival that celebrates the artists and arts. Our theme this year: "TRUTH!" (All the artists had their own interpretation - "There is no wrong answer, only good art." Noelle Andressen copyright 1989-2017 excerpted "From Cancer to Dancer" book series.)

Many things have happened in our society this past year and as life reflects art and art reflects life, we have been able to incorporate a myriad of meanings of the word "Truth" for this year's festival. We have strong, all women ensembles that help celebrate the women's march downtown this year. That makes our festival a great way to continue in the celebration all day and night long. After you march, come "dance with us" as you'll surely feel like you're part of the performance in this artistic and intimate space that DIAVOLO Space is. We have daring modern dance and expressive movement pieces; percussive and passionate art-works; our men are engaging and bring messages of hope, intensity, and community; and amazing athleticism that will please. As a joint venture Djanbazian Dance Company & Rubans Rouges Dance present an honorary presentation to remember the beautiful life of Anna Djanbazian, friend, mentor, celebrated artist the was the Artistic Director for Djanbazian Dance Company (Over 75 years of tradition and artistry!). There is something special for everyone to enjoy.

"...Come see artistry birth forth..."
slogan-mark/trademark owned by the Rubans Rouges Dance Executive Board and the Andressen Estate