Instructors

Taryn Chavez
Executive Director

Taryn has been active in the dance industry as an instructor, professional dancer and Artistic Director for over ten years. Taryn’s vision for Avanti was to create a studio dedicated to excellence in artistry, technique and professionalism, which is evident in her own training and teaching philosophy. With a forte in Jazz, Tap and Contemporary and strong integrity for precision and style, Taryn has been a sought after guest instructor/choreographer at many dance studios and high schools throughout Orange County. Taryn’s choreography has been featured at the Student Dance Concert at UC Santa Barbara, Youth American Grand Prix Finals in New York, and has been recognized with many top placements at various regional and national competitions. In 2014, Taryn choreographed and managed the nightly Flash Mob for the Orange County Fair.

In Taryn’s earlier years, she trained at the Dance Center in Costa Mesa under owner/instructor Cindy Beckett, where she studied ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, and gymnastics for fourteen years and participated in many regional and national dance competitions. As a teen, Taryn was a founding member and lead choreographer of the ArreiS Dance Program at Newport Harbor High School. Taryn’s other performances include dancing in Debbie Allen's "Pepito's Story," at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Taryn studied with Linda Sohl-Ellison at Orange Coast College from 2004-06 where she received a Student Dance Award for her choreography and performance.

Taryn is currently in her fifth season performing as a company member with “Rhapsody in Taps” under the direction of Linda Sohl-Ellison and has also been a featured soloist at the Annual Benefit for Holocaust Survivors in Laguna Woods.

Although Taryn enjoys performing, her true happiness is found in choreographing, teaching and connecting with her students. She loves to highlight the unique skill sets of each dancer she works with, while giving them new, unfamiliar movement to push them out of their comfort zone and reach new levels. Taryn encourages her students to believe in themselves and that anything can be achieved with passion, dedication and hard work. Taryn’s students have gone on to obtain college dance scholarships and win prestigious awards such as the Music Center Spotlight Award and the Young Arts Scholarship.

Jessica Wolf
Artistic Director

As the Artistic Director for Avanti Dance Company, Jessica works closely with the training and guidance of the ADC Performance Company which participates in regional/national competitions as well as community performances/concerts. Although proficient in many styles of dance, Jessica is most known for her strength and talent in the contemporary and hip hop genres. Jessica, a skilled technician and artful story teller, has taught and choreographed for several top dance studios and high schools in the Orange County area with many of her students taking high titles at regional and national competitions, as well as the Youth American Grand Prix.

In her youth, Jessica trained with Ballet Pacifica under direction of Molly Lynch, Gillian Finley and Steven Inskeep as well as Focus Dance Center and West Coast School of the Arts where she won many top awards.

Jessica holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Chapman University. While at Chapman University, Jessica was the Vice President of “Team Shaka” an audition based hip hop team where she had the pleasure of working with Stephen "TWITCH” Boss (SYTYCD), Chuck Maa and Rob Tsai (Instant Noodles/ ABDC). Jessica performed in a competitive collegiate piece entitled P-Noki (puppet edit) which was chosen by the America College Dance Association (ACDF) to represent So Cal Universities in New York City for the Finals held at Columbia University. In 2008, Jessica spent six weeks at Duke University attending the American Dance Festival, an acclaimed modern dance technique training program, where she was able to study the works of Martha Graham and train with Laura Dean, Larry Keigwin, David Dorfman, Pilobolus and many other legends of modern dance. Another highlight from her time at Chapman was being honored to present her own choreographic work entitled, The Unbroken Spirit for the “Night of Remembrance” Holocaust Torah Dedication Ceremony, performed and dedicated to 1,500 Holocaust Survivors. Jessica also choreographed a piece entitled It Only Takes One which was selected and performed in the Spring Main Stage Concert.

In addition to her work with Avanti Dance Company, Jessica is the Director of “Project Uncut”, a professional and pre-professional dance company based in Orange County. Her goal is to help young dancers gain exposure outside the competition arena and prepare them for greater professional opportunities. As a current working dancer, Jessica has numerous performances under her belt. Jessica was an opening cast member for Disney's "Parade of Dreams" and a dancer in Disney's "A Christmas Fantasy" parade. Some of Jessica’s commercial work includes being a featured back up dancer for Beyonce in her "Who Runs the World (Girls)" Music video, for Steve Augeri (Journey) and LMFAO for the "Party Rock Crew Takeover" event, just to name a few. Jessica was a company member with "Unity Dance Ensemble" under the Direction of Tessandra Chavez. Jessica’s more recent work includes being a highlighted Orange County choreographer at "Loose Cannons" a dance revue show and performing in LA’s Carnival Showcase working with “Elm Boogie” the creator of Boogiezone.

Jessica is always striving to improve her own abilities as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and mover. She inspires her students to push themselves to realize their full potential and remind them they are capable of much more than they ever imagined all they have to do is "step over the line".

David McMahan
Ballet Technique, Pilates, Strength & Conditioning and Leaps & Turns

David, a native of Southern California, is trained in many styles of dance including ballet, jazz and contemporary. David is a graduate of the dance programs at Orange Coast College and the University of Arizona, where he studied under Linda Sohl-Ellison, Jose Costas, Amy Ernst and Douglas Nielsen. During his time in New York, David furthered his dance training where he studied at the Martha Graham School and the Merce Cunningham Studio.

David is currently working with the modern dance company, The Assembly. David has also performed with Copious Dance Theater, RAW Dance Project, Marie de la Palme's motion/TRIBE, Opera Pacific and UA Dance Ensemble, as well as in the masterworks of Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Bella Lewitzky, George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton. David has taught dance throughout Arizona and California, including California State University Long Beach, University of Arizona and been an international guest teacher in Canada, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

Through the influence of Pilates visionary, Ron Fletcher and the mentorship of Kyria Sabin, David discovered his passion for empowering people toward their movement potential. As a certified instructor, David teaches Pilates at various studios around Orange County.

David serves as Faculty and Director of Marketing for Fletcher Pilates® International and has taught educational programs in Europe and Asia. He has been featured in Pilates Style Magazine and Pilates Anytime, and has presented at industry conferences for Fletcher Pilates and the Pilates Method Alliance.

David is able to combine both his love of dance and Pilates at Avanti Dance Company by teaching various classes that focus on proper technique, body alignment, encouraging movement and flexibility which we feel dancers of all levels benefit from.

Hillary Bassoff

Hillary received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and was a performer and specialty choreographer for the UCSB Dance Company touring throughout California and Europe. While in Europe, she was selected as a guest instructor for a master dance class at an arts boarding school in Prague. As a soloist in the company, she was honored as the recipient of the prestigious Alice Condodina Performance Award and was chosen to be a guest artist for Santa Barbara Dance Theater.

While living in Santa Barbara, she discovered her love for aerial dance, performing as an aerialist and dancer in Christina McCarthy's "Repremend Bubbles" and training at the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance. She then continued her aerial training in New York City at Aerial Arts NYC and Body & Pole before moving back to Orange County to pursue her artistic career.

Starting in 2014, she performed independently for private parties and corporate events, and was invited to be a member of Ruby Karen's Circo Etereo Professional Company specializing in aerial arts, circus acts, and dance choreography. She was involved in choreographing and performing aerial silks, acrobatic, and ground routines for various special events, weddings, birthday parties, and festivals in the Orange County and Los Angeles area. Soon thereafter, she created her own aerial dance company, On Edge Aerial Entertainment, with Laura Olivas, hoping to bring their ideas of molding dance with aerial work to life with innovative concepts that will touch audiences alike. Hillary is beyond excited to be working with Avanti Dance Company to share her passion for aerial dance and hopes her choreography of combining contemporary dance with aerial artistry inspires both dancers and non-dancers alike.

Jordan Barker
Fairytale Ballet and Ballet/Jazz Combo

Jordan, an Orange County native, began dancing at the age of three. She has trained in all styles of dance with an emphasis on commercial dance. Jordan began competing in dance at the age of five and continues to compete as an Avanti Senior Performance Company member.

Jordan has earned many top awards at various regional and national dance competitions in Southern California and Nevada. She was a finalist at the 2015 KAR Nationals earning two top overall placements in the lyrical solo and contemporary duet categories.

Jordan is currently working on furthering her dance education, but her future goals also include pursing a degree in Kinesiology and dancing in a professional contemporary company.

Having both a love for children and dance, Jordan is very excited to be a part of the Avanti faculty where she can inspire and encourage young dancers to reach their goals.

Kaitlin Regan
Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Contemporary and Performance Company

Kaitlin discovered her love of dance at the age of three while taking a combo class at Betty Johnson’s School of Dance (now Bender Performing Arts) in Phoenix, AZ. She continued her dance training there, studying ballet with Nancy Schade, jazz and lyrical with Kevin Bender, Meri Bender, Tina Caspary, and Todd Bailey, tap with Suzy Guarino, and hip hop with Ryan Cyphert and Ryan Ingram. She was a member of Dance Motion, her studio’s performance company for 10 years. With the company she had many performance opportunities including an annual ballet production. She performed the featured role of Clara in The Nutcracker and the lead role in an original ballet. During her senior year she was a member of Dance Motion’s Elite competition team for its inaugural season and received awards and recognition at various competitions and conventions. Kaitlin was also a member of the competition cheer team and spiritline at Horizon High School.

Kaitlin moved to Orange, CA to attend Chapman University in 2004. There she studied modern with Jennifer Backhaus, Cyrus Parker-Jeannette and Sean Greene; ballet with Larry Rosenberg, Dale Merrill, and Molly Lynch; and contemporary jazz with Leanne Alduenda and Mike Esperanza. She was honored to perform the lead role in a contemporary ballet piece choreographed by Dale Merrill during her senior year in 2007. She also had the opportunity to perform works by Amy Nakamura, Mike Esperanza, Sean Greene, and Nancy Dickson-Lewis.

Kaitlin began dancing with Backhausdance, a professional contemporary modern company based in Orange County, in 2010 where she is currently in her 6th season with the company. She has had the opportunity to perform with Backhausdance in New York, British Columbia, Seattle and Wyoming, as well in southern California. Kaitlin also is also a member of Jagged, a contemporary pole dance company, since 2010. Jagged appeared on season 6 of America’s Best Dance Crew, and was featured in the documentary “Off The Floor” presented at the Butler Arts Feast in Indiana in 2015.

Kaitlin has been teaching dance in southern California since 2006. She helped develop a dance program for students with special needs that she has taught since June 2010. She is currently a dance teaching artist for the ESCAPE research grant for Segerstrom Center for the Arts; helping English language learners understand science concepts through dance.

Kaitlin is the epitome of a beautiful artist and proficient technician. She adheres to the discipline of teaching excellent form, having a solid foundation but also quality of movement.

Kia Sisowath
Jazz, Musical Theater (Glee Club) and Adult Heels

Kia began his dancing at age 10 in New York at Broadway Dance Center. With Broadway Dance Center, Kia trained exclusively in Ballet for five years and performed in the productions of Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker Suite.

At the age of 15, Kia moved to California where he continued his dance education at Defore Dance Center in Costa Mesa and The Edge in Hollywood and expanded his dance repertoire to include the styles of Jazz, Musical Theater, Hip Hop and Contemporary. Kia has worked for Disney, Pasadena Civic Ballet Company, Clear Channel and countless similar performance based industries in Southern California and Las Vegas. From 2001 to 2011, Kia taught Jazz, Hip Hop and Contemporary at The Colony Of Performing Arts.

In 2007, he and his best friend, Aimee Weeks, founded their own female cabaret troupe, The Vixen Show. Most recently, Kia began an all male cabaret troupe, The Foxes Show. Kia is thrilled to begin a new chapter with AVANTI Dance Company. We are so happy to have Kia as part of our dance faculty. Kia is an enthusiastic and inspiring instructor, always encouraging both proper technique and having fun.

Lauren Denney
Ballet, Pointe and Performance Company

Lauren, born and raised in Southern California, began dancing at the age of seven at Pacific Coast Academy of Dance under the instruction of Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky. At the age of ten, Lauren moved her training to Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy in Laguna Hills, California under the instruction of Dmitri and Jennifer Kulev. Lauren’s primary focus was in Russian ballet, but she is also accomplished in Bournonville, Cecchetti, and Balanchine styles. Some of Lauren’s achievements at a very young age include winning at the Youth America Grand Prix Regional’s and qualifying six years in a row for the YAGP Finals in New York City.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, Lauren qualified as a semi finalist in the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards. Lauren was invited to perform with the Miami International Ballet Festival, Anaheim International Dance Festival “Stars of Tomorrow” and The Grand Prix tour with YAGP, where she toured and performed in Tennessee, South Carolina and Miami. Lauren was also invited to dance with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Youth Symphony Orchestra where she performed pieces from The Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird. Lauren's repertoire includes performing The Nutcracker, Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Midsummer’s Night Dream and Coppélia. In 2011, Lauren performed George Balanchine’s Serenade, with Orange County Ballet Theatre where she was in the pre-professional company. In 2012, Lauren received the Grand Prix Award in Seattle, Washington.

At the age of 16, Lauren moved to Salt Lake City after receiving a full scholarship to Ballet West's Trainee Program. She danced as a trainee for one year, before she was promoted to Ballet West II. Throughout the performance seasons between 2013-2015 at Ballet West, she performed many roles from “Giselle”, William Christiansen’s The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Fredrick Ashton’s Cinderella, to name a few. Lauren has toured with Ballet West to Chicago, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Washington D.C. and Southern Utah to perform.

Now back in Orange County, Lauren is excited to be teaching at Avanti Dance Company and sharing her love and dedication for ballet with her students. Lauren is an encouraging teacher as well as a strict technician, bringing a high caliber of ballet training to Avanti. Lauren teaches ballet to beginning through advanced dancers of all ages. “The part I love the most about teaching, is the rewarding feeling of watching my students excel and succeed. Nothing makes me happier than watching their hard work pay off”. Lauren embodies her favorite saying "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the Stars"-Norman Vincent Peale

Nikki Charest
Technique & Turns, Lyrical

Nikki started dancing at the age of nine. She has trained in all styles of dance, with a concentration in commercial jazz, contemporary, ballet, and hip-hop. Nikki was a member of the Dance Dynamics Competition Team for eight years where she earned many top regional and national placements and overall awards. Nikki was also a member of the El Toro High School Varsity Dance Team for three years.

Nikki currently attends Chapman University where she is working on her bachelor’s degree in both Dance and Business. Nikki’s own choreographic work was featured most recently at the annual Chapman Dance Alliance show in October.

Nikki loves performing and being able to share her creativity and passion for dance through teaching. She hopes to use her education in both Dance and Business to open a studio of her own some day that will inspire the future generation of dancers. As gifted young performer and strong technical dancer we feel Nikki is a real asset to the Avanti Dance Company family. Having been in her students’ shoes only a couple years ago, Nikki is able to really connect with her students, motivating them to aspire to new levels in their training.

Chadd Moreau
Hip-Hop (Youth and Adult)

Avanti Dance Company welcomes the brilliant and smooth Chadd Moreau to our list of talented faculty! Like most dancers, Chadd started his love for dance at an early age watching Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker”. During junior high Chadd discovered his love for hip hop through breaking and popping. In high school he committed four years to the dance program understanding choreography and learning how to perform. Through those four years he decided that this was his passion and he never looked back. Chadd entered the community in 2005 becoming a member of Team Millenia, a hip hop dance organization founded in 1998. Chadd had the honor of working with such choreographers as Courtney Miller Jr., Super Dave, Fatima and Debbie Allen. Some of Chadd’s professional accolades include dancing for both Raven Symone and Jessica Simpson. In 2007 he left the audition scene to focus on his other loves, playing music and teaching dance.

As dance instructor Chadd has taught at several southern California studios and is currently on faculty at Orange County School of the ARTS (OCSA) in the Commercial Dance Department. Along with forming the group “Nobility Mob”, an all male performing group, Chadd is also part of the BoogieZone family as an official member of Breed, a professional exhibition dance company and an instructor at BoogieZone Utopia.

Avanti Dance Company welcomes the brilliant and smooth Chadd Moreau to our list of talented faculty! Like most dancers, Chadd started his love for dance at an early age watching Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker”. During junior high Chadd discovered his love for hip hop through breaking and popping. In high school he committed four years to the dance program understanding choreography and learning how to perform. Through those four years he decided that this was his passion and he never looked back. Chadd entered the community in 2005 becoming a member of Team Millenia, a hip hop dance organization founded in 1998. Chadd had the honor of working with such choreographers as Courtney Miller Jr., Super Dave, Fatima and Debbie Allen. Some of Chadd’s professional accolades include dancing for both Raven Symone and Jessica Simpson. In 2007 he left the audition scene to focus on his other loves, playing music and teaching dance.

When he is not teaching or dancing himself, Chadd is very involved in the music community. Chadd formed his own cover band in addition he is an active DJ something which spun off from his love of the hip hop culture. With the help of his business partner, he started a mobile DJ business called Live 2 DJ. He also produces custom music and mixes for dancers, professional choreographers, and fitness instructors. Chadd prides himself on being a universal DJ, playing anything from top 40s, old school hip hop, funk, disco, and EDM. He utilizes his turntables whenever possible by scratching and making mixing exciting. His influences are DJ Jazzy Jeff, Grand Master Flash, DJ Scratch, Mix Master Mike, and Jam Master Jay. One thing that continues to draw Chadd to DJing is the performance aspect of rocking a party and getting people dancing and enjoying the music.

Shawn Vitale
Adult Hip-Hop

Shawn may have started dancing later than most professionals, but that hasn’t stopped her yet. She credits Jimmie DeFore Dance Center for her divine training and diversity.

Shawn teaches at multiple dance studios in South Orange County and was previously on faculty at Jimmie DeFore Dance Center. Shawn has had the privilege of working with several high schools in the area including Edison, Corona Del Mar and Polytechnic in Long Beach. Shawn choreographed a live performance for pop artist Viennie V as well as a music video for Brazilian pop sensation, Liz D. Shawn has also created Flash Mobs for private parties and VANS.

Not only a brilliant choreographer, Shawn has lit up the stage with artists such as Deborah Cox, Apoetnomadali and MO’AT, just to name a few. Shawn appeared in the third installment of the Harold and Kumar movies.

Shawn is thankful to be able to make a living doing the one thing she loves the most.

Shawn brings such great energy and charisma; we are thrilled to have her as an instructor at Avanti!