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HALIE DONABEDIAN

HOMETOWN:  Kingsburg, CA

BIRTHDAY: June 22nd 

SCHOOL: Loyola Marymount University class of 2019

DEGREE: Bachelors of Arts in Dance 

BESIDES DANCE, I LIKE: Reading, binge watching interesting shows and teaching dance and Pure Barre.

SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT ME: My birthday falls on the summer solstice and I technically grew up in a Swedish village.

MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION: People who have shared and taught the love of dance with me, from my early days at The Dance Company to professors from LMU, I wouldn’t be the person or dancer I am today without their guidance.

A LITLE PEEK INTO HALIE:

There is a beauty and exhaustion to being aware of myself as a dancer, mover, and person, to realize how this life is a continuous ride; I am moving through it, softly rippling, delicate and feminine. And yet, I cannot ignore this wave of empowerment, one that demands my voice and others be heard, that punctuates my life with intention. It asks me to embrace the growth that comes with moving from a small town and feeling a new awareness open up: a recognition that what’s inside of you could be in everyone else. If what’s inside your delicate form is a beastly kind of power, so be it. Let that strength be shown. I want to open myself to others, but also leave space for them, help them feel comfortable, safe; my story and theirs has not yet ended — I understand now that we aren’t all free until everyone is. So sure, we can be cute girls, but what about women? What about being strong, powerful, intelligent, caring, and unique — like the mothers, wives, professors, mentors who have shaped me and pushed me towards my passions? What kind of voice do they have, can I have, and can I give? Dance can tell this story, reveal this meaning. It helps me say: you are a light experiencing life. You are not the categories or titles that you or others have imposed on you. You are life and love, and are experiencing this life with so many others — feel the joy of this, for that is all that really matters.

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JULIA GONZALEZ

HOMETOWN: Fresno, CA

BIRTHDAY: September 9th

SCHOOL: California State University, Long Beach class of 2022

DEGREE: Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance & Bachelors of Arts in Dance Science

BESIDES DANCE, I LIKE: Either listening to books or drawing. I’ve found although these may not appear to feed into dance, they are actively fostering my movement and creativity.

SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT ME: I am under 5 feet, and don’t foresee a growth spurt coming anytime soon.

MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION: The Dance Studio of Fresno. Sue Sampson-Dalena along with every single amazing faculty member and student that have shaped me and inspired me to forever feed my passion.

A LITTLE PEEK INTO JULIA

Sometimes I remember that I am very, very small. I forget because the way I see the world usually seems so normal to me, because I make something out of my small space regardless. Maybe it’s that I don’t try to be very big but think about how I can go deeper, how I can discover more within myself. Trust intuition, initiate with intention, go beneath my fears and insecurities. There I’ll find my inner body, that inner piece looking for a way out, looking for a way to radiate the very light and energy that sustains me so that it may nourish others. There I’ll find a way to show the constellations contained within my being, find ways to give and have respect, to communicate, to show unconditional love, to come out. Or maybe I am small only because the universe is so vast, the “big picture” so immense, the pathways in our souls’ journeys so long, unknowable, unpredictable. All we can do is accept this moment as if we had chosen it. Sometimes things seem more than just mere coincidences — sometimes there is an incomprehensible, yet undeniable pull that unites collective energies, love, light, and souls. I was given this body, this soul, the energy within me. And it is just like yours, for we feel the same things: when we move, our bodies resist gravity — we become little worlds of our own, and we are awakening.

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KEILAN STAFFORD

HOMETOWN: Elk Grove, CA

BIRTHDAY: January 9th

SCHOOL: California State University, Long Beach class of 2021

DEGREE: Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance

BESIDES DANCE, I LIKE: I am a huge foodie and spend a lot of time sifting through fun recipes and cooking.

SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT ME: I’ve watched Judge Judy religiously for the last 7 years.

MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION: I draw a lot of my movement inspiration from many LA based choreographers such as Rebecca Lemme, Micaela Taylor, and Gracie Whyte. Outside of movement, I am super inspired and motivated by my parents who have ingrained in me that through hard work, I can achieve anything I set my mind to.

A LITTLE PEEK INTO KEILAN

It was something I had never seen before: live concert dance, with mature movers moving. What intrigued me was that they moved for a long time before the movement picked up — no urgency, no familiar go-go-go that I had felt in my own training. I had never seen that before: that patience. It gave me this spark, a question of whether I could trust my own process, find my own patience, like that. What does it mean for me to know now that my passion has the power to draw inspiration to without needing to search? But then again, I find myself searching for other things: opportunities to learn, enjoyment in the process, some sort of goodness in every situation. The unfamiliar is something that I know is learnable as long as I remain teachable. Yet this consciousness, willingness, openness to learning new movements and new ways of life carries a risk: I might “get it wrong.” But what is wrong with mistakes if I am comfortable making them, comfortable asking questions, comfortable sharing ideas? The feeling of failure is fleeting if you actively continue researching, learning within your own movement and body, staying open to whatever you are feeling and making decisions in the moment. I want to have those different experiences, to take the time to navigate a space, a movement, and be moved by it. I am not so much set in my mind or my movement as I am in my determination to grow. I want to experience what is outside myself and take the experiences of others in. There is always more to dive into, always more to learn, if I am patient enough to remain open.

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CATALINA EDDY

HOMETOWN: Huntington Beach, CA

BIRTHDAY: October 6th

SCHOOL: California State University, Long Beach class of 2020

DEGREE: Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance

BESIDES DANCE, I LIKE: Going to the beach, camping, painting, and bike rides.

SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT ME: The Catalina Eddy is a current that happens off the coast of SoCal. You'll see my name on the weather channel.

MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION IS: Summer Lee Rhatigan

A LITTLE PEEK INTO CATALINA

Consider for a moment just how wondrous our bodies can be. Just think that these limbs, a gesture of a hand, a tilt of the head displays all at once a connection between my mind, body, and yours; here, there is functionality, agency, and intelligence. I can communicate a heightened, even distilled, expression of my personhood to you through my body — my dancing body. I am an entire entity, and dance is the very vehicle that serves me; through it, I can share the multitudes within me: a foundation of love, cyclical realizations of the abundance and gratitude in my life, joy and ease, curiosities, and the many facets of my identity. My body knows this to be true; it knows what to do. It knows how to fold at the joint, how to place one segment in relation to another, drawing invisible lines through my core to the distal limits of each powerful limb. It knows how to fly through space, to speed along a given trajectory, to find larger ranges of motion. My body’s intelligent dance — my dance — is a guiding force that determines how I move through the world, how I see the pathway between one point and another; there are possibilities for complexity, for movement that I can work to excavate and examine in detail. Where does this movement come from? Have I seen it before? Maybe my body remembered it from elsewhere — or perhaps it has truly come from within me.

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SABRINA RINCÓN

HOMETOWN: Downey, CA

BIRTHDAY: December 7th

SCHOOL: California State University, Long Beach class of 2020

DEGREE: Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance & Bachelors of Arts in Dance Science 

BESIDES DANCE, I LIKE: Painting mediocre art, collaging, reading, yoga, karaoke-ing, cooking, & trying new plant based foods.

SOMETHING UNIQUE ABOUT ME: I know pretty much every single line in the movie ‘Grease’ because I used to watch it on repeat as a kid.

MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION: Easily all of my friends, they truly encapsulate what it means to be an ‘artist’ and inspire me as human beings & dancers!

A LITTLE PEEK INTO SABRINA

I am a human body, with a beating heart, bones, flesh. A homebody, but a musical body, and a body in motion. A body that can feel uncomfortable at times, and maybe a little fearful. I once feared what pushing past comfort would mean, how to embrace the moment without worrying about the past or the future. How can we appreciate the small things, not knowing how to step from the weird fog that hides their importance, without even knowing the fog is there? There are moments that awake us from this, that wipe the gloss from our eyes. They allow us to see and love ourselves, the experiences of others, and to be overwhelmed by the stimulus of the world around us. Embrace it. Take in this moment now. See how the passion, the music, oozes from my pores as I move — a human form ignited by an undeniable love and inspiration. I am here, I am alive. I can see you — I’m really looking at you, having a conversation with you, dancing with you. Can you feel it too? That yearning to move? It’s the need for human connection, the intertwining and knitting together of experiences — wanting to be vulnerable, honest, willing to surrender to the discomfort of growth. It’s that feeling in your muscles, your bones, the core of your passionate being that brings you to the edge of your seat, wanting to join, wanting to dive in and discover more.

Special Thank You to Sydney Owada for adapting and editing our dancer bios!