Jennifer Forcucci Marzluf
Director, Classical Ballet Program and Fullerton Youth Ballet
Jennifer Forcucci-Marzluf has been teaching dance for over 26 years, holds her Licentiate Teachers Certification with Cecchetti USA (CUSA) and has completed her Grade 10 (Advanced 2) CUSA Examination. Jennifer has grown up learning the Cecchetti work since the age of 8 and has trained with Cecchetti USA's former Executive Director and Examiner, Marnell Himes-Ushijima, FCUSA & Final Diploma, Judith Hawkesworth, FCUSA and with her mother, Cathleen Forcucci-Heideman, LCCA.
Jennifer attended the Orange County High School of Performing Arts, where she studied commercial arts and classical ballet. At the age of seventeen, she became a certified ballroom dance instructor for the Imperial Ballroom, and went on to dance and compete in both pro-am and professional categories.
Currently, Jennifer is the Co-Owner and Co-Director of CF Dance Academy in Fullerton, CA. Her school averages 500-600 students annually and is one of the largest in Orange County, CA. Jennifer enjoys Directing CF Dance Academy's Ballet Intensive Program, preparing and submitting candidates for yearly ballet examinations, sharing her love of the Cecchetti work, training teachers in the Cecchetti method and hiring guest teachers for Master Classes. Jennifer along with her CUSA trained faculty submits 90-100 exam candidates annually for CUSA examinations. Jennifer is proud to have had two of her students represent Team CUSA at the 2017 Cecchetti International Ballet Competition in Florence, Italy. One of those students was honored as a Finalist. Jennifer is also the Director of CF Dance Academy's award winning Fullerton Youth Ballet. This youth ballet company performs and competes annually. Fullerton Youth Ballet senior company members qualified and competed in YAGP Finals in New York City in 2017 and 2018. Jennifer also enjoys directing CF Dance Academy's annual Nutcracker Ballet. She has also directed Fullerton Youth Ballet’s Spring concerts with classical ballets including; Coppélia, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Paquita. She has enjoyed her being the Creative Director for original works including The Little Mermaid and Jungle Book.
Jennifer currently serves on Cecchetti USA's Board of Directors as Secretary. Previously, she served on the Cecchetti USA West Coast Committee for 6 years. She volunteers her time with numerous marketing, social media and forward thinking ideas for the organization. Jennifer is proud to have contributed to the creation of the CUSA Primary-Grade 3 DVDs, creation of the CUSA Theory Book/Study Guide, served as the CUSA Summer Intensive Registrar for 6 years, served as registrar and various positions for the 2014 CICB Competition in Richmond, VA and directed the CUSA 2019 Summer Intensive final demonstration.
Director, Hip Hop Program and Elite Crews
Leanna Forcucci has been teaching dance for over 30 years. She has taught for several dance studios in Orange County and even worked as the lead ballet teacher for a competing dance troupe in Austin, TX, where she also worked as a professional hip-hop dancer. Miss Leanna has taught many different dance and movement forms including ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and tumbling. Her specializations are in hip-hop dance and teaching advanced hip-hop technique to young children. She currently trains with industry recognized hip-hop choreographers in Los Angeles and tours her CF Dance Academy Hip-Hop Crews, Bring the Noise, Pandemonium, Sound Off and Fortissimo throughout Orange, Riverside & LA Counties. These crews that she directs are award winning, have gained professional recognition and have received numerous awards for their crowd pleasing productions. Currently she is director of the largest Hip Hop program in Central and North Orange County and has put CF Dance on the map for hosting professional hip-hop choreographers in master class workshops and weekly classes at the academy. She has her B.A. in Child Development and Family Studies from Cal State Long Beach, where she also attended graduate school to work on her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. During the past ten years, Leanna has also directed and taught CF Dance Academy dance programs at preschool and after school programs in cities throughout Orange, Riverside & LA Counties.
Certified Cecchetti Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop
Jessica began her training as a young girl and has studied seriously at CF Dance Academy since 2004. She has had the privilege of studying Hip Hop in L.A. with professional choreographers at Edge, Debbie Reynolds and Millennium dance studios. Here at Cf Dance Academy she studies Hip Hop, Ballet, and Pointe. Jessica is a former member of our Bring the Noise Hip Hop Troupe and Fortissimo crews and has had the opportunity to dance in various competitions such as World of Dance, Maxt Out, Vibe Juniors, and Urban Street Jam. In 2012, Jessica passed her Grade 7 Cecchetti Ballet exam and is continuing her training in the hopes of taking her Grade 8 exam, she also received her Teacher’s Certificate 1 in Cecchetti Ballet in 2014. Her responsibilities as Assistant Director include: managing the front desk, stage managing our showcases, organizing most offsite events, and supporting management. She has worked very closely with CFDA directors and has become a very strong instructor as well as office personnel manager. Jessica currently teaches Ballet, Hip Hop, Ballet & Tap Combo, Parent & Me, and Creative Ballet.
Certified Cecchetti Ballet, Fullerton Youth Ballet Rehearsal Mistress
Yumi Ito began studying ballet at the age of 6 in Kyoto, Japan. In 2007, Yumi attended the School of Alberta Ballet Summer school in Calgary, Canada. She went on to study at the Edmonton school of ballet in Edmonton, Canada from 2008-2009. In Edmonton she was first introduced to Cecchetti Classical Ballet and studied with the Cecchetti Society of Canada. Yumi then began her 4 years of training in the teachers program at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet. During that time she successfully passed her Intermediate (Grade 8), Advanced 1 (Grade 9) and Advanced 2 (Grade 10) examinations. Yumi graduated from the teachers program by passing her Associate Teachers Examination with Distinction. She is now proud to be a certified Cecchetti Classical Ballet Instructor. Yumi is thrilled to now live in Orange County, California and to be teaching the Cecchetti method at CF Dance Academy.
Sadie Black is a freelance artist from and based in Los Angeles. She dances currently with Barak Ballet, Clairobscur Dance, Luminario Ballet and Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet.
She trained with Riverside Ballet Arts, Houston Ballet Academy, and the School of American Ballet. She has been a company dancer with Texas Ballet Theater, Columbia City Ballet and Los Angeles Ballet.
Sadie is a choreographer and ballet teacher for students of all ages including adults and a yoga, barre and fitness teacher.
She created a barre fitness class, “Ballet Fit Body” which she currently teaches at Equinox. Sadie is also a ballet coach for students competing at Youth America Grand Prix and other several dance competitions.
Cecchetti Ballet, Fullerton Youth Ballet Advisor
Mrs. Hawkesworth holds her Fellowship with Cecchetti USA, Cecchetti Council of America and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, London, England. She is the current CUSA Administrator, and Membership Chair, past Residential Summer Course Organizer, and sits on the CUSA Board of Directors. She was appointed National Examiner for Cecchetti USA in August 2012.
Judith received her early Cecchetti training from Elizabeth Baird, and Aleta Davis, pupils of Olga Fricker, a charter member of The Cecchetti Council of America and co-founder of what is now know as Cecchetti USA. Her current mentor and teacher, Mrs. Marnell Himes-Ushijima, has coached her for Major and Qualifying exams with both The Cecchetti Council of America and Cecchetti USA.
Mrs. Hawkesworth offers extensive professional dance instruction experience which includes: teaching all levels of ballet technique and pointe, preparing and presenting students for Cecchetti ballet examinations, creating a written syllabus for pre-school and primary levels, coaching classical variations, choreographing ballet production and competition pieces, producing and directing a full length “Nutcracker for Ballet Etudes, a non-profit youth ballet company and training teachers in levels pre-school through advanced.
Judith served as Ballet Director for two highly respected Performing Arts and Commercial Dance schools in the Orange County, CA area for 20 years. She was a staff member of Huntington Academy of Dance, under the direction of Marnell Himes-Ushijima for 15 years. Many of her former students have gone on to dance professionally, teach ballet, commercial dance and fitness, and own and operate dance studios.
As Administrator for Cecchetti USA Judith played a major role in organizing the Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition 2014, hosted by CUSA, held in Richmond VA. Competitors from America, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa and the United Kingdom came together to compete in this world class competition for pre-professional Cecchetti trained dancers.
Mrs. Hawkesworth considers her proudest accomplishment, the many former students who have gone on to embrace teaching as their chosen careers. Her vocation is to use her life experience and training as a dance educator to enrich the lives of students and teachers through the love of dance, while perpetuating the beauty and history of the Cecchetti Method of classical ballet.
In 2005 Judith relocated to the East Coast. She is currently a staff member at The Dance Place in Camden, South Carolina.
Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz
CJ Jensen began dancing in high school as a freestyler. CJ’s personal choreography and dancing style can be described as contemporary hip-hop. When he found CF Dance Academy in 2011, he began his formal training in ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. CJ has a Bachelor of the Arts in Dance at California State University of Fullerton studying genres such as ballet and modern. He is also currently studying in New York with professional dance companies as well as training in L.A. to further his knowledge of dance. CJ has also performed at Jacobs Pillow in Massachusetts and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. CJ is an assistant director and choreographer of award-winning competitive hip-hop crews at CF Dance Academy such as Fortissimo and Bring the Noise. He is represented by BLOC Talent Agency and has done jobs such as MTV Movie Awards, Lip Sync Battle, Paris By Night, various music videos, and has toured with Jojo Siwa. He also has participated in events such as World of Dance, K.A.R., Vibe, Urban Street Jam, Kids Carnival, and Maxt Out. His love for dancing and teaching makes him a perfect fit for his home here at CF Dance Academy.
Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz
Claudia Ion started her dance training at CF Dance in 2008. She trained in hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary, and tap. She has been a member of the elite teams such as Fortissimo, Bring The Noise, and Fullerton Youth Ballet. In high school she was the president for Sunny Hills Dance Production. When she turned 18, she “graduated” from student to teacher at CF and continued her dance training in LA and on adult teams such as V Mo, LFG, and Vixens. In the summer of 2019, V Mo and LFG won 1st place for USA Hip Hop International. With new experience, Claudia continues to share her knowledge with her students at CF.
Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap
Skylar Vandenburg has been dancing at CF Dance Academy for seven years. During her time as a student here at CF Dance, she has been training and continues to train in various dance styles including hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and tap. Skylar has been a member of Bring the Noise hip-hop dance crew at CF Dance since it was founded five years ago. She has also been a member of Fortissimo, CF Dance's senior elite hip-hop crew for more than two years. She was a member of the FUHS Dance Production Team. Her teaching experience includes demonstrating and assisting with hip-hop classes since the age of 12, and assisting with jazz classes for several years as well. Skylar loves teaching and assisting here at CF Dance Academy, and loves bringing joy to her students, just like her teachers have with her here at our studio.
Sierra Ledesma began her formal dance training at the age of 10. Her training included all genres; ballet, hip-hop, flamenco, tap, jazz, contemporary, POM, and pointe. Her love for movement and music was evident in her early years as she could not sit still if there was music in the room. Her competitive spirit and her desire to entertain inspired her to participate with multiple teams/crews. As a former member of Fortissimo, Bring the Noise, and Cypress Song Team she was able to learn the aspects of team work, performing, choreographing, and leading. Sierra recognized the importance of a healthy body and healthy mind in order to reach maximum potential as a dancing athlete. She completed her studies at CBU with a BS and MS in Kinesiology. This learning has helped her understanding the benefits of injury prevention, but also injury recovery. She has been able to incorporate these skills in her training of dancers. Sierra continues to spread her love for movement and inspire young dancers through her teaching. As a dance instructor of hip-hop and a coach of high school SONG/POM teams she can help others find and live their passion of dance.
Hip Hop, Popping
Ryan began training in San Diego at Formality Dance Academy in 2005 under Erik Saradpon and Phillip Geniza. After training at established hip-hop studios such as Culture Shock SD, Studio FX, and Studio 429, he studied movement and choreography at UCR. Here he got a taste for other dance forms and participated in the GLUCK Contemporary Ensemble. Throughout his dancing experience Ryan has contributed and competed in various hip-hop teams in the Southern California area such as Team Millennium, Academic of Swag, and Soul Fresh Crew. He also directed UCR's competitive hip-hop team 909 Hip-Hop Dance Troupe for multiple seasons. Ryan now teaches at multiple studios in La County, Orange County, and the High Desert training beginner level students all the way up to those competitions at a national level!
Samuel DeAngelo, from Yorba Linda, CA, began dancing at the age of 18 at Santiago Canyon College. After discovering his passion for dance, he trained at Santa Ana College, and then transferred to Chapman University. In 2016, he graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and was awarded multiple awards for both performance and choreography.
A versatile artist, Samuel currently dances with multiple professional companies such as Backhausdance, FUSE Dance Company, and the Disneyland Resort. Samuel began dancing with Backhausdance in 2016, and through the company has had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Jennifer Backhaus, Mauro Astolfi, Yin Yue, Ido Tadmor, Jhonathan Soutchy, and Amanda Kay White. In 2018, he was part of Backhausdance’s first European performance tour where they performed in Pisa, Italy and Warsaw, Poland. In 2018, he became a company member with FUSE Dance Company under the direction of Joshua Estrada-Romero and has performed in numerous venues throughout the Orange County and LA area. Additionally, he has worked with other companies such as Anaheim Ballet, Ponybox Dance Theater, Shieldwall Dance Company, and Disney Cruise Line, where he was a part of the opening cast of Beauty and The Beast, directed and choreographed by Connor Gallagher.
Samuel is also a passionate choreographer and dance educator. He has taught at various studios, including Virtuo Dance Academy, Impact Dance Center, and South Coast Conservatory. He was a faculty member of the 2018 Backhausdance Summer Intensive, and frequently teaches masterclasses throughout Orange County. Samuel is excited to be joining the CF Dance Academy faculty, and looks forward to shaping the next generation of artists.
Kelly Rivard has been dancing since the age of 3. She started competing at the age of nine in Orange County. She competed and attended numerous conventions and competitions such as Jump, Nuvo, Hall of Fame, and Countdown with Mather Dance Company from age 13-18. There she developed extensive technique and artistry. She got signed at the age of 19 with Go 2 Talent Agency and continues to dance professionally. A few projects she has worked on include a promo for American Horror Story, music video for German rapper Marteria, and various performances in Los Angeles. Some highly esteemed choreographers she has worked with include Matt Cady, Andrew Winghart, Shannon Mather, Ricky Palomino, Will Johnston, and Ricky Cole. She loves teaching and choreographing and has created a few of her own concept videos and live performances. She embraces her unique contemporary style and can’t wait to encourage the dancers at CF to tap into their artistry. As well as teaching and dancing, she is also a full-time student at California State University, Fullerton majoring in entrepreneurship.
Daniel Piña has been dancing for 12 and a half years. He started in a small town studio in Modesto, California. He competed for six years at Tremaine, Company Dance, Hollywood Connection, Nuvo, and the Pulse. It wasn't until Daniel was 17 that he realized that dancing was his passion and wanted to pursue it as a career. With the help of his parents, Daniel moved to LA to achieve that dream. In his first year down south, he auditioned and was accepted into the Edge Performing Arts Center's scholarship program. After completing the program, he signed with Bloc talent agency. Soon after signing, he booked his first job. Daniel has worked with various choreographers and artists; such as Jason Myhre, Shanda Sawyer, Nick Lanzisera, Helene Phillips, Brooke Lipton, and Adam Parson just to name a few. He is currently dancing at Disneyland in a show called Mickey and the Magical Map. Daniel is very excited to be teaching at CF Dance Academy and can't wait to share the knowledge he's acquired over the years.
Vanessa Benitez born and raised in California has been dancing since she was 9 years old. Going between sports and dance classes, she finally found her true calling in continuing her love for dance. Vanessa teaches tap and hip hop and been taught by nationally acclaimed instructors. Vanessa has been teaching Tap for CF Dance Academy for the past 10 years . She brings a different element by blending her tap with hip hop to bring out “FUNKY TAP”. Vanessa states, “My true inspiration comes from watching my students improve each class, they are the ones that make my ideas come to life!” She hopes to continue to tap and dancing hip hop for many years to come. One thing she likes to emphasize to her students in her hip hop classes, “Hip Hop is not just a dance, it’s a lifestyle.”
Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz
Lydia has been dancing at CFDA since she could walk. She has attended multiple summer courses for ballet and contemporary including the CUSA Residential Summer Course, Marin Dance Theatre Summer Dance Intensive, Backhaus Contemporary Summer Intensive, and Entity Contemporary Summer Intensive. In 2017, Lydia represented Team USA in the Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition. She has won awards at YAGP semifinals since 2013 and has gone to YAGP Finals in New York City two times. Lydia has been teaching contemporary and ballet as well as coaching soloists and Fullerton Youth Ballet for competitions since 2016. She enjoys helping dancers unlock their artistry, clarify details and transitional movement, and dance in the healthiest and most safe way by working through the correct muscles. Lydia hopes to expand her professional dancing as well as teaching career with her continued studies and collaborations with other artists in the field.
Certified Cecchetti Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz
Kira Molenda has been training with CF Dance Academy for 14 years. Her classical dance studies include, very successfully passing her Grade 1 through Grade 8 Cecchetti Ballet Exams and has also received her TC1 Cecchetti Teachers Certificate. She has competed with Fullerton Youth Ballet as a soloist and group dancer. In the field of commercial dance, she has served as team captain on Klassified for two years and has won multiple awards with this team as well as Bring the Noise and Fortissimo. Miss Kira has trained with many industry professionals, was invited to perform at the Carnival Choreographer Ball in September 2019, and has won awards as a solo jazz dancer. One of the most rewarding things Miss Kira experiences as a dance teacher It the ability to see her dancers grow, not only in their training but also in their personal development.
Angela Tristao Nunes was born and raised in Orange County, California. She started dancing in 2001 at the age of seven at Cathleen Forcucci Dance Academy where she studied the Cecchetti ballet method. In 2013 she attended the University of California, Irvine as a dance major, graduating with a B.A. in Dance and a minor in biological sciences in 2017. In her past summers, she has participated in several ballet summer intensive programs including: BalletMet, Ballet West, State Street Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet. During the summer of 2017, she furthered her practice in Pilates and completed her Pilates certification under Diane Diefenderfer at Studio Du Corps in Costa Mesa. Now, Angela teaches Pilates at dance studios, performs with a dance company based out of Long Beach by the name of Dagdag Dance, and is studying to become a Physical Therapist.
Lauren Kim started dancing at 18 months old. She is currently studying all styles of dance: ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, lyrical, and the Cecchetti method of ballet. She has passed her Grade 8 Cecchetti exam and is studying to take her Grade 9 exam. She has been dancing at CF Dance Academy for four years and is one of the three captain of the Sunny Hills High School Dance Production team as well as one of the three captains of the Fullerton Youth Senior Ballet Company [FYB]. She has also been a part of the award-winning competitive group, Fortissimo, which moved forward to create a concept video about teen suicide. Lauren has also participated in numerous competitions and events, such as Youth America Grand Prix, California Dance Classics, Kids Artistic Revenue, Urban Street Jam, Maxt Out, Collaborations, Kidz Carnival, and more. She is also an award-winning soloist who is continuing her training in the Elite Competitive Program. Lauren also assists with Junior FYB and helps teach weekly contemporary classes. Lauren loves to teach and share her passion for dance at CF Dance Academy and looks forward to continue her training as both a dancer, teacher, and a leader.
Sylvia Palmer Zetler
National Ballet of Canada, Master of Fine Arts Degree, Fellow and Examiner, Cecchetti USA & Cecchetti International Classical Ballet.
Ms Palmer performed for many years with the National Ballet of Canada, CBC TV, and the Canadian Opera Company. Her training was with Kay Armstrong in Vancouver, B.C., the National Ballet School in Toronto, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and many of the foremost European teachers in London and Paris. Her formal education culminated with an M.F.A. Degree in Creative Teaching Techniques under the direction of Erling Sunde and John Hart, CBE, both of the Royal Ballet, England. Sylvia holds the degree of Fellow with Cecchetti USA and CICB and is an Examiner for CUSA. She has been the recipient of two Canada Council of the Arts grants for the furtherance of the dance arts. Her students grace the stages of many companies in the U.S. and Great Britain. In 2017 she was honored by receiving the “Classical Teacher of the Year” award from the Dance Teacher Organization.
Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary
Born in Connecticut, Nicole has always has a passion for dance. Since the young age of three she started training in all styles of dance. She has trained throughout her life and is currently continuing in Los Angeles, Ca. She has choreographed and taught at numerous dances studios, and assisted many highly re-guarded choreographers. She has also danced for the likes of Esther Dean, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Ellen, No Doubt, and the movie "Dance Flick". She is currently teaching at Millennium Dance Complex and wants to continue to share her love for dance with everyone.
Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz
Renee Ritchie's career began at Jeninaʼs Dance Workshop in Tasmania, Australia at 17. After moving to Sydney NSW to study full-time at Brent Street Dance Studios, Renee continued to pursue her training and career all the way to Los Angeles, USA. With hard work, persistence, and continuing to put herself out there, Renee made it onto the television show SYTYCD Season 3 (Australia) Top 12 which catapulted her very successful career as dancer and choreographer.
Renee has worked with artists in Australia including Kylie Minogue, Reedfo, Kelly Clarkson, Tina Arena, Jessica Mauboy, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Timomatic and more, and has performed on the TV shows X-Factor, Dance Academy, Australiaʼs Next Top Model, Mardi Gras, Footy Show Australia, and Young Talent Time. Renee's dedication and perseverance along with applying her skills and talents has successfully led her to work for international artists such as J-LO, Paula Abdul, Chloe Flower, Major Lazer, MO, J-Balvin, Farruko, Wisin, Nicky Jam, Omi, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more. Renee has also been also featured on The Ellen Show, James Corden, Latin Grammyʼs, and Peoples Choice Awards.
Renee’s professional performance career also stems to being a renowned choreographer! Having choreographed on SYTYCD Australia, Music Video for Australiaʼs pop star artist Dami Im “Fighting For Love”, Paula Abdul's 2018 "Straight Up" Tour and LA pride performance. Renee has been also been assistant choreographer on J-LO “All I Have” and Britney Spears “Domination” Las Vegas shows.
Traveling around the USA, teaching and judging competitions for multiple companies, Renee continues to share her knowledge with the younger generation of today. Renee has a passion for teaching and mentoring anyone with the driving desire to become a professional dancer, not only Australian-wide but also internationally. Renee has mentored and guided many dancers such as Michael Dameski, Tash Marconi, Bec Morris, Chris Tsattalios, Laura Spence, and more. She offers tools and the skill set it takes to become a professional in this industry.
Lashaun Price (Mister)
Mister is a New York Native who choreographs and teaches in Los Angeles. As a performance coach, he is a powerhouse of styles pulling from Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, Waacking, Dancehall, House elements, and Vogue. Touring the world, he has created, educated, and set work across the USA, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.K. and has been blessed enough to collaborate with a personal dream list of artists and fellow creatives.
Known for infectious energy, demanding movement, intense passion for all students, performance technique and intricate musicality, his classes are centered on endurance, athleticism, grooves, and most importantly - the fun of dance!
Mister's style basis is mainly Hip Hop/Jazz Funk. Level is intermediate/advanced and performance technique is central to his classes. Students will leave feeling physically pushed, energetically fueled, and professionally prepared. This experience is for students looking to train at a high performance level while finessing technical skills in groove-based movement.