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Faculty Bios

Leann Alduenda

Born and raised in Southern California, Leann has trained extensively in all forms of dance throughout the LA and Orange County areas. She holds a BA in Dance with honors from UC Riverside, where she received a Chancellor's Scholarship. Leann has performed extensively with numerous companies including Rhapsody in Taps, Jazz Spectrum Dance Company, and Bare Dance Co. along with working in video and television. Leann is the Artistic Director of the Jimmie DeFore Dance Center, Co-Director of Pulse, and is on faculty at Chapman University.

Christine Baltes

Christine Baltes is a master teacher, specializing in jazz dance and recognized as a leader in technique who 'teaches'. Born in Evanston, IL, Christine studied with Gus Giordano, the grandfather of American Jazz Dance.She's traveled the U.S. performing on stage, television, industrials and dinner theater before moving to California.

With a teaching career that spans over 35 years, Christine holds a lifetime California Teaching Credential in dance, Pilates and Gyrokinesis® certification and faculty positions that included University of California, Irvine, Chapman University, California State University, Long Beach, Orange Coast College, Irvine Valley College, Long Beach City College, Academy for the Performing Arts High School, and more.

She owns her own Pilates studio where she privately coaches dancers of all ages as well as the non-dancer. Many of her students are working in the entertainment industry, both nationally and internationally. Christine has made numerous contributions to the awareness of dance. She was founder/producer of the Choreographers Showcase of O.C., founder/advisor for California Choreographers Dance Festival, writer for the Dance & Fitness West magazine, and board member for Jazz Dance L.A. Presently, she serves as a board member for Jazz Dance World Congress and guest teacher for Giordano Dance Studio and Hubbard Street Dance Company Studio when visiting Chicago.

Her choreography and company, Jazz Spectrum Dance Company, has been presented at several dance festivals in Los Angeles & Orange County. Festivals include Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival, Festival of Solos & Duets, Spectrum L.A., Jazz Dance L.A. Jazz Dance World Congress to name a few, as well as numerous self-produced concerts. This devoted, passionate and energetic professional is bound to make a difference in your body, mind and overall improvement of movement.

I care about the students who walk into my classes and I make a commitment to each one. At DeFore's I offer a class schedule that provides several progressive levels of jazz dance, from beginning, intermediate & advance/professional, where each level offers a stepping-stone into the next. Grab your opportunity to work with this highly motivated, educated and knowledgeable instructor.

Gina Cerato

Born in Laguna Beach, California began her dance training with Lila Zali, Paul Maure, and Kathy Kahn at Ballet Pacifica. She studied on scholarship with the Joffery Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. She has extensively trained with Alaine Haubert, Molly Lynch, Janek Schergen, Jeremy Blanton, Diane Diefenderfer, James Jones and David Allan. Gina danced with Ballet Pacifica doing major roles in ballets as a young dancer and joined Ballet Pacifica as a company member in 1994. She had continued dancing full time until it became de-funked in 2004. While dancing professionally, she had created roles in ballets by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, John Selya, Peter Pucci, David Allan, Ann-Marie DeAngelo, Robert Sund and Molly Lynch, as well as over 25 more nationally known choreographers. Gina has performed for 6 years as Principle Dancer in the Glory of Christmas and is currently the assistant to the choreographer and director for this year's production. She has also been a Featured performer for 5 years in the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. She has been teaching Ballet for over 10 years at several serious ballet/dance conservatories throughout Orange County. Gina is also a certified Pilates instructor, and has been teaching Pilates just as long. She is certified by the industries biggest company Balanced Body as well as training through a local teacher, Diane Diefenderfer at Studio du Corps.


Cruz has been dancing for the last 18 years and received his BA from the University of California in Irvine. He was founder and director of Natural Reaction Dance Company. He debuted his first showcase in 2003 entitled Moodswings. Cruz has been a sought out choreographer and has been a master choreographer in Mexico City and Vietnam.

Cruz has a unique style of combing jazz, hip hop, and modern. Some of Cruz's teaching credits include DeFore Dance Center For The Arts, Orange County High School For The Arts, Golden West College, The Dance Factory and is currently on faculty at Irvine Valley College.

Cruz's performance and choreographic experiences make him a valuable teacher who helps cultivate the potential in his students.

I care about the students who walk into my classes and I make a commitment to each one. At DeFore's I offer a class schedule that provides several progressive levels of jazz dance, from beginning, intermediate & advance/professional, where each level offers a stepping-stone into the next. Grab your opportunity to work with this highly motivated, educated and knowledgeable instructor.

Hilary Cunningham

Bio coming soon!

Tanya Durbin

Tanya Durbin was chosen to dance with the New York City Ballet for the opening of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. As the recipient for each Robert Joffrey scholarship offered, she performed for The Joffrey Ballet. Tanya was awarded scholarships, studied, and danced with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the School of American Ballet. She has also worked with or has been coached by Francia Russell, Otto Neubert, Allegra Kent, Suki Shorer, Ivan Nagy, Gerald Arpino, Richard England, Bruce Marks, Darci Kistler, David Allen, Marie De La Palme, Lorin Johnson and Diane Diefenderfer.

As a freelance Dancer and through her Agent, Tanya also worked with Ivan Nagy as a guest artist for the Ballet Theatre of Chicago's production of Giselle. Tanya has also been a guest Artist for; Inland Ballet's The Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Long Beach Ballet's Nutcracker to dance with Stuttgart Ballet's Principal Benito Marcelino , and has been the Principal dancer in the Glory of Christmas and the Glory of Easter Productions, performed for the American Choreographers Awards In Hollywood as a guest to honor such artists as Rob Marshall for the Feature Film " Chicago" , Allen Johnson, Sallie Whalen, Don Mischer and Gregory Hines. Tanya was also invited as a principal artist to team up with Dancers from American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Kremlin Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet to debut works in Florence Italy at the Fabbrica Europa under the Direction of American Ballet Theatre Soloist Lorin Johnson on behalf of historian John Bowlt of the University of Southern California.

Miss Durbin has choreographed many works and performed for Orange County's Pacific Symphony Orchestra, has also been the Director of Ballet for the Defore Foundation for the Arts, and have been the Artistic Director/ Choreographer for the Glory of Christmas and Easter productions at the Crystal Cathedral.

As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Tanya has danced for and worked with Director David Fincher on the Oscar nominated Film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" starring Brad Pitt, Director Burr Steers in the Film "17 Again" starring Zac Efron, Director William Dear in the Film "The Perfect Game" and Directors Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass in the Film "Cyrus" starring John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei. Some of Tanya's commercial credits include- Target, Boeing, Hagen Daze, City of Los Angeles and Mark.

Some of Tanya's students have gone on to dance with or have won scholarships to ; Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre. Tanya also coaches privately at Jimmie De Fore Dance Center.

Hillary Elliot

Hillary has a Bachelor's degree in dance from UC Irvine, and danced as a showgirl in Las Vegas, Paris, Reno, Lake Tahoe and Japan. She then moved to New York and performed in several musicals regionally, including CHICAGO, CABARET, SWEET CHARITY, and HAIR, working with choreographers such as Tony Stevens, Luis Perez, and Gerry McIntyre. She was also a principal dancer in the films, The Stepford Wives and Disney's Enchanted. She has modeled in runway shows and trunk shows, and for several years judged dance competitions across the country. In addition, she has a full comprehensive certification in classical Pilates from Power Pilates, and in the contemporary Lagree Method (Megaformer).

Deanna Gardiner

Coming soon

Michel Gervais

Michel Gervais, a native of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, started dancing at the age of 11 with the Ida Sauvé Dance Studios. He continued his studies at the National Ballet School of Canada as well as at the school of Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. His ability to understand and teach various choreographic styles was first seen when he was assistant to the choreographer for the Canadian company Juan Antonio's Confidanse, under the direction of the late Juan Antonio. Mr. Gervais has also worked extensively as a performer, assistant and ballet master for choreographer David Allan, setting many of his ballets for companies such as: The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet Pacifica, National Dance Theatre of Bermuda, Hong Kong Ballet and others.

Mr. Gervais has danced for such companies as; Feld Ballet/NY, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Theatre Ballet of Canada, National Dance Theatre of Bermuda, P.M. Jazz, Zing Ballet, Ontario Ballet Theatre, Los Angeles Classical Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Pacifica and California Riverside Ballet where he also served as Ballet Master. He has also worked with many renowned choreographers such as; Louis Falco, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Danny Grossman, Ulysses Dove, Brian MacDonald, Paul-Andrée Fortier, Rick McCullough, Miriam Mahdaviani, Colin Connor, Peter Pucci and Elliot Feld.

Mr. Gervais has been teaching during most of his dancing career and has had the opportunity to teach and coach such illustrious dancers as; Veronica Tennant, Darci Kistler, Galina Shlyapina, Sabina Allemann, Rex Harrington, Anthony Randazzo, Steven Legate, Greta Hodgskinson, Johan Peerson, David Palmer, Serge Lavoie and Julia Adam.

He is a sought after teacher for summer schools such as; American Ballet Theatre, Canadian Dance Teachers Association, Dance In Action, Debbie Reynolds Dance Center and Ballet Pacifica. He has been invited as a guest teacher to work with; Hong Kong Ballet, London Rambert Dance Co., JimmyDeforeDanceCenter, University of California, Irvine, University of California, Riverside, YorkUniversity and the National Dance Theatre of Bermuda.

Mr. Gervais' choreography has been performed by: American Ballet Theatre (summer intensive), CaliforniaRiversideBallet, Canada's Excalibur, Ballet Pacifica, Festival Ballet Theatre, L'Amalgame, Theatre du Nouvelle Ontario and the University of California, Irvine. Mr. Gervais' choreography was presented in 2003 by UCI at the prestigious Paris Festival, Danses de Mai at The National Conservatoire of Paris.

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