Leslie Johnson extensively studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, modern, tap, and musical theater for 15 years. She has had the opportunity to teach/choreograph at dance studios, high schools, and colleges in the bay area winning top awards and honors with her choreography. Recently, her choreography was selected to be in the 2012 American College Dance Festival Gala Performance. Upon moving to Santa Cruz, Johnson founded Flex Dance Company in 2008 and has produced multiple full length performances as well as performing in multiple benefits, emerging artists showcases, festivals, and community shows in the bay area. She danced for Tawnya Kuzia in RUGGED at its inception, toured with Cid Pearlman's Touring Project, and recently performed with Dietzman and Co. In 2010 Johnson was the Artist in Residence at The 418 Project, and Flex is currently the Company in Residence at Motion Pacific. Leslie teaches at Motion Pacific and is also the Artistic Director at Santa Cruz Dance Company where she directs a pre-professional teen company. Leslie continues to train and perform as well as constantly evolving her work as a choreographer. Flex company class is held at Motion Pacific every Wednesday night at 7:45pm. Come take class!
Evan Adler began dancing at Cabrillo College and Motion Pacific in 2007, later pursuing dance and anthropology at the University of Santa Cruz. In 2008, he joined Flex Dance Company at its conception in Santa Cruz under artistic director, Leslie Johnson. He has worked with Cat Willis, Cid Pearlman, David King, Dixie Shulman, Tandy Beal and Pilobolus Dance Theater. He is elated to be in his 4th year with Flex Dance Company and is passionately inspired by Johnson's inventive choreography.
Rachael Bianchi started dancing at age 5, training in classical ballet and jazz. Upon moving to Santa Cruz in 2008, she became more interested in contemporary dance and quickly formed relationships that lead her to Flex. Rachael has recently been touring with Willy Woggle Circus throughout California in 2011. Rachael is excited to be in her 4th year with Flex Dance Company and is looking forward to new performance and collaboration opportunities in 2012.
In high school Sierrah Dietz was accepted into the advanced dance program at Nevada Union High School, under the direction of Yelena Holt. In this program she began to explore choreography and performance. She attended San Francisco State University and graduated with a BA in Dance, and a certificate for Outstanding Choreography. Sierrah danced as a guest with Flex in previous shows and was invited to join the company in 2010.
Molly Katzman’s first dance class was an african dance class at Nevada City School of the Arts, and since then she could not get enough of dance. She moved to Santa Cruz in 2007, and became involved in the dance community through Cabrillo College. She has been dancing with Flex since 2008, and has performed with other local choreographers such as Cid Pearlman, Cat Willis, and Dixie Shulman. Molly is in the middle of co-directing her first full length show, and teaches dance at Motion Pacific, Santa Cruz Dance Company and the Tannery World Dance and Cultural Center.
Chelsea Moreno is a UCSC graduate with degrees in Molecular Biology and Dance. She grew up in Santa Barbara and trained as a competitive gymnast for over 14 years. When Chelsea moved to Santa Cruz in 2008, she decided to shift her focus and energy to training in modern, ballet and jazz dance styles. She discovered a great passion for modern and contemporary dance and has had the pleasure of having Tandy Beal and Ted Warburton as her mentors. She has performed in Tandy Beal's "Mixed Nutz", and was chosen to direct UCSC's yearly dance production, "Random With a Purpose XX" in February 2012. Chelsea danced as a guest with Flex in their November 2011 show, and is now the newest member of the company. She is so excited and thankful to be a part of the Flex dance company.
Carly Ostergaard has been dancing for the last fifteen years, and is trained in classical ballet, jazz, and contemporary. Carly trained under Giselle Howell of the Royal Winnipeg and Les Grands Ballet, as well as Cara Agustin of the Sacramento Ballet. She has toured with the Willy Woggle Circus throughout California in 2011. Originally from Pioneer, California, Carly now lives in Santa Cruz, California where she is delighted to be in her 2nd year with Flex Dance Company.
Sara Russell has trained in a variety of dance styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, swing, hip hop, contact improvisation and aerial. She worked as an integrated dance class assistant at Cabrillo College and has had the opportunity to work with children of all ages and abilities as a Special Day Class preschool teacher and as a dance instructor at local studios and schools. In 2008 she was presented with the Roberta Bristol award for her dedicated service and contribution to the Cabrillo Dance Department. In 2011 Sara received her Qi Gong Teacher Certification. Sara joined FLEX Dance Company at its inception in 2009.
Eli Weinberg joined Flex in 2010. He holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Very drawn to improvisation and movement for actors, he began to explore modern dance as a sophomore in college. As an undergraduate, he studied abroad in Chile where he had the opportunity to train extensively in the Indian martial art, Kalaripayyattu. Eli has worked with choreographers throughout the Bay Area including Tandy Beal, Deanna Ross, Dixie Shulman, Cid Pearlman, Sommer Ulrickson and David Popalisky. He has taught Chilean folk dance to students in Watsonville and currently teaches youth Acrobatics in Santa Cruz.
Melissa C. Wiley started dancing at the age of four and is classically trained in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop and contemporary dance. She competed for several years with Dance Magic Studio, based in Lancaster, CA. She began teaching at her studio through the competition team assistant's program and has been teaching tap, jazz, ballet and hip hop consistently for over 10 years. She loves working and interacting with students of all ages. Currently, she is also working with Cid Pearlman Performance Projects and has been a guest choreographer for Cabrillo College dance concerts.
Melissa is also experienced in burlesque dancing, which has taken her to Portugal, Las Vegas and other venues throughout the bay area. She occasionally teaches burlesque workshops for adults and is always excited to perform and become involved with new challenges and projects.
Leesha Zieber is a recent graduate of Harbor High. She has been actively involved in the Santa Cruz dance community for the past 13 years. In the summer of 2008 she was named a California Arts Scholar after completing the dance program at the California State Summer School for the Arts. Leesha is currently a freshman at San Francisco State University furthering her study of dance as well as mathematics. She is proud to have been dancing with Flex since November of 2009 and is happy that she has been able to continue with Flex since starting school in San Francisco.