cvpa staff, faculty & teachers
The CVPA faculty members are professionals in their field of study. We boast some of the most sought-after teachers in the Bay Area who understand that dance education is not just about teaching good technique. It is inspiring, encouraging, and providing a rewarding experience for every student.
With over twenty-five years of experience in the entertainment industry, Janet has toured with such names as the Temptations, JoAnn Castle, Bob Hope and Dorothy LaMour. She also spent several years performing aboard Princess Cruise Lines (The Love Boat) singing and dancing in their nightly musical productions. Her television credits include “Dick Clark’s Special of the Year Show” and various commercials for Princess Cruises and American Express. Her choreography credits include a dance fitness television pilot featuring Joanie Greggins, Billy Hufsy from FAME and MC Hammer; The Teen Miss California Pageant; Miss CA Pageant; Outstanding Teen of California Pageant; Ohlone College Summerfest theater productions of “Grease” and “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to The Forum;” and numerous industrials throughout the state of CA. She also served as dance director of the syndicated television program “Morning Stretch.” Prior to opening Castro Valley Performing Arts, Janet was the director of The Academy for the Performing Arts in Fremont and Newark and a member of the faculty in the drama department at Ohlone College in Fremont.
director of curriculum
As a director, choreographer, educator, and administrator, Gia has been involved with performing arts production for over twenty-five years. Creative credits include Legally Blonde, The Musical (Dir./Chor. – Diablo Theatre Company), Sweet Charity (Dir./Chor. – American Conservatory Theater MFA3 Series), Dreamgirls (Assistant Dir. – West Coast Tour), Little Shop of Horrors (Assistant Dir./Chor. – AMTSJ), Evita (National Youth Theater Award, Best Choreography – CMTSJ), national projects for the Golden State Warrior Girls Dance Team, America’s Junior Miss, Universal Dance Association, regional work with American Musical Theatre of San José, Diablo Theatre Company, Center Repertory Company, Willows Theatre Company, Theatre on San Pedro Square, Pocket Opera, Children’s Musical Theatre of San José, among others. A member of Actors’ Equity, Gia’s favorite performing adventures include national tours of Evita (25th Anniversary Tour / Dance Captain, Dir. Harold Prince) and The Hot Mikado (Dance Captain), twelve shows with American Musical Theatre of San José, Royal Caribbean, Disney, and Nickelodeon. An adjunct faculty member at California State University, East Bay, and Notre Dame de Namur University, she has taught for the Universal Dance Association, Mills College, U.C. Davis Experimental College, and Music Theatre Conservatory. She proudly served as Artistic Associate for American Musical Theatre of San José and Producing Director for Diablo Theatre Company and was a member of the Castro Valley Arts Foundation Board of Directors from 2009-2012. She holds a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Health and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance. Gia’s MFA thesis is entitled “Curriculum Implementation in Dance Education: How Benchmarks and Goal Setting Affect Student Learning Experiences and Outcomes.”
1st floor series teacher
Stephanie Mihalyi began dancing at the age of three. Her first debut in the dance industry was at the age of eight , when she was a featured as a character in the video game, “Dance Dance Revolution”, which was influenced by Tap and Hip Hop. Stephanie then went on as a representative for Castro Valley Performing Arts, to audition for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She was invited to join the opening number in New York City for two consecutive years.
Stephanie has also had the privilege to work under many amazing choreographers. Learning most of her dance knowledge from Janet Taddie, Stephanie has also worked under Sam Weber, Al Blackstone, Jason Samuel Smith, Mark Goodman, Lisa Hopkins, Heather Cooper, Gary Masters, Fred Mathews, as well as many others. She has danced at halftime at Oracle, home of the Warriors, and at Candlestick, the retired home of the 49ers. Stephanie also danced as the entertainment between events at the Miss California pageant for over 10 years and was employed as a professional Miss California dancer.
While at San Jose State University, Stephanie was a member of University Dance Theatre, a modern company run by Raphael Boumaila and Heather Cooper, where she also earned a minor in Dance Arts as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. Stephanie has spent the last few years working at Dance Attack as their Tap Director and Artistic Director of the Performing Company. We are excited to have her back again with her dance family at CVPA, as she joins our faculty teaching tap, jazz, lyrical, children’s classes, and tumbling.
michelle tara lynch
Michelle Tara Lynch hails from Los Alamos, New Mexico. She earned a BA in Environmental Studies and a BFA in Dance from the University of California Santa Barbara. While at UCSB, she received the Patricia Sparrow Dance Scholarship, the Tonia Shimin Award for Excellence and Promise in the Field of Dance, and graduated with honors after creating a full-length evening work, entitled Roots. After graduating, Michelle was asked to reset one of her works, Through the Valles, for the UCSB Freshman Company. Michelle moved to New York City in 2012, where she became a company member and instructor with Jennifer Muller/ The Works. While with JMTW, she had the privilege of touring throughout the United States, as well as internationally in China and Italy. Michelle worked as a teaching assistant to Jennifer Muller assisting with residencies at the University of California Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, and Jacksonville University. Additionally, Michelle has presented choreography at the HH11 Festival in Santa Barbara, CA, as well as in New York at Greenspace, Hatch Series, and Columbia University. Michelle recently relocated to the Bay Area, and is thrilled to be teaching and performing on the west coast again. Michelle 's classes emphasize the importance of proper alignment and the importance of individuality. Each student receives direct attention, as she believes that every dancer has a unique and tremendous ability to perform.
karleigh p. carlson
Kyleigh is originally from Sacramento California, where she trained extensively in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Pointe, Contemporary, and Musical Theater. She has performed with the Sacramento Ballet, and danced professionally with CORE Contemporary Dance and comedian Hannibal Buress. Kyleigh received a BFA in dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her time at the University she served as an intern for Dr. Carol Press, History of Dance Professor. She was awarded the Dance Education Laboratory Scholarship, which extended her education and training in New York (2013), the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship to further her dance studies in New York (2014). A scholarship to the Joe Goode Workshop in San Francisco (2014), and the Emerging Choreography Award (2015) presented by Professor Mira Kingsley. Kyleigh’s choreographic work has been awarded on the National level and commissioned for shows such as, Teen Dance Star (2017) and adjudicated at the American College Dance Association western region concert (2019).
Kyleigh was a Professor at Humboldt State University in the Theater, Film and Dance Department where she was delighted to teach a variety of courses and choreograph for department concerts. Most recently she has moved to San Jose California and is looking forward to meeting new students and filling her days with dance.
Chlo Waldrep grew up dancing at Castro Valley Performing Arts. Their love for dance and love for children along with their advanced skill level in a large array of dance genres eventually landed them a teaching position at CVPA. For the past 7 years, Chlo has been a popular teacher at CVPA teaching tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and creative movement classes. They are currently a teacher for CVPA both at our studios and through the Hayward Area Recreation Department. Students find their classes to be both fun and challenging as they encourage their students to step out of their safety zone in a safe and nurturing environment. In addition to teaching at CVPA, Chlo attends CSU East Bay where they are pursuing a degree in Marketing Management. Their dance goals are to continue teaching and to encourage young dancers to have fun while gaining valuable mental and physical skills.
Abby began dancing at Castro Valley Performing Arts when she was in high school. Her advanced skill level and love for children eventually landed her a teaching position at CVPA. By the time she left for college, Abby was one of CVPA's most popular teachers! Abby is currently attending California State University, Chico, where she is a member of the Chico State Dance Team. When she is not working on homework, Abby likes to travel, go to the beach, and of course, DANCE! She is currently a member of her college dance team! This is Abby's fifth year teaching the dance camps at CVPA and we thrilled she is joining us "in'da house" this summer!