A native of Cuba, Bertha danced professionally in principal roles for over 14 years with the Ballet de Camagüey and the Ballet Nacional de Cuba under the direction of both Fernando Alonso and Alicia Alonso, before defecting to the United States in 1994. Since arriving in the US, her career has been focused on performance and instruction, primarily through the operation of her southern California studio, The Blankenship Ballet Company. She also performed in Miami under the direction of the late Fernando Bujones. She teaches dance as an art form that comes from the heart, based on Russian and Cuban ballet principles.
Johnnie Hobbs III is a tap dancer, film director, teacher, performer, and coloring book collector. He’s worked with such theater companies as The New Freedom Theatre, Adren Theatre Company, Interact Theatre, and Matrix Theatre. A 2004 graduate of Philadelphia’s The University of the Arts.
His talent of tap dancing was showcased at “Showtime at The Apollo”, the inauguration events in Washington DC for President Barack Obama, and The Guatemala Dance Challenge in Guatemala. His first directorial effort was in 2012 with a tap dancing short film drama called NOSTALGIA starring Dule Hill (The West Wing, Psych) and tap dancers Sarah Reich, Jason Samuels Smith, and Chloe Arnold. The film went on to be accepted to film festivals around the country. He’s directed three other short films since then.
Johnnie’s been a guest speaker at University of Colorado, Temple University, Santa Monica College, and Art Institute to name a few. He is an adjunct professor at colleges AMDA and Studio School. Johnnie really likes chocolate milkshakes.
Janet is a California native with more than 30 years of performance, commercial, choreographic, and teaching experience. Trained by prominent teachers in Southern California, she received a teacher’s scholarship from the Anglo-American Ballet Foundation, which ignited her passion for teaching ballet to all ages and levels. She has partnered in creating several dance education programs for schools in the Los Angeles area. Many of her students have gone on to dance with prestigious dance companies throughout the United States.
In Seattle, Denise Scheerer founded and performed with That’s Jazz, a Seattle-based jazz dance company. The company performed at the Seattle Center Playhouse and Britt Music Festival. While in Seattle, Denise choreographed for Seattle Opera’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, Empty Space Theatre’s The Day They Came from Way Out There, Pioneer Square Theatre’s In a Pig’s Valise, Tacoma Civic Light Opera’s The Merry Widow, and Seattle Civic Light Opera’s West Side Story and Kiss Me Kate. She choreographed Los Angeles Youth Theatre’s Anything Goes and Oliver. And she choreographed and staged an original piece for Latin pop singer, Cristian Castro, for performances at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
Denise danced in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel in Hallelujah Hollywood for four years before moving to Seattle. She danced in the Albert Brooks film I’ll Do Anything, and was the featured dancer and choreographer for the Roy Clark Special “Especially Roy.”
Denise has performed with The Jazz Tap Ensemble. She studied and performed with tap legends Eddie Brown and Sam Weber. She and her daughter, Angel Pennington, performed as a mother-daughter act at the Four Queens Hotel in Las Vegas, The Jazz Bakery, John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, and the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland. In 2008, they performed at Black Swan Theatre in Ashland, Oregon and at the 2008 LA Tap Festival. Denise also performed and choreographed for LA Ironworks under the direction of Steve Zee. She plays the drums and studied music with Jerry Kalaf, musical director of The Jazz Tap Ensemble, and incorporates this skill in her teaching.
Denise has taught workshops and master classes all over the Pacific Northwest and California, and was dance faculty at Loyola Marymount University for five years. She taught in New York City for a Tradition in Tap workshop that honored her husband, Robert Scheerer. And she has also taught for the St. Louis, Detroit, and Los Angeles Tap Festivals.
Denise teaches at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, and is currently chair of the tap and musical theater dance department.
Amy Schadt is an established dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She has been featured in various dance venues and worked extensively with Hama and the late Claude Thompson as their assistants, and was lead dancer in various Jazz Dance LA productions. She has choreographed for commercials, music videos, Jazz Dance LA, and summer intensives.
Amy has taught and created children’s dance programs throughout the Los Angeles area where she directed yearly recitals. From 2006-2011 she operated her own dance program. Amy was awarded a BA in Performing Arts (2015) from St. Mary’s College of California and currently teaches tap and musical theater dance classes at the Colburn School’s Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.
Tamsin Carlson is a graduate of the Arts Educational School, where she was awarded a college diploma, and London Contemporary Dance School, where she was awarded a diploma for her course work. She was then invited to be a member of Edge 4D, London Contemporary’s post-graduate performance company, for which she was awarded another diploma. Upon graduation, she toured England with the Toutes Femmes dance project, choreographed by Ellen Van Schylenburch, and performed in projects by choreographers Charmaine Seet, Moana Napier, and Lance Fuller.
In New York Tamsin was a faculty member of Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and a member of RUG (Repertory Understudy Group) for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1996-1999. For the 1999/2000 season she toured Europe and New York with Lucinda Childs Dance Company, performing in the Lucinda Childs’ 25th Anniversary Concert.
In Los Angeles Tamsin has been a member of Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble since 2000, and was a Lester Horton Award nominee for her performance in The Art of Rudy Perez (2001) at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex. She has been performer and Associate Artistic Director of LA’s Vox Dance Theatre, and currently is part of the Chatting Bodies experimental Skype performances with the German-based Fabien Prioville Company with members of Pina Bausch’s dance company.
Tamsin has given numerous master classes, teaching the technique of Merce Cunningham, among others. She has been a guest teacher at Irvine Valley College; California State University Long Beach; California Institute of the Arts; LA Dance Project, and Pieter Studios. She was a faculty member of the Cunningham School in New York City from 1997-2002. Tamsin teaches modern dance at the Colburn School’s Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, where she is also chair of modern dance.