Dance Brigade's Dance Mission Theater


Teacher Bios

Krissy Keefer

Krissy Keefer, Artistic Director

Ms Keefer co-founded the Wallflower Order, the nation's first feminist dance company, in 1975. Wallflower toured the nation for almost a decade, and staged many of Keefer's original pieces before large, enthusiastic and predominantly feminist audiences. She developed a new kind of modern dance-theater that was stylistically rooted in the martial arts, in female athleticism and in social justice issues. In 1980 at age 27 Keefer received her first NEA Choreographers Fellowship. This company toured internationally including a ground breaking collaboration with Grupo Raiz that raised the issues of Central American Solidarity. 1984 she co-founded the Dance Brigade where she continues her explorations of dance-theater that addressed women's issues and concerns. Keefer has received numerous grants and awards, San Francisco Magazine's Arts Achievement Award for Dance, "Goldie" Award from the Bay Guardian, 5 Isadora Duncan Awards. Her work with has been featured in Ballet Tanz, Kung Fu Magazine, Deborah Jowitt's "Dancing Image" among others. She has also been the subject of a documentary for Artist's Eye. Her work around creating a new aesthetic in dance is featured in the book "Warrior Mothers," released in September 2004. Since 1999, Keefer has been the executive director of Dance Mission Theater, a dance school and performance center at 24th and Mission. She has created over 10 full evening length works and many individual pieces. Her "Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie" performed for over 40,000 people and included 500 local artists over its 10 years. She is responsible for teaching, directing, and overall artistic vision of the program.

Leila Baradaran

Leila Baradaran, Youth Program Director / Grrrl Brigade Manager

Leila was born in Iran and moved to the US at age 5. In her youth she was a competitive gymnast. At 16 she began studying Persian dance and soon after added modern, jazz, and Hip-Hop. As a Dance, Choreography and Performance major at San Francisco State University her dance repetoire expanded to include salsa, samba, Capoeira, and belly dance. She has performed with Allan Frias's Mind Over Matter and Dance Brigade as well as choreographed and performed her own works throughout San Francisco and Mexico. In 2002, while teaching dance for San Francisco Unified School District and San Francisco Ballet's summer camp, she began teaching for the youth program at Dance Mission. Since 2007, she serves as Youth Program Director and Grrrl Brigade Manager at Dance Mission Theater.

Tina Banchero

Tina Banchero, Choreographer and Teacher

Tina has been performing in the SF/Bay Area for the last 9 years. She holds her BA in Dance from SUNY at Buffalo and a Yoga Teaching Certificate from Yoga Kula in Berkeley. Tina has performed with Ramon Ramos Alayo, Kim Epifano, Sue Li Jui, Monique Jenikson, Jose Navarette, Rapt Productions, and most extensively with Dance Brigade. Tina has directed and choreographed for the Dance Mission Theater Youth Program, the Grrrl Brigade, Planned Parenthood's Teen Reality Theater Troupe WNY and the opening ceremonies for Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. She also choreographed for Trolley Dances SF, Devious Inc. Movies and taught for the Bay School SF and the Alvin Ailey Summer Camps in Oakland and New York City.

Ramon Ramos Alayo

Ramón Ramos Alayo, Choreographer and Teacher

Ramón is a Cuban-born dancer, teacher, choreographer, is well known for his forceful performances and bold choreographic vision. Well versed in both Afro-Cuban modern and folkloric genres, Ramos is fearless in both his dance and choreographic style. At the age of eleven, Ramos was selected by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba and later earned a master's degree in contemporary and folkloric dance and dance education from Havana's National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Compa–'a Teatro de la Danza del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba and Narciso Medina Contemporary Dance Company in Havana, where he was ranked one of the top modern dancers and toured throughout Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize and the U.S. Since leaving Cuba 1997, he has performed with some of the most respected choreographers in the Bay Area, including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, Joanna Haigood, Robert Moses and Krissy Keefer. Ramón Ramos Alayo has directed and produced seven full-length performances including Anora–za de Una Epoca (1999), Mis Sue–os, Mis Ideas (2003, 2004); A Piece of White Cloth (2004, 2005, 2009); La Madre (2005); After Rain (2006); Three Threes & Traces (2007); and his latest full-length choreography, Blood + Sugar (2008). Ramón Ramos Alayo has received grants including: CASH (2005); Zellerbach Family Foundation (2005, 2006, 2007); LEF Foundation (2005); and San Francisco Arts Commission (2008). Ramos was also awarded the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation's "Emerging Choreographer Award" (2005). In 2003 Ramos co-founded and became artistic director of the renowned annual CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music. Since 2004 he continues to teach and choreograph for the Grrrl Brigade, Dance Mission's program for dance, self-empowerment and leadership for girls 9 - 18.

Bruce Ghent

Bruce "Mui" Ghent, Taiko Master

Bruce earned a degree in Modern Dance/Choreography from California Institute of the Arts in 1990 and went on to perform with notable dance and theater companies such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. and Berkeley Repertory Theater. He began his study of Taiko under Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka in 1993, where as a principal member of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo he toured internationally and performed with some of the great masters of Traditional Japanese Folk Music. Currently, he serves as resident Taiko Instructor/Composer at Dance Mission for Grrrl Brigade, and Dance Brigade for whom his work was nominated for a 2000-2001 Isadora Duncan Award. In October 2010 he will curate the 3rd annual Harvest Moon Taiko Festival at Dance Mission Theater.

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