Claudia teaches and performs in venues throughout Southern California, New Orleans and New York City. She has taught tap and jazz dance for the City of San Diego Civic Dance Arts, Young Audiences of San Diego, and currently teaches Tap and Jazz at Keiller Leadership Academy, Children’s Creative and Performing Arts Academy and Infinity Dance Sport Center.
In NYC, Claudia not only taught at Hospital Audiences, but also performed for several years as one of Mable Lee’s chorus dancers. Additionally, she worked as a choreographer at Tap Extravaganza / Flo-Bert Awards and danced at the renowned NYC tap dance festival, Tap City.
In New Orleans, Claudia played with Smoking Time Jazz Club and had the privilege of performing at the 2011 Big Easy Music Awards with acclaimed musician Meschiya Lake and her band Dem Lil Big Horns.
Claudia was the choreographer and dancer for Brick or Treat’s Boo Crew Tap Dancing Skeletons at LEGOLAND California. She is one of J Company Jr. Theatre’s dance instructors and choreographers and was nominated for best choreography by National Youth Arts in 2012 for J Company’s Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Other highlights in Claudia’s dance and acting career thus far include playing the role of Tijuana in Richard Montoya’s Federal Jazz Project at the Lyceum Theatre during spring 2013. She also played the Muse in Culture Clash’s anniversary/reunion show at Segerstorm Center’s Off Center Festival 2014 in Orange County. Claudia was the choreographer and featured dancer in both productions.
Ms. Gomez currently tap dances, plays percussion, and tours regularly with dynamic gypsy jazz band Trio Gadjo and Besos de Coco — an eclectic, jazz, world and chamber trio.
Claudia is the co-founder and co-producer of Olio The Show and director/producer/choreographer of The Cherries Jubilee, which are both part of Olio Productions, Inc., a company dedicated to the preservation, education and presentation of jazz music and its American vernacular dances. She is also the director of the annual San Diego Tap & Jazz Dance Festival.
True to the rhythm, eager to be on time, and dedicated to the dancers that came before her, Megan has a unique blend of styles that makes her a standout in the tap community. Megan has had the opportunity to take the stage with some of the world’s most renowned tap dancers such as Gregg Russell, Jason Janas, Jason Rodgers, Sarah Reich, Michela Marino Lerman, Chance Taylor, Jason Kalish, and more.
As a choreographer Megan excels and is able to bring out the best qualities in her students while pushing their limits in a positive way. Her choreography has won many prestigious competitive awards and her dancers have gone on to pursue professional careers in tap dancing. Besides tap dancing, Megan also has choreographed numerous youth musicals such as Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical and Joseph and the Technicolor coat.
Megan’s objective as an instructor is to dynamically train students in the art of tap dancing to enhance their current endeavors while preparing them for the future. Megan is the director of one of the most nationally recognized tap programs in San Diego, Ca at Danceology Performing Arts Campus, housing tap dancers ages 5-18yrs. Megan is able to break barriers with her students and help them to achieve goals as an individual artist.
Megan was recently seen featured as an “All Star” at the Industry Dance Awards in a tap piece choreographed by Gregg Russell, Gregg Russell’s “Non Stop Sounds in LA, Jason Janas’ one man show “Passages of a Man”, and at the Cal State Opening Games in #4problems. Megan dedicates her love of tap to Gregory Hines, Chance Taylor, Gregg Russell, Claudia Gomez, Ted Levy, Jason Janas and Barbara Duffy. Without them, she would not be where she is today. Megan had the honor of joining Gregg Russell’s tap company “Tap Sounds Underground” in Los Angeles, Ca
in 2012 and she is excited to continue her training, share her love of tap with her peers and have the opportunity to travel and perform.
Allison grew up dancing in San Diego and attended classes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York to further her dance education. She was a co-owner and director of a local dance studio for six years. She has trained in a variety of styles and disciplines with a focus on tap dancing. Her teaching style is also influenced by the instruction she received at The Acting Center. While in the dance studio business Allison had the opportunity to study, listen, and grow from a long list of artists and dancers. Allison is the co- director and faculty member and is excited to use her skills to make the San Diego Tap and Jazz Festival a top destination for dancers.
Michela Marino Lerman first appeared on Sesame Street at the age of 5. In February 2002 she was showcased on the cover of Dance Teacher magazine with Gregory Hines. In 2005, she was named by Dance Spirit magazine as one of the 20 hottest tap dancers under 20 and in 2008, Dance magazine named her as the only female tap dancer in its “25 to Watch in 2008.” Michela has appeared in both the Tap Extravaganza and Tap City numerous times over the past ten years. She won first prize in the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival’s, “Hoofer’s Challenge” in both 2002 and 2003.
In 2002, Michela performed with Jennifer Holliday on Broadway in Nothing Like A Dame and also in 21 Below at Town Hall. In 2003, she was inducted into the famed Copasetics as their first and only female lifetime honorary member. In 2004-2006, Michela toured Spain and Japan with Rafael Amargo’s Enramblao. In the fall of 2005, her choreography was featured in the tap section of the opening number for the Bermuda Music Festival with UDP, starring Al Green, Angie Stone, and Patti LaBelle.. At the age of 19, she was commissioned by Dixon Place to create and direct her own show, entitled AM+bu$h+ED.
2007 saw Michela tour Europe for 3 months as a lead dancer in the hit show Magic of the Dance and also appear in Sarah Savelli and Ayodele Casel’s Tappy Holidays. In 2008-2009, she was featured in the show hit “Wonderland,” an all tap show set to Stevie Wonder’s music and also in Chris Scott’s show W-L-U-V. In 2008 she appeared on CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars with Grammy award singer Mya, performing the choreography of Emmy award winner Jason Samuels Smith. Since 2007, Michela has been a featured performer at NYC’s hottest nightclub, The Box. She recently danced with the Roy Hargrove at the Jazz Gallery and the Village Vanguard. She has also been commissioned by the American Tap Dance Foundation and HarlemStage to show her new work entitled Tapsploitation. She was co-creator in forming the tap dance company The Tap Messengers who have performed at the CareFusion Jazz Festival with Talib Kweli and Nicholas Payton in the Revive Da Live Big Band, Joe’s Pub, and HarlemStage opening for Marcus Strickland. Her current company Sole Society has also appeared with Revive Da Live Big Band for the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival, performed at Fat Cat, Flushing Town Hall and most extensively collaborated with Marcus Strickland, creating choreography to some of his original music in “Strickly From the Sole” performed at Matthew Garrison’s ShapeShifter Lab.
Michela is also currently running the only weekly tap jam in NYC at Smalls Jazz Club, which has recently been written up in the NY Times. There she has been collaborating with some of today’s most gifted young jazz musicians including Joe Sanders, Ben Williams, Justin Brown, Harold O’Neal, Sullivan Fortner, and Burniss Earl Travis to name a few.
Michela is eternally grateful for the mentoring and guidance given to her by Dr. James “Buster” Brown, Gregory Hines, and Leroy Myers. She has taught in numerous schools, studios, programs, and festivals throughout the world. As a performer, teacher, director, and choreographer Michela is dedicated to spreading the art of tap around the world.
Michela recently headlined several of her own shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center as a band leader in New York City. She looks forward to returning next season!
Gabe Winns is 24 years old, born and raised in the great city of San Diego. He started dancing at the age of 11, and his love for the art form has continued to grow ever sense. He has toured worldwide with the critically acclaimed stage show, Tap Kids, and since moving to New York City, he has worked with various companies, including Dorrance Dance, Swing FX, Rhythm Refix and RumbaTap. He is also on the teaching faculty at Steps on Broadway. Past television credits include Americas Most Talented Kids (2002) and America’s Got Talent (2011), and currently he can be seen on TruTV’s new hit show Fake Off with the all-styles crew, The Body Poets. He is forever thankful for the support from his family, teachers and friends.
Nate and Tertia have been studying various swing dances since 1997. They are well known for their unique combination of raw energy, smooth style, but above all, their jitterbug spirit. It was their shared vision for the preservation of the history of Vernacular Jazz Dance and their absolute love for swing that brought them together 10 years ago. These days, Nate is a video game artist for one of the highest profile studios around and Tertia is the Academic Director of a turnaround charter school in southeast San Diego. And when they are not pursuing their careers or raising their children, the Sartains continue to spread their jitterbug spirit through teaching and competing- having most recently captured the 2014 California Balboa Classic Championship title. As a united force, they are carrying out their vision of keeping swing alive through the upbringing of their own little jitterbugs, who you will most likely see dancing on the dance floor not too far away from mommy and daddy.
Joseph C.Wiggan, native of Los Angeles, began tap dance with Paul and Arlene Kennedy. Joseph is a 2003 Music Center Spotlight Award winner, 2004 Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and winner of the 2005 Princess Grace Award for outstanding artistic achievement. Joseph performed in the american tour of Riverdance, tap dance musical Imagine Tap! choreographed by Derick K. Grant, and toured France and abroad in Jerome Savary’s musical comedy À la Recherche de Joséphine. As a teacher he has shared his artistry with people in Sweden, Japan, France, Guatemala, and Taiwan to name a few. Joseph has been a cultural exchange performer in Cuba, Peru, and Russia. Also, a featured guest in concert with Orlando Poleo, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Strickland, and Wynton Marsalis. Joseph works as a member of The Double J’s, a tap duo act with his older sister Josette. With her, he toured in two Cirque du Soleil shows spanning four years, and recently performed at the landmark Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Joseph attends the New School for Jazz and Contemporary music as a tap dancer, and hopes that other tap dancers will apply to university jazz programs worldwide!
Kazunori Kumagai was born in Sendai City, Japan. He started tap dancing at the age of 15 and came to NY at the age of 19. He trained in FUNK UNIVERSITY, the training workshop for the big hit Broadway musical Bring in da’ Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. He studied with Ted Levy, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Barbara Duffy, and Derick K. Grant.Since then, he has performed in many New York City downtown clubs, such as The Knitting Factory, Tonic, and just recently he performed his solo show at the Blue Note NY.
From 2002 to 2010, he performed in Tony Waag’s Tap City, the New York City Tap Festival nine times and was dubbed by The Village Voice as the “Japanese Gregory Hines.” In 2006, he was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” In 2014, He received the Flo-Bert Award, a prestigious award that honors tap dancers for outstanding achievements.
After Kazu went back to Japan in 2002, he made numerous solo appearances all over the country and collaborated with many artists and musicians, and appeared in several television commercials, such as SONY CYBERSHOT. He also performed in a MIHARAYASUHIRO fashion show in Milan, Italy, where he succeeded in opening up a new field of the arts. In 2008, he opened his first tap dance studio–KAZ TAP STUDIO–in Japan, and has subsequently taught throughout Japan including in his hometown of Sendai City, site of severe damage in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Kazu dedicates his passion and love for the art of tap dance to the great masters such as his mentor Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, Gregory Hines and others, as well as to the people of Sendai and the Tohoku region where his family and friends live.
Steve Zee, globe-trotting tap dancer, entertainer, musician and erstwhile candidate for president of the United States, performs his club act to sold out houses in Hollywood, CA.
When not trodding the boards and communicating with his constituents, Steve can be found teaching tap dance domestically and abroad. He has made five instructional tap videos and recently launched the world’s very first subscription-based, on-line tap school, Tap Academy Online www.TapAcademyOnline.com
Check out Steve’s TEDx talk on tap dancing and American History with a few of the many ideas he teaches at California State University, Long Beach in his Tap History Course.
Previously, Steve has danced with Gregory Hines and the Nicholas Brothers and has shared the bill with numerous tap notables. He has been a featured soloist in the Jazz Tap Ensemble and a member of Rhapsody In Taps. He has performed and taught in the United States, Europe, South America and in China.
Steve’s choreography is performed by professional dance companies and youth groups across the United States, Europe and South America and was featured at the Beijing International Dance Festival. He trained Kiril Kulish for the Broadway production of Billy Elliot for which Kiril won the Tony Award and has served as tap coach for pop icons David Lee Roth, Bette Midler and Toni Basil.
Steve edited the Oral History/Biography of tap master Stan Kahn (archived at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum) and the Oral History/Biography of Robert Scheerer (archived at the New York Public Library and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences).
As a theater artist, Steve trained at UCLA, the Sorbonne/Université de Paris III and with the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. By the way, if you’ve ever seen tap dancing Hershey’s Kisses on your TV, then you have heard Steve dance! Steve is on faculty in the dance department at CSU, Long Beach, at The Gabriella Foundation in Los Angeles and now at Loyola Marymount University.