MEET OUR FACULTY!

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TERI NASH

Director

Teri has been a director and teacher of HeartBeat Dance Academy since 2002.  Prior to this, Teri taught at various local dance studios, including Shely Pack Dancers and Millbrae Dance Academy.  She has been active in the community, choreographing for many schools and summer programs.  Teri began her training in the bay area at the age of 9, studying under Benny Smith and many local dance studios and teachers.  Teri is a member of and certified dance instructor through Dance Masters Association.  Teaching and coaching dancers of all ages is her passion.  Teri is proud to watch the growth and development of her dancers and studio.

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MOLLIE NASH

Competition Director, Instructor

Mollie has been performing and competing many different genres of dance in the Bay Area for over 15 years. She received great training from many instructors in the Peninsula and was given the opportunity to perform in many musicals, festivals, and professional sports games. Mollie began choreographing at the age of 16 for her high school dance team as well as teaching the first Hip Hop classes here at HeartBeat Dance Academy. She attended Sonoma State University to pursue a Business Degree and participated in a nationally ranked collegiate team, which gave her the opportunity to perform and compete around the nation. During this time, she continued to choreograph competition routines at HeartBeat and also founded one of the first high school dance teams in Sonoma County. After receiving her degree, Mollie now works at HeartBeat Dance Academy full-time, working as the Office Manager, Competition Co-Director, and still pursuing her passion of choreography through competition and classes.

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MEGAN LYSGAARD

Instructor

Megan Lysgaard began to dance at the age of three at Menlo Park Academy of Dance where she trained under Director Sarah-Jane Measor in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) technique. While studying at MPAOD, Ms. Lysgaard also had the privilege of studying with Leyla Boissonnade, Nona Ybarra, & Anthony LoCascio. Ms. Lysgaard participated on the competition team & won national competitions all over the country & was featured on numerous occasions on national television for winning “Best Overall” in her category at the International Dance Challenge (IDC). Ms. Lysgaard continued her dance career at San José State University where she obtained a degree in the Bachelor Arts from the School of Music and Dance, in which her focus was Jazz & Modern. Ms. Lysgaard studied directly under Gary Masters, & has performed in many fall & spring concerts. Ms. Lysgaard was additionally involved with the advanced performing company, University Dance Theater, also under the direction of Gary Masters. Now Ms. Lysgaard continues to perform & teach at HeartBeat Dance Academy, under Director Teri Nash. 

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CLARISSA KO

Instructor

Clarissa K. Ko is Instructor a MSEd Learning Design and Technology candidate at Purdue University and received her BA in Performing Arts and Social Justice (Dance) from the University of San Francisco. She is teacher and dancer versatile in many genres of dance such as ballet, lyrical, jazz, contemporary/modern, contact improvisation and other partner dances. Currently, she teaches with HeartBeat Dance Academy, ODC’s Youth and Teen Program, and Performing Arts Workshop. Her pedagogy promotes healthy bodies, anatomical awareness, and composition skills in each individual student. Clarissa is the founder and Artistic Director of Five Feet Dance, a modern dance company in San Francisco. Clarissa shares her joy of dance with students of all ages from toddlers to older adults and is inspired every day by their spirit, creativity, and individuality.

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ALEX GEORGE

Instructor

Alex began her dance training at the age of 8 in Modesto, CA and has been persistently studying all forms of dance since. In 2007, she became captain of STRUT Dance Team, a nationally ranked championship team. She and her team Instructor - traveled all over California and Las Vegas earning 1st place at dance nationals for four consecutive years. In 2011, STRUT qualified for USASF Dance Worlds and took 4th place representing the USA in Orlando, FL. Alexandria earned a B.S. Health Science from DePaul University Chicago, and was an active member of the DePaul University Dance Team for 2 years. While in Chicago, Alexandria choreographed performances featured at a Chicago Bulls Game as well as Madison Square Garden in New York. Alexandria currently works in pediatric research at Stanford University, and enjoys writing and dancing in her free time.

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SARAH ESCOBEDO

Instructor

Sarah Escobedo is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Growing up in the Bay Area, she danced and competed nationally for several studios in various styles such as jazz, ballet, contemporary, and hip hop. She received her B.A. in Dance from San Francisco State University and holds a M.F.A. in Dance Studies from Mills College. During her time at SFSU, she was a member of the University Dance Theatre, participating in the dance department’s mentorship program with ODC.  Sarah currently is a Professor at West Valley College teaching composition choreography and ballet. She also coaches Carlmont High School’s Varsity Dance Team and is a Principal dancer for Emergence Dance Company, a modern/contemporary collective in San Francisco.

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SERENA RODRIGUEZ

Instructor

Serena began dancing in Cupertino, California at age six studying jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, and lyrical. She started dancing competitively by the age of eight and continued through college, taking classes in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. Serena has danced for semi pro teams and had the opportunity to perform in Los Angeles, including Disneyland’s California Adventures, Las Vegas, and Orlando. She started working for Heartbeat Dance Academy in 2015.

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JERIC PEREGRINO

Instructor

As early as he can remember, Jeric was born a performer, dancing with and for groups of people at the age of 5. While participating in his school’s dance productions, he picked up on various dance styles such as Hip Hop, West African, Fosse, Belly, Ballet, Contemporary, and more. Exploring his own groove, Jeric choreographed for Jefferson High School’s rallies and became lead coach/choreographer when he graduated. With 6 years of teaching experience, he has taught at several dance studios, high schools, and college programs. Outside of school, Jeric has trained with a couple dance teams and has competed all over California. He had the opportunity of auditioning for America’s Got Talent with Str8jacket and dancing backup for Filipino celebrities. Jeric is a choreographer and former team captain for Str8jacket. Dance constantly gives Jeric the motivation and purpose to work towards bettering himself and his community. Jeric believes anyone can positively benefit from dance by working hard, embracing self discipline, developing confidence, trusting the journey, and thus reaping the reward of self discovery.

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DARA TAKEMORI

Instructor

Dara Takemori, a Bay Area native, has been teaching dance for 13 years and competitive tap for 10 years. Her competitive solos, duets/trios, and groups have won top awards at the regional and national levels; her success includes a Petite Miss Dance of America finalist in 2013. While tap dance is her passion, Dara is also trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, pointe, and hip hop. Most of her dance training took place at Schumacher’s School of Dance in South San Francisco under the direction of Dolly Schumacher James, Julie Wroten, Wendy James, and Maribel Lavin. Dara has also continued to train with talented Bay Area choreographers such as Ayako Takahashi, Berle Davis, and Bob Macke. The highlight of Dara’s professional career was performing as a backup dancer to Jackie Chan and Superstars in Concert held at the Grand Garden Arena at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. She was also invited to join Cirque Du Soleil at the age of 15. Dara is a graduate of San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and a minor in Psychology. Dara is very excited to join the talented teachers at Heartbeat Dance Academy!

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KYLIE BOCKHOLT

Instructor

Kylie began dancing at age 3 at a small studio in Foster City. A couple years later started training at another studio called Kirkpatricks where she was taking tap and ballet, then realized ballet wasn’t the best fit, and started taking jazz instead. Once she started high school at San Mateo, she became involved with the dance ensemble where she would be involved with half time performances, dance showcases and went to New York twice with the dance classes from San Mateo High to take classes with Broadway cast members and went to some popular studios in NYC like, Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. She also switched dance studios again and started taking modern and ballet at Dance Arts Center. Kylie took dance training more seriously, so serious that she wanted to pursue dance as a career. She began looking into colleges that offered dance programs to pursue a BFA. In 2017, she graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in dance performance and got a job working for a charter school as a dance teacher in Arizona for a year while working at a studio as well called Just Dance. She just moved back to the Bay Area and teaches Jazz and Conditioning at Heartbeat!

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LEXI NUTKIEWICZ

Instructor

Lexi's passion for hip-hop began when she took her first popping class at 7 years old. While she was heavily involved in soccer throughout childhood, she eventually stopped playing at age 15 to focus on dance, choreographing for her dance team, taking master workshops, and teaching part-time youth and adult classes. She left California to attend the University of Colorado Boulder and joined the university's hip-hop/street dance crew. As captain of the crew, she emphasized creating a positive and inclusive space for the dancers to express themselves. After graduating in 2018, she moved to the Bay Area and joined Str8jacket Dance Company. Lexi is grateful for all of the training and performance opportunities and even got to fulfill her lifelong dream of competing at World of Dance in July 2019. Lexi wants her students to have a safe space where they can grow as dancers and individuals.

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TESSA DEMETRIS

Instructor

Tessa DeMetris began dancing at the age of 4 studying Ballet, Tap & Jazz.  She received her BA in dance at San Francisco State University where she fell in love with Modern Dance.  After college she trained intensively with Janice Garrett and Mary Carbonara at ODC in San Francisco.  Tessa has performed with a variety of companies including Peninsula Dance Theater, Broadway By the Bay, SFSU Dance Theater, Paco Gomes, McCarthy Dance Project, RAWdance and requisitedance.  She has taught dance for 20 years at Kirkpatrick's School of Dance where she founded the Modern Dance program. Her passion lies in creating movement that inspires intense emotion while allowing the audience the freedom to create their own unique story. 

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HBDAOFFICE@GMAIL.COM | 650.367.7501

1835 Belburn Drive, Belmont 94002

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