MEET OUR FACULTY!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Allison’s love for dance began when she was 6 years old, after taking her very first jazz class at HeartBeat with Director Teri Nash. In third grade, she started on HeartBeat’s first competition team and competed in several different styles up until her high school graduation. During her many years at HeartBeat she trained in lyrical, jazz, ballet, and tap and developed a passion for lyrical and contemporary.
Her love for dancing quickly turned into a love for teaching dance as she began choreographing competition routines for HeartBeat during her four years at college. She has since graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology. She also took many ballet, modern, and jazz classes as well as theatre and lighting production through the School of Music and Dance at UO.
Allison will be teaching conditioning and a few different levels of lyrical, as well as continuing to choreograph for the competition team. She is very excited to be teaching and is looking forward to watching dancers’ abilities grow and their passions flourish. HeartBeat has been her home since 2004 and she wants to continue to foster a positive and rewarding dance environment that she was lucky enough to receive.
Alice Foy grew up in Millbrae, CA, and has been dancing since the age of 3. She has experience in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and tap, but her favorite is contemporary dance. She began her teaching career at the age of 17, where she discovered her love of children. She then decided to pursue a BA in Education Sciences at UC Irvine, where she graduated within only 2 years with specializations in Early Childhood Learning and Development and Children’s Learning and Development. Her favorite part of teaching dance is watching her students learn new skills, work hard at them, and gain confidence in their abilities!
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.