Faculty

Mandy CottengimMandy 

Hi, I am Mandy Cottengim.  I grew up in the south bay and found my love for dance early. I started dancing at the early age of 2 under the direction of Miss Patty and Miss Tina (my mom and aunt) here at JPA. After years of dance training I began performing with the Fancy Dancers, and traveling the world dancing.  

 

I decided to continue my dance education and attend San Jose State University in 2001. Under the direction of Gary Masters, Fred Matthews, Janie Scott, and Heather Cooper, I graduated with a BA in dance and a minor in Business. Throughout out my four years of college I developed a love for teaching and performing. I have performed in many Great America shows, The Abigail Hosein Modern Dance Company, Weird Al Yankovic, and various local companies. After a few years of teaching and performing, I was hired as the dance teacher at Milpitas High School where I teach beginning and intermediate dancers the love of dance. In 2007, I went back to school to earn my teaching credential and Masters in Education.

 

I am married to my husband Ryan and we have a beautiful daughter named Makenna and a son named  Jordan.

 

 

 

 

Joanna JensenJoanna

I am Joanna Jensen and I grew up in the South Bay.  I started dancing at the young age of 2 at JPA and developed a love of dance early on.  I have studied tap, jazz, ballet, and every new dance form that came along. I have been teaching for over 12 years at JPA. I enjoy teaching kids the love of dance and to have fun through movement.

I have a Masters degree in Educational Counseling and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. When I am not teaching dance, I can be found working in Fremont Unified School District as a high school administrator. I enjoy working with students of all ages and love to see kids' faces when they hit the big stage each year during recital!

 

Sumiko Curtin

I am from Osaka, Japan, and have been teaching ballet class at Jensen Performing Arts since 1998.  I teach Ballet levels 1 ~ 6, technique, point, and competition team. 

As a little girl, I would always pass by a small ballet school on the way home from school.  I would be mesmerized as I stared through the window and fell in love with the art.  After watching each day’s lesson I would quickly rush home and practice by mimicking what I had seen each day.  After relentlessly asking my parents, soon enough, they allowed me to take ballet lessons. 

The passion I had as a little girl never died, and after many years of practice, I made it into the Homura Tomoi Ballet Company in Osaka Japan.  I have danced in many classic ballets, including: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Esmeralda, Graduation Ball, Paquita, La Bayadere, The Stone Flower and many more. (I also studied early childhood education at Tokiwakai College, following her love for children.)

 

Arielle ColeArielle I started dancing at Jensen’s Performing Arts when I was 3 years old. During my time at JPA, I was a member of TNTs, the Ballet Competition Team and the Fancy Dancers. I attended Lincoln High School in San Jose, CA where I was a member of the award-winning dance team, the Lincoln Convertibles.  Upon graduating from high school in 2007, I became certified to teach ballet through Dance Masters of California, Chapter 13. 

I later graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Buffalo with a BFA in Dance. Throughout my training, I have studied Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Improvisation and Acrobatics. In 2012, I traveled to Israel and danced in the MASA Dance Journey program with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. After my experience in Israel, I danced with various companies including World Dance Fusion in San Francisco, CA, Keshet Dance Company in Albuquerque, NM, and am now dancing with Montage Contemporary Company here in Santa Clara, CA.

I am very excited to be teaching again at my home studio where I can pass on my knowledge and love for dance to future generations. 

 

Cristina BustamanteTina 

I started dancing when I was four.  Yes, I too grew up in JPA.  I quickly learned to love tap the most but have taken classes in all dance forms.  I started assisting classes at JPA when I was very young and discovered my love for teaching.  After high school I attended San Jose State where I received my BA in Creative Arts, my teaching credential and a Masters in Educational Leadership.  I am also a member of Dance Masters of California.

Along with teaching dance I also teach at a middle school in San Jose.  When I am not teaching school or dance you can usually find me watching my son, Eli, playing baseball, spending time in Disneyland or hanging out with my dance family! 

 

Joni Yabut

I am Miss Joni. I began dancing at a young age all over the Bay Area and have found my home at Jensen Performing Arts, where I trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, and tumbling. I continued with my love for dance by performing with the Fancy Dancers and then in college with the Filipino Student Association and Boston University's premiere hip-hop team Vibes. I am very excited to extend my passion and knowledge with all our current JPA dancers especially in acro and hip hop.

In addition to teaching at the studio, I teach at the City of Milpitas Little Stars Learning Academy for preschoolers. I am also a certified teacher in the Acrobatics Arts AcroDance preschool program and GROOV3 - a hip hop/funk dance workout class great for all ages. And I'm a registered Yoga instructor (RYT-200) specializing in gentle vinyasa and yin restorative styles. I look forward to seeing you soon! :)

 

 

Michaela ZeitzMichaelaMy name is Michaela Zeitz and I’m currently a student at Ohlone College. I’ve been dancing for 16 years, been a Fancy Dancer for six, and held the title of Dance Captain for two consecutive years. I started teaching when I was 16 years old and have continued to do so ever since. It’s a pleasure to pass on the art of dancing as well as a great joy to see my students’ progress each year and grow into beautiful dancers.

I have been trained in many genres of dance: Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Acro, Hip-Hop as well as taken Modern/Contemporary, Ballroom, and Swing Dancing classes. I have also taken many master classes from professional dancers including Travis Wall, Twitch, Sonya Tayeh, Kenny Wormald, Stacey Tookey, and many others.

Dance has brought me to multiple cities to both compete and perform. It is something that I truly love and I am so thankful that I can hand it down to the next generation of dancers. 

 

Casey KitazumiCasey

As a bay area native, Casey Kitazumi started her dance training at the age of three. Throughout her life she has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, lyrical, and acro. Currently Casey is a BFA candidate at San Jose State University and is a company member of UDT. At San Jose State, she studies under Heather Cooper, Raphael Boumaila, Mark Foehringer, Dominique Serapio, Jill Yager and most recently Chafin Seymour. She has also had the opportunity to work with guest artists such as Paul Vickers, Mike Esperanza, Kyle Abraham & Company (AIM), Sean Dorsey Dance, Gallim and Rickey Trip. Casey has danced with several companies in the Bay Area including The Fancy Dancers, Acuity and Cabaret San Jose. In 2017 Casey became a member of PERSpectives Dance Company under the direction of Lindsey McLevis. Casey has also been a member of ArcTangent Dance Company since its inception in 2018.

Casey began teaching at Jensen School for the Performing Arts in 2014 and has loved it ever since. “As a dancer and dance educator, I believe in providing a space that is open to all ideas and thoughts. I want students to be involved in the process of creating, teaching, and learning just as much as I am. I want them to feel comfortable and confident to let their creativity grow and develop, while still finding ways of challenging their minds and strengthening their bodies. My mission is to encourage a long-lasting love and appreciation for the art of dance through not only physical aspects, but the life skills that can be learned as well. I want my students to thrive and succeed in the world we live in now, but also encourage them to succeed in creating a better world that doesn’t exist quite yet.” 

Tina Gonzalez JensenTina Gonzalez Jensen

Hi, I am commonly known as Miss Tina. I too grew up in a dance studio and took more classes than I could ever count.  I have been teaching dance since 1979.  Being one of the founding teachers of JPA, I am so proud to be part of the growth we have achieved over the years. 

Currently I am the Director of the JPA Children’s Dance Program.  When I am not teaching at JPA you can find me at the City of Milpitas Learning Stars Preschool Program where I am the Director.  I am also an active member in Dance Master of California. 

As you can see my life is pretty full with dance but I still have time to spend with my grandchildren and fur babies. 

 

 

Sharon Stoeppel 

I started dancing at the age of five and trained in acro, tap, jazz and Hawaiian.  I graduated from San Jose State University with a BA.  I have been with JPA since 1995 and am currently the Director of Acrobatics.  

I have been an Acrobatic instructor for over 35 years. In those years I have become a skilled choreographer for both show and competition routines.  I keep my skills sharp as an 11 year member of Dance Masters of California.  I teach all ages and all levels.  

 

Dana JensenDana Jensen

I grew up dancing in the bay area. I am a graduate from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelors in Dance. I have choreographed for many dance teams in California. I am also a former Miss Santa Clara and have also choreographed several pageant opening routines. Currently I am a special education teacher. Along with teaching children's dance, I have taught therapeutic dance for individuals with disabilities. 

 

Marcy Balbas - coming soon!

 

Charles Solomon

Anthony Charles T. Solomon started dancing at the age of 4 at his local studio in San Jose. In 1998 Charles got the opportunity from his teacher and mentor, Joy Sinnott, to become an assistant teacher, and in 2001 became a full-fledged teacher at his studio.  In 2007 he tested and became a member of Dance Masters of California chapter 13 and Dance Masters of America. Charles’ choreographic credits include, Lincoln HS Dance Dept., St. Francis High School Musicals, Piedmont Hills High School Musicals, Willow Glen High School Dance Team and the CSUMB Dance Team. He has also done choreography for many quinceaneras, cotillions and flash mobs, including those of PHHS Faculty and students, Saratoga Chamber of Commerce Classic Cool Car Show, and the American Cancer Society. Charles has also choreographed many award winning routines on the Regional and National level and has also received special judges awards. He has also received the Grant Gray award two times for best new choreography at De Anza College. He is proficient in teaching many levels in the subjects of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and Hip Hop. He now works as a teacher at the Willow Glen Elementary after school program where he has started a dance program for children TK - 5th grade. He is also theCo-Founder and Creative Director of the Dynamics Performance Team. Recently Charles and the Team celebrated their 15th season. In honor of this, he and the team received a special Congressional recognition from Ro Khanna and a commendation from the U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein for their ongoing dedication to celebrating the performing arts. Charles is excited to now be a part of the JPA family and be able to work with his mentors Miss Patty and Miss Tina. Charles hopes to spread the Love and Joy of dance to whoever he is teaching.

 

 

Staff

Karen ZeitzOperations – Some of my many hats include managing the front office, registration, in-house functions, and supporting recital.

Jackie KeithThe Dancewear House– I manage inventory, sales, ordering, and fittings.