“Dancers, your body is your voice… speak up.”
Desiree has spent the majority of her life dancing with 28 years behind her. She started training at Extensions when she was in high school, and was a member of the performing company that traveled and competed around the country where she received numerous scholarships. In 2001 she spent the summer training at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City as well as taking classes at Steps on Broadway. In 2002 she appeared on the new Star Search in a trio of girls from Extensions. In 2004 she won the national title of Senior Miss West Coast Dance Explosion, and traveled as an assistant on some of their conventions. She was also a member of, and principal dancer for, the Antelope Valley Ballet for 16 years. She has spent time teaching dance P.E. at a Palmdale High School, running the dance team at Lancaster High School, and assisting classes at Millennium Dance Complex in North Hollywood. She has been dedicating her passion for dance and teaching at Extensions for the past 15 years.
“There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.”
Kevin Herron II has been with Extensions Performing Arts Academy for the past 7 years. He has auditioned for Season 4 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” as well as musical artists Ciara and Omarion. He has coached the Amargosa Creek Middle School Dance Team to become three times State Champions for three years in a row. Kevin is one of the founding members of the Antelope Valley High School “Mix It Up Club” and Eastside High School’s “Step It Up Club” and still serves as the Hip Hop Choreographer. He continued his training studying with the Antelope Valley College Dance Department as a choreographer for their annual Dance Dimensions Concert. Currently, Kevin serves as the studio’s Hip Hop Team Director and a member of the theatrical dance company known as “Academy of Villains”.
Jamie Varalyay has loved dance for the past 10 years. She started dancing at Extensions PAA as a scholarship student and has diligently worked her way up as an Elite Performing Company member and is now a teacher. Jamie has danced with the Antelope Valley Ballet and has had notable roles in their productions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Giselle. She has also performed in local theatre productions of Hair and A Chorus Line. Jamie has a passion for musical theatre and enjoys teaching dance to the little ones.
“If dance is your passion then it’s more than just dancing, it’s a message. You’re giving your individual message and you can speak if you choose to be quiet.”
Mark Stephens has danced since he was a kid but claims he never took it seriously until he was 19 years old. His first dance performance was at Antelope Valley College in 2008 and it was the moment he fell in love with dancing and was motivated to become a better dancer. Mark started dancing at Extensions in 2010 and started assisting in 2014. He went on to become a teacher in 2015. Mark choreographs for Extensions’ HipHop Team and has led them to win Platinum, 1st Place, Judges Choice and Gold. In his 8 years of dance, Mark has choreographed at Antelope Valley College and was a co-leader of a HipHop Dance Crew the “ILLest Movement.” He has taught at multiple schools such as Eastside High, Amargosa Middle School and Sunnydale Elementary and led their teams to win first place at Young Champions. He has been a back-up dancer for celebrities such as New Boys, Nick Cannon, Cali Swag District, and YG. Mark feels that dance is more then just a hobby and is a passion for him. It expresses his personality and helped him become the person he is.
“My goal now is to inspire the new generation to love dance as much as I do.”
Jennifer began dancing at the age of 16. She took her first jazz class ever, and realized that being on stage and performing was something that she wanted to keep doing. Jen enrolled into more classes and eventually became a member of the Performing Company and loved every minute of it. Jen’s goal of dance at the time was to never stop growing. Jen began dancing at Antelope Valley College and quickly became a member of their dance ensemble. Jen has since become a teacher at “the one place that started [her] passion of dance” and her love for dance and new love of teaching has ignited her passion so much. Jen not only teaches at Extensions, but is also the Dance Coach at Amargosa Middle School.
“Dance requires a strong work ethic, perseverance and integrity. My hope for each of my students is that they not only walk out of my class a better dancer, but a better person as well.”
Juliana Tongco began dancing at Extensions Performing Arts Academy in 2003 at the age of 9. Now, approaching her fourteenth season with Extensions, she is trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, pointe, and hip hop. Juliana is a former Corps de Ballet member of the Antelope Valley Ballet company, with notable roles in Cinderella, The Nutcracker, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She started as an assistant instructor in 2013, and began teaching in our senior ballet program in 2014. Juliana continued to dance while simultaneously receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Northridge, and now enjoys teaching full time with Extensions. Juliana believes that a dancer never stops learning, and has chosen to further her dance education by learning from instructors both in the Antelope Valley as well as Los Angeles.
“If you only knew how much those little movements with you mattered to me.”
Stefon Wade has been part of the dance community for the past 5 years. He loves to dance and share his passion through instruction with hopes to inspire others to be the best dancer they can be. He began dance, especially Hip-hop, at the age of 17. Then at the age of 19 he started dancing with Antelope Valley College. It was there that he began to start expanding his knowledge of dance by taking ballet, jazz and modern classes with Cindy Littlefield. His style combines intricacy and isolated contemporary. He is influenced by the likes of Chris Martin, Pat Cruz, Scott Forsyth, Isidro Rafael and Keone Madrid. He is currently a teacher and choreographer at Extensions Performing Arts Academy and our Performing Company and HipHop Team.
“I wouldn’t be alive or breathing if I didn’t have dance”
Jacqueline Briceno has been dancing for 12 years having started at the age of 7. Dancing has been one of the most amazing experiences of her life and she couldn’t imagine her life without dance. Now 19, Jacqueline has had the time and the motivation to grow as a dancer and proved herself a strong, inspiring dancer. She claims her growth is due to our amazing teachers she’s learned from; Desiree, Lydia, Kevin, Nom-L, Stefon, Clarissa and Mark. They have been such an inspiration to her. Jacqueline is also inspired by her students, their growth as dancers and watching them show so much progress makes her want to do the same thing. Jacqueline considers Extensions more than just a dance studio; to her it is a second home and family. Jacqueline can’t even begin to explain how proud of herself she is for pushing herself everyday and trying to further her dance career. Which wouldn’t have even been possible for Extensions and the amazing people there.