Thrive Dance Center * 3623 Old Conejo Road Suite 100 * Newbury Park * CA 91320 * (805) 375-9988

Ahjalia Hall

Ahjalia Hall is originally from San Jose, California and has been training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical Contemporary and Hip Hop since age 2. As the daughter of a professional dancer, choreographer and studio owner, her passion for dance began at birth. When dancers grow up in a dance studio environment they are exposed to ALL of the different aspects of dance and dance education and choreography and teaching has always been in the forefront for Ahjalia. 

 

Cousin to Alex Haley, author of the award winning book Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, history, family and dedication to the arts has always been a priority. At age 16, she moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and pursue dance, choreography and dance instruction. At UCLA she was a member of the nationally ranked UCLA All-Star dance team (directed by Andrew Vaca) and a regular in the World Arts and Cultures (Dance) Program, where she studied all different styles of dance, from around the world. Ahjalia graduated from UCLA at the age of 20 with a degree in Sociology and a concentration in Education, which she uses daily in her work teaching developing and professional dancers.

 

Ahjalia’s versatility is endless as she has taught Hip Hop, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Ballet, Yoga, Cheerleading, and Movement classes to dancers of all ages at over 100 different Pre- schools, Elementary, Jr. High, High Schools, Universities and Dance Studios throughout California and the United States. She is currently on staff with the United Spirit Association (USA) as a Head Instructor, Master Teacher, a member of the Program Development Team. With USA she has been awarded Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, Leadership and Unity awards annually for the past 13 years. Ahjalia travels the country teaching Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary & Lyrical Master classes as well as University Dance Camps to thousands of Junior High, High School, College and Dance Studio students throughout the year. She also works actively judging team tryouts, regional and national USA and Golden State competitions and is a 2 time judge for USASF WORLD DANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS in Orlando Florida, and USA Japan Nationals in Japan. She has worked with and choreographed for nationally ranked dance teams throughout the United States, including UCLA’s dance & spirit team and Boise State Universities Mane Line Dancers. Ahjalia has participated as a dancer and instructor for the Los Angeles Avengers, Los Angeles Clippers Spirit and the San Francisco 49ers halftime shows and was also an instructor for the NFL Pro Bowl Half-Time Show with live performers “Lifehouse”.


While performing will always be a hobby, it is definitely not in the forefront because Ahjalia’s true passion is teaching and with her contagious energetic personality and non stop attack on choreography her classes are always unforgettable. Working with developing dancers and watching them learn and grow each year is what makes this talented instructor tic!

Director/Co-Owner

Jennifer Maples

Jennifer Maples works as a choreographer, teacher, composer, vocalist, dancer, and actress. She has studied dance on scholarship in both New York (Steps, Broadway Dance Center) and Los Angeles (EDGE, Tremaine).  Jennifer is a master teacher nationally and her choreography has been recognized by numerous national dance competitions, (LADF, West Coast Dance Explosion, Tremaine, JUMP, MOVE) She has received rave reviews in the LA Weekly and BackstageWest/Dramalogue locally and was awarded the LA WEEKLY Theatre Award for BEST CHOREOGRAPHER 2008 for her work on the World Premier of Frank Zappa’s JOE’S GARAGE.  

 

She toured with the Broadway National company of CATS and has starred in many regional musical theatre productions including:  Evita, Cabaret, Three Penny Opera, Tintypes and Anything Goes.  She was the Performing Arts Director for the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, and is the writer, creator and consultant to several county agencies on multi media educational assembly programs currently touring LA County schools. She was a session singer for Lakeshore Records.  You can hear on several movie soundtracks and commercials.  She was the lead singer in her own L. A. based rock band, Ma’s Furnace and she produced, directed and starred in her own rock opera, I Hate TV which played to sold out houses in Hollywood.  Her choreography can also be seen on several up and coming gymnasts throughout the Southern California area.  

 

Jennifer loves teaching and sharing her passion for dance and performing with all of her students. Thrive Dance Center is a dream come true for her and she is grateful for her dancer life! 

Director/Co-Owner

Angela Nelinger

Angela Nelinger was born and raised in Thousand Oaks and has been training in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Musical Theater and Tap since the young age of 9. Throughout high school, Angela participated in the Thousand Oaks High School dance program, performing in their various concerts, all while continuing her studio training full time and working at the front desk. Mentored by Ahjalia Hall, Angela learned the ins and outs of what it takes to run a studio, which awakened her interest in the management side of the business.

 

During college, Angela worked part time as the Manager at a local day care center, as well as worked part time at the front desk at Thrive Dance Center. She studied Child Development and Psychology where she later realized her heart and passion was with the studio. Angela graduated from Moorpark College with her Associates Degree in Social Behavioral Science. Still working full time at Thrive Dance Center, she worked her way to becoming the Studio Manager.

 

Working along side 2 inspirational woman, Ahjalia Hall and Jennifer Maples, Angela’s passion for dance and desire to have a positive impact on students has brought her to where she calls “home”. You’ll catch Angela in dance classes every once in a while but you will always see her smiling and friendly face at the front desk fielding any questions or concerns you may have. Her attention to detail, customer service and love for the students make her one of the most recognizable and comforting faces at Thrive. 

Studio Manager

Peety Escovedo

Peety is a third generation entertainer, receiving instruction beginning at 2 years of age by legendary Poppers; Poppin Pete, Poppin Taco, and Suga Pop. These street dancers are responsible for Michael Jackson’s robot, slide, and wave-like movements.  Peety has been performing for over 20 years and has been teaching Hip Hop and Breaking for almost 14 years. He has trained with famed choreography duo, Dennon and Sayber Rawles, in the disciplines of Jazz, Tap, and Ballroom.


In the Industry, Peety remains active, as he continues to make his mark across the spectrum of show business. Some credits include: Prince, Miley Cyrus, Wayne Brady, Martin Short, Tom Jones, Bobby Valentino, Judith Hill, B. Howard, The Federation, The Groovaloos, High School Musical.  He has shared the stage with: Madd Chadd, Bboy Rainen, Bboy Venum, Bboy Steelo, Bboy Cloud, Bboy Double-O, Super Crew, Beat Freaks, Bboy Flipz, Ashlee Nino and he is excited to share his knowledge and skills with the students at Thrive Dance Center.

Instructor

Pavel Tabutov

Pavel Tabutov fell in love with ballet upon his first demi plié and began training at the  Academy of Ballet and Arts in Chicago. Later, he received extensive Jazz and Contemporary training at Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center and Visceral Dance Center.  He went on to perform with Chicago Dance Crash utilizing his acrobatic experience he gained as an ALL STAR cheerleader with ICE Athletics.  

 

As a choreographer, Pavel was awarded Best Choreography Award from Hall of Fame for several of his works. Later, he began to work with U.S.A. Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics National team teaching them different styles of dance to advance their choreography and movement skills. 

Alexa Diaz

Alexa began dancing at the age of 10 near her home in Southern California. Although she started recreationally, she soon realized she couldn’t get enough of it. She was hooked. Through competitions and conventions, she won multiple awards and worked with numerous choreographers including: Tiffany Burton, Cheryl Baxter, Mallauri Esquibel, Tina Diamato, Mark Meismer, and Shane Sparks. She was apart of Shane Sparks’ Hip hop crew, “Floor Rockers” and performed at many events under his direction. She danced in movies including “Sunday School Musical” and “School Gyrls”. She has also performed in many charity functions such as Kids for Kids, Day of the Child and Dizzyfeet. She is presently a member of Joelle Martinec’s SoleVita Dance Company, performing in various venues, from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles to Costa Rica. Alexa can also be seen in a featured role as the Magic Carpet in Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. 


Currently, Alexa is pursuing her B.A. in Child Development at CSUN in addition to performing, teaching dance and choreographing for children of all ages. She loves being able to share her passion with others and looks forward to teaching the hungry dancers of Thrive Dance Center.

Instructor

Jayy Gamble

Jayy Gamble is a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer who started his career training at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. After leaving the academy he went on to dance professionally with some of today’s top performing artists. Jayy has had the honor of performing with Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Todrick Hall, just to name a few. Jayy has also been featured in various dance videos with top choreographers on YouTube.  

 

Jayy studies dance pedagogy from his inspirations and passes that knowledge along to his students. While dancing professionally, Jayy was given the opportunity to coach dance for many middle and high schools in the Los Angeles School District. He strives to give his students a platform that will keep dance at the center of their lives.

 

After leaving the school district, Jayy was given the opportunity to teach dance at the University level at both Pierce College and California State Northridge and has shared his wealth of knowledge at various studios across Los Angeles. Jayy’s teaching style is high energy and powerful, with a bit of “SLAY”. Jayy hopes to travel the world as a choreographer/dancer and share his knowledge with all those that are willing to learn.

Instructor

Savannah Hooks

Savannah Hooks has been dancing since the age of 3 and is classically trained in the Cecchetti Ballet System. She loves all styles of dance and continues to train in many styles including lyrical, contemporary, jazz, ballet, modern, and hip hop. For the past five years, she has been a dancer in the company Unity Dance Ensemble, founded by Tessandra Chavez, a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance and on the PULSE faculty. She has also been a member of the newly established hip-hop crew, High Profile, which resides in Las Vegas. She is currently a student at CSUN majoring in math for Secondary Education and can proudly admit she went to Calculus Camp in high school. She is also a certified Pure Barre Instructor and has been a dance instructor for the United Spirit Association for the past 3 years. She has assisted and/or trained under many great dance artists such as Tessandra Chavez, Liz Imperio, KJ Gonzales, Jaffar Smith, Khasan Brailsford, Joe Loera, Dee Caspary, Keone Madrid, and many more. She can be seen as a dancer in Josh Strickland’s music video for his single “Report to the Floor” which debuted on the TV show Holly’s World. More recently she has been an assistant for a variety of choreographers on Abbey Lee’s Ultimate Dance Competition. Taking it back to high school, Savannah was captain of her dance team for 2 years and took 2nd place at the U.S.A. solos champion Finals. She loves teaching and inspiring others through dance and plans on doing just that for the rest of her life. 

Instructor

Nikki Bulman

Nikki Bulman is a dancer, photographer and choreographer. She started dancing at the age of eight years old and immediately fell in love. She is trained in all types of styles such as Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Modern. She has won several scholarships at Tremaine, Co Dance, NYCDA, NUVO and Hollywood Connection. Her scholarships have allowed her to study at the Broadway Dance Center in New York and the Millennium Dance Studio in LA. She has assisted numerous dance conventions including Hollywood Dance Connection where she is also the photographer.

 

Although Nikki loves to dance, her true passion is in choreography and teaching.

She has been teaching for 12 years and has choreographed and taught in Washington State, Utah and California.

She specializes in teaching Hip Hop, Contemporary and Jazz but loves

to teach Tap, Lyrical, Modern, Ballet as well. Her choreography has been recognized all over the country and has received many “Highest Overall” and “Judges Choice” awards at various competitions.

 

Nikki is so excited to start teaching for Thrive Dance Center. She loves getting to know her students on a personal level and help them grow as dancers. She inspires her students with her impeccable technique and energy!

Instructor

Alyssa Clark

Alyssa Belden has been a lover of dance since the young age of 3 when she took her first ballet class. At age 7, she began taking jazz, hip hop, and tap and realized that dance would be a huge part of her for the rest of her life. She continued dancing and competing in all styles of dance, winning many awards at regional dance competitions. At age 18, Alyssa decided to focus on teaching. She began teaching jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical, and hip-hop and continues to teach all levels and all ages throughout Ventura County. Alyssa has won many awards for her choreography in lyrical, jazz, and hip-hop. She also shares her love of teaching at several studios throughout Los Angeles and Ventura County. Alyssa studied at Moorpark College where she received her AA in dance. She was chosen to present 6 of her own pieces for their Faculty Dance Concerts and continues to guest choreograph and perform in their concerts. Alyssa was also chosen as a finalist for the Richard Carpenter Scholarship Competition 2 years in a row where she won $1500 for her choreography and performance. 
Alyssa continues her dance education as much as she can and continues to learn and work with dance industries hottest choreographers. Alyssa also studies with Ben Allen, Mark Meismer, Joaquin Escamilla, and many other teachers in order to keep growing as a dance educator. She has also assisted Master Classes with Joaquin Escamilla. Alyssa continues to guest perform in various shows such as "POP! A Michael Jackson Tribute", "Miss Ventura County Pageant" as the opening number and guest performance two years in a row, and many others! She is thrilled at any chance she has to perform or present her choreography on stage. Alyssa is thrilled to be a member of the Thrive team and share her passion for dance with her students.

Instructor

Holly Barile

Holly Barile began her dance training at the age of 3 at Dancenter North in Libertyville IL and continued her training at the Dance Academy of Libertyville. Her training is well rounded having trained in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, and Modern and also studied for three years on scholarship at the Milwaukee Ballet Pre-Professional Summer Program. She spent 7 years performing with the Terpsichore Dance Ensemble in various choreographic works and full-length ballets. At the age of 11 she received a scholarship to the Chicago Human Rhythm Project and performed with the Especially Tap Company. Upon graduation Holly continued her training at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and Lou Conte Dance Studio in Chicago, IL. She also began performing as a guest artist throughout the Chicagoland area. Upon moving to Los Angeles she has danced with California Contemporary Ballet and is a member of Hart Pulse Dance Company.


Holly’s love of teaching began as a teen when she started as a teacher assistant and substitute. She began teaching full time and found a passion for sharing her knowledge and the joy of dance to her students. Before moving to Los Angeles she received the honor of being voted as one of Chicago’s top dance teachers. Her goal is to give the students of Thrive the kind of wonderful training and love for performing that she received as a young dancer.

Instructor

Caitlin Heflin

Caitlin is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, where she grew up studying under Tina Trinkler. She attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she had the opportunity to perform works by Joost Vrouenraets and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, as well as performing works by Martha Graham in conjunction with the Graham Company. Studying at the Nutmeg Conservatory and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in the summers to round out her dance education, she is a versatile dancer with a strong background in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Tap. She graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance Performance and a BA in Economics, and moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue her professional career with Thodos Dance Chicago. Since relocating to Los Angeles, she has worked with Cherice and Charissa Barton, Christian Denice, Vincent Paterson, Chard Gonzalez Dance Theatre, Louise Reichlin & Dancers, Jana Taylor + Dancers, and is a company member with Seda Aybay’s Kybele Dance Theater.

 

Though she taught throughout college on the side, it was in Chicago that she truly she embarked on her teaching career with Dance Academy of Libertyville, and at various other studios all over the Chicagoland area. She has continued her teaching career here in California, where she hopes to share her overwhelming love for dance technique and artistry with her students here at Thrive. 

Instructor

Sami Simon

Sami Simon, a native of Southern California, has been training in various styles of dance since she was five years old. She began her training in her hometown of Thousand Oaks, California, where she was trained in jazz, ballet, modern, hip-hop, lyrical/contemporary, tap, and more. As a competitive dancer, she showcased many different styles and earned top rankings for her solo routines. In addition, she earned several competition and convention scholarships that lead to opportunities assisting many talented choreographers. Her love for dance lead her to attended California State University, Long Beach Department of Dance where she graduated and obtained her BFA in dance. Focusing heavily on different modern techniques, Sami has had the privilege to study under the guidance of many talented artists as well as perform for notable choreographers such as Laurel Jenkins and Norbert De La Cruz III. She has also had the privilege of performing throughout Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Avengers, Los Angeles Clippers and NCAA halftime shows. Since graduating from CSULB, Sami has become an instructor for the USA (United Spirit Association) teaching thousands of dancers on University campuses throughout the United States. In addition she furthered her training by taking part in the BASI Pilates certification program. Sami is excited to be teaching at her home studio, Thrive, and looks forward to inspire her students through movement and dance.

Instructor

Sasha Cortes

Sasha, a Ventura County native, began dancing at the age of 7 after witnessing the magic of a la seconde turns. While training intensively in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, and hip hop, Sasha decided to immerse herself in the world of competition dance and never looked back. After winning numerous titles and championships in the competition scene, Sasha began performing locally and working with local talent. She has opened up for various artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, PacDiv, Frankie J, New Boyz, and q104.7 to name a few, and has collaborated and choreographed for music videos as well. Sasha began teaching dance at the age of 15 and fell in love with being able to give back to her students the way her teachers gave to her. Being able to share her passion while watching her students grow has become something that she will never take for granted. 

Instructor

Shana Williams

No stranger to performing or teaching, Shana is proud to be a part of Thrive Dance Center. Shana is glad to be working with children again since she has been working in the field of children's theatre since she was a child herself. She performed with the Children's Museum of Los Angeles in their Reader's Theatre Ensemble as well as taught in their Reading Edge program.  Through this program Shana traveled to schools all over Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley to help children learn and appreciate the joys that creating, writing, and performing can bring. She believes that entertainment is a valuable tool to help anyone learn what they need to accomplish their goals. Shana is currently working  in the field of comedy writing and performing with two sketch companies, TMI at Second City Hollywood, and Strait Jacket Society. She is currently working on short films, her one woman show, a series of webisodes, and was recently seen as on the big screen in the film Amelia’s 25th as Pinky.  She is excited to share her passion with Thrive Community.

Acting Instructor

Randy Guiaya

Randy is an actor and teacher and has been an instructor at Thrive since 2014. He’s a graduate of USC’s Thornton School of Music, and has maintained a private voice studio in Los Angeles since 1996. His clients have appeared on and off Broadway, in national tours, regional theaters, opera houses as well as as on and off camera singers.

 

He has served as an accompanist and choral director for many churches and schools and has been a staff accompanist at Schurr High School in Montebello since 1998.


As an actor, Randy last appeared in the critically acclaimed and award-winning production of NEXT TO NORMAL at East West Players, and along with his castmates, received an Ovation Award nomination for Best Ensemble. Other favorite theater credits include: THE CHRISTIANS (Center Theater Group/Mark Taper Forum), PACIFIC OVERTURES (East West Players), STEEL ([INSIDE] the Ford), and VISIONS (Los Angeles Theater Center). TV: The Office and Jimmy Kimmel Live. As a voiceover artist, he has voiced spots for Toyota, McDonalds, AT&T and Nintendo, and is one of the voice options for WAZE.

 

Randy is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Actors’ Equity Association  (AEA) and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).

Voice Instructor

Autumn Hooks

Autumn started dancing at the age of 3 at a Southern California Ballet Academy, where she trained in multiple levels of the Checchetti Ballet System. For 10 years ballet was her 1st love and at the age of 13 she began to train in other styles of dance such as Hip Hop, Lyrical, Jazz, Modern and Contemporary. Autumn is currently on staff with the United Spirit Association where she teaches and choreographs for hundreds of Jr. High and High School dancers at Universities across the country. Autumn has trained under some of the best including Liz Imperio, Dee Caspary, Ricky Marcelino, Nicole Hogg, KJ Gonzales, Khasan Brilsfor and Braham Logan Crane. Currently she is a member of the dance company Unity Dance Ensemble, performing throughout Southern California. Autumn has been named one of Kids Artistic Revues Dance Stars of Tomorrow and and was named by Joe Loera and KAR TV as one of the US’s up and coming dancers. Autumn is currently studying at Cal State Northridge as an Apparel Design and Production major, where she combines her passions of design and dance. 

Instructor

Ricky Medina

While he started as a multi-sport athlete, Ricky Medina began dancing in his junior year high of high school. By his senior year, he ran his own co-ed hip-hop dance team, choreographed for competitions, and also taught as a dance instructor. After he graduated high school, he was accepted as a Dance major at UCLA. 

At UCLA, Ricky was a part of a premier UCLA Hip-hop dance team ACA Hip-hop, where he performed and competed for a variety of events including UCLA’s Spring Sing show. He also performed with Versa-style: Next Generation, a Hip-hop dance company composed of young adults in Los Angeles. Near the end of his time at UCLA he worked for the Los Angeles Clippers as a dancer, entertainer, and trampoline acro-dunker. With the Clippers he had the pleasure of performing for numerous celebrity guest artists such as Kid Ink, Silento, Montell Jordan, Rae Srummed, DJ Quick, Warren G, and Sugarhill Gang.

Ricky graduated from UCLA with a BA in dance and a minor in Visual and Performing Arts Education. Ricky is currently in pursuit of getting his teaching credentials to teach dance at the high-school level. As a Thrive alumni himself, Ricky is truly passionate about teaching the youth about the history and culture of Hip-hop, and he is overwhelmingly excited to share his knowledge with students here.

Instructor

Erin Lewis

Erin Lewis is a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer with nearly 20 years of teaching experience.  She started her career as a competitive gymnast before solely focusing on dance.  Upon graduating with a BFA in Dance, she danced professionally for 10 years with several contemporary ballet companies performing, teaching, and touring across the country. Erin has had the honor of performing the masterpieces of some of the most influential choreographers including Martha Graham, Ulysses Dove, Paul Taylor, Shapiro & Smith, David Parsons, and Heinz Poll.  She has also performed new choreography by Dianne McIntyre, Sean Curran, Christopher Fleming, Diane Gray, and Hernando Cortez.  Also during her professional career, Erin was a featured dance model in Danskin Magazine’s national advertisements.  

 

Erin embraces the opportunity to pass on the tools she has gathered during her decade long professional performing career to her students. She has had the privilege of teaching and choreographing for dance studios across the country.  Erin also co-created a literacy and movement-based program for preschool and kindergarten students, which continues to deliver dance opportunities to hundreds of students in public schools each year. Her goal as a teacher is to encourage technique and personal growth, while creating a safe place for students to express themselves through movement.

Instructor

Madeleine Fluxman

Madeleine (Maddi) Fluxman has had a passion for dance and performance and has been training in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern and Musical Theatre for over 15 years. Maddi is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at California State University, Northridge, as well as working towards receiving her PsyD.  At CSUN, Maddi is a leading member of the University’s dance team as well as an active board member. She began training under Ahjalia Hall and Jennifer Maples over 10 years ago, and has trained at Thrive Dance Center since it’s inception in 2010. She was also a competitive group dancer and award winning soloists for many years.

 

Maddi found her love for choreographing and teaching at a young age when she began choreographing for her middle school’s dance team. As a professional dancer, Maddi has continued to grow her love for teaching and choreography and has taught at multiple schools throughout Los Angeles staging choreography for young dancers, teens and adults alike. Maddi also has an extensive musical theater background having trained for over 15 years in the Musical Theater genre and recently was the head choreographer for a production of “High School Musical”.

 

Maddi is thrilled to be teaching at Thrive Dance Center and can’t wait to share the gift of dance in the same place that it was given to her. 

Instructor

Summer Perrin

Summer Perrin was born and raised in Newbury Park, California and began dancing at the age of 11.  She was introduced to Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary and Modern and fell in love with dance and the hard work that goes into it.  She participated in the Dance Program at her high school where she was a member of the Hip Hop Dance Team, She also discovered her love for choreography while creating pieces for their seasonal dance concerts. She started training at Thrive Dance Center in 2012, and during high school years she competed with Thrive’s Senior Hip Hop Company, which won various titles and awards at several Southern California dance competitions. 

 

She is currently attending California State University, Channel Islands and is studying to get her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Business.  Summer has a strong passion for dance and continues to train in all styles. She also takes great responsibility in working for Thrive Dance Center, prides herself on customer service and truly loves working at the front desk and being a part of the behind the scenes operations of running the studio.

Front Desk Staff

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