Meet The Company…
Aaron Shaw (Co-Artistic Director/ Choreographer/Dancer) is a native of Temecula. He began his dance training locally at Mt. San Jacinto Community College. After completing his associate’s degree there at MSJC he attended Brigham Young University where he received his B.A. in Dance. While attending BYU Aaron had the opportunity to perform and tour with several different companies. Aaron had the opportunity to travel around the world including much of the US, Mexico, China, Jamaica and Europe. In addition to his formal training Aaron has studied at the Beijing Dance Academy, Xi an Physical Education Institute and the University of Utah. While at the U of U Aaron Studied with Shaun Boyle, Ellen Bromberg, Shari Lane, Eric Handman, Juan-Carlos Claudio, Steve Kester and Kaye Richards. While in New York Aaron studied with names like Doug Varone, Daniel Charon, Julia Burrer, Megan Bascom, Kendra Portier and Donna Scro. Aaron has had the opportunity to dance with companies on both coasts; including Jean Isaac’s San Diego Dance Theater, California Ballet and Freespace Dance. While with Freespace Dance Aaron had the honor of performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center overlooking Central Park. Aaron is very excited to be developing work with Avocado Dance Theatre. Aaron’s choreography has been honored in multiple competitions most notable gaining a gala honor by ACDFA. Aaron has also had the opportunity to choreograph for colleges as well as regional and professional companies including BYU, Snow College, Utah Regional Ballet and San Diego Dance Theater’s Young Choreographers Project. Aaron is a founding member of Avocado Dance Theatre and has had the opportunity to serve on Dance Theatre Collective of Southern California’s Board of Directors for over 4 years. Aaron has choreographed numerous works for Avocado Dance Theatre, as a guest choreographer, including: “All in a Day” (2012), “The Game” (2013), “The Game, part IV” (2014) and “On Your Sleeve” (2015).
Alexandra Thomsen-Wolfe began dancing in studios in Vancouver, B.C., Canada studying ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and Polynesian dance. After moving to California in 2000, she continued her training in ballet, jazz, and hip-hop at various studios. In 2010, Alexandra graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with her BA in Liberal Studies for elementary education and a Minor in Dance. While attending college, she danced with the Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company and began training in modern. She had the opportunity to choreograph for the company, was an Arts Intern, and won two Cal Poly Scholarships: the Tomczak-Carter Dance Award and the M Minn/P Suhr Dance Award. She also danced with Variable Velocity Performance Group, a modern dance company, in San Luis Obispo under the direction of Diana Stanton and Jude Clark-Warnisher. Alexandra worked as a Director as well as Dance Instructor for Rhythm Motion, a company that teaches dance classes as part of after school programs for typical and special needs children. She was a student choreographer at Irvine Valley College for two years and two pieces she choreographed there were performed at the ACDFA Festivals in Northfield, Minnesota (2011) and Salt Lake City, Utah (2012). Alex was a founding member of Avocado Dance Theatre, where she was a featured dancer with the company, and worked as an assistant rehearsal director for two years. Alex has choreographed two pieces for Avocado Dance Theatre: “I, For One” (2012) and “Three Women” (2013).
Amanda Rose Shind began studying dance in Massachusetts at the age of three and has never stopped! Growing up, she took classes from many fabulous teachers all over the northeast in the styles of ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and modern and continued her dance education at Emerson College in Boston. While at Emerson, Amanda developed a love for modern dance and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Theatre. She also completed the dance education training course with the Dance Teachers Club of Boston receiving the overall excellence award in Tap. After teaching and choreographing at numerous dance studios and public schools in the Greater Boston area, Amanda made the move out west where she began working with mobile dance studio Petite Feet dance and fitness. She continues to share her love of dance with preschool and elementary aged children all over the Inland Empire. Amanda is beyond excited to be a part of the Avocado family!
Fisher Kaake started dancing in musical theater when he was twelve years old and never looked back. From there he began assisting choreographers in several shows such as Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Moonlight Theater in Vista and A Christmas Carol with the Temecula Valley Players. He was also fortunate enough to attend classes with choreographers Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, and Brian Freidman.
Joseph Lister graduated from University of California Riverside with a BA in Dance in 2015. He began dancing in 2010 at California State University, Channel Islands where he trained in jazz, modern, and choreography under Heather Castillo. At CSUCI he had the opportunity to dance in their first musical Cabaret, was captain and co-founder of CSUCI’s first dance team (Breaking Pointe), and choreograph in the annual dance concerts. While attending CSUCI he was also under scholarship at the Inland Valley Classical Ballet Academy and was performing with Act One Community Theatre where he performed in various musicals and ballets including: A Chorus Line, Passion of The Christ, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Swan Lake. Joseph then moved his dance education to UCR where he studied ballet, modern, yoga, jazz, African dance, and choreography. While there he had the opportunity to perform and choreograph in UCR is Dancing and Spring Forward. In his last year at UCR he worked on an independent study “Cities in The Smog” under Taisha Paggett. Joseph was also honored to perform in three MFA concerts by Rosa Rodriguez-Frazier, Brianna Skellie, and Casey Avaunt. Joseph also received the GLUCK fellowship of the arts award, The Chancellor’s Performance award, and was invited to ACDFA. Aside from his academic dance training he received a scholarship from Joffery and Bolshoi ballet and was accepted into the Kirov Ballet school. During one of his summers at UCR Joseph was an apprentice at Lula Washington Dance Theatre, a contemporary African dance company. Joseph also helped assist in the choreography as well as performed in MSJC’s musical Pippin. Joseph is currently a three year member of Avocado Dance Theatre, a modern based dance company based in Temecula under the direction of Lori Torok and Aaron Shaw.
Kristin Brown began her study of dance at the age of three. She had the opportunity to study at dance schools in California and Utah where she learned a variety of dance styles including; ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and contemporary. She furthered her training in college and received her BA in Dance from Brigham Young University (BYU). While at BYU she was able to perform on the touring company, Contemporary Dance Theatre, and travel with them to India and Colorado. Kristin had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers Donald McKayle, Diavolo dancers Jenn and Omar Olivas, Jennifer Backhaus, and others. Kristin received further training at summer intensives including San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Paul Taylor, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She most recently danced on the Utah-based company, SALT Contemporary Dance under the direction of Michelle Nielsen. It was there she was able to work with dancers from North West Dance Project and broaden her artistic abilities. Kristin also loves to teach and choreograph. She is excited to be back in California and to be a member of Avocado Dance Theatre.
Chad Allen Ortiz is from Temecula, CA, where he has trained vigorously in contemporary, modern, ballet, jazz, and musical theatre. Currently, he resides in Long Beach working with companies Nickerson-Rossi Dance and Union Project Dance. With Nickerson-Rossi Dance, Chad has just returned from residency at the Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs starring as the company’s Male Principal in the premiere of NRD’s repertoire “Past and Present.” With Union Project Dance, Chad has performed at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Outside series and at the McCallum Theatre for the 18th Annual Choreography Festival leading as the Male Principal of the company, as well. Chad also teaches and assists throughout the west and east coast, all from colleges, high schools, and dance studios, spreading his growing knowledge of the art of dance to all the lovely artists he comes across. Chad’s beginning career started off here in Temecula with Avocado Dance Theater, and he is proud to return as a guest artist in this years performance here in his hometown. All of passion, love, and artistry… Chad is incredibly blessed by this life of dance he is honored to pursue, and he thanks you greatly for all the support.
Jeremy Sewell insists that his dancing career serendipitously started when he was injured while wrestling in high school. He was forced off of the team and into a dance class. He has never looked back! He has trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and folk styles of dance. He has taken courses from the University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and most recently from the College of Southern Nevada where he danced with the Kelly Roth and Dancers Company. Jeremy took time off from dance to finish a Doctorate in Dental Medicine at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He now practices dentistry in Temecula, California and is re-embracing his passion of the performing arts. While not dancing or fixing peoples’ teeth, Jeremy enjoys exercising and loves spending time with his son, Nathan, and daughter, Noelle.
Lana Rowe began training in Tap, Jazz and Ballet in Edmonton, AB Canada under the direction of Shelley Tookey, Sally Ogden of the National Ballet of Canada, and Debrah Morgan of the Royal Ballet. At the age of 13, Lana attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and completed the advanced level of the Royal Academy of Dance. Upon graduation Lana continued to train and perform with Banff Festival Ballet under the direction of Brian Macdonald Les Grands Ballets Canadien, Annette Av Paul Paris Opera and the National Ballet of Canada and Michael Byars and Victoria Simon of the NYC Ballet. Lana has been fortunate enough to have worked with choreographers such as Stacey Tookey, Azure Barton, Crystal Pite, Calen Kurka and many many more. Lana’s jazz career has taken her all over the world with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Norwegian Cruise Line, Body Shock Hip Hop Team from Los Angeles to Singapore, and to South Africa with the Adidas Touring Team. While in Africa, she was both the assistant choreographer and performer in the Mr. South Africa Pageant. Lana both modeled and was the opening act in the Elle Magazine Fashion Awards. She has danced professionally for Swim Wear Etc., Calvin Klein, Reebok, Chanel, Nike, and many more. Lana has been teaching tap, ballet and jazz, for 17 years. Some of her students have gone on to dance with Tokyo Disney, Disneyland, Royal Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruise Lines, Jean Anne Ryan Productions, Edge scholarship program, Bette Midler, the Donny and Marie Osmond show Las Vegas , Cirque du Soleil and many small ballet companies throughout Canada and Europe. Lana now resides in Southern California with her husband and 3 children. She is the owner/director of Rowe Dance Academy… a Dance Academy specializing in passing the love of dance to preschool aged children.
Nicole Thomas received her formal ballet training from Balanchine Ballerina, Linda Yorth. She has studied ballet for 23 years under instructors from Paris Opera Ballet, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, and Ballet Magnificat. She has extensive training and professional experience in ballet, modern, jazz, and musical theater. Nicole first danced professionally at the age of 16. She has had leading roles in ballets and musicals such as the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Nutcracker, among others as well as industrial performance work. Her dancing has intense flair, technical precision and emotional vulnerability which she passes on to her students. Nicole has taught dance in Southern California for 14 years sending many students into professional careers. Her students have been accepted into trainee programs, talent agencies and picked up and been given scholarships for summer intensives including Houston Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, American Ballet Theater in New York, Pittsburg Ballet, School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Princeton Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, ODC, Ballet Magnificat!, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Boston Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She has taught master classes around So Cal, and in Italy at Scuola di Danza Surya. Nicole has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She teaches with excellence and a contagious love of her art.