Meet the Artists

Keshet Dance Company

 Ana Lopes Arechiga

Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty Project Coordinator 

Mercedes was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, and began dancing at an early age. She has a BA in dance and psychology, having graduated with honors Summa Cum Laude in Psychology, Magna Cum Laude in Dance from the University of New Mexico. She apprenticed for the Kamea Dance Company in Israel in 2014 and was a performing apprentice at Keshet Dance Company in 2013.  She has also danced for the Santa Fe Opera, Jewell and Company, and Blythe Eden Dance Company. She is currently a dancer for the Keshet Dance Company, J. Garcia Dance Company, and lisa nevada dance.

Sonia Bologa

Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty 

Sonia has been dancing for 11 years, studying modern, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, and Latin ballroom. Upon graduating from the University of New Mexico with a B.A in Dance. In 2013, she joined Keshet as a dancer and teacher. She is honored and excited to play a role in several of Keshet’s many amazing programs. In addition to teaching within Keshet’s Community Classes, and the Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis program, Sonia is also involved in the creation and touring of new works created for and with Keshet Dance, and often serves as rehearsal director for many produtions. Sonia was also part of the j. garcia dance company from 2014-2015. Throughout this time, she performed numerous contemporary dance and dance theater works choreographed and directed by Jacqueline Garcia. Most recently, she performed the role of Marie in Shira Greenberg’s 20th annual Nutcracker on the Rocks and represented Keshet as part of Navarasa Dance Theater’s (India/Boston/LA) world premiere of Snake and Ladder. Considering the impact dance has had on her life, she believes that art can make a significant impact on anyone’s life, whether they are on stage or in the audience.

Gabriel Gonzales

Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty 

Gabe was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is currently a student at the University of New Mexico studying biochemistry, striving towards medical school in order to work in sports medicine. Gabe began his dance career at the National Dance Institute of New Mexico under Jackie Oliver at the age of eight studying ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap and acting. He joined the New Mexico Ballet Company years later performing classical ballets such as the Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, as well as many mixed repertory shows. During summers, Gabe studied under Michael Owen at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and Gelsey Kirkland at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. At the age of seventeen, he was offered a full scholarship to study at the prestigious Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA. Gabe studied under Marcia Dale Weary (artistic director), Darla Hoover (co-artistic director), Nick Ade (CEO), Melinda Howe, along with an extensive list of reputable summer teachers from the National Ballet of Canada, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, San Fransico Ballet School, Miami City Ballet and the Balanchine Trust. During his time on the east coast, Gabe was able to perform Balanchine works such as Emeralds, Allegro Brillante, Western Symphony, and the George Balanchine Nutcracker, and he also performed works by Melinda Howe, Alan Heinline and Matthew Powell. Gabe joined Keshet in 2017.

Nichole Goodmann

Adjunct Company Dancer, Education Director, Teaching Faculty 
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Elysia Pope

Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty, Online Media Manager

As a native of Albuquerque, Elysia began her dance training with Keshet Dance Company at the age of 6. She studied with Keshet from 1999-2011. During her dance training, Elysia studied under Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) from 2007-2011.  Elysia received a BA in Dance with a concentration in contemporary dance from the University of New Mexico in 2016. During her time studying and dancing at the University, she performed works by renowned choreographers such as Robert Battle, Erika Pujič, Zoë Knights, Tomaz Simatovic, Donna Jewell, and Vladimir Conde Reche. Elysia had the distinct privilege of traveling abroad in 2013 to perform in Austria with the Lawine Torrèn Dance Theatre’s production of Hannibal and again in 2015 to Italy and Switzerland to perform Keshet Dance Company’s “a beast, an angel, and a madwoman.” She has had the honor of dancing in several Albuquerque-based contemporary companies including the J. García Dance Company, lisa nevada and dancers, and the SHIFT Dance Collective. Elysia is currently dancing with Keshet Dance Company as well as serving as the Online Media Manager and Teaching Faculty.

Melissa Longiaru

Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty 

Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Melissa began her dance training in 1994 at the Santa Fe Dance Foundation. She continued to study ballet in 2000 at the School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, under the direction of Gisela Genschow. In addition to her dance studies, Melissa performed in a variety of musicals throughout her youth with local companies Santa Fe Performing Arts and Pandemonium Productions. Melissa graduated from Bard College in 2012, where she studied ballet, contemporary, and choreography with members of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, as well as resident performing artists from New York Live Arts. After moving back to New Mexico, she served as choreographer for Pandemonium Productions, a Santa Fe based children’s theatre company, from 2012-2016. Melissa joined the Keshet teaching faculty in the spring of 2016, and became a member of the company in 2017.

Marissa Reynolds

M3 Program Director, Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty 

Marissa Reynolds was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and initially started exploring the world of movement through gymnastics, eventually leading her to modern dance. Marissa graduated cum laude from the University of New Mexico with her B.A. in Contemporary Dance. Throughout her career she has had the honor of working with noteworthy artists, dancers, and choreographers such as Donna Jewell, Mary Ann Santos-Newhall, Vladimir Conde Reche, Jennifer Predock Linnell, Peggy Lyman, Eric Newton, Erika Pujič, and Laura Bennett. With a focus in both Release and Graham technique, Marissa was awarded a scholarship to the Martha Graham School of Dance in 2012 and has performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Lawine Torren Dance Company based in Salzburg, Austria.  In 2013, Marissa became a Keshet Company member, and performed nationally and internationally with Keshet under Artistic Director, Shira Greenberg. Through Keshet, Marissa found a new passion for dance through teaching and in 2014 became Keshet’s M3 Program Director, instructing and mentoring students within New Mexico’s Juvenile Detention Center.

Shane Montoya

Adjunct Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty 

“Shuga Shane” Montoya, a Native New Mexican, has been dancing for the past 18 years and teaching for the past 12 years. Aside from teaching, choreographing, and performing he organizes hip-hop based community events in Albuquerque such as the annual Breakin’ Hearts festival. Originally a b-boy or break-boy, Shane represents United Hip-Hop Family and Chief Rockers (Native based performing arts group). Throughout the years he has also expanded his dance disciplines to various styles such as Ballet, Jazz, House, Funk styles and Latin, and has had the honor of performing with various companies such as Festival Ballet Albuquerque, Musical Theatre Southwest, and Dancing Earth (Indigenous Contemporary Dance Company). Traveling and meeting new people has played a vital role in his growth as a dancer, street performer and mentor. Shane is currently a co-teacher in Keshets M3 program and works with youth as they transition out of the juvenile detention center in Keshet’s post release program.