StaffKeshet Dance & Center for the Arts
Ana Lopes Arechiga
Community Education Director, Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty (KP3, Community Classes)
Ana 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, and has been a Company Dancer since 2016. She has also danced for the Santa Fe Opera, Jewell and Company, Blythe Eden Dance Company, J. Garcia Dance Company, lisa nevada dance, and Estaban Garza Dance Company. While she continues to dance for many of these companies, Ana oversees all community education here at Keshet, ranging from managing the community class schedule and the teaching faculty, overseeing the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Community, and coordinating all of Keshet’s community engagement programs. Additionally, she teaches some fantastic classes each week!
Sarah Elizabeth Bennett
Teaching Faculty (Mixed Ability Program, Community Classes)
Sarah received her BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and MFA in Dance at the State University of New York (Brockport). She has been a company dancer with Philadanco II, a soloist with Koresh Dance, and was an Americorps member a company director of the Buen Viaje Dancers with New Mexico’s VSArts Program. Sarah is a founding member of Keshet where she helped create the organization’s mixed ability dance program, co-facilitating Keshet’s first residency workshops with AXIS Dance Company in 1998. She has been working in the field of Mixed Ability Dance for the past 22 years. Fun facts: She is the original “Nutcracker on the Rocks” Rat Queen, and Keshet’s Studio 2 is named after her, honoring the critical role she playing in building the foundation for Keshet.
Company Dancer, Costumer, Teaching Faculty (KP3, Community Classes)
Originally from Timisoara, Romania, Sonia has been a New Mexico resided for the last 14 years. She has dedicated her life to dance since the age of 16, studying modern, contemporary, hip hop, ballet, Latin ballroom, and most recently, Mexican folklorico. After training at Albuquerque Academy and Elite Dance Studio in High School, Sonia went on graduate with honors from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. in Contemporary Dance in May of 2013. One month after graduating, she joined Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts as a dancer and teacher, a position that she holds to this day. Working at Keshet has provided numerous teaching and dancing opportunities, including teaching in Keshet’s Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis program, guest teaching at Cohesion Center for Dance & the Arts in Montana, playing the role of Marie in Shira Greenberg’s 20th annual Nutcracker on the Rocks in 2016, and playing the role of Alice in Keshet’s Alice: an adventure of wonder and wondering. 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 productions. Sonia was 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. In February of 2017, Sonia performed with Keshet resident company, Navarasa Dance Theater in the world premiere of their original production Snake and Ladder, which took place at Keshet Center for the Arts. She then performed various Navarasa productions (Story and a Song, Snake and Ladder, Encounter) in several locations in New Mexico, San Diego, Los Angeles, and in Vancouver, Canada. In the Spring of 2018 she began dancing with Esteban E Garza and Dance Company. She performed in the company’s productions of Identidades and [Corpor]atus in 2018, and is currently rehearsing with the company for a new production which will premiere in June 2019 in Albuquerque. In the Fall of 2017 Sonia began teaching Hip-Hop dance at the University of New Mexico, joining the Department of Theater and Dance as adjunct faculty. Most recently, in the Fall of 2018, her work as a dance educator has expanded to include teaching Hip-Hop at the Public Academy for Performing Arts. 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.
Originally from southern New Mexico, Mason considers himself a poet and hopes to be published someday. He might study creative writing at Columbia University in Chicago. He also might travel the world and write. He loves life and tries to express that love through words and art. He first heard of Keshet about five years back. He’s been increasing his involvement with them exponentially ever since. Recently, he was offered a position at Keshet as an artist apprentice and knew he would be a durned fool to pass it up. Thus… he hopes to stick with them for a while.
Facilities and Technical Theater Manager
Paul’s passion is to connect with people and to transform lives by being Love in Action. He delights in realizing this through creative expression. Whether it be the written word, the painted image, or expressions with light; the idea of connecting with others lies at the heart of Paul’s work. After a long and exciting career lighting and photographing film, stage and television productions all over the world, Paul came to Albuquerque seeking new modes of expression, and a more relaxed way of life. Serendipity led him to Keshet where he was reacquainted with his first artistic love, Lighting for Dance. Paul finds great joy in meeting the challenges of serving the warm and welcoming dance family that is Keshet.
Teaching Faculty (M3)
Rujeko Dumbutshena is a Zimbabwean-born dancer who specializes in neo-traditional and contemporary African dance. She is currently on the dance faculty at the Central New Mexico Community College and the University of New Mexico. Rujeko recently completed her MFA in dance at the University of New Mexico.
Emily has been working in the performing arts as a dancer and performer since 1991. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Fine Arts degree with a major in Art History and a minor in Dance from the University of New Mexico, along with a non-profit management certificate from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management. She has been working in arts administration since 2004 and has been an arts entrepreneur since 2009 as the owner and director of Soirée Entertainment. She joined Keshet’s team in 2014 and is currently supporting the management of Keshet’s new and improved database system, helping to track programmatic impact in our community!
Box Office Manager and Keshet Concierge
Sebrena was born in Colorado and was quickly whisked away to sunny California, where she learned to love the beach, art and reading. She has since lived in many places, including Texas, Louisiana, Washington and Mexico before landing in Albuquerque in 1999. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of New Orleans. Sebrena discovered Keshet 10 years ago when her daughter wanted to take ballet classes. She has had various roles at Keshet, but you can find her most often at the front desk checking in students or at the Box Office window, and helping out wherever she can.
Teaching Faculty (Community Classes, Mixed Ability Dance)
Sonya was born and raised in the South Valley of Albuquerque, New Mexico where she started her dancing career. She has been involved with Keshet for over 10 years. She started as a volunteer and participated in several runs of Nutcracker on the Rocks, and eventually became a part of Keshet’s teaching faculty. Sonya teaches Ballet Basics, Creative Movement, Mixed Ability dance, Hip Hop and has assisted rehearsal directors in several Keshet productions.
Summer Programs Coordinator, Teaching Faculty (Community Classes, Mixed Ability Dance)
Originally from Indiana, Sadie recently completed her Bachelors of Arts in Theatre and Dance as well as Educational Studies with an emphasis on Special Needs from Alma College. Her research on the benefits of dance for students with Cognitive Impairments allowed her to graduate with Honors in both fields Summa Cum Laude. Sadie has experience teaching dance in both studio and therapy settings. She has brought her dance experience to her previous positions as Behavior Technician at an Applied Behavior Analysis Autism Clinic; teacher at Live Laugh Dance, a summer camp for young adults with Down syndrome; student teacher in a variety of Special Education classrooms; and dance teacher for ages 5-15 at Academy of Performing Arts. Sadie is certified in Progressive Ballet Technique and has trained in ballet, jazz, modern, somatic methods, and Highland dance. After interning as Outreach Assistant and Teaching Assistant in 2017, Sadie is thrilled to return to work at Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts.
Sarah Williams Gonzales
Pre-Professional Education Director, Teaching Faculty (KP3, Community Classes)
Sarah Williams Gonzales is a “dancing historian,” a dance scholar, and a dance educator with a research focus on American dance history and dance pedagogy. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Sarah began her dance training at Jordan College Academy of Dance, the pre-professional program of Butler University. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Performance/Choreography and French (Magna Cum Laude) from Hope College. In 2012, Sarah graduated with distinction from the University of New Mexico with a Master of Arts in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in Dance History and Criticism. Sarah is certified in ABT® National Training Curriculum from Pre-Primary through Level 5 and has trained in Vaganova, Cecchetti, and the French methods of Ballet. She is certified in Elementary Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau. Sarah is currently the Pre-Professional Education Director of Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts, in charge of the Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) and JUMP programs. Sarah works to advance the field of dance through the daily teaching of technique classes, developing of dance curricula, and presenting research at conferences.
Teaching Faculty (Community Classes)
Nichole holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and in Philosophy (Magna Cum Laude) as well as a New Mexico State Level I Teacher’s License in elementary and secondary education. Nichole believes from firsthand experience that dance, and the arts in general, have the power to transform lives and she strives to inspire her students of all ages to view dance as a journey. She has been working in dance education throughout the Albuquerque area for several years. Nichole began her involvement at Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts as a volunteer through the Work/Study program later began working full time at Keshet in both education and arts administration. Her past work and volunteer experiences include training and development management for a nationally recognized local business, student ambassador with the University of New Mexico, and English language teacher through the French Embassy’s Educational Affairs program. While she has since gone on to pursue full time work in the Montessori Education field, she has continued to teach at Keshet and bring her unique passion and joy to the studio!
Keshet Founder & Artistic Director
Shira created Keshet Dance Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1996 following her training and studies with the Minnesota Dance Theatre, Interlochen Arts Academy, Ithaca College and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As Keshet’s Artistic Director, Ms. Greenberg has been recognized for her work by the New Mexico Governor’s Office, the New Mexico Legislature and the White House. Her multiple honors and accolades include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women; New Mexico Business Weekly’s Top Performing CEO of a non-profit organization, the New Mexico Ethics in Business Award recognizing the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity and civic and social responsibility and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multicultural Council’s Keep the Dream Alive Award for “creating an environment where the medium of dance is used to build cross cultural and social bridges to every aspect of society.” Through Keshet, she created the Keshet Center for the Arts, a 30,000 square foot facility that educates, entertains and engages; housing and uniting the arts, the artist and the audience; and the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Community which supports and strengthens arts entrepreneurs on their path of sustainability, championing the value of the artist and the arts economy, by equipping creative industry businesses with the tools for success through which she currently teaches and mentors arts entrepreneurs. Over her 20+ year career in the non-profit sector, Shira has raised approximately $5,000,000 through successful grant research and proposal writing for the arts.
Youth Advisor / Planning Team, New Mexico Arts and Justice Network
Alyssa is a former member of LOUD, Leaders Organizing to Unite and Decriminalize, and is currently a local freelance DJ and musician. Lyssa states, “Because of my past experience with juvenile justice work, I am now a strong advocate for bettering the system for youth. Music and dance has personally helped me overcome battles and develop the strength I needed to get to where I am today. Keshet played a huge role in this journey and transformation. I have been involved with Keshet since 2015. As of January 2019 I am now employed through Keshet as a youth advisor. Being a youth advisor allows me to help make sure the youth have the same opportunity that I did.”
Costumer, Teaching Faculty (KP3, Fine Wine Dance, Community Classes)
Diana MacNeil is a choreographer and teacher dedicated to the movement arts. Her work over the last four decades has included initiating roles at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts and the Lewitzky Dance Company. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, The Cerritos Center for the Arts and the Yorke Dance Project, among others, have commissioned her choreography and her credits include educational projects from elementary to post-graduate levels at home and abroad. She founded the PostHouse Dance Group in Los Angeles which has performed to critical acclaim. In 2017 Diana relocated to Albuquerque to further her work with Keshet.
M3 Program Director, Teaching Faculty (M3, Community Classes)
Sophia Phillips was born into a family of artists in California and began dancing at the age of 11. She performed nationally and internationally as an aerial dancer for the associated company of the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Arts until 2015. Sophia received BAs in both Dance and Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2017, and during her schooling trained in house, hip hop, modern dance, West African dance, and improvisational forms. While in Colorado, Sophia trained in, performed, and taught Afro-Brazilian dance with Samba Colorado Dance Company and School. Sophia has participated in dance intensives around the world and adores the universality of dance. Sophia fiercely believes in the power dance has to connect us to individual and collective humanity. Sophia began working for Keshet as an M3 instructor in August of 2018 and is incredibly honored to be continuing on with the program.
Grants and Contract Manager
Community Resources Manager, Teaching Faculty (KP3, Community Classes)
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 2014-2018 was Keshet’s M3 Program Director, instructing and mentoring students within New Mexico’s Juvenile Detention Center. Marissa has recently embarked upon her new role at Keshet as the Community Resources Manager – overseeing Keshet’s amazing Volunteer Program and working with the hundreds of incredible volunteers who help make Keshet thrive every day!
Company Dancer, Teaching Faculty (M3 Program, Community Classes, KP3)
Lara Segura is a dance activist that explores themes rooted in social justice, environmental consciousness and community engagement. She has extensive experience as a professional performer, educator, producer, and choreographer. She holds a BFA from SDSU and an MFA in Choreography from JU. She has had the pleasure of working with a number of excellent institutions including Mojalet Dance Collective, Malashock Dance, Jacksonville University, San Diego Dance Theater and Keshet Dance & Center for the Arts. Lara’s love of nature has inspired her passion for site-specific dance and she is honored to serve as an Ambassador for National Water Dance.
Human Resources Director, Teaching Faculty (KP3, Community Classes)
Lindsay began dancing at the age of 5 in Danville, CA. For 12 years, she studied Ballet, Jazz, and Modern dance techniques at the Ballet Conservatory in Aliso Viejo, CA under the direction of Alan and Rosemary McCarter. She spent several summers attending intensive dance camps, including the San Francisco Ballet School and Dance Aspen summer programs. As a dance scholarship recipient, Lindsay continued her dance training at the University of Arizona as well as the University of California at Irvine. She began her journey as a dance teacher in Tucson, AZ in 1999 and continued to teach in Orange County, CA and Dallas, TX. Lindsay began teaching at Keshet in 2007 and became involved on the administrative side of Keshet in 2012; first as Education Director and now as the Director of Human Resources.
For as long as I can remember, numbers have been my “friends”. My career path has been varied and enjoyable – beginning as a director of a private school for children with learning disabilities and moving through various experiences of accounting: CPA firm, manufacturing, government, and nonprofit. Everyone needs someone to ‘run the numbers!’ I became familiar with Keshet while at the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau and am thrilled to have joined this wildly creative and collaborative adventure where, every day I learn again that “Anything is Possible!” Hobbies include singing in the UNM Chorus (including performances at Carnegie Hall…practice, practice, practice)!
Teaching Faculty (Community Classes)
Alana is a recent graduate of Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) who has studied numerous genres of dance for the past 11 years. She is currently a student at the University of New Mexico, majoring in Psychology and minoring in both Chemistry and Health, Medicine, & Human Values, in the hopes of one day pursuing a career in medicine. Dancing has played such an important role in her life and she is elated at the opportunity to teach and serve the community that provided so much for her!
Carolyn Tobias, originally from Brisbane, Australia is a wife, mom to three and a lover of the arts. Carolyn brings over 25 years of public relations and communications experience with non-profits, agency, corporate and freelance sectors to the role of Communications Director with Keshet (since 2014). Carolyn was first introduced to Keshet as a Work Study and committee volunteer for her daughters’ dance classes (2011). Carolyn’s background is in theatre, her husband is a drummer and music producer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and their whole family enjoys all artistic endeavors. Her motivation each day is to value the artist behind the art, first and foremost. Carolyn holds a Bachelor of Business Communications: Public Relations & Marketing (with Distinction) from Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Adrian Moore Trask
Director of Business Advancement, Teaching Faculty (Fine Wine Dance)
Adrian Moore Trask joined Keshet’s staff in 2016 with ten years of experience in strengthening arts & culture nonprofit organizations and advanced training in public humanities. Before moving to Albuquerque, Adrian worked as the development & communications manager at Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, leading fundraising and marketing efforts to support the state’s humanities community. Adrian maintains her connection with Rhode Island as a volunteer with American Dance Legacy Initiative, supporting organizational systems and policies to effectively engage ADLI’s dispersed network of volunteers and contractors. Early in her career, Adrian worked in the creative aging field as program director for Arts for the Aging and danced with Nancy Havlik Dance Performance Group in Washington, DC. Adrian has implemented projects that incorporate performance, fine arts, and history with American Dance Legacy Initiative, Everett: Company, Stage and School, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Y-Space (Hong Kong), the National Museum of American History, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Adrian has a bachelor’s degree in dance and anthropology from Wesleyan University and earned a master’s degree in Public Humanities from Brown University, focusing on community building and public engagement through arts and culture, specifically dance. Adrian came to Keshet in August 2016 and says, “with a personal mission to connect community through the arts and humanities and to support artists by providing business development support, Keshet is the perfect place for me! I’m very grateful to be part of this inspiring, creative community.”
Community Operations Manager
Alissa was born in West Virginia, but moved to New Mexico at a young age. She graduated from Manzano High School and got her nursing assistant certification at TVI. Alissa has been working with children and young adults with physical and mental disabilities for the past 14 years. Alissa recently started working at Keshet, as the Community Operations Manager, she is excited and eager to learn her new job position and to contribute to Keshet’s community in a new way. Alissa has been part of Keshet’s community since 2011 when she enrolled her daughter into her first dance class, shortly after Alissa began taking classes and they both have been dancing ever since! Alissa and her husband are also Keshet volunteers. Alissa has been married to her husband, Mat for 10 years, and together they have two children, Jordyn (10) and Ryan (8). When Alissa isn’t working, or dancing, she enjoys camping, hiking, swimming, going on road trips to visit family, watching her son play sports, shopping and cooking with her daughter, and checking out local breweries with her husband. What Alissa loves most about Keshet is how inclusive it is, any and all people are welcomed at Keshet, that is what has brought and kept her and her whole family as an active part of it.
Current UNM Work/Study Employees are:
Digital Communications Support
Truitt Mckinney was born in Birmingham, Alabama and has been living in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the past three years. Truitt studies Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing at The University of New Mexico. He has been involved in student government through Emerging Lobo Leaders and as the Communications Director of Community Experience. Truitt joined the Keshet team in September of 2018 as the Digital Communications Intern. He now assists in the management of Keshet’s social media and graphic design.