Meet the ArtistsKeshet Dance Company
IT Coordinator, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
Originally from Timisoara, Romania, Sonia has been a New Mexico resident 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.
Company Apprentice, Youth Leader, Education Faculty
Juliana Gorena is a recent graduate of the Public Academy for Performing Arts and Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) where she studied various art forms over the years. She is currently a student at the University of New Mexico, majoring in dance and minoring in sociology, hoping to pursue her work of social justice through art. In addition to being a Youth Leader at Keshet, Juliana volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico and is a member of the executive committee of Keshet’s Arts and Justice Youth Leadership Council.
Ana Lopes Aréchiga
Director of Programming & Engagement, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
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!
Director of Arts & Justice Initiatives, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
An Albuquerque native, Elysia began her dance training with Keshet Dance Company in 2001. She received a BA in Contemporary Dance from the University of New Mexico in 2016. She has danced professionally with Keshet Dance Company, the J. García Dance Company, lisa nevada and dancers, the SHIFT Dance Collective, Lawine Torrén based in Austria, and Yeztli Danza y Arte. Elysia has served Albuquerque nonprofit arts organizations for nearly a decade, teaching dance and working in development, fundraising, and marketing at organizations such as the National Institute of Flamenco, the University of New Mexico’s Friends of Dance Association, and Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts. In 2019, Elysia moved to Washington, DC, where she designed virtual events and fundraisers for People For the American Way, a progressive political nonprofit. Elysia is thrilled to be back in her hometown and with her Keshet community, serving as the M3 Program Director.
DEI-ABJ Coordinator, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
Lara fell in love with using movement as a form of expression as a small child. This love has carried her on a journey that has embraced many dance styles, a professional performance career, educational pursuits, creative curiosities, and curated offerings. She still finds delight in exploring new ways of moving and is ever inspired to make dances with themes rooted in social justice, environmental consciousness, community engagement, joy and play. 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 an MFA with an emphasis in Site-Specific Choreography, wherein her passions for nature, movement and human connection meld and occasionally make magic. 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 is honored to serve as an Ambassador for National Water Dance and as Keshet teaching faculty, company dancer, staff liaison for Keshet’s Arts & Justice Youth Council and Keshet’s DEI-ABJ Coordinator (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Belonging, Justice).