Photography: Valerie Febre-Yap
Melissa also began competing at various dance conventions. At the age of twelve, Melissa moved with her family to Sacramento, California where she continued her training in ballet, jazz, and musical theater. A couple of years later, Melissa was accepted as an assistant for Tremaine Dance Conventions and spent several years traveling around the country with the dance convention. Around the same time, Melissa began to enter the world of concert dance and instantly fell in love. Once she graduated from high school, she moved on to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Melissa staying in New York for a few years dancing with various companies, but eventually decided to return to California to pursue a career in law. Today, Melissa is an attorney for the State of California, but loves to spend her free time teaching dance and dancing with the Nhan Ho Project!
Dacia Biletnikoff attended London Contemporary Dance School, The Place, in London England. Graduating in 2014, she received her Bachelors of Arts in Contemporary Dance with First Class Honours. During her time at The Place, she studied under dancers and choreographers from Random Dance Company, Batsheva Dance Company, DV8 Physical Theatre, Scottish dance Theatre, and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. After graduation she pursued choreography and performance in Bologna, Italy at Leggere Strutture, directed by Brigel Gjoka. Here she studied with dancers from the William Forsythe Company and Wim Vandekeybus/ Ultima Vez. From there she accepted an apprenticeship, in 2014, with Carabdanza in Madrid, Spain where she worked and performed for eight months. After her apprenticeship, she came to California in the summer of 2015 to perform with Ballet Novita. Later taking a position as a company member with Nhan Ho Project, in January 2016. She is currently performing throughout Northern California with Nhan Ho Project and pursuing her own solo work. Alongside her dancing she is a faculty member at both Northern California Dance Conservatory and Precision Dance Center.
Nikki Burgis has been dancing for seventeen years but began to seriously train once she joined the Jazz company at Step 1 Dance and Fitness at the age of eleven. She went from dancing two days to six days a week, training in all styles of dance four hours a day. She traveled all over California attending dance conventions to diversify her exposure to different choreographers and styles of dance. She was awarded a full ride scholarship to travel to New York and dance as an assistant in Jump Dance Convention’s Dance Awards. She guested in Core Contemporary Dance’s annual show “The Doorway” her four years in high school. Nikki has been teaching dance for four years beginning in her senior year of high school as the dance and play director at Arden Manor Recreational Park District. Once she graduated high school she was offered a dance teaching position at Step 1 Dance and Fitness to teach the ages of three to seventeen ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, improvisation and musical theater. After only a year of teaching at Step 1, she was asked to be the founding director of a new jazz company “Protege”. At Protégés first competition Nikki received her first choreography award and the following year an artistry award. She has taught many master classes at Tricks School of Dance, Granite Bay High School, and Thomas Edison Elementary School. Nikki has grown such a deep love for teaching that has only strengthened her passion as a dancer. She is so humbled by her experiences as a dancer and teacher and excited as she is embarking on an incredible journey dancing professionally with Nhan Ho Project.
Malia started her dance journey at age 4 taking hula lessons. She then was a competitive cheerleader up until high school. Her senior year is when she started learning more styles of dance such as hip hop, jazz, and contemporary. She continued dancing throughout college where she attended Chico state university and received her bachelors in psychology. Malia is now back in Sacramento also dancing with an all girls dance crew called the Bella’s. She is excited to continue her love for dance and thrilled to see what else the community has to offer.
Originally from Grass Valley, Sonya Scott began her training in Jazz technique under instructors Joyce Gouveia and George Jayne in 2006. Shortly after, Sonya was immersed in modern dance under instructors Gaia Weiss and Azriel LaMarca. From 2010 to 2012 Sonya danced with The Movement Alliance Dance Theater Company under director Lovie Bucknell and taught for The Movement Alliance dance school. Since 2010, Sonya has also been a guest instructor and choreographer for Bear River High School and also choreographs for the school’s dance company Breaking Barriers. Currently, Sonya dances with the Sacramento State University Dance Department and has received ballet training from Nolan T’sani and modern training from Aubri Siebert and Philip Flickinger. Sonya Joined Nhan Ho Project in 2016.
As a mover and a thinker, Laila seeks to be part of the solutions to the disconnections and conflicts we face as a society. She is currently teaching and performing in the Sacramento Area. At Santa Clara University, she had the opportunity to work with wonderful faculty and students in the dance department to craft meaningful dances of her own and participate in the creation of other’s dances. Going through the creative process, from the perspective of dancer and as a choreographer, has given her valuable insights and experience into the responsibilities inherent to being an artist. Her dance training has focused on modern and contemporary styles, as well as ballet, all building on her training as a competitive gymnast. Laila hopes to continue to find meaningful ways to expand her approach to movement, performance and choreography among people dedicated to the art of moving and goal of improving our world, from the inside out.
Sofia Izel was born in Sacramento, CA and began training at various schools in Sacramento including the School of the Sacramento Ballet. Also, she received her training at Alonzo King Lines Ballet and Joffrey New York summer programs. Her journey begins here with her recent acceptance in the Nhan Ho Project as an apprentice.