Photography: Valerie Febre-Yap
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 trained aggressively six days a week in all styles of dance. 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” in all her four years of high school. Nikki has been teaching dance for five 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 & 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 Dance & Fitness, she was asked to be the founding director of a new jazz company, “Protege.” At Protege’s 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, The Next Level Dance Center 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 to be dancing professionally on Nhan Ho Project for the second season.
Agata is a Bay Area native who has trained under a variety of esteemed instructors and performed numerous works by guest artists such as Pepper Von, Nhan Ho, Holly Johnston, Kim T. Davis, Ayako Takahashi, Michael Lowe and Naimah Kisoki. More recently she performed “Resilience” (2016) with Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre under the artistic direction of Jacob Montoya. As Sacramento State Alum, Agata has had an opportunity to choreograph her own works including the most recent, “Immortelle” (2016), which was performed by the dancers of Two.4 Dance Theatre. Agata is currently working with Nhan Ho Project and Two.4 Dance Theatre.
Jillian Heinrich is a dancer, choreographer, writer, editor and artist originally from Houston, Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach where she was twice awarded the Department of Dance Scholarship. Jillian has been featured in works created by Alex Ketley, Susan McClain, Andrew Vaca, Lorin Johnson, Rebecca Bryant + Danceworks, Rebecca Lemme, and more. She currently works as a video editor for XSiGHT Productions Inc., and is a Marketing Assistant for Yelp Sacramento. This is her first season with Nhan Ho Dance Project.
Malia Henderson 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.
Valeria Herrera began her dance training at the age of six in Santa Ana, California at the Academy of International Dance. She danced various dance styles including ballet, flamenco, folklorico, and capoeira. In 2006, she was accepted into The Wooden Floor, previously known as Saint Joseph’s Ballet, where she received training in ballet and modern with Rebecca Ramos and Martha Zepeda. She was also given the opportunity to dance with Mark Haim, Melanie Rios Glaser, and Steve Paxton. Once she started college at Sacramento State University she studied under Lorelei Bayne, Philip Flickinger, Dr. Linda Goodrich, Lisa Ross, and Nolan T’sani. She graduated CSU Sacramento with a major in Dance in the Spring of 2016.
Linda “Starrie” Le
Linda “Starrie” Le is an emerging performer and choreographer in the Sacramento area. She recently graduated at CSUS with double majors in Business and Dance. She has studied with Dr. Linda Goodrich, Lorelei Bayne, Nolan T’Sani, Philip Flickinger, Nhan Ho, Lisa Ross, Aubri Siebert, Heidi McLean, and Melisa Cervantes. Starrie has also worked with Gary Masters, Sebastian Grubb, and Raissa Simpson. Starrie is very excited to start her second season with Nhan Ho Project while further exploring the realm of performing and choreographing.
Becca Newton, originally from Sacramento, CA, is a graduate from CSU Long Beach where she obtained her BFA in dance. Growing up, she trained with a pre-professional dance company under the direction of Jen Bradford where she had the opportunity to perform at venues such as Royan Festival of France, and The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. She has also received training from educators such as Lillian Barbeito, Sidra Bell, Troy Ogilvie, Drew Jacoby, Theodore Constant, Nhan Ho, Jennifer Backhaus, and more. Becca recently spent a season as a full time Company member with Backhausdance Company, and in 2015, she performed as a guest artist with the LA Contemporary Dance Company. Her choreographic works have been presented in a collaborative show with Backhausdance Company, at the CSULB’s Contemporary Dance Concert, and took first at the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, Palm Desert. She has performed the works of choreographers such as Sidra Bell, LeeWei Chow, Jenny Backhaus, Ben Levy, Jen Bradford, Alex Ketley, Rebecca Lemme, Keith Johnson, Nhan Ho, and more. This is her second season as a company member with the Nhan Ho Project.
Vuong Nguyen started his dance journey with Soul Purpose Dance Company directed by Katrina Davis in high school for 3 years. The company focuses in all style of dance, including ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip- hip. After he graduated high school he joined a hip-hop dance company called theProject directed by Richard Pasalo. He guested in Core Contemporary Dance’s annual show “The Doorway” in 2013 and 2014. Now he is currently studying to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Dance from California State University, Sacramento and be obtained in May 2018.
Carly has been passionate about the art of movement since the age of 2. Growing up in LA county, she tarted at A.V. Dance studio ’81 from 97-’06. Competed on the competition team for 2 years and studied ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, polynesian and hip hop. Started dancing and competing at Dance Magic dance studio in ’06-’09. Received Co dance scholarship award in ’08. Attended CSSSA summer arts program in July of ’13. Danced on Paraclete high school dance from ’12-’13. Danced on Sac State dance team from ’13-’14. Apart of Nick Taylor, “Kid Swaggs” promo video in ’13. Danced in Sac states senior dance concert from ’13-’16 and Sac state faculty dance concert in Fall ’16. Graduating senior, journalism major, dance minor. Nhan Ho Project is first dance company to be apart of.
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.
Angelica Steed is originally from Kansas where she began her technical dance training, predominantly in the disciplines of ballet and jazz. After High School, she attended Wichita State University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography through the department overseen by Nicholas C. Johnson. At the University, she grew in her creative journey while training in modern, ballet, jazz, mime, and choreography. In 2011, she joined the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre with whom she danced and toured for in venues including Chicago, Washington D.C. and an international tour throughout Italy. During her four years in the company, Angelica had the opportunity to dance for highly esteemed choreographers such as Darrell Grand Moultrie, Charlotte Boye-Christensen and Rachel Boyajian. In 2013, she was a National Dance Alliance All-American medal winner for her work on the Wichita State Dance Team, and helped her team to a top ten finish at Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida that same year. From 2014 to 2015, Angelica served as President of the Mid-America Dance Theatre, where she oversaw and helped to create dance concerts throughout the community. In 2016, she moved to Northern California accepted an invitation from the Nhan Ho Project to perform and dance with the company.
Sean Ong Tran
Sean Ong Tran fell in love with the innate capacity of movement within the human body. He values the boundless possibilities one can create in the most profound ways. At the age of sixteen, he found his passion of movement when he entered the entertainment business at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. He has performed various shows and works such as a suite of José Limón’s master work of Choreographic Offering – restaged by Gary Masters, Walk choreographed by Vanessa Voskuil in Footprints at the American Dance Festival 2016, the Gala Show at American College Dance Association 2016, Darkside, Cirque Dreams Splashtastic 2013 and shared his original work, “Ah-Choo!” at the Choreographers Collective 2015: Dimensions of Idenity and Ash in HATCH / Dance Works in Progress at the Crocker Art Museum. This led him to further explore the world of dance and currently pursuing his B.A. Degree in both Dance and Deaf Studies at California State University, Sacramento. He has studied with Gary Masters, Ernesta Corvino, Sebastian Grubb, Lorelei Bayne, Philip Flickinger, Dr. Linda Goodrich, Dr. Roberto Pomo, Nolan T’sani, Lisa Ross, Nicole Manker, Aubri Siebert, Nhan Ho, Pepper Von, Kimberly B. Valmore, Esther Pryor, and among many others. In addition, he is a company member of Nhan Ho Project in Sacramento, CA and an ensemble member of COterie DAnce Company in Oakland, CA. As he strives to grow and learn as an artist, choreographer and performer, Sean intends to fulfill his dreams and share the beautiful art of dance with the world.
As a mover and a thinker, Laila Waheed 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 others’ 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.
Liselle Yap received her early training at Northern California Dance Conservatory under the direction of Jen Bradford and Theodore Constant. While there she was invited to perform at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Young! Tanzsommer festival in Austria. In 2012, she left to train at London Contemporary Dance School. A year later, she returned to Northern California and continued her training at NCDC with Lindsey Renee Derry and STRANDEDartists. In the fall of 2014, she began training at San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and had been working in the Bay Area for the last two years working for companies such as LEVYdance, Sarah Berges Dance, and Palanza Dance Company. Throughout her career she has performed both locally and internationally. This past year she traveled to San Miguel de Allende with Sarah Berges Dance and currently dances with Nhan Ho Project and TwoPoint4 Dance Theatre.