Season 2020 (Sacramento)
Photography: Emil (EJ) Aban
Emil (EJ) Aban
Emil (EJ) ABAN, has been dancing for 7 years. Prior to beginning dance EJ did TaeKwonDo and picked up musical instruments. He began his dance endeavors at Sheldon High School with Universal Rhythm Dance Co. under the direction of Rebecca Hobgood and Debi Roberts. He has also trained at the Northern California Dance Conservatory, Sac Dance Lab, and Movement Invention Project in NYC. EJ also teaches and choreographs for high school dance companies in the Elk Grove/Sacramento area.
Nicole is a California native and began her dance training at an early age beginning with ballet and jazz in her small home town of Tracy, California. During high school she trained at Contra Costa Ballet under the direction of Zola Dishong and Richard Cammack. After graduating high school she attended Orange Coast College where she was able to dance with Anaheim Ballet and Contempo Ballet. Nicole graduated cum laude obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance at Alonzo King LINES Ballet at Dominican University of California in 2017. She has had the opportunity of performing works by Gregory Dawson, Robert Dekkers, Amanda K. Miller, and Amy Seiwert, among others. Nicole is currently freelancing and teaching throughout the Bay Area.
Mariaisabel “Izzy” Colmenares
Mariaisabel “Izzy” Colmenares began her dance training at the age of five and has continued to widen her variety of styles over the years. She first began training in Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Tap, and later began her training in Ballet, Contemporary, and Breaking. She has trained under many well-known professionals such as Jason Magsuci, Stephanie Hopper, Philip Flickinger, Pepper Von, and Tony Nguyen. Performing and competing have been a focal point throughout her dance journey. Izzy has trained and danced on various competing teams within the Sacramento community. She is currently a company member of Press P.L.A.Y. under the direction of Royce Legaspi and Nhan Ho Project under the direction of Nhan Ho. Izzy is attending CSUS, pursuing a BA in dance. After graduation she plans to pursue a career as a professional dancer.
Dana Urban-Cole began dancing at a young age and never stopped. The studio, where she trained as a youth, accepted her onto their competition and performance companies. She was also chosen to be a part of professional performance productions in the bay area (including 49er halftime shows and local tv segments). While living in that area, Dana performed in musical theatre as well (including dancing in the west coast premiere of Footloose). After high school, Dana attended Chico State, where she studied media arts and dance. While there, she danced for the college’s dance company as well as for the Chico Community Ballet. After graduating, Dana continued dancing for a couple of professional dance companies in the Chico area. Life took Dana to Sacramento, where she discovered her passion for teaching dancing and choreographing. Unfortunately, Dana suffered from some difficult health complications for a couple of years. Though she continued teaching and choreographing at this time, she needed to take a break from her own physical training. Dana has worked diligently to rehabilitate her body and enjoyed the process of learning more about how to train dancers’ bodies in the most effective and safest way. She got the opportunity, last summer, to start dancing for Pamela Lourentzo’s dance company. Dana is excited to now also be dancing with the Nhan Ho Project.
Brevin grew up in Sacramento, CA dancing along to the music constantly playing in his house before he could even walk. He officially began his dance career in high school on the Mira Loma Dance Team, where he learned the styles of hip-hop and jazz. He then received a Performing Arts scholarship for dance at Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA, where he studied the styles of modern, ballet, and Latin ballroom. In addition, he was also heavily involved in choreographing both hip-hop and Pilipinx cultural dances for the Asian Pacific American Student Association (A.P.A.S.A.) and Asian Cultural Night. Brevin graduated summa cum laude in 2019 with a dual degree in Dance: Choreography & Performance and Allied Health Science. Upon moving back home to Sacramento, he is extremely excited and grateful to be dancing for Nhan Ho Project.
Lizzy Dyer is a 23 year old dancer and performer living in the Sacramento region. She started off dancing at the age of 10 at KM dance studios. While at KM dance studios she was also attending ballroom classes at Arthur Murray. She then left both studios to train at Northern California Dance Conservatory (NCDC). While attending NCDC I joined the ambassador team and the PHresh Crew hip hop team. Elizabeth has trained in various styles including ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, and hip hop while also taking workshops and intensive from many professional dancers through out her time at NCDC. She also took private training from Leah Bueno, Alexey Kulpin, Lindsey Renee Derry, and Michael Levine through out her dancing career. Elizabeth has also performed solo work by Nhan Ho. While her training in ballroom dancing Elizabeth has competed in multiple ballroom competitions including International grand ball (IGB),San Francisco Open ballroom competition (SFOpen), and City lights Open. Currently she is apart of the Nhan Ho project dance company and also trains at Sacramento dance center for ballroom dancing with her coach Genya Malko. Elizabeth believes dance is the only thing that can bring everyone together, no matter what race you are, no matter who you love, no matter from where you are, dance is unity!
Jasen Fong is an actor, dancer, and choreographer currently working within the Sacramento area. He is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a minor in Dance and Deaf Studies. Jasen is currently dancing for Nhan Ho Project, Elevate Dance Project, and choreographing for his own company Mochi Powder. He currently teaches modern for Elevate Dance Company while also continuing to grow and explore movement through breaking, modern and ballet. He is extremely humbled and honored to be sharing the stage with such amazing artists.
Kyle Her is a dance performer, choreographer, and artist originally from Sacramento, CA. He spent many years training in various styles under the hip-hop umbrella, with crews and individuals within the Sacramento area. He graduated from Sonoma State University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts: Dance Concentration and Human Development. After his education and training in modern and contemporary dance at Sonoma State he went on to dance for artists in the San Francisco Bay Area such as Christine Cali (Cali&CO Dance), Scott Wells (Scott Wells & Dancers), Liz Boubion, and Kristen Daley. Kyle is currently in Sacramento teaching dance and performing with Nhan Ho Project.
Chanelle Newcomer has an extensive and versatile dance background consisting of decades of training, professional performances, and teaching in Northern and Southern California, and other national locales. She holds a BA in Dance from CSU, Sacramento, and has studied a wide variety of styles including Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Hip Hop, African-Caribbean/Dunham, and Improvisation. In addition to her degree, Chanelle holds certifications in Progressing Ballet Technique and Acrobatic Arts, and she has completed specific courses with Axis Dance Company in Oakland, CA enabling her to work with movers who have special needs. She has training and experience in choreography/dance making, gymnastics/Acro, Dance Kinesiology and Anatomy/physiology. Along with Chanelle’s multi-faceted education, she has wide-ranging performance experience including several years of industrial/commercial work in the Los Angeles area, as well as multiple performances at The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and with several other local dance companies in the Sacramento Area including Sacramento Black Art of Dance, Flickerfly Dance Theater, and the University Dance Company. This is Chanelle’s first year with the Nhan Ho Project, and she is so grateful for the opportunity to learn from and work with this dedicated group of talented artists.
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 CSULBâ€™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 third season as a company member with the Nhan Ho Project.
Kristen Sambuca has been dancing for about 11 years. She began dancing at J. Rene Dance Academy and was involved in gymnastics for a few years. She then resumed her hobby of dance in middle school, Sheldon High School’s dance company Universal Rhythm under Rebecca Hobgood & Debi Roberts and continued dancing after high school with The Project Dance Company, CRC dance, Harvest Church’s praise dance team, 6 Players Theatre, Nhan Ho Movement Choir & Nhan Ho Project. Kristen also loves & continues to share her art with high school dance companies and Sacramento dance community. Working with younger students has been a fulfilling journey for her as she discovered the magic and empathy she can bring out of the youth. Alongside dancing, she strives to go into the medical field & become a registered nurse.
Grace Matayoshi grew up in Sacramento, CA and has been dancing for around 9 years. She was trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, and hip-hop primarily at Step 1 Dance & Fitness. She also discovered a love for musical theatre and was in professional productions of The King and I and Bye Bye Birdie at California Musical Theatre. She also performed in several productions at Sacramento Theatre Company, Woodland Opera House, and American River College. She is currently a dancer in Nhan Ho Project, directed under Nhan Ho, and Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theatre, directed under Jacob Montoya. She is pursuing a double major in social work and Asian studies at California State University, Sacramento.
Kenedi Patania started dancing ballet when she was 14 years old at her local studio, Encore!, where she developed a passion for performing arts. Since then, she has received training in contemporary, modern, and hip hop from Sacramento Ballet and Step 1 Dance & Fitness. After graduating from Step 1’s Jazz Company in 2018, Kenedi went on to attend American River College and joined ARC’s dance company, in which she presently resides as a Dance Major. Currently, assists as an understudy for Nhan Ho Project.