Photography: Anita Scharf
Artistic Director/Company Dancer
Samantha Chizek, a dancer, choreographer, and instructor. She completed her B.A. in Dance at California State University, Sacramento in 2021. Has been dancing in the Yuba-Sutter and Sacramento area for over 20 years and has had the pleasure of dancing in pieces by Keri LaGrand, Mike Esperanza, Melecio Estrella of Bandalooping, Darrius Strong of STRONGmovement, Pat Taylor of JazzAntiqua, and Leandro Damasco Jr. She has worked with professors from both San Diego State University and Sacramento State University including; Leslie Seiters, Joe Alter, Bernard Brown, Lorelei Bayne, Megan Brunsvold-Mercedes. Samantha is the Artistic Director of Nhan Ho Project. A contemporary fusion based dance company in Sacramento that is dedicated to bringing the surrounding community together through dance and movement. She is also a member of Borne Dance Company, a contemporary dance company based in Sacramento and New York. Borne Dance Company is dedicated to raising awareness to mental health, eating disorders, and body positivity through art and movement. She also teaches some contemporary and adult dance classes at Step 1 Dance and Fitness in Natomas. She has choreographed in various styles for competitive dance teams, who have competed and participated in workshops/conventions all over California and Nevada. She enjoys sharing her passion for dance and being able to share such an art form with the students. “To touch, to move, to inspire. This is the true gift of dance.” -Aubrey Lynch
Abby Clark started dancing at the age of 4 and began taking classes at Step 1 Dance and Fitness when she was 10. She competed on both their Protégé and Jazz Company competition teams for a total of 6 years. She trained in ballet, tap, musical theater, and lyrical. Her favorite style is contemporary. Abby has received instruction from Nhan Ho, Kenna Wright, Alexandra Cunnigham, and Pepper Von. She is currently dancing with Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theater, under Jacob Gutiérrez-Montoya’s direction and has had the pleasure of working with companies such as Habitat for Humanity. She has taught beginning ballet to little kids and is majoring in Exercise Science at Sacramento State, with dreams of becoming a physical therapist. She is excited to be dancing for her third year with Nhan Ho Project.
Katelyn Counts started dancing at the age of 13 and has trained in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, and Hip-Hop. Although she had a later start than most dancers, this did not interfere with her passion and drive for the art form. She has danced in pieces with choreographers such as G. Madison IV, Nico O'Connor, and Elizabeth Auclair. Katelyn was in the Martha Graham Residency at the University of Nevada, Reno. The residency resulted in the dancers opening for the Martha Graham Dance Company with Martha Graham's "Heritic" at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno, Nevada. She has worked with professors at both University of Nevada, Reno and California State University, Sacramento; such as Nate Hodges, Rosie Trump, Eve Allen Garza, Cari Cunningham, and Erin Reynolds. Katelyn currently works at Starbucks on the Sacramento State campus and at Transitions Dance Center in Yuba City. She teaches several baby dance classes and intermediate classes. Katelyn is currently studying Health Sciences and Dance at Sacramento State. This is her first season dancing with Nhan Ho Project.
Lizzy Dyer is a 27 year old dancer and performer in the Northern California region. She started dancing at the age of 10, and found her feet at KM Dance Studio starting with hip hop, which led her to try other styles like salsa, jazz, and ballet. While training at KM, she found a love for ballroom dancing and started training at Arthur Murray learning Latin ballroom. She started dancing at Northern California Dance Conservatory (NCDC) where she joined the ambassador program and the PHresh Crew hip hop team. Lizzy trained in various styles at NCDC including ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, and hip hop. She also took private training from Athea Costa, Leah Bueno, Alexa Kulpin, Lindsey Renee Derry, and Michael Levine. During her time at NCDC, she then started private training with Genya Malko and then went on to compete in international ballroom competitions like International Grand Ball (IGB), San Francisco Open (SFOpen), City Lights Open, and Las Vegas Open. Lizzy has been part of Nhan Ho Project for the last five years. She has a piece in this year's show titled, “Starting A Fire.” Lizzy believes that dance unites people, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you believe, dance is unity and that’s the beautiful thing about this art.
Rhia Guadalupe is a dancer and choreographer originally from Sacramento. Rhia started dancing at the age of 7 at Step 1 Dance & Fitness. She has spent 8 years on the competitive dance team at Step One. She has trained in various styles such as contemporary, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz, while also taking various master and convention classes to expand her knowledge. After graduating high school, Rhia also taught dance at Step One and at Northern California Dance Conservatory, NCDC. She is currently a student at Sacramento State. Rhia has been part of Nhan Ho Project for three years now. This season she had the opportunity to choreograph a piece, “Golden Hour.” She is very thankful for this opportunity and could not have asked for better people to share this experience with.
Emily got her start in creative movement classes at the age of 4, beginning a lifelong love of ballet and improvisation. After years of serious classical training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, Emily was accepted at Interlochen Arts Academy and majored in Dance, studying Ballet, Modern, and Jazz for 3 years. She continued her exploration of Modern, Contemporary Dance, and Jazz. This was her primary focus in college, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Emily graduated with the President’s Award, a Choreography Prize, a Poetry Prize, and other awards. Emily began her professional dance career while still in college, and did her first international tour to China at age 20. A fulfilling career followed, performing with SCRAP Performing Arts Group, Austruckstanz Dance Theater,and Group Motion Dance Company with whom she toured to Europe and Asia several times. Emily spends most days coloring and reading to kindergartners, teaching dance classes at Step 1 Dance and Fitness.
Amy Mathews is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher in the greater Sacramento area. Introduced to dance at age five in a community recreational program, she remembers feeling supernatural freedom when her ballet teacher allowed improvisation at the end of class. Though she is trained in all styles, it’s not a coincidence contemporary dance is her favorite. Amy earned a BA in dance with a minor in business from San Jose State University in 2015. She is proud to have graduated from her father and grandfather's alma mater where they too began the pursuit of passions driven by supernatural moments. While at SJSU she had the opportunity to work under the direction of Janie Scott, Fred Mathews, Gary Masters, Heather Cooper, Maria Basile and Jill Yager. She also has been under the direction of Sunny Smith, and Sam Williams at American River College. Upon graduation she was hired to take her passions to the field with Transform Arts in New York City. Credits from NYC include: the Hillsong Church Dance Team, Ovation Television Network, and the Emma Elliot Dance Company. While dancing with Hillsong, she had the opportunity to perform at Madison Square Garden, The Manhattan Center, Barclays Center, and the Kings Theater (a dream come true). At Transform Arts she performed in cities such as Kansas City, St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix, and San Francisco with various local artists and choreographers. Uniquely, Transform Arts integrated her faith with art in ways she never imagined. This integration led to teaching dance internationally in Cuba, Mexico City, and Mexicali by performing messages of hope and redemption to the impoverished and discouraged. Today, she teaches dance at Blue Oaks Performing Arts in Roseville carrying the same message to a different crowd. Additionally, she holds a teaching credential and masters from William Jessup University, and teaches TK-8th grade PE in Natomas, working to inspire youth that even athletic movement is inherently artful. Recently, Amy danced with Sacramento Contemporary Dance Theater under Jacob Gutierrez-Montoya in 2019-2020 and The Polar Express with Paramount, in partnership with the California Railroad Museum. She is honored to now be with Nhan Ho Dance Project under the Nhan Ho and Samantha Chizek.
Kiara Patton has been dancing since she was 13. She started taking dance classes in middle school, and went on to dance in high school at Step 1 Dance & Fitness and in Sheldon High School’s Universal Rhythm Dance Company. Kiara received her B.A. in Communications from UC Davis. She currently trains in contemporary and jazz at local dance studios, and she dances with Nahn Ho Project, a contemporary dance company. Currently, Kiara works with social justice organizations as a graphic designer. She currently teaches Zumba at Crunch Fitness.
Marco Ruivivar is a dancer and choreographer in the Sacramento area. He started dancing at the age of 9 at Step 1 Dance & Fitness. He began his training in Hip Hop and later, expanded into training in multiple styles such as: Contemporary and Jazz. Growing up, he was a part of the Hip Hop Company at Step 1 Dance & Fitness and Franklin High School's Fusion Dance Company. After graduating high school at the age of 17, Marco became a dance instructor at two local dance studios, Step 1 Dance & Fitness and Galaxy Dance Arts. Marco is going into his fifth year of teaching and still teaches Hip Hop at Galaxy Dance Arts. This is Marco’s third season with Nhan Ho Project where he trains as a dancer and to expand his knowledge and improve as a dancer and choreographer.
Jenny started her dance journey at Julines School of Dance, training in Ballet and Jazz. She expanded her dance training in Modern and Contemporary in high school with Gregori's Dance Production and Modesto Junior College's dance program, learning from Kim T. Davis and Lori Bryhni. Jenny went on to study at UC Santa Barbara and earned a double BA in Dance and Environmental Studies, as well as minored in Applied Psychology. During her time at UCSB, she had the pleasure of studying under Delila Mosley, Nancy Colahan, Christina McCarthy, Christina Sanchez, and Brandon Whited. She had the opportunity to take part in many of the UCSB Department of Theatre and Dance concerts where she performed pieces choreographed by faculty members and her fellow peers. Jenny danced with the UCSB Senior Dance Company for the '20-'21 season, performing in "Pop" by Caili Quan, "Ride" by Joshua Manculich, and dance film "In Flight & On Film'' directed by Delila Mosley. This is Jenny’s first season as a company dancer with the Nhan Ho Dance Project and is excited for the opportunity to perform with her fellow artists.
Company Dancer (On Leave)