DANCE FOR KIDS STAFF BIOS
TARYN CHASE GREENMAN, Owner
Taryn Chase Greenman is the is the proud new owner of Dance for Kids and Brentwood Academy of Dance. She grew up in Los Angeles and has been dancing since the age of 2, training in Jazz, Ballet and Tap. While attending Windward High School in West Los Angeles, she trained in the dance and theater programs. She then went on to become a dance major studying contemporary dance at Scripps College, in Claremont CA. She was awarded a dance scholarship to attend American College Dance Festival (ACDF), and her choreography has won multiple awards. Since college, she has been focused on business and sales, and started her own family. She and her husband have two wonderful daughters. She is so excited to be able to unite her passions and be a part of the dance community again.
KAREN CHASE, partner and consultant
Karen Chase has an enthusiastic, infectious joy for life and she is so grateful to be able to share her love of dance and performing with children. Karen opened the first Karen Chase Dance Studio in Louisville Kentucky in 1975. It quickly became one of the largest and most successful in all of Kentucky. Professionally, she performed with Bob Hope on his USO tour in 1976, and was one of the original Laker Girls in 1981. She starred in the Broadway production of 42nd Street appearing as Anytime Annie to critical acclaim. She has also starred in numerous motion pictures, television and web series. Karen acquired Dance for Kids in Brentwood in 1999, and owned and operated through 2022. She is very proud to have passed the torch to her daughter, Taryn to continue to run the business with the same love and joy.
Professional dancer, choreographer and Iowa native, Gabee Benson, started dancing in her mom’s studio at age two. She is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, clogging, acrobatics, heels, and multiple foundations of hip hop. Since dancing competitively at age 8, she earned national titles and scholarships, taking her across the U.S. At 16, Gabee began to teach and truly found her passion for the art. She attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where she earned her B.S. in Arts, Entertainment, and Sports management. Throughout and following college, Gabee was professionally dancing in the contemporary dance company, “Firewall.” During that time, she also obtained a certification in Jazz technique through the Nan Giordano Certification Program (NGCP). Gabee has experience in choreographing award winning competition routines and continues to do so. After becoming affiliated with Millennium Dance Complex Pittsburgh, Gabee was inspired to move to Los Angeles and pursue her passion. She has trained under world known choreographers such as Brian & Scott Nicolson, Cameron Lee, Laure Courtellemont, and more. Currently, Gabee is a member of Troupe Dance Company and Snap Squad. One under the direction of Antoine Troupe and the other Taiwan Williams. Most importantly, Gabee is beyond excited to be a part of the Dance for Kids/ Brentwood Academy of Dance family! She looks forward to nurturing her student's passion for dance and helping them grow in their artistry.
Sarah Braverman grew up in Los Angeles, California. She trained extensively in the Royal Academy of Dance, under the direction of Bernadette Hill and JoAnna Jarvis, completing all exams through Advanced II with distinction. Sarah moved to NYC in 2004 to attend Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan, graduating cum laude with a BFA in Dance with a concentration in ballet and an Arts Administration minor in 2008. During her time at MMC Sarah had the privilege of performing works by Robert Battle, Stephen Petronio, David Parsons, David Marquez, Graham Lustig and Joao Carvalho. Sarah joined NYC based modern dance company Parsons Dance from 2008 - 2018 where she enjoyed ten seasons of extensive national and international touring, performing and teaching master classes and intensives all over the world. During her tenure at Parsons, she had the honor of creating and performing works by Robert Battle, Trey McIntyre, Kate Skarpetowska, Monica Bill Barnes, Natalie Lomonte, Ephrat Asherie and Omar Roman de Jesus. She joined the cast of NYC’s off Broadway production Queen of the Night as a guest artist, dancing the principle role from 2015 - 2016 and has been featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit and the New York Times. She is a certified Pilates and Barre instructor and loves incorporating these skills into training young dancers. Sarah is so happy to be a part of the Dance For Kids team!
Sydney Diamond is a dancer, choreographer, and movement director based out of Los Angeles, California. She graduated summa cum laude with her BFA in dance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Sydney trained with Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, Point Park University, The Joffrey Ballet School and many local studios. Her dance training includes jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, ballet, and hip hop. Sydney has worked with choreographers such as Bobbi Jene Smith, Sidra Bell, Gary Jeter, Curt Haworth, Jesse Zaritt, Anne White, Theresa Ruth Howard, and more. She premiered her first full length choreographic work Little Boxes, at the University of the Arts (2018), followed by Sweet Dreams at Flair Dance Festival in Philadelphia (2021). Sydney is currently the Creature Movement Choreographer and a performer/actor for Odd Compelling Tales, a folk horror/comedy series in development. Most recently she was a mentor and choreographer at ZZDance and Dancesations Studio of Performing Arts in New Jersey, where she received multiple choreography awards for her competitive dances. Sydney is thrilled to be joining the Dance for Kids/Brentwood Academy of Dance family and sharing her love for dance with her students every day!
Chiara Espero is originally from Chicago, IL, and fell in love with dancing after taking her first jazz class at age 6. Her love of the arts and desire to pursue a career in dance was also inspired by watching the Step Up movie series, Janet Jackson music videos, and musicals such as The Sound of Music and High School Musical.
Since then, she has trained in various styles of dance, was a competitive cheerleader and poms dancer in middle school, and trained competitively on many dance teams throughout high school and college. In high school, she was a member of her Varsity dance team and was a member of the nationally recognized and award-winning hip-hop company, Xtreme Dance Force in Naperville, IL. At XDF she experienced training with top choreographers from all over the world and under the direction of MTV’s Made Coach and XDF director, Sam Renzetti. Before moving to LA, she was also a part of a pre-professional hip-hop team called PieceMakers, which is the training group of Chicago’s top hip-hop dance crew called The Puzzle League. In 2016, Chiara attended the University of Southern California where she studied Public Relations and juggled commercial dance jobs, taught hip-hop cardio classes at USC’s fitness centers, worked flashmobs at corporate events, and danced with boy group PRETTYMUCH. She was also a member of hip-hop companies Break Through Dance and Chaotic 3 at USC. After graduating, Chiara began teaching all-level hip-hop classes at multiple studios in LA and continues to train extensively to work on her craft. She is also a print model who has worked with brands such as EOS and Hollister, and in 2021 had the opportunity to work as a choreographer/movement coach for the emerging trio group, Sheer Element. Chiara is excited to continue sharing her passion for movement and growing with her students at Dance For Kids. She is committed to teaching classes that foster confidence, self-expression, and fun for all age groups!
Emma began dancing at the young age of 3, where she quickly began developing her lifelong passion for performing arts. At age 6, she entered the competition world. From there, she went on and won titles such as Miss teen dance USA, Miss petite dance, and Miss junior dance. She kept herself versatile by training in all styles possible, attending ballet intensives, and training with world renowned artists. Emma attended Interlochen arts academy as a modern major, where she realized her love for teaching and choreography. After graduation, she headed west and began her teaching career in Palo Alto, CA. While in Northern California she directed the competition team at Dance connection Palo Alto and was the head coach for Gunn high school dance team. Her students have won numerous national titles and continue to thrive in the dance world. In her spare time, Emma teaches barre fitness classes and trains in both singing and acting. She is excited to share her passion for dance with all of her students, and always brings a smile!
Olivia Gerns is a Professional Musician and Dancer from Westlake Village, CA, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Performance and Education from Chapman University. Olivia’s love for tap dance comes from her love for music and creating rhythms with all instruments, including her feet! Ms. Gerns is an accomplished Instrumentalist and Singer/Songwriter, and her philosophy is to include musicality and music theory in her tap teaching. Olivia has trained and worked closely with mentors and colleagues Darryl Retter, Thommie Retter, Valerie Rockey, Sarah Reich, and Leo Manzari. As a passionate educator, Miss Olivia is proud and excited for the opportunity to work with the dancers at Dance for Kids this coming season!
Sydney grew up in Las Vegas, NV where she trained in a variety of dance techniques until eventually becoming principal dancer with the Las Vegas Ballet Company (LVBC). When she was 15, she went on to train with American Ballet Theatre (JKO) under Melissa Bowman, Susan Bones, and Robert La Fosse. And after, she trained with the Joffrey Ballet where she was offered a trainee scholarship to join their company. Instead, Sydney attended Vassar College where she holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Drama. During her time at Vassar, she danced principal roles in ballets such as Raymonda, Swan Lake, and Paquita with the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre (VRDT), choreographed advanced works for the Bardavon Theatre, and became a rehearsal director for the jazz and modern departments. Sydney then moved to London to study with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), earning a degree in Classical Acting. You may catch her most recent work as a ballet dancer in Machine Gun Kelly's newest music video movie, Downfalls High, or choreographing for other companies in the Los Angeles region. She is humbled to be back on the west coast and to have found a family in Brentwood Academy of Dance. Most of all, she sends love to all her beautiful students and her family back home!
Brette Markowitz, a native of Los Angeles, is a classically trained dancer with a B.A. in dance from UCLA. She danced on the UCLA dance team and has performed in venues such as the Staples Center and Madison Square Garden. She has also performed internationally in Beijing and Hong Kong. Brette was a member of Revelations Contemporary/Aerial Company, performing in shows throughout Southern California. Her film and television credits include Nickelodeon, Fox Sports, KIA, and Paul Mitchell. She has choreographed for the UCLA Spirit Squad and UCLA Dance Team and for high schools throughout Southern California. Her choreography has earned National Championship titles at the studio, high school, and collegiate levels, Brette has been the proud director of the Brentwood Academy of Dance competition team since 2008 and enjoys working with kids of all ages and instilling them with a love and passion for dance.
From the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina, Haley Smith is a detail-oriented dancer specializing in jazz, ballet and heels. She discovered an interest in dance at age three while watching the classic film Singin' in the Rain. She's trained in gymnastics, Gyrotonics and various genres of dance including Horton technique. Receiving a Bachelor's of Arts in Dance and Spanish from Loyola Marymount University in 2020, she's continued to train with industry professionals such as Dominique Kelley, Yanis Marshall, Larke Hasstedt, Brian Nicholson and more. In 2018, she performed in the restaging of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company piece "Love Re-Defined" and in 2022, she performed "10" choreographed by Dominique Kelley for Jackie Sleight's Full Circle Show. She is a fitness trainer with The AKT Studios while she pursues her dance career and enjoys empowering the new generation of dancers to foster their individuality and independence through dance.
Rebecca Wright is a dancer/choreographer who graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Originally from the suburbs of Detroit, Rebecca has trained extensively in jazz, contemporary, modern, ballet, tap, and hip hop since the age of 3. Rebecca has been featured as a soloist in multiple modern choreographic works by Robert Battle, Mark Morris, and Bobbie Jene Smith. She has also earned multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals at The Dance Worlds. Rebecca has choreographed award winning solos, duet/trios, and groups for dance studios all over the country for over 10 years. Her choreography has been selected for and presented in various dance festivals such as Young Choreographers Festival on Broadway in New York City and Mashup Dance Festival in Downtown Los Angeles. Currently, Rebecca is on staff with Powerpak Dance Summer Intensive and is a professional dancer in the commercial dance industry in Los Angeles, CA. She adores sharing her love of dance and performing with her students!
ALEKSANDRA WOJDA NELSON
Aleksandra Wojda Nelson was born in Pretoria, South Africa, but grew up in Chicago, Illinois. As a young dancer, she trained at several studios in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, most notably Stage Door Dance Academy, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and most extensively at Gus Giordano Dance School, where she became a member of Giordanc II. Upon graduating from Northwestern University, she competed as a top 20 dancer on season 2 of SYTYCD. After moving to Los Angeles, she pursued her professional dance career by performing on television, commercials, industrials, and music videos. Her love for live performance also brought her the opportunity to dance with the professional contemporary modern company, Clairobscur Dance, under the direction of Laurie Sefton. Most recently, she has joined the convention faculty at Platinum Dance Collective. All the while pursuing her dance career, she has cultivated her passion for educating young dancers and nothing brings her more joy than seeing her own students blossom into beautiful artists and human beings.