Faculty


  • Lauren Wilkins

    Artistic Director, CAPA

  • Stephanie Briones

    Founder

  • LeConte Banks

    Jazz, Contemporary, Team CAPA Choreographer

  • Jo Bliss

    Preschool, Ballet, Tap

  • Mrs-B-Web

    Clarissa Boeriu

    Ballet

  • joey-bothwell-web

    Joey Bothwell

    Jazz, Contemporary

  • Melinda

    Melinda Cantu

    Hip Hop, Jazz

  • Maggie Danielson

    Tap

  • Leah-Hamel-BW-Program

    Leah Hamel

    Lyrical, Contemporary

  • Thaïs Leavitt

    Ballet

  • Sarah-P-Program

    Sarah Polednak

    Jazz, Lyrical

  • Rashelle

    Rashelle Rascon

    Musical Theater, Ballet, Jazz, Acro, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical

  • Coming-Soon

    Suzanne Richebacher

    Coming Soon

  • Courtney Gleaves Sessions

    Jazz, Lyrical Contemporary, Acro

  • Kristen-Taylor-Web

    Kristen Taylor

    Preschool, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Team CAPA Choreographer

  • Marielle Thompson

    Ballet, Preschool, Parent and Child, Jazz

Lauren has been dancing as long as she can remember, and has been teaching and inspiring CAPA students for 18 years. She has performed with the St. Louis Municipal Opera, Gateway Ballet of St. Louis and American Dance Troupe, as well as competing regionally and nationally. Since graduating with honors from the University of California Santa Barbara, she has devoted her energy to teaching dance full-time. Lauren served as Children’s Ballet Mistress for the Moscow Ballet’s Santa Barbara production of The Nutcracker, and has been a member of Dance Masters of America for over 15 years.  Her goal as a teacher is to help each student become a confident and joyful dancer.  Lauren lives in Camarillo with her husband, Will, and their daughters, Charlotte and Emerson.

Stephanie is so proud of how the performing arts have shaped her life. In 1999, she founded Stephanie Elder School of Dance which later became Camarillo Academy of Performing Arts. As the Artistic Director of CAPA, her students have won numerous awards and scholarships and many have gone on to pursue a career in the performing arts. She is a certified member of Dance Masters of America (DMA) since 2000. Stephanie wishes to thank all of the wonderful families at CAPA who have helped her turn a simple dance studio in to a dance community where the love of the performing arts is nurtured. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their four children, plus another little ballerina on the way!


LeConté is a Louisiana native who currently lives in California. Growing up, he attended many competitions including JUMP, LADM, West Coast Dance Explosion, Artist Simply Human, and more where he received countless awards. He worked for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line as a dancer/ aerialist. Currently, he works with AATMA and is a freelance dancer in Los Angeles. LeConté has trained at many places including Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, University of Arizona, and more. Throughout his dance career he has traveled to 15 countries and over 15 states in counting. He has been teaching for 6 years and truly believes that dancers teach him just as much as he does them. LeConté’s primary objective as a teacher is to help the dancer become the artist they wish to grow into.


Jo Bliss has been teaching dance to children since 1983. She owned and operated her own dance studio in Oklahoma City, Okla. from 1989 until 2005 when she moved to California to nanny for her daughter. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education from the University of Central Oklahoma, studied dance on a dance scholarship at Oklahoma City University from 1983 to 1987 and enjoyed taking class with Ballet Oklahoma for over 10 years. She danced in over 20 musicals including “Annie”, “My One and Only”, and “Crazy for You”. She was awarded the “Gypsy” award twice and served as dance captain in “Dames at Sea.” She is a member of Dance Masters of America.

Born and educated in Romania, Mrs. Boeriu received her BA in Dance from the National School of Art, Choreography Department and she earned her Masters Degree in Philosophy/Pedagogy from the Babes-Bolyai University, both in Cluj-Napoca Romania.  Mrs. Boeriu went on to an impressive career first as a company member and then as Principal Dancer with the National Opera House of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.  She performed in all classical, neoclassical and modern ballet productions of the Theatre as well as in the Theatre’s numerous Opera productions.

After graduation Mrs. Boeriu was invited as faculty of the National School of Art in the Choreography Department and a member of the coaching team for the Romanian participants in the international ballet competitions held in Varna (Bulgaria) and Moscow (Russia).  Several students from her classes received fellowships at the Bolshoi Choreographic School in Moscow (Russia).  In 1983 after defecting from Romania she became a faculty member of the School of the Rome Opera House in Rome (Italy). At the same time she held the position of principal teacher and ballet mistress/choreographer with “Viva la Danza” School & Company.  Mrs. Boeriu was also a lecturer of folk dance from Eastern Europe (theory & practical courses) at the Centro di Studi per l’Educazione Fisica (CONI) in Rome and at the European Center for Physical Training Studies in Bologna, Italy.  Since 1989 Mrs. Boeriu was guest faculty of Cleveland and then Ballet San Jose (School & Company). She is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Ballet Ventura School and Artistic Director/Choreographer for the Channel Islands Ballet Co. In 1999 she was co-founder of the Ventura County Ballet Co. and from 2002-2015 the founder and Artistic Director/Choreographer of All American Ballet (School & Company).   Since her arrival in Ventura Mrs. Boeriu has created and choreographed more than twenty full-length ballet/dance productions and groomed scores of dancers that received employment opportunities, countless scholarships and acceptances from the world of dance in Europe and in the US.

In 2006 Mrs. Boeriu was presented the Mayor’s Arts Award for Arts Educators by Mayor C. Morehouse in recognition of her rich history of artistic achievement and contribution to Ventura’s cultural community.  She is also the recipient of the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition presented to her by the Ventura County Star “2014 Class of 25 over 50” for outstanding and invaluable service to the community.

Joey has been featured as a dancer on “Once Upon a Time,” feature film Frankie and Alice, and was a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance Canada.  She has been teaching and adjudicating advanced jazz, lyrical and contemporary for many years both locally in the Los Angeles area, as well as nationally for Core Dance Competition, Talent Explosion and Stars of Tomorrow.  She has also appeared on stage for Celebrity and Princess Cruiselines, Disneyland, and as a member of the dance troupe she owns and directs!  Joey is an energetic, fun and inspiring instructor, and she is thrilled to join the staff of CAPA.

Melinda Cantu is originally from Fort Worth, Texas.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at The University of Central Oklahoma where she was also a member of Oklahoma’s first professional jazz dance company, R.A.C.E Dance Company.  After receiving her degree, Melinda moved to Los Angeles, where she was immediately signed with Clear Talent Group, one of LA’s most prestigious dance agencies. Since her move in 2010 Melinda has worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Afro Jack, The Cataracs, Shwayze, Twista, Victoria Justice and Trace Adkins to name a few.  She went on a 2 year World Wide Tour dancing for Sky Blu, from the Grammy Nominated Duo LMFAO.  Melinda has worked with many celebrities including, David Arquette, Wilmer Valderrama, George Lopez, Metta World Peace, Jay Leno and was also a featured dancer in Tru TV’s Full Throttle Saloon.  Melinda is thrilled to be able to spread her dance knowledge and passion by teaching and she continues to thrive in the professional dance industry.  She hopes that her love and passion for dance will inspire others to pursue their dreams as well.

Maggie has been awarded Top Choreographer, 2nd Overall Production and three Most Entertaining awards at Dance Master Of America. She is a DMA National Title Holder 2001. Maggie is also an LA Dance Invitational (1999 & 2003) & LA Dance Force Competition Gold Medal Winner (1994-2002). She danced professionally with Danny Daniels and The Dance America Company, toured with Columbia Artists as a lead dancer and has performed feature roles for HBO, John Denver television shows and Pennies from Heaven. She has choreographer of the Hallmark TV movie, “A Grandpa for Christmas” as well as Gilmore Girls Season Opener and “An Evening with Gaeda Mier”. Maggie was honored in 2008 in New York City’s Tap Week for her vast contribution to the tap community. Maggie is a member of Dance Masters of America, serving as Vice President and has taught for over 30 years.

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Leah began her dance studies at California Dance Theatre. Upon graduating high school, she moved to New York City to continue her training at The Juilliard School under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. She has also studied with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She has had the privilege of performing the work of Sharon Eyal, Alex Ketley, Spencer Gavin Hering, Ohad Naharin, Robert Moses, Camille A. Brown, and Malinda LaVelle. In addition to dancing, she has choreographed work for Palm Dance Collective, Santa Monica College, and Juilliard Dance. She is currently a company member with Palm Dance Collective LA and C.Eule Dance.

Thaïs is a native Californian who studied ballet with Don Hewitt, Joey Harris, Stanley Holden and at the Royal Ballet School in London, England. She was a principal dancer with the Düsseldorf Ballet in Germany and toured internationally. While abroad, Thaïs studied Cecchetti (Italian), Vaganova (Russian) and Bournonville (Danish) methods of training. Thaïs enjoys teaching all aspects of classical/contemporary ballet and the art of classical Spanish dance.

Originally from Las Vagas, Nevada Sarah Polednak sought out dance at a young age. Before beginning her formal training she graduated from The Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts as a dance major. She continued her education at Marymount Manhattan as a dance major with a minor in choreography. After studying concert dance and choreography in New York city, she moved to Los Angeles, to pursue a career as a commercial dancer, choreographer, educator and performer. Since then, she has had the pleasure of working with choreographers such has: Loni Landon, Cat Cogliandro, TOKYO, and Juliette Irons. She has also performed with artists such as: Purity Ring, Halsey, and Hayden James.

Rashelle Rascon was born and raised in Southern California, she started dancing at the age of 3 and has been dancing ever since. From a young age she has been intrested in all styles and aspects of dance. Growing up she competed in several competitions and attended summer intensive programs such as Broadway Artist Alliance. From there she moved to New York City to attend college at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) where she graduated with her conservatory degree in Dance Theater. Recently moving back to California to pursue her career as a performer, she is so happy to have the oppurtunity to also pursue her career as  teacher once again. Rashelle has recently taught at CAPA 3 years ago and has been a guest choreographer for Team Capa for the past 2 years. Rashelle is so happy to be back because there is nothing more rewarding for her than to help her students find their passion for dance.

Courtney received her BFA in Modern Dance from University of Utah. Professionally she has danced with AXIS Dance Company, Next Reflex Collective Dance Company, Carla & Company, InFlux Dance Company, Helanius Wilkins, and Airealistic. Courtney has also spent time in Berlin, Germany, dancing with Staatliche Ballettschule und Schule für Artistik. In addition to performing personally, she has also choreographed for various studios and schools across the U.S. She moved to Los Angeles in mid 2012 with her husband, Matthew. Courtney hopes to continue her career in dance by teaching, choreographing, and performing.

Bio coming soon

Marielle is an experienced passionate dance-artist. She started training at the young age of 3 under Liza O. Mata of St. Anne’s Ballet in the Philippines, who is now the dance director of Coastal Dance Centre in South Carolina. Marielle took lessons in Jazz, Hawaiian Hula, Classical Ballet and Modern, where she received remarks of Highly Commended and Distinction from the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD London). She entered the University of the Philippines in 2000 as a Dance major under the supervision of Basilio Esteban ViIlaruz for further hone her skills and became a more graceful dancer formidable not only in Classical Ballet but in Modern, Lyrical/ Contemporary, and styles such as Pangalay, Classical Indian Bharatanatyan, Flamenco and some Folk and Ethnic Dance during her study. She has performed and taught all over the Philippines and Asia. Upon graduating from UP, Marielle became a company member of the Philippine Ballet Theatre trained by Anatoly Panasyukov (Ballet Master) where she had the opportunity to dance lead roles in Classical and Modern Ballet. She also was a dancer with Royal Caribbean International Productions in 2009 and had the opportunity to travel and perform around the world. She has been teaching for more than 15 years