Faculty

Graciela Acedo Ballet Instructor

Graciela began her training in Caracas, Venezuela where she was born and raised. She won a government scholarship to study at Boston Ballet and later was awarded another scholarship from Harkness Ballet in New York.

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Mariko Takahashi Ballet and Jazz Instructor and Choreographer

Mariko “Mari” Takahashi is a proud alumna of Ayako School of Ballet. She is currently a professional free-lance performing artist, choreographer and dance instructor. Having been contracted as a principal dancer with companies such as the Oakland Ballet (’05-’09).

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Maria LaMance Modern Dance Instructor

A Bay Area native, Maria LaMance received her classical ballet training at the San Francisco Ballet School. As a dance major at San Francisco State University, she broadened her training in Modern Dance, anatomy, and kinesiology.

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Amy Marie Briones Ballet Instructor

Amy, who was born and raised in San Mateo, began her ballet training at a young age with Ayako Takahashi at Ayako School of Ballet. In addition to being a former principal dancer with the Peninsula Youth Ballet.

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Michael Lowe Ballet Instructor and Choreographer

Michael Lowe began his dance career in 1969 and since then has received acclaim, not only for his dancing, but also for his choreography. Michael has danced with the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, Gilbert Reed Ballet, and Pacific Ballet prior to joining Oakland Ballet in 1974.

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Rika Nina Onizuka Ballet Instructor

A native of the Bay Area, Rika Nina Onizuka trained locally with Ayako Takahashi, Richard Gibson and Zory Karah. She then went on to study at the San Francisco Ballet School, and as a scholarship student at the Joffrey Ballet School and David Howard Dance Center in New York.

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Rachel Kuczynski Jazz Instructor

Rachel Kuczynski grew up in Northern California and started her training as a competitive gymnast and track athlete, earning statewide awards in both disciplines. She extensively studied Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Tap at the Academy of Performing Arts in her hometown of Tracy, CA. With that she has received many awards for her Jazz, Contemporary and Musical Theater pieces in multiple competitions. She went on to continue her training at California State University of Long Beach on a Track and Field scholarship, majoring in and acquiring a B.A. in Dance.

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Mariko Ishikawa Ballet Instructor

Mariko, a San Francisco native, is an alumna of Ayako School of Ballet. She is currently performing professionally with companies such as Albany Berkshire Ballet, Mandance Company San Francisco, and Menlowe Ballet.

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Frankie Briones Administration

Frankie Briones has a degree in business development, operations and finance. She began her relationship with Ayako Takahashi and Ayako School of Ballet in 1997.

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Guest Teachers

  • Laura Alonso
  • Yuko Katsumi
  • Alexey Kulpin
  • Le Mai Linh
  • Joseph Levinson
  • Lara Lowe
  • Mariko Miyauchi
  • Jared Redick
  • Pollyana Ribeiro
  • Robert Sund
  • Mikhail Tchoupakov
  • Regina Zarhina