Instructors

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Kira Akmajian
Tap Instructor 

Kira Akmajian has been dancing since she was 3. She has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and even hip hop, folkloric, flamenco, and swing dance, but tap dance has always been her passion. She has had the opportunity to train with some amazing tappers through the NM Tap Fest and UNM tap program. She is an Albuquerque native, a graduate of UNM, and an elementary school teacher. 

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Amelia Andreoni
Lyrical and Jazz Instructor 
 

Amelia, and has been dancing her entire life! She danced on a competitive all-star dance team in Albuquerque, NM where she developed a passion for jazz, lyrical, and musical theater. Amelia was on staff for the Universal Dance Association for three years in college where where she had the privilege of teaching dancers all over the country.

 

Her teaching philosophy is to empower athletes to bring the best version of themselves to the floor, and to always lead with kindness. Amelia is a community support worker for a mental health agency in New Mexico and is currently working towards her masters in marriage and family therapy. She has a passion for people, and loves getting to connect with others through dance!

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Ryan Blair 
Ballet Instructor  

Ryan started dancing at the age of twelve. His first time attending a dance class was at Rio Rancho Middle School, where he studied dance under Mrs. Christina Daly. From there, his passion was ignited and he was introduced to all kinds of dance styles. Ryan fell in love with ballet! Since then, Ryan has been dancing ballet and continues to love it more and more each and every day. His love for ballet has turned into a passion for teaching the artform. Ryan now teaches multiple ballet classes at Sparrow Dance Productions. He feels joy in seeing children flourish, love, and dance in his ballet classes. His long term goals are to gain enough knowledge about the art of ballet to pass on to his classes, and eventually graduate to teaching higher levels of ballet classes, and older students, at Sparrow Dance Productions.

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Jessica Claypool
Tap Instructor 

Jessica started dancing when she was 3 and has danced off-and-on since then. She mainly did tap dance when she was younger until she joined a jazz dance competition team and a hip-hop competition team as a teenager. In her teens, she studied ballet, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and continued with tap. Jessica was also very involved at her local community theater and was a part of a dozen plays and musicals. After high school, she pursued figure skating, where her dance background helped her to progress through the levels quickly and was therefore able to pass the Gold Medal tests for the adult track. Jessica really enjoyed being able to apply her dance skills and performing background to her skating. In her late teens, early twenties, Jessica taught tap dance at a couple of local studios in Washington state until leaving to study chemistry at Arizona State University. After college, she married an Airman, which moved them all over the country with their two children plus a brand new baby on the way!

 

"I have loved bringing my daughter to Sparrow Dance Productions for her classes for over a year now and have also found so much joy again in taking the adult classes myself for a year. Dance has a huge part of my heart and I am looking forward to passing that joy along."

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Tiffany Cunningham-Rivera
Ballet Instructor 

Tiffany Cunningham started dancing in Dallas, TX at Ballet Dallas and then at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.  After her family relocated to Springfield, MO she studied dance at Springfield Ballet and then received a BFA in Theatre and Dance from Southwest Missouri State University.  After graduation, she moved to St. Louis, MO and danced with MADCO Dance Company.  She then continued her education at The Ohio State University on a fellowship and received a MFA in Dance Performance.  While in Ohio, she danced with Hi-Jenks Dance Company and was an assistant teacher for Joe Alegado at Impulstanz International Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria.  She moved to New York City, NY and lived and danced there for 10 years.  She danced with LKB Dance, Philippa Kaye Dance Co, and for Germaul Barnes.  Tiffany moved to Albuquerque, NM in February of this year and is pursuing a career in education. She could not be happier to be a part of Sparrow Dance Productions.

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Christina Daly
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Owner & Artistic Director
 

An Albuquerque native, Christina Daly began her training with Ballet Repertory Theatre before transitioning to the prestigious Virignia School of the Arts.  Daly trained with VSA intensively on scholarship for two years, as well as with the schools at Kansas City Ballet and Ballet Pacifica.  Upon her acceptance to SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance, she graduated high school early to earn her BFA in Dance Performance.  Accomplishments during her college career include: earning a Minor Degree in Asian Studies, training at Taipei National University of the Arts, premiering her first choreographic work in representation of SUNY Purchase at New York, NY's world renowned Dance Theatre Workshop, performing two featured roles for an original Dianne McIntyre work and graduating summa cum laude.

Following college, Daly launched her dance company, Sparrow Dance Productions, doing numerous productions througout New York.  Since returning to New Mexico, Sparrow Dance Productions has performed at numerous locations throughout Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and the greater Albuquerque area.  In the meantime, Daly has performed as a Senior Company member with Ballet Repertory Theatre and Festival Ballet Albuqeurque.  Professional performance credits include dancing with BRT, as Carmen in Alex Ossadnik's ballet, Carmen, as well as the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid, to name the highlights.  Daly eagerly anticipates her tenth year with Rio Rancho Middle School and especially this upcoming season at her beloved Sparrow Dance Productions with her husband, James Smith, at her side.

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Julisa Garcia
Hip Hop Instructor

Julisa Garcia first began dancing at Rio Rancho Middle School with her teacher, Mrs. Christina Daly. It was at the middle school where she discovered her love and passion for dance. Over the years, Julisa has committed herself to mastering the crafts of numerous dance forms including Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical and Hip Hop. Since dancing with Sparrow Dance Productions, she has had the opportunity to perform in competitions, travel for various dance opportunities, perform at several venues throughout New Mexico and is now dancing in major professional productions with the The Company at Sparrow Dance Productions. In addition, Julisa has begun teaching several classes each week for Sparrow which she loves so very much. Her students fill her with joy while also inspiring her to lead the way for future dancing generations. 

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Pedro Gonzalez
Pilates and Yoga Instructor  

 

Pedro has been dancing for most of his life. Although he didn’t start official training in dance until his late teens, Pedro was involved with many other practices. Pedro’s debut theater role at the age of five was as “Spider” from the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Since then, he’s been involved with theater and the performance arts. Pedro’s work ethic has led him to lead many of his teams as captain. His favorite mantra currently is, “Effort and Intensity enslave the Impossible.” Pedro’s love and enthusiasm for life have led him to many opportunities and many endeavors. He’s been able to dance at remarkable venues, work with industry leaders, and train under many amazing teachers. Pedro’s love for sports, movement and body mechanics have led him to train athletes from all walks of life. He’s trained middle school athletes to take championships, helped rehab injured dancers, and has trained NCAA athletes in mindfulness to gain an edge in competition. Pedro is a self-proclaimed “life enthusiast” and hopes to inspire you to live a life full of magic and wonder. When Pedro isn’t dancing, he loves practicing yoga and his ukulele. Pedro has historically proven to bring out the champions in those around him.

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Danny Harvey
Hip Hop Instructor 

Though originally from Arkansas, Danny Harvey has come to call New Mexico home. Harvey’s love for dance is infectious to all who step into his Hip-Hop classes. He began dancing Hip-Hop as a rambunctious twelve year old and now dances professionally throughout Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. In addition to guest teaching at Cleveland High School, performing in various productions and music videos, and choreographing, you may also catch him playing the ukulele and singing a sweet tune. He is thrilled to be working with Sparrow and to especially help build a fierce Hip-Hop program.  

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Jennifer Leach
Ballet Instructor 

Jennifer Leach has been dancing as long as she can remember. While dancing with the company at Ballet Repertory Theatre of New Mexico, Leach has had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake to name a few. She has also recently performed a lead role in Sparrow's production of "Onward and Upward to Narnia and the North." In addition to earning her BS in Community Health Education from the University of New Mexico, she committed time to earning her Minor Degree in Dance. Teaching ballet over the past decade has helped her to harness what it is to be a skilled and intuitive instructor. As a new mom of two, she is excited to bring her ballet experiences to her growing family and to the community of Rio Rancho as a member of the Sparrow staff.

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Amy Mocho
Ballet Instructor 

Amy started ballet at the age of four at Fishback Studio of Dance. As she grew older she began working in theatre and was involved in multiple productions on stage and behind.  In 2014 Amy began dancing at Ballet Repertory Theatre where she studied for four seasons. Now, Amy is taking care of her beautiful son and working to get her degree in Radiology. She has rekindled friendships with her fellow Sparrows and began dancing with the Sparrow Company in 2020.  It has been a dream come true.

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Caitlin Prince
Belly Dance Instructor 

Caitlin first started dancing in 08' after being inspired by her best friend in high school. Her first class was at the Santa fe Community College with Diane Felton. After falling in love with belly dance, she danced at Pomegranate Studios for about 6 years. During that time she learned both "Tribal" Style and "Oriental" Style. Inspired mainly by tribal fusion, in 2013 she started training in Rachel Brice's Eight Elements program and in 2016 became a certified Datura Style Teacher. In 2014, she left Pomegranate Studios and Joined the Desert Darlings. She spent 5 wonderful years working with the Darlings. In 2017, she became an American Tribal Style (ATS) certified instructor. In 2018, she also became a certified Buti Yoga fitness instructor. She has started other certification programs, including Zoe Jake's Dance Craft program and Sadie Marquardt's Raqs Flow. She attended major belly dance festivals, such as The Tribal Massive, Cues & Tattoos, and Tribal Fest. She's now trying out a solo career, trying to expand her horizons.

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Jules Sanchez Gamble 
Jazz Instructor 

Jules loves dance! Whether she is teaching Acro to the toddler age groups or Advanced Jazz to adults, she gives her whole heart to each of her students. Jules has an extensive dance teaching resume, including being a Master Teacher at Duke City Stars and Fusion Dance Academy, that continues to flourish throughout the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho community. She is thrilled to be a part of the Sparrow Dance Productions Family.  

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Riley Swinney
Hip Hop and Breakdance Instructor 

Riley has been a dancer his whole life, if there is music, even in his head, he is dancing. Riley started dance classes at the age of nine at Veneration dance, taking jazz and hip-hop classes. Riley began dancing at Sparrow Dance Productions at the age of 13. At Sparrow, he was introduced to many different styles, and began to fall in love with the art of dance. Riley is part of Sparrow’s competition team and has competed with the team in ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, and lyrical. Riley now teaches hip-hop and breakdancing at Sparrow Dance Productions. He loves getting to share his love for dance with his students. His love for dance shines through his choreography.  His long term goals are to attend college majoring in dance, and to eventually dance on Broadway, or for a company. He also hopes to continue to teach, and help students fall in love with dance.

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Ashley Torrez
Ballet Instructor

When Ashley Torrez was 8 years old she was awarded a full scholarship to dance and train with Ballet Repertory Theatre when their City Dance Program was first introduced in 1995. She danced and trained full time for six years as a young dancer and performed in several productions including BRT’s The Nutcracker, Manuel Flores’s Coppélia, and as Thumbelina in Celia Dale’s Tales of Hans Christian Anderson.

 

In 2014, Ashley decided to revive her love of dance and began teaching and training once again with BRT. She has been honored to be a BRT company member for two seasons and has worked with the following choreographers since 2014; Katherine Giese, Alex Ossadnik, Celia Dale, and Christopher Bornet. Her favorite pieces to be apart of have been as a Twin in Alex Ossadnik’s Alice in Wonderland, Celia Dale’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Helena as well as Dale’s Unusual Road as a partnered duet with Edward Montoya, and in Christopher Bornet’s Amethyst Resonating…In Six. 

 

Since joining Sparrow Dance Productions, Ashley has danced the roles of Mrs. Tumnus in Christina Daly's original ballet, Onward and Upward to Narnia and North in 2019 as well The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. 

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Lennon Washburn
Ballet Instructor 

Lennon started her dance career at the age of 3, with New Mexico’s Ballet Repertory Theatre. She started dancing for Sparrow Dance productions the spring of 2022. Lennon has also danced with other companies inside and outside of New Mexico, some being, New York’s Joffrey and Keshet dance company. She has preformed in many Nutcracker productions and has been in other performances such as “The Wizard of Oz", “Sleeping Beauty”,  and “The Little Mermaid". Lennon is currently a student at the University of New Mexico, pursuing a career in dance, in the hopes to one day travel for dance and teach.

Since joining Sparrow Dance Productions, Lennon has danced the role of Mrs. Tumnus in Christina Daly original ballet, Onward and Upward to Narnia and the North. She looks forward to dancing future roles with The Company at Sparrow Dance Production as well as joining the regular dance teaching staff of Sparrow.