10th Anniversary of LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican ALUMNI FEATURES: Part 1

To help celebrate our 10th Anniversary, LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican alumni reflect on their time in the program and how it has shaped their lives today. This is part 1 of our 2 part series – read on!

Phillipa Armes


Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Graduated: 2013 (Summa Cum Laude, Honors Program), with a Minor in English (Writing Emphasis)

Now: After graduating from Dominican in 2013, I moved back home to Raleigh, NC, where I now work in marketing and communications. In August 2016, I graduated with my M.A. in Communication (with a Concentration in Public & Media Relations) from The Johns Hopkins University – which I earned concurrently while working full time. In addition to my day job, I also teach GYROTONIC® at Evolve Movement in downtown Raleigh; I absolutely love how my GYROTONIC® practice keeps me connected to dancing and how teaching allows me to help my (amazing) clients achieve their movement goals.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: In hindsight, I realize that every single day at the BFA Program was a gift – even the really hard ones. The level of curiosity and self-awareness that I gained through the program’s process of personal and artistic discovery was perhaps the most profound gift that the program encouraged me to hone. The BFA Program also pushed me to stay curious, to keep asking questions, and to embrace the imperfect – things that I carry with me and that continue to inform how I operate in my life outside the studio. And of course – the friends that I made during my four years at the BFA Program are some of the best friends and humans that I could ever hope to know, so for that I am forever grateful.

Alex Clauss


Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Graduated: 2015 (Cum Laude), with a Minor in Arts Management

Now: I joined Hubbard Street 2 as an Apprentice in September 2016. Since graduation, I have attended Sidra Bell Dance New York’s module2015, participated in the Lou Conte Dance Studio’s scholarship program, joined Chicago Repertory Ballet as an Apprentice, and was a part of Northwest Dance Project’s LAUNCH 11. When I’m not dancing, I work as a GYROTONIC® trainer at Harmony Mind Body Fitness.

Why I keep dancing: I dance because it’s my most joyous challenge, it connects me to my humanity, and allows me to experience my body in ways that lead to continuous self discovery.

Describe your overall BFA experience in 3 words: transformative, humbling, blissful.

Taylor Collier


Hometown: Washington, DC
Graduated: 2014 (Departmental Honors, Magna Cum Laude)

Now: Upon graduation, I had the privilege to perform in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Oscar and Hammerstein’s, Showboat. At the end of the summer, I moved to Minnesota to join TU Dance Company as an apprentice. I have been dancing with TU Dance for the past three seasons and I am now a company member. With TU Dance, I’ve had the opportunity to perform works by Dwight Rhoden, Uri Sands, Greg Dolbashian, and Gioconda Barbuto, just to name a few. I have also had the opportunity to perform at Summer Stages and the American Dance Platform at the Joyce Theater in NY.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: Looking back at my experience in the BFA Program, I am truly thankful for all the teachers, faculty, and staff that helped to shape how I think about movement today. When I started the BFA Program, I had a very limited and narrow perspective of what dance is. Throughout my four years, I felt my perspective shift and become more open-minded. After a ballet class with Alonzo King, I remember he talked about dance as a means to reflect one’s character. I had never thought of dance in this way, but it completely made sense. Everyone I encountered throughout my four years was influential to my development as an artist and a human being. The most important gift I received from the BFA Program was a lesson in humanity and how we use those experiences to connect with one another through art.

Robyn Gerbaz

photo by Stephen Texiera

Hometown: Aspen, Colorado
Graduated: 2012 (Magna Cum Laude)

Now: Since graduating, I have been based in the Bay Area dancing for Maurya Kerr’s company, tinypistol. In tandem with my freelance career, I have worked as a grant writer and in arts administration for the LINES Ballet Training Program, Hope Mohr Dance and FACT/SF. In these four years I have been afforded the opportunity to travel to Germany, the Netherlands, Montreal, Australia, Nashville and New York to continue my explorations. I am also currently working with Bay Area Dance Collective and pursuing my GYROTONIC® Certification. If you can’t find me, I’m in the mountains with the trees – another way to pray.

Why I keep dancing: Dancing has entirely saved and shifted my whole self, and continues to: in movement, I am my most honest and most generous self.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: My time in the BFA Program taught me how to prioritize the process, how to stay curious and therefore to stay with myself. It taught me how to listen, how to shed, tend and till, how to participate relentlessly in the making of myself. It taught me how to hold space for myself and others, how to fall down and continue to feel spacious, and to lay doubt to rest. My time in the program taught me the meaning and practice of sensation, discomfort, abandonment, intuition, integrity, revolution, and tenderness.

Ilaria Guerra


Hometown: Torino, Italy/Palos Verdes Estates, California
Graduated: 2013 (Honors, Summa Cum Laude), with a Minor in Arts Management

Now: I have been a member of dawsondancesf since 2013 and Course Coordinator and School Programs Coordinator for San Francisco GYROTONIC since 2014.

Why I keep dancing: I keep dancing because I would go crazy if I didn’t give my mind a physical outlet for expression. Unlike a lot of dancers, I am very analytical. I am constantly thinking and problem solving and going over scenarios of my life in my head. Dancing allows me to quiet those incessant thoughts by putting my brain power to use in manifesting my physical body. I am able to use those analytical tendencies to make choices with my port de bras, to find the path of least resistance with my petite allegro, to play with the intricacies of the music. Dancing opens up a more colorful and exciting world for my brain to enjoy.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: The program taught me that it is ok to be different. It taught me that the uniqueness that we each hold is not something to try to reshape, but something to highlight and feed. It taught me to be fearlessly myself. As Alonzo once said “We are all perfect, we just need to acknowledge it.” I am 6ft tall. I strive everyday to give honor to my length and see how much taller, longer, higher, further I can be/go.

Yoshie Fujimoto Kateada


Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Graduated: 2015 (Summa Cum Laude), with a Minor in Religion

Now: I am freelancing in San Francisco. Since graduating I have performed locally with Inside Out Contemporary Ballet, Kristin Damrow & Company, Tanya Bello’s Project B, Cali & Co, and the movement choir of Garrett + Moulton Productions’ The Luminous Edge (2015) and Speak, Angels (2016). I have also worked as an administrative assistant for ODC’s Beyond Technique intensive, and Katie Faulkner’s little seismic dance company. When I’m not dancing, I work as a trainer and in the office at San Francisco GYROTONIC®, as well as at the front desk at ODC Dance Commons.

Why I keep dancing: The biggest gift that the BFA Program gave me was the concept that dance is mine. It is my responsibility to care for my art and continue to cultivate my own growth as well as to protect the joy that I find in moving. Outside of school there is no one telling me to show and up and dance everyday, and this has made me all the more grateful for the intense sense of personal responsibility that the BFA Program demanded. I dance because it constantly presents new challenges, because it is fun, and because it pushes me to show up and be present with my whole body.

Join us in celebrating LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican University of California’s 10 anniversary at our:

Spring Showcase 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017 at 7pm
Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 3pm

at Angelico Concert Hall, Dominican University of California

General Admission: $10.00
Free with Dominican ID