10th Anniversary of LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican ALUMNI FEATURES: Part 2

We continue our celebration of LINES Ballet BFA at Dominican’s 10th anniversary with our second collection of exciting alumni features!

Don’t forget to join us at the LINES BFA Spring Showcase April 21 at 7pm and 22 at 3pm at Angelico Concert Hall on Dominican University of California’s campus.

Liza Kroeschell


Hometown: Ames, Iowa
Graduated: 2015 (Summa Cum Laude), with a Minor in Creative Writing

Now: San Francisco resident; BFA Program Coordinator!; Nagata Dance teacher under the incredible, inspiring leadership of Ms. Corrine Nagata; front desk staff at SoulCycle Castro; freelance dancer. Recent performances include dawsondancesf’s Intima (2015), Garrett + Moulton Production’s The Luminous Edge (2015) and Speak, Angels (2016) as part of the movement choir, and Liv Schaffer’s Saludo (2016).

Why I keep dancing: There’s something incredibly satisfying about becoming aware of improvement and transformation through multiple senses. I keep dancing for that discovery – when a step not only looks more expansive than it did yesterday, it feels more expansive.

I notice that feeling in the kids I teach, too. I say, “Today, we are not just going to do 100% dancing. We’re going to dance with 300%!” then demonstrate a ridiculous, wild jump – arms flinging everywhere, probably with a silly face. When it’s their turn, and students give themselves permission to dance as big as they possibly can, it’s the way they finish with tall posture and surprised smiles (“Wow – I did that! It felt great!”) that makes me fall in love with dance all over again.

I also keep dancing because I claim dance as a huge part of my identity. I grew up in the studio and wrestled with lots of life’s lessons there – rejection, perseverance, communication. Dance is a lens through which I can make sense of the world. I will always be connected to other dancers by my dance knowledge, and that knowledge is also a valuable resource that I can share with people who would spell check the word barre. “Dancer” is not my only defining characteristic, but it is a gift that I get to keep, own, and carry.

Elizabeth Lapena-Schultz


Hometown: Fontana, California
Graduated: 2011

Now: I am currently living in Chicago, IL teaching Pilates and GYROTONIC® to the movement community.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: was helping me find my individual voice… The BFA Program nurtured my inner voice in a way that gave me a humble power in not only my dancing, but in everyday life. I will always be grateful for the the staff and my colleagues for providing an environment to grow my curiosities and nourish them to share with others.

Describe your overall BFA experience in 3 words: Alive, Kaleidoscopic, Generous.

Amy McMurchie


Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Graduated: 2013, with a Minor in Psychology

Now: I am currently dancing, performing and teaching in the San Francisco area with organizations including Kaneisee Collective, SOULSKIN Dance, Nagata Dance and Bay Area Dance Collective. In order to have a consistent income and exposure to a world outside of dance, I work at a scrumptious creole restaurant a few days a week. In addition, I recently accepted a part time position with JUNTOS, an organization I worked closely with during my time at in the BFA Program. JUNTOS uses dance as a platform to create community by performing and teaching workshops in areas who typically wouldn’t be exposed to contemporary dance. I will be their abroad coordinator; working to further implement JUNTOS into the universities in which it currently exists and preparing students as they go abroad to participate in dance outreach. I am blessed to have opportunities that feed me in so many ways!

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: An ever-expanding network of beautiful artists who continue to be part of my life in both big and small ways. I was lucky enough to meet some of the best people I know during my time in the program, some of whom remain my closest friends. It is a gift I wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world.

Describe your overall BFA experience in 3 words: Build your life.

Keon Saghari


Hometown: Los Gatos, California
Graduated: 2012

Now: I am living in San Francisco and dancing with ODC/Dance. I am a previous member of AXIS Dance Company, with whom I toured in Israel and 15 cities in the US. Besides performing, my work with AXIS included teaching physically integrated dance and representing the company’s mission of changing the face of dance and disability. I was also a member of ZiRu Dance, with whom I toured in China. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of performing works by Marc Brew, Alex Ketley, Bobbi Jene Smith, Maurya Kerr, Bianca Mendoza (Binki Danz), David Herrera (DHPC), Yuri Zukhov, and Natasha Adorlee Johnson (Concept o4). Since graduating, I became certified in Bikram Yoga and teach at Bikram Yoga Nob Hill. In addition to dance and yoga, I dabble in fitness modeling and I am the Director/Choreographer of my dance & film project, KEE.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: I will never forgot what a teacher told me- That there is so much more in me. If I start fully utilizing my talent and working my body beyond what I can imagine, then I will stand out. In school I didn’t understand this, now I finally do.

Calleja Smiley


Hometown: Clarkston, Michigan
Graduated: 2016, with a Minor in Arts Management

Now: I am currently in the Bay Area, doing some project dance work, teaching Pilates with an emphasis on post-rehabilitation, and pursuing creating my own work.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: My experience in the BFA Program has set me on a path of finding and trusting my own voice. That is a marvelous gift. Now, I keep dancing because I believe I have good things to say. I keep dancing for the peace, challenge, frustration, and joy of it. Dance is a lens of sorts through which both wonderful mystery and unexpected clarity present themselves to me. Dancing is one of the best ways that I know how to be in the world as my entire self. If there is one thing that I have learned during my BFA years, it is that this self of mine is of great value, and rather than hiding it away, it is to be shared generously. I hope to do that.

Ha Vo


Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Graduated: 2016 (Cum Laude), with a Minor in Psychology

Now: I recently just moved to New York, after graduating earlier this year. “Freelancing” seems pretty neat but I’m still trying to figure out what that means and how one gets into doing that sort of thing.

The biggest gift the BFA Program gave me: The permission to fail. One day in Alonzo’s class, after sensing a lot of hesitation, he said that we were all dancing like we were very scared. He asked what is scary about dance to us. Our dear friend Yoshie raised her hand and offered that she was afraid to fail. This answer rang true to many of us but, Alonzo replied with a seemingly simple solution. If we do not dance with generosity because we are afraid to fail, then we let the fear of failure win over the love we have to share and if that is true, why dance at all? Failure is a wise teacher and if we choose to dance within the boundaries and safety of fear for it, there is no change, no growth. Success is an end. Failure invokes, dares, allures and we are permitted to seek it everyday.

Describe your overall BFA experience in 3 words: Thrilling, Revealing, Humbling.

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

Cover photo by Rob Kunkle/Goodlux Photography