Los Olivos Dance Gallery

our faculty


Maggie Mesikep
MAGGIE MESIKEP - Artistic Director/Owner

Maggie Mesikep (Co-Owner/Artistic Director, Ballet, Jazz, Pre-Ballet/Tap) is a graduate of U.C. Irvine majoring in dance and management. She has worked extensively with the Santa Barbara County public and private schools for over twenty years. She is a former dance instructor at Allan Hancock College and has choreographed many musicals. In 1994, Ms. Mesikep along with her husband, Mike, founded the Los Olivos Dance Gallery, which has developed into a training facility for children and adults in a variety of dance disciplines. Renowned for her skill as a teacher, Miss Maggie is proud to offer the Santa Ynez Valley a school "where students learn to love dance".

Proud Mother to Hannah, Miss Maggie feels blessed to do what she loves most ... alongside her husband, Mike.

MIKE MESIKEP - Co-Owner/Photographer

Anna Carnes -  Ballet and Pointe

Anna Carnes trained at the Santa Clarita Ballet, where she completed the Royal Academy of Dance examinations and was the recipient of the RAD Solo Seal Award. She spent summers at ABT, Aspen Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and LINES Ballet. Anna earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance with a Minor in Educational Studies from UC Irvine, where she was a member of Donald McKayle's Etude Ensemble. She then went on to dance professionally in the San Francisco Bay area with companies such as Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Oakland Ballet Company, and Menlowe Ballet, performing a variety of principal and soloist roles including Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Currently, Anna is a member of State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, CA.
Anna's teaching experience began under the mentorship of Corinne Glover at the Santa Clarita Ballet, preparing students for formal RAD exams. At UCI, she was an ArtsBridge scholar, bringing dance into the classrooms of local elementary schools. While in the SF Bay area, she taught and choreographed for Mission Dance, Westlake School for the Performing Arts, and the Contra Costa Ballet. Anna greatly enjoys working with LODG.



ASHLEY KIRA KOHLER REYNOLDS - Jazz, Pre-Ballet/Tap and Hip Hop
Ashley Kohler-Reynolds began her training at Dance Unlimited in Oceanside, California at age 13. She studied Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop and Lyrical under the direction of multiple Instructors including Tessandra Chavez, Eddie Barcello, and her mother Robin Kohler. In addition to her studies at Dance Unlimited, Ashley was highly involved in the Dance Program at El Camino High School. After high school Ashley moved to Santa Barbara where she attended UCSB and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. She continued to dance throughout College with The Fusion Dance Company under the direction Kara Stewart, and eventually became Assistant Director of the Company for two Seasons. Last Spring, Ashley toured England with Zion Dance Company, under the Direction of Rina Van de Kamp, where the Company was invited to perform in the Brighton Fringe Festival. She currently dances for independent Choreographers such as Misa Kelly, and Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Robin Bisio. She has recently showcased her own work in Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s productions BASSH and Kinesis, as well as Girls Rock SB’s annual Fundraiser PUSH. Ashley often works with Miss Nicole Helton, and is thrilled to be part of her Company, the Dancers By Design Project.


NICOLE HELTON - Jazz and Ballet
Nicole Helton received her BFA in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is trained in contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, modern, choreography, aerial, Pilates and Barre work. Nicole has had the privilege of working with a variety of disciplines, artists, and companies over the past 15 years. Nicole has been teaching dance for over 13 years and continues her studies in dance, kinesthetic principles, injury prevention, visualization and personal empowerment. Nicole challenges her students to break through the barriers of preconceived limitations and discover their true potential. She is so excited and grateful to join the incredible staff of Los Olivos Dance Gallery.


Jillian Haig - Tap and Acting UP!

Jillian Haig began her training at the Los Olivos Dance Gallery at the age of seven and fell in love with dance in the very first class. After graduating, she attended Linfield College in Oregon and studied Theatre Arts and Communication and had the opportunity to study West African dance and singing abroad in Ghana. After obtaining her BA she attended the acting conservatory at PCPA in Santa Maria, CA. Now she is working at Dunn School and is thrilled to be back at LODG with the amazingly talented staff.



HAYLEY ESDAILE - Jazz and Contemporary
Hayley Esdaile began her training at the Los Olivos Dance Gallery at the age of six, and is thrilled to continue her involvement as a teacher. She has studied many different styles of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. She is now dancing with Santa Barbara City College under the direction of Tracy Kofford, and hopes to become more involved as a student choreographer. Hayley has recently joined Nicole Helton's company, Dancers by Design, in Santa Barbara and is excited to begin a new chapter in dance.


JESSICA RUIZ -  Hip Hop, Tap, Jazz, and Teen Ballet

Jessica Ruiz is thrilled to share her passion for all the dance forms she teaches. She began her training at Hancock College, where she studied every discipline available, also performed and choreographed for numerous productions. After starting a family she resumed her study of dance and began teaching in public schools. Now she shares her love of dance with local schools through Arts Outreach. Jessica is also the proud mother to Miss Xochi Jimenez.


CECILY STEWART - Ballet and Pointe

A Santa Barbara native, Cecily Stewart is thrilled to be back in California and dancing her second season with State Street Ballet. After training at Marin Dance Theatre, Ms. Stewart also danced professionally with Richmond Ballet and New York Theatre Ballet. She has performed works by Lynn Cox, William Soleau, Stoner Winslett, Malcolm Burns, Rodney Gustafson and others. Ms. Stewart has also cultivated her own choreographic voice, performing two new pieces in Dance Teachers Gone Wild 2010 and creating a piece for State Street Ballet’s Evenings.

Along with performing and choreographing, Ms. Stewart has a real passion for teaching and enjoys passing on her knowledge, experience and love for dance to all ages.


Donovan Tunay - Hip Hop
Donovan discovered his love for dance in Seattle, Washington, where he was born and raised. He has formally trained in dance for 11 years now. Although his main focus is hip hop, he has also dabbled in other genres such as modern, jazz, ballet, contemporary and dancehall. He's been on multiple teams and companies which include the WNBA Seattle Storm Hip Hop Squad, 6th Day Dance Company, and Potion dance company. After moving to California's central coast, he has worked with Lompoc's hip hop studio The Alley Project and Street Heat Dance Studio in San Luis Obispo. He is happy and excited to be on board with an awesome group of instructors and dancers at Los Olivos Dance Gallery.



Mariah Korte - Pre-Ballet/Tap and Jazz
Mariah Korte began dancing and performing at the age of four and has been passionate about it ever since. She has studied many styles of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, tap, and modern. Some of her past performances include various music videos, The Nutcracker with the Russian Moscow Ballet, Cinderella with State Street Ballet, and time spent as part of the Fusion Dance Company of Santa Barbara. Most recently, she was part of the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleaders. Mariah began teaching dance in early 2008 and feels blessed to be able to combine her love of children with her passion for dance. She is a certified dance instructor through the National Dance Institute and is committed to bringing energy, enthusiasm, and skill to her classes. Mariah strives to send children home with a big smile across their face after every class. In addition to instructing at LODG, she’s a lead teacher for Santa Barbara Dance Institute, and can be found at various elementary schools throughout the Santa Ynez Valley with Arts Outreach. Mariah is thrilled at the opportunity to share her love of dance with the students of LODG.


JOE ISTRE - Guest Choreographer

Joe Istre’s cutting -edge, stylized movement and unique approach to teaching combined with his understanding of the art, keeps him in demand nation wide. Broadway and tour credits include 42nd St., Chess, Contact, West Side Story, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular to name a few. He assisted London’s West End production of Hot Mikado, and the Tony nominated show Ain’t Broadway Grand, and the German version of Beauty and the Beast. Choreography credits include a range from shows from HBO, to half time productions, to industrial trade shows for such companies as American Express and Midas Muffler. Joe’s piece "Come Together" was placed on the National Arts Choreography Plan; he was one of the finalists in the Leo’s Jazz Dance Competition, and was given a national award for his piece "Blow by Blow." For the past 2 years Joe has also been on staff teaching with American Ballet Theater’s summer program. Joe also sells his own series of dance DVD’s at his website, joeistre.com


ROBERT SUND - Guest Choreographer

Robert Sund began his career as a principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet. Moving on to dance with San Francisco Ballet, he performed soloist and principal roles under the tenure of Michael Smuin, and later Helgi Tomasson. Upon retirement from dancing, Mr. Sund began his career as a choreographer and guest teacher of international acclaim. As a child of deaf parents, he found an innate ability to tell stories through movement. His first full length ballet "A Midsummer Nights Dream" created for the Norwegian National Ballet, received critical acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Since then, he has created five full length story ballets, two Emmy award winning ballets for television, numerous contemporary works, and gold medal winning works for both national and international competitions and gala evenings. Traveling throughout Europe, Japan, and Central America, Mr. Sund has been invited to guest teach and create original works for companies such as Netherlands Dance Theater, Frankfurt Ballet, Nacional Ballet de Cuba, Stuttgart Ballet, as well as numerous companies around the United States. He created the pas de deux "Firebird" for the opening ceremonies of the World EXPO 2005 in Tokyo and was included in the International Stars of Ballet Gala in Japan. Most recently he returned from working with American Ballet Theater Studio Company at the White Oak Dance Plantation where he created the original work Fine Line which was premiered in New York City this Spring. Robert choreographed the dance sequences in the Philip Kaufman HBO film, "Hemingway and Gellhorn," starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen.


ANDREA DAWN SHELLEY - Guest Choreographer

Andrea Dawn Shelley was born in Miami, Florida, and received her classical ballet training from Magda G. Aunon. Ms. Shelley has trained at summer intensives and workshops with the Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. She studied dance at the University of South Florida and later graduated from Florida International University with a BA in Dance Education. She began her professional career as a company member with Southern Ballet Theater, in Orlando, Florida and has since danced with Maximum Dance Company, in Miami, Florida as a principal artist, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston, Texas as a principal artist, Miami Contemporary Dance Company in Miami Beach, Florida, as a principal artist, State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, California and Hope Stone Dance Company in Houston, Texas. Ms. Shelley is currently an artist and Co-Founding Associate Artistic Director of iMEE (infinite Movement Ever Evolving.) Her repertoire includes original pieces by and new works set on her by Julia Adams, Jean Christophe Blavier, Maurice Causey, Paola Georgudis, Spencer Gavin Hering, Lindsey McGill, Michele Merola, Enrico Morelli, Paolo Mohovich, KT Nelson, Jerry Opdenaker, David Palmer, Yanis Pikieris, Daniel Rossel, Ivonice Satie, Ray Sullivan, Dominic Walsh and Jane Weiner. She is a choreographer, teacher & Ballet Mistress for The School of International Ballet and the Redlands Festival Ballet in Redlands, California and Guest teacher for various dance schools and professional dance companies in the Houston Metropolitan area.

Ms. Shelley began her professional choreographic endeavors in 2003 and since then has created works for Ballet Florida’s, Step Ahead, the 2ND annual "Emerging Choreographers Showcase," Miami Contemporary Dance Company’s, New Works, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater’s, E_merging, State Street Ballet's, Evenings, E.magine Dance Ensemble's debut Performances, O Dance's Inaugural Performance and "Intimate Voices" Program, Ad Deum Dance Company's "We've Been Moved" Program and iMEE in Santa Barbara, CA, Irvine, CA, New York, NY and Houston, TX. Since 2008, Ms. Shelley has served as an annual preliminary panelist for the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts, youngArts scholarship program in both, Choreography and Modern. She had the distinguished honor of being a Co-Founding member of the Houston Dance Festival: HERE & NOW 2011 in Houston, TX along with iMEE A. Director, Spencer G. Hering, Hope Stone Dance and NobleMotion Dance companies. She has received numerous awards for her dancing; including being a scholarship recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters and being named Best Female Dancer in South Florida, by the Miami SunPost. Ms. Shelley was honored when her choreographic work Unbeknownst won the Gold Medal at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida. Unbeknownst has now been presented in Santa Barbara, CA, Miami, FL, Orlando, FL and Houston, TX.

"Andrea Dawn Shelley's idiosyncratic, Unbeknownst achieved density and power through an extreme deconstruction that could intrigue even the master of 20th century ballet, George Balanchine; I heard Tchaikovsky's tired violin solo anew, which is no small feat."
- Theodore Bale, Dance Source Houston.


SPENCER GAVIN HERING - Guest Choreographer

Spencer Gavin Hering was born in Munich, Germany and began training with his mother Cecilia Hering in Redlands, California at the age of 16. After two years at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, he joined Ballet Pacifica in Irvine, California and has since danced with Maximum Dance Company/Ballet Gamonet in Miami, Florida as a principal artist, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston, Texas as a principal artist, Miami Contemporary Dance Company in Miami Beach, Florida, State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, California as a Principal and Hope Stone Dance Company in Houston, Texas. Mr. Hering is currently an Artist and Co-Founding Artistic Director of iMEE (infinite Movement Ever Evolving.) iMEE debuted in June, 2009 in Santa Barbara, CA to rave reviews. His repertory includes principal roles by acclaimed choreographers that are both current and iconic: David Allan, George Balanchine, Maurice Causey, Anne Marie DeAngelo, Jimmy Gamonet, Choo-San Goh, Paola Georgudis, Jamie Hampton, Emily Johnson, Molly Lynch, Rick McCullough, Lindsey McGill, Michele Merola, Stephen Mills, Jerry Opdenaker, David Palmer, Yanis Pikieris, Peter Pucci, Andrea Dawn Shelley, William Soleau, Ray Sullivan, Robert Sund, Paul Vasterling, Raymond Van Mason, Dominic Walsh and Jane Weiner.

As a choreographer Mr. Hering has created new works for State Street Ballet's, Evenings, E.magine Dance Ensemble's debut Performances, O Dance's Inaugural Performance, "Intimate Voices" Program & FestOval of Dance 2012, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's 15th Anniversary Performance, "15th on the 15th" and iMEE in Santa Barbara, CA, Irvine, CA, West Palm Beach, FL, New York, NY and Houston, TX. Mr. Hering has received many accolades for his dancing and choreography, most recently he won the "Outstanding Choreographer Award" for his work, Dichotomy at the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition in Los Angeles, California. He had the distinguished honor of being a Co-Founding member of the Houston Dance Festival: HERE & NOW 2011 in Houston, Texas along with iMEE Assoc. Artistic Director, Andrea D. Shelley, Hope Stone Dance, and NobleMotion Dance companies. To learn more about iMEE, please visit: www.imeedanceco.com

"We dance to actively engage, and inspire the audience's mental perspective, to grow and evolve. The art of dance is primal, universal and can be voiced through an unlimited amount of movement. . . Infinite Movement Ever Evolving."
– Spencer G. Hering

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(805) 686-1627  •  lodg@verizon.net  •  Photos courtesy of Mike Mesikep Photography