Meet Our Team

Sydney Coffman

Company

This year will be Sydney’s 5th year dancing with SSBYD. She is 15 years old and a sophomore at Nordhoff High School. She has been dancing for 10 years and has performed roles such as Thumbelina, in the 2017 production of Thumbelina, and Rudolph in the 2018 production of Rudolph. While she’s not at the studio, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, hiking, swimming, and playing with her dogs. She is excited for another year full of dance and new, fun experiences with SSBYD.

Tali McPeters

Company

Tali McPeters is 15 years old and a sophomore at Santa Barbara high school. She will be in company level as her fourth year dancing in SSBYD. Last year her choreography placed in the top eight of The Ballet Alliance. She attended the 2021 University of Utah summer intensive, and is looking forward to many more years of dancing.

Grace Wyman

Company

Grace is 16 years old and a junior at Santa Barbara High School. She began ballet at Island Dance Academy in Hilo, Hawaii when she was 5 years old, and joined GD in 2017. She loves all kinds of dance and has enjoyed dancing Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary/Modern, Folk, and Hula. This is her fourth year in SSBYD and she is excited for another year of dance, and hopes to experience new things and improve on her technique. Apart from dance, she loves illustration and spending time with her friends and family. She hopes to continue ballet far into the future.

Persephone Gallegos

Company

Persephone is 15 years old and a sophomore at Santa Barbara High. She has been dancing since she was 2 years old and the last 9 1/2 years at GD, 4 years of that in SSBYD. Persephone along with her dancing is an amazing scuba diver and loves to travel with her family all over the world. When not dancing she loves to watch movies, and hang out with her friends and family.

Luna Ramirez Solano

Company

Luna is 14 year old and is in the 9th grade at San Marcos High School. In her free time she likes hanging out with friends, listening to music, and spending time with her family. She has been dancing at Gustafson for 10 years and has been participating in the Gustafson junior intensive since the age of 7. She’s very excited to be in company this year.

Lauren Wilk

Company

Lauren is 14 years old and is in 9th grade at San Marcos High School. She started ballet at GD when she was just a few years old and has trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, and musical theater. She has participated in the Nutcracker, Rudolph, the spring performances, and the camps during the summer. This year will be her third year in SSBYD and she is very excited to continue dancing with her friends. When Lauren is not dancing or working on schoolwork, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing the piano, and traveling with her family.

Olivia Gobbell

Company

Olivia is a 16 year old senior at Carpinteria high school and going into her 5th year of SSBYD. Olivia’s favorite show to dance in is the nutcracker and looks forward to her 3rd year as a princess and her first year in snow. When she isn’t dancing she likes to spend time with her pets or at the beach. Olivia loves the community SSBYD offers and looks forward to a great final year!

Taylor Wolf

Company

Taylor Wolf attends Santa Barbara High School, and is in her 4th year of SSBYD (joining GD in 2007). Taylor is experienced in jazz, modern/contemporary, hip-hop, Russian/European character, broadway, etc; but ballet (with a more contemporary approach) has always been her passion. Taylor has performed roles in Rudolph, The Nutcracker, Celebration of Dance, the Emerging Showcase, as well as the 3 varying Spring performances. She has previously studied with Santa Barbara Dance Arts; and with State Street Ballet and the University of Utah/Ballet West over the Summer. She has studied under Jessica Tong (Hubbard Street Dance), Jennifer Archibald (Arch Dance Company), Victoria Morgan (Cincinnati Ballet), Maggie Wright Tesch (Ballet West), as well as Lauren Anderson (Houston Ballet), to name a few. Outside of dancing, Taylor is actively involved in her academics, and well as community service. She is an avid traveler, piano player, and skier; but also enjoys engaging in a multitude of outdoor sports, with friends and family. She hopes to continue dancing in a professional setting, far into the future, and is excited for another exciting year of SSBYD.

Ava Benhayon

Company

Ava is 15 years old and a sophomore at Santa Barbara High School where she is a member of the MAD Academy. The 2021-2022 season marks Ava’s 12th year at GD and 5th year as a member of SSBYD. Ava loves being part of this amazing studio and has performed many roles in Rudolph, The Nutcracker, and the spring performances over the years. Ava is looking forward to another fantastic year with her dance family.

Ashly Pryor

Company

Ashly is 16 years old and attends Laguna Blanca School. She has trained at GD since she was 3 years old and this is her 5th year in SSBYD. This past summer 2021, Ashly was one of 60 dancers who attended the only in-person ABT Summer Intensive, which was held in Tampa. She danced the role of Clara in SSB’s Nutcracker in 2019 and 2020. In addition to her passion for dance, Ashly also enjoys traveling with her family, listening to music, and volunteering in the community.

Olivia Pires

Company

Olivia is 16 years old and is in 10th grade at Santa Barbara High School. She has been a dancer since the age of 3. She is so excited to preform as the lead role of Rudolph in SSBYD’s Rudolph this year, along with Snow and Waltz of the Flowers in the Nutcracker. Olivia joined SSBYD four years ago and is now in the company level. This summer, she studied dance at the University of Utah’s Ballet Intensive. When Olivia isn’t dancing, she enjoys spending time with her friends, listening to music and traveling with her family.

Rebecca Lennon

Company

Rebecca is a 16 year old Junior at Dos Pueblos High School. Rebecca has been dancing with Gustafson dance since she was 2 years old and is in her 5th year with SSBYD. This past spring Rebecca had the pleasure of performing the lead role in the spring performance of Thumbelina. When she isn't dancing Rebecca spends time with her friends and family, Becca also attends dual enrollment classes at SBCC, is a member of her school's Leadership team and is an anchor for DP's daily student run news show "DPNEWS".

Madelyne Herbert

Company

Madelyne is 15 years old and a sophomore at Santa Barbara High School, and is a member of the MAD academy there. Madelyne has trained with Gustafson Dance for 12 years, and this is her 5th year in SSBYD. Last year she got the opportunity to dance the role of Clara in State Street Ballet’s Nutcracker, and is very excited to dance in Snow and Princesses this year. She is also excited to be playing the role of the Blizzard Queen in Rudolph. Last year Madelyne received a scholarship for her choreography, and can’t wait to share more.

Jacey Woodall-Allen

Company

Jacey is 17 years old and is currently a senior at Santa Barbara High School. She has been dancing at GD since she was 2 years old. She has attended many summer ballet intensives including Joffrey's summer ballet intensive, State Street Ballet summer intensive, and Long Beach ballet summer intensive. She loves helping others discover their love for dance and is now teaching a tap class for ages 10-13. She wants to continue to dance throughout college while practicing her love for sports medicine.

Sadie Ugoretz

Company

Sadie is 17 years old and a senior at Dos Pueblos High School. She has been dancing at GD since she was 3. In past summers, she has attended the State Street Ballet Intensive and Idyllwild Arts Intensive. This summer, she attended her 8th GD Junior Intensive. In her free time, Sadie enjoys being the Senior Editor-In-Chief of her school’s yearbook and hanging out with her sisters. Sadie is really looking forward to her 5th year of SSBYD as a Company dancer.

McKenzie Gosney

Company

McKenzie is 15 years old and is a sophomore at Bishop Diego High School. McKenzie is excited to perform the role of Heidi in Rudolph and be in snow and waltz of the flowers in SSB's Nutcracker. She has danced at Gustafson since she was 3 years old and has been in SSBYD for 4 years. McKenzie attended the University of Utah's summer intensive last summer and intends on going to another summer intensive this summer as well. She has attended many of Gustafsons' amazing summer programs and was excited to get to experience something new. McKenzie is very excited to be in Company this year and cannot wait to be able to perform in a theatre with a live audience and get to dance inside!

Nicole Cornejo

Apprentice 2

Nicole is a 15-year-old student currently in the 10th grade at Santa Barbara High School. Nicole has been dancing with Gustafson since the age of 3 so dance has been a part of her life as far back as she can remember. She looks forward to working hard this year as an Apprentice 2 and is taking part in upcoming performances as well as continuing to develop her talents in all dance styles. Nicole also enjoys figure skating and has found she has been able to apply the skills she has learned in dance to advance her abilities on the ice.

Sophia Kanard

Apprentice 2

Sophia started learning ballet in Chicago when she was three. Over the years, she started learning different forms of dance like tap, jazz, modern and eventually started training in Cecchetti. When she was 11, Sophia moved to Santa Barbara, California and started dancing at Gustafson Dance. After two years, she auditioned for SSBYD, was accepted and became a Junior. This year, Sophia is back from the pandemic and ready to dance! She is super excited to be a party girl in the Nutcracker and in Rudolf, a reindeer, elf, and part of the blizzard. Sophia is now an Apprentice 2 and a Sophomore in high school and in her spare time, she enjoys reading, eating, and of course dancing.

Siena Romo

Apprentice 2

Siena Romo is 14 years old and a freshman at Santa Barbara High School. Siena started dancing at 2 years old. She started GD at 3 years old. Throughout her time at Gustafson Dance, she has learned that being close with people then not being able to physically see them is hard but eventually you see your happiness again. Being in SSBYD is a very special opportunity for Siena. She has many amazing friends by her side, with whom she enjoys laughing, smiling, and hanging out with. When not dancing, Siena enjoys going out to explore the world, go to beaches and pools, paint and hang out with her friends.

Micaela White

Apprentice 2

Micaela White is 14 years old and has been dancing with Gustafson dance for roughly 11 years. She attends heartland charter school as a 9th grader this year. She was born with an innate love of dance and always enjoys performing in all of the various shows with GD. She is so thrilled to be a part of SSBYD as an apprentice 2 this season.

Ella Richardson

Apprentice 2

Ella is 14 years old and is in 8th grade. She has been dancing with Gustafson since she was 2 and has danced in Rudolph, Nutcracker, Spring performances and every summer camp since she was old enough to participate. She was honored to perform as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
In addition to dancing, Ella enjoys singing and theatre and has performed at many events & venues in Santa Barbara. Currently, she performs in “Outburst” performance choir at La Colina Junior High. Ella is thrilled to be back in the studio and return to the stage with her SSBYD family!

Audrey Messer

Apprentice 2

Audrey Messer, who is 13, loves the performing arts as a performer and a spectator. She has had the privilege of being at Gustafson dance since she was 2, learning ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary. Audrey has attended the junior intensives and the State Street Ballet intensives. She has danced in Rudolph, the spring and summer shows, and the Nutcracker at the Granada Theatre. This year, Audrey will be dancing the role of Clara in SSB's Nutcracker. She is so thankful to be with SSBYD and looks forward to improving and growing as a dancer this year.

Freya Dogic

Apprentice 2

Freya is 15 years old and a sophomore at Dos Pueblos High School. She has been dancing for around twelve years and is starting her fifth year with Gustafson Dance. Freya is excited to perform as a party girl in The Nutcracker and is looking forward to being a part of SSBYD for this upcoming year. Outside of dance, Freya enjoys traveling, listening to music, and spending time with her friends.

Chloe Nydam

Apprentice 1

Chloe Nydam is 14 years old and a freshman at San Marcos High School. She has been dancing at Gustafson since she was 4 years old. She has been in many performances of Rudolph, Nutcracker and other shows since then. Chloe’s favorite thing is being on stage and performing in front of an audience, and she was so happy to be able to do that again this past year. She is really looking forward to Rudolph and Nutcracker this winter, especially being in the party scene. Chloe is so happy to be in ssbyd and is optimistic for the upcoming year. If she’s not dancing, you’ll find her singing, baking, listening to music, or watching movies.

Sonia Melkonian

Apprentice 1

Sonia is 13 years old and an 8th grader at La Colina Junior High. She has been dancing at Gustafson Dance since she was 3. This is her second year in SSBYD. When she is not dancing she enjoys hanging out with her friends and her dog Daisy, and going to the beach. She is very excited for the upcoming year.

Ava Knothe

Apprentice 1

Ava Knothe is 12 years old and a 7th grader at Laguna Blanca School. Ava has been dancing at Gustafson's since she was 2 years old and is looking forward to her second-year dancing with SSBYD. When Ava is not at the dance studio, you'll find her at the beach, Lake Nacimiento, or with her friends and family.

Everley Rohde

Apprentice 1

Everley Rohde is 12 years old and a 7th grader who studies independently from home. She has been dancing since she was 2 years old and can’t wait for a second year with SSBYD. This is her 5th year in the Nutcracker and is excited to perform again. When she’s not at the dance studio, you’ll find her reading, traveling, making movies, spending time with friends and family, and playing with her adorable golden doodle, Lucy. Even though she is the youngest, she never misses a chance to get better.

Charlotte Haimerl

Apprentice 1

Charlotte is 13 years old and is in 8th grade. She has been dancing and acting in theater plays, including training at the Ensemble Theater Company, since she was 4 years old. This is Charlotte’s third year dancing in the Nutcracker and she is thrilled to be a part of SSBYD. She is also an Emerging Choreographer this year. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with friends and going to the beach with her family and her dog Marley.

Mia DiMaggio

Apprentice 1

Mia is 13 years old and is an 8th grader. She homeschools through the Home Based Partnership. She has been dancing since she was three and this is her second year in SSBYD; she is now an Apprentice 1. Mia is really excited to be a Party Boy in the Nutcracker this year, as well as a Battle Toy for the second time. When she isn't dancing, she likes to read, go to the beach, hang out with her friends, play with her cat Molly, and to Molly's great annoyance, take care of foster kittens.

Erin Spang

Junior

Erin Spang is 12 years old and is in 7th grade. She is a homeschooler at the Home Based Partnership. Erin started dancing at three years old. She is thrilled to be in her first year at SSBYD. When not at the studio, Erin enjoys crafting, hanging out with her friends, and swimming.

Sage Honikman

Junior

Sage Honikman is 13 years old and is in eighth grade at Goleta Valley Junior High School. She has been dancing with Gustafson Dance since she was three years old. This is Sage's first year in company. Sage is generally at her most content when she is dancing. When outside of the studio, you will find her playing her cello, hanging out with her friends, baking new creations or playing with her dogs.

Penelope Welsh

Junior

Penelope is twelve years old and in her last year at Peabody Elementary School. She has been studying ballet with Gustafson dance since she was two years old. This is her first year in company, and she is SO EXCITED! When she's not dancing you can usually find her playing with her goldendoodle Winston, running around her avocado ranch and riding horseback with her sister. Penelope is passionate about writing and of course dancing, and is looking forward to an awesome year with SSBYD!

Sienna Bible

Junior

Sienna Bible is twelve years old, attends La Colina Junior High and has enjoyed four years with GD. She's a Junior in SSBYD and recieved her first pair of point shoes in winter of 2021. Her favorite part of being in the SSBYD and GD programs are the welcoming community and the opportunity to learn from older dancers. Sienna has enjoyed dancing since the age of four but also likes swimming, music, reading, writing, performing arts and soccer.

Sophie Navarro

Junior

Sophie is 12 years old and a 6th grader at Washington Elementary School. She has been dancing at GD since she was 3 years old. Her favorite performance has been as a mouse in The Nutcracker. Aside from dance, Sophie enjoys playing the flute, drawing, and hanging out with her dog Mavis. Sophie has been looking forward to being on point and joining SSBYD for many years. This is her first year in SSBYD and she is very excited to be a part of such an amazing group.

Vivian Smith

Junior

Vivian Smith is 13 years old and is an 8th grader at La Colina Junior High. She has been dancing at Gustafson since age 5. When not dancing, Vivian enjoys spending time with friends and family. She is excited to be a part of SSBYD and continue her passion for dance!

Taylor Alfama

Junior

Taylor Alfama

Hartley Abeysekera

Junior

Hartley is 11 years old and is currently in the sixth grade. She first started at Gustafson Dance when she was only 18 months old. She then took a break to explored other interests, but came back to dance and has since danced with Gustafson for the last three and a half years. She has enjoyed attending the Gustafson summer programs and has been delighted to be part of the dance productions held at the local venues. Hartley is very pleased to be involved in her first year of the State Street Ballet Young Dancers and looks forward to many more years to come! In her free time, she enjoys drawing, listening to various types of music and singing. She also enjoys hanging out with friends and spending time at the beach. She has a passion for traveling, and trying new things. Her favorite vacation destination so far is Maui due to its tropical beauty. Hartley is a committed and determined dancer and hopes to continue dancing throughout her life.

Sloan Brookshire

Junior

Sloan Brookshire

Evelyn Tano

Junior

Evelyn is 14 years old and in 9th grade at San Marcos high school. She has been dancing for almost 3 years since she was 11. She has being dancing with GD for 2 years. She is looking forward to her first year in ssbyd. In her free time she enjoys photography and painting.

Loma Murdy

Junior

Loma is 12 years old and a 7th grader at Crane Country Day School. At 2, she was in the audience at her first Nutcracker performance and instantly fell in love with dance. At 3 years old, we signed her up for ballet at Gustafson, where she has been dancing ever since. Loma has loved performing in The Nutcracker, Rudolph, and other performances by Gustafson where she lights up on stage. She has also met so many wonderful life-long friends, instructors, and mentors at Gustafson. She is looking forward to her first year dancing with SSBYD and continuing her passion for dance. In her spare time, Loma will either be reading or playing with her little brothers.

Kailyn Galbraith

Junior

Kailyn Galbraith is 12 years old and a 7th grader at La Colina Junior High School. She has been dancing at Gustafson since the age of four and is looking forward to her first year with State Street Ballet Young Dancers. When she isn't dancing, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing with her 5-year-old Labrador Retriever, Hank, going to the beach, and traveling.