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.

Olivia Gobbell

Company

Olivia is a 15-year-old junior at carpinteria high school and is excited for her 4th year in SSBYD! Olivia's favorite role is princesses in the nutcracker which she performed last year and will be repeating this year. When she isn't dancing Olivia loves the beach, hiking and playing with her cats.

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.

Rebecca Lennon

Company

Rebecca is a 15 year old sophomore at Dos Pueblos High School. Rebecca has been dancing with Gustafson dance since she was 2 years old and is in her 4th year with SSBYD. Rebecca has attended the State Street Ballet Summer Intensive program and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Dance Intensive along with participating in the summer programs at Gustafson Dance. When she is not dancing, Rebecca keeps busy by participating in her schools Broadcast Media Arts program where she is an anchor for the school’s news program and the new podcast.

Madelyne Herbert

Company

Madelyne is 14 years old and is a freshman at Santa Barbara High School. Madelyne has trained with Gustafson Dance since she was three years old and this is her fourth year in SSBYD. She is very grateful to get the opportunity to play Clara in SSB’s production of The Nutcracker this year. When Madelyne isn’t dancing she loves to hang out with friends and go to the beach.

Jacey Woodall-Allen

Company

Jacey is 16 years old and is currently in 11th grade at Santa Barbara High School. She has been dancing at GD since she was 2 years old. Jacey is pleased to be a Company member of SSBYD this year and continuing her dance training. She loves helping others discover their love for dance. Jacey has been a teaching assistant for ballet, tap and summer camp for the past 5 years. Jacey’s dream is to have her own dance studio where she can choreograph and teach. Dancing is her passion, whether it is jazz, ballet or tap, and would love to continue dancing throughout the rest of her life.

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!

Tali McPeters

Apprentice 2

Tali McPeters is 14 years old, and a freshman at Santa Barbara High School. This is her third year in SSBYD, and her fifth year dancing at Gustafson Dance. She is looking forward to performing in Waltz of the Flowers in this year’s Nutcracker, and dancing in Rudolf. Outside of ballet, she enjoys being in the VADA arts academy at SBHS and going to the beach.

Olivia Pires

Apprentice 2

Olivia is 15 years old and is an 9th grader. She has been a dancer since the age of 3 and has danced many different styles such as Ballet, Hip Hop, Tap, and Musical Theater. Olivia joined GD 4 years ago and has been attending their junior intensive summer programs and dancing in the Nutcracker along with other shows each year since. This will be her third year with SSBYD. When Olivia isn’t dancing, she enjoys spending time with her friends, listening to music and traveling with her family.

Lauren Wilk

Apprentice 2

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.

Taylor Wolf

Apprentice 2

Taylor is a 16-year-old student at Santa Barbara High School. This is her 3rd year dancing with SSBYD, joining GD in 2007, and has greatly enjoyed being apart of this program. Taylor is experienced in jazz, contemporary, aerial, hip-hop, musical theatre, etc; but ballet is her passion. Taylor has performed many roles in Rudolph, The Nutcracker, Celebration of Dance, the Emerging Showcase, spring performances; and has studied with SBDA, as well as State Street Ballet, over the Summer. Outside of dance, Taylor is very involved in school with both academics and community service. Taylor loves to travel, play the piano, ski, and engage in a multitude of outdoor sports, with friends and family. She hopes to continue dancing far into the future, and is excited for another great year of SSBYD!

Grace Wyman

Apprentice 2

Grace is 15 years old and a sophomore 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 done Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Folk dance, and Hula. This is her third year in SSBYD and she is excited for another year of dance, and hopes to experience new things and improve on her dancing. Other than dance, she loves paddle boarding and spending time with her friends and family. She hopes to continue ballet far into the future.

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.

Ella Richardson

Apprentice 1

Ella is 13 years old and is in 7th 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 and venues in Santa Barbara since she was 4 years old. She is beyond thrilled to be an Apprentice 1 member of the SSBYD family and can’t wait for an exciting year!

Audrey Messer

Apprentice 1

Audrey Messer, 12 has a great regard for the performing arts as a performer and a spectator. She has had the privilege of being at Gustafson dance from age 2, learning ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary. Audrey has attended the junior intensives and the State Street Ballet intensive. She has danced in Rudolph, the spring and summer shows at the Lobero Theatre and the Nutcracker at the Granada Theatre. She is thankful to be in her second year of SSBYD and looks forward to improving and growing as a dancer this year as an Apprentice 1.

Sophia Kanard

Apprentice 1

Sophia is in 9th grade and is having a great time. Sophia began her ballet training when she was three at Dance Center of Evanston. She has been dancing at Gustafson’s for two years. She has done many styles of dance including; Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, Tap and Jazz. Sophia is extremely excited to be a battle toy for the Nutcracker and a misfit toy as well as an ice skater for Rudolf. It is Sophia’s second year in SSBYD and she is very excited. She likes to read, write, and be with family and friends in her free time.

Micaela White

Apprentice 1

Micaela White is 13 years old and has been dancing with GD roughly 9 years. She attends Inspire Charter School as an 8th grader this year. She was born with an innate love of dance and always enjoys performing in all the various shows with GD. She is so thrilled to be part of SSBYD as an apprentice this season.

Siena Romo

Apprentice 1

Siena Romo is 13 years old and an 8th grader at Santa Barbara Jr. High. 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 cleaning random places in her home, painting, and hanging out with family.

Nicole Cornejo

Apprentice 1

Nicole is a 14 year old student, currently in 9th grade. Nicole has been dancing with Gustafson Dance since the age of 3 and is so excited to now be a part of SSBYD. She looks forward to working hard this year as an Apprentice 1 and taking part in upcoming performances as well as continuing to develop her talents in all dance styles.

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.

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.

Chloe Nydam

Junior

Chloe Nydam is 13 years old, an 8th grader at La Colina Junior High. Since age 4, she has been dancing at Gustafson. She has been in many Nutcracker, Rudolph, and spring performances since then. Almost 10 years later, Chloe holds dance very close to her heart and it is her passion. She loves to learn new steps and work on them, and she loves learning choreography and feeling the music. Of course, one of her favorite parts of dancing is being on stage. Chloe has done Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Pointe and is always eager to learn a new style. Her favorite steps in Ballet include: Grand Jetes, Fouetté turns, and her splits on her left side.
As well as dancing, Chloe loves singing. Most of her singing happens in the shower, although she does take singing lessons too. Chloe also likes to go to the beach, hang out with friends, bake and cook. She loves all animals too. She has two very fluffy Ragdoll cats at home. Chloe is thrilled to be a part of SSBYD. She is also looking forward to being an Ice Skater and a Misfit Toy in Rudolph, and a Battle Toy in Nutcracker. She is ready to work hard and learn new steps, as well as dancing many more hours a week. Chloe is very grateful that she has the chance to be a part of SSBYD and is excited to be a Junior!

Everly Rhode

Junior

Everly Rhode

Taylor Alfama

Junior

Taylor Alfama

Sonia Melkonian

Junior

Sonia is 12 years old and is in seventh grade at La Colina Junior High. She has been dancing since she was three and started dancing at Gustafson when she was four. This is her first year in SSBYD.

Sloan Brookshire

Junior

Sloan Brookshire

Erika 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.