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INSTRUCTORS

 
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ERIN BABBS

Owner/Director

 

Erin has been dancing since the age of three.   She has studied with some of the most well-known dance instructors and professional schools throughout the United States.  Erin received her BA from San Diego State University while training and teaching at various schools dedicated to the arts.

Erin’s training has led her to dance professionally with the Brain Setzer Orchestra, the Black Eyed Peas, MTV and DJ AM, to name a few.  In addition, Erin has modeled for Divine Eyewear, Juicy Couture and Shuz and has been a featured vocalist for Moonshine Records and One World Entertainment.  Erin has been teaching dance for the past 19 years.  She has been named a top choreographer for the last 13 seasons.  

Erin’s passion for teaching and love for kids led her to open Murrieta Dance Project in 2006.  As MDP’s main Progressions Instructor (Turn & Tricks) Erin is always studying new teaching techniques and finding new ways to collaborate the classic techniques with the most cutting edge tricks.  She has a way a breaking down each movement so that her students have a better understanding of their bodies and how to use them.  

Her students have been featured in film and television, won top awards and scholarships as well as agent representation and have taken the United States by storm!  Erin’s students have gone on to dance with the world-renowned companies: The Nederlands Dans Theatre, Julliard, Joffery and more!  Erin has also trained dancers who have been top 10 finalists on So You Think You Can Dance as well as the winner of season one of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition!  Currently Erin has a team of talented dancers that are featured on the Life Time network on a little show called Dance Moms!  Erin Babbs is a featured choreographer for the show as well.  New this season one of Erin’s students will be a featured performer on Steve Harvey’s new show Little Big Shots! 

Currently, Erin is excited to be heading up the Mini Program of a new convention, Art Of Movement, under the direction of Robert Prescott Lee and Mikey Trasoras.  Erin will be traveling the US teaching some of the most hungry young artists!  In addition to this new venture Erin will be going back to one of her long time passions as a judge for one of the top competitions on the circuit, Hall Of Fame Dance Challenge.  Being able to inspire and connect with dancers on stage as a judge has always given Erin even more inspiration to take back to her amazing students at Murrieta Dance Project.

Erin is proud and excited to share her love and knowledge of dance, art and life with all of her talented dancers here at Murrieta Dance Project!  Erin feels that dance will empower all of her students to move forward in life and succeed in whatever lies ahead!

 

“To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.  This is power, it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking”- Agnes De Mille

 
 
 

Aaron Chavarria

Aaron Chavarria is currently a member of the touring tap company, “Rhapsody in Taps”, and is on faculty at the Orange County School of the Arts – Commercial Dance Department. His Performing Credits include: Dodger in “Oliver,” Roger in “Grease,” Asher in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream,” Rooster in “Annie,” John Darling in “Peter Pan,” Curt Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” a dancer in “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast” and many more with the Onstages Theater Company.


Aaron has also danced professionally in the “Music Man,” and Oklahoma” with the West Coast Opera Theatre at the Mccallum Performing Art Center. He has toured with “Headline” as a dancer and singer and was a dancer and singer in Fullerton and a guest performer in Final Cut Dancer Content with L.A Dance Magic in 2007 and 2009. Additionally, Mr. Chavarria was a co-choreographer and performer in the U.C. Irvine Medical Center “Baby I’m a Star” Brest Cancer Awareness video.

 
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ALLISON HILL

 
 

Allison grew up dancing in San Diego and attended classes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York to further her training. She was a co-owner and director of a local dance studio for six years. She has studied a variety of styles and disciplines with a focus on tap dancing. Her teaching style is also influenced by the instruction she received at The Acting Center. While in the dance studio business Allison had the opportunity to study, listen, and grow from a long list of artists and dancers. For the past three years, she was a member of the tap dancing skeletons at Legoland’s Brick or Treat under the direction of Claudia Gomez. Allison currently dances with Megan McBride Moore’s Company, is Co-Director of San Diego Tap and Jazz Festival, and continues to train.

 
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ANGELINA SMILEY

 
 

Angelina is a well-rounded dancer who wants to share her talents by influencing others through the art of dance. Born and raised in California, she studied with Linda Sohl-Donnel, Christine Baltes and was assistant to Jose Silva to name a few. She has been teaching children for over 15 years. She loves to create interesting choreography while holding truth to technique. Angelina is patient and motivates while educating students of all levels and ages to build confidence that will help them throughout their life. With her love for dance, she challenges her students to decipher why dancing means so much. She is excited to work with the toddlers at Murrieta Dance Project while raising her own young dancer.

 
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CORY BUFKIN

 

CORY BUFKIN began her ballet training over twenty years ago in Modesto, CA with Central West Ballet. During this time, she trained with Contra Costa Ballet, The Rock School and American Ballet Theater. In 1999, Cory moved to New York to attend the New School University while training at the Joffrey Ballet School. She later became a corps member with Inland Pacific Ballet where she performed George Balanchine’s Serenade, Swan Lake, The Little Mermaid, Graduation Ball and the Nutcracker. In 2004 Cory returned to college and now holds her BFA in Dance/Performance from UC Irvine. While at UC Irvine, Cory performed in several ballet and modern pieces, including a solo role in Extreme Memory choreographed by Douglas Becker which was performed in Paris, France as part of Danes de Mai. After graduating from UC Irvine, Cory has been performing as a professional freelance dancer. She has continued training and performing throughout southern California over the past nine years. She has performed both principal and soloist roles with various ballet companies: 2006 Ballet Pacifica’s Nutcracker (Snow Queen, Spanish soloist, Marzipan soloist, and Waltz of the Flowers soloist), 2008-2009, Cory performed as the principal dancer in the Crystal Cathedral’s The Glory of Christmas. 2010-2011 California Riverside Ballet (Snow corps, Marzipan soloist, Dew Drop soloist), and 2012 City of Angels Ballet (Raymonda soloist, Vales Fantasies soloist). Recently, Cory has performed several principal and corps roles with Epiphany Dance.

 
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HEATHER WEDMORE

 
 

Heather Wedmore is an accomplished competitive dancer, choreographer, and dance educator with over 20 years of experience in tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary. She began her training at age 5, studying dance in the Inland Empire and surrounding cities. She quickly fell in love with not only dance but choreography; Heather followed her heart and started choreographing for competitive dances at the age of 13. By the time Heather was a junior in high school, along with being captain of her dance team and being a full time competitive studio dancer she took on the role of choreographer of her high school’s theater department, which she continued to do until she graduated in 2001. After graduation she continued to train at studios in Los Angeles, on “Solid” hip hop productions, and was training under Al Gilbert in tap to help further her ability to teach proper tap technique to children starting at a very young age. In 2007 Heather opened a studio which she owned and directed for 5 years. In that time Heather received numerous choreography and judges awards from competitions throughout California and Las Vegas. After having her youngest daughter she decided to sell her studio to spend more time with her family along with enjoying educating dancers. Heather has a great passion for dance and is extremely excited to continue her journey of spreading dance education at MDP.

 
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JACOBIE BLUHM

 
 

Jacobie began dancing at the age of 15 when he found his love for the art by being accidentally placed in a dance class. Since then, he has continued to train and grow under multiple choreographers and teachers. By his senior year at Chaparral High School, Jacobie lead the Varsity dance team under his captainship and also becoming a teacher’s assistant for both beginning and intermediate teams. In the meantime, Jacobie would also assist the Physical Education department, by teaching over 850 freshman during their dance unit. Jacobie has been said to, “turn people that have never danced before, into dancers.” At his high school’s end of the year dance production, Jacobie choreographed for every team in the department, totaling up to 70% of the dances in the production. 

Jacobie has also danced outside of high school, dancing for multiple street teams under the names of TLC, and is currently on Unofficial. These teams perform and battle at multiple competitions, including “Vibe”.
He is also teaching multiple workshops for his community, including a monthly workshop for all dancers, all levels and age, taking place at MDP. 

Jacobie realized that he has two passions, and they are to help people and to dance. He seeks the heart and hunger inside every dancer and continues to push them to their full performance potential.

 
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JENNIFER DUSTMAN

Vocal Coach, Showdown Studios

 
 

Jennifer Dustman studied music at California State University Long Beach as a Elementary Education/Music major and then began singing professionally. She tours with one of the top vocal jazz groups, Beachfront Property, performing with the country's finest Symphonies, Jazz Bands and Jazz Trios. She was associate producer for Beachfront in the recording studio and sang professionally in studio recordings, commercials and off Broadway productions.

Jennifer created Showdown Studios for singers, has taught voice for over 12 years and has a passion for bringing out the best in her students.  She coaches students from beginning levels to Broadway and audition prep. She focuses on technique, style, confidence and performance.

She is married to Tom and they have three grown kids, Demi, Cooper and Makenzie, who are all working professionals in the performing arts.

For Information:
Jennifer Dustman 909.851.2819 (call or text)
Email: showdownstudios@gmail.com

 
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JULES CHAVARRIA

 

Jules Chavarria has danced professionally throughout America and Europe. Her most recent credits include the Mexico/Alaskan tour, and Caribbean/Mediterranean tour, dancing onboard Holland America Cruise Lines. Jules has enjoyed dancing for such artists as “N’sync”, “PINK”, and “Destiny’s Child”, on Nickelodeons “SNICK HOUSE” and “Teen’s Choice Awards”. Alongside dancing, Jules can be seen singing and acting throughout Los Angeles. She has performed in various musicals including “Annie”, “Peter Pan”, “Oliver”, “Cabaret”, “Grease”, “Cinderella”, and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. Various other credits include dancing as a Soloist for the Orange County Civic Ballet and dancing in many concerts at the California Institute of the Arts. Jules continues to share her love of dance on stage and in the studio!

 
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KERRY FLORES

 
 

Kerry Flores has been dancing and singing for 24 years and involved in musical theatre for the past 15 years. She has directed and choreographed various musicals and has performed in over 15 ballet productions. She began competing in dance at the age of five and over the course of nine years, won numerous dance titles.

She won the “Dance Star” title when she was a senior in high school and was flown to London to dance and represent California in the New Year’s Day parade. She attended UCI where she majored in dance. While in college, she worked as a professional dance instructor for the Universal Cheerleading Association for four years. She taught dance camps to high school and college dance teams all throughout California. 

Kerry is also an accomplished singer, having performed and competed with the Madrigal Show Choir for four years.  She released her first CD with the Tyler Street Praise Band in 1997. She was the dance director at SCEGA gymnastics, where she trianed the competitive gymnasts in the areas of jazz and ballet. Kerry’s energy in contagious and she always gets 100% effort from all of her students. Of her many accomplishments, the ones she takes the most pride in, are her four beautiful children. Kylee is 21, Allie is 19, Ian is 17, and Titus is 15.

 
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MARCO CRUZ

 
 

Marco Cruz is a Choreographer, Dancer, Artistic Director, Judge, Master Class Instructor, and Leader in the Contemporary and Hip Hop Arenas. His musicality and attention to detail have been described as captivating, inspirational and breathtaking. His passion for dance is what has made him one of today’s most sought after choreographers and a true original in his field. His professional pursuits have no end, he has performed in, choreographed, and directed music videos, commercials and award shows for recording artist such as Rihanna, Naturi Naughton, Olivia Newton John, Kenny Loggins, and Kwanza Jones, and production companies including Paramount Pictures, ABC, Nickelodeon, Disney, Power of Youth, Variety Magazine, and Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzy Feet Foundation. 

Cruz is no stranger to the world of competitive dance. His works have placed first against some of today’s most elite dance studios. He has earned several National Championship Titles at some of the most prestigious competitions: ShowStoppers, Hollywood Vibe, Star Power, Hollywood Connection, and KAR just to name a few. Dance education and instilling a respect of the art of dance is of primary focus for Cruz. Several of his students have chosen to pursue dance education at the collegiate level. Likewise, many of Cruz’s students have excelled in dance and the entertainment industry and have moved on to dance professionally for companies such as Joffrey, Ballet HIspanico in New York, Lines in San Francisco, Santa Barbra’s State Street Ballet, and many more.

 
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ORIALIS ASHLEY

 

Orialis Ashley is from Puerto Rico and has been dancing since the age of seven. She has trained extensively in all genres of dance from ballet to hip hop, and through her training has earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from The Florida State University.

After receiving her degree, Ms Ashley joined the Denver based Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in 2003.  With the company she toured nationally and was a featured soloist in works by Talley Beatty, Christopher Huggins, and Alvin Ailey. After relocating to Los Angeles, Orialis expanded her dance career from concert work to commercial work. There she performed in music videos, stage shows and various industrials. She also had the privilege to work with Southern California dance companies including the Mark Goodman Tap company, Lula Washington Dance Theater and Liz Imperio’s Instincts Live Media.

Her extensive background has enabled her a teaching position with one of the top 50 dance studios in the nation.  She sets award winning choreography locally and around the US. She presently resides in Southern California where she continues not only to train and perform as a professional dancer but also shares her love of dance with her students.

 
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RACHEL WALSH

 
 

RACHEL WALSH has trained extensively in jazz, contemporary, ballet and lyrical.  She was a student of Erin Babbs and Susan Barnett for many years before following them to MDP.  She has been a part of many award winning routines and has received scholarships at multiple conventions.  She is a talented dancer that is able to use her training to lead her students on the path of success.  MDP is truly blessed to have Rachel as a former student, now teacher at MDP. Currently Miss Rachel is a student at California State University San Marcos and continues to train in all genres of dance.

 
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SUSAN BARNETT

 

SUSAN BARNETT, a California native, is an accomplished teacher, choreographer and dancer whose energetic teaching style can be seen in both the Riverside and Orange county areas. She began dancing later than most professional dancers training with various teachers and choreographers such as Sue Gilson, Currie Pederson, Mandy Moore and Malaya. Shortly after graduating high school, Susan ventured into teaching and setting pieces throughout Southern California. Her love of dance has led her to perform and choreograph for many exciting venues throughout the nation. 

In addition to her many years of professional dance training, she has over 18 years of teaching experience. She has held the position of teacher and dance director at both Temecula and Chaparral High Schools and has choreographed for many high school dance teams.

Her distinctive choreography has received numerous high point and top choreography awards at regional and national competitions. Susan’s students have been recipients of many scholarships, cash prizes and have gone on to be represented by top agencies in dance, modeling and acting. Many of her students have continued their training at the collegiate level and have performed with professional dance companies in California, Colorado and New York.

In 2006, Susan realized her dream of opening a dance studio along with Erin Babbs when Murrieta Dance Project opened its doors. Forever grateful of the opportunity to own such an amazing studio, she decided to retire the position of co-owner/director in 2013 to focus more on teaching and continuing her education. Susan has a great enthusiasm and passion for teaching and sharing this love with all of her students. She teaches from the heart, dedicated to her students, making sure each and every dancer understands, embodies, and loves the art of dance.

 
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TAYLOR WARD

 
 

TAYLOR WARD’s passion for dance was first sparked during her years of rigorous training under a nationally ranked high kick team; well known for their athletic ability and stunning technique, winning National Champions in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Upon graduating, she continued her training in dance, attending several years at Boogiezone University where she studied with many sought after choreographers such as Gina Starbuck, Leo Morimune, Andrew Winghart, and Jillian Meyers. Her credits don’t stop there as she was a lead dancer in Inc. the Company, a contemporary company trained and directed by well-known choreographer and teacher, Marco Cruz.

During this time Taylor remained a student athlete and was recognized on the Dean’s List multiple years in a row.  Her goals remained high as she traveled across the nation to teach and train with some of the top studios and teachers, such as Francisco Gella and Tokyo Kevin Inouye. To take her love of dance to the next level, in 2013, Taylor auditioned for a world renowned TV show: “So You Think You Can Dance”. She was highlighted as one of their favorites in Los Angeles but due to injury could not continue.  In light of this event she co-founded an elite training program, True Dance Potential, in hopes of increasing the longevity of dancers’ careers as artists and athletes. While pursuing her dreams by continually training as a professional dancer and teachers, she also works alongside Kids Artistic Revue as a Production Assistant.

 
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WILL JOHNSTON

 
 

Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, Will Johnston received the majority of his training at A.K.A Dance Company under the direction of Kelly and Alex Velasquez. Will holds an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of California: Irvine as well as a B.F.A in Dance Performance, a B.F.A in Dance Choreography, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Credits include Clear Talent Group in Los Angeles, Sonya Tayeh’s “Tayeh Dance,”Justin Gile’s “SoulEscape,” Erica Sobol’s “CollidEdance,” Stacey Tookey’s “Still Motion,” Donald McKayle’s “Etude Ensemble,” Boogiezone’s “Breed,” Fox’s Glee, Sigur Ros, and Son Lux. In addition, Will is the Co-Director of Boogiezone’s contemporary company, ENTITY. As a teacher, Will is on faculty at Chapman University in Orange,CA, Edge PAC in Hollywood, CA, Visions Dane Company in Irvine, CA, Murrieta Dance Project in Murrieta, CA, and also travels around the country touring with Intrigue Dance Intensive. In addition he has taught and choreographed across the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Australia.